Fantasy Island: HP Byron Nelson Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 24, 2011, 7:46 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from three groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Charlie Rymer; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; contributor Win McMurry; writer for NBCSports.com's ProGolf Talk, Ryan Ballengee; and RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton.

You can battle the experts and play along as well. Just click here to get into the game.Compete against the GolfChannel.com experts and other fans in our Fantasy Challenge.

In parentheses, next to the names, are the participants' 2011 points earned and ranking among the 17 Fantasy Challenge 'experts.'


Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard (6,161,230; 3rd)

Group A: Jason Day: The defending champion hits it plenty long enough and since this is likely his last event as a Dallas-area resident he’s looking to go out in style.

Group B: Brian Davis: Cruised to medalist honors at Monday’s British Open qualifier (6-under 64) and finished runner-up at the 2009 Byron Nelson.

Group C: Chris Stroud: Texas native plays his best golf in the heat and his T-12 at The Players Championship is a sign that summer may have come early this year.


Randall Mell

Randall Mell (3,758,889; 15th)

Group A: Jason Day: Five top-10s so far this season. Good form makes the defending champion dangerous again this week.

Group B: Brian Gay: Nearly won at TPC Four Seasons last year. Nobody's hitting more fairways this year, not many are scoring better.

Group C: Roland Thatcher: Looking for that T-7 finish at TPC Four Seasons in '08 to spark a run.

 

Jason Sobel

Jason Sobel (N/A, N/A)

Group A: Jason Day: Hate picking defending champs. It’s like cheating on a pop quiz. But I really, really need to pass this class. 

Group B: Bo Van Pelt: Stellar final round at Colonial gave him solo third. He’ll keep the momentum building this week.

Group C: Brett Wetterich: Five years removed from playing in The Ryder Cup, he already has a Nationwide Tour win this season.



Charlie RymerCharlie Rymer (5,515,388; 7th)

Group A: Dustin Johnson: I'm sure Matt Kuchar is gonna win this week because I'm leaving him and picking Johnson.

Group B: Sergio Garcia: Garcia has been showing signs that he's ready and this may just be his week.

Group C: Steven Bowditch: Bowditch keeps popping up on the radar and maybe he brings it in for a safe landing near DFW.


 John HawkinsJohn Hawkins (5,967,481; 5th)

Group A: Ben Crane – Good golf all year, time for a win. 

Group B: Justin Leonard – Should have won here by now, good ballpark for him. 

Group C: Brett Wetterich – Past champ, why not? Not a strong group of Cs. 

 


Jay CoffinJay Coffin (5,068,203; 12th)

Group A: Nick Watney: He hasn't had great results in the four times he has played here. Still, Watney is playing too well now not to contend.

Group B: Jason Dufner: I'm going with a trend here of picking people who have played poorly at this event. Dufner has two MCs in two starts.

Group C: Keegan Bradley: This guy has never played this event but he's five spots ahead of Tiger Woods on the money list so he can't be that bad of a pick can he?


Gary Williams

Gary Williams (5,526,357; 6th)

Group A: Dustin Johnson: He has the most wins of any American under 30 with four, and armed with a new caddie, he is in position to win for a fifth time.

Group B: Brian Gay: He has had some recent success in this event – T-7 in 2008 and T-2 in 2010 – and in 2011, he has missed the cut just once in 13 starts.

Group C: Chez Reavie: Playing on Major Medical Exemption in 2011 and recorded a season-best tie for fifth last week at Colonial to earn $235,600.

 

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias (5,222,109; 11th)

Group A: Dustin Johnson: This is DJ’s first event with Joe LaCava as his permanent caddie and although he has struggled lately, he has a good history at this event.

Group B: Bo Van Pelt: He finished third last week at Colonial, which is his best finish in 2011 and goes nicely with his tie for eighth in the 2011 Masters.

Group C: Steven Bowditch: He was tied for second after 36 holes last week at Colonial before finishing T-16 and is making his first appearance in this event.


Win McMurry

Win McMurry (7,899,573; 1st)

Group A: Jason Day: Staying on the Day train this week. The defending champ has had a strong season and I don’t see him giving up his first Tour title easily.

Group B: D.A. Points: He is coming off two MCs, but I think that works to his advantage. After winning his season at Pebble, Points is ready to get back in contention.

Group C: Cameron Beckman: After a consistent start to 2011 he’s missed five cuts in a row. He will not make it six, especially at a course where he was T-5 last year.


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee (2,531,005; 16th)

Group A: Dustin Johnson: He has shown flashes of coming back to 2010 form. He has consecutive top-7 finishes in this event, so he must like this course.

Group B: John Senden: He just posted his first top-10 of the year at Colonial and has been consistent all season. The Aussie's best finish here is seventh two years ago.

Group C: Steven Bowditch: The guy is getting married here not too long from now, so maybe he can play some inspired golf and get a discount on the ceremony.


Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton (4,167,223; 14th)

Group A: Dustin Johnson: In a bit of a rut in the U.S. since Doral, but owns a pair of top-10s in his last two starts here and matches up with the course profile brilliantly.

Group B: Brian Gay: Co-runner-up here last year and currently leads the PGA Tour in Fairways Hit and scrambling. Has cashed in nine straight starts, too.

Group C: Blake Adams: Returns to the site of his only top-5 on the PGA Tour (T2, 2010). Also coming off a T-16 at Colonial, his best finish of 2011.


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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.

Getty Images

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.”