Cotner Takes Early Lead in Kansas

By Sports NetworkJuly 29, 2004, 4:00 pm
WICHITA, Kan.-- Keoke Cotner opened with a 7-under-par 64 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Wichita Open.
Johnson Wagner along with a pair of two-time winners on the Nationwide Tour, Ben Bates and Gavin Coles, share second place at 6-under-par 65. Eleven players are one stroke further back at minus-five.
Cotner opened his round with a birdie at the 10th, playing as his first. He came back to birdie the par-5 14th. The 2000 Oregon Classic winner dropped in back-to-back birdies to close out his opening nine.
The 33-year-old parred the first six holes of his second nine. Cotner then dropped in a birdie try at the par-4 seventh. He came right back to birdie eight and nine to close out a bogey-free round of 64 on the north course at Crestview Country Club.
'I think we lucked out on the weather,' said Cotner. 'This afternoon it was nice with very little wind and no rain. With these conditions, you get an eight- or nine-iron in your hand and you're looking to knock the flag down.'
Wagner also opened with six consecutive pars on the front nine. He picked up birdies at the seventh and ninth. Wagner came back to birdie No. 10 to move to minus-three.
The 24-year-old dropped in birdies at the 14th and 15th to keep moving up the leaderboard. Wagner closed his bogey-free round with a birdie at the 18th.
Bates bogeyed the first, but came right back to birdie the second hole. He then went on to birdie Nos. 5 and 9 to head to the back nine at minus-two.
The 1997 Wichita Open and 2004 The Reese's Cup Classic winner picked up three birdies over a four-hole stretch from the 11th to get to minus-five. After bogeying the 15th, Bates closed with birdies at the 17th and 18th to share second place at minus-six.
'I just tried to play smart on the front nine,' said Bates. 'If you try to hit driver out here it is only a matter of time before you make a big number. If you're playing out of the fairway it is a pretty easy course. But if you're playing out of the rough you could shoot 80.'
Coles birdied three of his first five holes to get off to a quick start. He later birdied Nos. 10 and 11 to climb to minus-five. He then bogeyed the 13th. Coles, the 2002 Jacob's Creek Open Championship and 2004 New Zealand PGA Championship, also closed with birdies at the 17th and 18th to tie for second.
Jason Buha and Anthony Painter lead the group of 11 players at 5-under-par 66. Sixteen players are right behind that group at minus-four.
Jeff Klauk, the defending champion, opened with a 3-under-par 68 and stands in a tie for 32nd.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Preferred Systems Wichita Open
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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.

    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

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    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.