Rookie Chasing Veteran in Tucson

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 14, 2001, 5:00 pm
Monday's final pairing in the Touchstone Energy Tucson Open will pit an 18-year PGA Tour veteran against a Tour rookie. Mark Wiebe, who first joined the big leagues in 1984, will play alongside greenhorn Garrett Willis, with the former holding a two-stroke advantage.
 
Sunday at Tucson National, Wiebe carded a 6-under-par 66 to move to the top of the leaderboard at 14-under-par, while Willis fired a bogey-free 64 to climb into contention at 12-under.
 
Four players share third place, four shots off the lead. 1994 Tucson champion Andrew Magee (70), Kevin Sutherland (67), Glen Hnatiuk (66) and Mark Hensby (69), who is also playing in his first full season on Tour, are all tied at 10-under-par.
 
In all, there are four Tour rookies inside the top-10 on the Tucson leaderboard, as Q-School graduates Hunter Hass (68) and Geoff Ogilvy (68) are tied with five others for seventh place at 9-under-par.
 
Also in that group are two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer (70), as well as a host of players seeking their first Tour titles - Steve Flesch (66), Harrison Frazar (66), Brandt Jobe (66) and Chris Riley (68)

Though he's played for nearly two decades, Wiebe hasn't won on the PGA Tour since the 1986 Hardee's Classic, now the John Deere Classic. He began the day two shots behind 36-hole leader Lee Porter, but carded six birdies in an eight-hole stretch to put him in position to claim his third Tour victory.
 
During the middle of his birdie streak, a young fan asked Wiebe for his autograph while he was sitting on the back of a cart. Inexplicably, the driver of the cart allowed the vehicle to roll backward, forcing Wiebe to grab the boy's arm and lift him onto his lap.
 
Shaken by the child's crying, Wiebe kept his nerves intact, birdying three of his next four holes.
 
Willis kept Wiebe from running away with the tournament by birdying five of his first eight holes in the third round, and eight in all. This is just Willis' fourth career start on the PGA Tour, and the first in which he's made the cut. He earned his 2001 card by tying for 11th in the Qualifying Tournament.
 
'There's guys that can play that nobody in this room has heard of yet that will someday pop up and we'll say, `Who is that?'' Wiebe said. 'Somebody said, `You guys have a lot in common - you really like the course.' I said, `Who is Garrett Willis?''
 
While Willis and Wiebe battle for the $540,000 first-place prize, Porter will be trying to salvage a decent paycheck. The overnight leader dropped into a tie for 26th place after posting a 4-over-par 76.
 
Due to freezing rain and snow on Friday, the event has been extended a day. You can catch final round coverage, live on The Golf Channel at 4:00pm ET.
 
Click here for Full-Field scores from The Tucson Open!

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.