According to the Associated Press, Ernie Els and Camilo Villegas have new caddies this week at Kapalua.
Mike Kerr is now toting the bag for Els, who used Ricci Roberts and former NHL player Dan Quinn last year. Kerr most recently worked with Nick Dougherty on the European Tour and actually had a job lined up with Louis Oosthuizen last year. When Oosthuizen won the British Open, though, the young South African opted to stay with his caddie, Zack Rasego.
Villegas, on the other hand, needed a new caddy after Brett Waldman survived all four stages of q-school and earned his Nationwide Tour card. Villegas, who was disqualified Friday after a rules infraction in the first round resulted in him signing an incorrect scorecard, was using England’s Mick Doran this week.
Doran’s previous bosses include Lee Westwood and David Howell. He is slated to work for Villegas this week and next week in a tryout for the three-time PGA TOUR champion.
Meanwhile, Sean O’Hair has hired Brennan Little, Mike Weir’s long-time caddy, to replace Paul Tesori. And Weir has reportedly hired Pete Bender, who has worked for a who’s who of the game – Jack Nicklaus, Ian Baker-Finch, Lanny Wadkins, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd and Ian Baker-Finch, to name a few.
Usually, the afternoon wave faces tougher conditions with more wind, firmer greens and so on. None of that seems to be affecting Sean O’Hair, though. He’s now tied for the lead at 6 under with birdies on six of his last seven holes.
O’Hair didn’t do much in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup -- T31 at The Barclays, missed cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship and a T37 at the BMW Championship -- but Annandale seems to be suiting him quite well. O’Hair has taken just 14 putts through his first 11 holes and is without a bogey.
To follow the rest of O’Hair’s round live, click here for Shot Tracker.
A hole-in-one is always cause for celebration. But the ace Sean O’Hair made with a 4-iron at the 211-yard second hole has ramifications that will last a long, long time.
In recognition of the ace, BMW has donated a four-year scholarship to the Evans Scholars Foundation. The foundation, one of the nation’s largest privately funded college scholarship programs, provides full tuition and housing grants to deserving caddies.
Matthew Sachaj, a caddie at Green Acres Country Club in Northbrook, Ill., will meet with O’Hair; BMW of North America president Jim O’Donnell and John Kaczkowski, president and CEO of the Western Golf Association, later today to accept the scholarship check on behalf of the Evans Scholars Foundation. Sachaj will be a freshman at Northwestern this year.
Since BMW became involved with the tournament in 2007, the BMW Championship has raised $7.3 million for the Evans Scholars Foundation. The foundation, which is managed by the WGA, was created in 1930 and has awarded more than 10,000 college scholarships to caddies. During the 2011-2012 school year 855 caddies will attend college on Evans Scholarships.
The hole-in-one by Sean O’Hair at the second hole on Saturday is the first of this week, the second of this year’s PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, and the 32nd of the year on the PGA TOUR.
It’s also the 40th in the history of the BMW Championship – going back to 1910 when Otto Hackbarth aced the 140-yard second hole during match play at Beverly Country Club when the tournament was known as the Western Open.
O’Hair’s ace is the 14th at Cog Hill since it began hosting a PGA TOUR event in 1991.
ACES AT COG HILL (DUBSDREAD)
|Rick Dalpos||191-yard 14th||6-iron||1991||1|
|Tommy Armour III||224-yard 6th||4-iron||1991||1|
|David Sutherland||185-yard 14th||6-iron||1991||2|
|Nolan Henke||195-yard 14th||3-iron||1992||2|
|Mark Calcavecchia||194-yard 14th||7-iron||1992||3|
|Doug Tewell||22-yard 6th||2-iron||1994||4|
|Joel Edwards||172-yard 14th||7-iron||1995||1|
|Scott Gump||165-yard 14th||7-iron||1995||4|
|Joey Sindelar||195-yard 12th||6-iron||1996||2|
|Franklin Langham||173-yard 2nd||6-iron||2000||1|
|Mike Small||180-yard 2nd||6-iron||2004||2|
|Lucas Glover||218-yard 12th||5-iron||2004||2|
|Scott Hoch||196-yard 14th||4-iron||2004||2|
|Sean O’Hair||211-yard 2nd||4-iron||2010||3|
Sean O’Hair has opened up a two-stroke advantage on Hunter Mahan and Ryan Palmer with a pair of birdies in his first four holes. The first was a two-putt from 30 feet at the par-5 second and he added a 10-footer at No. 4.
