Westwood wins St Jude playoff as Garrigus falters

By Associated PressJune 14, 2010, 2:58 am

St. Jude Classic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Only eight men have won a PGA event the week before a major championship. No one has won on tour, then gone onto victory at a U.S. Open.

Lee Westwood now gets his chance to be the first do just that. He gave himself a chance to join the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson when he birdied the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff Sunday to beat Swede Robert Karlsson at the St. Jude Classic.

It was just the Englishman’s second PGA Tour victory and first since 1998 to go with his 20 career European Tour wins.

“I like being competitive before a major championship, to be competitive with the tournament and boost my confidence,” Westwood said.

He became the first European to win in Memphis in the tour’s third-longest event dating back to 1958. The opportunity to win came when Robert Garrigus blew a three-stroke lead on the 72nd hole of regulation with a triple-bogey to set up a three-way playoff. Garrigus bogeyed the first hole.

Westwood beat Karlsson with a 6-foot birdie putt after the Swede’s 43-footer came up short, then celebrated by dropping his putter and pumping his fist in the air. A nice win for someone who finished second at the Masters, lost a playoff in Dubai and tied for fourth at the Players Championship earlier this year.

“You try to do the right thing all the time,” Westwood said. “It doesn’t always work for you. I’ve been in contention a lot, especially this year, and I suppose I got a break today with other people’s misfortune but made the most of it and took a chance.”

He picked up the $1.008 million winner’s check for surviving the longest sudden-death playoff in Memphis’ history. He shot a final-round 68-270 total.

Westwood also became the fourth to win in his first visit to Memphis and first since Dicky Pride in 1994. He came in having played well, not missing a cut in his 10 starts on the PGA Tour this year with four top 10s. He had gone 122 starts on the PGA Tour since winning 1998 in New Orleans.

Karlsson, who won his ninth European Tour victory at Qatar earlier this year, still is looking for his first PGA title. He shot a 69, and Garrigus finished with a 71. Karlsson had a chance to win on the third playoff hole with a par putt from 5 1/2 feet only to miss.

“I didn’t hit a good putt. You can’t take any chances with too many good players,” Karlsson said.

Westwood started the final round trailing by three strokes, birdied three straight holes to grab the lead. But he bogeyed No. 17 after flying an 8-iron over the green. He was preparing to head off the course when told to stick around behind the 18th green.

“It’s amazing how things pan out,” Westwood said.

Now it’s onto Pebble Beach for Westwood who played 45 holes combined a week ago before heading to Memphis on a sponsor’s exemption. Westwood plans to rest up a bit before Thursday’s tee-time with Ernie Els and Woods after slogging through a heat index that reached 110 Sunday.

But he will be working on hitting his driver and woods a bit too after often hitting right into the rough, including on No. 17 where he flew an 8-iron over the green. He said he didn’t make a big enough shoulder turn.

“You never stop working, even after a win,” Westwood 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.

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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.