Duke Wins Hooters Match Play Title

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 4, 2003, 5:00 pm
Courtesy of GoDuke.com

College CentralNORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- The top-seeded Duke women's golf team pulled out a dramatic 3-2 victory over sixth-seeded Georgia on Tuesday in the finals of the 2003 Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship at the Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
'It is match play and you never know what will happen,' said Duke Head Coach Dan Brooks. 'Georgia came into the match playing really well, but we stayed patient and came out on top at the end.'
The reigning U.S. Women's Amateur Champion, Virada Nirapathpongporn, birdied the final hole and then won on the first playoff hole to defeat Kelly Froelich, 1-up, to lead the Blue Devils to the victory. A senior from Bangkok, Thailand, Nirapathpongporn led Froelich, 2-up, through three holes, but Froelich came back to take the lead on the 10th hole.

Nirapathpongporn, who started the day off on hole 17, went down one on holes 14 and 15, before birding the 16th hole to send it in a playoff. On the par-5 16th, Nirapathpongporn had a great drive and then hit a 3-wood on to the green. She missed an eagle putt, but was able to sink the birdie to even the match.
'I really wanted to win the match today and I was very determined,' said Nirapathpongporn. 'Whatever way I had to win the match I was going to do it. On hole 16, I knew I needed a birdie and I was able to put together a great drive and 3-wood, which allowed me to have a good chance at an eagle.'
It came down to the par-3 17th for the playoff. Both golfers hit their tee shots into the hazard, but Nirapathpongporn was able to come back from 88 yards and stuck a wedge to about three feet and made bogey. Froelich couldn't make a 12-foot putt for bogey to give Nirapathpongporn the victory. In four matches in the competition, Nirapathpongporn won three and halved one other match.
'Going into the playoff hole, I knew that we needed to win this match for us to win the championship,' said Nirapathpongporn.
Fellow senior Leigh Anne Hardin dominated Natalia Nicholls over the final seven holes winning 5 & 4. Hardin, from Martinsville, Ind., trailed 1-up early, but from holes nine through 15 was able to go up by five. Also, collecting a victory on the day was freshman Anna Grzebien, which knocked off Lisa Tyler, 2-up. A product of Narragansett, R.I., Grzebien trailed for only one hole in the match and finished the championship winning her final three matches over Ohio State, UCLA and Georgia.
'Leigh Anne played great and she was very solid all week,' said Brooks. 'Anna came back yesterday to win her match and was able to control her match for most of the day today. They both came through with key victories today.'
Georgia's Allison Martin took an early lead and Blue Devil sophomore Liz Janangelo couldn't come back falling 3 & 2, while freshman Brittany Lang lost 2-up to Whitney Wade.
Duke will take the rest of the fall off before opening the spring season on Feb. 22-24 at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Blue Devils finished the fall season winning all five tournaments they played in for the first time in school history.
'It is nice to win and it gives you something to believe in,' said Brooks. 'When we come back in the spring, we will be a good team that is trying to get better. This sends you into the break still excited about golf and that is a good thing.'
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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."