Spains Lara Wins Maiden Euro Title

By Sports NetworkNovember 19, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 UBS Hong Kong ChampionshipHONG KONG -- Spain's Jose Manuel Lara and Juvic Pagunsan from the Philippines battled throughout Sunday's final round.
The turning point came at the par-4 16th, where Lara made birdie and Pagunsan faltered to a bogey.
Lara went on to par the final two holes for a 1-under 69 to claim his first European Tour title at 15-under-par 265. He became the first player in tournament history to go wire-to-wire for the victory.
'I can't tell you. It is amazing. Winning in these conditions when I didn't have my best day was tough,' stated Lara. 'I finished really good the last few holes. I am really, really happy about it.'
Pagunsan got up and down for par on the final two holes to close a 2-under 68 that left him one back at minus-14.
Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa each posted 4-under 66s in the final round to tie Thongchai Jaidee (67) in third place at 12-under-par 268.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 2005 champion, shared sixth place with Soren Kjeldsen at minus-11.
Early on, it looked as though Lara was going to coast to victory. He birdied the third for the fourth straight day to move to 15 under. He was three ahead of Pagunsan, who bogeyed the second and birdied the third.
However, Pagunsan closed the gap with a 7-foot birdie putt on the fourth at Hong Kong Golf Club. Lara's lead dropped to one when he could not get up and down for par on the seventh. That was his first bogey since his final hole in Friday's second round.
Lara hit a poor bunker shot on the ninth and that led to another bogey that dropped him into a share of the lead with Pagunsan at 13 under.
Pagunsan, a 28-year-old rookie, sank a 3-foot birdie putt on the 11th to take his first lead of the event. The Filipino made a poor decision on the par-5 13th though.
He landed in a fairway bunker and tried to play a fairway-wood from the bunker. Pagunsan's second shot hit the lip of the bunker and his ball tumbled into the fairway. After finding the green with his third, he two-putted for par.
Meanwhile, Lara was in the middle of the 13th fairway and found the putting surface with his second. He two-putted for birdie to grab a share of the lead at minus-14.
Pagunsan responded with a 15-foot birdie putt at the 14th to regain the lead. The 16th proved to be his downfall though. His tee shot ended in the left rough near a small tree. Pagunsan tried to punch a low shot under the tree and down the fairway.
However, he hit the shot fat and left it in the rough. Pagunsan's third found a greenside bunker. Lara, again in the middle of the fairway, knocked his approach to 12 feet. Pagunsan blasted his fourth to 2 feet.
Lara rolled in his 12-footer for birdie to get to 15 under before Pagunsan tapped in his bogey putt that left him at 14 under.
'The thing is, the guy a played with today (Pagunsan), he played so good. He's a really good putter. He knows the greens very well,' Lara admitted. 'I see that. When I lost the lead, I was thinking about trying to get here (into the winner's circle). He missed on 16 and I made birdie and that gave me the victory.'
Lara calmly two-putted for par on the final two holes, while Pagunsan needed to get up and down for par on 17 and 18 to finish at minus-14 and take second place in his first European Tour start.
'He opened the door and I went straight in,' Lara said. 'He gave me the only chance to have it and I took it. I made birdie at the right moment and then hit a really good putt on 18.'
Pagunsan hurt his own cause in the final round as he hit just eight of 18 greens in regulation.
Francesco Molinari closed with a 4-under 66. That gave him a share of eighth place at 10-under-par 270 where he was joined by Alejandro Canizares (67) and Jean Van de Velde (68). Gregory Bourdy took 11th at minus-nine, while Andrew Buckle was one stroke further back at 8-under-par 272.
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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.