Texas wins Collegiate Masters with tourney-record score

By Ryan LavnerMarch 12, 2015, 12:14 am

LAS VEGAS – Southern Highlands Golf Club usually leaves teams battered and bruised, beat up after three days of relentless winds and immense pressure on a big-boy course.

That’s certainly been the case for Texas over the past few years. Even with some of their most talented teams in the program’s long history, the Longhorns have failed to finish better than sixth since 2010 in the Collegiate Masters.

“This course has had our number,” conceded senior Kramer Hickok, but as he and his teammates walked off the course Wednesday,there was something different about them.

Battered and bruised? Nope.

They were, well, buoyant. Bullish.

And why not? After three rounds on a rain-softened track with little wind, Texas lit up its old nemesis with a tournament-record 26-under 838 and 10-shot win over Oklahoma in the No. 1-ranked college event of the year.

This was the quintessential team victory: All five Longhorns starters were under par and inside the top 25 individually, led by sophomore Beau Hossler, who shared second, and Hickok, who was fourth.

“This is a big one,” said Texas coach John Fields, barely able to contain a toothy grin. “This is one our guys can be excited about.”

The Longhorns may be ranked fourth nationally, but you can make a convincing case that they’re the best team in the country. They captured the U.S. Collegiate against an elite field in the fall. Last week in Florida they won in terrible conditions at the John Hayt Invitational. And now they won the Southern Highlands in a rout, running away from a field that included five of the top 10 teams and 10 of the top 25.

“We’re one of the top teams, if not the top team,” Hossler said. “We’ve known that since Day 1, but now we’re starting to prove it to ourselves.”

Indeed, Texas was the most talked-about team heading into this season, with its roster chock full of big-name prospects, former AJGA All-Americans and U.S. Open participants.

The biggest name remains Hossler, who turned heads while grabbing the lead during the second round of the 2012 U.S. Open, but the Longhorns also welcomed 2013 U.S. Junior champion Scottie Scheffler and top-five recruit Doug Ghim.

Any freshman experiences a transition period when he first arrives on campus, and these two studs were no exception. Not only are their social changes – being away from home, learning time-management skills, dealing with the temptations on a college campus, etc. – but the golf requires a different mindset as well.

Whereas many junior golf courses are set up to promote birdies and low scores, the trend in college golf is for the course to protect par. Tournament officials will grow out the rough, firm up the greens, cut the holes in tricky positions.

So when Scheffler and Ghim struggled in the fall, combining for just one top-20 finish, it was the job of experienced players like Hickok and Hossler to step in and tell them to lower expectations.

“It just takes time for them to get their bearings,” Hickok said.

“We all went through it,” Hossler said, “and they’ve really stepped up big for us.”

Those freshmen are coming around now, especially Scheffler, who has rattled off five consecutive top-11 finishes, including a T-7 showing here in Vegas.

“The spring has felt like a fresh start for us,” he said. “This hasn’t even been all of our A-games yet, either.”

Scary, because just like during their title run in 2012, the Longhorns are full ofconfidence and sprinting toward May’s finish line.

“You take any of our five guys and they can win individually,” Hickok said. “Most teams can’t say that.”

So much for battered and bruised.

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.