U.S. team shut out on Day 1 at International Crown

By Associated PressJuly 24, 2014, 9:07 pm

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Yani Tseng made a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to give Taiwan a sweep of the top-seeded United States team Thursday in the opening round of the International Crown.

Tseng and Phoebe Yao never trailed in a 1-up win over Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson. Earlier, Candie Kung and Teresa Lu beat Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr, 4 and 3.

The inaugural International Crown features 32 players from eight countries.

Each team receives two points for a win and one for a tie. The U.S. was the only team that failed to secure a point on the first day.

On Friday, the United States (0 points) will face Spain (3) in Pool A, and Taiwan (4) will take on Thailand (1). Pool B matchups are Japan (3) against South Korea (2), and Australia (2) versus Sweden (1).


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Japan took the lead in Pool B with a strong performance against Sweden. Although the Japanese team of Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine led from start to finish, it took a birdie on No. 18 by Yokomine to secure a 2-up win over Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmlid.

''That was a great start, for sure,'' Miyazato said. ''But still a long way to go. I'm exhausted already, because I used so much energy on the golf course.''

In Japan's other match, Mamilo Higa and Mika Miyazato halved with Caroline Hedwall and Anna Nordqvist, who trailed by two strokes with seven holes left.

''We played really well, both of us, and just gave ourselves a lot of chances,'' Hedwall said. ''Then they managed to hole a couple more putts than we did. But I think we fought back really nice, and it's good to get one point at least.''

The first points of the tournament were secured by Spain against Thailand in Pool A. The duo of Carlotta Ciganda and Azahara Munoz won 3 and 2 over Pornanong Phatlum and Onnarin Sattayabanphot, and Spain's Belen Mozo and Beatriz Recari halved with sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn.

That provided the elated Spaniards with three points.

''From the beginning we started playing really well and kept hitting fairways and greens,'' Munoz said. ''We had many chances. We're extremely happy to get those two points.''

Ciganda and Munoz were no strangers on the golf course.

''I played with Azahara lots of years when we were amateurs, then we went to school together and we played last year at the Solheim Cup,'' Ciganda said. ''Playing today with her, we were so comfortable out there, just having fun, laughing and making birdies.''

South Korea split with Australia, leaving each country with two points in Pool B. After Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu forged a 3-and-2 win over Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright of Australia, Karie Webb and Minjee Lee beat I.K. Kim and Na Yeon Choi 2 up.

Park and Ryu both eagled the par-5 12th hole for a three-hole lead and coasted to finish.

The Webb-Lee tandem didn't lead by more than one stroke until Lee sank her fourth birdie putt on the 18th hole.

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Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”

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McIlroy: Ryder Cup won't be as easy as USA thinks

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:18 pm

The Americans have won their past two international team competitions by a combined score of 38-22, but Rory McIlroy isn’t expecting another pushover at the Ryder Cup in September.

McIlroy admitted that the U.S. team will be strong, and that its core of young players (including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler) will be a force for the next decade. But he told reporters Tuesday at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship that course setup will play a significant role.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said, referring to the Americans’ 17-11 victory in 2016. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

At every Ryder Cup, the home team has the final say on course setup. Justin Rose was the most outspoken about the setup at Hazeltine, saying afterward that it was “incredibly weak” and had a “pro-am feel.” 

And so this year’s French Open figures to be a popular stop for European Tour players – it’s being held once again at Le Golf National, site of the matches in September. Tommy Fleetwood won last year’s event at 12 under.

“I’m confident,” McIlroy said. “Everything being all well and good, I’ll be on that team and I feel like we’ll have a really good chance.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that. The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.” 

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Floodlights may be used at Dubai Desert Classic

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 12:44 pm

No round at next week’s Dubai Desert Classic will be suspended because of darkness.

Tournament officials have installed state-of-the-art floodlighting around the ninth and 18th greens to ensure that all 132 players can finish their round.

With the event being moved up a week in the schedule, the European Tour was initially concerned about the amount of daylight and trimmed the field to 126 players. Playing under the lights fixed that dilemma.

“This is a wonderful idea and fits perfectly with our desire to bring innovation to our sport,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. “No professional golfer ever wants to come back the following morning to complete a round due to lack of daylight, and this intervention, should it be required, will rule out that necessity.”

Next week’s headliners include Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. 

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.