IOA Open champ dansamcam shares insight

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 11, 2014, 10:52 pm

This past month, more than 75,000 virtual golfers participated in the IOA Open at Pebble Beach, the first tournament of the 2014 WGT Virtual Tour season.

Out of that large pool of contenders, no one finished better than dansamcam.

A WGT veteran who has been playing virtual golf for more than four years, dansamcam led the Tour Legend division after the first round and then held on for the victory in Round 2, posting a nine-hole total of 35.1 feet during the second round of the closest-to-the-pin event. His cumulative total of 60.7 left him more than 12 feet ahead of the second-place finisher in his division.

"I made sure I had every variable written down before I played," he said of his preparation for the final round. "Then it became just a matter of controlling my nerves and executing the shot."

While some players may fire up a computer and head immediately to the first tee box, dansamcam prides himself on his thorough preparation and credits his knowledge of the various elements as a key reason for his success. When he's not making a living as a graphic artist, the 50-year-old practices his virtual craft 5 to 6 days per week, usually for 1 to 3 hours per day.

"I take notes on the actual distance to the hole and how different wind angles with different ball spins will affect your approach direction," he explained.

Hours logged on the WGT Virtual Tour aren't dansamcam's only experience with the game of golf - he's currently a 7 handicap who has been playing golf since the age of 12. When it came to clinching victory at Pebble Beach last month, though, he admits that the hardest shot was the last one he faced: an approach over water and sand to the iconic 18th green.

"If you don't land on the right spot or if you have the wrong spin on the ball, you will be 20 to 30 feet away from the pin easily," noted dansamcam, whose shot ended up within five feet of the hole.

Dansamcam will now look to make it two in a row by claiming the title at the Transamerica Classic this month, and admits that he was motivated to grab his share of the 200,000 WGT-credit purse during the first event of the season.

"I like all WGT tournament formats," he added. "But the bigger the prize, the more effort I will put into that tournament."

While novices may find it difficult to compete with his results, dansamcam does offer some tips for those new to the game and looking to improve.

"Take notes on how your clubs and ball combinations will react with different spins into elevations and different wind directions," he explained. "Be sure to optimize your computer regularly, relax and trust your peripheral vision."

Registration is still open for this month's tournament, the Transamerica Classic. Click here to get signed up or for more information on the WGT Virtual Tour.

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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.