Making it through Q-School

By Carling NolanOctober 7, 2009, 6:26 pm
Shake, shake, shake! Dance, dance, dance! I made it through LPGA Q-School Sectional Qualifying. After a 79 in the first round, the rest of the week was a full out battle to fight back into the top 30. It was horrible, aching and mentally exhausting, but an experience I will never forget.

We have all been there before. You play excellent for weeks and then all of the sudden BAM!  I seem to be hitting a little fade. Oh, now a slice. Oh no! Push slice! I made six straight cuts on the Futures Tour and never felt better about my game. I even shot 2 under in the first round of LPGA Q-School in Palm Springs. Unfortunately, I followed it up with a spirit-breaking 82 to miss the cut.

I tried to not lose my cool. I might have thought about getting a ‘real’ job for like 10 minutes, but then remembered that I had one more shot to make it in Venice, Fla.

After playing eight tournaments in 10 weeks, I was exhausted. My family practically used our last $5,000 to go to Q-School, and I couldn’t give up yet. My mom, dad, and I drove 16 straight hours and put eight hours of practice in everyday.

During the first round I played with Vera Shimanskaya. She has three gold medals from the 2000 Olympics in gymnastics. She is 6 feet tall, long blonde hair, not one ounce of fat. This is an athlete. Unfortunately, she struggled with a high score, but had only been playing golf for three years.

Even with all our practice, it was still not coming together. I shot 79. I felt like my dreams had been shattered. But my game felt so close. We didn’t give up. I played better and better throughout the next couple days. I had early tee times, so we practically lived on the range every night. Tension was high as my dad and I tried to not point fingers at each other (although we both slipped a few times). I shot 73 to make the 36-hole cut right on the number. Then another 73 when the conditions were windy. I went from 85th to 65th to 49th place. One more day.

We calculated that I probably needed to shoot 3 under to make the top 30. My dad and I didn’t say one word to each other throughout the whole round. I was 2 under after four holes. Try not to get excited, just play your game, Carling. Then the winds kicked up high and the pin placements got tougher and tougher. After 11 straight pars, I felt like I was running out of holes. Then when my par putt lipped out on 16, my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach.

I had 180 yards into the 17th hole and made a fantastic two-putt from 45 feet. Last hole, I figured I was off the pace, but in the back of my mind I thought, “I’ve played some of my best golf today to be 1 under, maybe, just maybe other people are struggling too.” So I didn’t do anything stupid on the long par 5. Driver, 5 iron, 8 iron to 25 feet, and then two-putted my way to a very classic par. From across the way my mom gave me a “thumbs up,” and I know what that means.

It turns out the conditions were even tougher than I thought, and the whole field was high. I made it!  I made it! I had the second lowest score of the day!

Well the season is over, and I’ve got two months to get ready for the final stage in Daytona Beach.  I’ll be doing the P90x intense exercise program to get into shape, and moving down to Florida when the weather turns cold. Wish me luck.
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Watch that time Tiger throttled Ames, 9 and 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 4:54 pm

Nine and eight. Three words that live in golf lore. Just say them and any golf fan can tell you what they mean.

In the 2006 WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods faced Stephen Ames in the opening round. Ames, when asked prior to the event about his chance of winning, infamously said, "Anything can happen, especially where he's hitting it."

What happened on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at La Coasta Resort & Spa, was the most lopsided result in tournament history: 9 and 8 Check out the highlights below:

After his win, Woods was asked if Ames' comment had motivated him. Woods replied, "9 and 8."

Woods eventually lost, 1 up, to Chad Campbell in the third round. He then won his next start at Doral and went on to finish the season with six consecutive Tour wins, including The Open and PGA. He also won his first start in 2007 to make it seven consecutive Tour titles.

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Schedule change, caddie change for Casey at Match Play

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 4:12 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Paul Casey originally planned to skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, opting for two weeks off before the Masters.

