Albatross, eagles highlight awesome opener in Qatar

By Associated PressJanuary 22, 2014, 4:19 pm

DOHA, Qatar – George Coetzee of South Africa needed just 21 putts to shoot an 8-under-par 64 for a one-shot lead on the opening day of the Qatar Masters on Wednesday.

Coetzee eagled the par-5 10th hole and birdied his closing three holes in a round that was just two shots more than his best on the European Tour, a 62 which equaled the Old Course record at St. Andrews in Scotland 15 months ago.

"I was quite lucky to get away with a few shots," he said. "There's a lot of luck involved in this game, especially the way I play, and I had 21 putts with a three-putt, so that goes to show."

At 7 under were Dawie Van Der Walt, among five South Africans in the top 13, and Steve Webster of England, who began in spectacular manner by holing a 254-yard, 5-wood second shot for an albatross at his opening hole, the 548-yard, par-5 10th.

There were only two spectators around the green, and one of them was jumping up and down and pointing in a downward motion.



"I didn't know whether he was inferring it had gone over the back of the green and onto rocks, but then when I got up there he starts clapping," Webster said.

"I've never been 3 under after one hole before, so it was all a bit strange after that. You start thinking is this my day, or have I had all my luck on the first?"

It was the second albatross in three events this year, whereas there was just one on the tour in 2013.

Webster, who celebrated his 39th birthday last Friday, picked up five birdies over his next 12 holes to lead at 8 under, then dropped a shot at his 15th.

Four players were in fourth place at 6 under, while the former British Open-winning trio of Ernie Els, John Daly and Paul Lawrie were among a group at 5 under.

Els ended the first round holing a 35-yard bunker shot on 18 for eagle.


Round 1 interviews: Ernie Els | John Daly | Jason Dufner | Luke Donald


"That was a dream finish, that's always going to put a smile on your face," said Els, the 2005 Qatar winner. "I played quite nicely all day but didn't quite get my share of putts, so that bunker shot at the last really made up for everything."

Lawrie also had an eagle, on the 16th, while Daly birdied his first three holes and two of his closing three.

"I've started off this year putting really, really well, and just made three bombs to start with today," Daly said. "But I just got into trouble a couple of times with the driver, so it was my putting that kept me in there."

Henrik Stenson bounced back from missing the halfway cut last week in Abu Dhabi with a 68. PGA champion Jason Dufner, competing in Qatar for the second year running, carded 70.

A 30-minute delay due to fog at the start of the day meant three players were unable to complete the round because of darkness.

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.