Love back in familiar place at Sony - COPIED

By Doug FergusonJanuary 15, 2010, 5:45 am

2007 Sony OpenHONOLULU – Davis Love III birdied his last hole for a bogey-free 5-under 65 that put him into an early four-way tie for the lead with defending champion Zach Johnson, Ryan Palmer and U.S. PGA Tour rookie Troy Merritt at the Sony Open on Thursday.

“It’s a nice way to start the year,” Love said.

The relative calm on Oahu during practice rounds gave way to swaying of palm trees at sunrise along the shores of Waikiki, providing tough conditions for the morning.

Johnson, playing in the same group with Love, made seven birdies over his final 11 holes to join him atop the leaderboard.

Johnson had no idea that he inspired another player to get off to a calm start. Palmer was looking for something to read earlier in the week when he came across an article about Johnson that dealt with taking golf one day at a time. He didn’t look at leaderboards or worry about the weekend until he signed for his 65.

“Best start in my seven-year career,” Palmer said.

The biggest surprise was Merritt, one of four players in his first PGA Tour event.

Merritt played alongside 21-year-old Rickie Fowler, who brought loads of expectations into his rookie season. But it was Merritt who shined, plodding his way along and finishing with a birdie on the par-5 18th to join the leaders.

Fowler opened with a three-putt double bogey from 8 feet and wound up with a 75.

Masters champion Angel Cabrera hit wedge into the par-5 ninth, with a strong breeze at his back, and finished with a birdie to join the group at 68 that included Pat Perez.

Love again needs another big start to the year to get into the Masters. He played so much last year that he felt like he was spinning his wheels, and the end came after he withdrew at Disney World after one round.

Then he went two months without competing, the last month without even feeling grass under his feet. He couldn’t wait to play, so after checking into the hotel at Waialae on Sunday, he rushed out to the 11th green in twilight and began putting.

Of all the practicing he did in his garage, it was his putting that left him curious. Love, however, decided to give each putt one read and hit it like it was a pro-am round, and he was pleasantly surprised to see so many of them go in.

“I was optimistic,” Love said. “But I was anxious about competing. Once I got it going, once I got under par … I’ve been out here a long time. You don’t forget.”

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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.