Those plans changed when he removed the Arnold Palmer Invitational from his schedule and returned home to England last week to attend the funeral of a family friend. That adjustment also prompted a caddie change this week, with Scott Vail stepping in for the Englishman’s normal caddie, John McLaren.

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“We looked at tickets and it just didn't make sense for Johnny to fly back. We try and base our schedule around playing the best golf possible, but also having quality family time,” Casey said on Tuesday at Austin Country Club. “For Johnny to break up a nice three-week break with his family, there was no point to ruining that.”

This isn’t the first time Casey, who won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago, has needed a replacement caddie. At last year’s Travelers Championship, McLaren took a similar break and was replaced on the bag by Shannon Wallace. Although it’s not uncommon for caddies to take a week off, McLaren does have one stipulation.

“The only rule we have is that if Johnny is not going to work, he picks my caddie. So he picked the caddie,” said Casey, who is 20-12-1 in 12 starts at the Match Play and has advanced to the championship match twice.

Westchester Country Club hosted the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship. (Getty) Getty Images

Westchester selected to host 2021 U.S. Women's Am

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 3:20 pm

The USGA announced Tuesday that Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., has been selected to host the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur. The tournament will be held Aug. 2-8, 2021.

The club's West Course first hosted the event in 1923, and it boasts a storied history of professional tournaments as well. The PGA Tour hosted the Westchester Classic, later known as the Buick Classic and eventually The Barclays, at Westchester from 1967-2007, including the first-ever FedExCup playoff event, won by Steve Stricker in 2007.

The course was also the site of the 2011 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, won by Fred Couples, and the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, won by Inbee Park.

"The USGA is thrilled to bring the U.S. Women's Amateur to Westchester Country Club for the second time," Stuart Francis, USGA championship committee chairman, said in a release. "One of the USGA's three oldest championships, the Women's Amateur consistently identifies the world's top female players, and we are confident Westchester will provide the ultimate test for the championship's 121st playing."

First held in 1895, the Women's Amateur is open to players with a USGA handicap index not exceeding 5.4. Sophia Schubert won last year's event at San Diego Country Club, while this year's tournament will be held at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.

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Stock Watch: Park rises again, under the radar

By Ryan LavnerMarch 20, 2018, 12:48 pm

Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Rory (+10%): The massive drives, the fist pumps, the unmistakable strut – McIlroy finally found the spark that he needed to play confident, aggressive golf. Bring on Augusta and his shot at history.

Tiger (+7%): It was another forgettable end to a final round, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture: Five events into his comeback, Woods has now carded 10 consecutive rounds of par or better – all on tough tracks – and can be viewed as a legitimate threat at the Masters. Remarkable, really.

Inbee Park (+5%): Fighting injuries and questioning whether she should retire, the Queen ‘Bee routed a top field in just her second start back. Stud.

Bryson (+3%): When The Machine operates properly, he’s one of the best ball-strikers in the world. Yes, he’s still painfully slow, but there’s no denying his talent – his runner-up against a star-studded field should help him tremendously.

Laura Davies (+2%): Fifty-four years old and nursing an Achilles injury, she turned back the clock with one of the coolest performances of the young season, on any tour. She’s still got tons of game.


Henrik Stenson (-1%): Maybe he’s just destined to go winless at Bay Hill. In the past four years, he’s had three excellent chances to win there and came away empty-handed each time.

Rickie (-2%): Hanging near the lead, Fowler closed his third round bogey-double, then shot 74 in the final round to drop out of the top 10. Sigh.  

P-Reed (-3%): His whiny protest to a rules official about a free drop – “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth” – got even juicier when the Ryder Cup partners were drawn in the same group at the Match Play. Get your popcorn ready.

Ted Potter Jr. (-5%): His impressive victory at Pebble Beach over DJ, Phil and J-Day is looking more and more like a fluke each week. He’s now missed four consecutive cuts.

Fan behavior (-7%): Another week, another player complaining about increasingly hostile spectators. The Tour has (frustratingly) remained quiet on the issue, but the tipping point will come when one of these dopes affects the outcome on the 72nd hole.