Stories abound from final day of Q-School

By Rex HoggardDecember 8, 2008, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)As a tough-around-the-edges guard for Washburn (Kan.) University, Gary Woodland learned how debilitating pressure could be. As an untested PGA Tour-rookie-in-waiting, the 24-year-old learned that the best way to deal with pressure was with a solid performance.
 
And for 107 holes at the PGA Tour Qualifying School Tournament, the former college hoopster dealt with all the pressure the game's most intense pass-fail endeavor had to offer. That 108th, however, was another story.
 
'I was doing real good all day long. Right up until the 18th tee,' said Woodland, who gave up his college basketball career for golf after a season. 'I had to take a couple of extra breaths walking up that last hole. I asked my caddie if I had to hole the putt and he said, 'No.' There was no way I was getting that 5-footer into the hole.'
 
Woodland parred his final, nervous hole for a closing 69 and a 20-under 412 total to earn his first trip to the PGA Tour. It was an accomplishment that reminded him of his days running the floor with the Washburn back court.
 
'Today was the best way for me to turn basketball into golf,' said Woodland, who left Washburn after one year to play college golf at Kansas and has spent the last year playing the mini-tours and Monday qualifying. 'It was just like the pressure you feel when you have to make a free throw.'
 
For some, like Brian Stuard, who bogeyed two of his three final holes to miss earning his card by a shot, Q-School must have felt like a technical foul. But for Harrison Frazar, the Fall Classic must have had an All-Star Game feel to it.
 
The Tour veteran was 10 strokes off his record-setting, fourth-round pace on Sunday, carding a 69 that still gave him a comfortable lead going into Monday's finale. He cruised to medalist honors, playing his first 11 holes in 7 under to easily retain his card.
 
Frazar's closing 67, which featured a double bogey at the last, left him eight strokes ahead of Australian James Nitties (70) and Derek Fathauer (70).
 
Among those who will be joining Frazar on Tour in 2009 were veterans Robert Garrigus, Chris Stroud, Glen Day, Notah Begay, Chris Riley and Jay Williamson.
 
Williamson dropped outside the top 25 with a double bogey at the 13th, but he rebounded with birdies at three of his next four holes to finish tied for 18th.
 
'I'm just really, really thankful it's over. This has been the longest week of my life,' Williamson said. 'The problem is I'm too emotional and I know the difference between getting through and not getting through.'
 
Despite a career year that included a playoff loss to Kenny Perry at the John Deere Classic, his first trip to the British Open and a start in the BMW Championship which was played in his home town of St. Louis, Williamson finished 137th in earnings.
 
'It's not so much a mental thing. It's an emotional thing,' said the endearing veteran who was slowed late in the season by a back injury and missed his last six cuts. 'I know too much. I need to get dumb for a little bit because the last two days were brutal.'
 
Like Stuard, Bryce Molder dropped out of the top 25 on Monday, but Molder had already secured his status on Tour with his top-25 finish on the 2009 Nationwide Tour money list.
 

Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - PGA Tour Q-School
  • Full Coverage - PGA Tour Q-School
  • Getty Images

    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

    Getty Images

    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

    Getty Images

    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

    Getty Images

    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.