Amateur Increases Lead in Australia

By Sports NetworkNovember 24, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 MasterCard MastersMELBOURNE, Australia - Aaron Pike, a 21-yard-old amateur from Australia, struggled late, but shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to stay atop the leaderboard after the second round of the MasterCard Masters. Pike stands at 11-under-par 133 and is two ahead at Huntingdale Golf Club.
 
Justin Rose posted a 6-under 66 on Friday and is alone in second place at 9-under-par 135. One shot behind Rose is Kurt Barnes, who also carded a second-round 66.
 
Steven Bowditch (69), Tony Carolan (69), Greg Chalmers (67), Simon Khan (66)) and John Senden (68) are knotted in fourth place at 7-under-par 137.
 
Pike, who matched the course record on Thursday with an 8-under-par 64, parred his first two holes Friday before breaking into red figures with a birdie at the par-3 third.
 
At the par-5 sixth, Pike knocked his third in a bunker and only blasted out to 25 feet. He sank that birdie putt, then made birdie at the seventh to reach 11 under par for the championship.
 
The 21-year-old Australian parred his final two holes on the front side, then returned to the 10th, his first hole during Thursday's first round. In round one, Pike eagled the hole to fly out of the gate, but on Friday, he only managed a birdie.
 
Pike padded his lead with his second birdie in as many rounds at the 606-yard, par-5 14th. He got to 13 under par and owned a four-shot lead over Rose, who finished in the morning.
 
Things fell apart quickly for Pike down the stretch. He bogeyed both the 17th and 18th holes to see his once-strong four-stroke cushion get cut in half with half the tournament to go.
 
The amateur does not even seemed to be greatly impacted by his position on the leaderboard.
 
'Just because I'm leading or just because there might be top-20 golfers breathing down my neck I'm not going to go out there and hit a thousand balls tomorrow morning to try to get better,' said Pike, who did not even take up golf seriously until last year. 'I've shown for the first two days that I can play and if I do it again, if I shoot 11 under again, which is doable, it's going to be hard for one of those guys to run over the top of me.'
 
Rose played the back nine first on Friday and tallied three birdies in his first six holes. He bogeyed the 18th for the second straight day, but made the turn at 2-under-par 34.
 
Rose started his second nine in a similar fashion to his first nine. He birdied one, three and four, then dropped a shot at the fifth. The Englishman birdied six and nine to move into second place.
 
'I played the par-threes really, really well today,' Rose said. 'I made three twos, and hit iron shots close on all of those birdies so anytime you make three twos it tidies up your score pretty quick.'
 
Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin only managed an even-par 72 on Friday, but is alone in ninth place at 6-under-par 138.
 
Aaron Baddeley (71), Peter Lonard (71), James Nitties (68), Carl Suneson (71) and Peter Wilson (74) are tied for 10th place at minus-7.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at 1-over-par 145 and 67 players made it to the weekend. The most notable golfer who failed to make the cut was former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell. The 2005 U.S. Open winner struggled to a 1-over 73 on Friday and completed two rounds at 3-over-par 147.
 
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  • Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
    Getty Images

    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

    PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

    Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

    The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    The statement reads:

    The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

    The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

    The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

    The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.