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‘PGA’ Articles

Ridings and Flores take over lead in Round Two of Nationwide Children’s Championship

NCC golfers at OSU Scarlet Course (megasportsnews.com)

 

Columbus, Ohio – Tag Ridings and Martin Flores carded the best two scores of the day Friday to take a share of the second-round lead by two shots at 8-under 134 at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, the third of four Web.com Tour Finals events. Ridings carded the best round of the day – a 6-under 65 – to grab his share of the lead, while Flores bogeyed the last for a 5-under 66 to join Ridings at the top with a two-shot lead over eight players – Nicholas Lindheim (68), Xander Schauffele (68), Jason Millard (67), Grayson Murray (67), Kevin Tway (70), Bobby Wyatt (69), Whee Kim (71), and Erik Compton (69 – in a tie for third at 6-under.

“I’m very happy with [my round],” Flores said. “I gave myself a lot of opportunities for birdie. I hit it close, hit it well, so extremely happy. I hit the shot I wanted to there [on 18], I thought I hit a good drive, but that’s just kind of how it goes sometimes.”

Martin Flores PGA (courtesy PGA TOUR)

Tag Ridings PGA (courtesy PGA Tour)

After opening with a 2-under 69, Ridings began his second round on the back nine with a chip-in on No. 10 that was the start of three straight birdies on Nos. 10-12. Ridings’ first bogey of the day came at the par-4 13th, but he reeled off birdies at Nos. 14, 16, 4, and 6 on the way in to finish off his best round of the season.

“Well, this is kind of my favorite thing to do is play long, tough conditions and tough golf courses,” Ridings said. “So, why that is, I wish I knew, but probably more under par after two rounds on this golf course than I was anywhere all summer. It makes you think a little bit. If you mess up, you’ve got to take your punishment and get out of there and I did that a couple of times the last two days.”

Following a 52nd place finish on the Web.com Tour Regular Season money list, Ridings is hoping to get hot at the right time and use this Web.com Tour Finals as the vehicle to take him back to PGA TOUR, where he’s spent the bulk of eight seasons with 12 career top-10s on TOUR.

“I think everybody that hasn’t done their job so far in the first two weeks or first part of the year definitely feels that pressure,” Ridings said. “You want to get it done as quickly as possible to take the heat off.”

Flores doesn’t have that pressure, having already locked up his PGA TOUR card for the 2016-17 season. The 34-year-old began his second round on the front nine and turned in 1-under, but he got hot starting on the back nine, knocking it within five feet for easy birdies on Nos. 10, 12, 13 and 14 to tie the lead at 8-under. Flores surged into the solo lead with a 20-footer at the par-4 15th for his fourth consecutive birdie – and fifth in his first six holes of the back nine – but bogeyed the last to end the day with the co-lead.

“I’m very, very happy with my ball striking,” Flores said. “I gave myself a lot of close putts, and I converted those today. The speed control has been really, really great. Other than that I haven’t really had to deal with anything else up to this point. So I would like to just keep doing what I’m doing and see what happens.”

A year ago here at Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course, Flores also held the 36-hole lead but weekend rounds of 74-71 dropped him into T20. Flores feels like he’s more prepared to close out a victory this year, though, after securing his first Web.com Tour victory at the Lincoln Land Charity Championship in July to lock up a return to the PGA TOUR.

“I just want to win more often,” Flores said. “I haven’t won very much at all. I just want to keep putting myself in position to win and see how I can do.”

In 20 starts on the Web.com Tour this season, Flores posted a victory, two thirds and three additional top-10 finishes on his way to a fifth-place finish on the Regular Season money list. With 142 career PGA TOUR starts under his belt, the Fort Worth, Texas native is looking to round his game into shape just in time for his sixth full season on TOUR after spending the better part of 2010 and 2012-2015 on TOUR before returning to the Web.com Tour in 2016 to work his way back.

“You are where you are for a reason, and obviously, I didn’t play very well in the 2015 season, so I had an opportunity to come back out here and keep improving on my game,” Flores said. “So I’m very thankful for that, and I look forward to the return and should. It’s always a challenge to play on the PGA TOUR, so I really enjoyed that.”

 

ROUND RECAP WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S CHAMPIONSHIP

 

 

Whee Kim takes first round lead at Nationwide Children’s Championship

OSU Golf Course clubhouse (megasportsnews.com)

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio – South Korea’s Whee Kim narrowly missed out on retaining his PGA TOUR card last month, and wound up turning to the season-ending Web.com Tour Finals in order to make a return trip to golf’s biggest stage for the 2016-17 season. An opening 65 on Thursday at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship put Kim atop the leaderboard at Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course, and in good position with 54 holes to go in the year’s penultimate event.

Kim opened his week in the day’s morning wave with a birdie on the par-4 third and a bogey on the par-3 fifth to sit at even par early in the day.

From there, the 24-year-old birdied Nos. 7 and 8 to turn in 2-under 34 before venturing to the club’s closing nine for a flurry of red numbers.

