This year, the PGA Tour has seen its fair share of first-time winners. From Jimmy Walker to Hideki Matsuyama, these players run the gamut of age and experience, proving that there really is no one ideal formula for becoming a champion on the game’s grandest stage. Still, it is not particularly often that a first-time winner has over 50 titles worldwide and two majors to his credit, but Angel Cabrera did just that with his run to the Greenbrier Classic win on Sunday.
Yes, we may be stretching the literal definition of a “first” Tour win in this case, as Augusta National runs the Masters and the USGA the U.S. Open, but the veteran known as “El Pato” deserves recognition for accomplishing this unlikely feat at 44 years old. American audiences certainly will remember Cabrera for his remarkable performance in last year’s Masters, despite losing the playoff to Adam Scott. With his big swing and bigger personality, it’s a surprise that Cabrera hasn’t won more.
To that end, Cabrera left absolutely no doubt that he still has what it takes to compete, major or not. Although George McNeill made things interesting by firing a nine-under-par round of 61 to get to -14 for the tournament, Cabrera answered the call. Even when he stumbled just a bit down the stretch with a pair of bogeys, it never felt as though the tournament was in anybody’s control but Cabrera’s.
Next up for Cabrera is a trip to Royal Liverpool for the Open Championship. While the links game hasn’t always seemed to agree with him, Cabrera did tie for seventh there in 2006. With wins all around the world, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if El Pato made another run at the leaderboard in two weeks’ time. Could the Claret Jug be next?