Fact Pack: HP Byron Nelson Championship

By Will GrayMay 15, 2012, 8:30 pm

This week the PGA Tour returns to Texas once again as Keegan Bradley defends his maiden victory at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas plays host this week, a par-70 layout that is among the more difficult courses tee-to-green that players will see this year. Although many of the world's best are in Europe for the Volvo Match Play, the Nelson field still boasts former champions Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, as well as Matt Kuchar who is fresh off his win at TPC Sawgrass. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

Few courses on the Tour schedule can fluctuate in difficulty as much as TPC Four Seasons. Consider that in 2009, Rory Sabbatini won with a -19 total and each of the top five players shot in the 60s each round; in contrast, -3 was enough to get into a playoff last year for Keegan Bradley and Ryan Moore as strong winds took their toll on the players. The forecast this week shows some wind, but not the 30+ MPH gusts that were seen a year ago.

D.A. Points will look to bounce back from a back injury that cost him a spot in the field at TPC Sawgrass on another TPC course that certainly fits his eye. Points, who withdrew just before teeing off last Thursday due to back spasms, has two top-10 finishes in his last three starts here and was runner-up to Rickie Fowler in the Wells Fargo playoff two weeks ago.

• What Adam Scott lacks in quantity on the PGA Tour in 2012 he has made up for in quality thus far. Having made only four stroke play starts in the U.S. this year, he has finished no worse than T-17 in each event. Since winning this tournament in 2008, though, Scott has only made one appearance here - missing the cut in 2009.

Brian Gay is still looking to get his season on the right track despite typically stellar short game statistics. Gay ranks in the top 10 on Tour in scrambling, sand save percentage and strokes gained putting, but has only one finish inside the top 40 in his last eight starts. Three top-14 finishes here in the last four years though, including a runner-up performance in 2010, indicate that he may find his footing this week.

• Several in the field will look to follow in the footsteps of Keegan Bradley and Jason Day, winning in their first start at TPC Four Seasons. The group of first-timers includes Seung-Yul Noh, who has a T-9 finish at Quail Hollow and a T-13 showing at Zurich among his last three Tour starts.

• On a course that emphasizes solid ball striking, Roberto Castro may be a name to consider in Group 3. The Texas native ranks in the top 10 on Tour in both driving accuracy and greens in regulation; in his last start at Quail Hollow, Castro hit 15/18 green in three of his four rounds.

Last year Ryan Palmer defied the notion that past event performance is any indicator of success. Prior to his runner-up finish in 2011, Palmer had played in this event seven times - finishing T-73 in 2006 and missing the cut six times. Always one of the longer hitters on Tour, this year Palmer has improved on the greens, moving from 95th in total putting to 21st thus far this season.

**Don't forget to join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at www.rotoworld.com** 

Tune in to Golf Channel Thursday-Friday from 3-6PM ET for live coverage of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

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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.