Bettencourt wins Reno-Tahoe Open by one

By Associated PressJuly 19, 2010, 3:18 am

Reno-Tahoe Open

RENO, Nev.  – Rocco Mediate can expect something special in the mail this week from longtime friend Matt Bettencourt.

Bettencourt said much of the credit for his one-stroke victory at the Reno-Tahoe Open on Sunday – his first PGA Tour win – goes to Mediate’s regular caddie Matthew Achatz, who carried Bettencourt’s bags this week while Mediate was working as a TV analyst at the British Open.

“Thank you, Rocco, for letting me use him,” Bettencourt said. “He kept me so relaxed all week and really made me believe in myself and my ability.”

“He’s seen it all. He went toe-to-toe with Tiger at Torrey Pines a few years ago,” he said about Woods’ victory over Mediate in a playoff at the 2008 U.S. Open. “So it was great to have him step in this week, and thanks to Rocco for being over at the British Open and commentating.”

Matt Bettencourt
Bettencourt held on to win the Reno-Tahoe Open by one. (Getty Images)
Bettencourt hit only two greens on the back nine Sunday, but eagled the 11th hole and scrambled his way down the stretch to shoot a 68 and finish at 11-under 277, one stroke ahead of Bob Heintz.

Playing together, Heintz (69) missed a three-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that would have forced a playoff at Montreux Golf & Country Club on the edge of the Sierra.

The drama unfolded because Bettencourt hit his drive into a fairway bunker and his approach into a greenside trap after Heintz had stiffed his second shot.

Bettencourt said Aschatz told him, “`Look, he’s got an easy putt, there’s no chance he’s going to miss it. Let’s regroup. Go out and we’ll hit a much smarter tee shot on 18 and we’ll go make birdie in the playoff.”’

“He calmed me down and that’s what I was ready to do, ready to go back and give it my best,” said Bettencourt, who ended up with a bogey on the last hole but won when Heintz missed his putt.

“My heart goes out to Bob. He’s fought so hard. He hit a good putt, it just didn’t go in and fortunately it was my time,” he said.

In addition to the $540,000 winner’s check, Bettencourt earned a spot for the first time in next month’s PGA Championship and is guaranteed his place on tour through 2012.

“This win is so incredible to me. It gives me so many opportunities,” said Bettencourt, who won the money title on the Nationwide Tour in 2008 and tied for 10th at the U.S. Open last year. He finished 111th on the PGA money list with $740,037 that year.

Heintz started the week trying to qualify for a Nationwide Tour event in Ohio before he was notified he’d qualified for this event, hopping a plane to Nevada on Tuesday. A 40-year-old graduate of Yale with a degree in economics, he was pleased to come away with $324,000 for second.

“I think it’s my biggest check ever,” Heintz said. “I kind of played like the Bob of old where my survival instincts kicked in and my short game was just shy of brilliant all day. I holed out three times from off the green.”

John Merrick and Mathias Gronberg each shot 69 and tied for third at 9 under.

Robert Gamez (68), Kent Jones (68), Alex Cejka (69), Kevin Stadler (70) and Craig Barlow (72) all finished another stroke back at 8 under.

Scott McCarron, a former Reno resident and Montreux member who served as the tournament host, started the day at 10 under with a one-stroke lead over John Mallinger and Robert Garrigus. But he fell to a tie for 35th at 1 under with five bogeys and two double-bogeys on the way to an 81.

Mallinger had a quadruple-bogey 9 on the 616-yard 9th – dropping twice from unplayable lies after driving wide left into the trees and sage brush. He shot 77 and tied for 21st.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.