Notes Last in the field Holmes moving on

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2011, 6:10 am
2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayMARANA, Ariz. – J.B. Holmes was the last man to get in the Match Play Championship. He was one of the first to reach the second round.

In the field as an alternate when Tim Clark withdrew Tuesday because of an elbow injury, Holmes beat Camilo Villegas, 4 and 2, on Wednesday at Dove Mountain.

Holmes got about 4 1/2 hours of sleep after going to bed at 1 a.m. following a flight delay out of Orlando, Fla., and missed connection in Dallas.

“I felt alright, actually,” Holmes said. “I woke up and didn’t feel too bad. I went out and knew it wasn’t going to be an all-day thing. I knew I could take a nap.”

He eagled the 573-yard, par-5 13th to take a 3-up lead, hitting a 372-yard drive.

“It was like, 356 to the bunker out there. I think I flew it,” Holmes said. “I hit it really good. I looked at my caddie and I said, ‘I killed that.”’

Holmes, playing the course for the first time, ended the match with a birdie on the par-3 16th, then played 17 and 18 by himself to get a look at the holes.

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“I didn’t know if I could until I asked the rules official,” Holmes said.

He had an awkward moment on the par-4 ninth when he hit his approach before Ernie Els and Jeff Overton finished the hole.

Play was delayed for Overton to get a ruling, leading Holmes – facing a blind shot on the uphill hole – to believe the green had cleared. Overton had just chipped on and Els had a chip left when Holmes’ approach landed in the middle of the green, well short of where Els was standing.

“Nobody saw them,” Holmes said. “There was a flag in. Nobody, anywhere. I mean, Camilo, his caddie, my caddie didn’t see him. It looked like there was nobody up there for a long time. … So, whenever they get done, I want to apologize to them for sure.”

He’ll be able to do that Thursday when he faces Els, a 19-hole winner.

“I think this course suits J.B. Holmes to a tee,” Els said.

ON THE CLOCK: The opening match between Stewart Cink and 2010 winner Ian Poulter was excruciatingly slow – just over 4 hours for them to complete 18 holes, which is unusual for a twosome in match play.

Both made double bogey on the par-3 sixth, which didn’t help.

It was on the next hole that rules official Stephen Cox drove up in a cart and asked them to speed along. As tense as the atmosphere can be in match play, Cox delivered a great line when he approached Poulter.

“Look, I realize you’ve both taken a trip to In-N-Out for a double-double, but I’d appreciate it if you would pick up the pace,” Cox said as Poulter looked at him and grinned.

It didn’t help. By the next hole, Cox began timing them.

For the Match Play Championship, players are given two warnings for bad times. On the third bad time, it’s loss of a hole.

Neither was penalized in the match, which Cink won on the 19th hole.

AHEAD GAME: Jason Day did his best to get a leg up on K.T. Kim.

“I made the choice to walk in front of him all the time, to be in front of him, just to show him that I was there, show him that I’m still around, instead of walking behind him and him being in front,” said Day, a 3-and-2 winner.

“So, it was a little bit of a tactic to say, ‘I’m still here, I’m still going to fight and I’m going to try and win as good as I could.”’

The Australian showed his match savvy on the par-4 opening hole, switching to an iron and splitting the fairway after Kim hit a fairway metal into trouble.

“If someone hits it in the rubbish, you’ve just got to take the risk versus reward,” Day said. “If you want to go for it and hit driver, you can. But if you want to lay up and try to put some pressure on him, then that’s it.”

Day, seeded 38th, will face sixth-seeded Paul Casey on Thursday. Casey, the runner-up the last two years, beat Richard Green in 19 holes.

FRIENDLY RIVALS: Torrey Pines winner Bubba Watson beat good friend Bill Haas, 3 and 2, to set up a second-round match against Mark Wilson.

“The sad thing is I had breakfast with Bill Haas and his fiance. And then we had to go out and play each other,” Watson said. “It’s sad having to beat a friend. It’s different. You feel bad. But I played great and somehow came around with the victory.

“We were just talking about they are about to get married. How many people are in their wedding party and stuff like that. Just small talk. Then he gets up to go warm up. I’m like, ‘I’ll see you in a little bit.”’

Wilson, the Sony Open and Phoenix Open champion, beat Dustin Johnson in 19 holes.

DIVOTS: Steve Stricker, celebrating his 44th birthday, fell 2 and 1 to 17-year-old Matteo Manassero. … The first-round losers received $45,000. Second-round losers will get $95,000.

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.

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Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.