Continentals Lead Big at Seve Trophy

By Sports NetworkSeptember 22, 2005, 4:00 pm
European TourBILLINGHAM, England -- The Continental Europeans took a 4-1 lead at the Seve Trophy on Thursday after dominating the Great Britain & Ireland team in the first round of four-ball matches.
Among the winners for Continental Europe was captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who teamed with fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez for a 4-and-2 victory over Welshmen Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge.
'It was obviously a good day for us,' said Olazabal, who assumed captain duties for injured countryman and tournament namesake Seve Ballesteros.
Sweden's Niclas Fasth and Peter Hanson were 3-and-2 winners over David Howell and Paul Casey of England, while Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Sweden's Henrik Stenson were 2-up winners over England's Ian Poulter and Nick Dougherty.
In the final match of the day at The Wynyard Golf Club, Jean-Francois Remesy rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole to give Continental Europe its 4-1 lead.
Remesy and fellow Frenchman Thomas Levet needed the putt to defeat Ireland's Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington, 1-up.
'The last match I think made a big difference in the day,' Olazabal acknowledged. 'If it had gone the other way, it would have been 3-2 and the difference would have been very slim.'
The only win for GB&I came from captain Colin Montgomerie of Scotland and partner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who roughed-up Dutchman Maarten Lafeber and Italian Emanuel Canonica 4 and 2 in the day's second match.
'We've had a bit of a meeting. The doors were closed,' said Montgomerie. 'We will come out hopefully fighting and get as close as we can to the European total tomorrow night, and you know, we have to play better, simple as that.'
Already down 3-1, Montgomerie was looking on sternly as Harrington made a 24- foot birdie putt at 17 to tie the last match before losing out to Remesy's putt on 18.
'The last game, I believe it was vital,' said Montgomerie, echoing Olazabal's sentiment. 'It could have gone either way...but we're sitting here [down] 4-1.'
Montgomerie and McDowell were the second group out and the first to finish.
They took the lead for good at the par-5 first hole, where Montgomerie rolled in an 18-foot putt for eagle.
The group halved seven straight holes after that before McDowell's birdie at the ninth allowed the GB&I team to make the turn with a 2-up lead. Montgomerie then tapped-in for birdie at 10 and drained a long putt for birdie at 11 to give the duo a 4-up advantage.
Lafeber and Canonica trimmed that deficit in half with birdies at the 12th and 13th, but McDowell and Montgomerie sealed the match with birdies on 15 and 16.
Bjorn and Stenson clinched their point moments later when Bjorn made a birdie at the par-4 18th to even the day's score at 1-1.
And the rest of the day belonged to the Continental Europeans.
'The Europeans played well today as a team,' Montgomerie said. 'They did very, very well, so all credit to them. We have to get on with things tomorrow and improve on all aspects of our performance.'
Jimenez and Olazabal, who led their match from the start after consecutive birdies at the first and second hole, finally closed out their opponents with Jimenez's birdie at the par-five 16th.
Hanson and Fasth won their match with three straight Hanson birdies from the 14th after the GB&I team had squared things at No. 13. Hanson made his final birdie from the tall grass next to the fairway at 16, nearly holing out with his third shot before rolling in a short putt to make it 3-1.
Afterwards, neither captain changed their pairings for Friday's fourball matches, but the order was altered so that there would be no rematches from Thursday.
'I was confident at the start of the day with my pairings,' admitted Montgomerie. 'I still feel the same way. We didn't score enough and I have to believe that those pairings can score better tomorrow.'
After Friday's fourball matches, the weekend will feature morning greensomes and afternoon foursomes on Saturday and 10 singles matches on Sunday.
The Continental Europe team will be looking to reclaim the Seve Trophy from Great Britain and Ireland after consecutive losses in 2002 and 2003.
'We're going to be fired up,' Olazabal said. 'Nobody wants to be losing this. I think we made that very clear.'
Related Links:
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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.