Women's regionals: Which teams are in, out for NCAAs

By Ryan LavnerMay 7, 2016, 8:30 pm

The NCAA Division I women’s regionals wrapped up Saturday at four sites around the country. The low six teams in each regional after the third and final round advanced to the May 20-25 NCAA Championship at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club.

In all, seven of the top 25 teams in the country won't move on to the national finals. Here are the final results from the Shoal Creek (Ala.), Baton Rouge (La.), Bryan (Texas) and Stanford (Calif.) regionals:

Shoal Creek Regional, at Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham, Ala.: 

Winner: Northwestern (+23)

Runner-up: Florida State (+41) 

Rest of the top 6: Oklahoma State (+43), Alabama (+44), Tennessee (+48), Michigan (+52)

Better luck next year: California (+60), Clemson (+65), Purdue (+72), Iowa State (+80)

Medalists: Matilda Castren, Florida State; Marianne Li, California; Janet Mao, Northwestern (all finished at +4)

Individuals advancing: Li, California; Lauren Stephenson, Clemson; August Kim, Purdue

Skinny: Eighth-ranked Northwestern rolled to an 18-shot victory in difficult conditions at Shoal Creek, with Mao sharing medalist honors. Two other Wildcats players finished inside the top 10 individually as they won a regional for the first time in program history. Top-ranked Alabama had an off-week on its home golf course, finishing 21 shots back, but it still was able to advance without much concern. Michigan grabbed the sixth and final spot, just the second time in program history that the Wolverines booked a trip to the NCAA finals (2002). A 13 seed, Michigan was the lowest-ranked team to advance. Missing out were California and Iowa State, the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds, respectively. 

Baton Rouge Regional, at The University Club in Baton Rouge, La.:

Winners: South Carolina and Florida (-6)

Rest of the top 6: Washington (-1), Duke (+6), Oregon (+18), BYU (+20)

Better luck next year: Houston (+21), Arizona State (+27), East Carolina (+40), LSU (+41), N.C. State (+43)

Medalist: Katelyn Dambaugh, South Carolina (-9) 

Individuals advancing: Elise Bradley, LSU; Linnea Strom, Arizona State; Leonie Harm, Houston

Skinny: South Carolina’s 277 in the second round carried the Gamecocks to a share of the team title, and Dambaugh, ranked fourth in the country, led the way individually. Florida shot the same 11-under round on the final day to surge into a tie for first behind Karolina Vlckova's school-record 65. Five of the top six seeds advanced, the lone exception being 10th-ranked Arizona State, which finished seven shots above the cut line. It’s a disappointing end to the season for the Sun Devils, who finished third in the Pac-12 Championship and had three other runner-up finishes this spring. Player-of-the-year contender Monica Vaughn shot 13 over par for the week. Oregon, which in two weeks will host the NCAA Championship at Eugene Country Club, finished fifth to play an NCAA home game. Moving inside the top six was BYU, the No. 10 seed. Tied with Houston for the final spot, Lea Garner ended a run of three consecutive bogeys with a 54-hole birdie to send the Cougars to the finals. LSU finished 11th on its home golf course, 21 shots off the cut line.

More on BYU: As a Mormon-run school, BYU does not play any sport on Sunday. To accommodate the school’s policy, the Cougars will have the option to participate in the practice round on Thursday (May 19) with the other 132 participants (24 teams and 12 individuals) and then begin their first round of stroke play (with Sunday hole locations) on Thursday afternoon following the practice round. All 24 teams and 12 individuals will play Friday and Saturday, while on Sunday the other 23 teams and 12 individuals will finish their third rounds. If BYU is among the low 15 teams after 54 holes, the Cougars will play the fourth and final round on Monday (May 23), as originally scheduled.

Bryan Regional, at Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas:

Winner: Georgia (-6)

Runner-up: Arizona (E) 

Rest of the top 6: UCLA (+1), Furman (+9), Miami (+13), Texas (+15)

Better luck next year: Tulane (+16), Kent State (+17), TCU (+20), Campbell (+20), Texas A&M (+24) 

Medalist: Bronte Law, UCLA; Bailey Tardy, Georgia (both finished at -7)

Individuals advancing: Laura Lonardi, Baylor; Olivia Cason, Louisville; Bianca Pagdanganan, Gonzaga

Skinny: Georgia reestablished itself as an NCAA favorite with a six-shot victory in this regional. Freshman Bailey Tardy shared medalist honors for the Bulldogs, and Jillian Hollis was fourth. No. 3-ranked UCLA easily advanced, and Law became the frontrunner for national player of the year honors after picking up her third victory of the season. It was Miami's first NCAA finals berth since 1992, while Furman advanced for the first time since 2008. Julia Beck's par on the final hole secured the sixth and final spot for Texas, which finished one shot ahead of Tulane. The biggest surprise was Texas A&M, which finished 12th despite playing on its home golf course. Kent State, the No. 4 seed, missed the final spot by two shots. 

Stanford Regional, at Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, Calif.: 

Winner: Southern Cal and Stanford (+4) 

Rest of the top 6: Ohio State (+23), North Carolina (+26), Arkansas (+27), Virginia (+31)

Better luck next year: Colorado (+32), Wake Forest (+35), Pepperdine (+37), San Diego State (+43), UNLV (+56) 

Medalist: Elizabeth Szokol, Virginia; Andrea Wong, UC Davis (both finished at -4)

Individuals advancing: Wong, UC Davis; Jennifer Kupcho, Wake Forest; Sarah Burnham, Michigan State

Skinny: Second-ranked USC and host Stanford shared the team title after the Cardinal’s Mariah Stackhouse missed a 5-footer for par on the final hole. Nonetheless, it was a stress-free week for one of the NCAA favorites and the defending champion. Two teams outside the top six seeds who came west – Ohio State and North Carolina – advanced after steady final rounds kept them inside the bubble. Szokol shared medalist honors and helped Virginia weather a disastrous final-round 299, the worst score of any of the contenders. Szokol shot 67, including three birdies on the back nine, to keep the ACC champions one shot clear of Colorado. 

Getty Images

Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

Getty Images

Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“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. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “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.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

Getty Images

Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

Getty Images

DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”