Noren leads Scottish Open by two shots

By Associated PressJuly 9, 2016, 7:31 pm

INVERNESS, Scotland - Alex Noren of Sweden birdied the last two holes to extend his lead to two shots at the Scottish Open on Saturday after a third round that ended in heavy rain at the Castle Stuart links.

Noren shot a 4-under 68 to move to 12-under 204, two clear of Tyrrell Hatton of England (66) and Matteo Manassero of Italy (68).

The top 15 players are separated by six shots in the last event before the British Open at Royal Troon next week. With the weather turning nasty for the final few hours of the third round, this could be good preparation for the third major of the year.

Noren - the second-round leader by a shot - defied the conditions by hitting a 219-yard tee shot to 3 feet at No. 17 and then getting up and down at the par-5 18th for another birdie.



''I'm really satisfied because it was one of the toughest days this year,'' said Noren, who is seeking the fifth European Tour victory of his career.

''I'm hoping for better weather (on Sunday) so it's not a grind.''

Manassero kept up his resurgence to stay in with a good chance of winning his first event in more than three years, since the BMW PGA Championship in 2013. That victory lifted him to No. 25 in the rankings but the one-time prodigy arrived in northern Scotland ranked No. 596.

After birdies at Nos. 1 and 2 and an eagle at No. 6, Manassero wound up taking the lead thanks to a run of three birdies on Nos. 14-16, including chipping in from just off the green at the 15th. A bogey at No. 17 and a missed short birdie putt at the last dropped him behind Noren, just as the Swede was making his strong finish.

Justin Walters, among the earlier starters when the sun was out and the wind wasn't so strong, shot 65 to tie for the lowest round of the day and share fourth place with Danny Lee (70).

Former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell was in a two-way tie for sixth place after a 69, which included four birdies in his last eight holes as the weather turned.

''When the weather got bad, I managed to dig in and get some birdies,'' McDowell said. ''This is great preparation for next week.''

Phil Mickelson shot 70 and is 11 strokes behind Noren.

Four places in the British Open are available for those not already qualified and who finish in the top 12 plus ties. Hatton, Manassero, Walters and Romain Wattel would currently qualify.

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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.