Jutanugarn shares lead at suspended Lotte Championship

By Associated PressApril 14, 2017, 12:24 pm

KAPOLEI, Hawaii – Ariya Jutanugarn and In-Kyung Kim each birdied their final hole Thursday to share the lead during the suspended second round of the LPGA Lotte Championship.

Jutanugarn had a bogey-free 6-under 66, and Kim shot 64 to reach 9-under 135 at Ko Olina Golf Club. Jutanugarn won five times last season and was the LPGA's Player of the Year.

Kim, a 28-year-old from Seoul who already has a pair of top-5 finishes here, had five consecutive birdies during one stretch for the lowest round of the day.

''It was nice to get out in the morning, definitely calmer,'' Kim said. ''Now the winds are picking up so it's hard to get to the hole. I had a great putting day. Yesterday I hit the ball pretty well, just didn't make any putts. Today the putts were dropping.''

Su-Yeon Jang, among the 15 players still on the course when play was halted due to darkness, was also at 9 under with two holes remaining. Jang doesn't have a bogey in her first 34 holes of the tournament.


Full-field scores from the Lotte Championship


The cut will be determined after the completion of the round Friday morning.

Stacy Lewis (68), first-round co-leader Mi Hyang Lee (70), Alena Sharp (69) and Becky Morgan, who also has two holes remaining, share fourth place at 8 under. There are five players at 7 under, including second-ranked So Yeon Ryu (69), coming off a victory in the major ANA Inspiration, and Olympic champion Inbee Park.

Play was also halted for nearly 90 minutes earlier in the day when the course was cleared due to the threat of lightning.

Paula Creamer, co-leader after an opening 66, bogeyed both par 5s on the front nine and had a double bogey on the par-3 eighth in a 74. Defending champion Minjee Lee rallied for a 68 and is six back, while top-ranked Lydia Ko moved up 45 spots, to 40th, with a 69. Hawaii's Michelle Wie, who won here in 2014, is tied for 60th at 1 under.

For the second straight day, a morning tee time was a huge advantage. Winds began gusting up to 20 mph as the morning groups finished. When the wind stopped, thunder, lightning and rain followed.

Lewis birdied four of her first five holes to get to 8 under early. She bogeyed the 10th just before play was suspended, but got it back with her sixth birdie of the day, at the 13th. The two-time LPGA Player of the Year is winless in her last 69 starts – and 8 under on Ko Olina's front nine this week.

''Honestly, it's just that I've had more momentum going into that side than I have when I've played the back,'' Lewis said. ''I played the back early yesterday and just wasn't striking it very good.

''Then today, coming out after the delay, you kind of lose some of the momentum there. But I played solid for two days and still left some out there, so it's some good golf.''

Lotte announced a three-year extension this week, which will take it through 2020.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.