Who won the first-ever Donald Ross Memorial Invitational boys individual title?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sweeney starts slow in Morocco

Jaclyn Sweeney during a practice session at IMG Academies prior to the 2011 LET season. Photo by Paul Videla/Bradenton Herald

Bradenton resident Jaclyn Sweeney, originally from Andover, Mass., carded an opening round 75 at the Ladies European Tour's Lalla Meryem Cup held at the Soleil Golf Course in Morocco.

The 3-over par round places her in a tie for 36th, eight shots behind leader Kristie Smith, of Australia.

Sweeney made four birdies, but offset them with two double bogeys.

The former Arizona State University standout began on the back nine with an even-par 35 before disaster struck.

Sweeney doubled No. 1, which at a 4.52 scoring average, was the hardest hole on the course for the field in Thursday's first round.

The par-4 yielded just eight birdies out of the 126-player field.

Sweeney will get a crack at improving her play on the first hole right away, because she tees off No. 1 to open her second round.

Her Friday tee time is 8:50 a.m. local time.

Stone at Hooters Tour stop

Dan Stone shattered Bradenton resident Paul Azinger's course record on the Royal Lakes course at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club in a recent two-day West Florida Golf Tour event.

Now he's using a sponsorship exemption to play in this week's NGA Hooters Tour's Terry Moore Ford Open held at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover, N.C.

Stone isn't the only one from the area competing in the tournament.

Parrish's Steve Pleis
is in the field, too.

So is former Bradenton Academy and PGA Tour golfer Casey Wittenberg.

Wittenberg was in Manatee County during the offseason to hone his game at IMG Academies and participated in the winning pro-am team during an annual charity event at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club.

Thursday is the first round for the event.

To read more about Stone's record-breaking round, check out today's edition of the Bradenton Herald.

And check back here later this week on the locals progress.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Canadian Tour Q-School Update

Logo provided by WFGT

A couple regular West Florida Golf Tour players are in Weeki Wachee at the Dunes Golf Club this week for the Canadian Tour's Florida Winter Qualifying School.

Welshman and WFGT owner Carl Wakely is there along with Longboat Key's Jared Kobren.

Wakely, listed as residing on Longboat Key, followed up his opening round 77 with an 82 on Wednesday. He withdrew from the tournament afterward.

Kobren is tied for 35th after a 78 on day two.

Andy Moren carded a 6-under par 66 to take the lead through 36 holes. He's one shot clear of first-round leader Chan Kim at 137.

Based on last year's results, the top eight receive exempt status and the next eight receive non-exempt status.

The tournament continues on Thursday.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tip of the week: Wedge play

Success on the golf course at the highest level usually boils down to short game and putting.

But the short game isn't refined to pitches and chips around the green. Stiffing shots from 100 yards-and-in is a sure way to knock several strokes off your handicap.

So this week's tip gets right into that.

IMG Academies instructor Kevin Collins offers this week's tip in the video below:

Locals at Canadian Tour Q-School

Logo provided by WFGT

A couple regular West Florida Golf Tour players are in Weeki Wachee at the Dunes Golf Club this week for the Canadian Tour's Florida Winter Qualifying School.

Welshman and WFGT owner Carl Wakely is there along with Longboat Key's Jared Kobren.

Wakely, listed as residing on Longboat Key, carded an opening round 77. He didn't record any birdies.

Kobren fared better with a 75 on the par-72 course, which included two birdies.

Chan Kim is the early leader in the clubhouse after a 3-under par 69.

Based on last year's results, the top eight receive exempt status and the next eight receive non-exempt status.

Wakely is tied for 37th and Kobren is tied for 28th.

The tournament continues on Wednesday.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Korda Watch: Kia Classic

Jessica Korda at last year's U.S. Women's Open/courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Bradenton's Jessica Korda missed another cut during the LPGA Tour's Kia Classic.

Korda opened with a respectable 72, which placed the 18-year-old in a tie for 17th.

It seemed like she would start to show the talent that earned her second in last year's U.S. Women's Amateur, medalist during last year's U.S. Women's Open sectional qualifier and the ability to get through the rigorous Q-School.

However, the LPGA Tour rookie ballooned to an 83 in a second round that was delayed about three hours due to weather conditions.

This week the tour stays in California for the Kraft Nabisco Championship, which is the first major of the season.

Korda did not qualify for the event and the next tournament after that is the last week in April, so it is unclear when the Pendleton School senior will play her next LPGA Tour event.

The Monday Recap: Notes from the PGA and Nationwide tours

  • Travis Hampshire, who has played the West Florida Golf Tour regularly, shot three straight 68s en route to a tie for 20th in the Nationwide Tour's Chitimacha Louisiana Open. Hampshire opened with a 74 on the par-71 Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club. He earned $6,060 a week after Monday qualifying for the PGA Tour's Transitions Championship where he would later miss the cut.
  • Fellow WFGT participant and former multiple PGA Tour winner Robert Gamez missed the cut in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge. Gamez carded rounds of 77 and 73 to miss the cut by two. He won the event back in 1990 when it was called the Nestle Invitational. Gamez also lives in the Orlando area and played the course during an episode of the Golf Channel's Playing Lessons with a Pro.
Check out this video on Gamez's remarkable iron shot to win the tournament back in 1990:

  • Tiger Woods struggled on the weekend to finish in a tie for 24th. The good thing for Woods was that, despite carding an even-par 72 on Sunday, he moved up five places as only six players in the field broke 70.
Stay tuned on the latest from the LPGA Tour's recent event where Bradenton's Jessica Korda got off to a decent start.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Individual scores from the 10-year War Match

Originally published in Thursday's edition of The Bradenton Herald, the inaugural 10-year War match was conducted at The Concession Golf Club and the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club.

