Friday's Golf Capsules
Saturday, November 19, 2011
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Two perfect teams and a point for Tiger Woods.
That was all the Americans needed Saturday in the rain at Royal Melbourne to build a 11-6 lead in the Presidents Cup and put the International team in danger of falling too far behind to win on home soil.
The Americans went 4-1 in the foursomes session, with five fourballs matches scheduled for the afternoon.
Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk won four out of five holes on the back nine, and Mickelson polished off Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day by holing a 50-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole. Mickelson and Furyk won all three matches they played together. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, in the leadoff match all week, also went to 3-0 by beating Melbourne’s own Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby.
Woods played again with Dustin Johnson, and while it wasn’t pretty, it was finally a point.
They trailed early in the match until winning consecutive holes with pars as Adam Scott and K.J. Choi struggled. Woods and Johnson went 1 up on the 13th when the International team conceded before reaching the green, and the Americans went 2 up on the next hole after Scott and Choi made another bogey.
Woods closed out the match with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 16th.
The International team picked up its only point behind Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa. They went 1 up on the 16th when Bill Haas missed a par putt on the 16th. Matt Kuchar hit his approach on the 17th within a foot for a conceded birdie, but Ishikawa halved the hole with an 18-foot birdie putt. Ishikawa holed a 6-foot par putt on the last to secure the 1-up win.
David Toms and Hunter Mahan again proved to be the most formidable alternate-shot tandem. They beat Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel, 5 and 4. In the two foursomes matches they played, Toms and Mahan played only 27 holes and were behind on only one of those holes.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Na Yeon Choi shot a 1-under 71 in swirling wind Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Sandra Gal after the first round of the LPGA Tour’s season-ending Titleholders.
Choi, the LPGA Malaysia winner last month, had a 7-under 137 total at Grand Cypress. The South Korean player also topped the leaderboard Thursday after an opening 66.
Choi opened with a four-putt double bogey on the first hole and was 2 over through 6 holes. She rallied with three birdies in a four-hole stretch.
Gal, the German star who won the Kia Classic in March for her first LPGA Tour title, had her second straight 69. Hee Young Park (69) and Paula Creamer (71) were 4 under.
Michelle Wie was even par after a 73, and top-ranked Yani Tseng was 2 over after a 76.
CHAMPIONS TOUR NATIONAL QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Jeff Freeman won the Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament on Friday, shooting his fourth straight 5-under 66 for a four-stroke victory on TPC Scottsdale’s Champions Course
Freeman, a 49-year-old club professional at the Country Club of Orlando and the 1999 PGA Professional Player of the Year, birdied Nos. 4-8 and shot a 6-under 29 on the front nine.
Freeman won’t be eligible to compete on the Champions Tour until mid-April when he turns 50.
Gary Hallberg and Canadian Jim Rutledge tied for second at 16 under. Hallberg closed with a 68, and Rutledge finished with a 68. Jeff Hart (67) was fourth at 15 under, and P.H. Horgan III (68) was another stroke back to take the final exempt position — before the reorder — for the 2012 season.
The next seven players are conditionally exempt. In addition, the top 30 finishers and are eligible to compete for spots in open qualifiers at all co-sponsored events.
PEBBLE BEACH INVITATIONAL
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Jason Kokrak, set to join the PGA Tour for the first time next season, shot a 3-under 69 on Friday at Spyglass for a share of the lead with Kyle Thompson after the second round of the Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational.
Thompson followed his opening 64 with a 70 at Del Monte to match Kokrak at 10-under 134.
PGA Tour veteran Cameron Tringale, who carded a 67 at Del Monte, and Matt Battencourt, a two-time PGA Tour winner who shot 68 at Spyglass Hill, were tied for third at 8 under. Harrison Frazar was another stroke back after a 68 at Pebble Beach.
ALFRED DUNHILL CHAMPIONSHIP
MALELANE, South Africa (AP) — South Africa’s Jbe Kruger shot a 5-under 67 on Friday at Leopard Creek to take a four-stroke lead in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Kruger was 13 under in the event sanctioned by the European and Sunshine tours. Seeking his first European tour title, Kruger had an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys. Chile’s Felipe Aguilar (64), Scotland’s George Murray (69) and England’s Seve Benson (71) were tied for second.
Two-time defending champion Pablo Martin of Spain missed the cut with rounds of 81 and 82. He was trying to become the fifth player in European Tour history to win an event three times in a row.
MIYAZAKI, Japan (AP) — Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano made four straight birdies on the back nine in a 5-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead Friday in the Japan Tour’s Dunlop Phoenix.
Fernandez-Castano won the rain-delayed Singapore Open on Monday in a playoff.
Japan’s Hideto Tanihara was second after a 69.
JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia (AP) — Sweden’s Daniel Chopra shot a 6-under 65 on Friday to take the lead in the suspended second round of the Johor Open.
Chopra, the 1993 winner, was 13 under on the Horizon Hills course in the event sanctioned by the European and Asian tours. Seventy-two players were unable to finish because of darkness.