Palmer outlasts Allenby to win Sony Open

By Doug FergusonJanuary 18, 2010, 8:15 am

2007 Sony Open

HONOLULU – Ryan Palmer made a 50-foot chip shot on the final hole that hit the pin and left him a tap-in for birdie and a one-shot victory over Robert Allenby in the Sony Open on Sunday.

Palmer, locked in a duel with Australia’s Allenby to the very end at Waialae, came up short of the green on the par-5 18th and faced a delicate chip. Allenby went over the green and pitched to just inside 10 feet.

Palmer thought his chip was a little too hard, and he tumbled backward in relief when the ball struck the pin squarely. Allenby missed his birdie putt, and Palmer tapped in for a 4-under 66 and his third career PGA Tour victory.

“Lucky bounce,” Palmer said. “It was probably going to go by 7 or 8 feet. I still hit a good chip. You need things like that to win.”

The victory gave made the 33-year-old Texan exempt on the PGA Tour through 2012, and earned him a trip back to the Masters for the first time in five years.

Allenby was trying to win his third consecutive tournament on three tours, a feat believed to have never been accomplished, and he gave himself every chance. He played bogey-free on the back nine, but he needed one more birdie. His second shot out of the rough on the 18th came out hot and over the green, and he did well to give himself a realistic chance at birdie and a playoff.

Allenby, who won the Nedbank Challenge on the Sunshine Tour and the Australian PGA Championship on the Australasian PGA Tour at the end of last year, closed with a 67.

“I had a couple of chances out there,” Allenby said. “It’s so easy to look back and say, ‘I could have made that, I could have made that.’ But at the end of the day, realistically, I needed to make a birdie at the last.”

Palmer finished at 15-under 265 and earned $990,000.

Steve Stricker, who also shared the lead briefly on the back nine, had a 65 to finish third, two strokes back. Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa closed with a 62 and was atop the leaderboard as Palmer and Allenby were making the turn, although his 12-under 268 never looked as though it would be enough.

Palmer went wire-to-wire, which he can attribute to an article he read early in the week about defending champion Zach Johnson and his strategy of not thinking beyond the shot in front of him. Palmer tried to treat each day as though he were starting over, and he wound up with a great start to his season.

Palmer and Allenby figured as long as they shot under par, it would take a great round for anyone to catch them. That came from Goosen, although he started too far behind (seven shots) and failed to birdie the 18th, settling for a tournament-best 62.

About the time Goosen finished, Stricker hit a hybrid from the grassy collar of a bunker onto the par-5 ninth green for a birdie, then hit a good pitch to 3 1/2 feet on the 10th to join Goosen at 12 under. With so many holes left, and Palmer and Allenby behind him, it turned into a three-man race over the final two hours.

Stricker certainly had his chances, although it was an example that even one of the best putters in golf doesn’t make everything. He lipped out a 5-foot birdie chance on the 12th and missed from 8 feet on the 14th. He also holed a birdie putt on the 13th that briefly put him in a tie for the lead, and a 25-footer on the 17th that kept alive his hopes.

But he found a bunker on the 18th, and Waialae sand makes it tough to get spin on the ball. His long bunker shot went 20 feet long and high of the hole, and Stricker’s birdie putt to join the leaders grazed the edge of the cup.

Allenby might have saved his chances early in the round. He had a sloppy three-putt on the fourth, then went through the green on the fifth with a sand wedge. His chip came out hot and ran 15 feet by the hole, and Allenby was so disgusted he kicked at the ground – with his left ankle, at least – but then holed the par putt.

Palmer’s volatility came with his scores. He had a one-shot lead going to the back nine, then didn’t make a par until he missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole. He birdied the 10th, 12th and 14th, all from inside 12 feet. He bogeyed the 11th and 13th from bunkers.

Allenby caught him again with a tough shot inside 3 feet on the 15th, and the duel was on.

Charles Howell III ended a stretch of 17 tournaments without a top 10 with a 66-64 weekend to tie for fifth with Carl Petterson (66) and Davis Love III, who holed out for eagle from the 16th fairway and closed with a 67.

Johnson, the defending champion and among those three shots back going into the final round, got off to another sluggish start and didn’t have enough holes to recover.

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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.