U.S. blanked on Day 1 of International Crown

By Randall MellJuly 24, 2014, 8:54 pm

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Former world No. 1 Yani Tseng led the upset of the day at the International Crown.

Burying a 13-foot birdie at the last, she secured Chinese Taipei’s sweep of the No. 1-seeded Americans on Thursday at Caves Valley Golf Club.

Tseng teamed with Phoebe Yao to defeat Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson, 1 up, in their fourballs match. Earlier, Chinese Taipei’s Teresa Lu and Candie Kung teamed to rout USA’s Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer.

Those victories catapulted Chinese Taipei to the top of the Pool B standings with a 2-0 mark, which was worth four points, a point better than Spain. A victory is worth two points in these matches with a half worth a point.

The Americans weren’t just shut out. They never held a lead on Day 1.

Japan is in control of Pool B after a victory and a half in their matches with Sweden.

Fourballs play will continue Friday with teams trying to position themselves to make it to Sunday singles. The top two teams from each pool advance to Sunday along with a fifth wild-card The teams finishing third in each pool will meet in a sudden-death playoff Saturday evening with the winner advancing as the wild card.


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DAY 1 RESULTS

STANDINGS

POOL A POINTS W-L-T POOL B  POINTS W-L-T
Chinese Taipei 4 2-0-0 Japan 3 1-0-1
Spain 3 1-0-1 Australia 2 1-1-0
Thailand 1 0-1-1 Korea 2 1-1-0
U.S. 0 0-2-0 Sweden 1 0-1-1

THURSDAY FOURBALLS

Match 1

Spain’s Belen Mozo/Beatriz Recari halved with Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn/Ariya Jutanugarn.

The lowdown: Trailing 1 down with two holes to go, the Spaniards salvaged a half after Mozo made her fourth birdie of the day at the 17th and then secured a point with a final par.

Match 2

Spain’s Azahara Munoz/Carlota Ciganda def. Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum/Onnarin Sattayabanphot, 3 and 2. The lowdown: Channeling her inner Seve Ballesteros, Ciganda birdied the first hole and the Spaniards never looked back. They led the entire match.

Match 3

Japan’s Mamiko Higa/Mika Miyazato halved with Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist/Caroline Hedwall.

The lowdown: The Swedes fought back after falling 2 down with six holes to go but lost a chance to win the match when Nordqvist’s 5-footer for birdie at the last hole slid right of the cup.

Match 4

Japan’s Ai Miyazato/Sakura Yokomine def. Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg/Mikaela Parmlid, 2 up.

The lowdown: Yokomine was the star of this match, converting five birdies, including one at the last to take any doubt out of the final outcome.

Match 5

South Korea’s Inbee Park/So Yeon Ryu def. Australia’s Katherine Kirk/Lindsey Wright, 3 and 2.

The lowdown: The best team on Day 1, Park and Ryu combined for five birdies and an eagle over the first 12 holes. Ryu was especially hot, going 6 under over the first 12 holes.

Match 6

Australia’s Karrie Webb/Minjee Lee def. South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi/I.K. Kim, 2 up.

The lowdown: Lee, the 18-year-old amateur, was brilliant alongside Hall of Famer Webb. She made all four of Australia’s birdies in this match.

Match 7

Chinese Taipei’s Teresa Lu/Candie Kung def. USA’s Cristie Kerr/Paula Creamer, 4 and 3.

The lowdown: Lu (44) and Kung (118) have a combined world-ranking total of 162, but they made easy work of the much higher-ranked Kerr (10) and Creamer (12). Creamer managed one birdie on the day, with Kerr making the lone American birdie on the back nine.

Match 8

Chinese Taipei’s Yani Tseng/Phoebe Yao def. USA’s Stacy Lewis/Lexi Thompson, 1 up.

The lowdown: Tseng stuffed her approach at the 18th to 13 feet and buried the birdie putt to win the match.

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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.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x