THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Former Masters champion Mike Weir won his first PGA TOUR Champions event Sunday when he held steady with pars down the stretch for a 4-under 68 and let John Daly made the last mistake in the Insperity Invitational.
Weir and Daly were tied going down the stretch at The Woodlands, which was reduced to 36 holes because of heavy rain earlier in the week.
Daly, playing in the group ahead of Weir, was posing over his 9-iron over the water to the 18th green when it came up a fraction short and splashed next to the bulkhead. He made double bogey for a 69 and had to settle for runner-up.
Weir, who missed birdie chances inside 10 feet on the 16th and 17th holes, watched it all unfold and knew what he had to do. He fired his approach to about 15 feet behind the hole, and pumped his fist as he walked toward the green. He wound up winning by two shots.
“J.D. played great. It was unfortunate for him on the last,” Weir said. “This means a lot. I played really well today. I´m still a little off with my putting. I made it hard on myself. But I hit the shots that I needed. It feels very good.”
Because of rain that washed out the opening round Friday, the first round wasn´t finished until Sunday morning and the tournament was reduced to 36 holes. That turned it into a shootout, and Daly and Weir provided most of the action.
Daly holed a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 13th to take a two-shot lead, and it looked as though he was on his way. In the next group, Weir hit his approach to 3 feet on the 13th for a matching eagle to tie for the lead again.
Weir fell back with a bogey on the 14th, but he caught a break when Daly missed his 3-wood into the par-5 15th and had to settle for par, and Weir made birdie to catch him again.
Daly couldn´t believe he hit into the water on the final hole.
“I caught a gust on 18,” he said. “I hit a 9-iron from about 155 and I hit a 9-iron from 141 there and I caught a gust and just got a bad break. But I can’t hit the ball any better. I’m excited about next week.”
The PGA TOUR Champions plays the first of its five majors next week at the Regions Tradition.
Weir finished at 10-under 134.
Daly tied for second with David Toms and Tim Petrovic, who each closed with a 71. Bernhard Langer (69) and Bob Estes (68) tied for fifth.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Paul Barjon never deviated from the plan.
Not after he double bogeyed the opening hole Sunday. Not after the three-stroke lead he carried into the final round of the Huntsville Championship turned into a four-stroke deficit at the turn. Not after his playing partner, Mito Pereira, hit an approach inside of eight feet on the 72nd hole and set up what could have been a tournament-winning birdie. Not even after Billy Kennerly did the same thing on the first hole of a three-man sudden-death playoff.
Barjon stayed the course, stayed patient. The Frenchman played his game, the one he rode to three victories on the Mackenzie Tour, as well as a trio of T2 finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour this season.
And when a defining moment arrived on the third playoff hole, from 210 yards out at the par-5 10th, Barjon struck. He knocked it stiff, buried the eagle putt and captured his first Korn Ferry Tour victory.
“It was definitely one of the best shots. I’ve hit some gimme birdies this week that were pretty nice, but at this time of the day to hit a 210-yard shot to 10 feet is definitely amazing,” Barjon said. “It’s been a close call the last two years. You have to get a little lucky. If you catch a bad break… if Billy (Kennerly) makes his first putt on the playoff hole, it’s over. It tilted my way there, and I made it happen.”
Early on, it looked as though Barjon would come up short again. His approach at the opening hole hit and rolled off the treacherous left side of the green and into the hazard. Barjon made his first double bogey of the week, bringing a multitude of players back into the title hunt.
Barjon bounced back with a birdie at the par-5 4th, but an eagle by Pereira left them tied at 13-under par. As Barjon played the last five holes of the front nine at 1-over par, Pereira made three birdies and built a three-stroke lead (and a four-stroke advantage over Barjon).
“Definitely a rough start. That’s not really what I was planning on,” Barjon said. “I was getting my ass kicked. I just tried to stick to what we said, with my caddie, keep the same clubs off the tee. I didn’t go overly aggressive with the tee shots and it paid off. We hit a couple good shots I actually thought were going to go in. I knew I had a chance still.”
Barjon left himself “gimme” birdies at Nos. 11 and 12. Then Pereira faltered.
As Pereira came back to the field with back-to-back bogeys, Barjon erased a bogey at the par-3 13th with birdies at Nos. 14 and 17, the second of which created a three-way tie for the lead at 15-under par.
Barjon and Pereira both had potential tournament-winning birdie putts miss by a fraction of an inch on the 72nd hole, setting up the playoff with Kennerly, who matched the low round of the tournament with a 7-under 63.
