Pair share early lead at Ginn sur Mer

By Associated PressOctober 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ginn sur Mer ClassicPALM COAST, Fla. ' Kent Jones recovered from a tee shot in the rough to birdie the 18th hole Thursday for a 7-under 65, giving him a share of the lead with rookie Michael Letzig in the first round of the Ginn sur Mer Classic.
 
They had a two-shot margin over Ryan Palmer, who birdied three of his first five holes and eased his way to a 67.
 
Jones and Letzig played college golf at New Mexico a decade apart, but thats where the similarities end.
 
Letzig, who had never played a PGA Tour event in his life until earning his card last year through the Nationwide Tour, is 109th on the money list and is in good shape to keep his job for next year.
 
Jones has spent most of his 10-year career around the 125th spot on the money list'the cutoff for keeping his card'and he arrived at the Ginn Ocean Hammock Resort at No. 179.
 
He hacked out of waist-high native grass with a 5-iron into a fairway bunker on the par-5 18th hole, then hit 6-iron into 6 feet for an unlikely birdie that gave him a share of the lead.
 
That was my best round of the year, but thats not saying much, Jones said. I played very solid. For some reason, I seem to play better in the fall. I would like to play better earlier in the year and not put this pressure on myself, but I cant think about that.
 
Letzig, who has no such worries, made six of his birdies from outside 20 feet and matched Jones with a bogey-free round.
 
It was all putting, Letzig said. I pretty much secured my card last week, so theres no pressure. Its been a lot of stress all year, with a lot of middle-of-the-field finishes but the pressure is off and Im kind of keeping relaxed out there.
 
Cameron Beckman, who won in Arizona last week to earn a two-year exemption on tour, kept right on rolling with birdies on two of his last three holes for a 4-under 68 to join a group that included James Driscoll, Tom Scherrer and Robert Allenby, who at No. 30 in the world is the highest-ranked player at the Ginn sur Mer Classic.
 
Vaughn Taylor, at No. 129 on the money list, was in a group at 69.
 
Jeff Overton, playing only a week after an emergency appendectomy because he has fallen to No. 126 on the money list, got off to a strong start before he settled for a 71.
 
Driscoll had his own medical issues, playing the last eight holes with a gash in his thumb after a tee split when he was using it to repair a pitch mark on the 11th green.
 
A sliver of the tee impaled itself in his thumb, but he removed it and made a 20-foot birdie putt while still dripping blood. He bandaged the wound and kept going, closing with seven pars while missing only one green and no fairways.
 
These greens are hard, he said. It was nasty. But I taped it up, and it was fine.
 
Defending champion Daniel Chopra, who won last year in south Florida, had two double bogeys for an 81. He wasnt the only one to had a tough day on the Conservatory Course. Davis Love III, coming off eight consecutive rounds in the 60s, had a 75.
 
Patrick Sheehan, holding down the 125th spot on the money list, opened with a 74.
 

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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.