Game within a game at LPGA event

By Randall MellApril 24, 2012, 9:26 pm

Lexi Thompson hasn’t qualified for the big event yet.

Neither has Natalie Gulbis, Christina Kim or Laura Davies.

There is a game within the game this week at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The drama building there will go beyond who wins Sunday. It extends to who will win the battles for the final qualifying spots into the Sybase Match Play Championship, the LPGA’s next event (May 17-20).

While 48 Sybase spots were locked up off the top of the priority list following the 2011 season, 14 spots are open via the Mobile LPGA Classic. The final two spots in the 64-player field will be awarded as sponsor exemptions.

After the last putt drops in Mobile Sunday, the top 12 players on the 2012 money list who are not already qualified for Sybase will get an invite. Those 12 spots are currently held down by So Yeon Ryu, Jenny Shin, Jessica Korda, Caroline Hedwall, Julieta Granda, Karine Sjodin, Eun-Hee Ji, Mina Harigae, Jodi Ewart, Gulbis, Haeji Kang and Amanda Blumenherst.

Also, the top two players on the leaderboard through 36 holes who are not already qualified for Sybase will get an invite.

Thompson is currently 19th among players who haven’t yet qualified for the Sybase, but her position might be moot. If Thompson qualifies for Sybase, she’ll have a teenager’s conflict. She’s scheduled to go to her prom on the weekend of Sybase. Also, Juli Inkster is qualified for Sybase, but she is injured and may not be able to play. If she doesn’t play, Paige Mackenzie will earn the spot off the 2012 priority list.

Here’s the top 48 already qualified:

1.     Yani Tseng

2.     Cristie Kerr

3.     Na Yeon Choi

4.     Stacy Lewis

5.     Suzann Pettersen

6.     Brittany Lincicome

7.     Angela Stanford

8.     Ai Miyazato

9.     Paula Creamer

10.   Amy Yang

11.   I.K. Kim

12.   Hee Young Park

13.   Morgan Pressel

14.   Karrie Webb

15.   Jiyai Shin

16.   Catriona Matthew

17.   Maria Hjorth

18.   Michelle Wie

19.   Brittany Lang

20.   Sandra Gal

21.   Hee Kyung Seo

22.   Mika Miyazato

23.   Anna Nordqvist

24.   Azahara Munoz

25.   Sun Young Yoo

26.   Karine Icher

27.   Sophie Gustafson

28.   Se Ri Pak

29.   Meena Lee

30.   Karen Stupples

31.   Katie Futcher

32.   Inbee Park

33.   Shanshan Feng

34.   Song-Hee Kim

35.   Momoko Ueda

36.   Chelle Choi

37.   Juli Inkster

38.   Candie Kung

39.   Mindy Kim

40.   Jimin Kang

41.   Hee-Won Han

42.   Tiffany Joh

43.   Jeong Jang

44.   Amy Hung

45.   Beatriz Recari

46.   Wendy Ward

47.   Vicky Hurst

48.   Ryann O’Toole

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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.