Home Sweet Home

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 14, 2000, 4:00 pm
Dorothy Gale said, 'There's no place like home.' No one agrees with that statement more than Emlyn Aubrey. Born in Reading, Penn., Aubrey fired a season-best 65 to share the first-round lead at the SEI Pennsylvania Classic.
 
At 6-under-par, Aubrey is tied with fellow journeyman Danny Briggs in Paoli, Penn. Loren Roberts and Frank Lickliter are two shots off the lead at 4-under-par.
 
It's been a disappointing year, thus far, for Aubrey. The 39-year-old missed 13 of his first 15 cuts. Recouping from a back injury, which forced him to miss the end of the '99 season, Aubrey is playing on a special medical exemption in 2000.
 
But things are finally starting to go Aubrey's way. The three-time Pennsylvania Public-Links State champion has qualified for weekend play in four of his last five starts, including three in a row.
 
'The last two tournament in Canada, I made birdies on the last hole on Friday to make the cut,' said Aubrey, currently 194th on the money list. 'Hopefully, things are turning around.'
 
After using a 15-foot par save at the 1st as a 'wake-up call,' Aubrey birdied four of his next seven holes to make the turn in 4-under-par 31. Aubrey only carded one birdie over his first eight holes on the back nine, but the 8-year PGA Tour veteran coaxed in a birdie 4 at the home hole for just his seventh round in the 60s this year.
 
So what was the difference for Aubrey on Thursday? Better driving? Better iron play? Better putting? Well, Aubrey missed only three fairways and three greens in regulation in the first round, and he took only 27 swipes with the flatstick. But the biggest determining factor was an intangible one.
 
'I love this place,' Aubrey said of his native Pennsylvania. 'I've obviously come back to visit my parents. Spent some time in Harrisburg a lot. For me, it brings back old memories for sure. We spent a lot of time going to sports in Philly, just great - eat some cheese steaks. It is great coming back, but it is really special to play a tournament here.'
 
There's no home-course advantage this week for Briggs. The 39-year-old was born in Texas and lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. Still, Briggs seems to feel right at home at the Waynesborough Country Club.
 
Beginning on the back nine, Briggs was 1-under as he made the turn. But the front nine proved to be more fruitful. Briggs drained a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-4 1st to move to 2-under, and then chipped in for a birdie 2 at the 2nd.
 
After a par at the 3rd, Briggs again carded back-to-back birdies at the 4th and 5th to climb to 5-under. The former Texas A&M Aggie ended his Thursday scoring by nearly holing his second shot at the par-4 8th.
 
'Eight was kind of neat,' said Briggs, who, like Aubrey, earned a special medical exemption to play on the 2000 Tour. 'My divot (on my approach shot) was like this close (indicating five inches) and my ball was like this close (indicating two inches); so that was nice.'
 
In recent years, Briggs has bounced back and forth between the PGA and Buy.Com Tours. In fact, with his wife expecting twins in the early 90's, Briggs quit the game to take a television gig with a Hall of Fame baseball player.
 
'I did a television show with Johnny Bench called `Golf in Paradise,'' said Briggs. 'It was a show that you went around to all of these different resorts, and you would have two different guest celebrities, and I was the pro that was doing the tips.
 
'I had an opportunity to go work for a gentleman that paid me a decent amount of money so that I could feed my family and cover the bills at home, and I had an opportunity to do that. I really enjoyed doing it.'
 
Of course, the competitive fire still burned. And nowadays, there's plenty of 'green' to go around.
 
'It's a dream,' Briggs said. 'And, look at how much money we're playing for out here now, too. I mean, thank you, Tiger Woods for being out here. It's been fantastic.'
 
The game's biggest names aren't in attendance this week, but those who are, are making their presence felt.
 
Roberts is tied for third. Carlos Franco, Mark Calcavecchia and Dudley Hart are all in a nine-way tie for fifth at 3-under. And Grant Waite, who has finished runner-up in each of his last two starts, is tied for 14th at 2-under.
 
Aubrey and Briggs have yet to make a name for themselves in their extensive careers, but things could change this week.
 
'I'm not one of the PGA Tour stars,' said Briggs. 'It would be fun after this week to kind of become one for a week, I guess. But there's three days left for that.
 
'All I know is my kids and my wife still love me, so I'm okay.'
 

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.