Franklin Shootout notebook: Sabbatini, Howell eagle their way up leader board

Scott McIntyre/Staff
Rory Sabbatini tees off at the 17th hole during the final round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout at Tiburon Golf Course on Sunday Dec. 9, 2012.

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Scott McIntyre/Staff Rory Sabbatini tees off at the 17th hole during the final round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout at Tiburon Golf Course on Sunday Dec. 9, 2012.

Rory Sabbatini and Charles Howell III were four shots out of the lead going into the final round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout on Sunday.

That's a big gap in the scramble format, but the two nearly erased all of it, finishing one behind winners Kenny Perry and Sean O'Hair at Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort.

"We played really well and gave ourselves a lot of opportunities," Sabbatini said. "We put a good number up there and that's all we can really do. We had a lot of fun and Charles hit the ball fantastically."

Sabbatini and Howell leapfrogged a handful of teams by eagling the par-4 13th. After Howell drove the green, Sabbatini, putting second, drained a 15-footer.

"I got a great read off of his putt and that's how it works," Sabbatini said. "You have to execute at the time."

Howell and Sabbatini parred four holes, and made either birdie or eagle on nine of the last 10 holes.

"Bottom line, you've got to putt to be able to score out here in any format," Howell said.

Both defending champs don't contend: Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele, who won last year, and 2010 champions Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter shot a 60 and a 59, respectively, but ended up tied for seventh.

"I'm a little bit disappointed, yeah, but we had a good time it was a fun week," Bradley said.

Johnson and Poulter were "defending" because both had scheduling conflicts last year. They had an eagle on the par-5 14th, but parred two of the last three holes.

"Obviously we're disappointed," Poulter said. "We didn't win. We come here to win and we didn't win. We didn't hole putts the first two days. We got it going today, but it's a little too late. Both of us are a little bit disappointed we didn't finish it off like we did a couple of years ago."

First-round leaders fade: Davis Love III and Brandt Snedeker had it going after a 62 in the modified alternate shot Friday that put them in the lead. They still were in contention late in Saturday's second round, but never seemed to recover after a nearly two-hour rain delay. When play resumed, the two birdied just two of their last five holes, and fell two back of Kenny Perry and Sean O'Hair.

Then Sunday, the two just couldn't put their approach shots close enough. They shot a 62, and were in a three-way tie for fourth, four behind Perry and O'Hair.

"Davis played great over the last three days and I drove it very well, but we just couldn't get momentum, which is so huge in these things," Snedeker said. "It seemed like every time we hit a good shot it was 30 feet away and it just seemed like we picked the wrong club or got a bad wind gust, but that's just the way it goes."

"We were 15 to 30 feet all day today, and we weren't as sharp this weekend as we were Friday," Love said.

2009 champs make run: Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker rode a pair of eagles into contention, but parred two of the last three holes, and tied for fourth at 27 under, four back.

After they eagled the par-5 No. 6, Stricker chipped in for eagle on the par-4 13th.

"We had a really good opportunity today to shoot a low round and we did," Stricker said. "We played well. It's always fun to come here and play. It's a fun event."

"Not the low score we had in mind, especially in this format you feel like you need to birdie every hole," Kelly said. "Honestly, it was close to being a great round."

Calcavecchia, Weir struggle: A tough year for Mike Weir ended with a last-place finish with playing partner Mark Calcavecchia.

"It was horrible," said Calcavecchia, who has played in 19 of the 24 Shootouts, winning twice. "Dead last. Not good. We had fun. I'm hurt, Weir is hurt and we just made no putts. When you finish last it's not that fun but I always enjoy playing this tournament. I told Greg (Norman) that. I've been here a lot of years and had a lot of memories here."

The two bogeyed the final hole to finish three behind Norman and Fredrik Jacobson.

"That was the best iron shot I hit all week," Calcavecchia said. "It wrapped up the whole week in a nutshell, I thought it was going to be close and a little gust of wind hit it and it hit the bank and fell into the water.

"It was the story of the whole year really, just not a lot of things of gone right for me or Mike this year."

Weir returned from elbow surgery, but had issues with his wrist, and missed the cut in all 14 tournaments he played in this year.

Justin Kane, Manny Navarro and Alexandra Beavers contributed to this article.

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