Top 10 moments in Aussie history

By Randall MellNovember 27, 2013, 9:00 pm

Adam Scott is trying to complete a storybook season this week by adding Australia’s Triple Crown to his historic Masters’ victory.

After winning the Australian PGA and Australian Masters earlier this month, Scott turns his eye on winning the Australian Open at Royal Sydney. A victory would finish off what has become a magical parade home after becoming the first Aussie to win a green jacket at Augusta National back in the spring.

A victory helps Scott put the finishing touch on one of the greatest seasons in Aussie golf history.

Here’s a look at the 10 greatest achievements by a male player from Down Under:

 Photos: Top 10 moments in Australian golf history

 1. Peter Thomson wins the British Open at Royal Birkdale in 1965, marking the fifth time he won the claret jug. The victory is the most highly regarded of Thomson’s British Open titles because his first four came before America’s best consistently made the trip over to the championship. Thomson beat a field in '65 that included Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tony Lema, three of the top four money winners on the PGA Tour’s 1964 money list.

2. Jim Ferrier wins the PGA Championship in 1947, becoming the first Australian to win a major championship. He defeated Chick Harbert at Plum Hollow Country Club outside Detroit in the final of what was then a match play championship.

3. Peter Thomson wins the British Open at Royal Liverpool in 1956, becoming the first player to win three consecutive British Open titles since Scotland’s Bob Ferguson (1880-81-82).

4. Adam Scott wins the Masters in 2013, becoming the first Aussie to win a green jacket. Scott will always be remembered for ending a frustrating drought in Australian golf history. The Masters was the last of the four majors to be won by an Aussie.

5. Greg Norman wins the British Open at Turnberry in a five-shot rout in 1986, a victory that a month later will help him become the first and still the only Aussie to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He also would go on that year to become the first and still the only Aussie to win the PGA Tour money title. Norman made news that year for his Saturday Slam, for holding the 54-hole lead in all four majors.

6. Greg Norman wins the British Open at Royal St. George’s in 1993, closing with a 64, the lowest final round by a winner in the history of the championship. His 267 total still stands as the championship’s 72-hole scoring record. He came from behind to beat rival Nick Faldo, who was tied for the 54-hole lead with Corey Pavin.

7. Peter Thomson wins the British Open at Royal Birkdale in 1954, becoming the first Aussie to win the oldest major championship in golf.

8. Kel Nagle wins the British Open at St. Andrews in 1960, a triumph notable in that Arnold Palmer pumped excitement into that championship winning the first two majors of the year before heading over to Scotland amid tremendous hype that he was in pursuit of golf’s “Grand Slam.” Nagle beat Palmer by a shot.

9. David Graham wins the U.S. Open at Merion in 1981, becoming the first Aussie to win the championship.

10. Greg Norman wins three PGA Tour events in 1995, helping him win PGA Tour Player of the Year and PGA Player of the Year. He is the first Aussie to win either honor.

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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.