Power Rankings: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

By Will GrayOctober 2, 2012, 6:24 pm

While the PGA Tour begins its Fall Series (our Power Rankings for the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open can be found here), many of the best in Europe will contest the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Played across three of the game's most famous courses, players will conclude the event on Sunday at the Old Course at St. Andrews.

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Michael Hoey returns as defending champion this week, having beaten Rory McIlroy by two shots for the title last year. Here are ten players to watch this week in Scotland: 

1. Padraig Harrington: The Irishman's record in this event is unparalleled, with two wins ('02 and '06) to go along with four other top-10 finishes in 11 starts. Having just watched his fellow Europeans celebrating at Medinah, Paddy may be out to prove his exclusion from the team was a mistake.

2. Louis Oosthuizen: Along with Nick Watney, Oosthuizen was one of two players who finished in the top 10 of the final FedEx Cup standings but did not play in the Ryder Cup. A winner this year in both South Africa and Malaysia, Oosthuizen also had a pair of runner-up finishes in the States, including a playoff loss at The Masters. It's fair to say he has a few good memories to rely upon when playing the Old Course.

3. Dustin Johnson: One of the few bright spots for the Americans on Sunday at Medinah, DJ more than acquitted himself well as a captain's selection. He brings with him momentum from a solid performance during the FedEx Cup playoffs and his runner-up finish at the 2011 British Open shows he is able to golf his ball on both sides of the Pond.

4. Martin Kaymer: What better way to turn around a mediocre season than to win the Ryder Cup for your continent? Kaymer did just that Sunday with his putt on the 18th green, and returns with renewed confidence to an event he won two years ago. 

5. Paul Lawrie: The Scot was a surprising 5&3 winner Sunday over Brandt Snedeker and now heads back home to Scotland to play a course rotation that includes Carnoustie, site of his '99 British Open triumph. Lawrie has won twice in Europe this year, and also won the inaugural edition of this event in 2001.

6. Simon Dyson: Dyson may not be a household name in the States, but his track record in this event is excellent: a win in '09, T-5 in '10 and T-9 last year. He's currently 25th on the European Tour in driving accuracy and 41st in GIR percentage.

7. Peter Hanson: Along with Kaymer, Johnson and Lawrie, Hanson makes the trip this week from Chicago to Scotland. He won in his last European Tour start at the KLM Open last month and currently leads the Tour in putts per GIR.

8. Matteo Manassero: The young Italian finished T-22 here two years ago and his game has steadily improved since then. Manassero has six top-10 finishes this year in Europe, including a T-3 finish at the BMW Italian Open in his most recent start last month. He is currently 26th on Tour in stroke average and ninth in putts per round. 

9. Danny Willett: A runner-up here in 2010, Willett broke through with a win this summer at the BMW International Open. In his last two European Tour starts, the Englishman was a runner-up at the Omega European Masters and in the top 10 after each of the first three rounds at the KLM Open before a Sunday 75 dropped him back to T-26.

10. Marcel Siem: The German won earlier this year in France and recorded a pair of top-20 finishes in his last two European Tour starts. He currently stands 12th on the European Tour in stroke average, 16th in driving distance and 22nd in putts per GIR.

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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.