Golf: Cabrera ends long title drought

July 08, 2014 - 12:31:15 pm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, United States: Former Masters champion Angel Cabrera won his first non-major championship tournament on US soil yesterday, shooting a six-under 64 to capture the Greenbrier Classic by two strokes.

The 44-year-old Argentine tapped in on 18 to finish at 16-under 264 and beat runner-up George McNeill in the $6.m  USPGA Tour tournament. 

The two-time major winner Cabrera won his first event since claiming the 2009 Masters. His first major championship win was the 2007 US Open. 

“I’m very happy to have won,” Cabrera said. 

“I’ve been working really hard, and I needed this.

“I hit it very solid today, and was under control. The work I’ve been doing the last few weeks paid off.”

American McNeill fired the low round of the day with his nine-under 61 to finish at minus-14. On his front nine, McNeill birdied four in a row and followed that with a hole-in-one at number eight.

McNeill learned after his round had finished -- when the interviews were over and he finally had a chance to call home -- that his older sister, Michelle, had passed away earlier that day after a battle with cancer, the Golf Channel reported.

McNeill was interviewed on TV, immediately after his round and before he had talked to his family, and said that he was trying to keep things in perspective.

“I have things going on elsewhere,” McNeill said. “You go out and golf doesn’t really mean a whole lot. It is hard. I played good today and got finished. Golf doesn’t mean a whole lot sometimes.”

McNeill was also one of four players yesterday that qualified for the British Open. 

Cabrera entered the final round just two shots adrift of third round leader Billy Hurley. But Cabrera had history on his side, as the previous two winners had rallied from four shots to win.

His round yesterday included an eagle on the 13th and six birdies at The Old White Course. He also had two bogeys.

Cabrera has a reputation of doing well in majors but not regular USPGA Tour events. He came agonizingly close to victory at last year’s Masters, losing in a sudden death play-off to Australia’s Adam Scott.

He has three wins on the European Tour with his most recent being the 2005 BMW Championship.

Cabrera caught fire on the back nine. He rolled in a 17-foot putt for birdie at 11 to join McNeill at 14-under. He followed with a seven-foot birdie putt on No. 12.

Cabrera then holed his second shot at the par-four 13th from 176 yards out for an eagle and a three-shot lead.

McNeill got hot after opening with three pars. He drained four straight birdies from the fourth, three of which were from inside 10 feet.

At the par-three eighth, his tee shot rolled into the cup for a hole-in-one and the eagle that moved him to within one of the lead. He started the back nine by making a 10-foot birdie putt to seize a share of the lead with Hurley.

McNeill parred five in a row from the 11th. Hurley dropped out of contention with four bogeys in a five-hole stretch from the second.

Webb Simpson shot a seven-under 63 and he ended alone in third at 10-under 270.

Bud Cauley also had a hole-in-one on the 18th en route to a six-under 64. He ended in a share of fourth place at minus-nine. Cauley was joined by Chris Stroud (69), Hurley (73), Brendon Todd (66), Keegan Bradley (66), Cameron Tringale (69) and Will Wilcox (69).

McNeill, Tringale, Stroud and Hurley all qualified for the British Open at Royal Liverpool, July 17-20. REUTERS