Roland Thatcher takes 4-shot lead at Disney

By Associated PressNovember 13, 2010, 3:45 am
ChildrenLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Roland Thatcher eased through the toughest of the two courses in the second round of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic on Friday, shooting a 9-under 63 to take a four-shot lead over Chris Stroud and Brian Gay.

It also put him a lot closer to securing a PGA Tour card for next season.

Thatcher began the week 179th on the money list, and needs to finish alone in second place to vault into the top 125 – the cutoff for full status next year. Nos. 126-150 will get conditional status.

“Pun intended, I wouldn’t mind being referred to as Cinderella for the week,” he said.

Players swap between the Magnolia and Palm courses in the first two rounds. Only the Magnolia Course, about 500 yards longer with more undulating greens, is used on the weekend.

Thatcher got a head start.

He hit 15 of 18 greens and had only 23 putts on the Magnolia. About the only hiccup in his round – and it wasn’t much of one – came when he missed a 17-foot putt for eagle on the 10th hole.

“There really wasn’t many opportunities for me to make much lower than what I did as far as the round went,” Thatcher said. “It was as low as it could go.”

Thatcher wasn’t the only one on the leaderboard fighting for a tour card.

Stroud was the first-round leader, three shots ahead of Thatcher, but with far less pressure. At 119th on money list, Stroud merely needed to avoid missing the cut to maintain full status. He followed up his good start with a wild second-round 70 complete with seven birdies and five bogeys.

Gay (65) is 59th on the money list.

Three others who began barely inside the top 125 – Joe Durant (120), Woody Austin (123) and Michael Allen (124) – missed the cut. Durant should be safe, but Austin and Allen are in danger of falling out.

Not only can Stroud rest easy, he can challenge for a victory.

“I’m safe now,” Stroud said. “To be honest, in my position, I was still quite a bit nervous coming into this week. I told my wife, I said, ‘I’m still playing like I’m 135 on the money list.”’

There also was a scintillating subplot surfacing.

The $1 million Kodak Challenge is all even after Rickie Fowler birdied No. 17 on the Magnolia course to pull into a tie with Troy Merritt and Aaron Baddeley. The contest designates a hole at 30 tournaments and keeps score throughout the year.

“I think we’ll have a lot of fun on the weekend with it,” said Fowler, tied for 11th at 8 under after a 70.

For everyone else, they’re merely trying to catch a player who has everything at stake.

One of the longest of long shots at the season finale, Thatcher already signed up for the second stage of qualifying school near Houston next week. All Disney was supposed to provide was some momentum.

Now it might be a tour card.

Thatcher, whose only top-10 finish this year came in New Orleans, has never had a 36-hole lead on tour and his best ever was a 61 at Mayakoba in 2008. But he still has a ways to go to complete the dream weekend.

Even if he tied for second, he’d be about $40,000 short of earning full status.

“I don’t think it was unreasonable for me to walk into the week and say I just want to catch something better for next week,” Thatcher said. “I think that was a realistic goal, getting four rounds in and getting some things working in the right direction to where when I tee it up next week at second stage, I was going to be as prepared as I was going to be.

“My goals have changed quite a bit,” he continued. “I’m hoping to have a nice long off season and start the year early next year.”

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm