Solheim Cup fan experience second to none

By Jason DeeganSeptember 23, 2011, 4:32 pm

Jason Deegan is spending the week on a tour around Ireland's golf courses. On Friday, he stopped in to watch a day of Solheim Cup action. 

COUNTY MEATH, Ireland – The flags, patriotic songs, chanting and roars heard 'round the golf course.

All the elements that make the Ryder Cup so special were on display during Friday's morning matches at the Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle just outside Dublin. My first Solheim Cup experience has been a fun one.  

The best part? All this excitement comes without the hassles of the massive crowds you see at the Ryder Cup. There were no traffic jams heading to the venue. You could watch as much golf as you wanted, almost from the front row.

And there was no problem moving from place to place to see the action. I always thought the Ryder Cup couldn't be beat for atmosphere – and it can't – but the Solheim Cup comes pretty close.

'It's unbelievable,' said Bonnie Brandt, who traveled with 32 friends from Albuquerque, N.M. 'I hear it gets rowdier and rowdier as we get into the weekend.'

Solheim Cup crowds are smaller than the Ryder Cup, obviously, but they're no less into it. Everywhere you look, people are decked out in red-white-and-blue or European blue. Everything in Sharon Talarico's wardrobe showcased the American flag: her bejeweled hat, red jacket, blue sweater and colored scarf.

'I love the exuberance,' said Talarico, who lives in Richmond, Va. 'Golf is a little tame for me. The Solheim gives you a chance to cheer and wear bling. You are all allowed to display favoritism.'

There are more women than men, too, by a wide margin. That's not a bad thing.

'There are a lot more females here,' said Brandt, who is already planning on attending in 2013 at the Colorado Golf Club. 'They are all buddy-buddy. At a Ryder Cup, you tend to get pushed (around). Here everybody is more friendly. You let the smaller person move in front. It is much easier to move around.'

I loved being able to go where I pleased. I joined the thrilling morning match won by Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome on the 17th hole, the start of a dreadful European meltdown by Karen Stupples and Mel Reid. I walked right up to the ropes to get a great view of Creamer's perfect tee shot. With a little hustle, I claimed a spot along the ropes again for her second shot. That's unheard of in a Ryder Cup mosh pit.   

U.S. fans are definitely outnumbered, but they are making their presence felt. Before the opening tee shots of the afternoon matches, Americans sitting in the grandstands belted out a stirring rendition of 'God Bless America,' thanks to sheet music passed out to the crowd. The European fans even applauded afterward, proving there's a little more goodwill here than a Ryder Cup. Maybe that's just the good-hearted nature of the Irish hosts shining through once again.

Andrea Garland and Lynn Schreder traveled from Iowa to experience it all.

'The crowds and the loyalty to the countries, it's energizing,' Garland said. 'You get to see some great competitive golf.'

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.