Harrington Holds Lead in Germany

By Sports NetworkSeptember 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
COLOGNE, Germany -- Padraig Harrington shot a 6-under-par 66 Thursday to take a one-shot lead over Alex Cejka after the first round of the Linde German Masters.
Paul Casey, Harrington's teammate on the Ryder Cup, finished two shots off the pace at Gut Lrchenhof along with Raphael Jacquelin, Nick O'Hern, Richard Green, Greg Owen and Louis Oosthuizen at 4-under-par 68.
After a trio of European Ryder Cuppers put together strong showings last week at the European Masters, Harrington, the top-ranked European player in the world, continued to showcase the potential of the European team with the Ryder Cup one week away.
'Obviously, you come here as a warm up. One eye is definitely on next week,' Harrington. 'But once you're in contention, it's this week you're thinking about.'
The Irishman picked up back-to-back birdies from the second and added two straight birdies starting at the par-4 10th to reach 4 under. After a bogey at the 13th, Harrington dropped his second shot inside 7 feet and converted the putt for birdie at the 14th.
Harrington then birdied the par-4 15th to move to the top of the leaderboard and broke a tie with Cejka thanks to a long birdie at the par-4 17th. Harrington had another birdie chance at the last after his approach stopped within 12 feet of the hole, but his putt just missed the left edge of the cup.
'I really enjoyed that round,' said Harrington, who missed the cut at the BMW International Open, his last start on the European Tour. 'The way things have been going the last couple of rounds I've been getting a bit bogged down on myself. Today was a lot better, I was a lot easier on myself.'
Cejka jumped out of the gate with birdies on each of his first three holes. He found trouble with a bogey at the sixth, but was able to recover on the inward half with another string of birdies.
The German drained a 12-footer for a birdie at the 12th and ran home a 5-foot putt for a birdie at the par-5 13th to move to minus-4. Cejka then birdied the par-5 15th to take second place along after a round of 67.
Casey played the back side first and was on fire early with three consecutive birdies starting at the par-4 12th. He stumbled to a double bogey at the 18th, however, but countered with a birdie at the very next hole.
The 27-year-old hit his third to 15 feet for a birdie at the par-5 seventh and sank a long birdie putt at the eighth to finish in a tie for third.
'The rough this week is thick, it's a lot thicker than it's ever been here before,' said Casey. 'If you don't drive the ball well you're going to struggle.'
Barry Lane, Graeme McDowell, Jose Maria Olazabal, Anthony Wall, Gary Murphy and Rolf Muntz shared ninth place at 3-under-par 69.
K.J. Choi, who became the first Korean to win on the European Tour when he captured this event last year, carded a 1-under 71 to finish five shots back in a group that included Darren Clarke.
Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer joined Colin Montgomerie in a group at 1-over-par 73.
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.