Cup not full: U.S. Solheim team still TBD

By Randall MellJuly 27, 2011, 12:13 pm

Can Juli Inkster make history and hold onto her spot on the U.S. Solheim Cup team?

Will Christina Kim take her fireworks show to Europe two years after she irritated the Euros with her celebrations at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago?

Will Kristy McPherson fight her way back onto the team? Will Vicky Hurst make it for the first time?

They’re all relevant questions with the competition to make the American team down to its final two events.

With double points in play at the Ricoh Women’s Open this week, every American playing the next two LPGA events still has a mathematical chance to qualify for captain Rosie Jones’ team.

The deadline to make the team on points is the Safeway Classic Aug. 19-21. The top 10 at the conclusion of Safeway qualify for the Sept. 23-25 matches at Killeen Castle in Ireland.

Here’s your U.S. Solheim Cup primer with the year’s final major about to begin (click for current U.S. standings):

Who’s already punched their tickets?

You can bank on the top seven on the U.S. point standings making the team: Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel, Angela Stanford, Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie and Brittany Lincicome have their bags packed for Ireland.

No. 8 Brittany Lang is close to securing a spot but still on the edge.

No. 9 Inkster and No. 10 Kim are the most vulnerable.

Who’s knocking on the door?

At No. 11, McPherson is a mere 20.5 points behind Kim. If McPherson finishes 15th or better at Carnoustie this week and Kim earns no points, McPherson moves into the top 10.

At No. 12, Hurst moves past Kim this week by finishing ninth or better should Kim gain no ground.

At No. 13, Katie Futcher can get past Kim finishing eighth or better.

Wendy Ward, Pat Hurst and Natalie Gulbis are among players who need victories to crack the top 10 going to Safeway.

How does the top 10 compare to the ’09 American team?

Nine of the current top 10 in the standings helped the Americans defeat Europe at Rich Harvest Farms in ’09.

Stacy Lewis, winner of this year’s Kraft Nabisco Championship, is the only Solheim Cup rookie among the top 10.

In ’09, Inkster and Wie were captain’s picks.

Nicole Castrale made the team on points two years ago but isn’t a factor this year while struggling to come back from a shoulder injury. Gulbis also made the team on points in ’09 but has slid to 16th in points this year dealing with back problems.

Wouldn’t Inkster be a good captain’s pick if she falters on points?

At 51, Inkster’s a fabulous story if she makes her record ninth U.S. Solheim Cup team, but she says she’ll only play if she makes the team on points.

Inkster is one of Jones’ assistant captains. With a 15-10-6 Solheim Cup record, she’s already won more points (18) than any American player in the event’s history. If she makes her ninth team, she’ll separate herself from Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon as having made the most American teams.

Who’s in the picture as possible captain’s picks?

Nobody’s making it easy for Jones. Nobody’s making a big move.

At No. 11, McPherson will be hard to resist given her points position and her experience helping the Americans win two years ago, but like everyone else chasing the top 10, McPherson has struggled of late, missing three of the last five cuts with no top-10 finishes this year. Still, McPherson’s a good fit. While Jones says performance and experience are important, she’s also zeroing in hard on personality and team chemistry.

If Kim falls out of the top 10, she’s a strong possibility with her Solheim Cup experience. Kim is a two-time LPGA winner who is 5-2-1 in Solheim Cup matches. On the downside, she’s also missed three of the last five cuts and has missed the cut in all three of the year’s majors.

Gulbis is 5-4-1 in three Solheim Cups but also has failed to log a top-10 this season, though she’s made all but one cut.

Veterans Wendy Ward and Pat Hurst are 14th and 15th in points with top-10 summer showings. They’ve combined to play on eight Solheim Cups but are in the autumn of their careers.

If Jones is looking for youth, Vicky Hurst is on the points bubble, but she’s never played in a Solheim Cup, has no top-10s this season and has missed two of the last three cuts. Futcher got in the mix with a tie for third at the Kraft Nabisco but hasn’t built on the momentum created there.

Jones will be looking for somebody to step forward in the final two events.

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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.