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Bracket Set for 'Round of 16' at Volvik World Long Drive Championship, Tonight at 9 p.m. ET in Primetime, Under the Lights on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 5, 2017, 2:55 pm

Seven of Top-10 in World Long Drive Rankings Among 16 Competitors Vying for Championship Belt at WinStar World Casino and Resort

Tonight’s Telecast Also to Feature Mixed-Team Event Showcasing Four Men Paired with the Four Women Advancing to Tomorrow Night’s Semifinals

THACKERVILLE, OKLA. (Sept. 5, 2017) – The stage is set for 16 of the longest hitters in golf to convene live and in primetime under the lights, beginning tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel at the 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Championship from WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The first of back-to-back nights on Golf Channel, tonight’s telecast will feature the eight Round of 16 matches in the Open (Men’s Division), along with a mixed-team (Open/Women’s Divisions) format. Tomorrow night, the 2017 World Long Drive Association (WLDA) season will culminate in primetime with competitors vying for the title of World Champion and the coveted winner’s belts.

OPEN DIVISION (MEN’S) ROUND OF 16 MATCHES:

(1) Ryan Reisbeck (Layton, Utah) vs. (16) Wes Patterson (St. Louis, Mo.)

(8) Kevin Shook (Bradenton, Fla.) vs. (9) Mitch Grassing (Ottawa, Ont., Canada)

(4) Tim Burke (Orlando, Fla.) vs. (13) Stephen Kois (Wheaton, Ill.)

(5) Trent Scruggs (Hickory, N.C.) vs. (12) Kyle Berkshire (Orlando, Fla.)

(2) Justin James (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) vs. (15) Bobby Bradley (Wellington, Fla.)

(7) Paul Howell (Wilson, N.C.) vs. (10) Steve Monroe (Clearwater, Fla.)

(3) Will Hogue (Memphis, Tenn.) vs. (14) Josh Cassaday (Denver, Colo.)

(6) Joe Miller (London, England) vs. (11) Nick Kiefer (Chicago, Ill.)

The Women’s Division preliminary rounds are taking place today, and fans can follow live scoring in real-time here. The four semifinalists on the Women’s side will take part in tomorrow night’s telecast beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Phillis Meti is looking to defend her 2016 World title, alongside 2017 event winners Chloe Garner and Troy Mullins, in addition to four-time former World Champion Sandra Carlborg.

COVERAGE: Live coverage of the 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Championship will air from 9-11 p.m. ET tonight and tomorrow (Wednesday). Golf Central will preview live event coverage both nights, with a special one hour pre-game show analyzing the matchups, which also will include interviews with those in the field preparing to compete.

PURSE: A $270,000 purse will be paid out among those advancing to the Round of 16 in the Open Division, with the winner receiving $125,000. In the Women’s Division, those advancing to the quarterfinals will earn a portion of the $40,000 purse, with the winner receiving $20,000: (Open: 1st – $125,000; 2nd – $50,000; 3rd/4th – $19,500; 5th-8th – $7,000; 9th-16th – $3,500; Women’s: 1st – $20,000; 2nd – $8,000; 3rd/4th – $3,000; 5th-8th – $1,500).

PRODUCTION: The production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize nine dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera along with two crane-positioned cameras (one directly behind the tee box and the other stationed in the landing area) that will track the ball from the moment it leaves the competitor’s clubface until it comes to rest. The telecast also will feature a custom graphics package suited to the anomalous swing data typically generated by Long Drive competitors, tracking club speed, ball speed and apex in real-time via Trackman. Top Tracer technology also will provide viewers with a sense of ball flight, tracking drives from the moment of impact.

BROADCAST TEAM: Golf Channel’s Bob Papa will handle play-by-play duties, while 2012 PGA Professional Teacher of the Year and host of The Golf Fix – Michael Breed – will serve as analyst, and Jerry Foltz will handle interviews. Art Sellinger – long-drive pioneer, two-time national long-drive champion and founder of the Long Drivers of America – also will be on hand to provide an analyst perspective and offer additional background on the competitors. Additionally, Golf Channel reporter Chantel McCabe will be on-site for Golf Central, offering reports and conducting interviews with competitors prior to and following live event coverage.

