Medalists move on with double wins

By Usga News ServicesAugust 7, 2008, 4:00 pm
USGAEUGENE, Ore. ' Stroke-play co-medalists Amanda Blumenherst, 21, and Stephanie Na, 19, both claimed two victories Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Womens Amateur Championship at Eugene Country Club.
Blumenherst, the three-time NCAA Player of the Year, recorded two easy victories, 4 and 3 over Nikki Koller in the second round and a 7-and-6 third-round victory over Ellen Mueller.
I am starting to get the course down now, said Blumenherst after playing just 27 holes in the two victories. Some of the fairways really kick one way or the other. It takes a few rounds to really get to know a course.
The victories brought the highly acclaimed Blumenherst closer to another shot to claim her first national title. A year ago, she lost a heartbreaking 1-down decision to Maria Jose Uribe in 36 holes at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.
I was playing great last year too, said Blumenherst. I was hitting the ball really well and I feel like I am putting the ball better now.
Nas two matches were a different story. In her morning second-round match against Sydney Burlison, 18, Na trailed 3 down after 11 holes, but came back to earn a 2-and-1 victory. Her third-round match against Kristina Wong, 17, would be a close, seesaw affair, with neither player holding more than a 1-up advantage.
The turning point came on No. 16, when Na, 1 down, made a 27-foot birdie putt to square the match.
I was 1 down with a few to go and I needed to make a move sometime, said Na, the 2008 Australian Stroke Play champion who is playing in her first USGA championship. On 16, I have good feelings about that hole. I really like it. I hadnt holed anything really today, and I had an 8-meter putt and I just felt really good about it and it went straight in so that got me going.
A three-putt by Wong on No. 17 gave Na a 1-up lead. On the 18th, Wongs birdie putt from 25 feet stopped just short of the hole and Na converted her 3-footer for par to earn the 1-up victory.
Very relieved, said Na when asked how she felt after the win. Im really happy with myself that I could come back in the end and just never give up.
Another Womens Amateur rookie, Whitney Neuhauser, 20, also advanced, with a 1-up victory over 18-year-old Stephanie Kono.
Also reaching the quarterfinals were three Spaniards, as 18-year-old Carlota Ciganda, 19-year-old Belen Mozo and 20-year-old Azahara Munoz, the reigning Division I individual champion, all recorded two victories to advance.
The trio will team to represent their country at the Womens World Amateur Team Championship in Australia later this year, something they did two years ago in South Africa in leading Spain to an eighth-place finish.
Thats perfect because we are like the three best friends, said Ciganda about reaching the quarterfinals with her two compatriots. They are like my best friends so I am happy for them and thats really nice. We are having a lot of fun. Thats great to be the three of us here.
Erynne Lee, a 15-year-old and 19-year-old Chelsea Stelzmiller round out the quarterfinalists. Lee is playing in her fourth USGA championship, including this year's U.S. Womens Open, while Stelzmiller is playing in her first.
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm