Archive for September, 2017

Final Round Photo Gallery (Sunday, September 3, 2017)

Round 4 Highlights

2017 Champions Photo Gallery

Pros Fore Patients 2017

Peter Uihlein secures PGA TOUR card with Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship win

Final Leaderboard

Pos. Name Score
1 Peter Uihlein 69-69-67-65—270 (-14)
2 Ryan Armour 68-68-65-70—271 (-13)
3 Andrew Landry 68-67-70-68—273 (-11)
Tom Lovelady 72-67-64-70—273 (-11)
5 Abraham Ancer 66-70-71-67—274 (-10)

Columbus, Ohio – Could it be possible that Peter Uihlein’s love for baseball led to his victory at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on Sunday afternoon? Earlier this year, Uihlein played in the Shell Houston Open and finished his final round early enough to catch his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, battle their biggest rival, the New York Yankees, in primetime.

Uihlein, who has played the European Tour the past 4 years, accomplished his goal by carding a final-round 65 at The Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course to beat local favorite Ryan Armour by a stroke. The victory was worth $180,000 and places the 28-year-old from New Bedford, Mass. on top of the Web.com Tour Finals money list with three events left.

“I got the last game, Sunday night,” said Uihlein. “Never had that in five years. I’m never home on a Sunday night after playing a round of golf on a Sunday without making a cut. First time ever, and you kind of like sit back and be like that’s pretty convenient. That kind of hit home a little bit. So I was like, I really kind of want to at least get my PGA TOUR card so I can have moments like that when I can spend a little time at home with my girlfriend and two dogs.”
“This is a proper test,” said Uihlein, referring to the Scarlet Course. “You gotta drive the ball well. You gotta hit your irons well. And it’s a shame that it rained because that first day was phenomenal for how fast the greens were, how difficult it was. You know, it changed your mindset a little bit, you need to make some birdies. But it’s not a walk in the park.”

Since he turned pro in 2011, Uihlein has flown across the pond to compete in Europe and Asia. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy had the credentials to play on TOUR being a two-time All-American and 2010 United States Amateur champion, but chose to head overseas.
“All of a sudden my first event as a pro I end up on a plane to India,” said Uihlein. “You go there for the first time, really not leaving the country very rarely, and all of a sudden you go to India, totally different. It’s a different world, different cultures. Just a different environment. You get to see things I never would have seen if I didn’t leave America.”

Uihlein arrived in Columbus No. 12 in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. He’s enjoyed success outside the U.S. with a win at the Madeira Islands Open along with being named the Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2013. On Saturday, he talked about wanting the chance to become a global player and this winter he’s going to get the opportunity.

“There’s so many good events now in Europe,” said Uihlein, who has made 114 starts on the European Tour. “It’s really tough. I got to sit down and look at both schedules. I just don’t know. I don’t know next year’s schedule in Europe. I haven’t looked at the PGA TOUR schedule. Right now, I don’t know where I’m going to be playing but I’m going to try and do both and see what happens.”

Armour hit his worst drive of the week on the 18th and was left with a near impossible second into the home hole. After leaving the approach 20 yards short, the former Ohio State Buckeye sailed his pitch 40 feet behind the hole and missed the par save to force a playoff.

Armour didn’t win the golf tournament, but he secured his return to the TOUR.

“Mission accomplished,” said Armour, about the runner-up performance. “The job was to get back to the TOUR, and that’s what happened. I already have a start in Napa, So, that is something that you can take as a positive, and old Scarlet here, I mean she’s tough, and I finally got a little piece of her. But the old girl is a really hard golf course.”

Tom Lovelady made a life-changing putt on the 72nd hole. Being in contention on Sunday is stressful enough without the added pressure of trying to earn your TOUR card and the 24-year-old from Mountain Brook, Ala. rose to the occasion. After hitting his approach on No. 18 to 10 feet, Lovelady drained the birdie bid and celebrated with a fist pump, knowing that was to get on TOUR next season.

“Unbelievable,” said Lovelady, who earned $58,000 for his T3 effort in Columbus. “I mean it’s what I dreamed of. You always hope it comes true. You just never know because golf’s a hard game and there are so many good players. There’s no other way to put it that it’s a dream come true, unbelievable.

Sunday Notes:
* Sunday weather: Partly cloudy. High of 77. Wind W/SW 7-14 mph with gusts up to 20 mph.
* This week’s purse is $1M with $180,000 awarded to Uihlein.
* Uihlein earns his first career win in his third start on Tour. It was his first start as a professional on the Web.com Tour. His previous best finish was a T9 at the 2011 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, which came as an amateur.
* Uihlein’s victory comes at age 28 years, 0 months and 5 days. Uihlein turned 28 on Tuesday of the tournament week.
* Uihlein is the second former Oklahoma State Cowboy to win in the last three weeks after Talor Gooch won the News Sentinel Open presented by Pilot three weeks ago.
* With his victory, he earns an exemption into the 2018 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
* With his victory, he is the third consecutive winner of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship winner to come from at least three shots back entering the final round. He entered the final round four shots back of Ryan Armour.
* Uihlein is the second non-member to win the Web.com Tour Finals opener after Bryson DeChambeau won the DAP Championship a year ago. DeChambeau went on to win the John Deere Classic this year after earning his TOUR card through the Finals. `

About Peter Uihlein
HEIGHT: 6-2 WEIGHT: 195
BIRTHDATE: August 29, 1989
BIRTHPLACE: New Bedford, Massachusetts
RESIDENCE: Jupiter, Florida
EDUCATION: Oklahoma State University
TURNED PROFESSIONAL: 2011
JOINED TOUR: 2017

* Ryan Armour led the field in driving accuracy at 87.50%, hitting 49 of 56 fairways.

* Tom Lovelady, who earns his PGA TOUR card with a T3 finish, posted a career-best T3 finish after birdieing the 72nd hole. He has now posted top-10s in four of his last six starts. Lovelady, who was on Alabama’s 2013 and 2014 national championship teams, was teammates on the Crimson Tide with Bobby Wyatt and Trey Mullinax, who both got their PGA TOUR cards through the Web.com Tour a year ago. Lovelady was teammates in 2013 as well with Justin Thomas, who won the 2014 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.

* Before Lanto Griffin’s win at the Nashville Golf Open Benefitting the Snedeker Foundation after making the cut on the number, he had made the cut in just four of his first 11 starts of the season with a T19 as his best finish to that point. But Griffin’s season turned around in Nashville, and he’s now made his last 10 cuts with a victory, T6, T8 and three additional top-20s. Griffin’s T8 in Columbus is his third top-10 in his last 10 starts. Griffin moved up to 19th on the combined Regular Season and Finals money list after ending the Regular Season in 22nd to get his PGA TOUR card.

* Keith Mitchell posted his third consecutive top-10 with a T6 finish in Columbus. He held the 36-hole lead after opening with rounds of 65-67 but posted rounds of 70-73 on the weekend. His check of $34,750 would be enough to earn a TOUR card three of the last four years. Mitchell finished No. 26 on the Regular Season money list after finishing one shot shy of earning his TOUR card at the Regular Season finale in Portland.

* Five-time PGA TOUR winner Ben Crane, who is making his first Web.com Tour start since 2001, has played the TOUR full-time since 2002, but had to return to the Web.com Tour Finals after finishing No. 147 in the FedExCup standings. Crane is nearing regaining his TOUR card after a T6 in Columbus. With the T6 finish, Crane earned $34,750, which would be enough to get a Finals card three of the last four years. Crane led the field in scrambling (82.61%).

* Abraham Ancer arrived in Ohio at No. 3 on the Tour money list, just $73,233 behind Brice Garnett, but is now within $17,822 of Garnett after moving into second-place on the combined Regular Season and Finals money list with a solo-fifth place finish. It is Ancer’s sixth top-five of the season. Ancer led the field in putting average (1.591) and putts per round (26.25).

* Brett Stegmaier opened the Web.com Tour Finals with a T8 finish in his bid to return to the PGA TOUR. Stegmaier’s last trip to the Web.com Tour Finals saw him finish 13th on the Finals money list in 2015 to secure his PGA TOUR card. Stegmaier finished No. 101 in the FedExCup standings in 2016 to keep his TOUR card this season, but after finishing No. 181, he’s back at the Web.com Tour Finals hoping to return to the TOUR. Stegmaier led the field in greens in regulation (81.94%).

* 2016 U.S. Amateur Champion Curtis Luck finished T19 in his Web.com Tour debut.

* Three of the last four winners of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship – Seung-Yul Noh (2013), Justin Thomas (2014), and Grayson Murray (2016) – have won on the PGA TOUR within two years of their win in Columbus.

* Four of the top-10 at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship a year ago went on to win on the PGA TOUR this year – Murray, Cameron Smith, Cody Gribble and Xander Schauffele.

* This is the first tournament in the Web.com Tour Finals, a series of four events that will conclude at the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Fla., Sept. 25-Oct. 1. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded last week following the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.

* This is the fifth year of the Finals format and it’s difficult to estimate exactly how much money it will take to finish in the top-25 on the Finals money list and collect one of the remaining 25 PGA TOUR cards that will be handed out in a few weeks.

Here’s how much money the No. 25 man on the money list earned in each of the past two years excluding The 25 from the Regular Season money list:
2013 No. 25 Bobby Gates $33,650.00
2014 No. 25 Eric Axley $36,311.66
2015 No. 25 Rob Oppenheim $32,206.00
2016 No. 25 Tim Wilkinson* $27,425.00

*denotes three events played (Web.com Tour Championship was cancelled

* Scoring averages for the week:

Front (36) Back (35) Total (71) Cumulative
R1 36.531 35.608 72.138 —
R2 36.167 35.921 72.087 72.113
R3 35.521 35.141 70.662 71.629
R4 36.099 34.732 70.831 71.430

Round 3 Highlights

Round 3 Photo Gallery (Saturday, September 2, 2017)

Ohio native Ryan Armour cards 65 to take 54-hole lead

Third-Round Leaderboard

Pos. Name Score
1 Ryan Armour 68-68-65—201 (-12)
2 Keith Mitchell 65-67-70—202 (-11)
3 Tom Lovelady 72-67-64—203 (-10)
4 Four players tied at 203 (-8)

 

 

Columbus, Ohio – Akron native Ryan Armour turned in his best performance of the week on Saturday in cold, wet conditions at The Ohio State Golf Club’s Scarlet Course to take the third-round lead at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. The 41-year-old Ohio State University alum recorded seven birdies and a bogey to jump in front of 36-hole leader Keith Mitchell. Armour’s 12-under-par 201 total places him one in front of Mitchell and two ahead of Tom Lovelady entering the final round.

 

The trio will try to secure their PGA TOUR cards for 2017-18 as the first event in the Web.com Tour Finals concludes on Sunday.

 

“My caddie and I talked on the range about how with the rain you had to be aggressive and you could start flying at some things that you normally couldn’t,” said Armour, who went out in 31. “On the front nine I struck the ball really well and turned at 5-under, but could have been better. And then the back nine kind of hung on at the end there. But it beats you up. I’m tired and cold.”

 

Armour, who now lives in sunny south Florida, spent five years in Columbus and has logged many hours on the Alistair Mackenzie layout. The Scarlet Course was redesigned by Jack Nicklaus in 2005, but Armour still feels nostalgic every time he returns.

 

“You see familiar faces,” he said, when asked about playing in front of friends and family. “Mark Lucas, Brian Kelly and everyone here do such a good job the way they treat us and it’s good to finally put some good rounds together.”

 

This week marks Armour’s seventh time competing in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. Before Thursday, Armour had recorded just three rounds under par and never back-to-back. After posting 65 on Saturday afternoon, he has now turned in three straight scores in the 60’s.

 

This season, Armour competed on TOUR and had his back against the wall at the Wyndham Championship. With his TOUR card on the line, Armour responded by recording his best showing on TOUR in a decade. The father-of-two needed to win or finish second in Greensboro and posted a final-round 64. The tie for fourth wasn’t enough to put him in the FedExCup Playoffs, but he’s brought that form to the Finals and has a chance to secure his return to the TOUR with a win on Sunday. 

 

“I think in every sport when you play at home, you want to please the home fans,” said Armour, who is in search of his second Tour victory. “It’s learning how to accept it, and some weeks I haven’t accepted it and this week I seem to accept it. Form counts, too. I came in here playing well, so that really helps a lot.”

 

For the second straight week, Mitchell, 25, will play in the final group on Sunday of a Tour event. Mitchell is not shy about being in contention. In his last three starts, Mitchell has posted a T11 at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae, a T3 at the News Sentinel Open presented by Pilot and a T6 at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz.

 

The former University of Georgia standout is known as an elite ball-striker but the flat stick was letting him down. After a tough stretch in the season where he missed three cuts in five weeks, Mitchell turned his attention to correcting the problem.

 

Thanks to the advice of a good friend, who has won twice this season on Tour, Mitchell’s focus on his practice routine has paid dividends the latter part of the summer.

 

“I’ve worked on my putting a lot the last couple of weeks,” said Mitchell. “I remember rooming with Stephan Jaeger in California, and he made me just do some putting drills. He says, you got to do this, do this, you need to work on it. I’m starting to make a lot more putts and still have room to make a lot more. So if we can just stick to that routine, I think it’s really showing, but it could show even more.”

 

Lovelady, like Mitchell, is trying to get on TOUR for the first time in his professional golf career. The 24-year-old from Mountain Brook, Ala. birdied five of the last seven holes to move into solo third. The 64 on Saturday matched his lowest third-round score of the season.

 

“Early on I kind of made a couple silly bogeys, but that’s just going to happen,” said Lovelady, who turned in 34. “I just kind of kept my foot on the gas and just kept giving myself putts and hitting a bunch of good shots.”

 

Lovelady, who lives in Jupiter has two roommates who have won Finals’ events in the past. Bud Cauley won the Hotel Fitness Championship in 2014, while Justin Thomas won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship that same year. Lovelady didn’t ask either for advice on how to tackle the four-event series or the Scarlet Course and believes that’s played a part in his success this week.
“He told me to call him if I had any questions about the course,” said Lovelady, when asked whether he talked to Thomas before Thursday. “I kind of forgot to do that, so I’ve just been kind of all on my own and just having a lot of fun with it.”
Saturday Notes:

* Saturday weather: Rainy. High of 66. Wind SE 5-10 mph. High of 66.

* This week’s purse is $1M with $180,000 awarded to the champion.

* This is the first tournament in the Web.com Tour Finals, a series of four events that will conclude at the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Fla., Sept. 25-Oct. 1. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded last week following the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.

* Armour holds the lead or co-lead on the Web.com Tour for only the third time in his career and first time since 2011. The 2016 Panama Claro Championship winner finished T5 and T17 each of the two prior times he held a share of the 54-hole lead — 2011 Rex Hospital Open (T5) and 2006 Cox Classic (T17). He did hold a share of the 36-hole lead on the PGA TOUR two weeks ago at the Wyndham Championship on his way to a T4 finish with rounds of 72-64. This is the first time he’s ever held the solo lead on the Web.com Tour.

 *Armour’s key to success this week has been his driving accuracy and his scrambling, where he’s successfully gotten up and down 12 of 14 times. That scrambling percentage of 85.71% is tied with Jonathan Hodge for best in the field. He’s hit a field-best 36 of 42 fairways this week. He played this season on the PGA TOUR and posted one top-10 in 20 starts (T4 – Wyndham Championship) and finished the season No. 160 in the FedExCup standings.

* Mitchell, who finished No. 26 on the Regular Season money list, entered the day with a two-shot lead but will trail by one entering the final round in solo second at 11-under 202. Mitchell posted six consecutive pars to open his round before reeling off birdies at Nos. 7, 10 and 11, but he dropped shots at No. 14 and 18 to fall one shot back of Armour. 

* Mitchell is tied with Scott Harrington for the field lead in greens in regulation after hitting 45 of 54 greens so far this week. 

