Shootout co-leader makes hole-in-one

By Associated PressDecember 9, 2011, 10:15 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Nick Price had a hole-in-one and teamed with fellow Champions Tour player Mark Calcavecchia for a 9-under 63 and a share of the lead with PGA Champion Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele on Friday in the Franklin Templeton Shootout.

Price also made a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole in the modified alternate-shot format. Bradley and Steele played the final six holes in 7 under in the first round on Tiburon Golf Club’s Gold Course.

Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker, the longtime friends from Madison, Wis., who won the 2009 event, were a stroke back, and Rickie Fowler and Camilo Villegas were two shots back. The 12 two-man teams will play a better-ball round Saturday and close with a scramble Sunday in the $3 million event.

Price’s 4-iron shot from 213 yards on No. 12 hopped a couple of times and rolled right into the cup.

“We’re 4 under through 11 holes, which we didn’t really take advantage I think of the good start we got off to,” Price said. “And then what can you say when you make a hole-in-one? We go from 4 to 6 under, and now we’re really looking at shooting a decent score today or a low score. It just got better and better.”

It was the second hole-in-one in tournament history. Tim Clark made the other on No. 12 in the final round last year. It was Price’s first in competition since the 1997 NEC World Series of Golf.

Price and Calcavecchia are trying to become the first Champions Tour duo to win the event. Calcavecchia also is seeking his third title after winning with Woody Austin in 2007 and Steve Elkington in 1995.

Bradley and Steele pointed to a 30-footer for bogey from off the green on No. 9.

“It was a big putt,” Bradley said. “And the thing that was unbelievable was my putt was going to go by 6 or 7 feet. It was cooking. So next thing you know, it turns into a double – 6 or 7, who knows? But that’s the beautiful part – it went in.”

“Looking at a 6-, 7-footer for double in this format, that might have been the end of our tournament, but that going in, and then how quickly the momentum can change,” Steele said. “We felt as good as we could feel, walking off that green with a bogey.”

Steele made a 12-footer on No. 11, Bradley added a 15-footer on No. 13, Steele holed out for eagle from a greenside bunker on No. 14, Bradley made a 10-footer on No. 15, and Steele made a 40-footer from off the green on No. 16. Steele was near the lip of the bunker on No. 17, and got it out well enough for Bradley to make a birdie. On No. 18, Bradley hit his drive 367 yards, leaving Steele with just 91 yards to the green. He hit it to 6 feet, and Bradley made the putt.

Kelly and Stricker eagled No. 17 and birdied No. 18. On the par-5 17th, Stricker got his second shot on the green, and Kelly made a long putt.

“He had been talking about getting the big bird all the way up there,” Stricker said. “As soon as it left the putter he said, `Get in!’ The power of your brain sometimes leads to good things. We had been talking about making a 3 there a couple holes prior. It was a good way to finish the round.”

Jason Dufner and Sean O’Hair opened with a 66, the teams of Rory Sabbatini-Jhonattan Vegas, Kenny Perry-Scott Stallings and Anthony Kim-Webb Simpson followed at 67, and Chris DiMarco-Chad Campbell and Charles Howell III-Justin Leonard were at 68. Tournament host Greg Norman and Scott McCarron shot a 69, and Stewart Cink and Bo Van Pelt were last at 70.

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Finau lifts team to opening 62 on improving ankle

By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 6:24 pm

AVONDALE, La. – Tony Finau continues to thrive on his injured ankle.

Playing for the first time since the Masters, where he tied for 10th despite a high-ankle sprain, Finau matched partner Daniel Summerhays with six birdies to shoot a combined 10-under 62 in fourballs Thursday at the Zurich Classic.

Finau still isn’t 100 percent – he said he's closer to 70 percent – even after two weeks of rest and physical therapy. During that time he worked with doctors at the University of Utah Orthopedic Center and also the training staff with the Utah Jazz. Before the Zurich, he had played only nine holes.


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“Sometimes simplicity is huge in this game,” he said. “There is not a lot of thoughts in my swing in the first place, so there can’t be that many thoughts when you don’t practice. It served me well today.”

Partnering with Summerhays, his fellow Utah resident and a friend for more than a decade, they combined to make 12 birdies during an opening round that left them only two shots back of the early lead.

Asked afterward how his ankle felt, Finau said: “Feeling a lot better after that 62. A great remedy for something hurting is some good golf.”  

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Sources: Woods returning to Wells Fargo

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 6:07 pm

Tiger Woods is expected to return to competition at next week's Wells Fargo Championship, according to multiple Golf Channel sources. The news of Woods' participation was first reported Thursday on "Golf Central."

