Golf

Monday, November 21, 2022
Tyson is 20th on PGA Tour money list . . .

    After his great life-changing second-place finish the week before, Tyson Alexander tailed off a bit in the RSM Classic that wound up Sunday at Sea Island, Georgia. But with rounds of 68-69-70-70-277, five under par, the 34-year-old ex-Gator who still plays out of Gainesville made the cut, tied for 62nd, earned a check for $17,820, and moves on to his next objective in 20th place on the PGA Tour money list with earnings of $971,147. 

    Next on the schedule is the Hero World Challenge (Dec. 1-4) in Albany, Bahamas, and Tyson isn't yet eligible for the event hosted by Tiger Woods. Of the top 21 players in the Official World Golf Rankings list, 17 will be there, including defending champ Viktor Hovland, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau and Gator Billy Horschel. 

    The Champions Tour has just completed three first-stage qualifying rounds for next year, and the final qualifier comes Dec. 6-9 in Scottsdale, Arizona. There are a slew of ex-PGA players headed for Scottsdale, and even more who failed to make the cut at one of the three sites.  

Friday, November 18, 2022
Tyson shot 68 at RSM Classic opener . . .

    Tyson Alexander picked up right where he left off last week at the Houston Open, making birdies at the RSM Classic on St. Simon's Island.

    The ex-Gator who lives in Jacksonville Beach but still plays out of Gainesville shot an opening-round 4-under-par 68 over the par-72 Seaside Course at the Sea Island Golf Club. The son of former Gator golf coach Buddy Alexander began on the back nine and made birdies at 16 and 18, then followed up with birdies on two and eight on the front. He hit 15 of 18 greens, didn't make a bogey and is tied for 17th behind unknown Cole Hammer, who is alone in front after an 8-under-par 64, also on the Seaside course. 

    Hammer leads by one over Ben Griffin, and by two over a group of three at 66. Among the other Gators, Brian Gay opened with 1-under-71 on the Seaside and is tied for 65th, and Camilo Villegas stumbled to 5-over-75, along with Seminole Hank Lebioda, both on the Plantation course.     

Monday, November 14, 2022
Ex-Gator earned $915,600 for his runner-up finish . . .

    Tyson Alexander won't soon forget the 32-foot, 8-inch snake he sank on the 18th hole Sunday at the Cadence Bank Houston Open. It was a putt that elevated the 34-year-old ex-Gator into second place by himself in the $8.4 million event, and put the absurd amount of $915,600 into his bank account. That's nearly $200,000 more than he had earned in his previous years on the Korn Ferry Tour and all its predecessors, and the seven events he had played on the PGA Tour.

     Tony Finau (16 under) ran away with the tournament at the par-70 Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston, with Tyson second at 12 under par, one stroke better than Ben Taylor. Tyson's final putt was worth $168,000 - if he missed it, he and Taylor would have earned $747,600 apiece. Tyson posted rounds of 66-66-70-66. Interestingly, in all three of his rounds of 66, he made five birdies and one bogey. 

    With the awesome finish, Tyson moved up from 155th to 17th on the FedEx Cup points list, and from 155th to 18th on the PGA Tour money list with $953,327 in the bank. The career of the son of ex-Gator golf coach Buddy Alexander will never be the same. He'll be back in action this week with a new mindset in the $8.1 million RSM Classic at the Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simon's Island. Along with Tyson, Gators Brian Gay and Camilo Villegas are playing, as is Seminole Hank Lebioda.  

     

    

Sunday, November 13, 2022
Tyson is seven behind Finau, but in position for milestone day . . .

    Tyson Alexander shot an even-par 70 in round 3 of the Cadence Bank Houston Open Saturday and fell seven strokes behind leader Tony Finau. But the ex-Gator remained at 8 under and is tied for third in the $8.4 million event with a chance to reach new heights in his first season on the PGA Tour. 

