Vijay Leads Tiger by Two in Boston

By Sports NetworkSeptember 4, 2004, 4:00 pm
NORTON, Mass. -- Vijay Singh has a very good chance to overtake Tiger Woods atop the World Golf Rankings next week and his play on Saturday took him a step closer.
Singh, who won the PGA Championship last month, fired an 8-under 63 to take the lead midway through the Deutsche Bank Championship. He stands at 11- under-par 131 and leads by two over Woods, John Rollins and Bill Haas at the TPC of Boston.
If Woods does not finish in the top-seven, Singh will become No. 1. If Woods does finish within the top-seven, Singh would become No. 1 if he ties or beats him.
'I'm aware of it, but I'm not concerned about it,' said Singh. 'It's not going to affect me one way or the other if I overtake him or not. Yeah, if I win this tournament, I'll be No. 1; fine. But what would that change for me? I'll go out there next week and do it all over again.'
Woods posted a 3-under 68 on Saturday, while Rollins carded a 66 and Haas, son of Ryder Cupper Jay Haas, shot a 7-under 64.
Ryan Palmer, who shared the first-round lead with Woods, shot a 2-under 69 and is tied for fifth place with Shigeki Maruyama (66) at 8-under-par 134.
All players are chasing Singh as he chases Woods in the World Rankings.
Singh got off to an amazing start in Saturday's second round. He holed out from 91 yards for an eagle at the first, then ran home a 6-foot birdie putt at No. 2.
'With a start like that, I guess you can be very aggressive,' said Singh. 'I was feeling pretty good out there when I started off. '
His run of strong golf continued at the fourth when his pitching wedge approach stopped 4 feet from the hole. Singh converted the birdie try, then two-putted from 20 feet for birdie at the seventh.
Trouble loomed for Singh at the par-3 eighth. He three-putted from 30 feet for a bogey, but still made the turn at 4-under 32.
Singh regained his form at the 10th when his 9-iron second shot left him with a 15-foot birdie putt. He made that, then collected back-to-back birdies from the 12th, including a tap-in at 13.
He missed the green at the par-3 16th, but putted in for birdie from 30 feet. Singh went long with his approach at 17 and he putted down to 4 feet. He missed the par putt, but still had a one-shot lead with a chance to extend it at the par-5 closing hole.
Singh found the fairway at 18, then hit a 6-iron 15 feet over the flag. His eagle putt died right, but Singh tapped in for birdie and the two-shot advantage.
'I've been driving the ball well so far, if I keep doing that, you know, my chances are good,' said Singh. 'Ever since the move to the conventional putter, I have a lot more confidence in my putts. I'm putting well and that's giving me a lot of freedom to attack the pins and be aggressive on my chip shots.'
Woods reached the green in two at the par-5 second. He two-putted from 15 feet for the birdie, but found trouble two holes later. Woods drove into the hazard on the right and took a drop. He hit a 6-iron to 20 feet and two-putted for the bogey.
Woods soared up the leaderboard with his play late on the back nine. He got a favorable bounce from the right rough at 13 and made birdie from 9 feet. Woods failed to land in the fairway off the tee at 15, then missed the putting surface with a 9-iron. He chipped in from 15 feet for his third birdie of the round.
The unofficial tournament host missed the green at 16 and never recovered, bogeying the hole and falling to 7 under for the championship. Woods made an improbable birdie from close to 60 feet at the 17th and birdied 18 to get into a share of second place.
'I thought I played decent,' said Woods. 'I didn't play as well as I did yesterday, but controlled the ball where I missed the ball properly. Didn't make any putts on the front nine, but I got it going on the back.'
With Woods' run of 264 consecutive weeks atop the World Rankings in jeopardy, Woods has a simple philosophy.
'The No. 1 ranking, it takes care of itself just by winning tournaments,' said Woods, who has only one victory this season, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. 'If you win consistently, you don't have to worry about it.'
Rollins, who won the Canadian Open two years ago, tallied three birdies on the front side, then mixed three birdies and a bogey in a five-hole span on the back to get into a share of second.
Bill Haas collected six birdies on the back nine and is in position for win No. 1 on the PGA Tour. Will he talk to his father, who is competing on the Champions Tour at Pebble Beach, for advice on what it takes to get into the winner's circle?
'He won't say much,' said Bill Haas. 'He's letting me learn it on my own. He learned it on his own. There's nothing that he can say to me that's going to make me play any better; it's all me.'
Charles Howell III (68) and Frank Lickliter (67) share seventh place at 7-under-par 135, while defending champion Adam Scott (67), Hank Kuehne (68) and Jay Williamson (68) are a stroke further back at minus-6.
The 36-hole cut fell at even-par 144 and David Duval made his first cut since the FBR Capital Open last June. He two-putted from 40 feet at the 18th to shoot a 1-under 70 and make the cut on the number.
'I was nervous a little bit,' said Duval, who was the last player to be ranked No. 1 before Woods in 1999. 'It's a different nervous. I shot 59, I've won an Open and played Ryder Cups. I was like, 'come on, you can two-putt.''
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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.