Moving Day musings: McGladrey Classic

By Will GrayOctober 20, 2012, 1:37 pm

Arjun Atwal begins the third round of The McGladrey Classic with a one-shot advantage, but he has three former major winners in close pursuit. Here are some players and storylines to follow Saturday as play heats up on the Seaside Course:

Davis Love III is looking to become the first player to win on the PGA Tour after serving as U.S. Ryder Cup captain since ’93 captain Tom Watson won the 1998 Crowne Plaza Invitational. The 48-year-old Love last won on Tour at the 2008 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, but his 12 birdies are tied for the most this week through 36 holes.

• While David Toms has played himself into position through 36 holes, beginning Saturday’s round tied for fourth, he may be well served to assume that today is Sunday. Toms has impressed in the final round this year, and his 69.80 fourth round scoring average ranks 10th on Tour. His third round stroke average, though, is a full 2.5 shots higher at 72.30. The LSU graduate has broken 70 in the third round only once this year, and it remains to be seen how he will get score updates Saturday as his Tigers kick off against Texas A&M within ten minutes of his third round tee time.

• Although Jonas Blixt survived the 36-hole cut by a single shot, he may be poised for a strong round Saturday. Blixt, who last week recorded his first career PGA Tour victory at the Open, leads the Tour with a 68.57 third round scoring average. The Swede has shot a 66 in the third round of each of the first two Fall Series events this month.

• One year ago this week, Gavin Coles was winning the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open on the Tour. Today, the Aussie begins the third round on the Seaside Course at 8 under, two shots off the lead and playing in the penultimate group with Bud Cauley and David Toms. Having missed four consecutive cuts and currently sitting at 179th on the money list, Coles – who celebrated his 44th birthday Friday – could greatly benefit from a high finish this weekend.

• Although he’s hit the green in regulation less than 66% of the time in 25 starts on Tour this year, Chad Campbell leads the field this week in GIR percentage, reaching 34/36 greens in regulation. He had a birdie putt on every hole during his bogey-free 67 in Friday’s second round, and begins Saturday tied for seventh, three shots off the lead.

• After opening with a 1-over 71 Thursday on the heels of four straight missed cuts, “bubble boy” Kevin Chappell appeared to be in dire straits. But Chappell, currently ranked 126th on the money list, rallied Friday with a 4-under 66 to comfortably advance to the weekend. It marked the Californian’s lowest stroke play score since a final-round 65 at the John Deere Classic, and Chappell now has an opportunity over the next two days to move onto the right side of the most famous “bubble” in golf.

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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.