Manassero youngest to make Masters cut

By Associated PressApril 10, 2010, 3:45 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Matteo Manassero could show guys twice his age a thing or two.

The 16-year-old from Italy became the youngest person ever to make the cut at the Masters, making three long par putts on the back nine Friday to finish at 3-over – right on the cutline. Manassero is now 2-for-2 at the major championships, having tied for 12th at last summer’s British Open.

“I always want to stay levelheaded since that’s the education that my parents gave me,” he said. “My parents help me also in this period to stay more level. But, you know, I dream for something like the Masters.”

So do older golfers, and they don’t have his track record.

Manassero, who last summer became the youngest winner in the 124-year history of the British Amateur, shattered Augusta National’s previous record for youngest player to make the cut. South African Bobby Cole was about a month shy of his 19th birthday when he made it in 1967. Manassero is also the first amateur to play the weekend since 1999.

And he’s the lone teenager out of the four in this year’s field to make the cut.

Ryo Ishikawa, who makes no secret of wanting to be the youngest Masters champion ever, had a chance to join Manassero. But the 18-year-old’s 15-footer burned the left edge of the cup on 18, leaving him one stroke short.

“Maybe,” Manassero said, when asked if he hopes to beat Ishikawa to the green jacket. “But I’m dreaming about being the Masters champion. At what age, I don’t mind, actually.”

Angel Cabrera made a 12-footer on 18 to avoid becoming the first defending Masters champion since Mike Weir in 2004 to miss the cut. Chad Campbell, who finished third in the playoff with Cabrera and Kenny Perry last year, also is sticking around after an impressive rebound.

After opening with a 79, Campbell fired a 4-under 68.

“I really didn’t know what it was yesterday,” Campbell said. “I was pretty upset. I just came out here today with a little bit different attitude and knew if I shot a good round I’d have a chance. I was lucky enough I did.”

Others weren’t quite so fortunate.

David Duval’s first trip back to the Masters since 2006 was a short one – he shot 76-75 to miss the cut by four. He hasn’t played the weekend here since he finished second in 2001, capping a four-year stretch during which he also finished second, third and sixth.

British Open champion Stuart Cink, who practically counts as a local since he lives in Atlanta, missed the cut by five strokes. Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington missed by two shots. Jim Furyk, who failed to make the cut only once in his previous 13 starts at Augusta, never recovered from his 80 in the first round. He finished at 12 over, and only four players fared worse.

And then there was Alvaro Quiros. He was at even-par with six holes to go – three strokes clear of the cut line – but closed double-bogey, bogey, bogey, bogey and yet another bogey. He did manage to make par on 18, but it was too late.

Manassero wasn’t exactly thrilled with the way he played, but he’ll take the result.

He had hoped his experience at last summer’s British Open would help him, and he did manage to make clutch putts when he had to. Knowing he was flirting with the wrong side of the cutline, Manassero saved pars on 12 and 15 with putts from beyond 20 feet.

But bogeys on two of his last three holes left him nervously watching the scoreboard. Even when he was told the cut was all but assured of staying at 3 over, he didn’t want to jinx it.

“Probably. I don’t want to,” he said, trailing off.

When someone suggested the word “presume,” Manassero brightened.

“OK, we presume it and I like this,” he said.

By sticking around for the weekend, Manassero will probably miss a few more days of school.

He’s turning pro next month and will finish his last two years of high school with a tutor or Online classes. But he will finish out the rest of the year at his local high school, where he’s just like any other student.

“It is difficult” to go back to school after a trip like this, Manassero said. “But it’s not as difficult as my friends that are going all days at school.”

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Down seven pounds, Thomas can gain No. 1

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 11:29 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – On March 7, Justin Thomas had his wisdom teeth removed, and just when he was recovering from that, he was slowed by a bout with the flu.

In total, he estimates he lost about seven pounds, and he admitted on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play the event.

“I had a pretty serious conversation with my dad on Monday if I was going to play,” Thomas said. “I never want to play in a tournament, first off, if it's going to hurt my health. If I was sick or really sick, me trying to play this week wasn't going to do me any good.”

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Thomas went on to explain he was “50/50” whether he’d play the World Golf Championship, but decided to make the start and it’s turned out well for the world’s second-ranked player.

After going undefeated in pool play, Thomas cruised past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the round of 16 and secured himself a spot in the semifinals with a 2-and-1 victory over Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals. If Thomas wins his semifinal match against Bubba Watson on Sunday, he’s assured enough points to overtake Dustin Johnson atop the Official World Golf Ranking.

“I don't care when it happens; I just hope it happens and it happens for a while,” Thomas said when asked about the possibility of becoming world No. 1. “I don't know what to say because I've never experienced it. I don't know what's going to come with it. But I just hope it happens tomorrow.”