Woods has not played since a T-32 finish at the Masters. A winner at Quail Hollow in 2007, Woods has not made the cut there since a fourth-place showing in 2009 and has not played Wells Fargo since 2012. He missed last year's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow because of injury.

Woods has until 5 p.m. ET Friday to officially commit to next week's field. When reached for comment by GolfChannel.com, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, explained that Woods' plans were not yet finalized.

"We don't know right now (if Woods will play)," Steinberg said. "We'll know later this afternoon. We're working on a couple things."

A trip to Charlotte would be another sign that the 42-year-old is ready to return to a customary schedule, as next week's event would be followed by Woods' expected return to The Players for the first time since 2015. Woods has already committed to the U.S. Open, which will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major victory.

After starting the year ranked No. 656 in the world, Woods is up to No. 91 in the latest world rankings. He recorded three straight top-12 finishes during the Florida swing, including a runner-up finish alongside Patrick Reed at the Valspar Championship and a T-5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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USGA receives more than 9,000 U.S. Open entries

By Will GrayApril 26, 2018, 4:31 pm

The field of contestants for golf's most democratic major has been set.

The USGA announced that it received 9,049 entries for this year's U.S. Open, with the deadline for entry expiring at 5 p.m. ET Wednesday. That total includes 515 applications on the final day, 115 in the final hour and a buzzer-beater from Drew Caudill, a 32-year-old pro from Mount Vernon, Ohio, who beat the entry deadline by only 23 seconds.

This marks the seventh straight year that the USGA has received more than 9,000 entries, but the total marks the second straight year of a decline in applications. At least 9,860 players entered each year from 2013-16, topping out in 2014 when 10,127 applications were received. But last year there were 9,485 entries for Erin Hills, and this year's return to Shinnecock yielded only one more application than the USGA got in 2005.

For the vast majority of entrants, the next step is a spot in 18-hole local qualifying which begins April 30 and runs through May 17. The fortunate few advance from there to 36-hole sectional qualifiers, played May 21 in Japan and June 4 across 11 other sites in the U.S. and England.

A total of 54 players are already exempt into the 156-man field, including 12 former winners. The only remaining ways to earn an exemption from qualifying are to win either The Players or BMW PGA Championship next month, or be ranked inside the top 60 in the Official World Golf Rankings on either May 21 or June 11.

The U.S. Open will be played June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., which is hosting the event for the first time since 2004.

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Report: Houston Open may move to Memorial Park in '19

By Will GrayApril 26, 2018, 3:48 pm

Still without a permanent spot on the PGA Tour schedule, the Houston Open appears to be on the move.

According to a report from the Houston Business Journal, there is a proposal in place to shift the tournament downtown in 2019, returning to Memorial Park Golf Course which previously hosted the event from 1951-1963.

While formal relocation plans have not been announced, the tournament officially reached the end of an era this week when the Golf Club of Houston, which has hosted the event since 2003, informed the Houston Golf Association that it would no longer serve as tournament host moving forward.

"We received notice this week from the Golf Club of Houston regarding the club's decision to no longer host a PGA Tour event," read an HGA statement obtained by GolfChannel.com. "Currently, the HGA's focus is on securing a long-term title sponsor. The Golf Club of Houston has been a great venue for the Houston Open dating back to 2003 and we look forward to maintaining a great relationship with the club."

Such a move would be a win for Houston mayor Sylvester Turner, who has expressed an interest in returning the tournament within city limits. The Golf Club of Houston is located in Humble, a suburb 20 miles northeast of downtown.

"This move would place the tournament on center stage in downtown Houston, creating a central location for the city to rally around," read marketing materials cited in the Business Journal report. "Houston Proud Partners of the Houston Open would have the opportunity to collaborate with the Houston Golf Association on this historic move and make a lasting statement that would be seen for generations."

The Houston Open's lineage dates back to 1946, but its future remains in question. Shell Oil ended its 26-year sponsorship of the event in 2017, and this year it was played without a title sponsor and financed in part by the HGA.

The tournament has also carved out a niche with its pre-Masters slot on the schedule, where it has been played every year but once since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007. But next year that coveted position will go to the Valero Texas Open, leaving Houston's place on a revamped 2019 schedule in question.

The Houston Open remains one of only two tournaments on the current Tour calendar without a title sponsor. Earlier this week Charles Schwab signed a four-year deal to sponsor the Fort Worth Invitational beginning in 2019, and a report this week indicates the other unsponsored event, The National, may be on the verge of moving from the Washington, D.C. area to Detroit.