Micheel Continues to Roll at Match Play

By Sports NetworkSeptember 15, 2006, 4:00 pm
HSBC World Mach Play ChampionshipsVIRGINIA WATER, England -- One day after ending Tiger Woods' winning streak, Shaun Micheel played spoiler again when he knocked off Luke Donald on Friday to reach the semifinals at the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
Seeded 15th in the tournament, Micheel opened up a huge advantage on the seventh-ranked Donald, the highest-seeded player remaining, and held off a late charge to win 4 and 2.
Thursday, he did the field a favor by offing Woods to end the world No. 1's winning streak at five tournaments. In the quarterfinals on Friday, he led by as much as 7-up on Donald.
Donald's exit leaves No. 9 Colin Montgomerie the highest-seeded player remaining in the field. Montgomerie, who is also the only former Match Play champion left, knocked off defending champion Michael Campbell, 1-up, with a birdie on the 36th hole.
Montgomerie also beat David Howell in the first round with a birdie on the last hole. On Saturday he will face Paul Casey, who was a 5 and 3 winner over Mike Weir.
Micheel will play Robert Karlsson, who was an easy 4 and 3 winner over Angel Cabrera in the quarters.
With Ryder Cup teammates Woods and Jim Furyk making early exits this week, Micheel is the lone American remaining with a chance to become the first U.S. winner since Mark O'Meara bested Woods in 1998.
He took a 5-up lead on Donald after 18 holes, mostly due to Donald's inability to make many birdies early.
Micheel made eight birdies and one bogey on the first 18 holes, consistently knocking approach shots close on the way to a 65 at the Wentworth Club's par-72 layout. Donald didn't drop any shots, but he made just two birdies for a 70.
'Early in the round he just didn't make any putts,' Micheel said.
Micheel extended his lead to 7-up after 20 holes when he birdied the par-3 second. His momentum slowed towards the end of the match, however, and Donald made a 6-foot par putt at the 15th to trim Micheel's lead to 3-up after 33 holes.
But Micheel was able to clinch the match with a birdie on the next hole, the par-3 16th, where Donald could only make par from the rough.
'I played well,' Micheel said. 'I think it's difficult when you have such a big lead. It wasn't that I played differently (down the stretch), I just played a little more conservatively, particularly with my club selection.
'Short of making a few more birdies on the back nine, I'm really pleased with my round.'
Montgomerie fell 4-down early in his match after the top-seeded Campbell rolled in a 40-foot eagle putt at the par-4 fourth.
But the 1999 champion made birdie putts of 15 feet at the eighth and 3 feet at the ninth to pull within 2-down around the turn. He then added birdies at 14 and 16 to square the match after 18 holes.
Campbell bogeyed the par-3 second to give Montgomerie a 1-up lead after 20 holes, and the match was close after that. Campbell was able to even it three times without taking the lead, the last time coming when Montgomerie missed a long birdie putt at the 17th.
At the 36th and final hole -- the par-5 18th -- both players landed in the same greenside bunker, just inches from each other.
Campbell's next shot hit the rim of the bunker and fell back in, while Montgomerie knocked his within 10 feet to set up a birdie for the win and the match.
'If I had missed (the putt), he would have had his 5-footer for a half and we could well have been on our way to the 37th hole,' said Montgomerie. 'I had to get mine in and I did. It was a good victory but I'm very tired.'
Casey, the 12th seed, had a close match with the 13th-seeded Weir until taking the lead for good when Weir bogeyed their 22nd hole, the par-5 fourth.
Weir struggled with back pain, was visited by medical personnel at the 15th hole, then missed an 18-foot par putt there to give Casey the win after 33 holes -- sending Casey to a meeting with Montgomerie.
'He should be the favorite as he knows this place very well,' Casey said of Montgomerie.
Karlsson, a Ryder Cup rookie, trailed Cabrera for only one hole early in their match. Cabrera made two double-bogeys in three holes at the end, finally missing a left-to-right, 6-foot bogey putt at the par-4 15th to give Karlsson the match after 33 holes.
'My short game has been good and has been the key to my success so far,' said Karlsson, who knocked off Furyk on Thursday. 'I holed a few fantastic putts today and chipped in once yesterday...overall my chipping and short game have been good.'
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player 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.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    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 at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''