Power Rankings: 2016 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

By Will GrayJune 29, 2016, 12:37 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to Ohio this week for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. A field of 61 players will tackle Firestone Country Club.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Ryan Lavner. Click here for full fantasy assistance, including stats and picks.

Shane Lowry won this event last year by two shots over Bubba Watson. Here are 10 players to watch in Akron:

1. Jim Furyk: The veteran appears to be coming around after a wrist injury sidelined him for the first half of the year. Furyk was a runner-up two weeks ago at Oakmont, and his Firestone record includes top-10 finishes in four of the last six years.

2. Jason Day: The world No. 1 remains incredibly consistent this season, and is likely to contend once again in this week's no-cut event. While he only has one top-10 finish at Firestone, his T-12 result last year would have been markedly improved were it not for his struggles all week on the par-5 16th hole.

3. Brooks Koepka: After two straight runner-up finishes, Koepka maintained his momentum with a T-13 finish at the U.S. Open. His length off the tee will be an asset this week in Akron, where he finished T-6 last year in his tournament debut.

4. Dustin Johnson: Johnson will be making his first start as a major champion, fresh off his win at Oakmont that served as his third straight top-5 finish. His record in Akron, though, isn't as strong as you might expect - six prior appearances with his best result a T-15 finish in 2010.

5. Bubba Watson: The southpaw nearly won this event, and his tee-to-green game seems ideally suited for the burly South Course. His record prior to last year was solid but unimpressive, with his best result a T-19 finish in 2012, but he now knows that he can contend in Akron.

6. Jordan Spieth: Spieth struggled in his first trip to Firestone in 2014, but he improved considerably with a T-10 showing last year. He is just a few weeks removed from his win at Colonial and will likely have his game sharp in his lone non-major start in a seven-week stretch.

7. Shane Lowry: The Irishman may have been a surprise winner last year, but after his runner-up finish at Oakmont he is quickly becoming a household name. Lowry tends to thrive on some of the toughest layouts, and he will embrace the stern test presented by Firestone.

8. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar was unable to capitalize on his growing momentum at the U.S. Open, but he still has been on a quiet tear this spring and summer. He now returns to Firestone, where he has never finished worse than T-27 in six prior appearances.

9. Adam Scott: The Aussie won here in 2011, and he already hass a WGC title to his credit from earlier this season. Scott finished T-8 in Akron two years ago, one of four top-10 finishes he has logged at this event since 2006.

10. Justin Rose: If healthy, the Englishman would probably top this list after a trio of top-5 finishes at this event since 2012. But he missed a month of action because of a back injury, and he didn't seem 100 percent in his return at Oakmont. He could be a high risk, high reward fantasy play 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.