Song Johnson advance to US Womens Am final
The 19-year-old Song, the U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links winner in June and low amateur last month in the U.S. Womens Open, will face Jennifer Johnson on Sunday in the 36-hole final at Old Warson. Johnson beat 14-year-old Alexis Thompson 1-up.
Pearl Sinn is the only woman to win two USGA titles in a year, taking the 1988 Womens Amateur and Womens Amateur Public Links. Five men have accomplished the feat.
I am so excited, said Song, coming off her freshman year at Southern California. Being given this chance to play in the finals is just a great honor for me.
Song, from Ann Arbor, Mich., never trailed against the 18-year-old Lua, an incoming UCLA freshman from Rowland Heights, Calif., in hot and breezy conditions on the 6,468-yard, par-71 layout.
Today was really tough, Song said. Tiffany was playing very solidly. Her shots were very straight to me and it seemed like she would never make any mistakes.
So I had to go through all of this emotional, mental and physical stress, like I had to be patient and tell myself that, you know, Jennifer, keep doing what youre doing and youll be fine.
The 17-year-old Johnson, an incoming freshman at Arizona State, hasnt trailed through five matches and 76 holes.
Its just really exciting, said Johnson, from La Quinta, Calif. I just cant believe it. You know, tomorrow is going to be a long day and theres a lot of golf, so Ive just got to be patient and not think about the outcome so much, because that can get in the way.
She had a 3-up advantage after 15 holes, but Thompson, the 2008 U.S. Girls Junior champion, won the next two holes with birdies, holding a 35-footer on the par-5 16th and a 25-foot putt on the par-3 17th.
Thompsons putter betrayed her on No. 18. After Johnson missed a 12-foot par putt, Thompson had a chance from 10 feet to win the hole and extend the match, but the putt went right and Johnson escaped with the victory.
I ended up not making the one that I needed to make, said Thompson, who was trying to become the youngest Womens Amateur winner in history and the seventh to claim both the Girls Junior and Womens Amateur titles.
McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School
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
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.
Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4
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
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."
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.