Two-time major champion, Angel Cabrera made his first trip to The Old White Golf Course this year, and is one-for-one in Greenbrier Classic Championships. It’s either all, or nothing for the 45 year-old from Argentina, and after matching 64’s on the weekend, this week belonged to El Pato, and he would get his first win on American soil since the 2009 Masters.
Angel Cabrera started his day on Sunday at 10-under par and two shots behind 54-hole leader, Billy Hurley III, but with three birdies and a two over performance from Hurley, it quickly became Cabrera’s tournament. After an eagle two at the par four 13th, Cabrera got it to 17-under par before he was bitten by a couple of bogeys at 14 and 15.
He got the ship righted with a birdie at the huge 17th hole, and cruised through the 18th with a two-shot victory. Cabrera had won two majors, but had never won a regular event on the PGA Tour.
“This was a great opportunity,” Cabrera said through his interpreter and coach Charlie Epps. “I wanted it. I needed to win a tournament. I felt under control today out there, and I didn’t want to let it get away from me.”
Cabrera has missed nine cuts on the tour in 2014, and his best finish before Sunday was a T11 at the Travelers Championship, two weeks ago. The last time we saw him anywhere near a leaderboard was at the 2013 Masters when he took Adam Scott to extra holes in a rain storm at Augusta.
“I’ve been confident with my golf swing, and I feel confident mentally,” Cabrera said. “I’m just going to go over there and play, and it’s a very important tournament and it’s a different tournament, but I’m going to go play.”
The best round of the day was turned in by 38 year-old George McNeill. McNeill blistered the Old White on Sunday for a bogey-free 9-under par 61 that included a run of four birdies in a row, and an ace at the par three eighth hole.
McNeill finished up early, posted the clubhouse lead at -14 under par, and had to wait all afternoon to see if it would hold up. He would finish with sole possession of second place, and earn a spot in the Open Championship in two weeks.
The top four finishers who earned berths at Royal Liverpool in the next major were McNeill, Chris Stroud, Cameron Tringale, and 54-hole leader, Billy Hurley III.
With seven players finishing up in fourth place, the tie-breaker was a player’s position in World Golf Championship points. Bud Cauley, who made an ace at the 18th on Sunday, and Will Wilcox were the odd men out.
“To qualify for the Open Championship is an absolute bonus,” said McNeill, who shot 61 on Sunday at the Old White TPC. “I like links golf but I haven’t played enough of it to know how to play it. I’m going to try to get over there a few days early to get used to it and get used to the time change.
Ryder Cup Captain, Tom Watson came to Old White to keep an eye on two players he needs to play their way onto the team, Webb Simpson, and Keegan Bradley.
Simpson recovered after a 71 in the first round to post a solo third place finish, and Bradley fired a 66 on Sunday to join the seven-player log-jam in a tie for 4th place.
Captain Tom fired a 1-under 69 on Sunday, and finished in a tie for 35th place.