Stricker within four of leaders at Sony

By Doug FergusonJanuary 15, 2012, 3:30 am

HONOLULU – Steve Stricker may be trying his hand at a Hawaii sweep, but a few good men stand in his way.

Matt Every had a hard time sleeping on the lead going into the weekend at the Sony Open. He managed a 2-under 68 on Saturday, and goes into the final round tied with 47-year-old Jeff Maggert with a lot more at stake.

Maggert played bogey-free in relatively calm conditions at Waialae, making an eagle on the easy par-5 ninth for the second straight day, and shot a 66 to give himself a chance to win for the first time in nearly six years.

They were at 12-under 198, two shots clear, but with more than a dozen players still in the hunt.

Charles Howell III, who has had five finishes in the top five at the Sony Open, gave himself another opportunity with a 66. He was in the group at 10-under 200. Pebble Beach winner D.A. Points shot 64 and was another shot back, while the large group at 8-under 202 included Steve Stricker, trying to join Ernie Els in 203 as the only players to sweep the Hawaii events.

The surprise was Maggert.

Not only is he closing in on the 50-and-older Champions Tour, he finally took care of a bone spur in his right shoulder that has been bothering him the last few years. Maggert had surgery in June and had a medical exemption for part of this year, but he went to Q-school for a backup plan.

It worked. He made it through Q-school for a little more security, and then built more momentum with a solid day. He had to scramble for par on the opening hole, and the rest of the day felt easy.

Every, meanwhile, hasn’t had an easy time this week.

He had an awkward interview with Golf Channel after his 64 on Friday, and his comments about an arrest on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge at the John Deere Classic in 2010 became a hot topic.

“I’m just ready to get it over with,” he said.

That’s not to suggest he’s dreading the final round. Every felt the nerves of protecting a two-shot lead in the third round, and said one reason he had trouble sleeping was that he had a lot to lose.

He went long of the green at No. 2 to make bogey, and his round was close to getting away from him. His approach on the third hole flirted with the water down the left side and barely was safe. He chipped to 8 feet and made par.

“If I miss that – 2 over after three – and then the next thing you know, I could have made another bogey and then it’s just kind of survival mode,” he said.

But he steadied himself quickly, helped by a 30-foot birdie putt on the eighth and a two-putt birdie on the ninth that allowed him to regain control.

What he couldn’t control was Maggert, who is starting to feel healthy again. Along with the shoulder, Maggert says he hasn’t felt right since he broke a rib early in 2007 during a snow skiing trip – but the injury didn’t happen on the slopes.

“It was afterwards, coming out of the grocery store,” he said. “True story. Tripped on the ice and fell and broke my rib on the curb.”

The timing couldn’t have been worse. Maggert had won the St. Jude Classic in 2006 and was on the ski trip before going to Maui for the Tournament of Champions. He tried to play through the pain, and thinks it affected the technique in his swing.

“I feel like it’s a lot better than it has been,” he said.

The leaderboard is so bunched that Duffy Waldorf was walking up to the ninth green and saw that he was tied for 40th. He also noticed that he was only five shots out of the lead.

“It’s such a good bunching of players, it was like, `Well, if I go make some more birdies, I might get back in it.’ And that’s what happened on the back side,” he said.

Waldorf shot 31 on the back for a 66, and goes into the final day only three shots behind.

DIVOTS: Erik Compton made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 70. Turns out he needed that to make the 54-hole cut on the number. The day before, he went birdie-eagle to make the 36-hole cut. … Webb Simpson has not finished out of the top 10 since The Tour Championship. He goes into the final round in a tie for 61st. … The par-5 ninth played to an average score of 4.15. It has yielded 38 eagles this week.

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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.