Wie eyes another win

By Associated PressSeptember 10, 2010, 2:45 am

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ROGERS, Ark. – With a pair of wins in the last 11 months, Michelle Wie is finally turning potential into success.

This week, the big-hitting former prodigy will try for her second straight LPGA Tour victory, part of a loaded field at the P&G NW Arkansas Championship. The 54-hole event begins Friday and also includes money leader Jiyai Shin, the defending champion, and world No. 1 Ai Miyazato.

In fact, 14 of the top 15 players in the Rolex rankings are entered, with only 10th-ranked Paula Creamer (thumb injury) missing. Wie, ranked No. 7, is coming off a victory late last month in the Canadian Women’s Open.

“I felt like it was a frustrating season for me so far because I felt like I played a lot better than what my scores were,” Wie said. “I guess that happens when you win it – everything just kind of falls into place, and hopefully it will happen again this week. … I see all the top players are here. I think it’s really great for the tournament.”

Wie has made all but two cuts since the start of 2009, her official rookie season, and she earned her first career victory in November at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

She won in Canada by three strokes – her 12th top-10 finish in the last two seasons.

Last year in Arkansas, outlasting Angela Stanford and Sun Young Yoo in a sudden-death playoff. This is the fourth year for th4 event at Pinnacle Country Club, and with nothing else on the LPGA Tour schedule until Oct. 7, the sport’s top players have come to northwest Arkansas for the $2 million tournament, which is presented by Wal-Mart.

“First off, it’s a great purse and a great sponsor in P&G, and you know, great golf course and area, and those are all the things that you look for for a major golf tournament in drawing the top players in,” said Cristie Kerr, the world’s No. 2 player. “They have a good date on the schedule, for us – maybe not for the weather, but for us they have a good date on the schedule.”

Ah, yes. The weather.

In 2007, the tournament’s inaugural season, the event was called off after 18 holes because of rain. On Thursday, the 2010 edition got off to a rough start when the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine forced the pro-am to be canceled.

“Wherever any cities have droughts, we’ve been fixing them wherever we go,” Wie said.

Shin said the greens seemed firm when she played earlier in the week, but that might change now.

“I was shocked and then really surprised, but today it’s getting soft,” she said.

Shin, Kerr and Miyazato have been battling to take over the mantle as the world’s top player since Lorena Ochoa retired in May. Miyazato has five victories this season, while Kerr has won twice and Shin once. In addition to being atop the world ranking, Miyazato trails only Shin on the money list.

“Really, all the top six or seven players on the money list is getting really close,” Miyazato said. “We have some tournaments like this, only three-day tournaments, so you need to be a little more aggressive and try to make some birdies out there.”

In addition to all the top players, former University of Arkansas star Stacy Lewis is in the field. She was leading when the 2007 tournament was called off because of bad weather, and although she’s still seeking her first career win, she’s No. 20 on the money list thanks to a runner-up finish (to Miyazato) in Mexico in May.

This event also includes another Razorback – current senior Kelli Shean, who received a sponsor’s exemption.

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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.