Americans Dig Hole Then Storm Back

By Sports NetworkSeptember 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
LODDEKOPINGE, Sweden -- The United States took three of four points in Friday afternoon's fourball matches to pull closer to the European team at the Solheim Cup. The European team holds a 4 1/2 - 3 1/2 lead after one day at Barsebck Golf & Country Club.
 
U.S. veterans Juli Inkster and Beth Daniel bested the previously undefeated tandem of hometown favorites Annika Sorenstam and Carin Koch, 1-up. The defeat was Koch's first in her 10th Solheim Cup match.
 
The American pairing of Cristie Kerr and Kelli Kuehne got the scoring started Friday afternoon with a 2-and-1 victory over Catriona Matthew and Laura Davies in the session's first match.
 
Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, who is four months pregnant and restricted to one match a day, teamed with Suzann Pettersen to beat Americans Meg Mallon and Angela Stanford, 3 and 2.
 
The final match of Friday's action went 18 holes but the U.S. pulled out their third victory of the session when Michele Redman and Rosie Jones beat Sophie Gustafson and Iben Tinning, 1-up.
 
The Americans did not get off to a good start Friday morning in the alternate-shot format. Sorenstam and Pettersen handled Laura Diaz and Heather Bowie, 4 and 3, Matthew and Janice Moodie trounced Inkster and Wendy Ward, 5 and 3, while Gustafson and Elisabeth Esterl bounced Jones and Mallon, 3 and 2.
 
Daniel and Kelly Robbins halved their match against Koch and Davies when Koch missed a 10-foot par save at 18. In the afternoon session, Daniel and Koch once again went the full 18 but the crucial hole proved to be the 17th.
 
After Inkster sank a five-foot birdie putt at 16 and Sorenstam rolled home a seven-footer for birdie to match Inkster, the teams made their way to 17 all-square.
 
Inkster and Daniel had the best looks at birdie but Inkster's try never found the bottom of the cup. Sorenstam and Koch both made pars but Daniel holed an eight-footer for birdie to give the Americans a 1-up advantage with one to play.
 
'It's quite a relief to go into 18 1-up on those two,' said Daniel. 'They really are a great pair. We had to work pretty hard to beat them.'
 
Daniel and Inkster both found the right side of the green at 18 and so did Sorenstam, who knocked it closer than either American. Koch landed in a greenside bunker and was out of the hole after her blast failed to fall into the cup. Daniel and Inkster both two-putted for pars and Sorenstam's birdie try flew past the hole, giving the Americans the valuable full point.
 
'We didn't get too far down,' said Inkster, who never trailed by more than a 1-down margin in Friday afternoon's session. 'We kept them within our sights and then we made some good birdies on the back side.'
 
'I think it was a great match,' said Koch, who moved her Solheim Cup record to 7-1-2 in three appearances. 'We played Juli and Beth, who are two of the best in the world. If we made a couple more putts we would have really gotten going.'
 
The only other match to reach the closing hole at Barsebck was the anchor match. Redman bogeyed the seventh to fall 1-down and that remained the score until the 14th, as the teams halved with birdies three times in between.
 
At 14, Redman chipped in from off the green to square the match and Jones took the lead with a 12-foot birdie at the par-three 15th. Redman made a gutsy 12- footer to halve the 16th and the teams halved No. 17.
 
Both Americans drove through the fairway at 18 but reached the green with their second shots. Tinning landed 35 feet from the cup, while Gustafson's approach stopped 25 feet past the hole. The Americans missed their birdie tries that could have sealed the match, but Tinning missed her try as well.
 
That left it up to Gustafson but her birdie putt didn't disappear in the cup, meaning the Americans closed the gap to one.
 
'This was big because we really had to hang in there on the front side just to stay with them,' said Jones. 'Michele really brought it on the back nine. I just kind of hung in there and helped out a little bit.'
 
Kerr and Kuehne went 2-up around the turn but Europe won the 10th to get 1-down. Kerr made a five-footer to win the 11th then Kuehne drained a seven-footer at 13 to go 3-up.
 
The Europeans won the 16th to extend the match but the teams halved 17 to give the U.S. the victory.
 
Pettersen and Meunier-Lebouc were 1-up around the turn and birdied two of the first three holes on the second nine to get 3-up. Mallon and Stanford never got closer and the match ended when the teams halved 16 with birdies.
 
In the first Solheim Cup outside of the United States or United Kingdom, play began under foggy conditions and with heavy hearts. All participants are sporting black ribbons in honor of the slain Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh, who was murdered earlier in the week.
 
Play was contested for almost 30 minutes before the fog became too much. The morning session was stopped for over 90 minutes but when play resumed, the Europeans took full advantage with 3 1/2 points in the foursomes matches.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

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    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry