Walker, Woodland trail Choi, Brown at Farmers

By Nick MentaJanuary 30, 2016, 11:30 pm

K.J. Choi and Scott Brown share the lead at the Farmers Insurance Open, with Jimmy Walker and Gary Woodland just one shot back. Here’s how things look heading into the final round at Torrey Pines, where 16 players are within three shots of the lead:

Leaderboard: Choi (-9), Brown (-9), Jimmy Walker (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Michael Kim (-7), Jonas Blixt (-7),  John Huh (-7), Freddie Jacobson (-7)

What it means: Choi was 3 over on his day through 12 holes but rallied with three late birdies, including one at the 18th, to shoot an even-par 72 and hold on to his 9-under co-lead. Brown, separately, made five birdies and three bogeys to shoot 2-under 70 and earn his place in the final group. Choi is in search of his first win since the 2011 Players. Brown’s only Tour victory came at the 2013 Puerto Rico Open. A win tomorrow would earn Brown, 192nd in the Official World Golf Ranking, his first career invite to the Masters. Choi would return to Augusta National after missing last year’s event for the first time since 2002. Of course, they’ll have to battle some potentially bad weather to stay ahead of a host of players who are within striking distance.

Round of the day: Jonas Blixt fired a 6-under 66 with five birdies on his back nine. Blixt has posted consecutive rounds of 66 after opening his week with a 77 on the South Course. He’ll enter the final round just two back.

Best of the rest: Three players – Jimmy Walker, Hiroshi Iwata and Colt Knost – turned in 4-under 68. Walker’s back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18 have him in position for his sixth PGA Tour victory since Oct. 2013.

Biggest disappointments: Citing an ankle injury, Patrick Reed withdrew after a third-round 81. Reed made six bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and a triple bogey, the last of which came at the par-3 third. His struggles aside, the final group of Choi (72), Woodland (73), and Dustin Johnson (74) all failed to break par. Johnson is three back at 6 under.

Shot of the day: Jason Gore recorded the first albatross of his career Saturday at Torrey Pines when his approach from 258 yards at the par-5 18th carried the water, hit the green, found the bottom of the cup:

Storyline heading into Sunday: Tee times have been moved up to 7 a.m. local time in an effort to beat inclement weather. Players will face an already long golf course with thick rough and poa greens with the added challenges of stiff winds and driving rain that will only further complicate their day.

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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.