Wide Open Race at BC Open

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 12, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 BC OpenThe old saying, 'When the cat's away the mice will play,' is never more evident than this week on the PGA Tour as the field assembles in Endicott, N.Y., for the B.C. Open.
The proverbial cat, however, is actually a Tiger who joins the rest of the world's best across the pond for the 134th Open Championship.
But that certainly won't ruin the party for those 156 players staying stateside and doing battle for part of the $3,000,000 purse.
In the 34 year history of the event, 12 different players have earned their maiden PGA Tour title at the B.C. Open, most recently by Spike McRoy in 2002.
It also is a great opportunity for some of the older tour veterans to revive their careers, as witnessed by Craig Stadler's triumph two years ago. The then 50-year-old Stadler erased an eight-stroke final round deficit to become the fifth oldest player to ever win on the PGA Tour.
But mainly, it is the young up-and-comers who relish the chance to come out from under the shadows of the Tiger and Co. and make a name for themselves.
And this week the field is loaded with such young prospects with the likes of Kevin Na, Ryan Moore, Casey Wittenberg and Kevin Stadler. Last week's John Deere Classic winner Sean O'Hair was also in the field before electing to head over to St. Andrews.
Five for the Title
Jonathan Byrd
Coming into his title defense at the B.C. Open, Byrd fired an impressive final-round 64 to move up into a tie for 13th at the John Deere Classic. That confidence building round could go a long way in securing Byrd his third career PGA Tour title. In last year's win, Byrd posted four sub-70 rounds to win by a shot.
Hank Kuehne
Like Byrd, coming off a strong outing at the John Deere Classic where he had his best result of the season. His tie for second with Robert Damron earned him $352,000, easily surpassing his totals for the entire year. Hank knocked John Daly from his eight year reign as the tour's longest driver in 2003. Led tour again in 2004 and currently is fourth in that category.
Kevin Stadler
Has endured an up and down rookie year on tour, making eight cuts in 20 starts. Not great, but certainly in a better situation than he was in early last year when he wasn't even a member of the Nationwide Tour. Due in part to being son of Craig Stadler, earned exemption into Lake Erie Charity Classic last year and quickly won the title. Later added a second victory to earn PGA Tour card for 2005. Has two top-10s on tour this year - John Deere Classic (10th) and Chrysler Classic of Tucson (9th).
Steve Lowery
Has had decent results in past B.C. Opens, his best coming in 2003 when he tied for second, losing to the elder Stadler in his dramatic come-from-behind win. Started year horribly by missing first eight cuts but has since notched a pair of top-25s, including a solid 12th place finish at The Players Championship. Has made the cut in nine of 10 career starts in Endicott.
Carlos Franco
Coming off one of his best years ever on tour in 2004, the strong four-time PGA Tour champion from Paraguay has had mixed results thus far in '05. After finishing 29th in earnings last year, he currently sits in the 110th position. Was seventh heading into the final round at John Deere and a closing 1-under 70 was good for a tie for 13th. Also placed 13th in his last trip to the B.C. Open.
Playing Out the Front Nine
Four more players to keep an eye on
*Esteban Toledo
Recently won the Nationwide Tours Lake Erie Charity Classic then followed up with a tie for 13th at the John Deere with Byrd and Franco. Has great results at the B.C. Open with four straight top-25s, including second place effort in 2000.
*Ryan Moore
The recently turned pro who had an All-American career at UNLV, missed the cut at last week's John Deere. With the big names gone from the field he may feel more comfortable and be able to tap into the confidence he had in college.
*Casey Wittenberg
Another young hotshot who owns the distinction of being the only player besides Tiger Woods to be ranked the top amateur in the United States prior to beginning college. Has just over $60,000 in earnings in 2005.
*Spike McRoy
Won his first and only PGA Tour title at the 2002 B.C. Open. Has split time between the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour so far in 2005 with best finish being a 13th at the Rheem Classic.
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - B.C. Open
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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.