Team scores from the match pitting players representing Ohio State and Michigan were listed.

Below, find the individual scores from each team:

Ohio State (Team Woody in honor of former OSU football coach Woody Hayes)

Rich Baesman - White Tees 13 28 41
Bruce Cassidy, Sr. - Blue Tees 24 35 59
Captain Bob Hinkle - White Tees 19 30 49
Nick Griffin - White Tees 20 29 49
Arlene McKitrick - White Tees 18 33 51
Wayne McMullen - Blue Tees 29 37 66
Chico Nelson - Blue Tees 23 28 51
Wayne Seitl- White Tees 19 32 51
David White - Blue Tees 25 30 55
Elton White - White Tees 25 31 56
Woody’s Team Total 215 313 528

Michigan (Team Bo in honor of former Wolverines football coach Bo Schembechler)

Dan Callaghan - Blue Tees 29 34 63
James Cornetet - Blue Tees 28 35 63
Herb Dunnington - Blue Tees 29 30 59
Gary Erickson - Blue Tees 30 33 63
Jason Green - Blue Tees 29 28 57
Noel Kile - White Tees 26 35 61
Captain Doug Mackenzie - Blue Tees 33 40 73
Jeff Mattice - Blue Tees 24 34 58
Andy Reeves - Blue Tees 28 38 66
Bill Tompkins - White Tees 18 34 52
Bo’s Team Total 274 341

Check out this video about the epic encounters during the 1970s between the two Big Ten heavyweights:

Jessica Korda in hunt after Kia Classic first round

Logo from lpga.com

Bradenton's Jessica Korda made four birdies in the LPGA Tour's Kia Classic first round.

She's tied for 17th.

That's the positive from Thursday's round.

However, Korda also made three bogeys en route to a 1-under par 72. The front nine is a par 38 with three par-5s and one par 3.

The California tour stop features a stacked field, including former Pendleton School student and reigning U.S. Women's Open champion Paula Creamer, as players prep in the final tournament before the first major in 2011 next week.

Korda sits six shots behind Amanda Blumenherst, and is scheduled to begin her second round at 3:40 p.m. local time.

Currently, weather and golf course conditions have delayed second round tee times about three hours.

This radar
shows the rainfall.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tiger Woods wins!

Tiger Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Orlando's Bay Hill/provided by McClatchy-Tribune News Service

So a re-run ran late last night on NBC. It was Tiger Woods appearance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

Woods was there March 16 to promote the latest video game bearing his name.

That video game, as reported here, features Augusta National and The Masters and is due out March 29 on the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii.

Despite Woods showing up for the PR spiel on the game, that didn't prevent Fallon from poking some fun at Woods and the scandal that followed the former world No. 1 ranked player after his 2009 car accident.

Woods also played Fallon and fellow guest Amy Poehler in the game on Augusta's famed par-3 12th.

El Tigre won.

Check out a recap from that night's show below (courtesey of Celeb TV):

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dan Stone is on fire

Logo provided by the West Florida Golf Tour

The West Florida Golf Tour had its second two-day event last week at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club.

The ever-hot Dan Stone capped his third straight WFGT victory with a scorching 62 in the final round.

Stone's 10-under par round was a course record at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club's Royal Lakes course.

Bradenton resident Paul Azinger, a former winning Ryder Cup captain and PGA Championship winner, held the previous record with a 65.

Stone edged Scott Berliner by one shot to take home $2,400.

The tournament began on the Cypress Links course for the first round, before players battled on the Royal Oaks side on day two.

The Sarasota Kennel Club sponsored the event, which also included dinner and drinks at SKC.

And one other thing happened that night.

To see the "race," check out the following video:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

FSGA season about to heat up

The Florida State Golf Association's winter series is over, which means summer and its championship schedule looms right around the corner.

The first tournament is March 26-27 at Ironhorse Country Club in West Palm Beach.

It's the Senior/Mid-Amateur Four-Ball Championship, but no Manatee County golfers are listed in the field.

The closest area players are two from Sarasota - Joe Garner and former state amateur champ Mark Leetzow.

Another interesting name in the field is Nicklaus. No, it's not Jack - the all-time leading major winner.

The Nicklaus in this case is Jack's son Gary.

Stay tuned to the Golf Coast for updated results once the tournament gets underway.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Monday Recap: Uihlein and Korda

Jessica Korda (seen at last year's U.S. Women's Open) is struggling during her rookie year on the LPGA Tour. Photo provided by McClatchy-News Service.

