ORLANDO, Fla. – One answer seemed to be the only thing Team Cabrera didn’t have in sync this weekend at the PNC Father/Son Challenge. The question: Hey guys did you think you had a good shot at winning coming into the event?
Through an interpreter, Angel Cabrera Jr. immediately uttered “No,” but laughter broke out when, almost simultaneously, father Angel Cabrera said, “Sí.”
He then expounded on where his confidence came from, especially in a year when he missed the cut or withdrew in 15 of 20 starts combined on the PGA Tour, Web.com Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamerica and PGA Tour of Australasia.
“I didn’t have a very good year on tour, so I wasn’t really playing that well,” Cabrera said, through an interpreter. “But once you make it to a golf tournament like this and you are able to tee it up on the first hole, you know you can win.”
And that they did.
Team Cabrera, competing in the Father/Son for the first time, opened in 59 on Saturday and followed up with a Sunday 60 to post a 25-under 119 in the scramble format and earn a three-shot victory.
Defending champions David Duval and stepson Nick Karavites tied for second at 22 under at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes along with the team of Bernhard Langer and son Jason Langer. Team O’Meara (Mark and son Shaun) and Team Pate (Jerry and son Wesley) tied for fourth at 21 under. Team Daly (John and son John II) tied for ninth at 18 under.
When you think about it a little, the elder Cabrera’s confidence before the tournament seems even more curious.
On top of competing in the event for the first time, Team Cabrera wasn’t even in the original field – only gaining a spot when Team Strange (Curtis and son Tom) withdrew prior to the tournament.
And the 48-year-old dad also entered at less than 100 percent due to a wrist injury. His son wasn’t exactly knocking down pins ahead of this weekend, either. The 26-year-old Angel Jr., who goes by Angelito, is a pro golfer who has competed in 15 career PGA Tour Latinoamerica events and earned one PGA Tour start.
But he’s only been a part of three Official World Golf Ranking-counting events since the beginning of 2015. As a pair, though, in this tournament – where the teams of two consist of a player who has won at least one major or the Players Championship with the other not holding a PGA Tour card – they were perfect for each other.
“The good thing was that when I missed, he hit a good shot and the other way around,” the elder Cabrera said. “That was crucial.”
The Cabreras entered Sunday with a one-shot lead and never seemed like they were going to succumb to the pressure, birdieing the first and fourth, and eagling the third and fifth to go out in 6-under 30.
They were 23 under and one ahead of Team Duval when they were forced to hit an approach shot from a fairway bunker at the par-4 16th. But the duo finished the hole with a birdie to move two ahead. Team Duval could put on no more pressure, and Team Cabrera was able to cruise to victory on 18, which the duo birdied.
“(This week) has been so special that it really can’t compare to any event I have played in the past,” Angelito said.
The younger Cabrera has been a part of some previous keen moments and gestures in golf. Angelito was his dad’s caddie during an entertaining playoff loss at the 2013 Masters.
He also boasts a Zebra headcover with the initials Y.E. stitched on – those would be for Y.E. Yang, who gave Angelito that headcover as a gift during the 2009 Presidents Cup.
But Angelito’s dad has been part of even more incredible moments, including winning two major titles (the 2007 U.S. Open and ’09 Masters).
Where does this victory rank?
“This is a very special win, I can assure you of that,” the elder Cabrera said.
From the man who could envision it all along.
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