Rookie Watney Leads in West Virginia

By Sports NetworkJuly 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Pete Dye Classic 04 Pete Dye ClassicBRIDGEPORT, W.V. -- Nationwide Tour rookie Nick Watney fired a 9-under-par 63 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of the inaugural Pete Dye West Virginia Classic.
 
D.A. Points, who won the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic earlier this season, posted a 7-under 65 and is alone in second place at the Pete Dye Golf Club.
 
D.J. Trahan, who lost to Watney in the first round of the 2000 U.S. Amateur Championship, carded a 6-under-par 66 on Thursday. Trahan is tied for third place with Darron Stiles, Nick Cassini, Bryce Molder and Ned Michaels.
 
Watney broke into red figures with a chip-in birdie at the third hole. He added pair of birdies from inside 10 feet at eight and nine to make the turn at 3-under 33.
 
Watney knocked a 3-wood to 6 feet to set up an eagle at the par-5 11th. He ran home an 8-footer for birdie at the 14th, then holed a 10-foot birdie putt at the next hole.
 
The 23-year-old from California capped off his round with a tap-in birdie at the 17th. At the closing hole, Watney played a 9-iron to 20 feet and drained the putt to take the two-shot edge.
 
'I had a good day,' said Watney, who was ranked No. 1 in the country while at Fresno State University. 'It was a nice finish. I'm getting more comfortable out here. I'm learning how to play the game.'
 
Watney's 63 on Thursday was his lowest round on the Nationwide Tour. He hit 10 out of 14 fairways, 16 of 18 greens in regulation and needed only 28 putts in his opening round.
 
'I did everything well today,' said Watney. 'I hit it well and putted well. I've been putting well for a few weeks now. I've been playing pretty good and it was a lot of fun.'
 
Points started on the back nine Thursday and tallied three birdies. He sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the first, then collected three birdies in his last five holes to take sole possession of second place.
 
'To get off to a good start is real important to me,' said Points, who took second the week before his win at the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic. 'As arrogant as it may sound, today felt really comfortable. There is so much golf to play.'
 
James Driscoll is alone in eighth at minus-5, followed by Tom Scherrer, Brett Wetterich, Greg Bruckner, Craig Lile, Jeff Freeman, Patrick Damron and Warren Schutte. That group came in at 4-under-par 68.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Pete Dye West Virginia Classic
  • Full Coverage - Pete Dye West Virginia Classic
  • 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

    Getty Images

    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.

    PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

    Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

    The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    The statement reads:

    The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

    The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

    The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

    The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.