Furyk one off pace at Harbour Town

By Associated PressApril 12, 2012, 11:20 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Chad Campbell used a fast start, and Vaughn Taylor and Colt Knost had strong finishes to share the first-round lead at 4-under 67 in the RBC Heritage on Thursday.

Campbell birdied four of his first seven holes, Knost birdied three of his last five, and Taylor holed out from the fairway for a closing eagle on the par-4 ninth hole at Harbour Town Golf Links.

Jim Furyk, the 2010 winner, was a stroke back along with Harris English, Charlie Wi and Matt Every. Forty-two players, including John Daly in just his second PGA Tour event this year, were at even par or better.

Masters winner Bubba Watson took the week off as did most players ranked in the world's top 20. No. 1 Luke Donald, who has been second, third and second here the past three years, opened with a 75. He has to finish in the top eight or surrender to the top spot to No. 2 Rory McIlroy next week.

Matt Kuchar was tied for the lead at Augusta National with three holes left before finishing two shots out of the playoff between Watson and Louis Oosthuizen, Kuchar hoped to continue his strong play at Harbour Town, but ended in a large group at 1-over 72.

Campbell held a first-round lead for the first time since the 2009 Masters. His game has faded some since then – he recorded just one top 10, at the British Open last year, his fewest since coming out on Tour in 2002 – and has missed five cuts in nine tournaments this year.

''I haven't felt like I've been that far off,'' Campbell said. ''But the results haven't been good at all.''

Campbell got it going quickly at Harbour Town with an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 2 and then consecutive birdies on the fourth and fifth holes. He moved to 4 under two holes later, rolling in a 20-footer for birdie.

Campbell added a final birdie on the 15th.

Campbell said the wind reminded him of his days playing golf in west Texas. ''Other than the trees and the ocean,'' he joked.

Taylor caught Campbell with his stunning shot from 103 yards out on his final hole, the ninth. Taylor, a native of Augusta, Ga., also has struggled and teed off at the RBC Heritage on a sponsor's exemption. He fell back to even par with a double bogey on the 16th hole before heating up on his last nine. He made birdies on the second, fourth and seventh holes before stunning the gallery – and himself – with his on-target sand wedge.

''I hit a smooth one,'' Taylor said. ''Came off right, right at it, and fortunate enough to go in.''

Knost joined the leaders with a late charge of his own, collecting birdies on the 14th, 16th and 18th holes. Knost thinks this might be just the thing to jump-start a sluggish year – his lone top 20 was a third place at the Mayakoba Classic in February.

''It's just my kind of course,'' Knost said. ''You have to hit it fairly straight. Distance isn't that big a deal. The greens are real small, just give yourself a lot of chances.''

That's the way Furyk played Harbour Town, too. His problem? Starting in the chilly, windy conditions not usually seen during most Aprils in South Carolina.

He played straight and steady throughout, building on a tie for 11th last week at Augusta National. ''I'm happy to get in with the score I did,'' he said.

Donald had 11 straight rounds under par at Harbour Town before chopping it around Thursday. The Englishman made just one birdie and was well below Friday's projected cut line.

Still, it was hard not to notice the pleased faces of competitors, organizers and fans with the rechristened tournament. It's the first year for title sponsor RBC and presenting sponsor Boeing after the tournament went without a backer in 2011 and was in danger of disappearing.

DIVOTS: Two-time major winner Daly, a former Arkansas player, was saddened and shocked by the dismissal of friend Bobby Petrino as Razorbacks football coach. Daly thinks the team must hire an NFL-type coach ''like a (Jon) Gruden, like a (Bill) Cowher, like a (Barry) Switzer'' to keep moving forward. ... Bo Van Pelt will appear at a Boys and Girls Club on Friday as a thank you to RBC for sponsoring the tournament. ... This the first RBC Heritage without Davis Love III since 1985. Love withdrew this week with a cracked rib. ... 2001 RBC Heritage runner-up Billy Mayfair had a hole-in-one, hitting a 5-iron shot on the 195-yard seventh hole. He shot a 72. ... Sang-Moon Bae withdrew after an opening 83.

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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