On the first hole of the playoff, Kennerly had the best look for a win. All three settled for par and headed back to the 18th tee. Barjon and Pereira scratched out pars the second time around, while Kennerly’s approach trickled off the back of the green and led to a bogey.
With the playoff down to two, Barjon was first to play from the 10th fairway. He delivered the shot of the tournament.
“It always feels good to win, no matter what Tour you play on,” Barjon said. “It sucks not to win. I would’ve been frustrated. It’s just little things. If you give yourself a putt to win, like on No. 10, eventually it’s going to go in.”
Paired with a quartet of top-three finishes, Barjon’s victory moves him from 15th to sixth in the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour points standings, almost assuredly securing his first PGA TOUR card.
With his first Korn Ferry Tour victory under his belt, though, Barjon already has a new plan.
“We’re all competitors, so you want to finish first at the end of the year,” Barjon said. “I want to finish first and get the best status you can get on the PGA TOUR. That’s going to be my goal now.”
There’s no need for Barjon to stay the course anymore. He’s in uncharted territory now.
Two years ago, Corey Conners entered the Valero Texas Open Monday qualifier as one of 72 players vying for the final four spots in the field. At the time, little did he know that he’d not only qualify, but secure his first PGA TOUR victory – the first Monday qualifer to win on TOUR since Arjun Atwal at the 2010 Wyndham Championship.
Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Valero Texas Open was cancelled and Conners waited till this week to defend his title. In between, and once it was safe to return to golf, Conners’ success on the course continued. He made a strong run during the fall, where he positioned himself at the top of the RSM Birdies Fore Love charitable giving competition. Recording the most birdies (or better) over the first 11 events of the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season, Conners won $300,000 to donate to charities of his choosing.
“The generosity of RSM for sponsoring the event and sponsoring a donation is pretty remarkable,” Conners said. “This has been a really tough year for a lot of people and for them to step up like this, I´m going to be able to impact a lot of lives with the $300,000, so it’s pretty amazing.”
Three charities have benefitted from Conners’ donation, including Mia’s Miracles and the Corey and Malory Conners Family Fund.
The third beneficiary? Conners chose to make a donation to help a fellow Valero Texas Open champion – the 2012 winner, Ben Curtis, and his Ben Curtis Foundation.
“I actually got started with the Ben Curtis Foundation when I was playing for Kent State,” Conners said. “The team would all go and volunteer to help his wife, Candace, pack up food for those in need. So, my relationship with the Ben Curtis Foundation started early and I’ve supported ever since.”
Conners would help pack the foundation’s signature Birdie Bags, which are filled with food and toiletries for food-insecure kids to bring home over long weekends during the school year. During that time, the foundation was packing an average of 135 Birdie Bags per month.
Fastforward to today, where COVID-19 has dramatically impacted food insecurity needs, and the Ben Curtis Foundation is now packing more than 4,800 bags per month for kids in six school districts around the Northeast Ohio area.
This wouldn’t be possible without the help of donations like Conners’.
“Corey and Malory’s donation will help provide over 10,000 Birdie Bags to local children who struggle with food insecurity in Northeast Ohio,” said Curtis, a four-time winner on TOUR who has since retired. “We can’t thank Corey, Malory and the PGA TOUR enough for all of the great work they continue to do to support programs and foundations like us.”
“The Ben Curtis Foundation is doing amazing work to help kids and families overcome food insecurity,” Conners said. “Having both won the Valero Texas Open, it means a lot to be able to have that connection with Ben and share a passion for giving back to children and families in need.”
SAVANNAH, Ga. – After birdies on the last two holes of regulation, Adam Svensson birdied the second playoff hole and defeated 54-hole leader Max McGreevy to win the Club Car Championship at The Landings Club. It was Svensson’s second career Korn Ferry Tour victory, and he becomes the first Canadian to win on Tour since Michael Gligic won the 2019 Panama Championship.
Svensson played the final 10 holes of regulation at 5-under par and upended McGreevy’s bid to become the first wire-to-wire winner on Tour since Kramer Hickok won the 2018 DAP Championship presented by NewBrick.
McGreevy also birdied the final two holes of regulation to match Svensson’s total score of 17-under par.
Both players had a chance to win on the first extra hole, the par-5 18th, but Svensson missed a 12-foot birdie putt after an aggressive run at an eagle try from off the green, and McGreevy missed a 6-footer for birdie.
“I thought (McGreevy) was going to make it,” Svensson said.
Svensson and McGreavy both found the fairway bunker off the 18th tee the second time around and were forced to lay up. Svensson hit his 95-yard approach shot to 8 feet and lipped in the birdie putt.
“I would say it’s my biggest tournament win ever,” said Svensson, whose last victory was at the 2018 Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club. “I put so much hard work in in the offseason… hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. I’ve never been that hard of a worker.”
In 2018, Svensson posted five top-10s and a victory on the Korn Ferry Tour to finish 18th in the regular season standings and earn his PGA TOUR card for the 2018-19 season. He posted three top-25 finishes and finished 167th in the FedExCup in his only full season on TOUR, but this week’s victory puts him at No. 12 in the Korn Ferry Tour points standings and in position for a return to the TOUR for 2021-22.
“I made a commitment to myself about five months ago,” Svensson said. “I was tired of playing well, not playing well, lost my PGA TOUR card, and it’s because I’m not working hard enough. Now I’m fully committed, and we’ll see where it takes me.
“You grow up and you realize you’ve got to do things correctly. I think the Korn Ferry Tour has done a great job of building me as a player.”
Svensson emerged from a crowded Sunday leaderboard, which he said he did not look at until just before his birdie putt at No. 17. McGreevy’s runner-up finish will move him from 19th to 11th in the Korn Ferry Tour points standings. Three other players finished at 16-under par, one shot behind Svensson and McGreevy.
TORONTO, Canada— The Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada announced Monday that its seventh and final 2021 Qualifying Tournament originally scheduled for Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada, on May 24-27 will move to the United States. The Home Course in the Tacoma, Washington, suburb of DuPont is the new site, with adjusted dates of June 8-11 for the 72-hole, no-cut tournament.
Players who registered for and expected to play in Canada will now compete in this Qualifying Tournament, which will offer a full membership card to the winner, exemptions for the first half of the season for those finishing in second to sixth places and conditional status for those in seventh through 25th places (and ties).
Since its inaugural year of 2013, the Mackenzie Tour has traditionally begun its seasons at the end of May or early June. The Tour will alter that plan and make an announcement about its regular season schedule later this month.
“We held out hope that we would be able to play our final Qualifying Tournament at Crown Isle Resort, a long-time Tour partner,” said Mackenzie Tour Executive Director Scott Pritchard. “Unfortunately, we just needed to make a plan of certainty due to the current COVID-19 public-health restrictions in Canada. The safety of our players and Tour partners remains a priority, and it was our responsibility to ensure the event could proceed. We are pleased that such an outstanding facility as The Home Course was able to accommodate us, replacing another terrific golf course in Crown Isle Resort. I am confident the players will find The Home Course a challenging venue, with the top players emerging with 2021 membership cards.”
The Mackenzie Tour recently completed its sixth Qualifying Tournament of the year, in Pine Mountain, Georgia, at Callaway Gardens Resort. Last Friday, Patrick Cover earned medalist honors, joining Camilo Aguado, Luis Gagne, Keenan Huskey, Jeffrey Kang and Clay Feagler as players who earned the right to play in every 2021 tournament via the Qualifying Tournaments. An additional 30 players are exempt through the season’s first half and the player reshuffle based on performance, with more than 100 more players securing conditionally exempt status.
“After not conducting a season in 2020, we are looking forward to a summer slate of events that will allow our members to pursue 2021-22 Korn Ferry Tour cards,” Pritchard continued. “We look forward to making an announcement about the season in the near future.”
Dubbed “The Home of Golf in the Northwest,” The Home Course, a Mike Asmundson-designed layout that opened in 2007, will be the site of the upcoming United States Golf Association’s men’s 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. It has previously hosted the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, numerous USGA qualifying tournaments and the prestigious Sahalee Players Championship, one of the nation’s top amateur tournaments. The Mackenzie Tour and The Home Course signed a three-year agreement that will run until 2024, with the course serving as the site of future Qualifying Tournaments.
“The Home Course has seen so many important golf tournaments since its inception, and we are more than happy to welcome these players as they hope to move on to the Mackenzie Tour and the path that leads to the PGA TOUR,” said Justin Gravatt, general manager of the Home Course.
It’s been more than 60 years since the PGA TOUR or one of its affiliated Tours has held an event in the Greater Tacoma area. The PGA TOUR’s 1960 Carling Open was at Tacoma’s Fircrest Golf Club, a tournament won by Ernie Vossler. Fircrest also hosted the PGA TOUR’s Tacoma Open in 1945 and 1948, tournaments won by Jimmy Hines and Ed Oliver, respectively.
Where do I begin as I look back on my season? My four Korn Ferry Tour runner-up finishes? Everything related to COVID-19? My first appearance in a major, playing in the U.S. Open? Dealing with a nagging shoulder injury? What a wild year it´s been!
