59 Baby

By Martha BrendleMarch 16, 2001, 5:00 pm
She began the day two strokes back and now is the one the rest of the field will be trying to catch. Annika Sorenstam made history Friday after recording 13-under-par 59 during the second round of the Standard Register PING at the par-72 Moon Valley Country Club.
Im overwhelmed, Sorenstam said as she left the 18th green. It was an incredible day. I think it will hit me a little later, obviously right now Im overwhelmed. I was shooting for 54 but obviously I did not reach that - but its a pretty good start.
Annika, paired with Meg Mallon and sister Charlotta, teed off the back nine this morning and proceeded to card no fewer than eight consecutive birdies before her first par.
Still in shock over her performance Annika had this to say about todays round: Ive never been in this position before and Ive never made so many birdies in a row. After I made six birdies in a row I was starting to shake already. Just the start I got off to was incredible. I was looking at the leaderboard, and I was looking at my score because there was a chance to break the record.
Sorenstam made the turn in position to obliterate the old record of 61, and she did just that. By the time she hit the par-4 first a veritable legion was following the threesome. Five more birdies, two pars and nine holes later Annika Sorenstam had finished the front nine in 31 strokes to become the only woman ever to card a 59 in 18 holes of professional golf.
I was very nervous because I knew what was on the line, the eight-year veteran said. I started off with eight birdies in a row and was kind of in shock after that. Then I realized I still had some holes left and I could still do something.
Very few players on any tour have ever recorded a 59 in tournament play. Those who have include PGA Tour players Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval, as well as the Buy.Com Tours Notah Begay III and Doug Dunakey.
On the LPGA Tour two players, Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, held the old record of 61, 11-under-par. Sorenstams 61 was recorded during the first round of the 1999 Sara Lee Classic while Karrie Webbs 61 occurred during the second round of the 2000 Oldsmobile classic. Both were recorded on par-72 courses.
Se Ri Pak also recorded a 61 during the second round of the 1998 Jamie Farr Rail Classic but the course was a par-72 so her overall score was 10-under-par.
Just one week ago at the Welch's/Circle K, Annika Sorenstam spoke of her desire to be the No. 1 player in the world, and today she has effectively raised the bar for her greatest rival, Webb. The message is unmistakably, Move over, Karrie.
At 20-under-par, the rest of the field now is chasing Annika, and they have a lot of shots to make up. Only a handful of players were able to crack into double-digit scores today. Those that did were Pat Hurst, who shot 8-under-par 64 to move to 11-under-par for the tournament, and Se Ri Pak, who had also reached 11-under-par during her round.
First round leader Kris Tschetter was among players who just teeing off as Annika completed her historic round.
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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com 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 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

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.