Woods falls short in Dubai with 3-over final round

By Associated PressFebruary 13, 2011, 6:15 pm
European TourDUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Alvaro Quiros of Spain won the Dubai Desert Classic with a wild final round on Sunday that included a hole-in-one and triple bogey as Tiger Woods’ fell out of contention early and lost his bid to win his first tournament in 15 months.

On a day when the leaderboard constantly changed, the 36th-ranked Quiros shot a 68 to finish with an 11-under 277, one shot better than overnight co-leader Anders Hansen of Denmark and James Kingston of South Africa. A shot further back were Jean-Baptiste Gonnet of France, Scott Strange of Australia and Alvaro Velasco of Spain.

Woods, who started the final day a shot off the lead, began his round badly for a second straight day with two bogeys in his first three holes and never recovered. The 3rd-ranked 35-year-old is still seeking his first tournament trophy in more than a year after falling well short with a final round 3-over 75 and ending tied for 20th with a total of 4-under 284.

“There were quite a few positives this week but a couple of glaring examples of what I need to work on,” Woods said. “It’s like anything. All my old feels (for the clubs) are out the window when the winds blow. That’s the thing when you are making change. It’s fine when the wind is not blowing. But when you have to hit a shot when the wind blows … the new swing patterns get exposed.”

Coming into Sunday, it was still anyone’s tournament to win and several big names along with Woods seemed poised for victory. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was tied at the top with Hansen and a resurgent Sergio Garcia of Spain was tied with Woods and five others a shot back. Twenty players were within three shots of the lead and many of them made runs on Sunday including the 148th-ranked Kingston who was three shots off the lead.

But it was Quiros who struck early with an eagle on the second and two birdies on the next three holes to stake himself to a three-shot lead. But just as dramatically, he fell back into a tie with Hansen and several others at 8 under when he triple bogeyed the eighth hole – hitting an unplayable drive and then a second shot into a tree.

But he recovered quickly with a birdie on nine and then a dramatic hole-in-one on the 11th, hitting a wedge 145 yards that landed on the green and rolled into the hole. It gave him back the lead.

But just as quickly, Quiros gave it up to Hansen after he bogeyed the 14th and Hansen eagled the 13th. Hansen could have at least tied it but missed several birdie putts on the way in including a 30-footer on the 18th to finish the round on 2-under 70.

“It was incredible for you guys outside but for me it was a difficult situation,” Quiros said of his fifth European Tour victory that will move him up the rankings to 21st. “The beginning of the day was perfect but after the eighth hole I was shaken.”

But, he added, victory was in sight after the hole-in-one.

“It was the perfect shot. Once a year, it happens,” he said. “It was a big point in the round. After the 10th hole, I was second or third with some of the other guys and then after the hole-in-one I was the leader.”

The 70th-ranked Hansen, who had his best finish since finishing second at last year’s Singapore Open, was left to rue his missed chances.

“Obviously, a little disappointed,” Hansen said. “I gave myself a chance after leading and got myself out of it early but brought myself back in it. Thought I played nicely but Alvaro played great.”

Woods was not alone among the big names on the star-studded leaderboard to falter down the stretch.

Garcia, who lost the lead Saturday after carding two bogeys and a double bogey, had similar problems Sunday. He briefly tied for the lead after a birdie on the opening hole, but fell back with a bogey on the fifth and ended his chances on the ninth with a triple bogey when his ball ended up in the water. The former No. 2-ranked Spaniard finished with a 3-over 75 to finish in a tie for 20th.

McIlroy lost the lead early after opening with a bogey. He pulled two shots back with birdies on the third and 10th, but trailing by three shots, he fell back down the leaderboard after carding three consecutive bogeys on the back nine to finish with a 2-over 74 and in a tie for 10th.

Top-ranked Lee Westwood quietly made a run on Sunday, moving to 8 under with four holes to play. But then he endured a double-bogey on 17 when his ball got stuck in a tree and ended with a bogey on 18 to finish on even par and in a tie for 15th.

“That will piss you off pretty quickly, won’t it, sticking it up a palm tree when you think you have a chance of winning,” Westwood said.

But Westwood said he took several positives away from a weekend where he initially struggled with distance and control and only started making his putts on Sunday. It was an improvement over Qatar where he missed the cut and the Abu Dhabi Championship where he finished 64th.

“Positives are I had a chance to win,” Westwood said. “First long putt I’ve made all week was on the 14th. I haven’t played my best, and had a chance with two holes to play to post a total that would have been probably half decent, I guess 10 under, if I could have birdied the last two holes. Plenty to take out of it.”

After his early struggles that echoed his difficulties Saturday, Woods managed to claw a shot back when his approach shot on the 6th ended a few feet from the pin. However, Woods twice followed a birdie on the back nine with a bogeys and then double bogeyed the 18th to end his chances for good.

Woods, who won in Dubai in 2006 and 2008, is now in the midst of the longest victory drought of his career. His last win came at the Australian Masters in November 2009.

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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.