Maggert Makes Early Move at Buick Challenge
Maggert could collect triumph No. 3 at this week's Buick Challenge in Pine Mountain, Ga. The 36-year-old Texan shot a personal-season-best 9-under-par 63 to take a three-shot lead over Joey Sindelar, Paul Azinger and Charles Raulerson.
Beginning on the back nine, Maggert made the turn in 4-under-par 32; and then nearly holed his second shot at the par-5 2nd. His approach came to a screeching halt after hitting the flagstick; resting three feet from the hole. The ensuing eagle, just his fourth of the year, gave Maggert a share of the lead at 6-under-par.
Another near-hole-out at the par-4 4th, his 13th of the day, gave Maggert sole possession of the lead at 7-under. He then added a pair of birdies at the 7th and 8th holes to move to 9-under, three clear of his closest opponent.
It's hard to say Maggert is suffering through a winless drought. He's played in just 41 events since earning a million-dollar paycheck by defeating Andrew Magee at the '99 Match Play; compare that to the 130 starts he made between victories No. 1 and No. 2.
On the other hand, Sindelar is definitely in the 'winless-drought' category. It's been a decade since Sindelar hoisted a Tour trophy; that was at the 1990 Hardee's Golf Classic.
Sindelar was in position to break his dry spell at this year's BellSouth Classic. The 42-year-old led after 36 holes, but fell into a tie for 5th following a third-round 74. He finished in that very position as the final round was cancelled due to weather.
Thursday, Sindelar carded six birdies and no bogeys for an opening 66. Currently 130th on the money list, the six-time Tour winner is trying to avoid Q-School.
Sindelar first earned his way onto the PGA Tour via the Qualifying Tournament in 1983. He's hasn't been back since.
Likewise, Raulerson has been to Q-School only once in his short career, that in 1993. He earned his '00 Tour card by finishing 125th on the 1999 season-ending money list. This year, Raulerson stands 159th in earnings. He's missed the cut in eight of his last nine starts.
Azinger doesn't have to worry about his 2001 Tour card. The 1993 PGA Champion won his first start of the season at the SONY Open in Hawaii. Azinger is one of 35 players who have earned over a million dollars this year. At 23rd on the money list, `Zinger has his eyes locked on the season finale, the $5-million Tour Championship.
Seven players are tied for 5th place at 5-under-par. Among them are Ted Tryba (140th on the money list), Cameron Beckman (158th), Perry Moss (211th) and Brent Schwarzrock (219th).
David Duval, making his first start since walking off the course due to an ailing back at the International, is five shots off the lead after opening in 4-under-par 68.
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
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.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“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
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.
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.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
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.