Whee Kim PGA (courtesy PGA Tour)

“I missed a lot of putts to start, but I hit really good iron shots,” said Kim after his round. “I made a lot of good opportunities to make a lot of birdies today.”

Birdies on 10, 12 and 13 vaulted Kim to 5-under-par for his round as the somewhat soft conditions on Thursday allowed for a plethora of low numbers on a course not known for yielding them.

At the short par-4 16th, he added yet another birdie to move to 6-under on the day, where he eventually finished after closing pars on 17 and 18 left him with a first-round 65 and the event’s day one lead.

“I think the greens are softer than I expected. The last few years it was real firm and then fast,” Kim said. “The speed is fast here, but they’re a little softer, so it’s playing much easier, especially when you hit a short iron in or a wedge.”

Kim spent 2013 and 2014 on the Web.com Tour, posting a combined five top-10 finishes and a 16th-place finish in the 2014 Web.com Tour Finals to secure his PGA TOUR card for the 2014-15 season. During that run to the TOUR, he posted a T3 finish at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, where weekend rounds of 67-69 left him one shot shy of a playoff between Justin Thomas and Richard Sterne, which Thomas went on to win.

Once on the PGA TOUR, Kim posted two top-10 finishes – including a season-best T3 at the Barbasol Championship – to finish No. 123 on the PGA TOUR money list, which enabled him to keep his card for the 2015-16 season via the TOUR’s top-125 money list exemption.

This past season, however, he missed seven cuts in his first 11 starts before notching a T3 at the John Deere Classic in August to finish the year at No. 127 in the FedExCup.

Part of the slow start was attributed to a stint in the Korean military from December 1-31, which left him with some catching up to do at the start of 2016 while trying to compete against PGA TOUR players who spent the brief offseason practicing nonstop.

“I think it was tough for me because these guys are so good and if I miss a few shots it’s going to be no chance,” said Kim, who avoided the standard 22-month military commitment via his gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games. “So, a lot of practice and then almost the end of the season I played pretty good, and then I think I (finally) played my game. So, for now it’s pretty good.”

The experience, however, was a good one for Kim, who is one of a handful of recent Korean golf stars who had to serve in the military at an inopportune time.

“It was a good experience, that kind of military service,” he said. “It was a different kind of experience from what I’ve done for a long time. It was fun.”

Two players are tied for second at 5-under-par, including Kevin Tway, the son of 1986 PGA Championship winner Bob Tway.

“I got off to kind of a rough start, 2-over through two, but after that, I made like eight birdies in the next 14 or 15 holes, which is nice out here,” said Tway, whose father followed him for the round. “I started getting the ball in the fairway a little bit more, which makes it a little bit easier to attack the hole.”

Tway’s Web.com Tour career began in in 2013, where a win at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco helped deliver a 2013-14 PGA TOUR card, thanks to a fifth-place finish on the Regular Season money list.

The former Oklahoma State star lost his card following his rookie year, and has since played full-time on the Web.com Tour, narrowly missing out on returning to the PGA TOUR after 28th- and 27th-place finishes on the money list in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Under the watchful eye of his father, who tallied eight wins during a standout PGA TOUR career, Tway spent the early part of the week working on his swing with just two events left in the Web.com Tour Finals.

“Sometimes I get caught (having), I don’t know, almost too (many) complicated swing thoughts, so just a real simple swing thought of keeping my head still, which has kind of been nice with my irons and I had the ball going a little straighter, which is nice,” he said.

Matching Tway with a 66 of his own was Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who recorded the low round of the afternoon wave on Thursday.

Fernandez-Castano, 35, has seven career wins on the European Tour, where he is also an impressive 4-2 in playoffs – defeating the likes of Henrik Stenson (BMW Asian Open) and Lee Westwood (British Masters). He has competed in all four major championships, posting a career-best T10 at the 2013 U.S. Open.

The Madrid native used a T3 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2013 to spark a two-and-a-half-year stint on the PGA TOUR, where he notched seven additional top-25 finishes. He wound up in the Web.com Tour Finals last fall, posting three of four made cuts. A T58 finish at the Tour’s annual Qualifying Tournament gave Fernandez-Castano conditional status on Tour this year, where he has recorded two top-10 finishes, including a T9 last week in Boise.

The T9 paired with a T16 at the DAP Championship earlier this month to give Fernandez-Castano $41,500 in Web.com Tour Finals earnings, which has him eighth on the Finals money list, and secure for a return to the PGA TOUR in 2016-17.

 

ROUND RECAP WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Nationwide Children’s Championship to highlight Blake Hames, 2016 “tournament hero”

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 21, 2016

 

 

Columbus, Ohio – Tournament Officials announced today the 10th annual ceremonial first tee shot, named First Shot to Fight Cancer. The shot will mark the beginning of tournament competition for the 2016 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship at The Ohio State University Golf Club – Scarlet Course. The First Shot to Fight Cancer ceremony will begin at 7:20 a.m. on Thursday, September 22, immediately prior to the tournament’s first starting time. Professional tee times for Thursday and Friday start at 7:35 a.m. on tee Nos. 1 and 10.

