Walker cards bogey-free 63 to steal Sony Open

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 13, 2014, 3:02 am

Winless in his first 187 starts on the PGA Tour, Jimmy Walker now has two wins in his last six starts. On Sunday he moved atop a crowded leaderboard with a bogey-free, 7-under 63 to win the Sony Open by one shot. Here’s the skinny on the final round at Waialae Country Club:

The leaderboard: Jimmy Walker (-17), Chris Kirk (-16), Jerry Kelly (-15), Harris English (-14), Marc Leishman (-13)

What it means: A late bloomer, perhaps, but Walker, who turns 35 this week, is now among the world’s elite. With this victory, he is expected to move near the top 30 in the world ranking. At this time last year, he was ranked 117th. In the new wraparound season, Walker now has two wins and two other top-15 finishes.

Sony Open: Articles, videos and photos

Round of the day: Two shots back to begin the day, Walker started slowly with just one birdie in his first eight holes, but he poured it on late to secure win No. 2. He birdied Nos. 9, 10 and 13, then ran off three in a row on Nos. 15-17 to hold off the pack. It was the lowest finish to win since Martin Laird’s 63 at the 2013 Valero Texas Open.

Best of the rest: It wasn’t like English blew his chance for his third career title with a sloppy Sunday. He made five birdies in the final round but was ultimately undone by a costly bogey on the 15th, when he failed to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker. His closing 67 gave him a third top-7 finish in this nascent season, and proved that his equipment change to Callaway won’t slow his rapid progression. Chris Kirk, the 54-hole leader, needed an eagle on the final hole to force a playoff, but his chip from the front fringe never had a chance. He shot 66 and lost by one.

Biggest disappointment: There wasn’t much star power on the final day. Adam Scott pulled within one shot of the lead at one point Sunday, but he was so far ahead of the leaders that he never had a realistic chance to win. He settled for a tie for eighth, along with Matt Kuchar (66) and Hyundai winner Zach Johnson (69). Marc Leishman made eight birdies in his last 12 holes for a closing 65 and a fifth-place finish.

Shot of the day: Walker put on a clinic late Sunday at Waialae: 12-foot par putt on 14, then rolled in birdies on 15 (13 feet), 16 (7 feet) and 17 (6 feet).

Quote of the day: “You learn so much out here; it took me a long time to do it. I felt very calm and under control. That’s what you’ve got to feel and do when it’s time to win. It’s easy to say, hard to do. But today was awesome. It was really cool golf today.” – Walker

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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.