Navy Washes Away Competition
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Navy's Brian Crum, Billy Hurley and Nick Rogers swept the top-three individual spots and led the Mids to their fourth Patriot League Golf Championship in five years. Navy held a 15-stroke lead over Lehigh and Army after the first-27 holes and more than doubled it as the Mids' three-round score of 878 outdistanced second-place Lehigh by 31 strokes.
Army finished third with a 916, followed by Lafayette (923), Bucknell (938), American (941), Colgate (979) and Holy Cross (1007) at the par 72 Saucon Valley Country Club in Center Valley, Pa. Not only was Navy the only team to shoot under 300 all three days, only one other team managed to shoot under 300 - that being Lehigh in the second round with a 298.
'I am thrilled for our team,' said Navy head coach Pat Owen. 'This is a great reward for the hard work these guys have put in not just this year, but for guys like Brian (Crum) and Nick (Rogers), four years of hard work. We are looking forward to competing in the NCAA Regionals against some of the best golfers in the country.'
Crum won his third individual title of the year, turning in a 4-under par 212 to outdistance teammate Hurley by three strokes. Crum, who has posted a pair of wins and a second-place finish in his last-three tournaments saved his best for last, posting a final-round 4-under par 68. His 212 finished as the sixth-best individual performance in Patriot League Championship history.
Hurley's 1-under par 215 marked the 10th-best effort in league history. After posting a 5-under par 67 in the second round, Hurley had a four-stroke advantage heading into the final 18 holes of the tourney. His 3-over par 75, however, fell short of Crum's final-round 68 and was forced to settle for second for the third-straight meet this spring.
Rogers, one of only two seniors (Crum) on the Navy squad moved up from eighth to finish third with a 7-over par 223. Rogers struggled in the first round with a 5-over par 77, but his even par in the second set of 18 put him back in the hunt. The St. Mary's High School product recorded a 2-over par 74 in the final round to move past Army's Pete Phipps and give Navy a sweep of the top-three positions.
Junior Joey Kistler (Savannah, Ga.) had a strong performance, finishing 10th with a 13-over par 229. Despite posting an 80 in the second round, he rebounded nicely to produce his best 18 holes of the tournament with a 2-over par 74 and a three-round total of 229.
Sophomore B.J. Brumley (Bartlesville, Okla.) tied for 27th in his first Patriot League Championship appearance with a 24-over par 240, while fellow sophomore Braxton Mashburn (Memphis, Tenn.) placed 39th with a 36-over par 252.
Crum, who was named the MVP of the tournament, earned All-Patriot League recognition, as did Hurley, Rogers and Kistler for finishing among the top 10. Meanwhile, Crum is the fourth Navy player to claim the individual championship, joining All-American Aaron Wright (1997), Pete Lauder (1998) and Joel Almquist (2000).
Navy will play in the NCAA Regionals May 14-17 at a site to be announced at a later time - either at Auburn, Kansas State or Washington.
Pl. School Scores Pl.
1 Navy 297-290-291 ' 878 +14
2 Lehigh 307-298-304 ' 909 +45
3 Army 304-307-305 ' 916 +52
4 Lafayette 315-305-303 ' 923 +59
5 Bucknell 319-310-309 ' 938 +74
6 American 311-317-313 ' 941 +77
7 Colgate 336-314-329 ' 979 +115
8 Holy Cross 341-336-330 ' 1007 +143
LPGA's new Q-Series to offer deferrals for amateurs
The LPGA’s new Q-Series, which takes the place of the final stage of Q-School beginning this year, will come with a revolutionary new twist for amateurs.
For the first time, the LPGA will offer deferrals that will allow amateurs to win tour membership in December but delay turning pro until the following June or July, tour commissioner Mike Whan told GolfChannel.com.
It’s a notable change, because the deferral will allow a collegiate player to earn tour membership at the end of this year but retain amateur status to finish out her collegiate spring season next year, before joining the tour.
“We haven’t done that in the past, because we didn’t want an onslaught, where every player in college is trying to join the tour,” Whan said.
The way it worked in the past, a collegian could advance through the final stage of Q-School, but if that player earned the right to a tour card and wanted to take up membership, she had to declare after the final round that she was turning pro. It meant the player would leave her college team in the middle of the school year. It was a particularly difficult decision for players who earned conditional LPGA status, and it played havoc with the makeup of some college teams.
Whan said the revamped Q-Series format won’t create the collegiate stampede that deferrals might have in the past.
“It will take a unique talent to show up at the first stage of Q-School and say, ‘I’ll see you at Q-Series,’” Whan said. “There won’t be a lot of amateurs who make it there.”
Under the new qualifying format, there will continue to be a first and second stage of Q-School, but it will be much harder to advance to the final stage, now known Q-Series.
Under the old format, about 80 players advanced from the second stage to the Q-School finals. Under the new format, only 20 to 30 players from the second stage will advance to the Q-Series, and only a portion of those are likely to be collegians.
