Mickelson rallies to win HSBC Champions

By Associated PressNovember 8, 2009, 6:18 pm

SHANGHAI (AP)—Thousands of fans caused a bottleneck at the entrance to theHSBC Champions, all of them eager to see the Sunday showdown at SheshanInternational between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods .

The Shanghai surprise? Woods turned out to be merely a spectator, too.

Mickelson built a six-shot lead over the world’s No. 1 player on the frontnine, then rallied to beat another familiar foe, Ernie Els , with two clutchputts for a one-shot victory in the final World Golf Championship of the year.

Mickelson closed with a 3-under 69 and won for the first time playing withWoods in the final group.

Even with Woods out of the picture—he shot 72 and wound up five shotsbehind—Mickelson provided his usual dose of entertainment.

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. fla…
AP - Nov 8, 6:57 am EST

Trailing by one shot, Mickelson whiffed on a risky flop shot below the 16thgreen, only to save par with perhaps his best putt of the year, an 18-footslider that dropped on its final turn. He followed that with a 10-foot birdie onthe 17th, which turned out to be the difference when Els hit into the water onthe par-5 18th and made bogey.

“We all expected that Tiger and myself would be shooting in the mid-60s andpull away a little bit,” Mickelson said. “And yet, our group was not makingany birdies. It was the groups in front of us. And I was very fortunate to comeout on top by a shot. But this feels terrific, because I had to fight very hardthroughout the day. Nothing came easy.”

That was particularly true for Woods.

He looked out of sorts from the start, missing birdie putts of 4 feet and 10feet, then taking double bogey on the par-3 fourth when he hit into a canal leftof the green where residents on the other side routinely dump their garbage.

Hearing a series of camera shutters in the middle of his swing on No. 7caused him to hit his tee shot into a plugged lie in the bunker, and it tookWoods three shots to cover the final 75 yards and reach the green for anotherbogey.

“Anything that could go wrong went wrong for me today,” Woods said. “Justone of those days.”

It ended with a wedge too strong that went down the bank and into the wateron the 18th, then having to wait for Mickelson to tap in for par and walk offthe green to affectionate applause.

In the last four times Woods has played in the final group dating to the PGAChampionship in August, he has won only once. And the last three times he andMickelson have played together in the final round, Lefty has come out on topevery time.

“I didn’t really envision shooting even par today,” Woods said. “The guystook it deep, and I didn’t.”

Mickelson finished at 17-under 271 and earned $1.2 million for his fourthvictory of the year, matching his career-best. And while the PGA Tour does notcount this World Golf Championship as official, it sure felt that way.

“It would be great if it would count, but it doesn’t take away from thefact that I beat 15 of the 20 best players in the world, and the gratifyingfeeling of having this trophy,” he said.

Mickelson became the fourth player to win multiple WGC events, and he joinedWoods as the only players to win two in one year. Mickelson also won the CAChampionship at Doral by one shot over Nick Watney , the other player in thefinal threesome Sunday. Watney, calm in the face of so many cameras and so muchmovement, birdied the last two holes for a 71 and finished fifth.

Els put together a stunning charge on a steamy afternoon, going out in 30 topull within one shot and taking the outright lead with a birdie on the par-514th. He was on the verge of a course record and his first victory in nearly 20months, leading by one with his tee shot smashed down the middle of the 18thfairway.

His was 218 yards away, his ball on a downslope. Els didn’t think 4-iron wasenough, and 3-iron might take him over the green and down the bank into thewater. The South African opted to hit a high cut with his 5-wood and “basicallyduffed it.”

It landed in the middle of the pond.

“But I can’t think about that,” said Els, who started the round sevenshots behind. “For me to come back all the way, to actually share the lead atthat point, was quite nice. I’m disappointed about that, but I’m going to reallythink about the 63 I shot.”

He had to settle for a share of the course record, matched earlier by RoryMcIlroy , who finished fourth, and Daisuke Maruyama . It was far more meaningfulto McIlroy, the 20-year-old from Northern Ireland who has finished among the topfive in six of his last seven tournaments to move to No. 2 in the Race to Dubaion the European Tour.

Ryan Moore , who only qualified for the HSBC Champions by winning his firstPGA Tour event in August, closed with a 68 to finish third, two shots behindMickelson. It should be enough to move him into the top 50 in the world.

“That’s my goal every tournament, even just going into the weekend, to justhave a chance to be in the mix of things,” Moore said. “And I did that thisweek.”

Mickelson has won the HSBC Champions twice in three years, while Woods hasyet to win. Even sweeter is playing with Woods, although Lefty didn’t realize itwas the first time he had won while playing with Woods in the last group.

“It always feels good to win any tournament, but certainly when you have achance to go head-to-head,” he said. “Although, I know he didn’t play his besttoday.”

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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.