Wood Claims Futures Victory

By Futures Tour MediaAugust 1, 2004, 4:00 pm
Futures TourBELTSVILLE, Md. -- She always had dreamed of how her first professional win would look. She figured she'd probably have to drop a bomb for birdie to squeak out a win in a teeth-gnashing match.
That wasn't exactly the scene today in the final round of the washed-out Children's Hospital Futures Golf Classic, but for Courtney Wood, who proved to be the week's top mudder after 36 holes, a win is a win.
'I don't have the same emotion maybe I'd have if I had to birdie to win, but this just goes to show that every hole counts,' said Wood of Brentwood, Tenn., who carded rounds of 67-69 to move into the lead at 6-under-par 136 prior to Sunday's canceled final round. 'You never know what the weather is going to do.'
Indeed, that was the case all week at Cross Creek Golf Club when the new course endured a total of six inches of rainfall in five days. The course opened only turf mats on the practice range on Tuesday, closed the waterlogged course for play on Wednesday, then regrouped with a bright and sunny pro-am day on Thursday, followed by two sunny, sauna-humid days for the first and second rounds.
But today, the rain returned with the first storm delay, suspending play from 11:15 a.m. to 1:04 p.m. The grounds crew brought out squeegees and hustled to clear standing water, but a second storm suspension with heavy rain again brought in the 144-player field at 3:22 p.m. Only six players had completed 18 holes of the final round. After a variety of considerations by Futures Tour operations staff, executive staff, tournament officials and golf course staff, Christy Barks, Futures Tour Director of Tournament Operations, announced that the final round had been cancelled.
'The golf course is unplayable and there's no option at this point with the number of players still on the course and with more bad weather expected on Monday,' said Barks. 'We wouldn't have enough volunteers to continue the round on Monday and we aren't confident the course will even be playable in another day. You can only make educated decisions based on facts.'
While players appeared disappointed not to have another go at the par-71, 6,100-yard course that had played as difficult as any track they had faced all season, they also seemed largely supportive of the Tour's decision to cancel the round. Cross Creek received a half inch of rain during the morning suspension and more than a quarter-inch more of rain during the second suspension on top of an already saturated golf course. Laden with numerous Environmentally Sensitive Areas that gobbled golf balls and frayed nerves all week, the tough placement course put players on the defense. Soggy fairways and placement rulings only added to the difficulty.
'It's almost not about skill when it gets so bad,' said Wood. 'And you know it's bad when you can't take relief from casual water unless you go 100 yards back.'
'The course really was unplayable,' said Allison Hanna of Portland, Ore., who finished second for the second consecutive week, posting scores of 68-69 for a 137 total. 'I think they made the right decision. Yeah, I might think about that bogey I made on the 18th hole Saturday, but I also have to think about being that much closer to winning.'
'Casual water was everywhere,' added Meaghan Francella of Port Chester, N.Y., who tied for 13th. 'I'm disappointed. I wanted to try to move up after the second round, but I'm happy for Courtney.'
Wood and Hanna, playing alongside Kyeong Bae of Seoul, Korea, tied after three holes today, before Wood took the lead again at the fourth, then bogeyed the fifth hole to drop back into a tie with Hanna. The two rookies and recent college grads appeared destined for their own little match-play afternoon when play was suspended for the second time.
'We had a whole bunch of holes left when they stopped play,' said Wood, who graduated from Vanderbilt University in May. 'Allison is a really good player. I knew she was going to put up a tough fight and I was looking forward to playing with her today.'
But the rising creeks and casual water won out at the inaugural $70,000 event in the Washington, D.C. area. Bae and Emily Bastel of Upper Sandusky, Ohio wound up tied for third at 3-under-par 139.
And Wood earned her first professional title, improving her ranking on the money list from No. 65 to No. 24 with her $9,800 winner's check, along with a healthy dose of confidence heading into the Tour's final four tournaments.
'Winning gives you confidence you can't get any other way,' said Wood. 'It's like breaking down a wall. You have to take that big, first step.'
Wood recalled how rookie Danielle Downey ended up winning the rain-shortened event in Lima, Ohio this year in mid-June. Wood said Downey could have downplayed her performance and called it lucky timing, but instead, she used the win as motivation to put herself in contention at every tournament since that time. It was something she had thought about, and it was something that occurred to her today as she sat in the clubhouse waiting for a decision on the event.
'This is a tough course,' said Wood. 'Who knows what would have happened if we could have finished today? I'd like to think that I'd be in the same position after 54 holes. And I hope I'll have that chance again soon.'
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Children's Hospital Futures Classic
  • Getty Images

    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

    Getty Images

    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

    Masters victory

    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

    Man of the people

    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

    Departure from TaylorMade

    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

    Victory at Valderrama

    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm