Golf Channel Am Tour Crowns 12 National Champions

By Golf Channel Public RelationsDecember 15, 2010, 12:49 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., Oct. 7 - Twelve national champions were crowned last week when a record 920 amateur golfers from throughout North America converged on North Florida to compete in the 2010 Golf Channel Am Tour (GCAT) National Championships.

Two competitors successfully defended their 2009 GCAT National Championships, both in the senior division.  Ken Larney (Orland Park, Ill.) became the first three-time national champion in the history of the Golf Channel Am Tour (2009, 2007), when he turned in one of the lowest rounds of the tournament on the final day with a 69 at St. Johns Golf & Country Club.  Larney won the Senior Championship Flight (handicaps 0-3.9) by three shots.  Clifford Conover (Roosevelt, Utah) survived a scare in the Senior Palmer Flight (handicaps 4-7.9) when he turned in his highest round of the tournament (82), yet managed to win by one stroke.

Sixteen-year-old Jacob Hibler (Midland, Texas) became the second-youngest national champion in the history of the Golf Channel Am Tour when he defeated Kevin Downey (St. Augustine, Fla.) and Kevin Stutts (San Diego, Calif.) in a two-hole playoff at World Golf Village’s Slammer & Squire Course to capture the Hogan Flight (handicaps 8-11.9).  Hibler carded three consecutive rounds in the 70s following an opening round of 93 to climb up the leader board and eventually win the Hogan Flight title.

Contested at four Jacksonville-area golf courses and headlined by the famed PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, the Golf Channel Am Tour National Championships featured 920 competitors representing 44 U.S. States. Canada and Puerto Rico.  The participation eclipsed 2009’s tournament field at PGA West (781), making the 2010 National Championships the largest field in the history of the Golf Channel Am Tour.  The Senior National Championships took place Sept. 21-24, with the Open National Championships taking place Sept. 26-29.  Dye’s Valley at TPC Sawgrass, World Golf Village’s Slammer & Squire Course and St. Johns Golf & Country Club also served as host courses for the 2010 National Championships.

 

National Championship Winners

Open Division

Snead Flight (20+ handicap)

Down by one shot going into Sunday’s final round at St. Johns Golf & Country Club, Michael Poole of West Chester, Ohio, improved on his third-round score by 14 strokes with a final round 85, capturing the Snead Flight by two.

Jones Flight (16.0-19.9)

Suneil Aggarwal of Alpharetta, Ga., held on for a two-stroke victory with a third-round 97 at Dye’s Valley Course TPC Sawgrass.  **The final round at TPC Sawgrass was cancelled due to inclement weather.**

Sarazen Flight (12.0-15.9)

Mark Perfetuo of Cary, N.C., erased a two-stroke deficit going into the final round with an 84 at St. Johns Golf & Country Club to win the Sarazen Flight by three strokes.

Hogan Flight (8.0-11.9)

Sixteen-year-old Jacob Hibler (Midland, Texas) became the second-youngest national champion in the history of the Golf Channel Am Tour when he defeated Kevin Downey (St. Augustine, Fla.) and Kevin Stutts (San Diego, Calif.) in a two-hole playoff at World Golf Village’s Slammer & Squire Course to capture the Hogan Flight (handicap 8-11.9).  Hibler carded three consecutive rounds in the 70s following an opening round of 93 to climb up the leader board and eventually win the Hogan Flight title.

Palmer Flight (4.0-7.9)

Gio Swann of Lauderhill, Fla., took the Palmer Flight title by four strokes in a rain-shortened 54-hole tournament after shooting 74-75-81.  **The final round at TPC Sawgrass was cancelled due to inclement weather.**

Championship Flight (<3.9)

Dan O’Connor of Carlsbad, Calif., carded a final round 73 at the PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass to overcome a two-stroke deficit and capture his first Golf Channel Am Tour National Championship by one shot.

Senior Division

Snead Flight (20+ handicap)

Rod Burns of Weston, Fla., saved his best golf for last.  Burns turned in the lowest round in the Snead Flight with an 84 at World Golf Village’s Slammer & Squire Course to run away with the title by 11 strokes.