Regardless, it’s great to be back in Canada. I arrived home about three weeks ago and had to do my mandatory 14-day quarantine, so I’m a free man now. With the 2020 portion of the Korn Ferry Tour now complete, I’m able to sit back and assess my year and realize how happy I am with the way I’ve competed. I’m No. 2 on the points list, a great spot to be in, heading into the start of next year and our 2020-21 wraparound season.
I think coming into this year, I had a different mindset, as opposed to my first full year on the Korn Ferry Tour, in 2016. I knew the golf courses a little bit, and I felt a bit more comfortable out there. I’ve learned that it’s always a bit of an adjustment playing on a different Tour, advancing from the Mackenzie Tour in 2019 to now playing on the Korn Ferry Tour. You’re playing against different guys, on different golf courses, in different cities, all that. I’m just more used to it now.
I also believe if you look at golfers on the PGA TOUR, they all have different stories, from where they were to where they ultimately are right now. My path has taken me a bit longer, and I’m OK with that as I’ve had to prove myself a few times through the ranks.
I spent one full season and part of another on the Korn Ferry Tour after finishing in the top five on the Mackenzie Tour. I got injured during my first Korn Ferry Tour year and didn’t play very well. I lost all my status and had to do it again, going back to the Mackenzie Tour, again finishing in the top five on the Order of Merit and returning to the Korn Ferry Tour—this time playing up to my standards. I know I can compete with those guys, and although I don’t have a win yet this year, I’ve been close multiple times, and I’ve gotten very comfortable and played some pretty nice golf on Sundays. I haven’t been able to get the job done. But, that’s all right. I know it’s coming, and I just have to keep putting myself in those positions.
Even without winning, what I was able to do by finishing second four times is put myself in a nice spot to ultimately get a PGA TOUR card next year. The reality is the guys who won played as well or better than me. Yeah, I can always look back at those close calls and think of a shot or two here and there, but I know I played some good golf on those Sundays, and if some guys beat me, they deserved to win. That’s just the way it goes, I know my time is coming.
Looking ahead to 2021, the ultimate goal is to finish No. 1 on the points list. Regardless, placing as high as I can will be very beneficial for getting into PGA TOUR events.
This season I got a taste of that when I earned a spot in the U.S. Open. It was great for the USGA to give Korn Ferry Tour players 10 spots into the tournament—having a little something extra to play for and being fortunate enough to grab one of the invites. There’s no PGA TOUR promotion off the Korn Ferry Tour this year, so it was cool to play for something as prestigious as the U.S. Open. It was totally different with no spectators, but it felt like a major for sure. I was pretty nervous on the first tee, I guess a major is always going to be a major.
I knew the history of Winged Foot, I knew how hard a course it is and I basically embraced the whole experience. I recognized I was going to make some bogeys, that it was going to be mentally and physically tough week. I made some bogeys, yes, but I didn’t make a double bogey all week, which was awesome. I also had a really, really nice round Sunday, probably one of the better rounds I’ve ever played. To shoot even-par on Sunday at the U.S. Open in those conditions was pretty incredible, and my final-round play really jumped me up the leaderboard. It was such a cool experience, just getting out there, playing with the best players in the world and having a good finish.
People have asked me about playing in an RBC Canadian Open vs. the U.S. Open. I’ve played in two Canadian Opens, one as an amateur, one as a pro. The RBC Canadian Open is always on my list as one of the biggest events of the year. The fans love it, and they really enjoy supporting the Canadians who are playing in our national open. It’s a tournament I’m hopefully in next year when this pandemic settles and we can hold the event again. On the other hand, the U.S. Open is a bigger tournament, and it is one of the four majors. Without fans watching, it is a little hard to compare, but I can only imagine the energy on the golf course. All I know is both tournaments are a lot of fun to play and competing in any national open is an honor.
After an enjoyable week at Winged Foot, I returned to the Korn Ferry Tour to finish out the season. I carried the momentum to Wichita, where I had a close call on Sunday, and finished runner up, again. After 17 weeks on the road, I’m ready for a break and happy to finally be back home in Canada with my fiancée.
As many recall, my shoulder gave me trouble at the end of my Mackenzie Tour season. Well, my shoulder was feeling really good, and I was able to give it additional rest when the pandemic hit, and I took nine weeks off where I didn’t touch a club. My body is now feeling very healthy, I’m not in pain, and I’m able to swing the club the way I did when I was younger. All good news.
I grew up playing golf because it was fun, and I enjoyed it. I think I got away from that the past few years with all my injuries and being frustrated and not getting the results I wanted. What 2020 proved to me is I am back to how I used to play golf, and I’m seeing excellent results. I think that’s why I’m having so much fun.
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