O’Hair, who is 28 years, 28 days old, is bidding to become the first player currently in his 20s with four PGA TOUR victories. His third win came last year at the Quail Hollow Championship.
O’Hair has only made three bogeys this week – which is the fewest in the field of 80 remaining players. – Helen Ross
Hunter Mahan is making a bid for his first World Golf Championships title, as well as his second Ryder Cup team, on Sunday at Firestone.
He’s just birdied three straight holes starting at No. 3 – rolling in putts of 22, 10 and 18 feet – to pull into a tie for second with Matt Kuchar and Ryan Palmer. The three are at 9 under and stand one stroke behind Sean O’Hair.
Mahan currently is 10th in the U.S. standings. Kuchar is also in the running for his first Ryder Cup team at No. 7 while O’Hair, who entered the week 19th, could make up considerable ground, too. -- Helen Ross
Saturday’s third round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational saw a dramatic overhaul of the leaderboard.
Retief Goosen, who held the top spot overnight, took a tumble immediately as he made a triple bogey at the first hole. There were plenty of others ready to take his place, though, and at one point early on the front nine there were seven players tied for the lead.
At the end of the day, Ryan Palmer and Sean O’Hair owned the lead at 9 under after rounds of 63 and 64, respectively. Palmer’s round was particularly tidy as he made seven birdies and didn’t drop a shot to par.
The two men front and center in the battle for No. 1 in the world rankings didn’t do themselves any favors at Firestone on Saturday, though.
Tiger Woods, who has held down the top spot for the past 269 weeks, failed to break par for the third day. He shot a 75 that left him 11 over for the tournament and 78th out of the 80 players remaining in the field.
Phil Mickelson can overtake Woods with a fourth-place finish or higher, as long as the current No. 1 finishes outside the top 44. But Mickelson, who started the day one shot off the lead, went backwards with a 71 that dropped him into a tie for 10th. – Helen Ross
Keeping track of changes to the leaderboard is a challenge on Saturday as lots of players are going low. Here’s another one, too -- consecutive birdies have just propelled Sean O’Hair to sole possession of the lead at 8 under.
O’Hair made a 14-footer at the par-3 12th and a 22-footer at No. 13 to move to 5 under for the day. He also made a 14-foot eagle putt on the second hole and a 21-footer for birdie at the ninth.
O’Hair has been extremely steady in the third round. He’s hit 10 of 11 fairways and 11 of 14 greens in regulation so far while using 21 putts.
It’s been an interesting year for the three-time TOUR champ.
He tied for fourth in the season-opener in Hawaii but didn’t get his next top-10 until he finished in a tie for seventh at the British Open. O’Hair missed the cut in Canada the following week but he had finished 12th or better in five of his previous six starts so his good play is hardly a surprise. – Helen Ross
* On the heels of his best finish at the Bridgestone Invitational in 2009 (T11), Chad Campbell’s bogey-free, 4-under-par 66 in Thursday’s opening round is his lowest score at Firestone Country Club. In 20 events on the PGA TOUR in 2010 Campbell has produced two top 10s, a tie for eighth at the Sony Open in Hawaii and a tie for fifth at the Travelers Championship.
* Sean O’Hair equaled his career-low round at Firestone Country Club with a 3-under-par 67 in Thursday’s opening round. He previously fired a 67 in the second round in 2008, where he would go on to post his best finish, a tie for 12th.
* FedExCup points leader and 2010 World Golf Championships-CA Championship winner Ernie Els opened the Bridgestone Invitational with a 1-under-par 69. In 10 previous appearances at the Bridgestone Invitational Els produced top 10s in 1999 (5 th) and 2001 (T8).
* Matt Kuchar, who enters this week tied for the most top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR in 2010 with seven, posted a 1-under-par 69 in Thursday’s opening round. Kuchar enters this week No. 8 on the FedExCup points list and is making his first start at the Bridgestone Invitational since 2002 (T38). -- Colin Murray