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

Sunday, June 19, 2011

We'll be back . . .

The Golf Coast blog is going on a brief two-week hiatus, so don't be alarmed at the lack of posting over the next couple weeks.

Check out the Bradenton Herald's print edition daily for golf news and scores over the next couple weeks.

Until then, keep'em straight and hole all your putts!

A Roaring Future

Rory McIlroy hoists the U.S. Open trophy after Sunday's triumph. Photo courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

It's less than an hour after Rory McIlroy wrapped up the 111th United States Open, and all the talk this week over his dismantling of Congressional Country Club has been about the parallels between his performance and Tiger Woods dominance at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 2000.

Well, it's a fair comparison for the simple reasoning that golf fans haven't witnessed a feat like McIlroy's since Woods did it in 2000.

Now McIlroy is in a class by himself, at least for just one week.

Before everyone gets carried away thinking McIlroy is the next coming of Tiger, the Northern Irishman still has to prove it with multiple major titles.

And that only comes with time.

However, it was nice to see McIlroy get over his Masters meltdown, where he ballooned to a final round 80 as he handed the green jacket to Charl Schwartzel.

But, alas, McIlroy fought those demons back with all his golf weaponry, including a self-described cocky and arrogant on-course attitude.

Simply put, he kept pushing himself to increase the lead. Never playing it cautiously, protecting a lead and trying to limp to the finish line in a Masters-like emulation.

Unlike what Padraig Harrington was reported as saying, let's not jump the gun and expect a record-setting performance every time McIlroy tees it up.

The British Open is the third major of the year, and McIlroy has a great shot of playing well there for no other reason than he grew up with links golf.

To think, if he hadn't choked at Augusta National, he'd be halfway to the Grand Slam.

Then again, if he didn't blow the lead, would he have rewritten the history books with his new found vigor and determination after learning from the Masters debacle?

Will McIlroy emerge as the top gun over the long haul, and become the long-awaited rival to Woods (pre-scandal version, if he can retain that form) akin to what Nicklaus endured over his lengthy career?

Without trying to answer those impossible questions, we're left knowing one thing - golf's future is a roaring one.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Area hopefuls begin U.S. Open quest

The 111th United States Open is off and running in Bethesda, Md.

For the locals, here how they stand after one round:

  • Peter Uihlein, the reigning U.S. Amateur champ, is tied for 34th after a 1-over par 72. Playing alongside Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen in ESPN's featured group on Thursday, Uihlein made the only eagle at Congressional Country Club after holing out for an eagle-two on the par-4 5th. The Orlando resident and IMG Academies alum leads all area amateurs in the field.
  • Michael Barbosa, the St. Petersburg amateur and Saint Stephen's grad, got off to a horrendous start following a 12-over par 83. He's in 155th place after hitting a measly six greens in regulation and five fairways. Barbosa also trained at IMG Academies during his prep days, and only fellow IMG'er Ty Tryon sits behind him on the leaderboard.
  • Speaking of Tryon, the former phenom is in dead-last after a 13-over par 84. Like Barbosa, nothing seemed to go right. The back nine proved as his main undoing. On that side, Tryon collected seven bogeys, a double bogey and one par.
  • Cheng-Tsung Pan, an IMG Academies alum and current University of Washington rising sophomore, is tied for 62nd following his opening-round 74. Pan hit 10 greens in regulation, but only converted one birdie to offset four bogeys.
  • Joey Lamielle, the West Florida Golf Tour regular, shot 76 and is tied for 111th. Lamielle, who grew up in Sarasota and played at Booker High before Florida Gulf Coast University, is near the tops in driving accuracy - missing just three fairways. However, the 28-year-old didn't record a single birdie in his round.
  • Christo Greyling, a South African native living in Orlando, is tied with Uihlein after a 1-over par 72. Greyling competes on the WFGT like Lamielle and graduated from IMG like Uihlein, Barbosa, Pan and Tryon. Greyling's first round was marked by a steady short game. He only hit seven greens and six fairways, but was 4-for-5 on sand save chances.
The tournament continues Friday, where a 36-hole cut will trim the field down for weekend play. Several area hopefuls need to make a move Friday if they'd like to stick around for the last two rounds.

