Defending champ An moves on to quarters at Amateur

By Associated PressAugust 27, 2010, 2:07 am

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – After three rounds of match play, defending U.S. Amateur champ Byeong-Hun An has yet to play either the 17th or 18th holes at Chambers Bay.

And no one seems to be paying attention.

An rolled into the quarterfinals of the 110th Amateur with a pair of impressive victories on Thursday when Chambers Bay became progressively more difficult as the breezes off Puget Sound became howling gales.

An’s day started with a 4 and 3 victory over Alex Shi Yup Kim in the morning. After a brief break and with the winds picking up, An beat Alabama’s Scott Strohmeyer 3 and 2.

“This afternoon, I have no idea what happened there. It was so windy. I just kept playing golf,” An said.

An now gets someone he’ll soon become quite familiar with: California teammate Max Homa. An is an incoming freshman at Cal, while Homa bounced in and out of the Golden Bears lineup last year as a freshman.

But he’s been rolling since arriving at Chambers Bay. Homa routed Carter Newman 7 and 6 on Thursday morning, then reached the quarterfinals with a 4 and 3 win over Harris English.

Homa, who took out local favorite T.J. Bordeaux in the first round of match play, also has yet to see No. 18 in any of his matches.

With winds blowing between 20 and 30 mph and the waters of Puget Sound turning into choppy whitecaps, the round of 16 became a struggle to avoid major mistakes.

An did just that. While far from perfect in making six bogeys during his match with Strohmeyer, An simply didn’t let holes get away. He won three straight holes – Nos. 8, 9 and 10 – then matched Strohmeyer from there.

“I was not playing well before I came here so it was the same thing as last year, I was just trying to make match play,” An said. “… Now I’m kind of feeling as I did last year, starting to get that feeling of confidence.”

Friday’s other quarterfinals are filled with intrigue. David Chung, the winner of the Western Amateur, rallied from 2 down early to beat Brad Benjamin 2 and 1. He’ll get reigning NCAA champ Scott Langley, who finally didn’t need extra holes to advance.

“I didn’t win the match. I just survived a little better than he did,” Chung said.

Langley held off Augusta State’s Patrick Reed in the morning matches, winning in 19 holes, a day after needing an extra hole to beat Tim Jackson. Every hole from the 11th onward was won outright and some in dramatic fashion, including Reed’s chip in from a greenside bunker to win the 16th and pull even. Langley won No. 17 and Reed forced extra holes winning the 18th before Reed’s tee shot on the first extra hole found the long fescue on a large dune along the first fairway.

In the afternoon, Langley rolled past Australian Kyle McCarthy, winning 6 and 4.

“I’m happy with the way I’ve been competitive,” Langley said. “The first two matches I was down early and didn’t give up and kept fighting. I’m happy with the way I performed down the stretch in those matches.”

The bottom half of the bracket features a matchup of Oklahoma State teammates with Morgan Hoffmann and Peter Uihlein meeting. Hoffman had an easy time on Thursday, needing just 30 holes to dispatch of Richard Werenski (6 and 4) and Alex Ching (4 and 2).

Uihlein’s day was more difficult. Ranked by some publications as the top American amateur, Uihlein edged Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo 2 up in the morning, then rallied from 2 down after nine holes to beat John Hahn in 19 holes, finishing up just as the sun started down on the horizon.

“The wind was brutal and I was fortunate to come out on top. John played a good match,” Uihlein said. “… It was grueling. It was not easy.”

Patrick Cantlay, an 18-year-old from Southern California who finished tied for second in stroke play, was 4 up with five holes left against Connor Arendell. Cantlay tried to squander his lead and was forced to the 18th before holding on for a 1 up win.

Cantlay will face Jed Dirksen, who has gone without a caddie and twice walked Chambers Bay Thursday carrying his own bag. Dirksen beat Joseph Bramlett in 19 holes.

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm