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Cabrera's catastrophe provides memorable moment
While Masters champion Zach Johnson and Open Championship winner Padraig Harrington got off to promising starts, U.S. open champion Angel Cabrera saw his hopes of a second major go up in smoke on the par-3 sixth hole.
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Three bad 8-irons, a couple of missed putts and Angel Cabrera's round went up in smoke.
The U.S. Open champion's opening round -- and likely his chances to win a second major this year -- came apart at the 199-yard, par-3 sixth hole at Southern Hills. His playing partners Thursday, the year's two other major winners, put themselves in better shape to pull off a double.
Cabrera's first tee shot at No. 6 landed in bushes, the second was ruled out of bounds, and the third splashed into the water.
After a drop, a chip from 103 yards and three putts from 30 feet -- the second lipped out -- Cabrera was in double digits.
"I had a bad hole, hit bad shots, made 10 and that was it," the Argentine said through his caddie, Eddie Gardino.
The final total: 11-over 81 in the first round of the PGA Championship.
"He hit a lovely tee shot straight over the pin, and his whole tournament finished in one hole," Open Championship winner Padraig Harrington said. "He was playing lovely golf up to that."
Two answers Cabrera didn't need translated were about whether that second tee shot, which landed against a fence, was actually out of bounds.
"Yes, out of bounds," Cabrera said. When a reporter suggested he seemed to be protesting the official's ruling, Cabrera reiterated: "It was out of bounds. It was out of bounds."
Gardino wasn't so sure.
"It looked like it was in to me. The official said it was out," Gardino said. "He said it was leaning against the stake on the outside of the fence, it's out of bounds."
Gardino said Cabrera's first shot was in play, but even taking two club lengths of relief wouldn't have yielded a playable shot.
Cabrera's catastrophe was the memorable moment from an up-and-down day for the group. Masters champ Zach Johnson sandwiched an eagle between a pair of double bogeys on his way to a 74. Harrington made three straight birdies on the back nine and finished at 69.
Cabrera's round was one shot worse than his previous high score at a major -- an 80 in the first round of the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
"That's the nature of major golf," Harrington said. "Sometimes I don't think it's realized that it is on a knife's edge out there at times. It's a very fine line between keeping yourself in the tournament, blowing yourself out of it or doing well and winning the tournament."
Three weeks after his win at Carnoustie, Harrington proved the best at walking that line -- despite a whirlwind still swirling around the first-time major winner.
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"The benefit is the fact that I've won a major and you feel like if you've won one, you can win two," Harrington said. "You can move on from that.
"There is a certain level of confidence, and I also feel that there's a certain level of adrenaline coming off from having won. There's a certain level of a high. I haven't hit a wall as of yet."
Harrington said he didn't think a major champion had anything to prove after his first big win. But for several tournaments afterward, "you're conscious to give it 100 percent to get the most out of it."
Johnson got off to a shaky start, falling to 3 over par after his approach shot found a creek at No. 2 and resulted in a double bogey. He got those strokes back with an eagle at par-5 13th only to make another double bogey two holes later.
Still, Johnson wound up beating Cabrera.
"Angel is the U.S. Open champion," Harrington said. "I don't think too many golfers are going to feel sorry."
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved.