Lehman in holiday spirit at Montreal Championship

By Associated PressJuly 1, 2011, 2:40 am

BLAINVILLE, Quebec – With the Montreal Championship set to begin on Canada Day, Champions Tour leader Tom Lehman didn’t miss the occasion to get into the holiday spirit.

“Does that mean we take the day off and sit at the range and drink beer?” Lehman joked on Thursday after his pro-am round at Fontainebleau Golf Club.

Lehman and defending champion Larry Mize will tee off on Friday in the second edition of the event.

Mize’s victory last year was his first in an official tournament in 17 years, dating to the 1993 Buick Open.

 “The nice thing is I’m the only one that has won here before so you’ve got to use that as a positive to your advantage,” said Mize, the 1987 Masters winner. “It’s just great to be back and playing here and I’m just looking forward to getting back out and playing in front of these great crowds.”

The 52-year-old Georgian will be hard-pressed to defend his title against a field headed up by Lehman, a three-time winner this year who leads the Schwab Cup standings.

“I’ve had good momentum throughout the year,” said Lehman, who has six top-10 finishes in 10 events. “My game is good but there are a lot of other players who are playing very well, so it should be a very competitive tournament. But I have high expectations, obviously.”

Lehman, the 1996 British Open winner, can only add to his points lead. His nearest competition, No. 2 Nick Price and No. 3 Tom Watson, are taking the week off.

“The fact that they are not here, during the course of the year it balances out,” Lehman said. “I play some events that they don’t and they play some events that I don’t, so typically I don’t worry about it. I just try to get a good game plan for this week and do the best I can this week, and then I’ll take what I get.”

Hale Irwin, the Champions Tour’s career leader with 45 wins, had his 203rd top-10 finish Sunday in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y., tying Bob Charles’ tour record.

The 66-year-old Irwin has finished in the top-10 five times in 11 events this year, including a fourth-place finish at the Senior PGA Championship in Louisville in late May, after accomplishing the feat just three times over the course of the three previous years combined.

“I feel like I’m in a re-learning curve, sort of, and that’s kind of exciting,” said Irwin, a three-time U.S. Open champion. “Not that I got bored, I never got bored, but I think there’s a point in time where the status quo changes almost every day.

“I think I’ve needed challenges and this is definitely a challenge now.”

Fred Couples, the anchor of the 2011 Montreal Championship’s marketing campaign, advised tournament organizers last weekend that he had to withdraw because of a back injury. Loren Roberts and Fred Funk are also sidelined by injuries.

“Those things happen,” Irwin said.

John Huston, a Champions Tour rookie who claimed his first win Sunday, is in the field that includes Tom KiteCorey PavinJohn CookJeff Sluman, Jeff Haas, Hal Sutton and Larry Nelson.

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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.