2013 Golf Channel Am Tour Crowns Six National Champions at PGA WEST

By Golf Channel Public RelationsOctober 1, 2013, 9:28 pm


Half of Champions Earn Title in Home-State

Kent, Wash.'s Oakley Murphy Prevails in Championship Flight Playoff

Keller, Texas' Nick Eason Celebrates 50th Birthday by Cruising to Victory in Jones Flight

Largest Golf Channel Am Tour National Championship Field in History

LA QUINTA, Calif., Sept. 26, 2013 – Six champions bested their respective flights in the final round of the 2013 Golf Channel Am Tour National Championships - some by way of a playoff, others in convincing fashion as golfers representing 47 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Canada convened at the famed PGA WEST in La Quinta, Calif. with nearly 650 players making up the largest field in Am Tour history. Three of the six champions won in their home state –hailing from Fair Oaks, Santa Clara and San Jose, Calif. respectively.

Oakley Murphy (Kent, Wash.), claimed the Championship Flight (handicap 3.9 or less) by following up a disappointing opening round of 82 with rounds of 71-68-73. A clutch five-foot par save on his final hole forced a playoff with defending champion Paul Erdman (Erie, Colo.), and Murphy prevailed on the first extra hole.

Largest in the field with 138 competitors, the Sarazen Flight produced a playoff finish as well. Rafael Rodriguez (San Jose, Calif.) earned top honors thanks to a trusty 5-iron approach on the difficult 18th hole of the Nicklaus course on the lone playoff hole. Rodriguez strung together rounds of 88-82-84-84 to capture his Flight (handicap of 12-15.9).

The Snead Flight (20+ handicap) included no such drama, with Daniel Guerra (Phoenix, Ariz.) surging to an 11-shot victory thanks to rounds of 87-83-96-92.

The 72-hole national championships served as the Tour’s culminating event and were contested on four PGA WEST courses including the Palmer Private Course – home to the PGA TOUR’s Humana Challenge – the TPC Stadium Course, Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course and Greg Norman Course. Beginning today, the Senior National Championship (age 50+) will commence on the same four courses with a field of more than 500 players.

Snead Flight (20+ handicap) Daniel Guerra of Phoenix, Ariz. cruised to an 11 stroke victory after keeping himself near the top of the leaderboard throughout the week. With a slim two shot lead entering his final round, Guerra’s 92 was good enough to distance himself from the field and complete his week with rounds of 87-83-96-92.

“When I woke up I felt good on the range,” Guerra said. “And I felt good with my putting. I felt pretty comfortable throughout the day.”

Jones Flight (16.0-19.9) A second round 79 on the Nicklaus course went a long way in helping Nick Eason of Keller, Texas to earn a 10-shot victory. The 79 – Eason’s first-ever –gave him an insurmountable cushion entering the final round. The lefty added a championship to his resume and celebrated his 50th birthday in style.

“There were some things that happened on the course this week you just can’t explain,” said Eason. “There were shots ricocheting off of things… I thought ‘hey, there’s something going on here.’”

Sarazen Flight (12.0-15.9) A reliable 5-iron amidst windy conditions helped Rafael Rodriguez (San Jose, Calif.) to claim the Sarazen flight in a playoff. Consistent play throughout the week led to rounds of 88-82-84-84 to earn championship honors.

“Nothing compares to this,” said Rodriguez. “The adrenaline of going back in a playoff and having everyone cheering and lining just like you see on TV was special.”

Hogan Flight (8.0-11.9) A first and third round 76 afforded Kevin Capps (Santa Clara, Calif.) some breathing room, and a steady final round 83 was good enough to win the Hogan Flight by five shots. Finishing 37th in the 2012 Nationals at TPC Sawgrass, Capps competed in every Am Tour weekend event this summer between June and August, compiling one win and nine other top-5 finishes on his way to winning the Hogan Flight.

“This is top of the list,” Capps said. “To come out here and compete against guys from all over the place, there’s a lot of great competitors out here.”

Palmer Flight (4.0-7.9) Johnny Frink (Fair Oaks, Calif.) shot rounds of 75-80-77-81 to edge out the next closest competitor by just one shot to win the Palmer Flight.

A Sacramento-area native, Frink won his two-day local Tour Championship in August, which gave him confidence heading into Nationals.

“I’m still in shock,” said Frink. “I can’t believe it. It was a grueling four days and I’m just happy I’m still standing.”

Championship Flight (<3.9) An opening round 82 couldn’t steer Oakley Murphy (Kent, Wash.) from contention in his final round of the Championship Flight. A cool 73 on the Palmer Private course put Murphy in a playoff where he prevailed on the first hole to win the title.

Murphy, who credits his grandpa for introducing him to the game while he was in high school, called his national victory his top golf achievement this far.

“I like the pressure,” said Murphy. “I like playing the game. It’s hard to go low when it’s windy, so I just tried to hang in there and make par.”

About the Golf Channel Am Tour

As the largest amateur golf tour in North America with more than 7,000 members, the Golf Channel Am Tour is open to the public and provides the most professional tournament experience for players of all ages and abilities, as well as offering unparalleled access to some of the most renowned and challenging golf courses across the country.  Divided into 55 local chapters throughout North America, the Golf Channel Am Tour in 2013 conducted more than 700 local championships and 31, two-day “Major” Championships throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.  For more information about the Golf Channel Am Tour and the national championships, visit www.gcamtour.com.

About Golf Channel:

As the fastest-growing network on television, Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. The Golf Channel cable network, co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and part of the NBC Sports Group, is available in more than 120 million homes worldwide through cable, satellite and wireless companies. As part of the NBC Sports Group, professional golf coverage on NBC is branded “Golf Channel on NBC,” further extending the Golf Channel brand to NBC’s broadcast audiences. Exclusive partnerships with the world’s top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, added to a programming schedule distinguished by golf’s best news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel’s digital platform of businesses is led by www.GolfChannel.com, a leading golf destination on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf, as well as services that help the recreational player with how to play, what to play and where to play golf.

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x