Expert Picks: 2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 12, 2014, 3:45 pm

This week marks the seventh event of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season, as players head to Mexico for the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; host Charlie Rymer and defending fantasy champion Ryan Lavner.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Angel Cabrera: The Argentine has become surprisingly consistent following his breakthrough “non-major” victory at the Greenbrier Classic this summer and he has finished inside the top 15 in his last two starts.

Group 2: Brian Stuard: He rebounded from a tough start to the season with a tie for 13th at the CIMB Classic and finished runner-up last year in Mexico.

Group 3: Robert Streb: Easy pick from Group 3. All Streb has done this season is finish T-31, T-10, first and eighth to grab the early FedEx Cup lead.

Group 4: Lucas Glover: Former U.S. Open champion was in contention last week at the Sanderson Farms Championship before being derailed by a closing 76.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Ben Martin: Strong autumn, that includes his victory at the Shriners, gets even better this week. The glow of earning a first Masters invite radiates a long time.

Group 2: Chris Stroud: Finished top five in his last three starts at Mayakoba. Enough said.

Group 3: Robert Streb: A victory among three consecutive top 10s this fall makes him the hot hand here.

Group 4: Cameron Smith: Top 10s at CIMB and Hong Kong trump the MC at Sanderson last week.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Harris English: Defending champion should be able to get back on track in favorable surroundings.

Group 2: Erik Compton: Golf could use a cool story this type of year – and another Compton title contention would qualify.

Group 3: Tony Finau: Long-hitting rookie is already causing some commotion early in his first season.

Group 4: Hudson Swafford: Still believe this English lookalike is the next UGA product to claim his first PGA Tour victory.

John Antonini

Group 1: Cameron Tringale: There aren't many choices in this group, but Tringale fits the profile of the winners of the North American events on the 2014 Fall Series. He'd be a first-time PGA Tour champ, and at age 27 would fit in nicely with Robert Streb, Nick Taylor, Sang-Moon Bae and Ben Martin.

Group 2: Daniel Summerhays: The Mormon served his mission in Chile and speaks fluent Spanish, so he should have no communication problems in Mexico this week, which might make him a favorite among the gallery. He was T-5 in 2012 and was in contention until a final-round 73 knocked him down the leader board.

Group 3: Justin Leonard: Leonard would join fellow bunters Fred Funk and Brian Gay as veteran winners of this event. Only one previous champion of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba finished in the top 100 on the PGA Tour in driving distance in the season of his win. That was Harris English a year ago. Here's to guessing Leonard has that going for him.

Group 4: Spencer Levin: Like Summerhays, Levin has some unfinished business in Mayakoba. After four rounds in the 60s in 2011, he lost a playoff to Johnson Wagner, making bogey on his first extra hole.

Getty Images

McCoy earns medalist honors at 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 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 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 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.

Getty Images

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.