Five Tied Els Four Back in Defense

By Sports NetworkDecember 7, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 Alfred Dunhill ChampionshipMPUMALANGA, South Africa - Charl Schwartzel, the 2005 winner here, posted a 4-under-par 68 Thursday to grab a share of the lead after the opening round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Schwartzel was joined atop the leaderboard by Phillip Archer, Wayne De Haas, Alessandro Tadini and Oliver Wilson.
Seven more players, including Andrew Coltart, are one stroke further back at minus-3. The top of the leaderboard is crowded with 37 players breaking par at Leopard Creek Country Club.
Defending champion Ernie Els is one of 16 players tied for 38th place at even-par 72 after round one. Els posted four birdies and two bogeys on his opening nine and two bogeys on his second nine.
Schwartzel flew out of the gate with birdies on three of the first four holes to move within one of Tadini's lead. Schwartzel birdied the par-4 sixth to join Tadini in first.
The 22-year-old Schwartzel stumbled to a bogey on the par-4 eighth to drop out of a share for the lead. He regained a piece of first with a birdie on No. 10. Schwartzel parred his final eight holes.
Tadini, the only of the five leaders to play in the morning group, was even-par through nine holes. However, it was an interesting opening nine with an eagle, a birdie and three bogeys.
'My long game was so-so and the difference today was my putting, which was wonderful,' Tadini stated. 'My driver was not good today, but the rough is not so bad so it was okay.'
Around the turn, Tadini dropped in back-to-back birdies from the 11th. He closed with birdies on 16 and 18 to finish at minus-4.
Archer got to 2 under with birdies on the second and sixth, but tripped to a bogey on seven. Archer moved within one of the lead with birdies on 10 and 11.
The 34-year-old stumbled to a bogey on 13, but rebounded with consecutive birdies from the 14th to get to minus-4. He closed with three straight pars.
Wilson birdied the first two holes, but faltered to a bogey at the seventh. Around the turn, he picked up three birdies in a five-hole stretch from the 11th to move to 4 under. After a bogey on 16, Wilson birdied the last to share the lead.
De Haas, who was the only of the five leaders to play the back nine first, carded the only bogey-free round of the five leaders. His birdies came at 14 and 17 on his first nine, then two and six around the turn.
Coltart was joined in sixth place at 3-under-par 69 by David Higgins, Blanche Lamprecht, Alan Michell, Steve Van Vuuren, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Simon Nash and Sam Walker.
Ten more players, including Andrew McLardy and Louis Oosthuizen, are tied for 13th at minus-2.
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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