Durant leads Champions Tour opener

By Associated PressJanuary 22, 2016, 3:44 am

KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii - Joe Durant shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead in the PGA Tour Champions' season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

The 51-year-old Durant had nine birdies and two bogeys at Hualalai Golf Course. He teamed with Billy Andrade last year to win the Legends of Golf for his first title on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez, Davis Love III and Tom Pernice Jr. were a stroke back in the event for major champions from the last five years, tournament winners in the last two seasons and sponsor invitees.

''I hit a couple bad drives, but other than that I hit the ball real solid,'' Love said. ''I made, I guess really, one or two tough putts, longer putts, but really just hit it well enough that I had a lot of birdie chances and got the par 5s. Other than one bogey, pretty good solid day.''



Love played in the PGA Tour's Hawaii events the last two weeks. The U.S. Ryder Cup captain tied for 29th at Kapalua in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and made the 36-hole cut but failed to advance to the final round in the Sony Open in Honolulu. He won the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship in August at 51 years, 4 months, 10 days to become the third-oldest champion in tour history.

''The first two weeks identified things I needed to work on,'' Love said. ''It's good, I've been playing. I played four rounds at Kapalua, three at Sony, so I've gotten the rust off and feeling better about my game.''

Duffy Waldorf and 2006 winner Loren Roberts shot 67.

''I hit the ball really consistent,'' Roberts said. ''I hit a lot of greens today and, if I did miss a green, it was just right off the edge and it wasn't bad. I actually missed some putts. I missed it from like 4 1/2, 5 feet three times today for birdies.''

Colin Montgomerie and Fred Funk were in the group at 68. Funk tied for 50th in the Sony Open.

Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples shot 70. Langer, the winner in 2009 and 2014, used a long putter without anchoring it to his body. The event is Langer's first since the anchored stroke was banned Jan. 1.

Vijay Singh had a 72 after tying for 50th in the Sony Open.

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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.