John Cook captures Administaff Small Business Classic

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2009, 2:40 am

Champions TourTHE WOODLANDS, Texas – Tired of only coming close to winning this year, John Cook reined in his impatience and hit some clutch shots to win the Administaff Small Business Classic on Sunday for his third career Champions Tour title.

The 52-year-old Cook, an 11-time winner on the regular PGA Tour, closed with a 4-under 68 to hold off Jay Haas and Bob Tway by two shots. Cook finished at 11-under 205 on The Woodlands Country Club’s Tournament Course.

“I’ve had trouble finishing events,” said Cook, who lost to Mike Reid in a playoff in August at the Tradition in Oregon, one of the Champions Tour majors, then was fifth two weeks ago at the Senior Players Championship.

“I was getting ahead of myself. Today, I just didn’t do that. I wanted to make sure I trusted what I was thinking coming down the stretch. And that’s all you can do. And I hit some good quality shots coming down the stretch.”

Cook was two shots behind first- and second-round leader Dan Forsman when play began Sunday. Cook started birdie-bogey, but birdies at Nos. 5 and 9 got him within one shot of Forsman. Cook got to 10 under, still a stroke behind Forsman, with a birdie at 12, then claimed a share of the lead when Forsman bogeyed the hole.

Cook took control after Forsman’s triple bogey at the par-3 14th and pulled away with a birdie at 17.

“Down the stretch, I’m very proud of that,” Cook said. “I was happy to finish the way you’re supposed to finish. One of my friends says: Finish like a champion. I haven’t done that this year. It was really disappointing. I think I did that today.”

Water comes into play on both the 17th, where he birdied, and the 18th, where he made par.

“On 18, I hit one of my best drives of the week,” he said. “I trusted what I was seeing.”

He said he was looking at flags on the adjacent driving range and they were blowing in his face, so he knew he didn’t want to leave his shot short. Then he two-putted for par, putting the pressure on Haas, playing two groups behind him.

Haas, bidding for a victory in his third consecutive start and one stroke off the lead at the start of the final round, shot a 71. He had three birdies on the back nine, but couldn’t offset an early double bogey. He had late chances to tie but a putt for birdie at the 17th lipped out.

At 18, his drive landed in the rough just short of the water guarding the green, then his shot to the green wound up far on the back fringe. When his long birdie attempt slid past the hole, Cook was the winner.

“My drive at 18, I pushed it just a hair and I had no chance to go at the flag,” Haas said. “Overall, it’s fun to be in the hunt. I’m a little disappointed that it didn’t finish off better. But I was there and had a chance.

“I just gave it a little bit too much gas there. It was a tough putt and under the situation, you still like to finish tournaments off better than that.”

Tway, who shot a 70, started two shots off the lead Sunday, got close but never could catch the leaders. He had one bogey and three birdies but closed out the final round with four straight pars. The eight-time winner on the PGA Tour joined the Champions Tour earlier this year after turning 50 and his previous best finish was a sixth-place tie a month ago at the Greater Hickory Classic in North Carolina.

Forsman was cruising Sunday and at 11 under through 13 holes. His run ended with the triple bogey at No. 14 where he put his tee shot in the water. He finished with a 73 to tie for fourth at 8 under with 2007-08 winner Bernhard Langer (69) and Tom Lehman (68).

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McCoy earns medalist honors at 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 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 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 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.