Match recaps: U.S. wins Solheim Cup, 16 1/2 to 11 1/2

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 20, 2017, 9:15 pm

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – The U.S. and Europe split their singles matches on Sunday as the Americans cruised to a 16 ½ to 11 ½ victory in the Solheim Cup. Here's a recap of the matches.

DAY 3

Sunday singles: U.S. 6, Europe 6

Overall: U.S. 16 ½, Europe 11 ½

MATCH 17: Lexi Thompson (U.S.) vs. Anna Nordqvist (Europe), halved: Difficult to find words to describe this match. Thompson was 4 down after four holes (and 4 down after nine) then went 8 under in a 7-hole stretch (Nos. 10-16) to take a 1-up lead. Nordqvist hit it stiff on 18 to win the hole and halve the match.

MATCH 18: Paula Creamer (U.S.) def. Georgia Hall (Europe), 1 up: Overshadowed because of what went on up ahead but this was another well-played match. Only thing that marred it was the way it ended with a Hall miss from 4 feet that would’ve halved the match.

MATCH 19: Cristie Kerr (U.S.) def. Mel Reid (Europe), 2 and 1: Kerr led the entire way but never had more than a 2-up advantage. Ultimately, her putter was just too much for Reid, just as it was for everyone in Kerr’s way all week. She ended with 3-0-1 record.

MATCH 20: Catriona Matthew (Europe) def. Stacy Lewis (U.S.), 1 up: Another incredible match that, unfortunately, will get lost in the shuffle. Matthew was 3 down after 11 and just calmly plodded her way back for the victory. The Suzann Pettersen replacement compiled a remarkable 3-1 record.

MATCH 21: Angel Yin (U.S.) vs. Karine Icher (Europe), halved: This half-point essentially guaranteed that the U.S. would retain the Solheim Cup. Although it was only the 13 ½ point, Salas was 2 up with two holes remaining two matches behind, which would ultimately push the Americans over the edge.

MATCH 22: Caroline Masson (Europe) def. Michelle Wie (U.S.), 4 and 2: Wie was out of sorts from the beginning and Masson took advantage and built a fairly easy 4-up lead after 10 holes. Wie didn’t make enough birdies and Masson cruised.

MATCH 23: Lizette Salas (U.S.) def. Jodi Ewart Shadoff (Europe), 1 up: This victory gave the Americans the Solheim Cup outright and this was another close match from beginning to end. Once Salas was 2 up with two remaining there was no way the U.S. could lose the cup.

MATCH 24: Charley Hull (Europe) def. Brittany Lang (U.S.), 1 up: Hull never trailed although she was never more than 2 up at any point. She battled a wrist injury that had her sit all day Saturday and came to play Sunday against Lang, who did not produce her best stuff.

MATCH 25: Carlota Ciganda (Europe) def. Brittany Lincicome (U.S.), 4 and 3: Sorenstam pointed out that Ciganda didn’t perform her best the first two days, but she finally did in singles, although it was too late. More than a little surprising that Lincicome didn’t make more birdies.

MATCH 26: Gerina Piller (U.S.) def. Florentyna Parker (Europe), 4 and 2: Piller saved the Solheim Cup for the Americans two years ago in Germany and she brought her best against an overwhelmed Parker in singles. Piller is now 2-0-1 in Solheim singles matches.

MATCH 27: Madelene Sagstrom (Europe) def. Austin Ernst (U.S.), 3 and 2: The rookie Sagstrom put her first point on the board and it came against Ernst, her former LSU teammate. Once Sagstrom got to 3 up after six holes she was in control the rest of the way.

MATCH 28: Danielle Kang (U.S.) def. Emily Pedersen (Europe), 3 and 1: Kang was an absolute rock star for the Americans all week and it’s easy to envision the 24-year-old being on many Solheim Cup teams in the future. The match put a stamp on a 16 ½ to 11 ½ U.S. victory.


