Young American

By Randall MellJuly 10, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. WomenBETHLEHEM, Pa. ' If you watched Alexis Thompsons mother closely Friday, you could see her stroke the rosary beads around her left wrist as she watched her gifted daughter take this U.S. Womens Open by storm.
 
Other times, Judy Thompson would clutch the rosary around her neck.
 
By days end, you couldnt help wondering what cosmic forces her mother called into play.
 
Thompson is playing at a level few juniors will ever reach.
 
At 14 years and 5 months old, Thompson made the cut.
 
She came here for so much more than that, though.
Alexis Thompson
Alexis Thompson reacts to missing a putt on the 18th hole during the second round of the U.S. Women's Open. (Getty Images)
Thats what makes her story compelling.
 
I wasnt just looking to make the cut, said Thompson, who just completed the eighth grade in Coral Springs, Fla. I know I can contend if my games on out here.
 
She means it, believes it, wants it with every fiber of her 5-foot-9 frame.
 
Jim McLean, her swing coach, knows because she kept him on the driving range for nearly two hours after the first round. She was so frustrated with her ball striking she went through four buckets of balls, refusing to leave with darkness approaching. This was after she opened with a 71, good for a tie for sixth place at Saucon Valley Country Clubs Old Course, one of the most difficult U.S. Womens Open setups in years.
 
Jim McLean is one of the best teachers in the world, and Lexis out there pushing him, said Scott Thompson, her father and caddie. Shes so competitive and so hard on herself.
 
Halfway through the U.S. Womens Open, Thompson is tied for eighth.
 
At 2-over 144, shes just five shots behind the leader, Cristie Kerr.
 
Thompson isnt the youngest player to make the cut in the history of the U.S. Womens Open. In fact, she isnt the youngest to make the cut this year. Alison Lee of Los Angeles, whos 16 days younger than Thompson, also made the cut on Friday. Still, Thompsons turning heads here by getting in contention.
 
I think its pretty phenomenal to be 14 and in the top 10 of a major, said Lindsey Wright, a fifth-year LPGA pro tied with Thompson. Shes not a professional golfer. Its pretty awesome.
 
Thompson isnt a pro, but shes no rookie, either. She became the youngest player to qualify for a U.S. Womens Open when she was 12. This is her third U.S. Womens Open, her fourth major. Making the cut in a major is old hat. She made the cut at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April and tied for low amateur honors.
 
Thompsons resume is already impressive. Shes the No. 1 junior in the nation, the reigning U.S. Girls Junior champion, the youngest winner in the history of the PGA Junior Championship, the Doral Publix Junior and the Doherty Cup.
 
The fire that fuels her is visible.
 
After a double bogey Friday, Thompsons famed scowl emerged.
 
A bad shot looks like it physically hurts her.
 
Its part of what makes her great, McLean said. She didnt have her A game in the first round, but she scored well, shot 71 and is tied for sixth in the U.S. Womens Open, but shes unhappy when shes done. I dont think too many people would be upset with a 71 in a major.
 
McLean tried to cheer her up by reminding her where she stood on the leaderboard.
 
She didnt want to hear it, McLean said. She says, `I dont care, I didnt hit it good.
 
Scott has displayed a gifted touch as a golf dad. His oldest, Nicholas Thompson, is a PGA Tour pro. His second child, Curtis, 16, is an up-and-coming junior, too. Lexi is going where no juniors ever gone before. The fact that shes playing in her fourth major is remarkable. Lorena Ochoa, the worlds No. 1 player, was 21 when she played in her fourth major.
 
Scott admires his daughters passion for the game, but he does worry that she can push too much, expect too much and take the disappointments too hard. Scott sees the big picture.
 
I have to get that under control a little bit, Scott said.
 
Lexi knows, too.
 
We have our father-daughter moments, Lexi said. After I hit a bad shot, its not real pretty, but thats OK. We love each other.
 
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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.