Fantasy Island: Northern Trust Open

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 15, 2011, 9:13 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the Northern Trust Open. Each week, senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell, contributors John Hawkins and Charlie Rymer, and editorial director Jay Coffin will give their picks from three groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings.


You can battle the experts and play along as well. Just click here to get into the game.

Northern Trust Open

*Ranking among the 14 GolfChannel.com experts

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard
Score (Rank*):
1,572,250 (6)
Group A:
Hunter Mahan

Group B:
J.B. Holmes

Group C:
Aaron Baddeley

Although “’H” doesn’t have a great track record in Los Angeles (T-17 is his best finish) he is too good of a ballstriker to be ignored at a ballpark like Riviera and he finished the Clambake on a roll (final-round 66).

We are aware the Northern Trust Open is not played at TPC Scottsdale, but Holmes has history at Hogan’s Alley (top 10s the last three years) and is playing well (T-5 in Phoenix and T-13 at Pebble Beach).

Riviera is a putter’s paradise (see Stricker, Steve 2010 champion who ranked first in putts per round last year) and Badds was steady even on Pebble’s greens last week.

Randall Mell

Randall Mell
Score (Rank):
1,110,521 (11)
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
J.B. Holmes

Group C:
Charles Howell III

Master tactician will dissect Riviera with surgical skill.

Riviera likes this guy, with his record looking like it's leading to a win there.

The perfect place to remember just how good he can be.

Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer
Score (Rank):
1,585,310 (5)
 Group A:
Luke Donald

Group B:
Bryce Molder

Group C:
Charles Howell III
My sources tell me Donald is playing outstanding golf right now and he has finished second, sixth, and third the last three years at Northern Trust.

Good finish last week and it doesn't take a big hitter to win at Riviera. Heck, Brandel Chamblee nearly won there one time.

Chucky 3 Sticks digs Tinsel Town: A win and a second here. Two top-15s so far this season let me know he's close to playing well.
John Hawkins

John Hawkins
Score (Rank):
830,094 (14)
 Group A:
Hunter Mahan

Group B:
Geoff Ogilvy

Group C:
Charles Howell III
Coulda, maybe shoulda won last week. Good driver on a course where position definitely matters.

It's his time of year, basically.

Past champ, needs to get something going.
Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin
Score (Rank):
1,384,007 (9)
 Group A:
Phil Mickelson

Group B:
J.B. Holmes

Group C:
Andres Romero
As much as I want to steer away from Phil, his record is too good to avoid here at Riviera with two wins and a second-place finish in the past four years.

Another guy who has figured out The Riv, although it hasn’t yet led to a victory there. He hasn’t finished worse than seventh place in the past three years.

Hasn’t played particularly well this year but I’m hoping that he has good vibes at this event. With the options in this group I’ll go with the guy who has tied for fifth and tied for third the last two years.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams
Score (Rank):
1,108,056 (12)
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Rickie Fowler

Group C:
Spencer Levin
Three top-7 finishes in three starts in 2011 and has never missed the cut at Riviera
 
Although he missed the cut in his first appearance at Riviera last year, he has two top-20 finishes in two starts in 2011
 
Making his first start at Riviera and finished T-4 last week at Pebble Beach

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias
Score (Rank):
2,709,932 (1)
Group A:
Luke Donald

Group B:
J.B. Holmes

Group C:
Jason Bohn
Six top-10 finishes in his last seven worldwide starts and three top-6 finishes in his last three starts at Riviera.
 
Three top-7 finishes in his last three starts at Riviera and two top-13 finishes in last two PGA Tour starts.
 
Two top-25 finishes in the last two years at Riviera and has not shot higher than 73 in 12 rounds in 2011.

Win McMurry

Win McMurry
Score (Rank):
1,513,057 (7)
Group A:
Steve Stricker

Group B:
J.B. Holmes

Group C:
Aaron Baddeley
The defending champion also finished runner up at Riviera in 2009. His 2011 season is just warming up, but in his first two starts on American soil this year he already has two top-10s.

He’s coming off solid finishes (T5, T13) in his last two starts this season. Add that to his three top-10s in a row in L.A. and he’s unquestionably the man to pick for the B group.

He’s never missed the cut in eight starts at Riviera, has two top-15s, and enters the week off a T6 at Pebble.


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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.

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.