    With just $37,727 in the till after making two cuts in his first four events, Tyson can add $100,000 or more to his total with a top 20 finish. A top 5 would mean more than $300,000 and give him a great deal of breathing room in his rookie season. Ben Taylor is in second place at 11under, and Tyson is tied for third with Justin Rose and Wyndham Clark. 

    After two early birdies Saturday, Tyson was 10 under and in second place behind Finau, but a pair of bogeys dropped him back to 8 under. After 54 holes, he's made 12 birdies and four bogeys. 

    

     

     

Saturday, November 12, 2022
Tyson is tied for 4th, four behind Tony Finau in Houston . . .

    At the halfway point of the Cadence Bank Houston Open, rookie Tyson Alexander has an excellent chance to solidify his place on the PGA Tour, four months after his 34th birthday.

    The latest ex-Florida Gator to reach the big time, the son of long-time Gator golf coach Buddy Alexander has fashioned a pair of 4-under-par 66s over the Memorial Park Golf Course, and heads into round 3 in fourth place, just four strokes behind leader Tony Finau's 13-under-127. 

    Tyson has played just seven events on the PGA Tour, four of them coming this year. After getting his Tour card for the first time by finishing in the top 50 on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, he missed the cut in the Fortinet (-1) and Sanderson (+8) events before earning his first paycheck by tying for 64th in the Shriner's Children's Open at 8 under par, his first cut ever on the PGA Tour. He followed that with another 8-under-par performance in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, good for a tie for 44th. His take for the two came to $37,727, enough to carry him along for many weeks without having to dip into his bank account.

    Tyson, who was born in Gainesville and now lives in Jacksonville Beach, still plays out of Gainesville. In his 12 rounds this season, he's had six in the 60s, with a low of 65 at the Shriner's. He's 145th on the FedEx points list, but today and tomorrow could change it all. He's on a roll, making five birdies and a bogey in each of his Thursday and Friday rounds, so it's obvious he likes the course. 

    Now he just has to keep it going. 

     

    

Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Second string playing for $8.4 million . . .

    The Cadence Bank Houston Open begins Thursday with a small group of former stars ready to compete, but still lacking the star power that formerly accounted for huge crowds trudging down the 18th fairway late on Sundays.  

    The field for the $8.4 million event at the Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston has attracted such oldies as Stewart Cink, Tony Finau, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Hideki Matsuyama, Francesco Molinari, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren and Justin Rose. Also, two of the top millennials of the past couple of years, Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, but no Ted Potter, Louis Oosthuizen or any of the major players who are now cashing in big-time with the LIVs. 

    The only big name close by is the Dustin Johnson who is a car salesman at the Ford dealership on highway 441 north of Ocala. 

     Only one Gator is entered, newcomer Tyson Alexander, and the only Seminole is Hank Lebioda, who is well down the alternate's list. 

     

Friday, November 4, 2022
Season kicks off Dec. 17 . . .

    The Marion County Golf Association has added a Super Senior division to the Golfer of the Year..

    The kick-off for the 2023  season will be the upcoming 2 Player Best Ball Championship December 17-18 at Ocala Golf Club. Points can be earned in any point event that has a Super Senior Division (65+).

    The tournaments where points can be earned will be: 2-Player Best Ball Championship, The Memorial, CC of Ocala Invitational,  George Scales, Summer Games, Marion Masters Super Senior, Ocala City Amateur, Stone Creek Fall Classic and Doug Oswald Invitational.

    Top finishers in the Super Senior Golfer of the Year will also be participating in the Golf Central Cup in a Super Senior Division.

Monday, October 31, 2022
Seamus wins by 1 at 19 under par . . .

    The demise of the PGA Tour as we knew it continued in Bermuda over the weekend as Seamus Power won the Butterfield Bermuda Championship with a 19-under-par 265 despite a mediocre 70 in the Sunday finale, The second Irishman to win in the past two weeks (Rory McIlroy won the previous event) was one better than Thomas Detry, who fell short after a Sunday 67.