Peter Uihlein, a former IMG Academies pupil and current U.S. Amateur champ, didn't finish strong at the Transitions Championship over the weekend.

Uihlein made the cut in the PGA Tour event held at Innisbrook's tricky Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor.

However, he failed to break par in the third or fourth rounds.

Uihlein did have a chance on Sunday to improve his position, but a double bogey on No. 13 and a bogey on No. 17 gave him a second consecutive 72 and a tie for 57th.

The tournament served as a tuneup for the Masters, which gave an invite to Uihlein since he won the U.S. Amateur last year.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Jessica Korda's struggles on the LPGA Tour continued.

The newly-turned 18 year old failed to make the cut at the RR Donnelly Founders Cup.

The Bradenton resident played in the LPGA Tour's first two events - both invitationals in Asia - to begin her rookie campaign.

Those tournaments did not have a cut, yet Korda has failed to crack 70 in 10 competitive rounds thus far.

She shot 74 in the opening round, but soared to 77 in the second round to miss the cut.

Honorary Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club member and Pendleton School alum Paula Creamer finished second in the tournament.

She finished at 11-under par - one stroke behind winner Karrie Webb - to earn $85,110 alongside Brittany Lincicome.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Uihlein and Hampshire at Transitions

Former IMG Academies golfer Peter Uihlein slipped back to a tie for 54th after a 1-over par 72 at the Transitions Championship.

The reigning U.S. Amateur champ sparkled with two front nine eagles - including a hole out that placed him on Sportscenter's Top 10 plays - during Friday's second round to make the cut in the PGA Tour's stop at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor.

Uihlein wasn't able to continue his scorching form as he failed to make a birdie in Saturday's "moving day."

Travis Hampshire, the West Florida Golf Tour participant, played better on day two in his quest to make the cut.

However, after his opening round 75, Hampshire missed the cut by five shots.

He's scheduled to play in next week's Nationwide Tour event.

To read more about Uihlein and Hampshire, read "Amateur, vet get chance at Transitions."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Transitions Championship opening round delayed

The Transitions Championship, the PGA Tour event in the Tampa Bay area, kicks off today.

First-round tee times were pushed back from the original starting times due to a 70-minute fog delay.

For Peter Uihlein and Travis Hampshire - two players with local connections to Bradenton - that means about an hour later than their original tee time.

Uihlein is a former IMG Leadbetter golfer and the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. He's now scheduled to tee off No. 10 at Innisbrook's Copperhead Course at 10:40 a.m.

Hampshire, who has won several times on the West Florida Golf Tour and Monday qualified for this week's event, is now slated to begin at 3:25 p.m. off No. 10.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tip of the week: Putting

Dave Pelz is a world-renowned instructor known for his philosophical approach to the short game.

His Short Game and Putting bibles are a must-read for any golf enthusiast trying to get better at those scoring shots.

Here's this week's tip, courtesy of Mr. Pelz showing you how to improve your putting:

Area players make it to Transitions Monday qualifier

Last week saw several area pros attempt to get past the pre-qualifier for the Transitions Championship.

The PGA Tour event is this week in the Tampa Bay area, and today was Monday's qualifier.

Qualifying for a PGA Tour tournament is, arguably, the hardest thing in sports.

If you aren't exempt from the pre-qualifier, then you have to get passed a field of 80 or so players.

Firing a good round might not make it. Usually, just a handful of those guys advance to the Monday qualifier.

From there, just a few spots await for that week's PGA Tour event.

Sam Osborne, the England native who lives in Palmetto during his Florida stay, made it through the pre-qualifier at Fox Hollow Golf Club last Tuesday.

Osborne, who hones his game on the West Florida Golf Tour, shot 70 to tie for fifth place.

Seventeen players advanced. Bradenton's Cristobal Del Solar carded a 73 to miss by one.

Thursday's second pre-qualifier witnessed Osborne's fellow WFGT competitor Joey Lamielle make it through after a 69 earned him a second place finish.

Joining the Sarasotan from the Fox Hollow site was Bradenton's Robert McKnight. He joined 10 other players at 73 for the final spot awarded into Monday's qualifier.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Future U.S. Open to Manatee County?

The Concession Golf Club was recently named as a potential U.S. Open venue in LINKS Magazine's "List Issue."

The magazine tabbed the East Manatee course in its top ten sites to host a future U.S. Open.

Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus co-designed the course, which gets its name from the Ryder Cup moment where Nicklaus conceded a short putt to Jacklin on the last hole of their singles match.

The concession meant it was the first tie in Ryder Cup history, which retained the cup for the United States.

Read colleague and sports editor Tim Wolfrum's story here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lyle Overbay hits baseballs and the golf course

Pirates logo provided by McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Lyle Overbay is a new addition to the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he's already dabbled in Florida's rich pastime - golf.

Overbay said he's played Waterlefe Golf & River Club.

"The first time you play it, there's challenges (you can't see)," he said.

Overbay said playing the course in East Manatee County again should help, in order to get used to where to hit his shots.

To read more about Overbay's leadership contributions as a veteran, check out Thursday's edition of the Bradenton Herald.