DAY 2

Afternoon fourballs: U.S. 3, Europe 1 (Overall: U.S. 10 ½, Europe 5 ½)

MATCH 13: Brittany Lang-Brittany Lincicome (U.S.) def. Carlota Ciganda-Mel Reid (Europe), 2 up: Easily the best match of the week and one that Europe did well to get to the 18th hole. Lincicome started with six straight birdies and made 10 in the first 15 holes. Lang dunked a wedge for eagle on the seventh hole. Europe was 10 under, and lost.

MATCH 14: Jodi Ewart Shadoff-Anna Nordqvist (Europe) def. Lizette Salas-Angel Yin (U.S.), 4 and 2: The only bright spot in another losing session for Europe. Both Europeans played great and kept continuous pressure on the Americans, who simply didn’t make many birdies.

MATCH 15: Paula Creamer-Austin Ernst (U.S.) def. Karine Icher-Madelene Sagstrom (Europe), 2 and 1: Another terrific match that had fireworks, including two near-aces on the par-3 14th hole. Creamer and Ernst collected their second win of the day as a team and both dropped putts all over the place.

MATCH 16: Cristie Kerr-Lexi Thompson (U.S.) def. Georgia Hall-Catriona Matthew (Europe), 4 and 2: The anchor match turned out to be another display of tremendous play from the red, white and blue. Kerr was 8 under on her own ball and the team was 12 under in the 16-hole match. Otherworldly. Kerr and Thompson are now 4-0-2 together as a team.


Morning foursomes: U.S. 2, Europe 2 (Overall: U.S. 7 ½, Europe 4 ½)

MATCH 9: Cristie Kerr-Lexi Thompson (U.S.) def. Jodi Ewart Shadoff-Caroline Masson (Europe), 5 and 3: Win gave Kerr the most Solheim Cup points in U.S. history surpassing captain Juli Inkster. The difference was U.S. wins on Nos. 8, 9 and 10 to put it out of reach against Europe’s best team.

 MATCH 10: Paula Creamer-Austin Ernst (U.S.) def. Emily Pedersen-Mel Reid (Europe), 5 and 3: The second consecutive rout for the Americans to step on the Europeans at a crucial time. Won 11, 12, 13 and 15 to slam the door shut. Creamer becomes all-time top U.S. points-earner in foursomes play.

MATCH 11: Georgia Hall-Anna Nordqvist (Europe) def. Stacy Lewis-Gerina Piller (U.S.), 2 and 1: Sure, it was only Saturday morning but this was a match that Europe had to win to stop the bleeding. Lewis-Piller fall to a surprising 1-2 together this week, while Hall has quickly proved she will be a future superstar for Europe.

MATCH 12: Karine Icher-Catriona Matthew (Europe) def. Danielle Kang-Michelle Wie (U.S.), 2 and 1: Europe’s all-mom team collects its second victory together this week and hands Kang her first loss in three matches. This match assured Europe a 2-2 split in the morning session.


DAY 1

Afternoon fourballs: U.S. 4, Europe 0 (Overall: U.S. 5 ½, Europe 2 ½)

MATCH 5: Michelle Wie-Danielle Kang (U.S.) def. Jodi Ewart Shadoff-Madelene Sagstrom (Europe), 3 and 1: Kang was a star on her first day playing in the Solheim Cup. She hit great shot after great shot and drained key putts all over the lot. It was a thing of beauty for the U.S. and she may just play in all five matches.

MATCH 6: Lizette Salas-Angel Yin (U.S.) def. Carlota Ciganda-Emily Pedersen (Europe), 6 and 5: An absolute drubbing as Salas pushed her second rookie of the day to victory. Europe was overmatched from the beginning and was 3 down after three holes because of three Salas birdies. But both Americans played superb.

MATCH 7: Brittany Lang-Brittany Lincicome (U.S.) def. Caroline Masson-Florentyna Parker (Europe), 3 and 2: The Europeans were overmatched but hung in there for awhile. Parker was out of sorts for most of the way, leaving Masson to helplessly play the two Brittany’s on her own.

