Steve Stricker – Sean O’Hair team clinch QBE Shootout
Florida, December 10: Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker, who led after 18 holes with a 15-under 57 and shared the 36-hole lead at 18-under 126, posted an 8-under 64 to claim a two-stroke victory in the QBE Shootout at 26-under 190.
Stricker’s 10-foot putt for birdie at No. 9, the team’s third-straight birdie, tied team McDowell/Lowry for the lead at 22-under-par. On the inward nine, the duo made additional birdies at Nos. 11, 14 and the eagle-three at No. 17.
O’Hair and Stricker become the second team of past champions paired together for the first time to win. The first was Brad Faxon and Scott McCarron who, playing together for the first time, won in 2000. Previously, Faxon won with Fred Couples in 1994 and McCarron won with Bruce Lietzke in 1997.
The second-round leaders/co-leaders at the QBE Shootout have now converted for the win 17 of 29 times. The last 36-hole leaders/co-leaders to hold on for the win was the team of Matt Kuchar and Harris English last year.
O’Hair was making his seventh appearance in the QBE Shootout, having won with Kenny Perry in 2012. Stricker was playing for a 10th consecutive 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.
The only internationals in this year’s QBE Shootout field, Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry (Northern Ireland and Ireland, respectively) birdied the 72nd hole to post a 6-under 66 to finish second, two strokes behind Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair.
After four birdies on their first seven holes, McDowell and Lowry reeled off seven straight pars from No. 8 to 14 before carding their next birdie at the par-4 15th.
Team McDowell/Lowry was the only pair to play bogey-free for the week. In round three, the team made birdies at Nos. 1, 3, 6, 7, 15 and 18.
Had McDowell and Lowry won, they would have become the first international team to win the QBE Shootout was that of tournament host Greg Norman and Steve Elkington in 1998. Like McDowell and Lowry this week, Norman and Elkington were the only internationals in the field in 1998.
McDowell was making his sixth start in the QBE Shootout, while Lowry was one of six players making their first appearance in the event. McDowell also finished second in 2010 with Darren Clarke.
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).
On the PGA TOUR, McDowell is the winner of the 2010 U.S. Open, 2013 RBC Heritage and 2016 OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Lowry is the winner of the 2015 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
McDowell and Lowry competed together as a team in the 2016 World Cup, finishing T9.
QBE Shootout rookies Pat Perez and Brian Harman made eight birdies and no bogeys Sunday, good for a 64. At 22-under 194, the team finished third.
The Perez/Harman duo was one of two teams with no prior QBE Shootout experience before this week, joining Russell Henley and Kyle Stanley (T9).