Spieth finishes bogey-double, but still leads Masters

By Will GrayApril 9, 2016, 11:29 pm

For much of the afternoon, it looked like Jordan Spieth might run away and hide at the Masters. But after a sloppy close, the defending champ is left to cling to a one-shot lead heading into the final round at Augusta National:

Leaderboard: Jordan Spieth (-3), Smylie Kaufman (-2), Hideki Matsuyama (-1), Bernhard Langer (-1), Jason Day (Even), Dustin Johnson (Even), Danny Willett (Even)

What it means: Spieth started the day with a one-shot lead, and after a run of back-nine birdies he boosted his advantage to four shots with three holes to play. But Spieth bogeyed No. 17 and made a clumsy double bogey on No. 18, signing for a 1-over 73 that brought a handful of contenders back into the mix with one round to play.

Round of the day: Kaufman carded a 3-under 69 in blustery conditions, the first sub-70 round since Thursday. The Masters rookie recorded four birdies against just a single bogey, including three birdies in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 13-16. After starting the day five shots off the pace, Kaufman will now join Spieth in Sunday's final pairing and trails by only one.

Best of the rest: Langer had both of his green jackets won before Spieth was even born, but he once again turned back the clock with a 2-under 70. The German had six birdies on the day, including a chip-in on No. 14, to put himself firmly in contention as he looks for a third green jacket that would equal the likes of Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson.

Masters Tournament: Day 3 Tracker

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Biggest disappointment: The day began with promise of a Spieth-McIlroy showdown, but only one player delivered. McIlroy failed to make a single birdie all day en route to a 5-over 77. McIlroy went off the rails with a bogey on No. 10 followed by a double on No. 11, and at 2-over 218 he now trails Spieth by five shots heading into the final round.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: The focus will remain on Spieth, but there are several more storylines in play than might have been the case had Spieth led by four. Kaufman seeks a breakthrough win, Matsuyama looks for major validation, Langer could become the oldest major champ on record and big names like Day and Johnson are still within striking distance.

Shot of the day: After watching his playing competitor Day jar a 69-foot birdie on No. 14, Langer stepped up and calmly holed a birdie chip of his own. It was the middle highlight of a run of three straight birdies that brought the German into red figures for the week.

Quote of the day: "I've just got to absolutely throw this away. I've got to throw away the finish to this round, and pretend that everyone is tied." - Spieth

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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.