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Garnett's six-shot lead dwindles to two in Punta Cana

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 10:57 pm

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic - Brice Garnett took a six-stroke lead into the wind Saturday in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. He came out with a two-stroke advantage.

Garnett bogeyed three of the final six holes in the wind and rain for a 3-under 69 and a 16-under 200 total.

''Once we made the turn coming back, all those holes coming in toward the north, it was all we wanted and then some,'' Garnett said. ''I kind of took advantage of some holes going out, some holes downwind, some par 5s, and then we were just trying to leave it in the right spot those last four or five holes. Pars are pretty good scores on those holes.''

Canadian Corey Conners was second after a 67, and Tyler McCumber also had a 67 to get to 12 under. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo dropped out Friday, finishing last in the 132-man field in his PGA Tour debut. He shot 77-82 playing as an amateur on a sponsor exemption.

A stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds, Garnett opened with a bogey, birdied Nos. 2, 4 and 6, eagled the par-5 seventh, and made two more birdies on the par-3 ninth and par-5 12th. He bogeyed the par-4 13th, par-5 15th and par-3 17th.

Full-field scores from the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship

''I looked once and the lead was a little bigger than what it is now,'' Garnett said. ''The eagle was huge, kind of gave me that confidence that I can push it on out and stretch it a little bit more. That wind was tough and I'll take a two-shot lead into tomorrow.''

The 34-year-old Garnett is winless on the PGA Tour. He won twice last year on the Tour.

''You've got another 18 holes. So much can happen,'' Garnett said. ''Just going to try to keep the golf ball in front of me. I have that self-belief this week and that's what I had last year when I won, so I'll just keep my head down and just keep going.''

Conners had five birdies and a bogey on the front nine and added a birdie on No. 12.

''Really happy with the round,'' Conners said. ''I got off to a nice start, made a bunch of birdies on the front nine and kind of held it together on the back nine. It was playing really difficult. The wind was really blowing out there, made things challenging.''

McCumber, the son of 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber, has played his last 39 holes with a bogey.

''Second shots have been pretty solid,'' McCumber said. ''Putting pretty well, short game is pretty good. Just really being in the right areas and staying below the hole.''

Tom Lovelady was fourth at 11 under after a 68. Seamus Power (71), Denny McCarthy (71) and Seungsu Han (72) were 10 under.

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Poulter incorrectly told he's in Masters before loss to Kisner

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 10:33 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Ian Poulter was not happy, and it was only partially because of his blowout loss to Kevin Kisner in Saturday’s quarterfinals at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Following his morning victory in the round of 16 over Louis Oosthuizen, the Englishman was incorrectly informed that by making it to the Elite 8 at Austin Country Club he was assured enough Official World Golf Raking points to move into the top 50 and qualify for the Masters in two weeks.

“I should never listen to other people,” Poulter said following his 8-and-6 loss to Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals. “When you finish a round of golf and the press and everybody is telling you you're in the Masters, and then you get a text message 10 minutes before you tee off to correct everybody, to say, ‘Oh, we've made a mistake, actually, no, that was wrong, you're not in. You need to go and win.’

“Not that that's an excuse in any form or factor, it's a little disappointing.”

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Poulter actually needed to advance to the semifinal round to move into the top 50. Instead, his last chance to qualify for the Masters is to win next week’s Houston Open, although he was unsure if he’d play the event.

“I don't know yet, I haven't decided,” said Poulter when asked if he’d play next week. “I'm tired. It's been a long week. It's been a draining week. I'll wait until Monday night and if I have the energy then I will.”

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Not DJ, not Poulter: Kisner most proud to take down Kuchar

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 9:34 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – On his way to this week’s Final Four at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Kevin Kisner has beaten world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and the European match play ninja Ian Poulter. But neither match could compare to his duel with Matt Kuchar early Saturday.

“I was more jacked to beat [Kuchar], really. Kuch is such a good player and our games are so similar,” said Kisner, who defeated Kuchar in the round of 16, 1 up. “We both made eight birdies this morning and I barely snuck out of there. I thought it was a lot of fun.”

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By comparison, his quarterfinal bout against Poulter wasn’t nearly as electric. Kisner won two of the first four holes when the Englishman made bogey (No. 3) and when he was conceded the fourth hole, hecruised to an 8-and-6 victory for the week’s most lopsided win.

“I don't know Ian that well, so I don't really have a history with him, other than watching him kill us in the Ryder Cup,” Kisner laughed.

Things won’t get any easier for Kisner on Sunday when he’ll play Alex Noren in the semifinals. The Swede has been dominant this week and is considered one of Europe’s top players heading into this year’s Ryder Cup.