Nielsen Ties Record in Taking Lead

By Associated PressJune 30, 2007, 4:00 pm
Champions TourEAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- Lonnie Nielsen had a stretch of five birdies in seven holes on the back nine Saturday and his 7-under 64 gave him a record-tying three-stroke lead over Tom McKnight after two rounds of the Commerce Bank Championship.
 
Nielsen, who didn't win in his five years on the PGA TOUR or in his five seasons on the Champions Tour, had a 12-under 130 total after 36 holes on the 7,011-yard Red Course at Eisenhower Park.
 
The three-shot lead matches the tournament record set by Bruce Fleisher in 1999 and 2000, and matched by Jay Sigel in 2001.
 
Sigel, who at 63 years, 7 months would become the tour's oldest winner, and defending champion John Harris were tied for third at 134.
 
Nielsen started the day in third place, two strokes behind Loren Roberts and one behind Eduardo Romero. His round didn't get off to a great start as he bogeyed the par-3 2nd, but he birdied the next hole, a par-5, and added two more on the front side, including a 40-foot putt on the par-4 6th.
 
He began his back-nine birdie binges with a 15-foot putt at No. 11 and added others on 12, 14, 15 an 17, the last a two-putt from the fringe on the par-5 17th.
 
Nielsen, who turned 54 on Friday, had a successful amateur career and won 32 titles in lower level PGA events, including the New York State Open in 1985 and 1989.
 
McKnight, a longtime amateur who turned professional for the second time in 2001, had a bogey-free 66. Like Nielsen, he has one top 10 finish this season.
 
Sigel, one of the most successful amateurs ever, has been battling various injuries the last few years, and his 66 left him a position for a third straight top 10 finish.
 
Harris, who beat Tom Jenkins in a one-hole playoff here last year for his first Champions win, had a 67.
 
Roberts, who opened with a 64, had a second-round 71 and was tied at 135 with R.W. Eaks (66), David Edwards (67), Bob Gilder (67) and Brad Bryant (68). Romero also had a par round of 71 Saturday and was at 136 with Bruce Summerhays (65) and Curtis Strange (68).
 
Jay Haas, the winner of the tour's last tournaments and a four-time winner this year, had a 72 and was at 139.
 
Divots:
The winner gets $225,000 from the total purse of $1.5 million. ... Fleisher won both times he had a three-stroke lead entering the final round and Sigel finished in a tie for fourth. ... Nielsen was two strokes of the best 36-hole score in tournament history, a 128 by Jim Thorpe in 2003. ... Mike Fetchick won the Hilton Head Seniors Invitational in 1985 on his 63rd birthday, the oldest tournament champion.
 
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


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    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


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