NC States Hill wins mens NCAA Championship

By Associated PressMay 28, 2009, 4:00 pm
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TOLEDO, Ohio ' With just eight holes remaining in the race for medalist at the NCAA Division I mens golf championship, North Carolina States Matt Hill trailed by two strokes.
 
Instead of panic, it was time to take control.
 
Hill made three birdies down the stretch and then played keepaway with the lead to capture the top individual prize Thursday at Inverness Club.
 
Im pretty pumped up, thats for sure, and a little bit relieved at the same time, Hill said after shooting his third consecutive 2-under 69 to finish at 6-under 207.
 
The tall Canadian started the day tied for the lead with Georgias Russell Henley, who lapsed to a 75 to finish at 213. Starting on the 10th hole, Hill played the first 10 holes in even par and by that point trailed TCUs Tom Hoge by two shots.
 
Clemson junior Kyle Stanley, who matched the days low round with a 66, was second by two strokes. He got a close look at Hills play.
 
You have to tip your hat to Matt. I played with him all three days and he played some incredible golf, Stanley said. Obviously, hes used to winning. And he played great.
 
Hill, who finished the season with eight wins, picked up the pace. The sophomore from Brights Grove, Ontario ' also PGA Tour star Mike Weirs hometown ' birdied holes No. 2 and 5 to regain the lead while those around him were falling victim to the wet conditions, which made the greens receptive but the course even longer.
 
Hill bogeyed the long, par-4 seventh hole after finding the thick rough off the tee, but all but locked up the win with a birdie at the par-5 eighth. He cut the corner with a drive that caught a slope and ended up almost 370 yards from the tee. From there he hit a 6 iron about 220 yards to middle of the green and two-putted for the birdie from 30 feet.
 
I didnt really want to know where I stood until I was coming down the stretch, he said. It was a little bit nerve-racking on a few of the holes but as soon as I found out I had a two-shot lead it was maybe a little bit more comfortable. The bogey kind of made it a little tougher, and then I guess that birdie definitely helped on 8 when that putt snuck in there.
 
No one else was making a move. Stanley parred the last five holes. One group ahead, Hoges lead had melted with bogeys at holes 5, 6 and 7. The last man standing was Hill.
 
He locked up the win with a two-putt par on his final hole, pumping his fist as the 3-footer fell into the cup.
 
This whole seasons been amazing, Hill said. To win this is really icing on the cake and its really special to me. I really worked really hard to get here.
 
Tom Glissmeyer of Southern California (66), Rickie Fowler (68) of the low team through 54 holes of medal play, Oklahoma State, and Hoge (70) tied for third at 3-under 210.
 
Glissmeyer said Hill deserves to be the national player of the year.
 
Hes proving that hes, if not the best, then one of the best in the country, Glissmeyer said.
 
Only nine players in the 156-man field broke par at the 7,255-yard layout, which has also hosted PGA Championships in 1986 (won by Bob Tway on a dramatic sand shot on the 72nd hole to defeat Greg Norman) and 93 (Paul Azinger edged Norman in a playoff), U.S. Opens in 1920 (Ted Ray), 31 (Billy Burke), 57 (Dick Mayer) and 79 (Hale Irwin), the U.S. Amateur (Craig Stadler) in 1973 and the U.S. Senior Open in 2003 (Bruce Lietzke).
 
Hill is the first North Carolina State player to win the individual championship. Past medalists include Tiger Woods (Stanford, 1996), Phil Mickelson (Arizona State in 1989, 90 and 92) and Jack Nicklaus (Ohio State, 1961).
 
Michigans Alexander Sitompul shot a 70 to finish at 2-under 211. Oklahoma States Morgan Hoffman (71) and Central Floridas Blayne Barber (68) were another shot back.
 
Oklahoma State led the eight teams qualifying for the new match-play format which begins with Friday mornings quarterfinals. The team championship match is set for Saturday morning.
 
Coach Mike McGraw said that even though every team starts with a blank slate in match play, he felt his team still had an advantage because of the confidence it had gained so far.
 
It means a lot. Weve played well for three days, McGraw said. We knew (the new format) would be the case whether we finished first, second, eighth ' you always know that thats going to come, so it doesnt matter. You just want to do the best you can and build confidence every day.
 
The tightest race of the day was for the last spots in the team match-play. Oklahoma State went 3 under in the third round to finish at 3-under 849, which was 13 strokes ahead of runner-up Arizona State.
 
Southern California started the round tied for 12th but climbed all the way to a tie for third with Arkansas and Washington, going 5 under on the day.
 
Oklahoma State, which includes Tways son, Kevin, will face eighth-seeded Georgia. In the other quarterfinals, Arizona State will meet No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 3 USC will play No. 6 Michigan, and No. 4 Arkansas will face No. 5 Washington.
 
The second round was suspended for 4 1/2 hours by a thunderstorm, requiring almost half the field to come back Thursday morning to pick up where they left off when darkness fell on Wednesday night. The third round began mid-morning but the rain held off, although the deep rough was particularly thick and troublesome because it was so wet.
 
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''