A World of Possibilities

By Mercer BaggsAugust 24, 2002, 4:00 pm
SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- The top three players in the world are within at least three strokes of the lead entering the final round of the World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational.
 
But leading the way through 54 holes at Sahalee Country Club are a pair of Australians, one of whom hasnt won a PGA Tour event in 235 career starts.
 
Craig Parry shot 5-under-par 66 to move to 10-under 203 in the $5 million event. The 36-year-old shares top billing with overnight leader Robert Allenby (71).
 
'I'm sure it's going to happen, it's just a matter of time,' said Parry, who has 18 wins outside the U.S. 'I'm just knocking on the door, again.'
 
Three-time defending champion Tiger Woods (67) heads a group two back. Hes tied with Ernie Els (67), Matt Gogel (68), Jim Furyk (68), who lost in a seven-hole playoff to Woods a year ago, and Steve Lowery (73).
 
World No. 2 Phil Mickelson is three off the pace following his usual erratic performance. The lefthander followed an eagle at the par-5 second with three straight bogeys. He also made two birdies and a double-bogey. In all, the good offset the bad, as he shot even-par 71.
 
Mickelson is at 7-under, along with Vijay Singh (69), who won the 1998 PGA Championship at Sahalee, and 22-year-old Englishman Justin Rose (72).
 
A pair of mistakes ' one mental, one physical ' cost Woods two shots over his final two holes. Woods, who birdied four of the first six holes on the back nine to tie for the lead, finished bogey-bogey to fall to 8-under.
 
Woods stood at 10-under ' and at the top of the leaderboard ' while contemplating his tee shot on the 230-yard, par-3 17th.
 
It was just a nice, smooth 5 (iron), and Stevie (Steve Williams, his caddie) talked me out of a 5 and into a 6. And what ticks me off is I had the final say so, and I didnt trust my own gut instincts ' just keep the loft open on it, hold it open, and just put it right in the middle of the green, he described.
 
Its just a stupid play, and it cost me a shot.
 
Woods pulled the shot into a bunker and missed the eight-footer for par.
 
And on 18, I compounded the problem by hitting a quick hook off the tee, he said.
 
After punching out into the fairway on his second shot to the par-5 finishing hole, Woods flew the green with a pulled wedge from 105 yards. He then flubbed his chip and made 6.
 
I felt like I was hitting the ball solid all day until the end, said Woods, who is trying to become the first player since Walter Hagen (1924-27 in the PGA Championship) to win the same event four consecutive years.
 
Tigers playing competitor, Ernie Els, also shot 67. The British Open champion will again be grouped with the worlds No. 1 Sunday, marking the fourth time in eight rounds that theyve gone head-to-head.
 
I like playing with Tiger. I see a lot of things that he does so well that I can feed off and learned from, said the third-ranked player in the world. Hes made so many great runs at leaders, and I hope Ill be sucked into his wake there some.
 
World No. 4 Retief Goosen could have added even more intrigue into the final round, but he shot 3-over 74 to fall four back.
 
The men everyone are chasing have two contrasting resumes. Parry has earned nearly $4.7 million on the PGA Tour, making him the career money-winner on tour without a victory.
 
Allenby, on the other hand, has won twice in each of the past two seasons. Saturday, he birdied the first two holes to move past fellow 36-hole co-leader Lowery. He promptly gave back the two strokes, however, with a double-bogey at the par-4 fourth and a bogey at the ninth.
 
A birdie at 13 was canceled by a bogey at 16. He was one down to Parry when he hit the green in two with a 3-wood at 18. His 25-foot eagle effort appeared dead-center, but detoured on the final couple of revolutions for a tap-in birdie.
 
'I'll be going out there with the frame of mind that I know I have to play aggressive. And I know I have to shoot at least 5-under - at least,' Allenby said.
 
'You've got, like, the top three or four players in the world right on your heels. So you know one of them is going to have a good day.'
 
Parry, a four-time runner-up on tour, had the low round of the day. He made five birdies without a bogey. He, like others tis week, said he found inspiration in Rich Beem's performance last week at Hazeltine.
 
'I watched Rich Beem last week at the PGA and I thought, he's actually getting up and trying to hit the shot he wants to hit and hitting it, and why can't I do that?
 
'It's worked so far.'
 
Full-field scores from the WGC-NEC Invitational
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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 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.