Qualifier Wakefield Earns Victory in Sun City
Wakefield continued his mastery of the Gary Player Country Club with a 3-under-par 69 on Sunday, finishing on 9-under-par 279 to become the first qualifier to go on to win in the events 10 years of existence.
Henning, paid the price for a poor start to his round and could do no better than a 71, three too many to force a playoff with Wakefield but enough to win him the consolation of finishing alone in second.
Tjaart van der Walt closed with a turbulent 71 that featured only seven pars to finish at 2 under, which made him the third of only four players to complete 72 holes in red figures.
The other was 21-year-old Louis Oosthuizen, in at 1 under with a birdie on the 18th hole for a 2-over-74.
Wakefield, who will join Oosthuizen on the European Tour having earned his card at Qualifying School Finals last November, might have known it was his day as early as the first hole, when a female spectator, a photographer and a rules official conspired to hand him a stroke of luck.
Wakefields second shot struck the spectator on the shoulder on its way into the trees, the photographer rode over his ball with his golf cart and the rules official granted him a free drop. From an improved lie he went up and down for a birdie four.
While on the surface it seemed he had escaped scot-free, Wakefield did pay a price for his errant shot.
I played with Jarrod Moseley at Woburn last year and saw how he was messed up by hitting someone on the head, so it was still with me on the next hole where I made double drop.
As a peace offering to the tearful woman, Wakefield signed the word sorry on his ball and gave it to her when he walked off the second green.
To be fair, Wakefield would probably have won comfortably without that stroke of luck, or indeed without the lucky bounce from the cart-path that catapulted his ball back onto the 17th fairway.
After all, he did only make one bogey and one double bogey in 54 holes at a punitive Gary Player CC layout.
When those things start to happen, you just know its your day, said Wakefield. But I drove it well today and knew that if I hit it straight and found the greens, Nic would have to make birdies.
Henning did manage to make five birdies, but surrounded them with four bogeys that repeatedly cut his momentum and prevented him from mounting a charge.
Henning is likely to be comforted by the fact that there was nothing stopping Wakefield at the Green Monster today.
Indeed, only 12 of the 69 members of the field went under par on Sunday, and Henning was one of them.
Glover trails Straka at Web.com Tour Championship
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Web.com Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.
With the top 25 earners in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.
''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''
Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Web.com Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.
''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''
Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.
''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''
Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.
McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.
The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.
Woods, McIlroy in Sunday super group in finale
ATLANTA – Rory McIlroy has made known his disdain for “super groups” in early tournament rounds.
Well, he’s now got one on Sunday at the Tour Championship. And it doesn’t get more super than this.
McIlroy will play alongside Tiger Woods in the final pairing, in the final round at East Lake Golf Club. Woods leads McIlroy – and Justin Rose – by three shots.
“All I can do is worry about myself,” McIlroy said. “It doesn't matter who it is I'm playing with. It's obviously exciting for the golf tournament. It's exciting for golf, in general, that he's up there. But for me, all I can do is concentrate on myself. The game is hard enough without having to – without looking at other people. Go out there, take care of my business, and hopefully that's good enough.”
This is the fifth time that McIlroy and Woods have been grouped this year. They were alongside one another in the first two rounds of the Genesis Open and the first two rounds of the PGA Championship.
In the four previous rounds, McIlroy finished better twice, Woods once, and they tied once.
“It's going to be fun. We haven't done that much of late, because I've not been there,” Woods said of going head-to-head with McIlroy for a title. “He has been there, and he's won a bunch of tournaments. So it's nice for us to go back out and play against one another, be in the mix.”
We know Woods will be wearing his traditional red in the final round. As for McIlroy?
"I think I'll wear red," McIlroy joked. "No, geez, I've regretted wearing black out here today. It was hot."
They go out at 2:05 p.m. ET.
Stricker, Jobe share lead in Sioux Falls
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Steve Stricker and Brandt Jobe topped the Sanford International leaderboard again Saturday after another cool and breezy day in the inaugural PGA Tour Champions event.
After matching Jerry Smith and David McKenzie with first-round 7-under 63s, Striker and Jobe each shot 67 to get to 10-under 130 at Minnehaha Country Club.
''It was a challenge out there today,'' Stricker said. ''It was gusty, the wind came out of the south, where we played yesterday it was out of the north, so it was a totally different golf course.''
Jobe made an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th, and Stricker missed a 6-footer to leave them tied.
''It's pretty straightforward off the tee and the greens are what make it difficult at times and you've just got to be in the right spot to have good birdie putts at it,'' Stricker said. ''If not, then you've got to play pretty defensive at times. ... It's a simple game plan, but try to stay out of trouble and keep trying to put pressure on everybody.''
Stricker won in Arizona and Mississippi in consecutive starts in May for his first senior victories. Next week in France, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants.
Jobe birdied four of the last five holes. He won last year in Iowa for his lone senior title
''I think we kind of got used to what the wind was,'' Jobe said. ''Of course, there's some scoring holes on the back. The front played very difficult. It was just kind of try not to screw up for a while there.''
Smith was a stroke back after a 68.
Scott McCarron also had a 68 to get to 8 under. Woody Austin was 7 under after a 64.
McKenzie had a 77 to drop into a tie for 43rd at even par.
Final-round tee times: Tiger, Rory in last pairing
It's Tiger Woods. It's Rory McIlroy. It's the final pairing in the final round of the Tour Championship.
Here's a look at tee times for Sunday at East Lake Golf Club.
(All times ET)
11:45AM: Patrick Reed (+8), Phil Mickelson (+11)
11:55AM: Keegan Bradley (+5), Bubba Watson (+5)
12:05PM: Brooks Koepka (+4), Francesco Molinari (+4)
12:15PM: Kevin Na (+2), Patrick Cantlay (+2)
12:25PM: Bryson DeChambeau (+2), Cameron Smith (+2)
12:35PM: Jason Day (E), Rickie Fowler (E)
12:45PM: Marc Leishman (E), Patton Kizzire (E)
12:55PM: Tommy Fleetwood (-2), Hideki Matsuyama (-1)
1:05PM: Justin Thomas (-4), Webb Simpson (-3)
1:15PM: Gary Woodland (-4), Xander Schauffele (-4)
1:25PM: Aaron Wise (-4), Dustin Johnson (-4)
1:35PM: Tony Finau (-5), Billy Horschel (-5)
1:45PM: Jon Rahm (-6), Paul Casey (-5)
1:55PM: Justin Rose (-9), Kyle Stanley (-6)
2:05PM: Tiger Woods (-12), Rory McIlroy (-9)