Tom Watson 3 shots beind Funk at Senior British Open

By Associated PressJuly 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
Senior Open ChampionshipSUNNINGDALE, England ' Four days after his heart-rending playoff defeat to Stewart Cink at Turnberry, Tom Watson shot a 3-under 67 on Thursday to begin his pursuit of a fourth Senior British Open title.
 
The 59-year-old Watson, who almost became the oldest major champion at the British Open last weekend, was three shots behind leader Fred Funk.

Playing partners Greg Norman and Tom Watson posted opening-rounds of 67 Thursday at Sunningdale. (Getty Images)
Funk birdied five of his last eight holes, including holing a bunker shot at No. 17, for a 6-under 64 ' the lowest opening round in the history of the championship.
 
The first nine could have been three or four over, and the back could have been eight under, said Funk, who had a two-shot lead over fellow Americans Jay Haas and Loren Roberts, Des Smyth of Ireland and Christopher Williams of South Africa.
 
Watson was another stroke back and tied with Tom Kite, Jerry Bruner, Greg Norman of Australia and Sam Torrance of Scotland.
 
Bernhard Langer, who has two Champions Tour wins this year, opened with a 72.
 
Watson said he hadnt watched a replay of his missed putt on the final hole at Turnberry, an 8-footer for par that would have won him the claret jug.
 
I dont want to. That was the ugliest stroke in the world. I dont want to relive that thing, Watson said, before admitting he initially wanted to play it over again. Then I said, To heck with it. Thats history. Thats over and done with.
 
Asked if he had ever been in so much demand before, Watson replied: Frankly, no. Just the outpouring of people communicating with me ' Ive never had that happen before.
 
Watson was told that Norman, his playing partner Thursday who came close to winning last years British Open, had said people were offering congratulations and commiseration for the next 51 weeks.
 
I guess Ill have to be ready for that, Watson said.
 
Watson didnt look like any disappointment from the British Open carried over, starting 3 under after five holes and making two more birdies and two bogeys the rest of the way.
 
I made a few early putts maybe I shouldnt have made and I missed some I should have made, Watson said. I had birdie chances on the last four holes but didnt make them. It was a good score. Maybe it could have been better.
 
But I just heard this morning that a close friend at home has died of brain cancer. That puts this back in the right light.
 
Watson said messages from American servicemen he visited in Iraq years ago also had helped him deal with losing the British Open.
 
Watson birdied the long first at Sunningdale, then made a 10-footer to save par. He also made par at the third, despite hitting his tee shot into the rough, before birdies on the next two holes ' a 15-foot downhill putt and a 20-footer.
 
A heavy shower at the sixth changed the nature of the greens, and Watson struggled with his putting the rest of the round. He missed an 8-footer at the 13th ' the same distance he missed on the 72nd hole at Turnberry.
 
Im not very good on 8-footers right now, Watson joked.
 
Haas, who has won 12 times on the Champions Tour, was also shaky with his putter on the front nine. After three bogeys in seven holes, he did not drop any more shots.
 
To come back was a nice way to finish, Haas said. I felt I needed to shoot low to have a chance here.
 
Roberts, the 2006 winner at Turnberry, three-putted for bogey at 16 before making two birdies coming in.
 
To finish like that really made the day, he said.
 
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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.

    Getty Images

    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.