Green Maintains Lead Norman Rebounds
Gusty winds continued to play havoc with the scores Friday after high winds, cold temperatures and heavy rain did the same during the opening round. Only six golfers had sub-par rounds Thursday, and only four remained under par after two rounds. The cut was made at 8-over 152.
Green had a two-round total of 6-under 138, and was followed by Richard Green -- no relation -- after a 71 Friday.
Stuart Appleby was at 1-under after a 68, the best round of the day. He was tied for third with fellow Australian Gavin Coles (70). Adam Scott (70) was tied with six others at 144, six shots back.
Defending champion Robert Allenby, who won the Australian Open, Australian Masters and Australian PGA on consecutive weekends last year to become the first golfer to win Australia's Triple Crown, shot a 74 after his opening 77 and narrowly made the cut 7 over.
Greg Norman shot 73, including a 30-foot birdie putt on his last hole, and was right on the cut line at 152, qualifying him for the weekend.
Norman said he knew his putt on 18 Friday was in from the moment he hit it.
'It was the first time I made a putt in two days,' Norman said.
He said he had no idea he had made the cut until after he had signed his card.
'Really? That shocks me,' Norman said. 'I would never have expected that. It just goes to show you just don't stop trying.'
Nathan Green contended in a number of PGA TOUR events in his rookie season this year, losing a playoff to Tiger Woods at the Buick Invitational in January.
'I would just like to win a tournament somewhere,' Green said. 'I've struggled to finish off tournaments in the past. That's one thing I have to learn, how to win.'
Appleby, one of the morning starters Friday, said he was pleased with the 'markedly less stressful' conditions at Royal Sydney. He double-bogeyed the easy opening hole Thursday, but had a better start -- and round -- on Friday.
'I didn't want to go home, but I thought this better not be the trend,' Appleby said of his six on the drivable 274-meter par-4 first on Thursday.
'That was one of the easier holes for the tournament and there I was walking off with a six about to play the next hour straight into the wind.'
Scott was still struggling with the windy conditions despite shooting five birdies Friday.
'It's a little hard to tell, but I know I'm not on,' he said. 'I think that might just be from battling around in the wind so much and shoving the ball back in your stance. It's hard to hit a normal shot out there.'
Allenby said he has been troubled by swing problems, so much so that hit 'very few' shots out of the center of his clubs Friday.
'I really don't know what is going on,' Allenby said. 'I'm definitely not looking good for winning the tournament. I'm struggling with my swing. I have no clue where I am hitting it.'
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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School
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
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.
Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4
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
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."
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.