Henley takes 1-shot lead in McGladrey

By Doug FergusonOctober 25, 2014, 12:18 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Russell Henley has a reminder on his phone that goes off every day at noon to tell him he's the best putter in the world. He didn't need one Friday in the McGladrey Classic.

Playing for the first time since Sept. 14 at the Tour Championship, Henley one-putted 10 greens on the Seaside Course at Sea Island and tied his personal best on the PGA Tour with a 7-under 63 to take the lead in the second round.

The 25-year-old from Georgia would not have seen that coming.

When he teed off in the morning chill, he opened with a bogey on No. 10 and was simply trying to keep warm. The only 63 on his mind was whether the temperature would get that high. It did, and he got hot with his best club in the bag.

''After the first hole, I was just thinking, 'All right, you've got to hang in there and just be patient and hopefully get something going.' And I did,'' Henley said.

He managed to turn a horrible drive into a birdie on the 18th hole at the turn, the start of six birdies over his last 10 holes. That put him at 9-under 131, one shot ahead of Brendon de Jonge (64), Brian Harman (67) and Andrew Svoboda (66).

''That kept the round going, and then I felt pretty good with my putter,'' Henley said.

Will MacKenzie (68), Mark Wilson (66) and Fabian Gomez (66) were two shots behind. Defending champion Chris Kirk hit his first drive of the round into a hazard and made double bogey, but he recovered with five birdies for a 67 that left him only four shots back.

Henley has won in each of his first two years on the PGA Tour, and it was that inaugural win at the Sony Open that brought so much attention to his putting. He's not suggesting he is the best putter in golf, though it doesn't hurt to tell himself that every day.

''I would say I'm a great putter. And I think if you want to be a great putter, you have to believe that you're a great putter,'' Henley said.

That's why he added the phone reminder.

''I try to just believe in my putting and enjoy putting, and people always tell me I'm a great putter, so it's pretty easy to keep the confidence going when you're doing that,'' Henley said. ''I just wish they would say that about the rest of my game.''

He doubts they will ever say that about his acoustic guitar.

Henley has been fiddling with a guitar since he was a teenager, spent more time with it in college and when he turned pro, and now is at least good enough to fulfill a fantasy. During a friendly bet he won with country singer Darius Rucker, he was able to go on stage with him Wednesday night at Sea Island during a concert and play ''Wagon Wheel,'' even singing with him on the chorus.

''I still can't believe it actually happened,'' Henley said.

De Jonge ran off three straight birdies on his front nine and played bogey-free.

More than enjoying just his putting, it's key for Henley to enjoy his golf. He did well enough after winning the Honda Classic to advance to the Tour Championship, meaning a hectic end to last season. Henley was worn out and needed the five-week break.

''I decided to rest and take a few weeks off until I got the itch,'' Henley said. ''I'm kind of a worthless golfer if I'm not excited to play. And I feel like I'm excited to play again.''

DIVOTS: Tournament host Davis Love III had a 68 and was in good shape to make the cut. ... Scott Piercy, who missed a big chunk of last season with an elbow injury, had a second straight 67 and was three shots behind. He tied for seventh last week in Las Vegas.

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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.