MATCH 8: Stacy Lewis-Gerina Piller (U.S.) def. Georgia Hall-Charley Hull (Europe), 2 and 1: Redemption for the same U.S. duo that lost a match in the morning that they should’ve, at least, halved. Still, this was the best match of the afternoon that went down to the wire. A Lewis birdie on 17 sealed it.


Morning foursomes: Europe 2 ½, U.S. 1 ½

MATCH 1: Cristie Kerr-Lexi Thompson (U.S.) vs. Charley Hull-Mel Reid (Europe), halved: Thompson drove the first green, Kerr made the 10-foot eagle putt to go 1 up, but Europe fought back and was 2 up with two remaining. Americans won both the last two holes to make a halve feel like victory.

MATCH 2: Danielle Kang-Lisette Salas (U.S.) def. Carlota Ciganda-Caroline Masson (Europe), 1 up: The U.S. never trailed in this match but it was a nail-biter until the end. Europe won the 17th to take the match to the final hole, but the Americans made par to collect their only full point of the session.

MATCH 3: Georgia Hall-Anna Nordqvist (Europe) def. Paula Creamer-Austin Ernst (U.S.), 3 and 1: This match was close the entire way although Europe never trailed. With a 1-up lead standing on the 16th tee, Europe won the next two holes to quickly end this match.

MATCH 4: Karine Icher-Catriona Matthew (Europe) def. Stacy Lewis-Gerina Piller (U.S.), 1 up: This was a humongous victory for Europe, taking down arguably the American’s best foursomes team. Matthew only found out she was on the squad two days ago, and stepped up huge. Americans bogeyed the last hole, when par would’ve produced a half point.

Ryu, S.H. Park among winners at Rolex awards

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 5:51 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – The Rolex Player of the Year and Vare Trophy winners won’t be determined until Sunday’s finish of the CME Group Tour Championship, but seven other awards were presented Thursday during the LPGA’s Rolex Awards dinner at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort.

The awards and winners:

William and Mousie Powell Award – Katherine Kirk won an award given to the player “whose behavior and deeds best exemplify the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA.” Kirk won the Thornberry Classic this year, her third LPGA title. “Some people ask me if I feel obligated to give back to the game,” Kirk said. “I think it’s a privilege.”

Heather Farr Perseverance Award – Tiffany Joh, who had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma earlier this year, thanked the Farr family and all those who supported Joh through her diagnosis and recovery.

“I found a great quote from Ram Dass, `We are all just walking each other home,’” Joh said. “I’ve really come to understand the value of all my relationships, no matter how fleeting or profound they seem.”

The Commissioner’s Award – Roberta Bowman, outgoing chair of the LPGA Board of Directors, was honored for her service the last six years. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan called her “my friend, my boss and my hero.” Bowman deflected the praise for her back on to the tour, thanking Whan, LPGA staff, players, sponsors, fans and the media.

“The world needs more role models for little girls,” Bowman said. “And they don’t need to look much farther than the LPGA.”

Ellen Griffin Rolex Award and Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement Award – Sandy LaBauve, who founded the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf program, was honored as the first person to win both these awards.

The Griffin Award honors golf teachers and the Lopez Award honors an LPGA professional who emulates the values Lopez demonstrated. LaBauve is the daughter of Jack and Sherry Lumpkin, both teachers of the game.

“This program doesn’t belong to me,” LaBauve said of LPGA-Girls’ Golf. “I merely planted the seed. The fruit belongs to all of us.”

Rolex Annika Major Award – So Yeon Ryu won the award, named for Annika Sorenstam, for the best overall performance in women’s major championships this year. She won the ANA Inspiration and tied for third at the U.S. Women’s Open.

“It’s such an honor to win an award named after Annika Sorenstam,” Ryu told Sorenstam during the presentation. “It’s a special award for me.”

Rolex Rookie of the Year Award – Sung Hyun Park won the honor, telling the audience in a message translated from Korean that she was disappointed failing to win the KLPGA’s Rookie of the Year Award and was grateful for a dream come true getting the chance to win it on the LPGA.

Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.


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Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

Joel Dahmen had a 64.


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''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

“At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told GolfChannel.com. “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.


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With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

“I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

“As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.