NCAA Champions to Get USGA Exemptions
The exemptions will begin with the 2004 championship season.
The NCAA mens championship is scheduled from June 1-4 at the Cascades Golf Course at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va. The NCAA womens championship is set for May 18-21 at the Grand National Lake Course at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.
The U.S. Amateur Championship, with a starting field of 312, will be played from Aug. 16-22 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. The U.S. Womens Amateur, with a starting field of 156, will be played from Aug. 9-15 at The Kahkwa Club in Erie, Pa. Both championships start with 36 holes of stroke play before the top 64 scorers advance to match play.
Nine Amateur winners also have been NCAA champions, starting with Harvards Chandler Egan, who won the 1902 NCAA title and the 1904 and 1905 Amateur. The most recent double winner was Tiger Woods of Stanford, who won the 1996 NCAA and three consecutive Amateurs from 1994-96.
Woods is also one of six NCAA titlists to win a U.S. Open. The other five are Tom Kite, Hale Irwin, Jack Nicklaus, Scott Simpson and Curtis Strange.
In a much shorter 22-year history, four women have won both the NCAA and the Womens Amateur titles, including 2003 Womens Amateur champion Virada Nirapathpongporn, who won the 2002 NCAA title playing for Duke. College golf for women was organized by other administrative bodies prior to 1982.
Annika Sorenstam, who won the NCAA title while at Arizona in 1991, is one of two NCAA individual champions who went on to win a U.S. Womens Open. She won the Womens Open in 1995 and 1996. The other was Kathy Baker, who won the 1982 NCAA and the 1985 Womens Open.
Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook sank a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at RSM Classic.
Cook has gone 36 holes without making a bogey on the Plantation Course or the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.
Cook was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.
Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back.
Bubba (64) fires his lowest round of 2017
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Bubba Watson’s plan when he left the Dell Technologies Championship in September was to take a few months off and come back fresh in 2018
Those plans changed after a few weeks.
“What we figured out was the mental side, preparing for kindergarten - not for me, for my son - preparing for [wife] Angie's knee surgery. It's been a tough go,” Watson said.
“Being home and being with the family and everything, I realized how much I missed the game of golf, and that's why I wanted to come and play in these tournaments.”
The plan has paid off this week at the RSM Classic, where Watson is tied for 12th place after a second-round 64 on the Seaside course moved him to 7 under par.
Watson, who tied for 51st two weeks ago in Las Vegas, got off to a quick start on Day 2, playing the opening nine in 29. Despite a miscue at the 14th hole, when his tee shot wedged into a tree, he was solid coming in for his best individual round this year.
The left-hander was particularly sharp with his ball-striking after what has been a difficult year.
“I want to play golf now and right now I'm swinging at it pretty nicely,” he said.
S.H. Park (65) builds three-shot lead at LPGA finale
NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made five straight birdies and seized control late in the round with an eagle for a 7-under 65 and a three-shot lead in the CME Group Tour Championship.
The lead might have been larger except for Park's three-putt bogey on the 18th hole at Tiburon Golf Club.
Not only was she three ahead of Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith, none of the other players vying for all the awards was within five shots. Lexi Thompson shot a 67 and wound up losing ground. She was six shots behind.
Park was at 12-under 132. A victory would allow the 24-year-old South Korean to sweep all the big awards and become the first rookie since Nancy Lopez in 1978 to win LPGA player of the year.
Korda sisters poised to make a run at CME
NAPLES, Fla. – Jessica Korda wasn’t feeling well making her way around the CME Group Tour Championship battling congestion Friday, but the leaderboard walking to the ninth tee gave her a nice lift.
That’s where she saw younger sister Nelly’s name tucked right next to hers.
They were within a shot of each other amid hard charges up the leaderboard, with Nelly playing just in front of her.
“I was like, 'Dang!’ It was good to see,” said Jessica, 24. “It’s fun to see her playing this well. I know what she puts into it. I’m kind of jealous of the rookie year she’s having, because mine sucked.”
Nelly, 19, is looking to put a special ending on her first year on tour. She posted a 6-under-par 66, good for a tie for fourth, six shots behind Sung Hyun Park (65). Nelly has given herself a weekend shot at her first victory.
Just a year ago, Nelly was here as a spectator, watching her sister.
“I found it funny,” Nelly said. “I was walking to the range on Tuesday, thinking just last year, people were asking me, 'When are you going to be out here?’ It seems surreal to be out here, playing alongside my sister and the best players in the world.
“Being in contention is really, really special.”
Jessica shot 68 and sits a shot behind her sister.
Nelly said seeing the leaderboard gave her a lift, too.
“Maybe it amps me up just a little bit,” Nelly said. “It’s a friendly competition. Even though we want each other to succeed, we also want to beat each other. I think she would say that, too.”
Jessica is seeking her fifth LPGA title. She’s coming off a tie for third at the Blue Bay LPGA last week.
Jessica is 35th on the LPGA money list this year, with $515,521 in earnings. Nelly is 51st, with $388,983 in earnings.
“I definitely look for Jess on the board,” Nelly said. “We’ve very supportive of each other.”