Toms Prevails in Playoff

By Mercer BaggsOctober 8, 2000, 4:00 pm
David Toms defeated Mike Weir in sudden-death at the Michelob Championship in Williamsburg, Va. Toms sank a five-foot par putt on the first extra hole to capture his fourth career PGA Tour title, and secure a spot at the season-ending Tour Championship.
Toms fired a final round 5-under-par 66 to force a playoff with Weir, who birdied four of his final five holes in regulation to finish the tournament at 13-under-par. Frank Lickliter finished third, two shots off the lead. 54-hole leader Bradley Hughes tied for 5th following a final-round 1-over-par 72.
Last year, Weir took the outright lead into the final round at Kingsmill, but carded a Sunday 70 to miss out on a playoff, which was eventually won by Notah Begay III, by one shot.
This year, the left-handed Canadian started the final round four shots back of Hughes. After making the turn in 2-under-par 34, Weir birdied the 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th holes for an inward half of 5-under-par 30. Weir's overall 64 gave him the clubhouse-lead at 13-under-par.
Toms started the day two off the lead, but moved to the top of the leaderboard with a birdie 2 at the par-3 13th. Toms then took sole possession of the lead at 14-under-par with another birdie at the par-5 15th. However, he gave the shot back on the next hole, when he failed to get up and down from off the green at the par-4 16th.
Toms wasn't able to birdie either of the final two holes in regulation, but he did convert a pair of crucial par saves.
Tied at 13-under, Toms and Weir went back to the 18th tee. Toms found the fairway. Weir flirted with danger in the left-hand rough. From the fairway, Toms was able to place his approach shot onto the green, though his ball finished 45 feet and a double breaker away from the hole.
Weir was unable to hack his second shot onto the putting surface. From below the green, the 1999 Air Canada champion chipped up to 10 feet, but was unable to convert the par save.
Faced with a difficult birdie putt, Toms was able to coax his first stroke to within five feet of the cup. Following Weir's miss, Toms calmly knocked in his par putt for his first title of the season.
'Just like Michelob Light, it tastes pretty good,' Toms said. 'But, yeah, it is very satisfying to win here. Hopefully, if I can finish out strong, maybe I can improve on my position I had last year.'
Last year, Toms finished 10th in earnings. With his win this week, and the $540,000 first-place check that goes along with it, Toms moves from 30th on the money list to 16th. The top 30 prior to the Tour Championship earn a birth into the season's final event.
This is Toms' first victory since the 1999 Buick Challenge. Last week, he tried to defend his title, but missed the cut at Callaway Gardens.
Toms' win was a bit of a surprise, not because of who he was, but because of how he felt. Friday, Toms considered walking off the course due to a bad back. Instead, he took a 'handful of Advil' from Paul Azinger and kept going.
'Saturday morning on the range Azinger came up to me and he said, `Man I didn't realize you were 30th on the money list. You need to suck it up out there,' I said yes, and I did. The week work out great.'
David Duval knows a thing or two about back pain. Last week's Buick Challenge winner was commissioned to the couch for 10 week following the British Open.
This week, Duval was in contention through 13 holes, but, showing his back isn't completely healed, the two-time Michelob champion bogeyed his final five holes on Sunday to fall into a tie for 19th.
Lickliter birdied two of his first three holes to get to 11-under, but could get no lower. Seeking his first career victory, Lickliter parred the final six holes to finish in solo third place.
Hughes began the day with a one-shot lead, but bogeyed two of his first three holes to lose his edge. The 33-year-old Australian managed two birdies and an eagle in the final round, but also carded five bogeys.
Still, Hughes' tie for 5th was good enough for a $105,375 paycheck. That moves the Aussie from 126th on the 2000 money list into 96th place.
'I guess I'll have to tell the officials to tear-up my entry form for Q-School,' Hughes said with a smile.
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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.