Notes Comeback Falls Short Windy Start

By Associated PressSeptember 15, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Solheim CupHALMSTAD, Sweden -- They were five down with six holes to play.
 
Then Nicole Castrale and Cristie Kerr nearly made one of the greatest Solheim Cup comebacks, winning four of five holes down the stretch against Annika Sorenstam and Catriona Matthew on Saturday.
 
But Castrale, a rookie on the U.S. Solheim Cup team, blew her chance on the 18th. Her birdie putt from 6 feet to tie curled out and Matthew parred the hole for Europe's only foursome win of the day.
 
'I think our legs were shaking on that putt,' Matthew said. 'It was only probably 3 feet, but it seemed a very long 3 feet. If it would have been a halve, it would have been disappointing.
 
'They kept throwing birdies after us. In these (windy) conditions, there's not much you can do against birdies. They played really good golf.'
 
Matthew and Sorenstam lost their opening foursome Friday 4 and 2 to Sherri Steinhauer and Laura Diaz.
 
Sorenstam said she was not sure what got Castrale and Kerr going in their group.
 
'They started to play awesome golf,' Sorenstam said. 'It was a great match. I thought it was a lot of fun. You know, this is what it's all about. We were very happy to get a point in the end.'
 
After shooting a 2-over 74 in the third round in her own event last month in southern Sweden, Sorenstam said it was the 'toughest time she ever had on a golf course.'
 
But she's been one of the best Europeans so far at Halmstad.
 
Sorenstam has the most points in Solheim Cup history: 23 in eight events since her 1994 debut.
 
Castrale said that even though they lost, it didn't feel like it.
 
'Cristie made some awesome putts,' Castrale said. 'We knew we had to start doing it. ... It was close.'
 
DAVIES IN SWEDEN
Veteran Laura Davies, who has played in Sweden numerous times, shot a 15-under total at Halmstad to win the 1999 Chrysler Open on the Ladies' European Tour.
 
Davies, the second best points scorer in Solheim Cup history, also won the 1998 Chrysler Open and the 1999 Compaq Open on other Swedish courses.
 
The 43-year-old is the only golfer have played in every Solheim Cup since its inception in 1990.
 
STORMY WEATHER
Play was delayed for two hours Saturday morning because of winds that sent fences tumbling and made golf balls oscillate on the greens.
 
'We had debris around the greens, branches, leaves, twigs were all down there,' tournament director Andy Lott said. 'Fences were down and crossing points were moved. The big stuff was OK. We had problems with the media center and fascia boards were down, but not as much damage as we thought.'
 
When the foursomes finally began, the winds were gusting up to 40 mph.
 
'Seriously tough,' Europe's Suzann Pettersen said about the wind. 'It was actually worse hitting straight into the wind than straight down. Could be a four-club wind. You put some spin on the ball and no control.'
 
FAMOUS FACES
Doug Sanders played an exhibition at Halmstad in the early 1960s, with Gene Sarazen doing play-by-play for 'Shell's Wonderful World of Golf' series.
 
Other famous golfers who have played competitively at Halmstad -- as amateurs or pros -- include Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Jesper Parnevik, Jean van de Velde, Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen and Catherine Lacoste.
 
ROYAL VISIT
Princess Madeleine of Sweden will attend the Solheim Cup on Sunday to watch golf and collect a check for a charity organization she works for in Stockholm, the Swedish capital.
 
Her favorite sport? Not golf. The Princess likes horse jumping -- her childhood passion -- and skiing.
 
ATTENDANCE
Saturday's matches drew 33,200 fans, the biggest turnout of the week and bringing total attendance to 64,300 since Tuesday. Only 16,450 spectators came to the opening matches held Friday in cold, wet and windy weather.
 
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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.


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    Man of the people


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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