Jones Flight (16.0-19.9)

Like Rod Burns in the Snead Flight, Randy Adcock turned in the lowest round of the tournament in the Jones Flight on the final day.  The Vidor, Texas, resident came from one stroke behind going into the final round to win by two shots with a final-round 82 at St. Johns Golf & Country Club.

Sarazen Flight (12.0-15.9)

Mickey Rogers of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., picked an opportune time to shoot one of the lowest rounds in his career.  In the third round, Rogers carded a 79 at World Golf Village’s Slammer & Squire to overtake the top spot and held on to win the title by three strokes with a final-round 87 at the PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

Hogan Flight (8.0-11.9)

Don Miller (North Bay, Ontario) one of two Canadians competing in the Hogan Flight, grabbed the lead in the third round with a 79 at the PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, and held on for a four-stroke victory.

Palmer Flight (4-7.9)

Clifford Conover of Roosevelt, Utah, became a two-time national champion in the Palmer Flight (2009), even after turning in his highest round of the tournament in the final round with an 82 at World Golf Village’s Slammer & Squire.  Conover managed to successfully defend his 2009 national championship with a one-stroke victory.

Championship Flight (<3.9)

Ken Larney (Orland Park, Ill.) became the first three-time national champion in the history of the Golf Channel Am Tour (2009, 2007) when he turned in the low round of the tournament on the final day with a 69 at St. Johns Golf & Country Club to win the Senior Championship Flight (handicap 0-3.9) by three shots.

As the largest amateur golf tour in North America, the Golf Channel Am Tour is open to the public and provides the most professional tournament experience for players of all ages and abilities, as well as offering unparalleled access to some of the most renowned and challenging golf courses across the country.  For more information about the Golf Channel Am Tour and the national championships, visit www.GolfChannel.com/amtour.

About Golf Channel:

Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla.  The Golf Channel cable network, co-founded by Arnold Palmer and a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:  CMCSA, CMCSK), is available in more than 120 million homes worldwide through cable, satellite and wireless companies.  Exclusive partnerships with the world’s top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, added to a programming schedule distinguished by golf’s best news, instruction and original programming.  Golf Channel’s digital platform of businesses is led by www.GolfChannel.com, a leading golf destination on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf, as well as services that help the recreational player with how to play, what to play and where to play golf.

About TPC Sawgrass

TPC Sawgrass -- “Home of THE PLAYERS” -- encompasses more than 30 years of magic and memories from famous pros' road to the Championship and everyday golfers who challenge THE PLAYERS Stadium Course and Dye's Valley Course. Open to the public and also offering exclusive memberships, TPC Sawgrass boasts a 77,000 square-foot Mediterranean Revival-style Clubhouse that protects and shares the TPC Sawgrass history and heritage through THE PLAYERS memorabilia. On the course, golfers build new memories with storyteller forecaddies who help closely replicate the experiences of the pros while challenging the famous 17th Island Green. Additional amenities include world-class golf instruction and state-of-the-art equipment at the TOUR Academy and restaurants Nineteen and Traditions overlooking the famed fairways. For more information on TPC Sawgrass please visit  www.tpc.com/tpcsawgrass_60.aspx or call PGA TOUR Experiences at 888-421-8555 and visit www.pgatourexperiences.com

About Slammer & Squire
One of 'The Official Golf Courses of the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum,' the Slammer & Squire is an 18-hole championship course designed by Bobby Weed with design consultants Sam 'The Slammer' Snead and Gene 'The Squire' Sarazen, both members of the Hall of Fame. The Slammer & Squire features two distinct nines with generous fairways, contoured greens, and plenty of water hazards along with impressive views of the Hall of Fame. Along with the King & Bear golf course, Slammer & Squire offers five sets of tees and beautiful, tournament-ready course conditions year-round.

Slammer & Squire was the host site of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, a Champions Tour event, and currently hosts an array of other golf events. To learn more about Slammer & Squire at World Golf Village, visit www.golfwgv.com or call 904-940-6088.

