Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair lead QBE Shootout at Tiburón Golf Club
Naples, Florida, December 8: Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker birdied seven of their first eight holes en route to a 15-under 57 to grab the opening-round lead of the QBE Shootout hosted by Greg Norman at the Tiburón Golf Club, The Ritz-Carlton Resort here on Friday.
The team made eagle at the par-5 17th and Stricker chipped in from just off the green for the final birdie at the par-4 18th hole. On the inward nine, the duo made birdies at Nos. 10, 11, 13, 14, 15 and 18. T O’Hair is making his seventh appearance in the QBE Shootout, having won with Kenny Perry in 2012. Stricker is playing for a 10thconsecutive time and was a part of the 2009 winning team with Jerry Kelly. Stricker and Kelly finished second in last year’s QBE Shootout.
O’Hair, a 4-time winner on the PGA TOUR, collected four top-10 finishes in the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season. In his only 2017-18 start, he missed the cut at The RSM Classic. Stricker claimed six top-25 finishes in 13 starts in the 2016-17 season. With a 16-under 56 in round one last year, Stricker and Jerry Kelly led by a stroke over Harris English and Matt Kuchar.
2011 QBE Shootout champions Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele played their first eight holes in eight under, highlighted by an eagle-three at the first hole. On the inward nine, the pair birdied Nos. 11 and 13-17, good for a 14-under 58.
Bradley and Steele have each won three events on the PGA TOUR. Most recently, Steele successfully defended his title at the Safeway Open in the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season’s first event. Bradley is making his fourth start in the QBE Shootout, while Steele is making his third start in Naples.
2013 and 2016 QBE Shootout champions Harris English and Matt Kuchar opened with a 9-under 63 in round one’s Scramble format. After round one last year, the pair was a stroke off the lead at 15-under 57. Since 2013, when the two first played together, their highest score was a 5-under 67 in round two of 2015.
In 2013, the team won with a 34-under 182. Last year, they posted a 28-under 188 to beat Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker by a stroke.
With a win this week, defending champions Matt Kuchar and Harris English would become the first team to win the QBE Shootout three times (2013, 2016).
Founded by World Golf Hal of Fame Member Greg Norman in 1989, this week’s QBE Shootout marks the 29th playing of the event. Tiburón Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Resort in Naples, Fla. has now been home to the QBE Shootout for 17 consecutive years (2001). The 2017 event marks the first under the title sponsorship of QBE Insurance Group, an industry leader in general insurance and reinsurance and headquartered in Sydney, Australia.
The 12 two-person teams were selected on the following criteria:
- Defending champions
- The top 12 available players from the 2016-17 FedExCup points list
- 10 special exemptions (a minimum of four come from the top 40 on the PGA TOUR career money list)
Competitors in the 2017 QBE Shootout have combined for 104 victories (95 on the PGA TOUR and nine by Lexi Thompson on the LPGA Tour).
Fifteen of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking are in this week’s QBE Shootout, highlighted by No. 15, Matt Kuchar.
Two former FedExCup champions are among the 24-player field: Brandt Snedeker (2012) and Billy Horschel (2014).
Paired this year with QBE Shootout rookie Tony Finau, Lexi Thompson is just the second woman to compete in the QBE Shootout. Annika Sorenstam teamed with Fred Couples in 2006. In round one, the team posted a 9-under 63.
The distinction for most individual top-5 finishes in the QBE Shootout (nine) is a three-way tie between tournament founder Greg Norman, Kenny Perry and Mark O’Meara.
The team with the most top-five finishes in tournament history is Mark O’Meara and Curtis Strange. The pair collected five such finishes between 1989 and 1996, including a victory in the inaugural Shootout of 1989.
There are six players making their first start in the QBE Shootout this week: Tony Finau, Brian Harman, Pat Perez, Russell Henley, Kyle Stanley and Shane Lowry.
Eleven players have won the QBE Shootout in their first attempt: Mark O’Meara (1989), Curtis Strange (1989), Fred Couples (1990), Scott McCarron (1997), Hank Kuehne (2003), Rod Pampling (2006), Woody Austin (2007), Keegan Bradley (2011), Brendan Steele (2011), Harris English (2013) and Cameron Tringale (2014).
Sean O’Hair/Steve Stricker 57 (-15)
Keegan Bradley/Brendan Steele 58 (-14)
Brandt Snedeker/Bubba Watson 59 (-13)
Kevin Chappell/Kevin Kisner 61 (-11)
Daniel Berger/Gary Woodland 61 (-11)
Jason Dufner/Billy Horschel 61 (-11)
Brian Harman/Pat Perez 62 (-10)
Shane Lowry/Graeme McDowell 62 (-10)
Russell Henley/Kyle Stanley 63 (-9)
Matt Kuchar/Harris English 63 (-9)
Tony Finau/Lexi Thompson 63 (-9)
Charley Hoffman/Zach Johnson 65 (-7)