Wie Joins Youngest Ever Curtis Cup Team

By Usga News ServicesFebruary 6, 2004, 5:00 pm
USGAFAR HILLS, N.J. ' Michelle Wie of Honolulu, Hawaii, who at age 13 became the youngest winner of an 'adult' USGA championship when she captured the 2003 U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links, and two Duke University standouts headline the eight-woman amateur golf team selected to represent the United States of America at the 2004 Curtis Cup Match in England.
Wie becomes the youngest ever selected for a USA Curtis Cup team. Laura Baugh was 16 when she was named to the 1972 team. Wie, now 14, is joined by Duke teammates Elizabeth Janangelo, 20, of West Hartford, Conn., and Brittany Lang, 18, of McKinney, Texas. The USA team was selected by the USGA Womens Committee.
The other members of the squad that will compete June 12-13 against a team from Great Britain and Ireland at Formby Golf Club in Merseyside, England, are Erica Blasberg, 19, of Corona, Calif.; Paula Creamer, 17, of Pleasanton, Calif.; Sarah Huarte, 21, of Shingle Springs, Calif.; Jane Park, 17, of Beaumont, Calif.; and Annie Thurman, 21, of Highland, Utah. Its the first time that no mid-amateurs (players 25 and older) are included on the USA squad.
The team will be captained by Martha (Wilkinson) Kirouac, 55, of Norcross, Ga., who won the 1970 U.S. Womens Amateur and played in the 1970 and 1972 Curtis Cup Matches. Professionally, Kirouac is the director of course rating and member services for the Georgia State Golf Association.
The Curtis Cup Match, scheduled every other year, consists of 12 singles and six foursomes (alternate shot) matches. The USA team has won the last three matches, in 1998, 2000 and 2002. The USA also leads the series, begun in 1932, by a 23-6-3 margin.
Wie beat eventual U.S. Womens Amateur champion Virada Nirapathpongporn in the 36-hole final at the WAPL at Ocean Hammock Golf Club in Palm Coast, Fla. A ninth grader at Punahou School, she already has competed in nine LPGA-sanctioned tournaments and was in the final pairing of the final round at the 2003 Kraft Nabisco Championship where she placed ninth. At the age of 10, Wie became the youngest to ever qualify for a USGA womens amateur competition (WAPL). She also competed in two mens events in 2003 (missed cut in both) and received a sponsors exemption to play in the 2004 PGA Tour Sony Open in her hometown of Honolulu, where she missed the cut after 36 holes by one stroke.
In 2002, she advanced to the semifinals of the WAPL in Sunriver, Ore., and she reached the third round of match play at the 2003 U.S. Girls Junior in Fairfield, Conn. She also made the 36-hole cut at the 2003 Womens Open.
Janangelo, who is completing her sophomore season at Duke, has qualified for three Womens Opens (2000, 2002 and 2003). She tied for 30th at the 2003 Womens Open at Pumpkin Ridge (Ore.) Golf Club. At the 2002 Womens Amateur, she defeated stroke-play medalist Courtney Swaim in the first round before bowing out to eventual champion Becky Lucidi in the third round. She was a first-team All-American by vote of the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) last year and was the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year.
Huarte, a senior at California-Berkeley, recently won the 2004 South Atlantic Ladies Amateur. A two-time All-Pac-10 golfer, she advanced to the third round of match play at the 2003 Womens Amateur, where she lost to eventual champion Virada Nirapathpongporn. She is a past California Junior champion and California High School champion.
Lang, currently a freshman at Duke, captured both the Womens Western and North & South titles in 2003. She also represented the USA at the Junior Solheim Cup in 2002 and was an eight-time American Junior Golf Association winner. She hails from the same hometown as USGA champions Kelli and Hank Kuehne, and Hunter Mahan.
Blasberg, a sophomore at the University of Arizona, was the Pac-10 Conferences Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year for 2002-03. She closed her freshman year with nine consecutive top-10s (two wins and seven top-3s), including a tie for third at the NCAAs to earn first-team NCGA All-American honors. She was a quarterfinalist at the 2003 Womens Amateur and advanced to the third round of the 2002 Womens Amateur.
Creamer, a junior at the Pendleton School in Bradenton, Fla., has already won 16 national-caliber junior competitions, including 11 on the American Junior Golf Association circuit. She was named the AJGA Player of the Year for 2003 and has twice competed on the USA Junior Solheim Cup team. She was a semifinalist at both the 2003 Girls Junior and Womens Amateur, and qualified for the 2003 Womens Open, where she missed the cut. She made the cut in two LPGA events in 2003. Most recently, she tied for second at the 2004 South Atlantic Ladies Amateur.
Park, also a high school junior, was the runner-up at the 2003 Womens Amateur and tied for 30th at the Womens Open. She won the AJGA Betsy Rawls Girls National and the Kathy Whitworth events in 2003 and was runner-up at the 2003 Rolex Girls Junior. Like Creamer, she has twice competed for the USA at the Junior Solheim Cup.
Thurman, a junior at Oklahoma State University, won the 2002 WAPL, becoming the first female from Utah to capture a USGA championship. She qualified for match play at the 2002 and 2003 Womens Amateur, and qualified for the 2003 Womens Open, but missed the cut. She earned honorable-mention NGCA All-American honors for 2002-03 and placed 19th at the NCAA Womens Championship.
Blasberg, Creamer, Janangelo, Park and Wie also have been offered exemptions into the LPGAs 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship in late March.
The alternates for the team, in rank order, are Leigh Anne Hardin, 21, of Martinsville, Ind., Ashley Knoll, 18, of The Woodlands, Texas, and Amber Marsh-Elliott, 34, of Jamestown, N.C.
Hardin played on the 2002 USA Curtis Cup squad and qualified for the 2003 U.S. Womens Open. Knoll, a freshman at Oklahoma State, advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2003 U.S. Womens Amateur. She also won the 2003 Thunderbird International Junior. Marsh-Elliott won the 2003 U.S. Womens Mid-Amateur.