Under the new format, a maximum of 108 players will meet at the Q-Series finals, where a minimum of 45 tour cards will be awarded after 144 holes of competition, played over two weeks on two different courses. The field will include players who finished 101st to 150th and ties on the final LPGA money list, and players who finished 11th to 30th and ties on the final Symetra Tour money list. The field will also include up to 10 players from among the top 75 of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and the top five players on the Golfweek Women’s Collegiate Rankings.
“We feel if you make it to the Q-Series finals as a college player, you are probably among the best of the best, and we ought to give you the opportunity to finish the college year,” Whan said.
University of Washington coach Mary Lou Mulflur said she would prefer amateurs not be allowed to compete at Q-School, but she called this a workable compromise.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Mulflur said. “It’s better than the way it’s been in the past. That was hard, because it broke up teams.”
Mulflur said she disliked the tough position the former policy put college players in at the final stage of Q-School, where they had to decide at event’s end whether to turn pro and accept tour membership.
“I can’t imagine being a kid in that position, and I’ve had a couple kids in that position,” Mulflur said. “It’s hard on everybody, the player, the family and the coaches. You hear about coaches standing there begging a kid not to turn pro, and that’s just not the way it should be, for the coach or the player.”
Mulflur agreed with Whan that the new Q-Series format should limit the number of collegians who have a chance to win tour cards.
“I believe it’s a good compromise, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out going forward,” Mulflur said. “Kudos to the commissioner for giving kids this option.”
Whan said collegians who take deferrals will be counseled.
“We will sit down with them and their families and explain the risks,” Whan said. “If you take a deferral and start playing on July 15, you might find yourself back in Q-Series again later that year, because you may not have enough time.”
Tour still focused on security after death of suspected Austin bomber
AUSTIN, Texas – Although the suspect in the wave of Austin-area bombings was killed early Wednesday, the PGA Tour plans to continue heightened security measures at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.
According to various news outlets, Mark Anthony Conditt has been identified as the bombings suspect, and he was killed by an explosion inside his car in Round Rock, Texas, which is 19 miles north of Austin Country Club.
“We do not comment on the specifics of our security measures, but we are continuing to work in close collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Austin to ensure the safety of our players and fans at this week’s tournament,” the Tour said in a statement. “Regardless of the recent developments, our heightened security procedures will remain in place through the remainder of the week.”
Authorities believe Conditt is responsible for the five explosions that killed two people and injured five others in Austin or south-central Texas since March 2.
Play began Wednesday at the Match Play.
Monahan addresses alcohol, fan behavior at events
AUSTIN, Texas – Fan behavior has become a hot-button topic on the PGA Tour in recent weeks, with Rory McIlroy suggesting on Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational the circuit should “limit alcohol sales on the course.”
The Tour’s policy is to stop selling alcohol an hour before the end of play, which is normally around 5 p.m., and on Wednesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play commissioner Jay Monahan said it’s something the Tour is monitoring.
“When you have people who aren’t behaving properly and they’ve had too much alcohol, then I agree [with McIlroy],” Monahan said. “In those incidences those people who are making it uncomfortable for a player alcohol sales should be cut off.”
Fan behavior became an issue with some players when Tiger Woods returned to competition at last month’s Genesis Open. During the final round of the Honda Classic Justin Thomas had a fan removed when he yelled for Thomas’ tee shot at the par-4 16th hole to “get in the bunker.”
Monahan declined to address Thomas’ situation at PGA National specifically, but he did seem to suggest that as interest grows and the Tour continues to attract more mainstream sports crowds, vocal fans will continue to be the norm.
“I believe that there was more that went into it that preceded and in a situation like that we’re hopeful our players will reach out to our security staff and they can handle that,” Monahan said. “[But] yelling, ‘get in the bunker,’ that’s part of what our players have to accept. In any sport, you go to an away game, in any other sport, and people aren’t rooting for you. Sometimes out here you’re going to have fans that aren’t rooting for you, but they can’t interfere with what you’re trying to do competitively.”
Senden playing first event since son's brain tumor
John Senden is back inside the ropes for the first time in nearly a year at this week's Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Web.com Tour.
Senden took a leave of absence from professional golf in April, when his teenage son, Jacob, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He didn't touch a club for nearly four months as Jacob endured six rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, a gauntlet that stretched from April until mid-November.
But Senden told PGATour.com that his son's tumor has shrunk from the size of a thumbnail to the size of a pinky nail, and after a promising MRI in January he decided to plan his comeback.
"I haven't really played in 12 months, but in that time Jacob has really, really hung tough," Senden said. "His whole body was getting slammed with all these treatments, and he was so strong in his whole attitude and his whole body. Just really getting through the whole thing. He was tough."
Senden was granted a family crisis exemption by the Tour, and he'll have 13 starts to earn 310 FedExCup points to retain his playing privileges for the 2018-19 season. He is allowed five Web.com "rehabilitation" starts as part of the exemption, but will reportedly only make one this week before returning to the PGA Tour at the RBC Heritage, followed by starts in San Antonio, Charlotte and Dallas.
Senden, 46, has won twice on Tour, most recently the 2014 Valspar Championship.