Tiger Keeps Opponents at Bay

By Mercer BaggsMarch 15, 2002, 5:00 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Tiger Woods is a selfish man. Just as fan excitement was building towards a weekend crescendo, Woods played the role of public antagonist, separating himself from the field at the Bay Hill Invitational.
Early Friday, it appeared as if any number of upper-echelon players would contend for the title. Instead, it may prove to be a weekend whitewashing.
Woods fired the low round of the tournament, a 7-under-par 65, to move to 12-under 132. Only a bogey ' his first in 76 holes ' at the par-4 eighth kept the field within shouting distance.
Scott McCarron is Tigers nearest rival. He shot 68 to get within four at minus 8.
Tiger is obviously playing really well right now, so its going to be tough to catch him. But theres a lot of golf left, McCarron said.
'This golf course is playing very difficult. Anything can happen.'
Ernie Els (67) and Angel Cabrera (70) are five back.
Two weeks ago, the roles were reversed. Els led Woods by four strokes after 36 holes at Doral, and eight by rounds end Saturday. Woods made a charge Sunday ' shooting 66 ' but came up a couple of shots short.
Els went on to win snap an 18-month winless drought on the PGA Tour, and then won the following week at the European Tours Dubai Desert Classic. Friday, after receiving a little advice from his swing coach, David Leadbetter, the South African made his bid for three in a row.
It was just a little tip he gave me, to square up my hips a little bit more, Els said after hitting 13 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation.
Els' ball striking resulted in five birdies and no bogeys. He did, however, miss a handful of really short birdie putts, which could have turned a good round into a great one.
Those extra strokes are now weighing heavily on his scorecard.
Woods started the day tied for the lead at 5-under, but lost that position when Els entered the clubhouse. He made a 20-foot birdie at the par-4 10th ' his first hole ' to move closer, and then tied for the top spot with an eight-footer at the 12th.
Tiger reclaimed the outright lead with another 20-foot birdie putt at No. 14. Two holes later, with his confidence brimming, he hit an 8-iron out of the right fairway bunker, 15 feet from the hole. He made the putt to take a two-shot lead at 9-under.
I hit a good, positive shot on 10 out of the fairway bunker. I said, Just try and do the same thing, and it came out absolutely perfect, Woods said.
Asked if he would have tried to go for the green was he not playing as well, Woods responded, No.
Tiger added four more birdies to his card on his back nine, missing a 40-foot eagle putt by an inch on the par-5 sixth. His lone blemish came at the eighth, when he pushed a 3-wood into the trees and had to punch out. He hit a sand wedge to 10 feet, but, this time, the putt wouldnt fall.
Nevertheless, hes in prime position to become the first player to win three Bay Hill titles, let alone three consecutive
I feel comfortable with the lead, and I would much rather be in the lead than come from behind, said Woods, who is 13 of 17 in converting 36-hole leads on the PGA Tour.
A host of big names are jumbled in the top 10, well back of Woods. John Daly is six off the pace after a 1-under 71. Daly was forced to wait on every shot Friday. His Day-1 playing partner, Greg Norman, withdrew prior to the second round. Norman opened in 1-under 71, but complained about a twinge in his back, leaving Daly to play in a twosome with Kirk Triplett.
John Huston (71) is also at minus 6. Sergio Garcia (71) and Jose Maria Olazabal (68) are among a group seven back at 5-under.
I wanted to post another 69 or 68 and be right up there, but, unfortunately, I couldnt ' I had my chances, Garcia said.
Full-field scores from the Bay Hill Invitational

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.

Getty Images

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.