About St. Johns G&CC

An award-winning Clyde Johnston-designed course, Billy Casper Golf-managed St. Johns Golf & Country Club attracts golfers from throughout the southeast United States.  Carved out of a pine forest and featuring occasionally arduous wind patterns, the 18-hole layout tests golfers of all abilities, including those playing its championship tees at par-72 and 7,236 yards.

In 2009, under Billy Casper Golf agronomic direction, St. Johns was designated a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” by Audubon International for its high standards protecting the environment and preserving the natural heritage of golf.  According to Audubon International, St. Johns is one of a handful of courses in the Jacksonville area to achieve certification, joining the elite TPC Sawgrass, Amelia Island Plantation, The Palencia Club and Bent Creek Golf Course.  For more information about St. Johns:  www.stjohnsgolf.com, 904.940.3200.

 

-30-

Monday Scramble: For money and love

By Ryan LavnerNovember 20, 2017, 3:00 pm

Lexi Thompson falters, Jon Rahm impresses, Justin Rose stuns, Austin Cook breaks through and more in this week's edition of Monday Scramble:

It’ll be a long two months for Lexi Thompson.

She’ll have plenty to think about this offseason after a strong 2017 season that could have been spectacular.

She won twice, led the LPGA in scoring average and took home the $1 million first-place prize … but she also finished second six times – none more excruciating than the careless spotting in the first major of the year and the 2-foot miss in the season finale – and dealt with the crushing off-course distraction of her mother, Judy, battling cancer.

Thompson said all the right things after the CME Group Tour Championship, that those types of short misses happen in golf, that she’s overcome adversity before.

“It didn’t stop me,” she said, “and this won’t either.”

But at 22, she has already accumulated an incredible amount of scar tissue, especially for a player with world-beater talent.

What will 2018 bring? For Lexi’s sake, hopefully it’s more wins, not heartbreak. 


1. The Thompson miss was plenty awkward. So was the end to the LPGA season.

In a fitting result for a year in which no dominant player emerged, So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park shared the Player of the Year award, after both players finished with 162 points. It’s the first time that’s happened since 1966.

Can’t there be some way to break the tie? Low scoring average? Best finishes in the majors? A chip-off content? Rock-paper-scissors?

2. Some of the other awards ...

Vare Trophy: Thompson, who finished the year with a 69.114 average. Maybe the players this year were just really good, but it’s a bit of a head-scratcher than 12 players finished with a sub-70 average, besting the previous best total of, gulp, five. Easier setups?

Money title: Park, with $2.336 in earnings.

No. 1 ranking: Shanshan Feng, though Thompson had a chance to take over the top spot. Alas, that final green … 



3. Oh, and there was also the tournament winner: Ariya Jutanugarn, who capped a bizarre year with a satisfying title.

Perhaps only Thompson boasts as much talent as Jutanugarn, and yet the Thai star showed her vulnerability this year. After reaching No. 1 in the world, she struggled through a shoulder injury and then missed five cuts and withdrew from another event in a seven-start span.

Here’s hoping she learned how to deal with that spotlight, because she’s going to be challenging for the No. 1 ranking for a while.

4. Of course, we wrote that about Lydia Ko, too, and she just wrapped up her first winless season on tour since she was 15.

She had 11 top-10s, including three runners-up, but failing to earn a victory was a massive disappointment for a player who was No. 1 in the world for 85 weeks. Perhaps next year she’ll get back on track, but you never know – she changed swings, coaches, equipment and caddies. That's a lot of turnover.



5. So much for that “controversial” Rookie of the Year award.

Jon Rahm, named Europe’s top newcomer despite playing only four regular-season events, left little doubt about who was the breakout star of the year with a comeback victory at the DP World Tour Championship.

Though it wasn’t enough to claim the Race to Dubai title – he finished third – it should serve as a warning to the rest of the European Tour that the 23-year-old Rahm be the man to beat for the next, oh, decade or so.

6. Ranked fourth in the world, particularly impressive because he hasn’t yet hit the minimum divisor in the rankings, Rahm wrapped up a season in which he won in California, Ireland and Dubai.

Just imagine how good he’ll be when he’s not seeing all of these courses for the first time. 