COLT FORD STAGING CONCERT ON-SITE TOMORROW:Renowned musician, Colt Ford, will be on-site at WinStar’s golf facility tomorrow, Sept. 6 to perform a special (free) concert for those attending the competition. The band will perform a handful of songs prior to the competition getting underway, and will resume with a full performance immediately following the completion of the event later in the evening.

CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT: The Open Division competition will be contested through a single-elimination bracket, narrowing to the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals to ultimately determine a winner. The Women’s Division also will utilize a single-elimination match play format for the semifinals and finals. Competitors in each match will compete head-to-head in two alternating 90-second sets with an opportunity to hit four balls in each set.

Tonight’s telecast also will introduce a new team format, with the top-four in the Women’s Division – who will compete in Wednesday night’s semifinal matches – being paired with the four highest-ranked men in the Open Division not having advanced from the Round of 32: Maurice Allen (No. 1), Tommy Hug (No. 8), Jason Eslinger (No. 13) and Jeff Flagg (No. 19). The four, two-person “mixed” teams will face off in a match play bracket format that will use the aggregate yardage of each team member’s longest drive in the set versus that of their opponent’s aggregate yardage.

2017 WLDA SEASON RECAP: The Volvik World Long Drive Championship serves as the culmination of the 2017 WLDA season that already has produced a number of dramatic moments, led by the two televised events, along with several other events over the course of the past several months, including:

 

Date

Event

Location

Winner   (Open)

Winner   (Women’s)

April    23

East Coast   Classic

West   Columbia, S.C.

Tim Burke

 

May 20

WinStar   Midwest Slam

Thackerville,   Okla.

Landon   Gentry

 

May 27

New Zealand   Championship

Christchurch,   New Zealand

Sam Jones

 

June 6

Clash in   the Canyon**

Mesquite,   Nev.

Ryan   Reisbeck

Chloe   Garner

June 25

Bluff City   Shootout

Memphis,   Tenn.

Justin   James

 

July 8

Rockwell   Blast

West   Bountiful, Utah

Glenn   Wilson Jr.

 

July 16

Bash for   Cash

Port   Robinson, Ont. (Canada)

Justin   James

 

July 25

Mile High   Showdown**

Denver,   Colo.

Maurice   Allen

Troy   Mullins

July 30

Japan   (Tokyo) Championship

Shizuoka,   Japan

Kimihiro   Minamide

Chika   Kobayashi

August 4

U.K.   Championship

Enstone,   England

Dan Konyk

Ilona   Stubley

August 6

Catawba   Classic

Newton,   N.C.

Maurice   Allen

 

August 14

Japan   (Iwaki) Championship

Iwaki,   Japan

Naoto   Misumi

Kaori Saito

(**signifies televised event on Golf Channel)

For more information, visit www.worldlongdrive.com.

ABOUT WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION

The World Long Drive Association is an organization that brings together golf’s longest hitters from around the globe. Emerging as one of golf’s most popular grass roots competitions, sanctioned Long Drive events are open to amateur and professional golfers. With an Open Division, Women’s Division and Masters Division (Ages 45+), the 2017 WLDA season consists of events across the United States and around the world, culminating with the Volvik World Long Drive Championship Sept 1-6, from WinStar World Casino and Resort (Thackerville, Okla.,) where competitors will convene under the lights for the world title on Golf Channel.

ABOUT WINSTAR WORLD CASINO AND RESORT

As the world’s largest casino by number of gaming positions, WinStar World Casino and Resort offers more than 7,400 electronic games, 97 table games and 46 poker tables. The Resort also boasts a 3,500-seat entertainment venue – the Global Event Center – as well as nearly 1,500 luxury hotel rooms, a 36-hole championship golf course and state-of-the-art Golf Academy. Located just north of the Oklahoma/Texas border along Interstate 35, WinStar World Casino and Resort presents unrivaled gaming action 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, world-class entertainers and a vibrant culinary scene with 17 diverse restaurants for guests to explore.

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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.