Notes: Ultimate consolation for Stanley; Oosthuizen's secret

By Associated PressJuly 11, 2011, 11:53 pm

SANDWICH, England – Kyle Stanley was feeling better Monday. He might have been denied his first PGA Tour victory, but he got quite a consolation prize.

Stanley arrived at Royal St. George’s after an overnight flight from the United States, eager to play in his first major championship as a professional.

He earned the British Open spot with a runner-up finish Sunday in the John Deere Championship, making up for the disappointment of squandering a two-stroke lead over the final two holes.

“I’m feeling good,” Stanley said after getting in 11 holes of practice, followed by a session on the putting and chipping greens. “There’s a lot of positives that came out of the last four days.”

The biggest one of all was getting to play in the British Open. Stanley didn’t learn he was in until he had signed his scorecard.

“I thought I had to win,” Stanley said. “But it’s a nice consolation. Any time you earn your way into a major, that’s a good thing.”

Steve Stricker won the Deere for the third year in a row with an amazing finish on No. 18. From the lip of a greenside bunker, he pulled off a shot that landed about 25 feet from the flag, just off the green. Then he made the birdie putt to beat Stanley, who took a bogey at the final hole.

The 23-year-old Stanley qualified twice for the U.S. Open as an amateur, but this feels different. He’s a pro now, a guy who has shown he can be a contender even though he has limited experience at links golf.

“I’ve played it a little bit,” he said. “It’s a lot of instinct, a lot of feel.”

HAPPY TO BE HERE: Anthony Kim missed the cut in the AT&T National and set aside the next two weeks to work on his game in what has been the worst season of his young career. His plan was to go to Michigan this week to spend time with his swing coach, Adam Schriber.

Instead, he spent Monday playing a practice round at Royal St. George’s. Kim got into the field as an alternate when Tim Clark withdrew, and he hopes to make the most of it.

“I wasn’t sure I would be here after the stretch I’ve had,” said Kim, who has only one top 10 this year and has missed the cut a career-high eight times. “I’ve just had one or two bad swings that prohibits me from going forward. I was going to Michigan this week, but any time you get a chance in a major, you want to be there.”

Kim said he is tired of getting the same questions – “What’s wrong with your game?” – and giving the same answers.

“I know I’ve said this before, but I feel like my game is coming around,” he said. “To put it mildly, it’s been a frustrating year. I finished sixth at Torrey Pines, and that was a joke. I putted that week like it was a video game – I made everything. And I played OK in Houston. I was like 13th, but at that point, any time I played on Saturday and Sunday, that was good for me.”

The biggest change for Kim is his hair. He hasn’t cut it since January, and he’s hard to recognize.

“I’m going to let it grow long enough where I can do something crazy,” he said. “You’ll just have to wait.”

FOLLOW THE RED DOT: When Louis Oosthuizen blew away the field in last year’s British Open, he gave credit to a small red dot on his glove.

He might break it out again at Royal St. George’s.

Oosthuizen used the dot to improve his focus, and it sure worked on the way to a dominating victory at St. Andrews. He’s employed the technique off-and-on since then.

“Some weeks I feel like I’m wandering out there again and I do use it,” he said. “I haven’t lately, but you get in a few days where you’re struggling just getting into the moment, and you might see it back on the glove.”

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McCoy earns medalist honors at 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 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 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 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.