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Henderson cruises in New Zealand Women's Open

By Associated PressOctober 2, 2017, 12:03 am

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Brooke Henderson won the weather-delayed New Zealand Women's Open on Monday, finishing off a 3-under 69 for a five-stroke victory.

The 20-year-old Canadian led by four shots through six holes Sunday when the final round was suspended after a day of heavy rain, high wind and threatened lightning strikes. She returned Monday morning to the Windross Farm course and easily held off China's Jing Yan for her second LPGA tour victory of the season and fifth overall.

Henderson finished at 17-under 271. She also won the Meijer LPGA Classic in June in Michigan.

''I was feeling pretty comfortable out there and I was just trying to keep it at minus 17 as long as I could,'' Henderson said after receiving the trophy, $195,000 winner's check and a ceremonial feather cloak presented by indigenous Maori. ''I had a couple of bogeys but made a lot of birdies and it was probably some of the best golf I've played in a while.


Full-field scores from the McKayson New Zealand Open


''I'm super excited to win outside North America for the first time and glad it could be here in New Zealand.''

Henderson said the relatively short Windross Farm course was not ideally suited to her game and she was pleased to show she could win on such a layout and ''in pretty terrible weather conditions.''

''I felt like the pressure was really off of me this week was possibly why I got off to such a fast start,'' she said. ''To play so well on this golf course was just incredible.

''I'm just so happy to win here. My season has been kind of up and down, steady for the most part. I got a lot of questions early in the year but now to get my second wind is great going into the last five events I'm going to play.''

The weather remained troublesome Monday with strong wind making low scoring difficult. Henderson mastered the conditions, birdieing three of the first five holes and turning for home five shots clear.

Yan shot a 71. South Korea's Hee Young Park was third at 11 under after a 69.

American Jennifer Song had the best round, a 68, to finish fourth at 10 under.

New Zealand star Lydia Ko closed double bogey-triple bogey for a 75 to tie for 22nd at 5 under.

''I played really solid apart from the last two holes,'' Ko said. ''I made an eagle on 15; I hit it really close and I thought I might have actually hit it in the water. It was a tough finish, but overall I felt really solid, a lot of positives.''

Ko defended the decision to play on in marginal weather conditions Sunday.

''Week to week we just have to go with it and they're trying to do the best for us,'' Ko said.

Henderson had an early bogey Monday on the par-4 eighth hole, then parred the next four and got to 17 with a birdie on the par-3 13th. By the 14th, the wind had picked up and was making it hard to hit the narrow fairways at the newly established course built on farmland east of Auckland. The wetlands layout featured bristling rough and water off the fairways but Henderson, with sister Brittany on her bag, was able to stay out of trouble and to maintain a lead that peaked at six shots.

She bogeyed the tricky par-4 16th and finished a birdie on the par-5 18th.

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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.