Pak grabs solo lead at Bell Micro LPGA

By Associated PressMay 15, 2010, 4:53 am

LPGA Tour _newMOBILE, Ala. – Se Ri Pak shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Brittany Lincicome and Wendy Ward after Friday’s second round of the Bell Micro LPGA Classic.

Pak had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on her final nine holes to move her to 9-under 135 after two rounds on The Crossings course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Magnolia Grove complex.

Pak won events on the course in 2001 and 2002.

“I have such a great memory about it,” Pak said. “I play really well and the scores are really low, too. That helps a lot.

“I know so many holes, where to miss, how to play, how to make the shot. That actually helps a lot, especially during this week.”

Se Ri Pak swings at Bell Micro ClassicWard had the low round with a 65, six strokes better than her opener.

Lincicome got off to a fast start with birdies on six of her opening seven holes, but had a finishing bogey for a 66.

First-round leader Azahara Munoz was in a group of four players three strokes back after a double bogey on No. 17 and a 73.

Pak is pushing $11 million in career earnings but hasn’t finished better than 15th in her first five events of 2010 or won since the 2007 Owens Corning Classic. She withdrew from the Tres Marias Championship in Mexico two weeks ago after an opening 84.

“I really have been struggling on the green, but golf is a patient game so I’m kind of patient myself and keep working exactly the same thing and change a little bit of routine,” Pak said. “Finally, I make some putts here and there and then (that) gets me my feel back and then I have a lot of confidence back. And then of course I have a great chance.”

Ward, a 15-year veteran who turned 37 last week, took a more dramatic step after a slow start in 2010. She turned to Lori Brock, her coach of about 10 years ago to jump-start her game. They reunited before the tournament in Mexico.

“It’s simple again,” said Ward, who birdied the final two holes. “It’s fun and it’s simple and that’s the way this game needs to be.”

The long-driving Lincicome rapidly climbed the leaderboard with her fast start.

“I did really good on that nine (Thursday), so there’s definitely something about that nine that I like,” said Lincicome. “I made every putt that I looked at. I had about 10-footers every hole and I just rolled them in like they’re nothing.”

Lincicome lost a share of the lead with a finishing bogey after her approach shot from the fringe of the trees left of the fairway overshot the green. Then she two-putted from about 25 feet.

“I was driving it really well until that last hole,” Lincicome said. “I’m not really sure where that came from. I was a little nervous knowing I was near the top.”

Jiyai Shin, who took over the world No. 1 for the retired Lorena Ochoa, was five strokes behind Pak after her second straight 70. Japanese star Ai Miyazato, coming off her third win in the first five events of the season, was another shot back after a 71.

Michelle Wie made the cut by a stroke, following her opening 72 with a 73.

Many of the players wore purple ribbons and wristbands with “EB” and a heart honoring Erica Blasberg, a 25-year-old tour player who was found dead in suburban Las Vegas on Sunday. The flag was at half-staff.

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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.