Kevin Tway, Rory Sabbatini all but run away with QBE Shootout title

Michael O'Bryon/QBE Shootout

Kevin Tway, Rory Sabbatini all but run away with QBE Shootout title

Golf

Kevin Tway, Rory Sabbatini all but run away with QBE Shootout title

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A fuller circle happened in the winner’s circle at the QBE Shootout on Sunday.

Earlier in the week, tournament founder and host Greg Norman said it was a full-circle moment, with Bob Tway, who had beaten Norman by holing out a bunker shot in the 1986 PGA Championship, serving as caddie for his son, Kevin, at Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort.

Then Tway and a red-hot Rory Sabbatini all but ran away in the better-ball format, shooting a 12-under 60 to win by two strokes over Jason Kokrak and J.T. Poston at 31-under 185. They split $870,000.

“That’s the big thing is you’re right there,” Bob Tway said. “It doesn’t get any better than that. When you’re outside the ropes, you’re just watching. This was a lot of fun. Rory played unbelievable today.”

Kevin Tway certainly has heard about the bunker shot, and even tried to recreate it.

“I’ve seen it on TV many times,” he said. “It was before I was born. I know what kind of wedge he used. I’ve actually tried to hit the shot he made. We had the National Championship at Inverness my sophomore year (at Oklahoma State) and we all took his wedge from the clubhouse to see if we could make it and no one could. We’ll leave that one to him.”

When the final round started, five teams were tied for the lead with another a stroke back.

Kokrak and Poston, both tournament rookies, looked like they were going to grab the win, building a four-stroke lead after eight holes. But they bogeyed No. 9, and parred Nos. 10-12 to open the door.

Sabbatini, 43, came charging through.

Sabbatini, who had played in nine previous Shootouts without threatening to win, made five birdies on his own ball from Nos. 6-10, after the team bogeyed No. 5, to tie for the lead, and added another on No. 11. They eagled No. 14 to take the lead for good, and followed with birdies on Nos. 15, 17 and 18 to close it out.

“We tried to do an interpretation of AimPoint,” Sabbatini said, referring to the green-reading system. “I don’t know if we were doing it correct or not. It seemed to work pretty good. Maybe it was pure luck, but it was something we tried this week.”

First-round leaders Harold Varner III and Ryan Palmer, and Brendon Todd and Billy Horschel tied for third, three back.

European Ryder Cup veterans Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter went 5 under on the last four holes to finish fifth.

“He played incredible today,” Kokrak said of Poston. “I really kind of just scraped it around.”

So it was a day for the Tways, with Bob caddying for his son for the first time since 2011.

“It was nice to have dad out there,” Kevin, 31, said. “It’s been a while since he caddied for me. He comes out a lot, but to have him right by my side was fun, and to play well and win with him there was also a lot of fun.”

And a bit of a reconnecting for Sabbatini and the elder Tway, 60.  Sabbatini was a junior golfer in the early 1990s playing in the Tournament of Champions at Lost Tree in Edmond, Oklahoma, and played with Tway.

“Then obviously I got the privilege of playing many years with him on tour,” Sabbatini said. “He’s always been a great competitor. Obviously Kevin’s uncle caddies on tour, so there’s quite a family history on the PGA Tour, which is impressive.

“I’ve never really gotten to know Bob on a personal level, I’ve always known him on a professional level and he’s always been, what an amazing guy. It’s a testament to his son here really following his dad’s footsteps.”

Tway played first most of the time, and was in good enough position for Sabbatini to go more at the pins and putts.

“He took a lot of pressure off me so it allowed me to be a little freer and allowed me to be a little aggressive out,” Sabbatini said.

“Today it was mostly Rory,” said Tway, who said Sabbatini shot a 63 on his own ball. “I was just kind of hanging out. He played unbelievable from hole 6 through 10. I think you birdied every hole, then an eagle after that. So I was just trying to put it in play so I can take the pressure off him, because he was hot.”

Sabbatini had putted badly during Saturday’s modified alternate shot format, but made Tway a promise.

“After my very poor performance putting (Saturday), which I wasn’t very happy with, I was determined to come out today,” Sabbatini said. “As I said to Kevin, (Sunday) I’ll show up. Took a few holes to warm up.”

“You showed up,” Tway said.

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