7. The biggest stunner on the final day was the play of Justin Rose, who entered the final round with a one-shot lead.

He seemed to be on cruise control, going out in 4 under, but he encountered all sorts of trouble on the back nine, making three bogeys a variety of ways – wayward drives, flared approaches into the water and missed shorties.

Not only did it cost him the DP World Tour Championship title, but it allowed Tommy Fleetwood – even with a closing 74 – to take the end-of-season Race to Dubai title.



8. Austin Cook is now a PGA Tour winner – and what a circuitous journey it has been.

After turning pro in 2014, he played the mini-tours, racking up five top-10s in nine starts on the Adams Tour. A year later, with a chance to earn his Web.com card, he finished bogey-bogey-quad-double. And then last year, Hurricane Matthew forced officials to cancel the Web.com Tour Championship. That left Cook without his card – by $425.

He made it to the big leagues this fall, after finishing 20th on the money list, and then won in just his 14th career Tour start.  

“I’ve been close on the Web a couple times but haven’t been able to get the job done, and to be able to do it on the biggest stage in the world, it definitely boosts my confidence and lets me know that I can play with these guys,” he said. 

9. Sam Horsfield, who in 2016 was the NCAA Freshman of the Year, routed the field at European Tour Q-School to earn his card for next year. He shot 27 under (!) during the five-round event to win by eight.

Expectations have been high for the 21-year-old ever since he received a public endorsement from Ian Poulter. His mentor chimed in again after Horsfield got his card:

Another great story to come out of Q-School was Jigger Thomson, who is interesting not just because of his incredible height – he’s 6-foot-9 – but his back story, after battling leukemia as a kid.

10. A limited fall schedule hasn’t cost Brooks Koepka any of his stellar form.

The U.S. Open champion defended his title at the Dunlop Phoenix, shooting 20 under par – one off his own scoring mark – and winning by a record nine shots. The margin of victory was one shot better than Tiger Woods’ romp there in 2004.

This was only Koepka’s second start since the Tour Championship (tied for second at the WGC-HSBC Champions).

Xander Schauffele tied for second while Hideki Matsuyama finished fifth. This is the time last year, remember, in which the Japanese star was the hottest player in the world, taking four titles in six starts, but he admitted of going up against Koepka right now: “I feel there’s a huge gap between us.” 

Um, has this ever happened before?

I.K. Kim had a WILD third round at the CME Tour Championship, making only seven pars and recording everything from a 1 to a 7 en route to a ho-hum 71. 

This week's award winners ... 


Back Under the Knife: Davis Love III. Set to undergo replacement surgery on his left hip, Love is looking at another extended layoff, likely about four months.  

Underrated Fall Performances: J.J. Spaun and Brian Harman. Spaun, who held the 54-hole lead at the Shriners, earned his first runner-up finish at the RSM, his third consecutive top-15. Harman, who won the Wells Fargo in May, had three top-8s. 

Fill-In Duty: Cameron McCormick. Jordan Spieth’s swing coach will be on the bag for Spieth this week in Australia with his regular caddie, Michael Greller, at home with his wife and new baby.  

Get Well Soon: Luke Donald. He withdrew from the RSM because of chest pain. He spent the night in the hospital, undergoing seven hours of tests, but was given the all-clear sign. 


All the Best: Webb Simpson. Wishing the best to the Simpson family, after Webb chose to WD from Sea Island after rounds of 67-68 so he could spend time with his father, Sam, who, Simpson tweeted is “sick and living his last days.” 

Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: Charles Howell III. Red-hot to open the season, with three consecutive top-10s, Howell missed the cut at Sea Island where he was 7-for-7 with three top-10s and a tie for 13th. Sigh. 

Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

“I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

“Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

Parity reigned.

Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

Rolex Player of the Year
Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.


Vare Trophy
Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.


CME Globe $1 million prize
Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.


LPGA money-winning title
Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.


Rolex world No. 1 ranking
The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.


Rolex Rookie of the Year
Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

“Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

“Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

How did she evaluate her season?

“I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

“It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

“Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

“I think everybody has little ups and downs.”