Former Open Champ Simpson Tries Again at Q-School

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 30, 2004, 5:00 pm
PGA TourIf you want to know about the U.S. Open, hes the man to talk to. Scott Simpson won it in 1987, you know. He finished second in 1991. He could always play well at The Big One, owning top-10 finishes in 88 and 89 in addition to the two big years of 87 and 91.
But he broke his ankle skiing in 1999, and doctors later inserted a plate and seven screws in 2001 when it didn't heal properly. And this week he will get a first-hand knowledge of the PGA Tours Qualifying Tournament.
Now 49 years old, he attended Q-School the first time in the fall of 1978 ' 25 years ago. The first round of the six-round event starts Wednesday at PGA West in La Quinta, Cal., on the Nicklaus and Stadium courses.
Simpson earned his spot by making it through pre-qualifying at Beaumont, Cal., in the Los Angeles area. He shot 68 in the fourth and final round to squeeze in by one stroke.
He confesses he has thought several times about quitting the game altogether.
I used to think about that when I was playing sometimes, he conceded. All it takes is a few bad weeks and most of us out here think about how lousy it is to be travelling and when you are missing cuts it gets really old sometimes.
A total of 169 golfers strike out on the Q-School trail, and a lot of them have been there before.
Matt Kuchar, who will try to regain his card after winning at Honda in 2002, will also be there. So will Swedens Per-Ulrik Johannson, five-time winner Ken Green and two-time champ Olin Browne.
Guy Boros and Carl Paulson are two of the qualifiers who made it at St. Augustine, Fla., while Jay Don Blake also survived at Beaumont. The real story from Beaumont might have been Billy Harvey of Las Vegas, Nev., though. Harvey was on life support through three rounds when he suddenly shot a sizzling 61 in the finale. That enabled him to make the field at PGA West by two strokes.
Jay Haas son, Bill Haas, made the field in Seaside, Cal., as did D.A. Weibrings son, Matt Weibring, at Kingwood, Texas, outside Houston. Others from Kingwood who advanced to the finals include tour vets Bill Glasson, Dan Forsman and Jim Gallagher, Jr. Brian Watts, who nearly won the British Open in 1998 when Mark OMeara prevailed, also made the final field from Kingwood.
European Tour standout Philip Price from Wales easily made it from the qualifier at McKinney, Texas, finishing in a tie for second. Russ Cochran and Dicky Pride both made it at Panama City, Fla., and Jay Delsing and Jim McGovern advance from Seaside. McGovern had an outstanding qualifying tourney with a tie for second.
On the other hand, several tour veterans will go another season without their tour card when they failed to advance. Among them is 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize, who missed by one shot making the field from Panama City, Fla.
Also missing at Panama City were Mike Donald, who went into a playoff with Hale Irwin for the U.S. Open title in 1990, and tour winner Nolan Henke. Casey Martin and Gary Hallberg both missed at Seaside, Cal., by two shots. Keith Clearwater was another miss at Seaside.
Donnie Hammond, Pat Bates, Gene Sauers, David Gossett and Ted Tryba couldnt make it through the St. Augustine, Fla., qualifier. Blaine McCallister started at St. Augustine with scores of 69 and 71 and appeared in good shape. However, he went through nightmarish back-to-back rounds of identical 75s to miss out in St. Augustine.
A trio of well-known tour veterans, Willie Wood, Mark Wiebe, and David Frost, failed at McKinney. And the mystery continues for Bryce Molder, who was such a great collegian at Georgia Tech but who failed again at Kingwood near Houston.
In Beaumont, Steve Pate and Rick Fehr failed to advance. T.C. Chen ' remember the double chip after he was leading by four stokes in the final round of the 85 U.S. Open? ' didnt make it to PGA West. Mike Hulbert shot 70-70-68 in the first three rounds and one more round of 70 would have cleared the barrier by a stroke. But Hulbert faltered, shooting 74, and was on his way back to his home in Orlando.
Putting guru Stan Utley was one of the unfortunates in Beaumont, as was Kelly Gibson and Dave Stockton, Jr.
The real heartbreak, though, belonged to an Argentinan, Julio Zapata of Buenos Aires. He was sailing along through three rounds at Beaumont with scores of 71, 65 and 68. But he stumbled the last day with a 75 and missed the cut by one stroke.
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    Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

    By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

    Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

    She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

    Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

    After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

    “The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

    Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

    It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

    “I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

    Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    “The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

    Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

    It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

    “I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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    Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

    CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

    The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

    ''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

    She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

    ''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

    Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

    ''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

    Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

    Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

    Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

    ''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

    She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

    ''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

    Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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    DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

    Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

    “He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

    The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

    It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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    Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

    BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

    Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

    ''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

    He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

    Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

    ''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

    Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

    ''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

    Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

    ''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

    Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

    Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

    Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.