    But it was Ben Griffin who gave away the top prize in the $6.5 million event with a horrendous display over the last seven holes. Griffin was 23 under after making birdies at 10 and 11 and could have coasted home if he hadn't fallen apart beginning with a bogey on 12. He followed that up with bogeys on 13, 14 and 15, and a double bogey on the par-3 16th, dropping him to 17 under and he wound up losing by two. He tied for third with Patrick Rodgers and Kevin Yu. 

    Gators: Brian Gay finished at 13 under, Tyson Alexander (in his debut) at 8 under and Camilo Villegas at 6 under. Seminole Hank Lebioda missed the cut of -6 with 71-69.  

    Here's the list of winners thus far this season: Max Homa, Mackenzie Hughes, Tom Kim, Keegan Bradley, Rory McIlroy, Seamus Power. Rory and Keegan saved the day for the old guard, but it promises to get more complicated as the season progresses, especially with respect to TV ratings. 

    

Thursday, October 27, 2022
Former stars, Gators, elders will clash for $6.5 million . . .

    The watered-down PGA Tour continues today at the Port Royal Golf Course in Southhampton, Bermuda, in the $6.5 million Butterfield Bermuda Championship, featuring a diverse group representing all eligible categories. 

    No big guns are entered, but there's a sizeable smattering of players who once were, such as J. J. Henry, D. A. Points, Lucas Glover, D. J. Trahan, Sean O'Hair, Charley Hoffman, Bill Haas and former four-time winner Aaron Baddeley, who snuck into the field via Monday qualifying. 

    Three Gators are playing - Camilo Villegas, Brian Gay and newcomer Tyson Alexander, who has moved up from the Korn Ferry Tour for his first escapade at the top. They will be joined by John Daly, giving the event two PGA and Champions Tour see-saw players, Daly and Gay. 

    There's one Seminole, Hank Lebioda, plus Willie Mack III, many-time entrant in the Ocala Open at Candler Hills. And, of course, the huge group who recently graduated from the Korn Ferry Tour and don't miss any event at the beginning of their new life adventure.  

    

     

Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Ted will have trouble in the upcoming season getting into events . . .

    Ted Potter's woes continued this month when he finished 73rd in second stage qualifying for the upcoming Korn Ferry Tour season. Ted shot rounds of 76-73-73-79-301, 13 over par at the Kinderlou Forest Golf Club in Valdosta, Georgia.

    Ironically, it was at Kinderlou Forest in 2011 that Ted vaulted from the Central Florida mini-tour circuit into the big time. Ted opted to travel to nearby Valdosta for Monday Qualifying for the South Georgia Classic. He banged out a 6-under-par 66 to make the field, then won the event and its $112,500 winner's check with rounds of 70-69-65-68-272, 16 under par. He won another event late in the season and finished second with more than $400,000 on the money list, and in 2012 he was playing on the PGA Tour. 

    Among the familiar faces Ted beat that week at Kinderlou Forest were Ryan Armour, Briam Harman, Russell Knox, Kirk Triplett, Marco Dawson, Scott Dunlap, Guy Boros, Jason Kokrak, Ken Duke, Brett Wetterich, Steve Pate and Ocala's Brenden Pappas. 

    Ted played nine PGA Tour events in the just-finished season without making a cut. His best were a 1-under finish in the Barbasol Championship, 2 over at the Bermuda Championship and 3 over at Pebble Beach, scene of his second tour victory in 2018. In 17 rounds, he broke 70 just twice, a pair of 68s.

    In last week's qualifying, there was a three-way tie at the top at 13 under par. Among those making it was Wade Binfield, former winner of the Ocala Open at Candler Hills; he tied for fifth at 11 under. 

    Ted's position now is he's at the mercy of the size of the fields in both tours since he's on the list of past champions, which is well down the eligibility lists. He will be able to play in Pebble Beach as a past winner, but the other PGA event he won, the Greenbrier, is no longer on the schedule.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Fred shoots 12-under 60; Roger Rowland ties for 61st . . .

    At the age of 63, Fred Couples demonstrated that it doesn't take just the young guns to make golfing history. 

