Heffernan Sets Early Pace In Victoria

By Marty HenwoodJune 16, 2005, 4:00 pm
Canadian Tour-LargeVICTORIA, BC -- Canadian Wes Heffernan lost a roommate to the PGA Tour earlier this year. A few more days like Thursdays opening round of the Canadian Tours Times Colonist Open and Heffernan may be on his way to joining David Hearn on golfs biggest stage.
 
On a wet and windy day at Uplands Golf Club, the Calgary native opened with a 5-under 65 to get the early jump in the Tours first Canadian event of the year. Canadians Mike Mezei, Ray Stewart and Philip Jonas sit one stroke back along with Robert Hamilton and Craig Kanada. Seven others opened with a 67.
 
Heffernan, the 1999 Canadian amateur runner-up, spent the past three seasons traveling with Hearn, the defending champion in Victoria. Shortly after his first Canadian Tour triumph on Vancouver Island last summer, Hearn captured the Nationwide Tours Alberta Classic.
 
Four months later, Hearn punched his ticket onto the PGA Tour.
 
On Thursday, as Heffernan stepped up to the first tee in British Columbia, Hearn was on the other side of the continent, taking his swings with the top players on the planet at the U.S. Open.
 
It was awesome having your good friend going from here to the PGA Tour so quickly, said Heffernan. I wouldnt mind rooming with David again'out there (on the PGA).
 
Despite not playing a practice round, Heffernan, who arrived early Thursday morning after playing in the Alberta Open, tamed the 6,420-yard layout for his best round of the year. Heffernan drove the par-4 8th and cashed in a birdie putt. On the inbound nine he drained three birdie putts from off the fringe.
 
I was strong off the tee, hit some great approach shots and putted well, he added. I havent done that in a while.
 
Mezei, a former Canadian amateur standout who is coming off an appearance for Canada at last months Four Nations Cup, is playing in his first Tour event as a professional, less than a week after earning his playing card at Spring Qualifying School.
 
As far as debuts go, they dont get a whole lot better.
 
It was a solid round, said Mezei. Its a great golf course, and I was able to hit a lot of fairways.
 
Hamilton, the 2001 U.S. amateur runner-up, finished second to Patrick Damron two years ago at this event and will be taking aim at his first Tour title over the next three days. Starting his day on the back nine, Hamilton recovered from back-to-back bogeys with an eagle on the par-5 7th when he converted a 45-foot putt.
 
At any level, its always important to bring your A-game every day, reasoned Hamilton. With the type of players you have here, you dont want to get behind the eight-ball early on. Im excited about the start, but Ill have to come out tomorrow and try to go lower.
 
If the youth movement at the top of the leaderboard represented a changing of the guard Thursday, someone forgot to tell Jonas and Stewart. There is 44 years of professional experience between the two of them and the duo seems intent on giving their younger colleagues a run for their money this weekend.
 
Jonas, the 2000 QuebecTel champion, spends most of his time these days teaching golf but is showing he still has the game to compete. He also opened with a 66 the last time the event was staged at the Uplands in 2002, eventually winding up 23rd.
 
In 1997, Jonas held a two-shot lead in Victoria late on Sunday before incurring a one-stroke penalty when his ball moved on the fairway as he addressed his shot. Clearly rattled, Jonas would place second to fellow Canadian Rick Todd.
 
These days, life is a whole lot less stressful.
 
Its almost easier for me now, admitted Jonas. I just go out there and play and see where it takes me. Maybe if I am in contention Sunday, Ill get a little nervous. Im not going to worry about that right now.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Times Colonist Open
  • Full Coverage - Times Colonist Open
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


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    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

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    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

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    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm