Win Number 25 in the Books

By Martha BrendleMarch 18, 2001, 5:00 pm
Annika Sorenstam was looking for her first win just two weeks ago. Now, just two weeks later, Sorenstam has captured her second consecutive win at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix, AZ.
Rounds of 65-59-69-68 261 carried Sorenstam to an uncontested victory of 27-under-par while the rest of the field, not including Se Ri Pak, lagged a full 14 or more strokes behind her. In fact some pretty impressive names like Dottie Pepper and Karrie Webb finished 13-under-par and 11-under-par respectively.
Well, I think tomorrow, you know, I'm not going to worry that I'm 23 under par, Sorenstam said on Saturday. I'm just going to go out and play the best golf that I can tomorrow. I've got nothing to lose.
Instead of going out there, you know, not being aggressive in the sense you're just aiming at the flag, but hitting aggressive shots. Like my caddie said, 'Play smart; aggressive.' That's going to be my goal tomorrow, not just look at Se Ri, because I think that would put more pressure on me. I want to lead tomorrow. I want to go and hit first off the tee. I want her to see my shots first and get -- you know, so she -- so she will feel the pressure and maybe she will have to try and go to the flag instead of me being the one.
Although successful, Sorenstams fourth round was by far her worst. In round 1 she made eight birdies and one bogey. Round 2, the eight-year veteran and winner of 25 events including two majors, shot a record 13 birdies and no bogeys. Round 3 consisted of four birdies and her last bogey of the tournament. Finally round 4 - error free - Annika knocked out four more birdies to maintain a lead of two strokes over the only person who even came close to challenging her ' Se Ri Pak.
Se Ri Pak is having the best start of a season in her four-year history on the LPGA Tour. Pak carded 65-68-63-67 263, making a run for the lead and coming as close as 25-under-par. Had it not been for Sorenstams historic 59 during the second round, Pak would have taken home her second victory of the season. Earlier this year Pak captured the YourLife Vitamins LPGA Classic.
I'm playing really well, Pak said after the third round. And especially last three years ago, all the years, pretty much, slow start, but this year pretty amazing. A totally different game. But I think I find myself actually -- I mean, before, I don't know why, just kind of confusing, so many things, like even know what's happening next, you know, but now I think I find myself and I know right now putting into it for my game more than last three years. That's why this year is different than last three years ago.
Pak started the final round four strokes off the lead and managed to make up two of them but ultimately had to settle for second place - finishing behind Annika for the second week in a row.
This week all eyes will be on Sorenstam, Pak, and Webb as the first major of the season, the Nabisco Championship, gets underway. Players were keeping their focus on the events in-hand over the last couple of weeks but now its time set their sites on the Dinah.
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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.