    Couples closed out the SAS Championship in Cary, North Carolina with an incredible 12-under-par 60 to win the event by six strokes over Steven Alker, who closed with a 64 for his 14-under total. With his 14th victory on the Champions Tour, Couples shot his lowest-ever round on the elder circuit, and the lowest in the history of the event. It was his first victory since 2017.

    What made the round even more special was the way Couples accomplished it. He birdied the fifth through ninth holes on the front nine for a 5-under 30. After taking pars on 10 and 11, he went on an unbelievable tear, making birdies on the final seven holes for another 30. In the process, he canned putts of all sizes and shapes. 

    After Alker, Jerry Kelly finished third at 12 under, followed by first-round leader Rocco Mediate at 11 under.

    Former Ocalan Roger Rowland wound up with round of 76-70-73-219, 3 over par, and tied for 61st. His check for $3,150 increased his total for the season to $28,315, and he moved up three spots on the money list, from 120th to 117th. He won't be playing in Richmond this week in the $2.2 million Dominion Energy Charity Classic, which is restricted to the top 68 players. 

Saturday, October 15, 2022
Roger is tied for 73rd in North Carolina . . .

    If Roger Rowland is going to improve his position on the Champions Tour, he'll need to do two things: (1) hit more fairways in regulation so he's not constantly playing out of the rough; and (2) hit more greens in regulation, which would come almost automatically if he accomplishes No. 1.

    Roger shot a 4-over-par 76 in yesterday's opening round of the SAS Championship in Cary, North Carolina, and he wasn't helped by hitting just 5 of 15 tee shots on the fairway. The 33% non-accuracy led to hitting just 9 of 18 greens, thus his 4-over-par round. He wasn't in such bad shape after playing the back nine with three bogeys and two birdies - for 38. But a double on No. 1 and a bogey on 3 killed his round, even though he parred the last six holes. He wound up the day tied for 73rd in the field of 79 vying for the major share of the $2.1 million pot.

    Rocco Mediate is the first-round leader with a 7-under-65, one stroke better than Y. E. Yang and two better than Tom Gillis. 

      

Monday, October 10, 2022
Roger heads for North Carolina this week . . .

    After his 2-under-par-70 opening at the Constellation Furyk & Friends, ex-Ocalan Roger Rowland was unable to duplicate the performance over the weekend. Roger added a pair of 77s for 224, 8 over par and tied for 72nd, and instead of collecting his biggest paycheck of the Champions Tour season, he picked up $1,413, bumping his season total to $25,165. That moved him up from 125th to 120th on the money list after 15 events.

    Roger won't have to travel too far from his Jacksonville home this week for the $2.1 million SAS Championship at the Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, North Carolina. 

    Steve Stricker shot 69-64-69-202, 14 under par, to win Jim Furyk's event by two strokes over Harrison Frazar, who closed with 65 to get to 12 under. Furyk was third at 11 under, one better than Thongchai Jaidee and Bernhard Langer.  

 

Saturday, October 8, 2022
Roger shot 2-under-70 and is 3 strokes from the leaders . . .

    Playing at home in Jacksonville apparently did the trick for ex-Ocalan Roger Rowland, who posted his best first-round effort of the Champions Tour season yesterday in round 1 of the Constellation Furyk and Friends at Timuquana Country Club. 

    Roger shot 35-35-70, 2 under par, making four birdies and two bogeys, and is tied for 14th place heading into the second round today. It's his best position of the year in this, his 15th event. To make it even sweeter, Roger is only three strokes from the lead; Steve Flesch, host Jim Furyk and Rob Labritz are deadlocked for the top spot at 5 under par. Ken Tanigawa and Mike Weir are tied for fourth at 4-under 68. 

    Roger tees off today at 11 a. m. in the company of Vijay Singh, who also shot 70, and Bob Estes, who shot 71.

    Gators: Brian Gay - 71, -1, T24; Chris DiMarco - 74, +2, T53; ditto for Scott Dunlap; Mark Calcavecchia withdrew. Marco Dawson, former touring pro at Ocala's Adena Springs shot 76, 4 over, and is tied for 66th.  

 


     

     

Sunday, October 2, 2022
Roger is in action this week at home in Jacksonville. . .

    Time is running out on Roger Rowland's first Champions Tour foray, and he has just a few events left to turn it all around so he can play again next year.

    The ex-Ocalan, now living in Jacksonville, gets to live at home this week since the Tour is in his hometown at the Timuquana Country Club. The purse is $2 million and Roger needs a high finish desperately. He's played in 14 Champions events this season and has cashed just enough to pay his weekly expenses - maybe. He's 125th on the money list with $23,752 in the bank, or not in the bank since he probably needed all of that for expenses. It amounts to $1,696, 571 per event to lay out for caddy, food, hotel and transportation.    

    This week's event is the Constellation Furyk & Friends, beginning Friday and the entire Gator squad is playing too. Here's how they have fared his year: Brian Gay, 12 events, 37th on the money list - $475,593; Scott Dunlap, 19 events, 50th on the money list - $346,402; Chris DiMarco, 20 events, 66th on money list - $180,887; Mark Calcavecchia, 11 events, 101st money list - $45,527. 

 

Sunday, September 25, 2022
Internationals close gap late . . .

    The International team was down to the U. S. group by seven points, 11-4, with time running out in the President's Cup on Saturday. But some awesome play on the final few holes by the Internationals brought the score to 11-7, and prevented a ho-hum finish today in the 12 singles matches.

    Saturday's large crowd was boisterous, and the announcers were really into it, but there was no question of what was missing. Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Louis Oosthuizen and the rest of the LIV defectors who have turned professional golf upside down and inside out, and it's anybody's guess when - and if - it will ever be resolved.   

    No matter what gripes the defectors have against the PGA Tour, it's the tour that will always be known as the place where these guys enjoyed a fabulous life, afforded them gorgeous blonde wives and girlfriends (they all seem to have one or the other), and don't forget - multi-millionaire status.  

    Chances are the International team won't be able to close the four-point gap in today's matches, and if the U. S. team increases it, it will become a forgettable day in the life of the sport. 

    Who would ever have believed it? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022
It's anybody's guess what the future holds . . .

    A returnee from outer space who had just spent three years on Mars, while perusing the order of finish Sunday in the Fortinet Championship, might have asked the question, "Why are Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Jimmy Walker, Emiliano Grillo, Hideki Matsuyama, Alex Noren, Brandt Snedeker, Gary Woodland and Lucas Glover playing on the Korn Ferry Tour? Have they all lost their exemptions?" 

    Sadly, that's the current situation in the sport that for decades probably was at the head of the class as far as sports sanity is concerned. No more. The advent of the LIV Tour has fractured the game and it's anybody's guess if it will ever be the same. Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen, Bryson DeChambeau and the rest of the PGA defectors who have opted to join forces with Greg Norman and the Saudis - you recall, the country that murdered the Washington Post reporter and dismembered his body, and has faced no consequences - have divided the best golfers in the world and turned the sport upside down. 

    Not that Max Homa, winner of the Fortinet, isn't a superior player, he is. So are a bunch of the others he's competing against, like Sam Burns. But as mentioned here in the past, I could take 20 of the best of the young guns and line them up side by side and facing the other way, and I seriously doubt that a panel of long-time fans could correctly name five of them. The same people who would score 100 if trying to pick from a lineup of Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, John Daly, Rory McIlroy and even Phil Mickelson. Not to mention a guy named Tiger.

    The galleries following PGA players these days are way down, it is obvious on the TV screen. We all assume Tiger will be back in due time and he'll bring back the thousands of fans who have decided to stay home now. But even Tiger's presence in sporadic events won't make up for the current split.

    We have people who are considered 'experts' in various fields - the stock market, the weather, real estate, etc. - who make predictions daily in the U. S. There isn't one who has an inkling of how this whole golf thing will turn out.  

Monday, September 19, 2022
Roger ties for 65th, earns $2,500 . . .

    Roger Rowland tied his two previous best finishes on the Champions Tour, posting a Sunday 1-over-par 71 to go along with his earlier 72-69 for 212, 2 over par, in the Sanford International in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

    The former Ocalan tied for 65th and earned a check for $2,500, raising his total for 14 events to $23,752. He's 123rd on the money list. 

    Roger began on the back nine in the finale and made one bogey for a 1-over 37. On the front, he added one bogey and one birdie for even-par 34. He's not entered to play in this week's Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach. 

    Steve Stricker and Robert Karlsson tied for first at 14 under after 54 holes, and Stricker birdied the 18th in the playoff to continue his great play this season. Ernie Els finished third at 12 under, one stroke better than Paul Stankowski, who was a successful Monday qualifier, Brandt Jobe and Jeff Maggert.

    GATORS: Brian Gay tied for 28th at 5 under; Scott Dunlap tied for 38th at 4 under, and Chris DiMarco tied for 73rd at 7 over. Marco Dawson, former touring pro at Ocala's Adena Springs, tied for 47th at 2 under. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022
Rog is 1 over after 36 holes . . .

    With three holes remaining in yesterday's second round of the Sanford International in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Roger Rowland was in the midst of his best round of the season on the Champions Tour. The ex-Ocalan had parred every hole on the back nine for an even-par 36, which left him at 2 over after his opening-round 72.

    Then, Roger stepped it up, proceeding to birdie No. 1, No. 5 and No. 6 to go 3 under for the day and 1 under overall, and he was moving up the board going to the 7th hole. But Roger was unable to continue on to the best round he's had all year, taking bogeys on 7 and 8 and finishing with a 1-under 69, and plus 1 for 36 holes. Still, Roger wound up tied for 62nd, and can better his standing today with another good round at the Minnehaha Country Club.

    Jeff Maggert and Robert Karlsson are tied for the lead at 10 under par, with Rocco Mediate one stroke behind. There's a deadlock for fourth at 8 under among five players, including Ernie Els and Steve Stricker. Scott Dunal is best of the Gators at 4 under; Brian Gay is 2 under and Chris DiMarco 5 over. Former touring pro at Adena Springs in Ocala, Marco Dawson, is 2 under. 

 

      

Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Eagle Ridge & Ocala Palms . . .
1* Easton Jack Su 68-77 . . . 145
2 Ells Smyke Su 72-73 . . . 145
T3 Carney Rob Su 69-77 . . . 146
T3 Warner Berger Si 72-74 . . . 146
5 Mears David Su 74-73 . . . 147
6 Hancock Scott Su 73-76 . . . 149
T7 Cole Dan Su 71-79 . . . 150 
T7 Gordon Steve Si 73-77 150
9 Caron Robert Si 75-79 . . . 154
10 Munkel Chuck Su 73-83 . . . 156
11 Miranda Paul G 75-82 . . . 157
T12 Briggs Randy Si 71-87 . . . 158
T12 Cambias Ed Si 80-78 . . . 158
T12 Monzon Denis Si 73-85 . . . 158
T15 Craig Bo Su 75-84 . . . 159
T15 Gaver Tom Si 73 86 159
T15 Thompson Mike Su 78 81 159
18 Russo Ron G 78 83 161
19 Gay George G 80 82 162
20 VanAmmon Pat G 80 84 164
21 McDonough Dick Si 76 89 165
T22 McLeod David Si 77 88 165
T22 Stephenson Tom G 77 88 165
T24 Johnson Bill Su 82 84 166
T24 Lutz Richard Su 88 78 166
26 Hopkins Tom G 84 84 168
T27 Fuller Jimmy Su 81 88 169
T27 Roth Mike G 81 88 169
29 Eatmon Steve G 88 95 183
30 Wright Fred G 98 97 195
31 Honeycutt Fred G 104 110 214
* Won Playoff