Spieth leads Stenson as darkness suspends Round 2

By Will GrayDecember 6, 2014, 3:15 pm

WINDERMERE, Fla. – Despite a slow start in Round 2, Jordan Spieth remains atop the standings at the halfway point of the Hero World Challenge. Here’s how things look at Isleworth, where Spieth leads Henrik Stenson.

Leaderboard: Jordan Spieth (-11), Henrik Stenson (-9), Patrick Reed (-8), Justin Rose (-8), Bubba Watson (-7), Rickie Fowler (-7), Jimmy Walker (-7), Zach Johnson (-7)

What it means: Spieth made the turn in even par despite relatively benign conditions, and he lost his lead as a result. Thanks to a back-nine surge, though, he regained the pole position as he looks to win for the second time in as many weeks following his rout at the Australian Open. With play delayed by afternoon rain, Spieth opted not to finish his final hole. Returning at 10:15 Saturday morning, Spieth got up and down from in front of the 18th green to make par and finally finish his second round.

Round of the day: Call it the Tiger Bump. Playing alongside the former world No. 1, Reed caught fire at Isleworth, setting a new competitive course record with a 9-under 63. Reed played his first seven holes in 6 under and made the turn in 29, moving from next-to-last to a tie for third.

Best of the rest: Rose had a tumultuous front nine, with six birdies, one bogey and a double bogey.  It added up to a 3-under 33, and the Englishman added five more birdies on the back nine to cap an 8-under 64, one that included two separate stretches of four straight birdies.

Biggest disappointment: Most players were deep into red figures Friday, but Graeme McDowell failed to get anything going in the second round. McDowell made just two birdies during a round of 1-over 73 that dropped him to 3 under for the week, eight shots off the pace after he began the day just two behind Spieth. 

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Spieth appears comfortable with the lead, and he is certainly in command of his game right now. Reed is closing in fast, though, and the world No. 2 still lingers just off the pace. It’s all shaping up for a compelling finish this weekend, as Spieth looks to win again on a course where he captured his first collegiate title in 2011.

Shot of the day: Tiger Woods was 208 yards out on the par-5 13th when he authored the best shot of his latest comeback. Woods hit a 5-iron that rolled to within six feet of the hole, setting up an eagle that helped propel the five-time champ to a 2-under 70.

Quote of the day: “I never played with Tiger before besides in a practice round at the British. It was good to finally be able to play with him, especially in competition.” – Reed.

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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.