Monday, June 18, 2007

Cabrera Grinds Way To Open Win

After midway leader Angel Cabrera of Argentina shot a six-over-par 76 in round three to fall back into the pack, most people probably thought that he was not going to be amongst those in contention on Sunday and that he would end up being best known as the guy who knocked the world's #2 player, Phil Mickelson out of the tournament with his birdie on his 18th hole on Friday. Little did we know that Cabrera would not only shoot one of the day's two rounds under par, but that he would in the process hold off the world's #1 (Tiger Woods) and #3 (Jim Furyk) players in the process in winning the 2007 U.S Open at Oakmont. Yes, David would end up slaying all three Goliaths this weekend!...
Before I go further, I have to admit it was pretty difficult for me to see the tournament as I was attending the Dodgers/Angels freeway series finale with my family - more on that game and experience later. A few years ago, my sister gave me a portable TV and it came in very handy. Though it was hard to see the picture on the three inch monitor, I could certainly hear the NBC commentators loud and clear and that was more than good enough.

On the very first hole, third round leader Aaron Baddeley would post a triple bogey seven putting Woods the lead at four-over-par (+4). Woods would have trouble of his own on the third hole, posting a double bogey and falling back of Baddeley by one. Woods recovered with a birdie on the very next hole fo get to +5. By this time though, both Woods and Baddeley suddenly were looking up as Cabrera had posted consecutive birdies on the 4th and 5th holes to get to +4. The wheels then came off for Baddeley. A double bogey six on the seventh hole followed by bogeys on three of the following four holes put him at +8, effectively ending his chances. Furyk played a steady front nine with a birdie and a bogey to go along with seven pars to remain at +6. Cabrera then went through a four hole stretch where you weren't sure whether he was going to seize control of the tournament or wilt under the pressure. A bogey on the sixth hole, a par on 7, a birdie on 8, and then another bogey on the ninth put Cabrera right back where he started at +5 and tied with Woods for the lead. Cabrera then seized the lead on the 11th hole with a birdie. Another birdie followed on the 15th, after Woods had bogeyed that same 11th hole which Cabrera birdied only minutes earlier. The lead was now three strokes as Cabrera took his +3 score to the closing three holes. Furyk managed to make a run of his own, garnering birdies on the 12th through 14th after bogeying the 10th and 11th. At +5, he was temporarily alone in second. A VERY costly bogey on 17 put him back into a tie with Woods at +6... Cabrera would stumble coming in, bogeying the 16th and 17th and giving the two Americans hope. A par at 18 gave Cabrera the number to shoot for: +5. Either Furyk or Woods would need to birdie one of their final holes to match Cabrera and force a Monday playoff. When Woods' birdie effort on 18 slid by, the title was Cabrera's - his first ever win in the U.S. and what a win it is! Congratulations to Angel on winning this prestigious event!


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