Triplett Again in Nissan Drivers Seat

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 22, 2001, 5:00 pm
Don't tell Kirk Triplett seven starts without a victory is a slump. It took him 11 years and 266 events to win his first PGA Tour event.
Now, Triplett finds himself in the same position he was when he last played the Nissan Open - at the top of the leaderboard.
The defending champion fired a 5-under-par 66 to tie Sergio Garcia, Tom Scherrer and Brent Schwarzrock for the first-round lead at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
The quartet heads a truly international leaderboard, which includes six Americans, two Australians, two Japanese players and a Spaniard within one shot of the lead.
Japanese standouts Joe Ozaki and Shigeki Maruyama each opened in 4-under-par 67. They are tied with Australians Greg Chalmers and Bradley Hughes, and Americans Edward Fryatt, Bob Tway and Rocco Mediate.
Tiger Woods is five shots off the pace after 18 holes. Woods, making his seventh start at the Nissan, carded three birdies to offset three bogeys for an even-par 71.
'I played hard, it just didn't work out,' said Woods, who hasn't won in his previous seven Tour starts. 'I was putting all right, but the problem is when you have the 40- and 45-footers and the 30-footers all day, you're not going to make you share of those. I need to hit the ball a little closer.'
Playing alongside Tiger for the first time in the first round was Scherrer.
'He's the best ever,' said Scherrer. 'I wanted to make a good impression.'
And so he did.
Scherrer posted a bogey-free 66 to earn a share of the Day-One lead. His round included a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe on his first hole, No. 10, and a 30-footer on the 12th.
'Playing with Tiger, I was pretty excited and very happy I played well in front of him,' said Scherrer, who was in contention through two rounds of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am before shooting 73-80 on the weekend to tie for 55th.
After the round, Scherrer took his scorecard, which was singed by Woods, and said he was going to have it framed.
If Scherrer's name at the top is a surprise, Schwarzrock's name is shock. The 29-year-old didn't find out he was in the field until Tuesday. He then flew cross-country from his home in Sea Island, Ga., and didn't have time to get in a practice round.
'I played the course blind,' he said. 'I didn't think there was a chance I'd get in here.'
Schwarzrock made the most of his opportunity. Despite a pair of bogeys on both the back-nine par-5s, he chipped in twice for birdie en route to his 66.
This is Schwarzrock's third season on the PGA Tour. He first qualified in 1999 after finishing 11th in the '98 Qualifying Tournament, but managed to only complete one round the entire season due to a reoccurring back injury.
Still hampered by an ailing back, Schwarzrock played in 19 events on the Tour in 2000 thanks to a medical extension. He made six cuts and finished 195th on the season-ending money list.
A tie for 31st at this past year's Qualifying Tournament gave a healthier Schwarzrock a reprieve in 2001. Thus far, he's competed in three events, making two cuts.
It's been exactly one year since Triplett ended his 11-year winless drought on the PGA Tour. Thursday, he made a bid to retain his title by carding an eagle on the par-5 first, his 10th of the day, to go along with five birdies and two bogeys.
Garcia is still in search of his maiden stateside victory. He's also trying to officially re-enter the winner's circle for the first time anywhere since his rookie season of 1998, when he won twice on the European Tour.
Two weeks ago, the 21-year-old media sensation was penalized two shots for an improper drop at the Greg Norman Holden International. He eventually lost to 19-year-old Australian Aaron Baddeley in a playoff, but not before blaming his loss on the rules official who assessed the penalty.
'That's all done. Forgotten,' Garcia said. 'I remember how well I played. I don't think many players can play as well as I did that week. Losing a playoff with a two-stroke penalty, not making a putt on Sunday.It really showed me a lot.'
News, Notes and Numbers
*Kirk Triplett is trying to become the first person since Corey Pavin in 1994-95 to successfully defend his Nissan Open title.
*Jose Maria Olazabal began his first round with an eagle at the par-5 first, but played his next four holes in 4-over. He finished the day with a 1-under-par 70.
*A black ribbon was attached to the flag on No. 3 in tribute to Dale Earnhardt, who was killed in a car wreck at last week's Daytona 500. Earnhardt drove car No. 3.
Click here for Full-Field scores from the Nissan Open!
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Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

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 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.