Curtis Cup begins Friday in Scotland

By Associated PressJune 7, 2012, 11:21 pm

NAIRN, Scotland – Britain and Ireland captain Tegwen Matthews is confident her eight-woman team can halt the United States' domination of the biennial Curtis Cup, which begins Friday.

The 37th edition of the event between the two teams of female amateur golfers opens with three foursomes matches on the Nairn Golf Club course, east of Inverness in northern Scotland.

Since the inaugural encounter in 1932, the U.S. has won 28 of the 36 Curtis Cups contested, including the past seven.

Matthews, who played in four prior Curtis Cup matches, believes the key to winning back the trophy is getting off to a good start.

''When you're only playing 18 holes you have to get off to a quick start and my team needs to be aware the first three to four holes are very crucial to the whole match,'' she said. ''That's why I've had the girls play those holes up-and-down goodness knows how many times this week. It's the same with the last two to three holes as I've also had them play those last few holes as they are very strong closing holes.''

In a surprise, Charley Hull of England, the world's leading women's amateur, was left out of the opening round of matches. The 16-year-old is the youngest of all 16 women competing and, at No. 4 in the world, she is also the highest ranked.

''There's no particular reason (for Hull's omission) as everyone is playing particular well,'' captain Tegwen Matthews said. ''I need fresh legs every round, so the fact that Charley is not playing in the morning means absolute nothing.''

There was controversy earlier this year when Hull was not on the British and Irish team training squad after accepting an invitation to compete in the first women's major championship of 2012. But after Hull played at the LPGA Kraft Nabisco in California, she was put back on the squad.

In the opening foursomes: American pair Austin Ernst and Brooke Pancake take on Kelly Tidy and Amy Boulden, US duo Amy Anderson and Tiffany Lua meet Holly Clyburn and Bronte Law, and teammates Lindy Duncan and Lisa McCloskey play Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow.

U.S. captain Patricia Cornett revealed her team has been inundated with messages of support including one from former President George H.W. Bush.

However Cornett, who played in the 1978 winning team and also the 1988 losing side, was not as outspoken as her rival.

''The matches have always been quite competitive and yes, the Americans have tended to win in the recent past but there was a time back, and I was a member of that team in 1988, when GB&I were winning,'' Cornett said.

''Whenever the matches are over here advantage-wise GB&I are favorites and this year GB&I has a terrific team, so I am looking forward to very competitive matches.''

Leading the Americans is Lindy Duncan of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The 21-year old No. 8-ranked player made the halfway cut in last year's U.S. Women's Open.

But on the U.S. side just one, 21-year old Brooke Pancake of Chattanooga, Tenn., is set to turn professional immediately after Sunday's final round of matches.

''I've been asked a lot if I am going to wait to play in a number of other big amateur events later this year before I turn pro, but I could not think of a better way to end my amateur career than with the Curtis Cup and here in Scotland, and the home of golf,'' Pancake said.

''I have been extremely blessed to have some of the doors open for me being an amateur and hopefully many more will open for me after Sunday as a professional.''

Teams

GB&I: Tegwen Matthews (captain, Wales), Amy Boulden (Wales), Holly Clyburn (England), Charley Hull (England), Bronte Hall( England), Leona Maguire (Ireland), Stephanie Meadow (Northern Ireland), Pamela Pretswell (Scotland), Kelly Tidy (England)

United States: Patricia Cornett (captain), Amy Anderson, Lindy Duncan, Austin Ernst, Tiffany Lua, Lisa McCloskey, Brooke Pancake, Erica Popson, Emily Tubert      

 

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TT postscript: Tiger (E) survives difficult day

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 6:40 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Here are some observations after watching Tiger Woods’ even-par 70 in the first round of the Honda Classic:

• Whew, that was tough. Like, by far the most difficult conditions Woods has faced this year. The wind blew about 20 mph all day, from different directions, and that affected every part of the game, especially putting.

• And though the stats aren’t necessarily pretty – half the fairways hit, just 10 greens – this was BY FAR his best ball-striking round of the new year. He even said so himself. When he walked off the course, he was just four off the lead.


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


• Woods had only one bad hole Thursday. It came on the par-5 third hole, his 12th of the day. He blew his driver into the right bunker. He had to lay way back, to clear the lip of the bunker. And then he tugged his third shot just barely in the greenside trap. And then his bunker shot didn’t get onto the green. Then he chipped on and missed a 4-footer. A truly ugly double bogey.

• The driver is still a concern – he found the fairway only once in five attempts. But only one of those misses was way off-line. That came on the 12th, when he double-crossed one way left.

• Though the driver is uncooperative, he has showed a lot of improvement with his 3-wood. The four times he used it, he controlled the ball flight beautifully and hit it 300-plus. His 2-iron is making a comeback, too, in a big way.



• After this round, he should have a little wiggle room Friday to make the cut, barring a blowup round. It’s playing tough, and the 36-hole cut should be over par. Tiger needs four rounds of competitive reps. If he plays like this Friday, he’ll get them. 

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 5:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.


Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters


Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET


Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.


Notables in the field:

Tiger Woods

• Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

• Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

• Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.


Rickie Fowler

• The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

• Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

• On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 


Rory McIlroy

• It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

• McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

• Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13).