Cochran beats Funk in playoff to win in South Korea

By Associated PressSeptember 12, 2010, 4:34 pm

Champions Tour

INCHEON, South Korea – Russ Cochran won the Songdo Championship on Sunday for his first Champions Tour victory after making a birdie on the opening hole of a playoff with Fred Funk in the 50-and-over circuit’s first event in Asia.

The 51-year-old left-hander finished at 12-under 204 on the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea to earn $456,000. He won the 1991 Western Open for his lone PGA Tour title.

Cochran, who shot a final-round 66 to force the playoff, tapped in for the win after splashing a shot from the bunker to about a foot from the hole.

“I’ve been playing well over the last year, year and a half and I felt like a victory was in the near future,” said Cochran, who was out of golf for about six years with wrist and elbow problems that required surgery.

“I’m back playing and my game’s a little bit different, but it’s pretty solid,” he said. “I’m hoping I can take this and go (on) to more victories on the Champions Tour.”

Funk, who began the day with a two-stroke lead, shot a 68. He had a chance to win in regulation, but missed 3-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th.

He landed his approach into a bunker on the playoff hole – a replay of the 18th – but failed to get up and down and extend the match.

Tom Pernice Jr., Cochran and John Cook were all tied for second entering the final round.

Pernice had a 67 to finish a stroke back at 11 under after missing a putt on the final hole that would have gotten him into the playoff.

Tom Watson, who at 59 lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink in last year’s British Open, shot a 70 to finish at 3-under. Bernhard Langer, a five time winner this year on the tour, shot an 80 to finish at 6 over.

Funk, who won the Jeld-Wen Tradition – a major title – three weeks ago, was clearly disappointed at the outcome.

“It was my tournament to win,” he said.

The 54-year-old Funk was co-leader with Michael Allen and Jay Don Blake after the first round and was sole leader going into the final round.

“I was very shocked when Fred missed,” said Cochran, adding he had given his ball to his caddie – who is also his son – and was in the process of handing over his glove when Funk’s short putt veered off to the left of the hole.

The event, played in the port city of Incheon west of Seoul, had a record Champions Tour purse of $3 million.

The tournament was plagued by heavy rains, which delayed the start of play Friday and Saturday. Conditions markedly improved Sunday with play ending under sunny skies.

Golf great Jack Nicklaus, who designed the course, said Wednesday that a performance of 4 under a day would probably be enough to win the tournament. He was nearly right.

Champions Tour President Mike Stevens declared the tournament a success, despite the challenges posed by the weather and the logistics of playing so far away in Asia.

“We’re embarking on an international strategy and growth for our tour,” he said Sunday.

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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.