Day-One Match Play Suspended

By Mercer BaggsOctober 5, 2000, 4:00 pm
Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen all advanced into the second round of the Cisco World Match Play at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England. However, England's own Nick Faldo will have to wait till Friday to try and complete his upset bid over Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke.
Clarke and Faldo were All Square through 36 holes when play was suspended due to darkness. Earlier in the day, rain had halted play. The players were offered the chance to continue in the fading light or return in the morning. Both men optioned to finish the match Friday morning beginning at 8:00am.
(8) Padraig Harrington vs. Bob May
Harrington staged a magnificent comeback to defeat his American opponent 6-and-5. May took a 3-up advantage through the first nine holes, but by the 16th, the Irishman had grabbed the lead for good.
May birdied five holes in a six-hole stretch on Thursday, but after making the turn in 5-under-par 30, May couldn't sustain his brilliant play on the inward half.
Things began to turn in Harrington's favor at the 12th. Harrington made a 12-foot birdie putt, while May missed from five feet. Down one at the 13th, the Dubliner pulled All Square when May missed his par save and Harrington converted his.
A par at the 15th gave Harrington his first lead of the day. He took that 1-up edge into the afternoon 18. This time, it was Harrington who scorched the outward half. By the turn, Padraig had increased his lead to 4-up. A birdie at the 11th hole, his 29th of the day, gave him a 5-up lead with seven holes to play. He then closed out May with a par 4 on the 31st hole.
Harrington will now play defending champion Colin Montgomerie in the second round. Last year, the Scot defeated the Irishman 7-and-6 in the semi-final. This year, Harrington is seeking a little redemption.
'I'm looking forward to playing Monty,' said Harrington. 'I knew I would have to peak on Friday if I was going to have any chance against him, but I was also aware that I would have to be at my best today, as well. Bob played lovely golf this morning, but I was not unhappy with my own form and did not panic.'
(7) Thomas Bjorn vs. Retief Goosen
Goosen spent the early part of his first-round match trying to stay All Square with Bjorn. A birdie at the par-5 12th gave the South African his first lead of the day - a lead he would never relinquish.
Goosen took a commanding 3-up lead into the back nine during afternoon play. He birdied the par-3 10th to go 4-up, and then ended the match with another birdie 2 on the par-3 14th, the 32nd hole.
Goosen will now face fellow South African Ernie Els in the second round. Els is the only three-peat winner of this event. He accomplished that feat in 1994-96. He lost to Vijay Singh in the finals in 1997.
'It will be a tough match against Ernie,' said Goosen. 'I haven't played him since I was 14 or 15 and that was as a junior. He won both times so maybe it's my turn. I am going to have to give it my best,'
(6) Sergio Garcia vs. Adam Scott
Garcia won the battle of 20-year-olds by a 2-and-1 count. Scott was 3-up through the first 14 holes, but Garcia won the final four holes in morning play to take a 1-up lead into the afternoon. Included in his run was an 18-foot eagle putt at the par-5 18th.
'Those holes were important,' Garcia said. 'I told my caddie, Glen, that it would be good to go into lunch 1-down. I didn't expect to be 1-up.' Garcia extended his lead to 2-up with a par at the par-3 14th, the 32nd hole; then went 3-up with a birdie at the next. Scott managed to win the 34th hole to cut his deficit to 2-down. But the Australian was closed out on the next hole when both men made pars.
Garcia will now face former Ryder Cup teammate Lee Westwood in the second round.
(5) Darren Clarke vs. Nick Faldo
It wasn't supposed to be this close. If Darren Clarke could beat Tiger Woods head-to-head, he certainly wouldn't have any problems with a 43-year-old Faldo. Right?
Faldo fired a 68 in the morning to take a 3-up lead into the second 18 holes. Then Clarke woke -up. The Ulsterman carded three consecutive threes beginning at the 23rd hole, and managed to wrestle away a 1-up lead over the two-time Match Play champion entering the inward half.
Clarke had a six-footer at the last to win the match 1-up, but he came up short.
'I was disappointed to three-putt two of the last three,' Clarke said. 'But there was a pool of water between my ball and the hole at the last and that slowed it up. I'll be ready at 8 o'clock to go again.' The winner of this match will face 1997 Match Play champion Singh in the second round.
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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.