Day finishes strong, leads Aussie Open by one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 6:12 am

Jason Day birdied three of his final five holes to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand in Sydney:

Leaderboard: Day (-10), Lucas Herbert (-9), Jonas Blixt (-7), Matt Jones (-7), Cameron Smith (-6), Rhein Gibson (-5), Anthony Quayle (-5)

What it means: Day has a great shot at his first victory – in his final start – in 2017. It’s been a frustrating campaign for Day, who has dropped to 12th in the Official World Golf Ranking. A win this week, in his native Open, would be a huge boost as he embarks on the 2018 season.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Day’s 2-under 69 wasn’t the lowest of the day, but it was the most important. Day parred his first 13 holes before birdies on Nos. 14 and 15. He bogeyed the 17th, but finished with a birdie at the par-5 18th for the outright lead.

Best of the rest: Blixt’s 66 put him in position to win. Meanwhile, Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya shot the low round of the day, a 6-under 65, to reach 4 under for the tournament.

Biggest disappointment: No one really blew it on Saturday, but Jordan Spieth was unable to make a move. His 1-under 70 has him eight shots off the lead. Herbert managed an even-par 71 but he had a two-stroke lead until an errant tee shot at the par-3 11th. Speaking of which …

Shot of the day: Not every Shot of the Day is a great shot. Herbert made a long birdie putt on the eighth and was two clear of the field through 10 holes. But he hit his tee shot long at the 11th and was not able to find it. He had to re-tee, made double bogey and lost his advantage. He’s now chasing a major champion in the final round.

Spieth stalls on Moving Day at Australian Open

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 4:30 am

Moving Day? Not so much for Jordan Spieth in Round 3 of the Emirates Australian Open.

Spieth, the defending champion and also a winner in 2014, continued to struggle with his putter, shooting 1-under 70 on Saturday at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

“I was leaving them short yesterday and today it was kind of misreading, over-reading. I missed a lot of putts on the high side – playing wind or more break,” he said. “I just really haven’t found a nice marriage between line and speed to get the ball rolling.”

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

The world No. 2 started the day eight off the pace and was unable to make a charge. He had three birdies and two bogeys, including a 4 at the par-5 finishing hole.

Spieth praised his ball-striking in the wind-swept conditions, but lamented his putting, which has hampered him throughout the week.

“Ball-striking’s been fantastic. Just gotta get the putts to go,” he said.

Spieth, who is scheduled to compete in next week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, is still holding out hope for a third title in four years at this event. He fired a brilliant 63 in very windy conditions to prevail in ’14.

“Tomorrow is forecasted as even windier than today so you can still make up a lot of ground,” he said. “A few years ago I shot a final round that was a nice comeback and anything like that tomorrow can still even be enough to possibly get the job done.”

South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

The fourball results:

LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.


Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

Made Cut

The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.

Missed Cut

Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.