Aussies Focused on Green Jacket

By Associated PressApril 3, 2005, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Adam Scott spent three full years in Europe before deciding to take up membership on the PGA Tour, for no other reason than it was the path taken by Greg Norman.
 
He was inspired every time he stepped into a clubhouse on the European tour and saw Norman's name on the roll call of champions. The Shark was his idol, and still is. On the eve of The Players Championship last year, it was a chipping lesson from Norman that eventually carried the 24-year-old Aussie to his biggest victory.
 
So imagine how Scott feels when he shows up at Augusta National.
 
'It's obviously known that an Australian has never won there,' Scott said. 'I think in the back of our minds, we all probably want to be the first Australian to win the Masters.'
 
Augusta National has become a holy grail for Australian golfers, the only major they have not won.
 
And they don't need a reminder of how many chances Norman had -- the 4-iron into the gallery on the 18th hole in 1986, the Larry Mize chip-in from 140 feet in a playoff in 1987, and the infamous meltdown against Nick Faldo in 1996.
 
Peter Lonard was serving his club pro apprenticeship at Oatlands Golf and Country Club outside Sydney, arriving just in time Monday morning to watch on TV what everyone figured would be the crowning moment in Australian golf: Norman had a six-shot lead going into the final round of the '96 Masters.
 
Four hours later, it was another jolt Down Under when Norman staggered home to a 78.
 
'It was like someone important in the club had died that Monday,' Lonard said. 'It was unbelievable.'
 
Peter Thomson won five British Opens, the most majors among Australians. David Graham is the only Aussie to win multiple majors (U.S. Open and PGA Championship). Steve Elkington was the last to win a major, the '95 PGA Championship at Riviera.

No one has inspired as many as Norman.
 
The Shark was the flagship of Australian golf for more than 20 years, and the No. 1 player in the world longer than anyone until Tiger Woods broke his record last year.
 
Despite his two British Open titles and 20 victories on the PGA Tour, the Shark is best known for his Masters heartache, another reason why the green jacket has become so symbolic in his native land.
 
'If one of us won the Masters, it would be the biggest thing in Australia,' Robert Allenby said. 'It would be massive. We haven't won a major for a long time. And the way we are at the moment, all of us are hungry and keen to get it. We're all fighting to get it, because no one has ever won it.'
 
Their chances have never been greater.
 
Norman's influence might best be measured by the number of Aussies who have made themselves at home on the PGA Tour, a record 22 players who are fully exempt this year. That's at least twice as many as any other country outside the United States, and three fewer than all the European countries combined.
 
Six of them won seven PGA Tour events last year, led by Scott's victories at The Players Championship and Booz Allen Classic. Stuart Appleby (Mercedes) and Geoff Ogilvy (Tucson) already have won this year, and three of them reached the quarterfinals of the Match Play Championship.
 
Eight of them will be teeing it up Thursday at Augusta National, a record number of Aussies in the Masters.
 
They do not have a No. 1 in the world, but their strength now comes in numbers.
 
'Australian golf needs a major champion or a No. 1 in the world,' Scott said. 'I think we're going to get a major champion first. We could have a run where we win a couple of them pretty quick.'
 
It was only a matter of time before an Aussie invasion in the United States.
 
Australia has some of the finest golf courses in the world, and Melbourne might have the best collection of championship courses of any single metropolitan area -- Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Yarra Yarra, Metropolitan and Victoria, among others.
 
They're cheap, and they encourage juniors to play.
 
Allenby grew up on a public course, then eventually became a junior member at Yarra Yarra for $200 a year. Even when he went to Royal Melbourne, the most he ever paid for a round of golf as a junior was about $12.
 
Allenby, Appleby and Aaron Baddeley went through a state-run sports institute, similar to the private David Leadbetter Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Others, like Lonard and Nick O'Hern, served an apprenticeship at a local golf club.
 
All were inspired by Norman, and the success that followed him from Ian Baker-Finch, Wayne Grady, Elkington, then Allenby and Appleby in the mid-1990s.
 
'The three best guys would come over here, and the rest sort of stayed in Europe,' Lonard said. 'Then a few Aussies had some success, and there were a few more out here. Now a lot of them are saying, 'I might as well give it a go.' And when they get here, they find it good.''
 
There are more coming. Ogilvy and Richard Green, a lanky left-hander, narrowly missed qualifying for the Masters. Steven Bowditch is dominating the Nationwide Tour.
 
'I can name you a list of other young guys, younger than me,' Scott said. 'They just need their chance, their week at Q-school, and they'll be out here. We're going to be a pretty strong contingent for years to come.'
 
The closest thing to Norman might be Scott.
 
He has matinee idol looks and leaves women swooning, although Scott doesn't have the panache of Norman. He doesn't have that shock of blond hair and wild tales about hunting great white sharks. And his swing is so sweet that it disguises an aggressive style of attacking pins.
 
'I'd love to emulate his career, win majors and however many events he won,' Scott said. 'But he had a certain flair about him, and he carried that all around the world. That was just the way he played golf.'
 
Would a green jacket change that? Scott thought about that and smiled.
 
'I could have some flair with a green jacket,' he said. 'That might make a difference.'
 
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    Arizona caps an improbable journey with a title

    By Ryan LavnerMay 24, 2018, 3:49 am

    STILLWATER, Okla. – Five hours before the final match at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Arizona coach Laura Ianello sat cross-legged on a couch in the Holiday Inn lobby and broke down four times in a half-hour interview.

    It’s been that kind of exhausting season.

    From poor play to stunning midseason defections to a stroke-play collapse, Ianello has felt uneasy for months. She has felt like she was losing control. Felt like her carefully crafted roster was coming apart.

    So to even have a chance to win a NCAA title?

    “I know what this team has gone through,” she said, beginning to tear up, “and you don’t get these opportunities all the time. So I want it for them. This could be so life-changing for so many of them.”

    A moment that seemed impossible six months ago became reality Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

    Arizona continued its magical run through the match-play bracket and knocked off top-ranked Alabama to capture its third NCAA title, with junior Haley Moore – who first rose to fame by making the cut at an LPGA major as a 16-year-old – rolling in a 4-footer to earn the clinching point in extra holes.

    All throughout nationals Arizona was fueled by momentum and adrenaline, but this was no Cinderella squad. The Wildcats were ranked ninth in the country. They won twice this spring. They had four medalists. They were one of the longest-hitting teams in the country.

    But even before a miracle end to NCAA stroke play, Arizona needed some help just to get here.


    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring


    On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, texted Ianello that she was turning pro. It may have been a gift to her parents, for their years of sacrifice, but it was a lump of coal in Ianello’s stocking.

    “I was absolutely heartbroken,” she said. “It was devastating.”

    Even more bad news arrived a few weeks later, when junior Gigi Stoll told Ianello that she was unhappy, homesick and wanted to return to Portland, Ore. Just like that, a promising season had gone off the rails.

    Ianello offered her a full release, but Stoll looked around, found no other suitors and decided to remain with the team – as long as she signed a contract of expected behavior.

    “It was the most exhausting two months of my life,” Ianello said. “We care so much about these freakin’ girls, and we’re like, Come on, this is just a small, little picture of your life, so you don’t realize what you’re possibly giving up. It’s so hard to see that sometimes.”

    Stoll eventually bought in, but the rest of the team was blindsided by Quihuis’ decision.

    “We became even more motivated to prove we were a great team,” said junior Bianca Pagdanganan.

    It also helped that Yu-Sang Hou joined the squad in January. The morale immediately improved, not least because the players now could poke fun at Hou; on her fourth day on campus she nearly burned down the dorm when she forgot to add water to her mac-and-cheese.

    Early on Ianello and assistant Derek Radley organized a team retreat at a hotel in Tucson. There the players created Oprah-inspired vision boards and completed exercises blindfolded and delivered 60-second speeches to break down barriers. At the end of the session, they created T-shirts that they donned all spring. They splashed “The Great Eight” on the front, put the state of Arizona and each player’s country of origin on the sleeves, and on the back printed their names and a slogan: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

    “I can’t think of anything else that better embodies this team,” Radley said.

    This spring, they rallied together and finished no worse than fourth in a tournament. Through three rounds of stroke play here at the NCAA Championship, they used their distance advantage and sat third in the standings. Then they shot 17 over par in the final round, tumbling outside the top-8 cut line.

    They were down to their final chance on the 72nd hole, needing an eagle to tie, as Pagdanganan lined up her 30-footer. She dramatically drained the putt, then gathered her teammates on the range.

