Four-way tie at Texas Open

By Associated PressMay 16, 2010, 4:18 am

Valero Texas OpenSAN ANTONIO – Jimmy Walker and James Nitties got on a roll, and the soaked Texas Open course dried out.

Next up is a long two-round finale.

Walker and Nitties shot 5-under 67s on Saturday for a share of the lead at 7 under with Brett Wetterich (68) and Matt Jones (71) at TPC San Antonio, where the Oaks Course soaked up a drenching that will make for a 36-hole finish Sunday.

Muck and mud squished under the morning gallery after more than 3 inches of rain washed out play Friday. But fairways drained and greens stayed firm, drawing praise from some in a field that has grumbled about the new Greg Norman-designed layout.

“The greens are what they are,” said Wetterich, who birdied his final three holes. “You’re going to gripe about it, I think that’s more advantage for other people that aren’t and just kind of go with the flow.”

Tour rookie Garth Mulroy (67) was a stroke back along with Charley Hoffman (70), James Driscoll (68), J.B. Holmes (70), Pat Perez (66), Tim Petrovic (68) and Aron Price (68). Ernie Els, a two-time winner this year, was two shots back at 5 under after a 67.

Matt Jones tees off at Valero Texas Open“Hoping for Texas winds tomorrow,” Els said. “It’s going to be a long day but I’ll be up for it.”

PGA Tour officials hadn’t ruled out stretching the tournament into Monday if storms delayed the tournament again. The National Weather Service called for a 40 percent chance of rain Sunday.

Walker, who missed the cut in three of his last four tournaments since April, grabbed a share of the lead on a course he knows better than most.

The San Antonio resident played TPC San Antonio – where the Texas Open moved this spring after 15 years at La Cantera Golf Club – before most anyone last winter. That familiarity started paying off.

After starting the round four back, Walker birdied three holes on the front nine and another three on the back leg. He used a sand wedge to put a 111-yard approach about seven feet from the cup on the par-4 11th, then sank the putt for birdie.

“I’ve gotten way behind and it’s hard to claw your way back from the back of the pack,” Walker said. “I’ve been doing it but it’s not fun. It’s nice to get out and make the cut, you know, fairly easy.”

Els also began a push. The current money and FedEx Cup points leader, who also is the only player in the field ranked in the top 10, missed the cut last week at The Players Championship while working through a bad swing.

Els arrived in Texas focused on releasing his club earlier and not being so “handsy through the hitting area.” Though still feeling conservative with his drivers, Els was on target with his driver.

On the par-5 second, Els got out of a fairway bunker with a 5-iron before sinking a 17-footer for one of his five birdies. He hit par on every other hole.

“I felt one more tournament could really do it for me, and although it didn’t happen in the first round, I feel it’s really coming around now,” Els said.

Vijay Singh, who played with Els and is arguably the other biggest name in the tournament, shot for par in the second round and made the cut at 1 over. Sergio Garcia shot a 68 and was four strokes back.

Zach Johnson, the two-time defending tournament champion, couldn’t erase the damage from his disastrous opening-round 80. He missed the cut at 4 over.

Johnson beat Driscoll in a sudden-death playoff at this tournament a year ago, and Driscoll on Saturday blew his chance for a five-way tie for first with a bogey on his final hole. His approach missed the green on the par-4 ninth, and his 8-foot putt for par missed by 2 feet.

No. 9 also cost Jones sole possession of the lead.

Jones, who led after the opening round, birdied on the par-5 eighth to reach 8 under with one hole to go. But he drove his drive on No. 9 into the tall grass and rocks to the right of fairway, and couldn’t recover to make par.

Scott Piercy began the round 3 over but birdied six holes on the front nine and shot a 64 for the day’s best round. The 31-year-old was four shots back.

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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.