Pettersson wins RBC Heritage by 5 strokes

By Associated PressApril 15, 2012, 11:39 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Save the fitness trailer for the rest of the PGA Tour. Carl Petterson knows he's fine the way he is.

Petterson used another fast start for a 2-under 69 and a five-shot victory over Zach Johnson on Sunday at the RBC Heritage. Pettersson has never fit the tapered, powerful build made popular by Tiger Woods and copied by scores of young players.

The one time the 34-year-old Pettersson did slim down and lost 30 pounds, he also lost his winning golf swing.

''Ultimately, just cause you don't look like an athlete doesn't mean you're not an athlete,'' Pettersson said. ''We're not running a marathon out here. We're walking 18 holes.''

And no one walked them better this week at Harbour Town Golf Links than Pettersson. He finished at 14 under to win his fifth Tour title and first since 2010. Pettersson also tied countryman Jesper Parnevik for most ever on Tour by a Swedish player.

''It was great,'' said Pettersson, now a U.S. citizen. ''I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself, so I kind of downplayed the whole thing.

But getting off to a birdie on one was great.''

Pettersson, second in the Houston Open two weeks ago, earned $1,026,000.

Top-ranked Luke Donald needed to finish eighth or better to retain his ranking but tied for 37th and will fall behind Rory McIlroy.

Johnson shot a 70 to finish second at 9 under, while Colt Knost's chances for his first Tour title fell apart with a 74. He was third at 8 under.

Kevin Stadler (68) and Billy Mayfair (69) tied for fourth at 6 under. Two-time Heritage winner Boo Weekley had his worst round of the week, 73, to tie for sixth with Matt Bettencourt (69).

Masters winner Bubba Watson and most of the world's best took the week off to recover from the year's first major.

No one, though, was catching Pettersson in this one. He rolled in a 24-footer on No. 1 to get things started with a birdie. He added another birdie from 16 feet on the par-3 fourth hole, then two-putted from 40 feet on the par-5 fifth to go up by four shots. When Johnson took bogey at No. 10, Pettersson was five strokes in front and cruising.

Pettersson used a run of five straight birdies on the front side Saturday to gain the lead. He was 13 under on the front nine the four days.

''I like all the holes,'' he said. ''I don't have one hole on the front nine where I feel awkward over the tee shot or second shot.''

He also didn't feel too bad on the greens, needing just 104 putts over 72 holes.

Knost was on top after Thursday and Friday and felt good as part of the final pairing. But those nerves Knost acknowledged Saturday were apparently back again in the final round.

He missed an 8-foot putt for par and made bogey on No. 1 for a second straight round to drop three shots behind Pettersson. And just like Saturday, Knost fought back with a birdie on the second hole - he made eagle there in the third round - to close in on Pettersson.

Knost's chances ended, though, a hole later with a horrible drive out of bounds left on No. 3 that led to a triple-bogey seven and left him five shots behind and out of contention.

When Knost flew his approach to the 12th green way left, he simply stood in the fairway and stared straight ahead, hands on hips, in disbelief.''I hit it good this weekend, but the one swing (on No. 3) got me in trouble,'' Knost said. ''I made 7, and that was kind of it.''

Pettersson didn't let Knost's troubles affect his focus.

''He had a tough time out there,'' Pettersson said. ''But there were still other guys with a chance.''

Johnson, four strokes behind Pettersson at the start, tried to make a charge with birdies on the second, fourth and fifth holes. Johnson closed to three shots when he birdied No. 15, and Pettersson had his first bogey of the day moments later.

But Johnson ran out of steam on the 16th hole, when he drove into a waste bunker and took bogey. Still, it was Johnson's best showing of the year and first top-10 finish since January.

''There were a couple of bumps along the road but a lot of positives,'' Johnson said. ''Certainly some things that I can learn from.''

Donald was largely resigned to surrendering No. 1 when he woke up early for his 9:46 a.m. start time, more than four hours before the final group of Pettersson and Knost teed off.

Donald's round began badly with a double bogey at No. 1. He worked his way back with birdies on the fifth and sixth holes, and that's where he stayed. Donald ended a four-week run at No. 1 that began after he won the Transitions Championship last month.

He said he's proved he's among the world's best and is confident he'll stay in that conversation, no matter where he's ranked. ''Now, my focus is winning tournaments,'' he said.

Donald headed the list of four golfers among the top 20 who followed the Masters with Harbour Town. World No. 13 Webb Simpson finished at 4 over, while No. 14 Matt Kuchar, two strokes from the playoff in third at Augusta National, also was way off the pace at 3 over. No. 18 Bill Haas did not make the cut.

Pettersson's last victory came at the RBC Canadian Open in 2010, and this win was likely just as popular with first-year Heritage sponsor Royal Bank of Canada. The financial institution, along with the Boeing Co., stepped in last June to back the cash-strapped event, which was in danger of disappearing without such support.

Pettersson remembers in 2009 feeling like he needed to trim down to play better. He worked out more, ate right, dropped 30 pounds - and couldn't swing the club. He vowed to beef up and rediscover his game. The regimen?

''Well, you drink 10 beers and (eat) a tub of ice cream before bed,'' Pettersson said. ''That puts it on quickly.''

Comfortable in his skin again, Pettersson went to work on his game. Things perked up this season with a second-place finish at the Sony Open in January and the showing in Houston earlier this month. ''It's fun to play again, and I kept the weight on,'' he said.

With a win under his belt, Pettersson doesn't expect to change anything, even his (lack of) fitness routine.

''Maybe,'' Pettersson says, ''some of these guys are overdoing it.''

Divots: Sean O'Hair played by himself as Sunday's first tee time and finished a 2-over 73 in one hour, 55 minutes. ... 2010 champion Jim Furyk was a stroke off the lead Thursday with an opening 68. Furyk was only able to improve one stroke the final 54 holes, which was good enough to tie for eighth, his sixth top 10 here in the last nine appearances. ... Brian Harman, a 25-year-old pro from nearby Savannah, Ga., had a horrible final eight holes during his round of 82. Harman had four bogeys, two double bogeys and a triple bogey during that stretch.

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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.