Cabrera, Vegas share Barbasol lead

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2016, 12:52 am

OPELIKA, Ala. - Angel Cabrera and Jhonattan Vegas dominated the par-5 holes in steamy conditions Thursday to share the Barbasol Championship lead.

The 46-year-old Cabrera, from Argentina, eagled the par-5 13th on Grand National's Lake Course, holing a 60-footer from the fringe, and birdied the two other par 5s in a bogey-free 6-under 65.

Cabrera left the course after his morning round without speaking to the media. The 2007 U.S. Open champion and 2009 Masters winner, he's one of two major champions in the field at the PGA Tour event played opposite The Open.

Vegas, from Venezuela, also eagled the 13th - making a 20-footer - and birdied the other par 5s in a bogey-free round. He won the 2011 Bob Hope Classic for his lone tour title.

''It was a great round overall,'' Vegas said. ''From the beginning all the way to the end, I felt like I did exactly what I had planned at the beginning of the day. Was able to hit the ball straight from tee, take advantage of the par 5s. I played the par 5s at 4 under, which is really good on this place. I was able to manage some missed shots that I hit to make some good pars to shoot a great round.''

Former Auburn player Blayne Barber was a stroke back at 66 along with Martin Laird, Ben Crane, Shawn Stefani, Matt Bettencourt, Michael Kim and Lucas Lee.

''Turned the heat up,'' Laird said about the temperature. ''I played nicely. The course is in good shape, so if you put it in the right spot and hit some good shots you can make some putts. I really hit the ball well tee to green today, putted solid but left a couple out there. But overall very happy.''

The Scot tied for seventh in Nevada two weeks ago in his last start.

Crane is making his first appearance in the event.

''This is a big-boy golf course,'' Crane said. ''You could play a major championship here, no problem. The course is in great shape, feeling great about my game and just played solid all day. Made a couple of those critical saves and just made a great up-and-down with an 8-iron on the last hole for birdie to get it to 5 under, so off to a great start.''

Stefani birdied four of the first five holes on his back nine, but dropped a stroke on the par-5 16th.

''I did a lot of great things today and, on top of that, I stayed patient and just kind of tried to play one shot at a time,'' Stefani said. ''It was nice to get off to a good start, especially in this heat. It kind of maybe started wearing on me just a little bit the last couple holes, you kind of start getting hungry, trying to eat lunch and started to get a little hotter.''

Former Auburn player Michael Johnson shot a 67 in his pro debut.

''I couldn't ask for a better way to start my career,'' Johnson said. ''It was awesome. Played with two great guys (Omar Uresti and Dawie van der Walt), which helps. It was a great day, weather was good. I thought we were going to get rained on a little bit, but everything went great.''

David Toms, the other major champion in the field, also had a 67. He's 49.

Former University of Alabama player Robby Shelton birdied the final hole for a 69 in his second PGA Tour start as a professional. He was third last year while still in college.

Matt Gilchrest, a rising senior at Auburn, had a 70.

Hunter Mahan shot a 74 in his first event since the birth of his third child.

The winner will get a two-year exemption and a spot in the PGA Championship, but will not be exempt for the Masters.

 

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.