Am Tour: Texas' Terry Rice survives the Snakepit to win Senior National Championship Flight

By Mike BaileySeptember 22, 2016, 8:42 pm

A year ago this time, Terry Rice was preparing for back surgery. The pain after every round of golf had become unbearable.

This year, Rice is feeling a whole lot better, thanks in large part to successful back surgery and the euphoria of winning his first national championship in the Golf Channel Am Tour Championship flight.

Rice, who lives in Midland, Texas, fired a final-round 76 Thursday on the difficult Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort & Spa to hold off Joe Lefavor of Crownsville, Md., by two strokes. Lefavor, who was playing in the group in front of Rice, shot 73 on Thursday as Rice survived the last three holes, better known as the Snakepit.

"It bit me," said Rice (75-73-79-76—303) of the Snakepit. "It's appropriately named."

Rice said his Adrenalin was flowing when he hit his tee shot through the fairway on the difficult dogleg right 16th, chipped out, then hit a wedge over the green and wound up with double bogey.

Fortunately, he knew he had a cushion over the players in his group, having made birdie two holes earlier on the par-3 14th to open up a five-shot lead. But he didn't know what was going on in front of them.

On 17, he missed a short par putt, and decided to do something to settle him down on the 18th.

"I don't really get nervous anymore – used to a long time ago – more or less just Adrenalin," Rice said. "So I got out of the cart and walked 18 to calm down, and I hit two great shots to make par. Left the birdie putt right on the lip."

Rice has been playing on the Am Tour since 2008 and has played in nationals every year. He finished in the top five three times in the Open division nationals.

This year the 54-year-old Rice won twice and finished as runner-up five times. He's also been relatively pain free after going through back surgery literally the next morning after last year's national championship at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif.

"I felt pretty confident coming in," said Rice, who owns a rental equipment company. "I don't get to practice as much as I would like (because of injuries, some of them stemming from his high school football playing days at Texas powerhouse Odessa Permian.)"

A month before this year's Senior Nationals, Rice came in to watch a Texas Rangers-Tampa Bay Rays game and play all the courses in the rotation, so he knew the courses. And his game was coming along, too.

The best part of his game?

"It's my driver," he said. "I don't hit it long, but I hit it straight. And my putting. If I can get some looks, I can make some birdies."


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Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match

By Grill Room TeamOctober 20, 2018, 2:44 am

Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.

This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:

The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:

"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."

Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain. 

"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.

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Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic

The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.

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Weather continues to plague Valderrama Masters

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 7:55 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Marc Warren helped his chances of retaining his European Tour card by moving into a tie for second place behind Englishman Ashley Chesters at the rain-hit Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Friday.

Bad weather interrupted play for a second straight day at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain before darkness caused the second round to be suspended until Saturday, with overnight Chesters still ahead at 5-under.

Weather delays on Thursday, including a threat of lightning, had kept 60 golfers from finishing their opening round. They included Scottish player Warren, who went out on Friday and finished his first round with a 2-under 69.

He then made three birdies to go with one bogey on the first nine holes of the second round before play was halted. He joined Frenchman Gregory Bourdy one shot behind Chesters.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

''I'm hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time,'' Warren said. ''Hitting fairways and greens is the most important thing around here, so hopefully I wake up tomorrow with the same swing.''

Chesters and Bourdy were among several golfers unable to play a single hole in the second round on Friday.

Warren, a three-time European Tour winner, has struggled this season and needs a strong performance to keep his playing privileges for next year.

Currently ranked 144th, Warren needs to break into the top 116 to keep his card.

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Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 3:30 pm

Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters: