Golf Channel Am Tour National Championships 2012

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 13, 2012, 2:20 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – A record turnout has descended upon the PGA Tour's home for the 2012 Golf Channel Am Tour National Championships. 

Over the course of four rounds, The Players Stadium Course and neighboring Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass and Ponte Vedra Inn and Club’s Lagoon and Ocean Courses welcomed more than 1,100 expected participants for the concluding event on the Golf Channel Am Tour season. The Golf Channel Am Tour National Championships were broken up into two tournaments: the Senior National Championships (ages 50 and over), Sept. 4-7, and the traditional National Championships (below age 50), Sept. 10-13.

Check back here for all the latest news during the event.

Day 4: Beach captures Championship flight: Brian Beach moved from Montana to California to hone his golf game. It appears to have been a good move.

Day 4: Healy wins Palmer flight: Mike Healy almost withdrew from the Am Tour Championships. Good thing he didn't.

Day 4: Connor captures Hogan flight: Three years after finishing dead last in the Hogan flight, Jason Connor was a winner by two shots.

Day 4: Ambrosio captures Sarazen flight: Ken Ambrosio has had better finishes, but he withstood the final-round pressure to take a one-stroke win.

Day 4: Island-green 17th key as Nault wins Snead flight:  Paul Nault was seven shots behind Scott Fjeldstad with five holes to go, but staged a rally, including a birdie at No. 17.

Day 4: Kelley wins Jones flight in playoff:  Rich Kelley defeated Rick Ramsey with a par on the first playoff hole.

Day 3: Former MLB pitcher loving life on the Am Tour: Once a competitor, always a competitor. That's the way guys like former Major League Baseball pitcher Mark Mulder are wired.

Day 3: Players closing in on National crown: Make no mistake: For the players contending at this week's Golf Channel Am Tour Championships, the stakes are high. For many of them, it's a rare opportunity to realize a dream.

Day 2: Par-3 17th a little devil: For many golfers it's the most difficult short shot they'll ever hit, simply because of the intimidation factor.

Day2: Albatross, eagle lift Embry: Ted Embry recorded both an double eagle and an eagle to vault into contention in the Championship Flight of the Golf Channel's Am Tour National Championship.

Day 1: Ball envy: Bridgestone has been analyzing Am Tour golfers' swings for over a week now and report their results thus far. 

Day 1: Couples affair: Many of the players here at the Golf Channel Am Tour Championships are making a week of it in the Jacksonville area, but Kathy Provazek and Jeff Ross are doubling their pleasure.

Nationals preview: Big Break stars provide their pressure wisdom: On the eve of the Golf Channel Am Tour National Championships, Big Break competitors welcomed competitors and offered their advice on dealing with pressure. 

Dyer on 'Morning Drive': Ed Dyer, winner of the Hogan Flight in the Golf Channel Am Tour Senior National Championship joined Gary and the team.

Senior results: True Statement: Jeff True won four majors in 2012 and capped it off with a clutch, 10-footer for the Nationals crown. 

Senior results: Indiana Eyes Smiling: Indiana residents Ed Dyer and Randy Snodgrass finished one-two in the competitive Hogan flight. 

Senior results: Going Low: Who says the finishing holes on the Stadium Course are tough? Mark Palmer birdied four of the last six holes to win the Championship flight. 

Day 4: Now it gets interestingWith the help of an ace, Charles Voss finds himself in the lead, while other flights have their story lines heading into the final day.

Day 4: One competitive coupleThere aren't many couples who both play competitive golf. Lynn and Lu Cormier, from Sugarland, are the exception. 

Day 3: Ace in the hole! David Wachnish, records the week's first ace at Ponte Vedra Inn's Lagoons Course. 

Day 3: Sink or swim on 17: After two days, the 17th hole has seen scores ranging between 2 and 32. 

Day 2: The Better Half: While competitors took to the golf course on Day one, many of their wives and girlfriends got the royal treatment. 

• Day 2: Aloha, SawgrassSix competitors at this week's Senior National Championship made the long trip to Ponte Vedra Beach from Hawaii to compete this week. 

Day 1: Let the games begin! On the eve of the largest ever Am Tour Senior National Championship, David Feherty had some not-so-inspirational words for Am Tour competitors. Also, three competitors have a unique advantage this week when the stakes are high.

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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.

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

“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 four 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. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."