Westwood co-leads Scottish Open; Donald two back

By Associated PressJuly 7, 2011, 1:28 pm

INVERNESS, Scotland – Lee Westwood and tour newcomer Mark Tullo of Chile shot 7-under 65s on Thursday to share the lead after the first round of the Scottish Open.

Westwood made six birdies and an eagle in the warmup event before next week’s British Open. A bogey at the 16th hole was his only setback.

With a win at the new links course at Castle Stuart, the second-ranked Westwood would regain the No. 1 ranking held by fellow Englishman Luke Donald.

Tullo, ranked No. 232 and in his first season on the European Tour, birdied his first four holes and then five of the back nine to join Westwood atop the leaderboard.

George Coetzee of South Africa, Peter Hanson of Sweden and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark are three strokes behind the leaders.

“I like playing the week before a major because I like being competitive and the aggression of making putts when you have to make them,” Westwood said. “The more pressure I’m under this week the better, I think.”

Westwood and Tullo took advantage of the better conditions in the morning, with a moderate wind picking up slightly in the afternoon. Of the leading five players, only Olesen teed off after midday.

Among those at 5-under 67 were Donald, defending champion Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie, who needs a top five finish to have a chance at the one available qualifying spot for the British Open for the leading nonexempt player.

“It’s a tournament I’ve loved – and finished second in – and I want to play again in it, I really do,” Montgomerie said of his attempt to make his 22nd straight Open.

Sixth-ranked Phil Mickelson posted a 1-over 73, leaving the American an uphill task to end his tournament drought in Britain. Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open winner, and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington both shot 69s in the afternoon.

Westwood hasn’t finished outside the top 11 in his last five events – including The Masters and U.S. Open – and he continued his superb form with a near-flawless round starting on the back nine.

He added to an early birdie with a burst of birdie-eagle-birdie around the turn, before a chance meeting with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson – who was in the crowd watching his home tournament – moments after going 6 under at the 12th. Westwood picked up two more shots over the next three holes before his only bogey.

His eagle came after a second shot within four feet of the pin at the 607-yard 18th hole.

“When I play well, I’m in contention now. When I don’t play well, it seems to be that I still finish in the top 20,” Westwood said.

Donald, playing with Montgomerie, was at par after 10 holes but a run of five birdies in his closing eight lifted him up the leaderboard.

“Tee to green, I was pretty solid, and I caught fire a little bit on my last nine holes. It was nice to finish as strong as I did. I stayed patient,” Donald said.

Mickelson went 2 under with a birdie on the 10th but his trademark short game let him down on the 14th, where he made a double bogey.

“That derailed the round. It was a great day for scoring and I thought the course played terrific. I played reasonably well but I was disappointed with the way I scored,” said Mickelson, who is already eight shots off the pace.

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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.