Fichardt Earns First Win in Brazil

By Sports NetworkMarch 25, 2001, 5:00 pm
South Africa's Darren Fichardt carded a 4-under 67 on Sunday to win the Sao Paulo Brazil Open by five shots. Fichardt's 18-under 195 was five better than Richard S. Johnson, Jose Coceres and Brett Rumford.
 
Massive thunderstorms halted play three times during the week and after Saturday's round was washed away, officials decided to reduce the tournament to 54 holes.
 
Raphael Jacquelin and Nic Henning shared fifth at 12-under while Anthony Wall finished alone in seventh at minus 11.
 
Fichardt had a three-shot lead after the second round was completed on Saturday morning. He opened with a bogey at No. 2 after he hit a poor 9-iron shot and then failed to get up and down.
 
That would be the lone mistake in Sunday's final round for Fichardt. He birdied the fifth hole when he wedged his approach inside of 10 feet.
 
Rumford had started to close the gap as the players made the turn but Fichardt distanced himself starting at No. 7. He hit an 8-iron at the 188-yard hole and then watched as it landed in tap-in range, almost dropping in the cup. Fichardt reached the green in two at the par-5 8th and two-putted for another birdie and at nine he played a 7-iron into the back-left portion of the green and then drained a 15-foot downhill birdie putt.
 
Fichardt parred the next six and when Rumford double-bogeyed the 8th, the championship seemed to be over. Fichardt birdied 16 after he ran home a 25-foot bomb and then parred out for his first win on the European Tour.
 
'This is definitely a breakthrough for me,' said Fichardt. 'In the South African Open last year, I thought I had it in the bag and lost by one shot. But this is a breakthrough for me. I'm really happy about this.'
 
Fichardt won the inaugural Tour Championship on the South African Tour last month but this victory seems to be sweeter.
 
'This is a bit bigger than the win in South Africa last month,' said Fichardt. 'The prize money is four times bigger. That was a big win for me with (Ernie) Els and (Mark) McNulty in the field. It was a stepping stone for me at the beginning of the year.'
 
Rumford double-bogeyed the 8th but rebounded with four birdies in his final six holes. He posted a 2-under 69 on Sunday for his share of second.
 
Johnson fired a 6-under 65 thanks to eight birdies and two bogeys.
 
Coceres made a surge at the turn with two birdies and an eagle over three holes but a bogey at No. 14 coupled with Fichardt's birdie run in the middle of the round closed the door on Coceres' chances.
 
Click here for full-field scores from the Sao Paulo Brazilian Open

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.

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.