 

Hitting the First Shot to Fight Cancer at the 2016 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship will be, “Tournament Hero”, 7-year-old Blake Hames of Westerville, Ohio. Blake was 10 months old when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Because of the location of the cancer, it was initially unsafe for him to have surgery to remove the tumor. Yet, if the tumor was not removed, Blake’s airway could stop functioning. In fact, it was something of a miracle that he was able to breathe at all  given the fact that the tumor had pushed his airway out of place.

 

The challenges Blake faced when he was diagnosed with cancer could have seemed insurmountable, but Blake, his family, and his team of doctors and nurses at Nationwide Children’s Hospital were filled with hope and up for the fight. Blake’s chemotherapy treatments began immediately. The last round shrunk the tumor to half of its original size and Blake was cleared for surgery.

 

While the months leading up to Blake’s surgery were long and arduous, the nine-hour procedure to remove most of his tumor must have seemed just as long to Blake’s family. Following surgery, our Tournament Hero still faced a big challenge. Because his vocal cord was paralyzed, there was only a 5% chance he would be able to eat, breath and talk normally. Once again, hope prevailed and Blake has not had difficulty with any of these things.

 

Today, when you see the beautiful smile on Blake’s face, it is hard to imagine the journey he endured. He was only a baby when he was diagnosed with a complicated, life-limiting cancer. But at the age of two, after months of treatment, surgery and recovery, Blake participated in a very important tradition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He rang the “Victory Bell” to commemorate his triumph over cancer.  Blake is now in second grade at Big Walnut Elementary School and he continues to be monitored. He and his family have been celebrating life ever since they rang that bell. They are excited to continue that celebration at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.

 

Not only will Blake begin the tournament’s professional competition this Thursday morning by hitting the First Shot to Fight Cancer in a special ceremony on the first tee box, he will also conclude play on the 18th green, Sunday, 9/25, by tapping in a ceremonial putt during the Final Shot to Fight Cancer.

 

ABOUT THE NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CHAMPIONSHIP

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship is owned and operated by Champions of the Community, Inc., an Ohio non-profit corporation. The event is one of four Web.com Tour Finals tournaments that will determine the 50 players who earn PGA TOUR playing privileges for the 2016-2017 season and their eligibility position under the TOUR’s enhanced qualifying system.  Featuring a purse of $1,000,000 the tournament is conducted to showcase the best golf on the Web.com Tour on one of the most challenging venues in the world, The Ohio State University – Scarlet Course, for the enjoyment of spectators and to benefit charitable organizations in central Ohio. For more information, call 614-764-GOLF or visit our website at www.ncc-golf.com.

ABOUT NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-17 list of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric healthcare systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 11,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.2 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. Nationwide Children’s remains true to the original mission since its founding in 1892 of providing care regardless of a family’s ability to pay. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.

ABOUT THE WEB.COM TOUR

 

Founded (1990), owned and operated by the PGA TOUR, the Web.Com Tour continues to identify those players who are ready to compete and win on golf’s biggest stage. In 2013, the Web.com Tour became The Path to the PGA TOUR with all 50 available PGA TOUR cards coming through the Web.com Tour and the season culminating at the four-event Web.com Tour Finals. Web.com became the Tour’s umbrella sponsor on June 27, 2012. A 10-year agreement (through 2021) is in place. Three out of four PGA TOUR members are Web.com Tour alumni. Tour alumni have won 447 PGA TOUR titles, including 22 majors and six PLAYERS Championships. The PGA TOUR, through the efforts of its tours and their tournaments, sponsors, players and volunteers, surpassed $2.3 billion in charitable giving through 2015. To learn more about the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour and to follow the season-long quest for a PGA TOUR card, visit PGATOUR.COM, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

ABOUT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT

 

The Ohio State University Department of Athletics is completely self supporting and receives no university monies, tax dollars or student fees. The Department of Athletics sponsors 36 fully funded varsity teams – 17 for women, 16 for men and three that are co-educational – and is committed to providing the very finest in academic and athletics support in an effort to provide its more than 1,000 student-athletes with a quality, life-changing experience at Ohio State.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Tom Sprouse; COURTESY NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S CHAMPIONSHIP

2016 Nationwide Children’s Championship Field

 

OSU Scarlet Course layout

 

Scoreboard from Wednesday's Pro-Am leaderboard

 

OSU Scarlet 18th green

 

 

PRESS RELEASE PREPARED BY & A COURTESY OF NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S CHAMPIONSHIP

PHOTOS BY Megasportsnews.com

Tee Times announced by Nationwide Children’s Championship for Wednesday’s Pro-Am

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Tom Sprouse; COURTESY NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S CHAMPIONSHIP

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