Sucher heads back to school on familiar assignment

By Bailey MosierOctober 19, 2011, 2:00 pm

It’s exam time for professional golfers and Zack Sucher is sharpening his No. 2 pencils.

But unlike some of the other 1,200 Q-School applicants this fall, Sucher isn’t experiencing any test anxiety.

He’s not afraid he won’t have the answers. He’s not afraid of drawing a blank. He’s not afraid of freezing over a tough shot. Nope, none of those issues are a concern to Zack.

“I’ve been playing better and better as they year goes on, so I’m excited and feeling confident,” Sucher said.

Sucher heads to the first stage of PGA Tour Q-School this week at the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala., 110 miles southeast of his current Birmingham residence.

Having grown up in Alabama, the Auburn University Club is a familiar assignment for Sucher, where he’s played roughly 50 times. One of those times came at the first stage of Q-School last year, where he shot rounds of 67-69-72-67 to finish second and advance, ultimately making it to the final stage in 2010. He played six rounds at even par in the final stage and missed earning full Nationwide status for 2011 by three shots.

Sucher bested last year’s second-place finish at the Auburn University Club when he won two events held at the course in high school. We’ll have to consult the judges on this one, but all those reps must be the standardized test equivalent of SAT prep classes.

And it appears Sucher’s reps and prep work is paying off. The 25-year-old is coming off two recent made cuts on the Nationwide Tour – one at the WNB Golf Classic in Midland, Texas and the other at the Children’s Hospital Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The made cut at Chattanooga marked Sucher’s fifth Nationwide made cut of the year and the first time wife Courtney had seen her husband play in 2011.

“I enjoyed it,” Courtney said. “I miss traveling that’s for sure.

“He looks so much more confident and laid back. He looks like he belongs out there.”

Courtney’s sentiments echo those we heard from Zack the last time we caught up with him in September, after having qualified for and made the cut in three Nationwide events in a row.

“I feel like an actual player now which is cool for a change,” Zack joked in September.

It’s those jokes, that laid-back attitude and easy temperament that have always given Zack a leg up on his competitors and why we nicknamed him ‘The Big Easy-Going’ earlier this year.

“Where I have an advantage over other players would be my mental game. Staying pretty mellow the whole round…I pretty much enjoy it the whole time. A lot of guys you watch out there don’t look like they have a lot of fun,” Zack has said in the past.

He’s mellow, confident and ready to try his hand at Q-School again this year. Both he and Courtney feel he’s grown greatly as a player and a person in 2011 and they’re both ready for what’s next.

“I thought I would be nervous, but I’m excited. He played better this year but mostly I feel like he has a whole better understanding. However it goes will be fine, but I just think he’s at such a better place this year,” Courtney said.

With her recent raise and promotion, Courtney’s at a better place now than she was this time last year, too – financially – and is able to lessen some of Zack’s monetary stress and worry.

“I mean, it alleviates some of the pressure but it would obviously be so nice to have Zack do well,” Courtney said.

If Zack plays well and earns his card, the two may begin to have more serious discussions about family planning.

“Well, we’ll see. Maybe after Q-School,” Courtney laughed.

Zack appears to be primed and ready for the first stage. His pencils are sharpened, his mind free and his spirit willing. He's put in the practice and the focus; now it's time to wait and see the results.

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Garcia (73), Fleetwood (74) off to slow starts at BMW

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 8:30 pm

PULHEIM, Germany – Sebastien Gros carded a 4-under 68 in windy conditions to lead by one shot after the opening round of the BMW International Open on Thursday.

The Frenchman had four birdies to take the lead before the turn, and a six-footer on the 15th hole moved him two ahead. But a bogey on the next hole left the 28-year-old Gros just one ahead of Jorge Campillo, Scott Jamieson, Aaron Rai and Henric Sturehed.

Sturehed eagled the par-5 No. 13 to take the lead in the morning at the Gut Laerchenhof club.

Christofer Blomstrand, Nico Geyger, Mark Tullo, Victor Perez, David Howell and Nicolai von Dellingshausen are a further stroke back on 2-under 70.

Defending champion Andres Romero was among a large group at 1 under, including 2013 winner Ernie Els and three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.

Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.

Local favorite and 2008 champion Martin Kaymer shot 72, ahead of Sergio Garcia (73) and Tommy Fleetwood (74).

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Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

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Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament

In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

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River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’”