Franco on Top at US Bank

By Sports NetworkJuly 23, 2004, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Carlos Franco, the 1999 champion, fired a 7-under 63 on Friday to take the second-round lead of the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. He stands at 9-under-par 131 and leads by one over 2002 PGA Champion Rich Beem.
Scott Hoch, a two-time former winner, shot a 5-under 65 early Friday and is tied for third place with first-round co-leaders Bo Van Pelt and Patrick Sheehan, who both posted rounds of 2-under 68. The trio is knotted at 7-under-par 133.
Franco opened on the back nine at Brown Deer Park Golf Club and birdied the 12th. He ran off three birdies in a row from the 14th, but found trouble with a bogey at No. 17.
Franco, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, birdied the first, then parred his next his next three holes. He birdied the par-3 fifth, then two-putted from a long distance for birdie at the par-5 sixth, a birdie that moved him to 8 under and gave him the outright lead.
Beem momentarily tied for the top spot on the leaderboard, but Franco looked like he was going to retake the lead. He knocked a 7-iron to 20 feet at the seventh, but missed the birdie try.
Franco once again took sole possession of the lead. At the par-4 ninth, Franco hit a 9-iron to 5 feet. He calmly stroked home the putt to get into the clubhouse at 9 under par.
A late bogey by Beem dropped him one shot off the pace and gave Franco his first 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour since the 2000 event in New Orleans, his last win on tour.
Franco credits something most players on tour would never think - less practice.
'It's no complication,' Franco said. 'Maybe I need it, but I don't like it. I'd rather go fishing. I hope every day's the same.'
Beem, who won the PGA Championship in 2002 at Hazeltine, also started on the back nine Friday and tallied two birdies in his first six holes. At the par-4 17th, Beem holed a long putt from off the green for his third birdie of the round.
Beem played a spectacular 9-iron to set up birdie at the third, then saved a miraculous par at five. He missed the green with his second, then chipped 20 feet left and long of the hole. Beem sank the long par save to keep his round going.
Franco took the lead at minus-9, but Beem answered. At the par-5 sixth, Beem knocked a 5-wood from 262 yards on to the front edge of the putting surface. His eagle try stopped two feet from the hole, where Beem tapped in for birdie to once again match Franco atop the leaderboard.
The former PGA Champion's flat stick let him down at No. 7. Beem played a safe 7-iron 35 feet right of the hole and gave his birdie try a good run at the hole. He missed 3 feet left, then his par try also missed on the left side.
Beem parred out after the bogey to trail Franco by a stroke.
Dan Forsman (68) and Jason Dufner (67) share sixth place at minus-6.
Scott Verplank, currently 12th on the U.S. Ryder Cup points table, carded a 1-under 69 on Friday and is tied for eighth at 5-under-par 135. Danny Briggs, Todd Fischer and Olin Browne, three of the eight first-round co-leaders, shot even-par 70s to join Verplank, Kirk Triplett (67) and Jay Williamson (68) four shots off Franco's lead.
Robert Gamez and Brett Quigley, the sixth and seventh co-leaders from Thursday, only managed 1-over 71s on Friday. They are part of a group in 14th at 4-under par, along with defending champion Kenny Perry (67) and Fred Funk (68).
The eighth and final co-leader, Brian Kortan, was not as fortunate as his fellow first-round leaders. He struggled to a 9-over 79 and missed the cut at plus-one 141.
Eighty-six players advance to the weekend.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Bank Championship
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Bank Championship
  • Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

    Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

    Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

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    Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

    Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

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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.