Conley on Top in Virginia

By Sports NetworkSeptember 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
TULSA, Okla. -- Tim Conley stands at 6-under par through 15 holes Thursday and is atop the first-round leaderboard at the wether-delayed Virginia Beach Open.
The start of the round was delayed 75 minutes due to inclement weather at the Tournament Players Club of Virginia Beach. The 33 players who need to complete their opening rounds will return to the course at 7:30 a.m. (et) Friday to do so.
Michael Long, the defending champion, completed his round at 5-under-par 67. He shares second place with former Virginia Tech standout Johnson Wagner.
Conley got going with a birdie at the par-4 second. He moved to 3 under with birdies on both front-nine par-5s, Nos. 5 and 8.
Around the turn, Conley kept rolling. He drained a birdie putt at the par-4 11th and came right back with a birdie at the par-5 12th.
After a pair of pars, Conley dropped in his sixth birdie at the par-4 15th to move to the top of the leaderboard just as play was halted for the night due to darkness.
Long is looking to do something that has never been done on the Nationwide Tour. No player has ever successfully defended his title in the 15-year history of the tour.
He opened with a birdie at the second. Long then ran off three straight birdies from the fifth to jump to minus-4 and a share of the lead at that point.
Long moved ahead of the field with a birdie at the par-four 10th. He climbed to minus-6 with a birdie on No. 13. However, Long stumbled to a three-putt bogey at par-four 18th to drop back to 5 under.
'I've been trying different things this week,' said Long. 'In the past, I haven't been too successful at defending a title. I guess I'm just trying to take it one shot at a time and see what happens. You do have good feelings about a course where you've done well, but a lot of time when I get feeling confident about a place I get way ahead of myself and before you know it, I'm out the back door.'
Wagner started his round on the back nine and birdied the par-5 12th to get going. After a pair of pars, the 24-year-old drained back-to-back birdies from the 15th.
Around the turn, Wagner moved to 4 under with a birdie at the par-4 fourth. He moved into a share of second place when he birdied the eighth.
Andrew McLardy and Kyle Thompson each posted rounds of 4-under-par 68.They share fourth place with Charley Hoffman and Dave Cunningham. Jake Reeves and Ron Whittaker also stand at minus-4 having played 16 and 15 holes, respectively.
Paul Gow and Tim Simpson pace a group of 12 players at minus-3.
Related Links:
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    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.

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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