Euros Turn Tide Take Momentum

By Sports NetworkSeptember 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupCARMEL, Ind. -- At one point on Friday morning, it looked like the United States would take a commanding 3-1 lead into the afternoon four-balls at the Solheim Cup.
Then the Europeans stormed back and reversed the score, taking a 3-1 lead after Friday's foursomes matches.
Annika Sorenstam and Suzann Pettersen won five consecutive holes to erase a 4-down deficit and post a 1-up victory over the American tandem of Laura Diaz and Michele Redman.
Another U.S. team that squandered a huge lead was Pat Hurst and Christina Kim. They were 3-up, but the European pairing of Sophie Gustafson and Trish Johnson clawed back and earned a halve.
Paula Creamer and Beth Daniel, the youngest and oldest participants in the Solheim Cup, wasted a 2-up advantage and halved their match with Europeans Catriona Matthew and Carin Koch.
The only match Europe dominated from the beginning was Laura Davies and Maria Hjorth against Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis. The European side jumped out to a 3-up lead through six, but the Americans made it interesting late in the match. In the end, Europe walked off with a 2-and-1 win.
Diaz and Redman were 4-up after a win at the 12th hole, but Sorenstam got her team going with an amazing tee shot at the par-3 13th. She lipped out a 9-iron and was conceded birdie, which ended up winning the hole.
From there, the Europeans won the 14th with par despite Sorenstam knocking the team's second over the green. The No. 1 player in the world then chipped the team's third shot to 10 feet at the 15th, and Pettersen drained the birdie putt to draw within 1-down.
At the 16th, Sorenstam hit an approach 4 feet over the hole, while the Americans made a mess of the par-4. Redman drove into a fairway bunker, then Diaz hit their second in a trap near a green. Pettersen rolled in the birdie putt and now the match was all-square with two to play.
Sorenstam hit her tee ball to 35 feet at the par-3 17th, but it did not matter as Pettersen sank the long birdie try. Redman missed from 5 feet closer and now Europe was 1-up with one to go.
The two halved the 18th to give Europe the full point.
'We did what we had to do,' said Pettersen, who holed a long putt to win a fourball match with Sorenstam against Diaz on Saturday afternoon in 2003. 'Annika hit a super shot on 17 and it just happens.'
Hurst, last week's State Farm Classic winner, and Kim won the sixth and seventh to go 2-up. Hurst ran home a 15-footer for birdie at the 10th to extend the lead, but Europe benefited from American mistakes down the stretch.
Kim missed a 5-footer for par and the halve at 16, then missed from a shorter distance one hole later. The U.S. was 1-up until Johnson holed an 18-footer for birdie at the 17th to knot the match.
Neither Hurst nor Johnson found the fairway off the tee at 18, but Gustafson landed their approach 40 feet long. Kim ran through the green, but Hurst lagged her birdie try to 2 feet, a foot longer than Johnson's putt. Kim sank the putt and the Europeans' putt was conceded, so it was another halve.
'We've got to learn to close the door,' admitted Hurst. 'We played well, they played well and we had fun out there.'
In the opening match, the Americans won the seventh and eighth holes to move 2-up. The Europeans got within 1-down at the 15th when Matthew knocked the third shot inside a foot to set up a conceded birdie. Creamer tried to halve the hole, but her 20-footer from the fringe lipped out of the hole.
The European side squared the match at 17 when Daniel, one of Nancy Lopez's captain's picks, missed a 4-footer for par. At the 18th, Daniel hit the team's second into the front bunker, while Matthew knocked the Europeans' approach 30 feet right of the hole.
Creamer blasted out to 4 feet, the exact length of putt that Daniel missed one hole earlier. Koch ran her birdie try 3 feet past. Daniel converted the par save, as did Matthew, and the sides walked off with a halve.
'I feel like we played really well. We gave ourselves so many opportunities,' said Daniel. 'We shot 2 under par today. It was just a really good match.'
Kerr and Gulbis struggled out of the gate on Friday as Gulbis, one of three rookies on the American side, missed a 3-footer that could have won the second hole. The Europeans moved 3-up through six holes, then the teams traded wins until Davies and Hjorth were 4-up with four to go.
The Americans won No. 15, then when Davies drove well left of the fairway at 16, the U.S. team found itself 2-down. The teams halved 17 with par to end the match.
Friday afternoon will feature four fourball matches. Americans Rosie Jones and Meg Mallon come off the bench to face Hjorth and Iben Tinning. Kerr and Gulbis are back to meet Gustafson and Karen Stupples, Hurst and Wendy Ward are facing Sorenstam and Matthew, then Juli Inkster plays for the first time with Creamer against Davies and Pettersen.
Related Links:
  • Scoring - Solheim Cup
  • Full Coverage - Solheim Cup
  • Getty Images

    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

    Getty Images

    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.