Dougherty leads PGA Professional National Championship

By Associated PressJune 28, 2011, 1:04 am

HERSHEY, Pa. – Sean Dougherty shot an 8-under 64 on Monday on the Hershey Country Club’s West Course to break Sam Snead’s 36-hole scoring record in the PGA Professional National Championship.

Dougherty, the 32-year-old PGA head professional at Milburn Country Club in Overland Park, Kan., had a 12-under 131 total – a stroke better than the mark set by Snead in 1971. Dougherty opened with a 67 on the East Course,

Jeff Sorenson was two strokes back along with Scott Erdmann. Sorenson, a teaching professional at Columbia Country Club in Minneapolis, and Erdmann, a PGA assistant professional at Oswego Lake Country Club in Oregon, had 68s. Erdmann also played the West Course.

Eight-five players in the 312-man field made the cut for the final two rounds on the East Course, the site of Byron Nelson’s 1940 PGA Championship victory. The final top 20 players will earn spots in the PGA Championship on Aug. 11-14 at Atlanta Athletic Club.

“There are a lot of good players out here, and it’s fun to contend,” Dougherty said. “I had been told that the East is tougher than the West, but I like both of them. You have to work the ball, and that’s what I like to do.”

Dougherty finished his bogey-free round with an 8-foot par putt. He needed only 52 putts in the first two rounds and had only one bogey. Rob Shipman, the PGA director of instruction at Milburn, is working as Dougherty’s caddie.

“I got one of my best friends on my bag, my caddie and my teacher, so that makes it very special,” Dougherty said. “He keeps me loose and he gave me a lot of good reads and helped me to hit shots where I wanted. I hit a lot of putts on line, and some of them fell in, so I feel very fortunate.”

Sorenson also had only one bogey in the first two rounds.

“It was a good day, but it’s tough keeping up with him,” said Sorenson, looking at Dougherty. “The courses are in fantastic shape and the greens are just perfect and rolling awesome. They’re pretty soft because they got some rain, so if you hit a good, quality shot, you’re going to be able to get it close to the pin on most of them.”

Erdmann birdied three of the final five holes in his bogey-free round.

“This is all so new,” Erdmann said. “I have friends calling and rooting for me and telling me they’re watching. But to tell you the truth, I have never felt so comfortable with my game. My putter has been fantastic and my whole game is clicking.”

Defending champion Mike Small, the head coach at the University of Illinois, had a 71 on the East Course to fall seven strokes behind Dougherty. He’s seeking an unprecedented fourth national title.

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.