Lexi, Lydia and Brooke all fail to break par

By Randall MellJuly 8, 2016, 4:19 am

SAN MARTIN, Calif. - Starlets in overalls and work boots.

That’s what the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open looked like with world No. 1 Lydia Ko, No. 2 Brooke Henderson and No. 4 Lexi Thompson struggling.

This wasn’t a day for this glamour grouping to entertain us with their special gifts.

This was the kind of day that should have started with the trio punching a clock, because this was a blue-collar kind of work day. It wasn’t about wowing us with spectacular shot making, with CordeValle Golf Club toughening up in the afternoon sun and the late afternoon winds. It was about posting a score with elbow grease and spit polish. Mostly, it was about cleaning up messes.

“You had to scramble,” Ko said.

Henderson and Thompson may be three highest-ranked players in the world competing this week, but they all failed to break par.

Ko shot 1-over-par 73, Henderson posted 76, and Thompson 74.

They combined to make 14 bogeys and seven birdies.

The morning wave was welcomed to a softer course, and Mirim Lee took advantage. She shot 64.

“I don't know what course she played, maybe the ladies tees, maybe a different course,” Ko said. “But she played fantastic. We were checking the leaderboard. She made two bogeys and still shot 8-under. It's very impressive.”

The glamour grouping went off at 2:03 local time, just as Lee was finishing up.

U.S. Women’s Open: Articles, photos and videos

“The first hand full of holes, there was still a little bit of softness,” said Jason Hamilton, Ko’s caddie. “But you could already see some of the grass surrounding the greens starting to burn out. By 3:30, you were playing defense all the time. You couldn’t go chasing birdies in the afternoon.”

It was more difficult in the afternoon, but not impossible. Amy Yang shot 67, the low round in the afternoon.

Lee made 10 birdies in the morning, three more than Ko, Henderson and Thompson combined.

“It was fun,” Lee said.

The Ko, Henderson and Thompson trio didn’t look like they were having much fun, especially at the end of their round, a nearly six-hour grind.

At No. 8, her 17th hole of the day, Ko swiped at a short chip and caught too much of the ball, running her shot 8 feet past the hole. She tilted her head and looked down at the patch of grass in befuddlement. She missed the putt for par. Ko made two bogeys on the front nine where her normally stellar short game let her down.

“My short game wasn't as good,” Ko said. “When I did miss a green, I didn't make that many up and downs. In majors, it is tough to get around the pin. You do have to scramble, and that's what I was missing today.”

Thompson missed a 4-foot putt for par and a 3-foot putt for par over the last two holes of her round.

“I didn’t play that great and then just finished bad,” Thompson said.

Henderson hooked her last tee shot in the heavy rough at the par-5 ninth, then hacked a fairway wood into the right rough, behind a tree. She had to punch out into the fairway and ended up failing to get up and down for par.

“Really disappointed, but with that being said, it wasn’t that far off from being really good,” Henderson said. “Just a couple mishit shots out there that put me in the wrong positions.”

The glamour trio will be back out together Friday morning, hoping for the softer, gentler conditions Thursday’s morning wave enjoyed.

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.