Sowards Sews Up Club Pro

By Sports NetworkJune 27, 2004, 4:00 pm
PGA of AmericaNASHPORT, Ohio -- Bob Sowards made up eight shots on the front side as leader Jeff Coston unraveled, coasting to a one-stroke victory Sunday in the 37th PGA Club Professional Championship.
 
Sowards, a 36-year-old assistant pro at Wedgwood Golf and Country Club in suburban Columbus, started the day two strokes back of Coston, who led after the second and third rounds. Sowards built his own lead to five shots midway through the round.
 
Sowards shot a closing 70 after rounds of 69, 68 and 69 to hold off University of Illinois coach Mike Small by a shot. Small finished with a 69 that included consecutive birdies on holes 13 through 16.
 
Chip Sullivan of Roanoke, Va., shot a 70 to finish at 280 for third place. Coston tied Tim Fleming of Oklahoma City (70), and Ron Philo Jr. of Fernandina Beach, Fla., (68) for fourth place.
 
Sowards built his entire schedule around winning the title. He had played Longaberger Golf Club 22 or 23 times before tournament week to gain all the knowledge he would need.
 
'At the time I had a five-shot lead I thought, man, this is going to be kind of nice - kind of walk up 18 and smile for the cameras,' Sowards said. 'Then Mike started making birdie every hole and made it a little stressful.'
 
He and his wife, Lynn, are building a house near Columbus, about 40 miles west of Nashport. Sowards said visiting the construction site has served as motivation to win the $60,000 first-place check.
 
'Every time I drove over there this week, it was like 'Shoot, I need to pay for it somehow,'' he said with a laugh.
 
Coston, a 48-year-old teaching pro at Semiahmoo Golf Resort in Blaine, Wash., shot a 40 on the front side - and then was assessed a two-stroke penalty. After he bogeyed the par-3 ninth hole, Coston was penalized because his caddie, Dr. Mark Askew, moved a towel covering Sowards' clubs to determine what Sowards had used on the ninth tee.
 
'Keep the razor blades away from me,' Coston said, trying to force a smile. 'I'm going to have somebody drive me home, man, because if I don't I might not make it.'
 
The penalty cost Coston $7,500. His final-round 77 left him tied for fourth. Without the two-stroke assessment, he would have finished alone in third.
 
The top 25 finishers earned spots in next month's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.
 
Sowards was 1-over on the first five holes and a shot back of Coston, then birdied the next three holes. His 7-foot uphill putt at No. 6 tied him with Coston.
 
At the par-5 seventh, Sowards' chip from just short of the green banged off the flag and came to rest on the lip of the cup. His tap-in gave him his first lead.
 
At the 444-yard eighth, Coston's approach bounced into a back trap and he failed to get up and down while Sowards' wedge shot ended up 5 feet away for the birdie that gave him a three-stroke lead.
 
Sowards saved par on No. 9 after nearly hitting into a pond in front of the green and Coston, still just two strokes behind, had to settle for a bogey that turned into a triple bogey when the penalty was assessed.
 
Small's birdie run made things interesting at the finish. He lipped out a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole that would have tied it. Both he and Sowards hit their approaches to the back fringe on the closing hole and both saved par.
 
'I struggled the first seven holes and hardly hit any good shots. I thought I was out of it,' Small said. 'Then I made the four birdies in a row to get back in it. I thought I made the putt on 17.'
 
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  • 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.