Second Round Suspended at Hazeltine

By Mercer BaggsAugust 16, 2002, 4:00 pm
Once again, lightning has suspended play in Chaska, Minn.
Fred Funk leads the way in the 84th PGA Championship, at 7-under-par through 13 holes. Retief Goosen (69), Justin Leonard (66), Mark Calcavecchia (68) and Rich Beem (66) are all in the clubhouse, tied at minus 6.
Officials suspended the second round at 6:21 PM local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 AM Saturday, with 41 players still on the course.
This is the second straight day that lightning has factored at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Thursday, the elements postponed play for nearly three hours, forcing 39 players to complete their opening rounds Friday morning.
In 1991, lightning killed one spectator and sent six others to the hospital in the first round of the U.S. Open at Hazeltine.
More bad weather is anticipated Saturday. The rain and lightning are expected to subside in the morning, but may leave 30-40 mph winds in its wake.
'I can't imagine that kind of wind and playing this golf course and trying to get the ball to stay in the fairway,' said Funk, one of the most accurate drivers on the PGA Tour.
If thats the case, it will be similar to the conditions faced in the third round of the preceding major.
At Muirfield, 40 mph gusts blew away Tiger Woods chance for a seasonal Grand Slam. He shot 81 under treacherous conditions to fall out of contention in the British Open.
Hes once again in contention this week, at 3-under-par for the tournament through 16 holes.
After starting his second round with a 15-foot par save at the first, Woods made three birdies in a four-hole stretch to get to 4-under for the tournament. But after missing a seven-footer for birdie at the eighth, Tigers round stalled. He made five straight pars before three-putting for bogey at the 13th.
Funk began the round tied with Jim Furyk. But while Furyk shot 73 to drop to 3-under, Funk continued to progress.
The five-time PGA Tour winner started on the back nine and birdied Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to take sole possession of the lead at 7-under.
Funk missed the fairway at the par-4 first and had to pitch out into the fairway. He was left with a 10-footer for par, but made the save.
Funk took a two-shot lead with a birdie on the par-5 third, but gave it right back with a bogey at 4.
He was quite animated throught the round, swinging his putter when left a ball short of the hole, pumping his fist when they fell, and hi-fiving everyone with an extended hand.
'I wasn't scared of the atmosphere I was in,' said Funk. 'I was having fun. I was enjoying being in the lead at the PGA.
'I'm not going to back down.'
The quartet of players at minus 6 all posted their numbers in the morning, and all but Beem are past major champions.
Calcavecchia is making his 50th major start since winning the 1989 British Open, and the big events have seen little results. The 42-year-old has but three top-10 finishes in majors since his British triumph, two of which came last year. He tied for fourth in the 2001 Masters and recorded the same result later that year at the PGA in Atlanta.
This year, he missed the cut in both the Masters and U.S. Open, and tied for 80th ' out of 83 to make the cut ' at Muirfield.
'That'd be the ultimate,' he said about winning a second major. 'I wouldn't think coming into this week that it was looking too good; certainly my form hasn't been great. But that's the way I play. Any given week I show up and I hit three or four good iron shots in a row and make some putts, I can get hot, get going.'
Leonard and Goosen have both fared better since their major triumphs.
Since winning the 1997 British Open, Leonard lost in a playoff to Paul Lawrie in the 1999 British, and has finished in the top 20 in all three majors this season. He also won the '99 Players Championship.
Goosen, the 2001 U.S. Open champion, finished second this year at Augusta and tied for eighth at Muirfield.
Beem, on the other hand, is making just his fourth career major appearance, and first of the season. He has two missed cuts and tie for 70th (1999 PGA) in his three previous starts.
'I didnt come into this tournament expecting anything. Im just as surprised as you all that Im sitting here, Beem told the media. What Im not surprised is that Im playing well. I know Im good, I know Ive got some game, but at the same time this is a major championship and I havent really done anything in majors yet, so Im pleasantly surprised.
As is Funk, who is also making his first major start of the season. The 46-year-old has only two top-10 finishes in 36 prior majors played.
Full-field scores from the 84th PGA Championship
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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.