Lonnie Nielsen storms to victory at Dicks Sporting Goods

By Associated PressJune 28, 2009, 4:00 pm
Champions TourENDICOTT, N.Y. ' Lonnie Nielsen shot a 9-under 63 on Sunday, passing second-round leader Fred Funk with a flourish on the front side and holding on to win the Dicks Sporting Goods Open by three shots over Funk and Ronnie Black.
 
Nielsen, who will turn 56 on Monday, finished at 21-under 195, a record in the three-year history of the event. After going 6 under over the first four holes to move quickly into the lead, Nielsen made birdie at No. 12 to break a tie with Funk and followed with birdies at Nos. 16 and 18 to win for only the second time on the Champions Tour.
 
He won the 2007 Commerce Bank Championship, and his best finish this year was a tie for third at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in April.
 
It was the fourth straight finish of seventh or better for Funk (69), who was bidding to become the first player to win a PGA Tour event and a Champions Tour event on the En-Joie Golf Club course. He won the B.C. Open in 1996 at En-Joie.
 
Black (66) had not won in 498 starts ' 484 on the PGA Tour and 14 on the Champions Tour, a span of 24 years, 11 months, and 13 days since capturing the 1984 Anheuser Busch Classic.
 
In the first two years of the Dicks Sporting Goods Open, second-round leaders R.W. Eaks and Romero went on to win. Funk figured to keep that string intact after beginning the day with a three-shot lead. After all, hed won the three previous times he led going into final round ' at the 2006 AT&T Championship, at Turtle Bay in 2007, and at the 2008 JELD-WEN Tradition.
 
Romero had promised he would win if he shot 65, but he and Black had to settle for tap-in pars at Nos. 2 and 3 when their birdie tries stopped just short. Funk rolled in a 6-foot birdie putt at the second hole and had a four-shot lead over his playing partners.
 
Playing in the group ahead of Funk, Nielsen began his round birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie ' and suddenly had a two-shot lead. His long eagle putt at the par-5 third was too hard, but bounced off the back of the cup and somehow dropped in.
 
It was down to Nielsen and Funk after that.
 
Nielsen birdied No. 4 and went for the green with a hybrid on his second shot at the 565-yard, par-5 fifth, statistically the easiest of the day. The ball landed in a greenside bunker and Nielsen blasted to 5 feet and made birdie for a two-shot lead.
 
Nielsen parred the next six holes, while Funk made birdies at Nos. 5 and 6, curling in a perfectly paced 10-foot putt to tie for the lead. But the touch that produced a 64 and 65 his first two rounds went away, and Funk failed to make another birdie.
 
He left his birdie try an inch short at No. 13, and although Nielsen groaned moments later when his own birdie putt stopped on the lip at No. 14, he made a nice par save at 15 and opened a two-shot lead at the par-4 16th hole.
 
After booming his drive over the green, he chipped to 20 feet and his birdie try found the center of the cup, putting him at 20 under.
 
If Nielsen had any doubt it was his day, he had to be reassured when his tee shot at 18 hit a tree along the right side and ricocheted back onto the fairway. It led to his 24th birdie of the tournament, and finished his second straight round without a bogey.
 
DIVOTS: Romero was the only player in the field with two eagles... Nielsen had one eagle and 24 birdies over the three rounds, Funk had 20 birdies, and Black had just one bogeyNielsens 63 is the lowest final round by a winner on the Champions Tour this year.
 
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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.