Notes: Long, strange trip for Furyk; Stat leaders

By Doug FergusonOctober 26, 2011, 12:02 am

If there was an award for who traveled the farthest to get to the Presidents Cup, then Jim Furyk would be a candidate.

Furyk is playing in Shanghai before the Nov. 17-20 matches at Royal Melbourne in Australia, and he certainly won’t be the only Presidents Cup player there. The difference? Furyk is coming home to Florida in between.

He is at the Shanghai Masters this week, and hopes to get in the HSBC Champions a week later in Shanghai. Then, he will fly home to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., before leaving Friday on the 9,500-mile journey to Australia.

All told, he will be in the air roughly 25,000 miles before getting to Royal Melbourne.

“When you go over and get used to the time zone for two weeks, and then you’re home for four days, it’s not going to be that hard to get back,” Furyk said. “At least that’s my theory.”

Furyk had to make international plans before he was assured of being on the Presidents Cup team. He also knew that if he had to rely on being a pick, U.S. captain Fred Couples wanted his two selections to play the week before at the Australian Open.

“I had a chance to go to Lake Malaren (Shanghai Masters) and HSBC back to back, and for what I was trying to accomplish at the end of the year and what was best for me, I need to go play HSBC and it seemed easy to play Lake Malaren. So I committed to both,” Furyk said. “If I was 11th or 12th in the Presidents Cup, I knew I would have to play the week before. And I was prepared to do that.”

Once he made the team, Furyk was not about to back out on a commitment.

Furyk has talked to Couples about his travel schedule. The American captain only wanted to make sure his guys were ready to go.

“I’m playing three of five weeks leading up to the event,” Furyk said. “I’ll be ready to go.”


DONALD HONORS: The PGA Tour Player of the Year won’t be decided until December, although Luke Donald already can bank on a couple of awards. By winning at Disney, he clinched the PGA of America award as player of the year over Webb Simpson. That honor is based on a points system.

The other is more obscure, but meaningful in one small respect.

Donald has clinched the Mark H. McCormack Award for being No. 1 in the world ranking for the most weeks in a calendar year. Donald took over at No. 1 on May 29, and now has a whopping 3.27 lead over Lee Westwood.

Donald will be only the second player to have his name on the award. It began in 1998, when Tiger Woods was No. 1 in the world. Since then, no one has been No. 1 for longer than 26 weeks - Vijay Singh in 2004, but that was toward the end of the year. Woods regained No. 1 the next spring and kept it for the next five years.

After a few years, the Tour stopped making the annual presentation to Woods at Bay Hill.


STATISTICAL LEADERS: J.B. Holmes is the new king of the long ball on the PGA Tour.

Holmes, who did not compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs because of brain surgery, led the Tour in driving distance with an average of 318.4 yards. It’s the first time he led that category. Robert Garrigus had led in driving distance the past two years, at 315.5 yards in 2010 and 312.3 yards in 2009. It’s the longest average to lead the Tour since Bubba Watson averaged 319.6 yards in 2006.

Joe Durant won the accuracy award for the fourth time, hitting 75.7 percent of his fairways. Boo Weekley was tops in greens in regulation at 71.7 percent.

And this should come as no surprise - Luke Donald was No. 1 in putting, based on the Tour’s new “Strokes Gained” statistic. Donald also was No. 1 in another key putting statistic. He had only 15 three-putts out of 1,206 holes he played this year.


MAJOR ROOKIE: Louis Oosthuizen was a major champion before joining the PGA Tour. He still felt like a rookie, and hopes he can learn from his mistakes next year - not on the golf course, but in scheduling. Trying to juggle two tours proved difficult for him, and he wound up missing the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Oosthuizen had to play the Fall Series just to reach the minimum 15 tournaments required for PGA Tour members. At least he went out in style, finishing two shots out of the playoff at Sea Island and finishing fourth. He ended his rookie year at No. 117 on the money list.

It was a tough experience, but not a bad one.

“I’m liking it out here,” Oosthuizen said. “Next year I’m doing both tours again, but I think the schedule will look a bit differently. I’m definitely coming back. I knew it was going to be a hard year traveling, and I wanted the golf to be better than it was.”

It will be a busy start to next year. His wife, Nalmarie, is expecting their second child toward the end of January.


DIVOTS: Dustin Johnson will be using TaylorMade rep Keith Sbarbaro as his caddie in the Australian Open and the Presidents Cup, finishing out the year at the Chevron World Challenge before he hires a full-time looper. Sbarbaro also worked for him briefly in Europe when he was last between caddies. … Nigel Edwards will return as Walker Cup captain for Great Britain & Ireland in the 2013 matches at National Golf Links. Edwards led GB&I to victory over the Americans in September at Royal Aberdeen. … Boo Weekley, Brandt Snedeker and Gary Woodland will represent the PGA Tour in the Three-Tour Challenge, to be played Nov. 8 at Rio Secco in Las Vegas, and televised Dec. 13. … The European Tour made it official Tuesday by announcing the Volvo Golf Champions, which Paul Casey won last year in Bahrain, will be played Jan. 19-22 at Fancourt in South Africa, site of the 2003 Presidents Cup. … Charlie Sifford, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004, was to be inducted Tuesday into the Southern California Golf Association Hall of Fame. He won the 1969 Los Angeles Open at Rancho Park.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Dustin Johnson hit the longest drive on the PGA Tour this year, 463 yards on the par-5 seventh hole at the TPC Boston in the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. He made par.


FINAL WORD: “It never stopped being a challenge.” - Arnold Palmer, on what he found so appealing about golf.

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Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.

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Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:00 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.

''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.

McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.

Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.

''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''

Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.

''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''

Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.

''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''

McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.

''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''

McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.

McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.

Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.

''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.

Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.

''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''

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Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.

Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.

Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.

Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).

This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.

Jason Seaman and Kristi Hubly Seaman

Sr. PGA caddie learns of nephew's heroism in school shooting

By Tim RosaforteMay 25, 2018, 10:33 pm

Tracy Hubly caddied for her husband, club pro Chris Starkjohann, on Friday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA and learned after their round that her nephew was credited with helping stop the school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana.

Jason Seaman, a 29-year-old science instructor and seventh grade football coach at the school, took three bullets but survived as what his aunt called a hero.

“You hear the stories about these shootings and I think about Parkland and the officer that was trained but didn’t go into the school,” Hubly said. “It’s really shocking to think it comes close to your family, but it does."

It’s not unusual for Hubly to caddie for her husband, a teacher at Carlsbad Golf Center and coach of a PGA Junior League program in Southern California. Hubly, who works in the pro shop at Emerald Island Golf Course in Oceanside, Calif., was on the bag when he was low golf professional at the 2009 Senior PGA Championship held at Canterbury GC. 

Starkjohann, 61, missed the cut at Harbor Shores with rounds of 76-79—155 and was heading to the Colorado State Open.

 “I didn’t hear about it until after my round was done,” Starkjohann said. “Everything happened after I got in.”