Couples leads Pavin, O'Meara at Senior Players Championship

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2011, 9:30 pm

HARRISON, N.Y. – Fred Couples shot a 5-under 66 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Senior Players Championship, the Champions Tour’s final major of the season.

Couples is at 8 under for the tournament and trying for his fifth Champions Tour victory. Playing in his first event since undergoing non-traditional back treatment six weeks ago in Germany, Couples has put together two solid rounds at Westchester Country Club’s tree-lined West Course.

“I drove the ball very well,” Couples said. “I didn’t make many mistakes. … I don’t want to say I left any out there. I did miss a couple but I made a few too, so it was a good day.”

Couples turned in his best two opening rounds since the Northern Trust Open in California in February. After a seventh-place finish there, Couples struggled in his next three tournaments, which led him to have the procedure.

Peter Senior remains in second at 7 under after a second-round 69. Corey Pavin is third at 6 under after a second-round 69. John Cook is fourth at 5 under after a second-round 68, one stroke ahead of defending champion Mark O’Meara. O’Meara shot a 70 and is in a three-way tie at 4 under with first-round leader Jeff Sluman (73) and Morris Hatalsky (67).

Gary Hallberg, who tied with Senior in the first round, fell seven strokes behind with a 75.

Couples seemed headed toward a strong round Thursday but faltered on the back nine. He was in danger of a repeat after bogeying No. 12 but rescued the round with birdies on the 13th and 15th holes, sinking putts of 15 and eight feet.

“To be in contention is good for me, to go out Saturday and kind of get the feeling of having to hit a good shot here, make a putt there or get it up and down,” Couples said. “So I’m in good spirits about the way I’m feeling and playing.”

Senior trailed Couples by two strokes for most of the back nine, but after Couples’ final birdie, he was at least three strokes back.

“It’s always good to be in a position like this. I’ve had some opportunities this year and hopefully one weekend I’m going to come through,” Senior said. “We’ve got a lot of good players up at the top so it’s going to be a good weekend.”

Pavin finished below par for the 18th time in 19 rounds, hitting the fairway all 14 times. That set him up for birdie on No. 14 after bogeying the previous two holes, but Pavin could not get closer to the lead.

“I played well when I’ve been around the lead,” said Pavin, who has yet to win a Champions Tour event. “It’s just that someone has always played a little bit better.”

Sluman was unable to duplicate his impressive first round of 65, when he was the only player to birdie holes No. 12-14. Sluman made par on those holes, finished without a birdie and bogeyed the ninth and 16th holes.

 

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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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