Ochoa Leads State Farm Series
Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill champion Se Ri Pak (239 points) and Mi Hyun Kim (224) are in third and fourth place, respectively, followed by three-time 2004 champion Meg Mallon in fifth (219). Sorenstam and Mallon are not competing in this week's State Farm Classic and are therefore ineligible to receive any of the State Farm LPGA Series Bonus Pool money.
Other players still in contention to win the bonus pool's $100,000 first-place check are Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Grace Park, who is in sixth place (199.22 points), seventh-place Catriona Matthew (170), ninth-place Jeong Jang (143.50), 10th-place Becky Morgan (140.89), 2003 State Farm LPGA Series Bonus Pool winner Hee-Won Han is in twelfth place (132), 14th-place Cristie Kerr (125) and Moria Dunn, who is in 15th-place (116).
The State Farm LPGA Series is an 11-event television series on ESPN and ESPN2 that features a $250,000 bonus pool. Players finishing in the top 20 at the State Farm LPGA Series events earn points for the bonus pool.
Second place receives $50,000, with $30,000 going to third place, $20,000 for fourth place, $15,000 for fifth place, $9,000 for sixth, $8,000 for seventh, $7,000 for eighth, $6,000 for ninth and $5,000 for 10th.
Past winners of the State Farm LPGA Series include Han, 2003; Kim, 2002; Sorenstam, 2001; Pat Hurst, 2000; and Karrie Webb, 1999.
State Farm Insurance Companies has been involved with the LPGA since 1992. In 1993, State Farm became the title sponsor of the State Farm Rail Classic, an LPGA event held in Springfield, Ill., which has raised more than $1.9 million for various charities. Beginning in 2000, State Farm expanded its sponsorship to become a marketing partner of the LPGA. State Farm also is one of the founding sponsors of LPGA.com, the LPGA's Web site. Based in Bloomington, Ill., State Farm is the largest insurer of cars and homes in the United States and is a leading life insurance company.
McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School
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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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
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.
Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4
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
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."
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.