Coceres Charges To The Top

By Mercer BaggsOctober 20, 2001, 4:00 pm
For the second straight day, a translator accompanied the leader into the media center in the land of Disney, this time for Argentine Jose Coceres.
Coceres, who speaks relatively good English, was a bit apprehensive about speaking before a crowd; though, he showed no signs of those nerves Saturday on the course.
Coceres shot an 8-under 64 to take a three-stroke lead over Davis Love III (67) into the final round of the National Car Rental Golf Classic at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
I'm very happy for playing very good today, said Coceres, who learned the game hitting rocks with sticks. Now, I start in the front. But tomorrow is a new day. My confidence is very good.
Coceres, one of 11 children, may have to reproduce Saturdays round to stave off Love.
The 1998 Disney runner-up overcame a seven-shot deficit earlier in the year at Pebble Beach, shooting a Sunday 63.
Coceres, 38, is also seeking his second victory of the season, having won the WolrdCom Classic ' an event Loves captured four times.
Coceres defeated Billy Mayfair in a playoff at Hilton Head that wasnt completed until Monday.
In hopes of avoiding another Monday finish, tournament officials have implemented split tees on Sunday, with the first threesome teeing off at 8:10 a.m. ET and the final group going out at 10:00 a.m. Inclement weather is in the forecast.
Saturday, Coceres birdied two of his final three holes to finish the day at 19-under 197. Three players are four back, including Vijay Singh (67), Scott McCarron (65) and Stuart Appleby (65).
Singh has yet to record a bogey through three rounds.
Japans Kaname Yokoo, the overnight leader, is now five off the pace following a 1-under 71 on the Magnolia Course; though, he fared better than his playing companion, Jerry Smith.
Smith, who started the day one off the lead, shot 1-over 73 and is now eight back at minus-11.
Twelve players are within six shots of the lead, among them Tiger Woods.
The 1996 and 99 Disney champion eagled the par-5 10th en route to shooting 69. He stands at 13-under.
I really wanted to get to 14 (under) today because I thought the leaders would probably be about 16 or 17, Woods said following his round. I am a little bit back, but I still got a chance tomorrow.
For motivation, Woods need only be reminded of what happened a year ago at this event.
Steve Flesch led Woods by two shots entering the final round, only to watch Duffy Waldorf fire a 10-under 62 to win the event by a single stroke.
Like Woods, Waldorf started the final round six back.
Anyone who plays a hot round tomorrow could definitely win the tournament, Woods said. Its going to be a shootout.
The leaderboard could have been more tightly packed. As the final group entered the back nine, 38 players were within four shots of the lead.
Thats when Coceres began to distance himself.
After making the turn in 4-under 32 ' just to keep up with the rest of the field ' Coceres birdied the par-5 10th to take a one-shot lead at 16-under.
He added to that total with another birdie at the par-3 12th, and then took a two-shot advantage over Love with his seventh birdie of the day at No. 16. Coceres finished his round with a final birdie at the par-4 18th.
Love shared the top spot with Coceres through nine holes, but was unable to keep the pace over the inward half, shooting 1-under 35.
Tomorrow Ill have to be a little sharper, Love said. Ill have to play a little bit more aggressive to the green, get it a little closer to the hole.
Love is playing as well as anyone at the moment. This is his ninth straight sub-70 score. Including a final-round 61 at last weeks Invensys Classic, hes played his last four rounds in 27-under.

News, Notes and Numbers
*Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly, who is writing a book about the caddieing experience, is looping for Tom Lehman. Lehman shot 6-under 66 Saturday to finish at 12-under. Said Lehman of Reilly: Its a good thing hes a good writer, because he sure cant do math.
*50-year-old Mark McCumber had his 10-year-old son, Tyler, caddie for him over his final three holes Saturday. Tyler, who is carrying a lightweight bag, also caddied for his father all 18 holes in the first round and 10 holes in the second round. When asked if he would caddie on Sunday for his dad, who is tied for 19th at 11-under, Tyler responded like a grizzled veteran: 'If my back can take it.'
Full-field scores from the NCR Classic

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

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

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

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

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

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.