* Before Lanto Griffin’s win at the Nashville Golf Open Benefitting the Snedeker Foundation after making the cut on the number, he had made the cut in just four of his first 11 starts of the season with a T19 as his best finish to that point. But Griffin’s season turned around in Nashville, and he’s now made his last 10 cuts with a victory, a T6, and three additional top-20s. Griffin is in T4 entering the final round after rounds of 69-69-67—205 (-8).  

* Tom Lovelady fired the round of the day with a 7-under 64 to get within two shots of the lead after entering the day seven shots off of the lead. Lovelady is leading the field in putting average (1.571) and putts per round (26.00). Lovelady entered the week leading the TOUR in putting average (1.696) and fourth in putts per round (28.14). Lovelady’s roommate and former teammate at Alabama, Justin Thomas, won the 2014 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.

* Brett Stegmaier’s last trip to the Web.com Tour Finals saw him finish 13th on the Finals money list in 2015 to secure his PGA TOUR card. Stegmaier finished No. 101 in the FedExCup standings in 2016 to keep his TOUR card this season, but after finishing No. 181, he’s back at the Web.com Tour Finals hoping to return to the TOUR. Stegmaier is in T4 entering the final round at the Scarlet Course after a third-round 67. In three starts at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, Stegmaier’s lone made cut (T57) came in 2014.

* Five-time PGA TOUR winner Ben Crane, who is making his first Web.com Tour start since 2001, enters the final round inside the top 10 in T9 after a third-round 67. Crane is looking to earn his way back to the TOUR, where he has played since 2002 with 383 career starts.

* Abraham Ancer briefly charged into the lead early in the third round after birdies on four of his first six holes to get to 10-under and tie Mitchell, but he played his last 12 holes in 4-over and is six shots back entering the final round after posting an even-par 71. He arrived in Ohio at No. 3 on the Tour money list, just $73,233 behind Brice Garnett. A solo second or better this week would place Ancer in first since Garnett missed the cut. He has recorded three runner-up performances in 20 starts this season.

* 2016 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship winner Grayson Murray entered the final round four shots back of the lead but posted a 3-under 68 for a one-shot victory over Cameron Smith. The last time the 54-hole leader went on to win was Justin Thomas in 2014, when he shot a final-round 1-under 70 and emerged in a playoff over Richard Sterne.

* Peter Uihlein is currently No. 12 in the European’s Tour Race to Dubai. Uihlein carded a 4-under 67 to jump into a tie for fourth entering the final round. In seven starts on the PGA TOUR this season, Uihlein has made five cuts and posted three top-25s including a T5 at the Puerto Rico Open. Uihlein has made two appearances at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship with one prior made cut. In 2011, Uihlein recorded rounds of 69-67-70-68 for a 10-under-par score that placed him in a tie for ninth.  

* 2016 U.S. Amateur Champion Curtis Luck is in T21 entering the final round after a third-round 2-under 69.

* Seth Reeves, a Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada alum, played in the final group after entering the third round two shots back but posted a 2-over 73 and is six back entering the final round.

* Tee times for the third round were delayed an hour due to heavy rain.

* This is the third year of the Finals format and it’s difficult to estimate exactly how much money it will take to finish in the top-25 on the Finals money list and collect one of the remaining 25 PGA TOUR cards that will be handed out in a few weeks.

Here’s how much money the No. 25 man on the money list earned in each of the past two years:
2013    No. 25 Bobby Gates                            $33,650.00
2014    No. 25 Eric Axley                               $36,311.66
2015    No. 25 Rob Oppenheim                                   $32,206.00
2016    No. 24 Cody Gribble/Kelly Kraft*          $35,125.00

*denotes three events played (Web.com Tour Championship was cancelled)

* Scoring averages for the week:
            Front (36)        Back (35)         Total (71)         Cumulative
R1       36.531             35.608             72.138             —
R2       36.167             35.921             72.087             72.113
R3       35.521             35.141             70.662             71.629

Round 2 Highlights

Round 2 Photo Gallery (Friday, September 1, 2017)