Greenbrier winner Cabrera said mountains reminded him of Argentina
When Argentinian Angel Cabrera saw his 176-yard, 8-iron shot from the 14th fairway land on the green and then skitter into the cup, he pumped his fist. It was an eagle on the par 4 hole at the Greenbrier Resort’s Old White TPC course. And it gave the 44-year-old veteran a three-shot lead en route to the Classic win on Sunday in White Sulphur Springs.
Cabrera became the PGA tournament’s fifth different winner in the event’s five-year history. Cabrera had previous wins in the 2007 U.S. Open and the 2009 Masters, but he had no other wins in America as he has continent-hopped between Europe, Asia, South American and North America.
Being fitted with the champion’s green jacket by Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, Cabrera spoke through an interpreter and said the low-slung mountains surrounding the resort reminded him of his native Argentina.
Cabrera fired consecutive rounds of 64 on Saturday and Sunday to overtake early-rounds leader Billy Hurley III, a Naval Academy graduate who spent five years in the service before working his way on to the PGA tour. Hurley faded on Sunday, finishing with four bogeys on the last six holes.
George McNeill was second behind Cabrera and had the tournament’s low round of 61 on Sunday. Interestingly enough, Webb Simpson thought he had missed the cut and had flown home on Friday afternoon. When alerted at his home that he had indeed made the cut, Simpson rented a car and drove back to White Sulphur Springs.
His last two rounds (67 and 63) were so good that he finished third overall and earned $442,000 and 190 FedEx points.
Cabrera had the lion’s share of the $6.5 million tournament purse with his $1.17 million winner’s check.
Last year’s champion, Jonas Blixt, held the first-round lead and featured players Bubba Watson (seven under par) and Greenbrier pro emeritus Tom Watson (four under par) made the cut. Bubba earned $91,186.
For once, the four days of the tournament were thunderstorm-free and the last three rounds were played in nearly ideal weather for early July in Greenbrier County.
Those in the gallery whose perches were in the covered stand straddling the creek on the par-3, 18th hole were treated to a hole-in-one on the closing hole. As promoted before the Classic started, all ticket holders in the covered seating area received $100 from the sponsors when a hole-in-one was made on the 18th hole.
It was the fifth Greenbrier Classic, all held around the July 4 date.
Cabrera had his third PGA title.
And West Virginia showed the golfing public its picturesque mountains and world-class resort . . . showed them in near-perfect weather and with PGA hospitality second to none on the long January-to-early November tour.