    “This means we were meant to be in the top 8,” she said. Less than an hour later, they beat Baylor in the team playoff to earn the last match-play berth.

    Ianello was so amped up from the frenetic finish that she slept only three hours on Monday night, but they continued to roll and knocked off top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals, beating a pair of Player of the Year contenders, Lilia Vu and Patty Tavatanakit, in the process. In the afternoon semifinals, they jumped all over Stanford and won easily.

    It was a cute story, the last team into the match-play field reaching the final match, but a stiffer challenge awaited the Wildcats Wednesday.

    Alabama was the top-ranked team in the country. The Tide were a whopping 110 under par for the season, boasting three first-team All-Americans who were so dominant in their first two matches that they trailed for only two of the 99 holes they played.

    Ianello already seemed to be bracing for the result on the eve of the final match.

    “Win or lose,” she said, “this has been a hell of a ride.”

    But their wild ride continued Wednesday, as Hou won four holes in a row to start the back nine and defeat Alabama’s best player, Lauren Stephenson, who had the best single-season scoring average (69.5) in Division I history.

    Then sophomore Sandra Nordaas – the main beneficiary after Quihuis left at the midway point of the season – held on for a 1-up victory over Angelica Moresco.

    And so Arizona’s national-title hopes hinged on the success of its most mercurial player, Moore. In the anchor match against Lakareber Abe, Moore jumped out to a 2-up lead at the turn but lost the first three holes on the back nine.

    By the time Radley sped back to help Moore, in the 12th fairway, she was frazzled.

    “But seeing me,” Radley said, “I saw a sense of calm wash over her.”

    Moore played solidly for the rest of the back nine and took a 1-up lead into the home hole. She didn’t flinch when Abe hit one of the shots of the entire championship – a smoked 3-wood to 12 feet to set up a two-putt birdie and force extras – and then gave herself 4 feet for the win on the first playoff hole. She sank the putt and within seconds was mobbed by her teammates.

    In the giddy aftermath, Ianello could barely speak. She wandered around the green in a daze, looking for someone, anyone, to hug.

    The most trying year of her career had somehow ended in a title.

    “At some moments, it felt impossible,” she said. “But I underestimated these young women a little bit.”

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    Pac-12 continues to dominate women's golf

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 24, 2018, 3:04 am

    Arizona's national women's golf championship marked the fourth consecutive year in‌ which the women's Division I national title was won by a Pac-12 Conference team. All four championships were won by different schools (Stanford, 2015; Washington, 2016; Arizona State, 2017; Arizona, 2018). The Pac-12 is the only conference to win four straight golf championships (men or women) with four different schools.

    Here are some other statistical notes from the just-concluded NCAA Div. I Women's Golf Championship:

    • This is the second time that Arizona has won the national title the year after rival Arizona State won it. The last time was 1996.

    • Arizona now has three women's golf national championships. The previous two came in 1996 and 2000.

    • Arizona is only the sixth school to win three or more Div. I women's golf championships, joining Arizona State (8), Duke (6), San Jose State (3), UCLA (3) and USC (3).

    • Arizona's Haley Moore, who earned the clinching point on the 19th hole of her match with Alabama's Lakareber Abe, was the only Arizona player to win all three of her matches this week.

    • Alabama's Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight also went 3-0. Gillman did not trail in any match.

    • Since the match-play format was instituted in 2015, Arizona is the lowest seed (8) to claim the national title. The seeds claiming the national championship were Stanford (4) in 2015; Washington (4) in 2016; and Arizona State (3) in 2017.

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    High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

    By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

    TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

    ''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

    Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

    ''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

    The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

    ''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

    In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

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    Watch: Pumped up Beef deadlifts 485 lbs.

    By Grill Room TeamMay 24, 2018, 12:19 am

    Andrew "Beef" Johnston has been playing some solid golf on the European Tour this season, and he is clearly pumped up for one of the biggest weeks of the year at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

    Judging from the video below, Beef will have no problems lifting the trophy on Sunday as he reportedly deadlifted 220 kg ... (Googles kilogram to pounds converter, enters numbers) ... that's 485 lbs!

    @beefgolf with a new deadlift PB 220kg ! #youcantgowronggettingstrong

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