You Oughta Know: Valspar Championship

By Al TaysMarch 14, 2015, 11:16 pm

Third-round Valspar Championship leader Ryan Moore is looking for his fifth PGA Tour win, but the golf gods haven't been kind to 54-hole leaders of late. Here's what You Oughta Know heading into the final round at Innisbrook's Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Fla., where Moore leads Jordan Spieth by one shot:

• A 54-hole leader or co-leader has not won on the PGA Tour over the last seven events.

• The last nine 54-hole leaders or co-leaders failed to break par in final round

• The last 54-hole leader to win was Bill Haas, who was tied for the lead after three rounds at the Humana Challenge.

• Only two of the previous seven Valspar winners held or shared the 54-hole lead (Kevin Streelman and Jim Furyk).

• From Moore's standpoint, the outlook is slightly brighter - he has converted half (3 for 6) of his previous 54-hole lead on Tour.

• Moore has not exactly been Mariano Rivera as a closer lately. He shot 76 on Sunday at Doral to finish T9, and he's a combined 8 over par for his most recent three final rounds.

• If Moore wins, he is projected to move to into the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking (17th) for the first time

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• Moore's most recent win was the CIMB Classic last November, part of the PGA Tour's 2014-15 wraparound schedule. If he wins Sunday, it would mark the first time he has won more than once in a season.

• Spieth, 21, is looking for his second official PGA Tour win. If he gets it, he would become the youngest two-time Tour winner since Sergio Garcia in 2001.

• A Spieth win would be his third worldwide win since the end of November (Australian Open, Hero World Challenge).

• Spieth would be the third-youngest two-time Tour winner of the last 25 years, behind Tiger Woods and Garcia.

• A win would move Spieth to sixth in the OWGR, a career high.

• Derek Ernst, who trails by two, is a perfect 42-for-42 on putts inside 7 feet this week.

• Even if Ernst doesn't win, he appears likely to notch his first top-50 finish of the season.

• Sean O’Hair, three shots off the lead, is looking for his fifth career PGA Tour win and first since the 2011 Canadian Open.

• Matt Kuchar (four shots back) is Mr. Consistency - he has 50 top-10 finishes since the beginning of 2010 (12 more than anyone else in that span)

• Vijay Singh (five shots back), who will be 52 years and 22 days old on Sunday; would be the second-oldest winner in PGA Tour history, behind only Sam Snead, who was 7 1/2 months older when he won the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open.

(Research by Golf Channel Sr. Researcher Justin Ray)

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McCoy earns medalist honors at 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 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 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 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.