Americans Stick It to Europeans

By Associated PressSeptember 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupCARMEL, Ind. -- Captain Nancy Lopez needed more energy and more wins from her American team at the Solheim Cup on Saturday morning.
No problem.

Christina Kim
Christina Kim helped give the U.S. an emotional boost Saturday morning -- and a point.
Rookies Christina Kim and Natalie Gulbis took a big early lead in the day's first match, riled up the crowd for their teammates and even pumped some excitement into the American veterans to help the U.S. win three of four matches and forge a 6-6 tie at the midway point.
Another round of four best-ball matches was set for later Saturday before the event ends Sunday with 12 singles matches.
After blowing four of six leads on the back nine Friday, it didn't take long for the Americans to sense a change in their play -- or the crowd's enthusiasm.
'We did what we needed to do,' said Kim, the most boisterous of the team's three first-time players. 'And the crowd was great today, so much better than yesterday.'
Gulbis and Kim made Lopez's decision to send them out first look brilliant.
Kim, a crowd favorite, urged the crowd to roar. It kept Gulbis smiling and relaxed, and the two made enough shots to close out two European rookies, French partners Gwladys Nocera and Ludivine Kreutz, 4-and-2 for the first American win in the alternate-shot format.
The enthusiasm seemed contagious.
With Kim and Gulbis watching the from the 16th hole, having clinched their victory moments earlier, 45-year-old Juli Inkster rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt for a 3-and-2 victory over England's Laura Davies and Sweden's Maria Hjorth. Rookie Paula Creamer put Inkster in the right spot, and when the ball dropped, Inkster jumped as Kim and Gulbis paraded around the green with arms raised.
'That was great, that's what we want,' American assistant captain Donna Caponi said.
Michele Redman, 40, joined the club by pumping her fist and waving her visor after making a long par-saving putt at No. 17. It kept the U.S. 1-up, a match it eventually clinched on the final hole over Annika Sorenstam and Catriona Matthew.
Redman was a late addition after Cristie Kerr woke up with a stiff neck, and her slow play irritated Sorenstam, the world's best female golfer.
But it was Matthew's errant tee shot at, into the water down the right side, that gave the U.S. a 2-up victory.
'Someone was pounding at my door at 5:20 a.m.,' Redman said. 'I was her first choice. I wanted to prove to her (Lopez) I could do it.'
The only U.S. stumble came in the third match. Sophie Gustafson and Carin Koch, both Swedes, won four straight holes at the turn and coasted to a 5-and-3 victory over Laura Diaz and Wendy Ward.
Ward is now 2-7-1 all-time in three Solheim Cup appearances.
That victory allowed the Americans to do what seemed unthinkable only one day earlier -- beating both of Europe's most reliable winners. Sorenstam and Davies, one of the game's biggest winners, share the record for most Solheim victories at 18. But they couldn't hold off the Americans on Saturday morning.
In the afternoon matches, Europe's Iben Tinning and Trish Johnson faced Inkster and Beth Daniel, and Koch and Matthew played Kerr and Creamer. In the other two matches, it was Gustafson-Suzann vs. Rosie Jones-Meg Mallon, and Davies-Sorenstam vs. Hurst-Kim.
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  • Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

    Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

    Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

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    Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

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    Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.