Bradenton resident Paul Azinger is on the telecast this week, working for ESPN during the sports media giant's early round coverage.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Golf's new Boy Band

So what do four PGA Tour pros do when they're bored?

The video below is a taste of the creative juices of Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan.


Monday, June 13, 2011

111th U.S. Open pairings set

The pairings for the 111th United States Open were released late last week.

Former IMG Academies alum, Peter Uihlein, will play the first two rounds with Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen.
That pairing keeps with tradition of having the reigning U.S. Amateur champ (Uihlein) play with the current U.S. Open champ (McDowell) and the current British Open champ (Oosthuizen).

The group begins play Thursday at 7:55 a.m.

Joey Lamielle, who is making his second U.S. Open appearance in four years, tees off with another participant of the West Florida Golf Tour.

The area's lone mini-tour has attracted solid players, including former PGA Tour winners in events stretching from Naples to Orlando and everywhere in between.

So, Christo Greyling, an IMG Academies alum based in Orlando joins Lamielle in Thursday's first round.

Their group starts at 9:01 a.m. off No. 1.

Playing at the same time as Lamielle and Greyling, but with a different group is Michael Barbosa.

Like Uihlein, Barbosa is a decorated amateur.

The former Saint Stephen's standout attended IMG Academies for fine-tuning while based in Bradenton.

He made it through the local qualifier as medalist, and advanced past the lone Florida sectional on June 6.

Barbosa's first-round begins off No. 10 at 9:01 a.m.

Another former IMG Academies student, Cheng-Tsung Pan, is also in the field.

The University of Washington rising sophomore made it through a sectional in New Jersey. He gets to sleep in a bit for his first round, unlike the other area players in the field.

Pan's opening round tee time is off No. 1 at 12:51 p.m.

The 111th edition of the U.S. Open kicks off Thursday.

Check back here for updates on how the area players fare in the first two rounds.

For full pairings, click here.

West Florida Golf Tour returns

Logo provided by the WFGT

The West Florida Golf Tour is back after a 2 1/2 week hiatus.

The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club is the host venue for the two-day tournament that begins the WFGT summer slate.

Nick Jones and Roger Hebert are the co-leaders after carding 67s.

Sarasota's Brian Ward and Cameron Knight are tied for third, a shot behind.

The top 14 players and ties receive a check.

Several players are bunched together between scores of 70 and 72.

Stay tuned to the blog for an update on Tuesday's final round.

The Monday Recap: Better late than never

Harrison Frazar waited a long time to finally grab a PGA Tour win.

The veteran pro made his 355th start on the premier golf circuit count, as he defeated Swede Robert Karlsson in a playoff to secure his first PGA Tour title.

The FedEx St. Jude Classic gave viewers a dramatic finish as Frazar lost his one-shot lead on the 18th hole.

Frazar and Karlsson needed two sudden death playoff holes to settle the tournament, where Frazar won with a par.

Karlsson had chipped past the hole, only to misfire on his par bid, thus allowing Frazar to hoist his first trophy on the PGA Tour.

And with Frazar's playoff victory comes this neat, little tidbit from PGA Tour events:

The past nine tournaments, dating back to the Masters, have either been decided by one shot or a playoff.

Yup, that's nine straight PGA Tour events going right down to the wire.

If it becomes 10 consecutive this week, then golf fans should plan on possibly turning on their televisions for an 18-hole playoff on Monday.


The United States Open, which begins Thursday, conducts 18-hole playoffs to decide its champs, unlike most events that use a sudden-death format.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Andrew Gain qualifies for U.S. Amateur Public Links

Andrew Gain putts on the 13th hole at the U.S. Amateur Public Links qualifier. Photo by Paul Videla/Bradenton Herald.

Andrew Gain grabbed the lone qualifying spot for the U.S. Amateur Public Links at Waterlefe Golf & River Club on Wednesday.

The former IMG Academies standout's 142 total in the 36-hole qualifier propelled him to medalist honors and the only berth awarded among the 11 players that completed the two-day tournament.

Gain is a rising junior for Saint Peter's (N.J.) College.

The U.S. Amateur Public Links takes place June 27-July 2 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore. The top 64 players after 36 holes of stroke play square off in the match play portion.

To read more about Gain's performance, check out today's edition of the Bradenton Herald.

Monday, June 6, 2011

U.S. Open Florida sectional results

Former IMG Academies, Saint Stephen's and Georgia Tech alum Michael Barbosa grabbed one of three qualifying berths to the 111th United States Open in Monday's lone Florida sectional qualifier.

Barbosa, an amateur from St. Petersburg, joined Sarasota's Joey Lamielle, a regular on the West Florida Golf Tour, and Arnold Palmer's grandson, Sam Saunders, in progressing from Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach.

Lamielle shot 68-72--142 for medalist honors, while Barbosa and Saunders fired 141 totals in the 36-hole event. The duo secured their berths to next week's U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. in a three-for-two playoff. Barbosa and Saunders edged out Colombia's Andres Echavarria, a redshirt senior at the University of Florida.

Here's how the other three qualifiers from May's Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club's local qualifiers finished:

Sarasota's Brian Ward, a Riverview High and University of Tampa grad who plays the WFGT regularly, was in the hunt after an opening round 71.

Ward, however, ballooned to an uncharacteristically 79 in the afternoon round of the 36-hole sectional.

Travis Perkins improved to a 73 to finish at 148. Perkins, whose brother Troy is a goalkeeper in Major League Soccer, lives in Lakeland and also plays the WFGT like Ward and Lamielle.

Reigning City of Sarasota Men's Amateur champ Chris Kennedy finished a shot behind Perkins. Kennedy, a Cardinal Mooney alum, did his local qualifier in Tampa.

The other player who qualified from the Ritz venue was IMG Academies alum Luis Thiele from Brazil. Thiele shot 85 in the second round after an opening 87.

The full results can be found here.

U.S. Open sectional qualifying underway across nation

The last stage of qualifying for the 111th United States Open is conducted at various sectional venues around the country today.

Stay tuned throughout the day for updates on how area players are faring in their bid for a berth into next week's U.S. Open.

For now, a quick peak at the lone Florida sectional tournament through the morning 18 holes:

Five players advanced from the local qualifier held at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in May.

Here's how they stand as the players are beginning the afternoon 18 hole round:

Former IMG Academies and Saint Stephen's standout Michael Barbosa, of Saint Petersburg, shares the first-round lead with several other players including Sarasota's Joey Lamielle.

Both carded 68s at Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach to join a five-way logjam atop the leaderboard. Only the top three players progress to Congressional Country Club for the Open.

Brian Ward, the West Florida Golf Tour regular who needed extra holes to secure a spot into sectionals, sits three shots adrift at 71.

Luis Thiele
, who progressed from the playoff with Ward at the local stage, is well back after an opening round 87. The amateur and IMG Academies alum is in dead-last.

Travis Perkins
, another WFGT participant from Lakeland by way of Lewis Center, Ohio, shot 75 in the morning.

Cardinal Mooney alum and reigning City of Sarasota Men's Amateur champ Chris Kennedy also carded a first-round 75. He advanced to the Florida sectional from a different local qualifying site.

Other notable results include Arnold Palmer's grandson, Sam Saunders, who shot 69 in the morning.

And Valrico's Steve Runge, who plays on the WFGT, is a former Nationwide Tour winner and currently teaches at IMG Academies, is also in the field. He opened with a 71.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tip of the week: Posture

Bradenton resident Paul Azinger, the former PGA Championship winner and victorious Ryder Cup captain, offers this week's tip on posture.

Posture is one of golf's basic fundamentals that needs mastering for even the most skilled golfers to execute a perfect shot.

Take a peek at what Zinger has to say in the video off his Golfplan App series below:

College Notebook: Peter Uihlein and OSU fall

Peter Uihlein at last year's U.S. Amateur. Photo courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

Former IMG Academies alum Peter Uihlein, the reigning U.S. Amateur champ, and his Oklahoma State University teammates didn't exact the necessary revenge needed to advance to Sunday's final in the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship at the Karsten Creek course in Stillwater, Okla.

Conditions were set up for a Cowboys magical run, as they were playing the tournament on their home course.

But for a second straight year, Augusta State ousted OSU.

The Jaguars won last year's national title a bit under the radar, and will go for their second straight crown against Georgia.

The Cowboys were the highest remaining seed left as Augusta State qualified for the match play portion as the No. 7 seed.

Only the top eight teams advanced following 54 holes of stroke play.

Uihlein, who was a member at Sara Bay Country Club in Manatee County while a student at IMG Academies, finished a few shots behind LSU's John Peterson for the individual national championship.

Playing in the final pairing on Saturday, Uihlein got torched in his match against Patrick Reed.

Reed won 8 and 7 in the most lopsided match of the day.

Augusta State edged the Cowboys 3-2 after Carter Newman defeated OSU's Sean Einhaus on the first sudden-death playoff hole.

The national title is heading to the Peach State, with both the Jaguars and Bulldogs residing in Georgia.

Uihlein's summer, though, still includes trips to the U.S. and British opens where he's earned automatic exemptions after last year's U.S. Amateur victory.

Earlier in the week, Florida's Bank Vongvanij wrapped up his stellar career with the Gators during the stroke play portion.

Vongvanij, a Bradenton Prep alum, tied for 13th with a 2-over par 218 total, which was seven shots behind Peterson's winning score.

Friday, June 3, 2011

College notebook: NCAA Men's Championship semifinals set

IMG Academies alum Peter Uihlein and his Oklahoma State University teammates are in the semifinals of the NCAA Men's Golf Championship held at the Cowboys home course in Stillwater, Okla.

Oklahoma State downed Ohio State University 3-1-1, with Uihlein's match against Bo Hoag at the Karsten Creek course standing at all-square after 17 holes, when the Cowboys locked up the team match.

Uihlein and Co. face defending national champion Augusta State on Saturday. Uihlein faces Patrick Reed in the day's final tee time, scheduled for 11:21 a.m. local time off No. 1.

Oklahoma State was the only top four seed after the stroke play portion to survive the quarterfinals.

Duke knocked off top-seeded UCLA, No. 5-seeded Georgia downed No. 4-seeded Illinois and Augusta State edged No. 2-seeded Georgia Tech 3-2.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

College notebook: Peter Uihlein leads Cowboys into match play

Peter Uihlein at this year's Masters. Photo courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

Peter Uihlein, a former IMG Academy standout, closed the final stroke play round at the NCAA Division I Men's National Golf Championship four shots behind champion John Peterson.

Uihlein, an honorary member at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch, carded a 1-under par 215 at the Karsten Creek course in Stillwater, Okla.

Meanwhile, Peterson joined Austin Ernst as national champs for LSU this year - the first time that has happened in the same season in NCAA history.

Uihlein's junior season isn't over, though, as Oklahoma State University qualified for the match-play portion to decide a national champ.

The tournament is held on the Cowboys home course, with OSU facing off against Ohio State in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Uihlein's opponent is Bo Hoag and he tees off at 12:51 p.m. local time off No. 1 - the last tee time of the day.

Uihlein's banner 2010-11 year included last summer's U.S. Amateur title, which earned an invitation to April's Masters as well as exemptions into the upcoming U.S. and British opens. Uihlein was recently named the winner of the prestigious Ben Hogan Award, which goes to the best male collegiate golfer from the past 12 months.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Luke Donald becomes No. 1 the right way

Luke Donald at April's PGA Tour stop, The Heritage, at Harbour Town Golf Links. Photo courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

Just over a month ago, Lee Westwood reclaimed the No. 1 world ranking after a tournament in Asia.

His compatriot Luke Donald settled for No. 2 after losing in a playoff that same week.

Westwood's field was much weaker compared to the PGA Tour event at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C. that Donald faced.

However, Donald is now the new No. 1, becoming the third different player to take over the top spot following Tiger Woods' fall from grace.

Woods has plummeted to No. 13, and doubts as to when he'll tee it up again. Injuries took him out of The Players Championship after just nine holes.

Donald usurped Westwood in the best possible scenario - against one another.

There was no, I won this tournament while you played in that tournament scenario.

Instead, both players teed it up at Wentworth for the European Tour's PGA Championship.

Donald prevailed in a sudden-death playoff.

He's the new No. 1, and it's the way it's supposed to be - decided on the links.