Oosthuizen takes Houston lead as Els fades

By Associated PressApril 1, 2012, 12:54 am

HUMBLE, Texas — Louis Oosthuizen took a moment at Redstone on Saturday to take in the view of the golf course backlit by the setting sun.

The rest of the day, he was all business.

The 29-year-old South African shot his second straight 6-under 66 to reach 17 under and take a two-shot lead over Hunter Mahan after the third round of the Houston Open.

Carl Pettersson (67) and Brian Davis (69) were three strokes back at 14 under. James Driscoll (71) was alone at 12 under. Defending champion Phil Mickelson (70), Keegan Bradley (69) and Ryan Palmer (66) were 11 under.

“It’s a great leaderboard behind me,” Oosthuizen said. “It’s going to be tough, but I feel like I’m ready for it.”

Oosthuizen shook off two early bogeys on a sunny, windy afternoon at Redstone. He reeled off four straight birdies on the back nine, and in the midst of his streak, Oosthuizen enjoyed some of the natural scenery.

“It was such a beautiful back nine, really, with the weather and the sun dropping,” Oosthuizen said. “Such a nice place out there, which was good, and (I) just felt when we turned on 15, I was playing down the sun and the course looked spectacular.”

Mahan had a 65, which included four birdie putts of at least 23 feet. He sank a 23-footer on No. 5, a 34-footer on No. 6, and 28-footers on Nos. 10 and 14.

“That was a nice stretch there,” Mahan said. “I easily could’ve gone through there even, instead of a couple under like I did.”

Mahan doesn’t feel quite as locked in as he did when he won the Match Play Championship earlier this year, but he still feels confident heading to next week’s Masters. But Mahan has three top-10 finishes in Houston since 2007, and never considered bypassing this week’s event to get to Augusta early.

“I thought about it for about a second,” Mahan said. “But this is a place I’ve played well at, so I want to play well here and try to win here. I really didn’t want to pass this tournament up. Augusta will take care of itself.”

Three-time major champion Ernie Els, who must win to qualify for the Masters next week, was in a group at 8 under. Els hasn’t missed the Masters since 1993 and knew that his chances of winning Sunday are remote.

“I needed to get to 10 or 11 under to really have a shot,” Els said. “I need a 62 or 63. It’s tough to do on a Sunday, but you might as well give it a go.”

The tournament’s schedule was pushed back by a thunderstorm Thursday, and 70 players resumed their second rounds Saturday morning.

Oosthuizen completed a 66 to move to 11 under, one behind second-round leader Jeff Maggert. Oosthuizen started his third round with a tee shot into a fairway bunker, leading to a bogey, then misjudged the wind off the tee on No. 2 and bogeyed again.

The 2010 British Open winner sank an 11-foot birdie putt on No. 6 to get rolling, then made birdies at Nos. 8 and 9 to make the turn at 12 under.

“After that, I felt really comfortable,” Oosthuizen said. “I made really good swings after that.”

Ninety players made the 36-hole cut at 2 under or better. It was the most players to survive the 36-hole cut in a non-major since 91 made it at the 1981 Travelers Championship.

Another cut was made after the third round, leaving 70 players in the field for Sunday.

Mickelson shot a 65 in the final round last year to win by three strokes, and he thinks the course is ripe for someone to go very low again this year.

“I’ll be going after it, really firing at pins and putting aggressively and having them go in at a little more pace,” Mickelson said. “I think there’s a really hot round out there.”

Maggert missed five straight cuts coming into this week. Playing in calm, cloudy conditions on Saturday morning, Maggert finished his second straight 66 to surge to 12 under. He faded to a 76 in the afternoon to drop to 8 under.

Fred Couples, who played at the University of Houston and won on the Champions Tour last week, made the 36-hole cut in Houston for the 19th consecutive time. He shot a 71 in the third round and was 5 under.

Former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara were in the gallery in the afternoon, traveling between holes on a golf cart. The Bushes live in Houston and frequently attend sporting events around the city.

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.