Cancer can't keep Auburn women out of NCAAs

By Associated PressMay 19, 2013, 6:29 pm

Coach Kim Evans was diagnosed with clear cell ovarian cancer on May 7. One of the Tigers' top players, Victoria Trapani, missed much of the spring after doctors found her mother's breast cancer had returned in December.

Assistant coach Margaret Shirley left in February because she couldn't travel with the team during her own bout with health issues.

The Tigers barely managed to advance to the championships starting Tuesday in Athens, Ga., with an eighth-place regional finish. Only the top eight teams qualify for the 24-team field. Student assistant Danielle Downey coached the team at regionals, while Evans recuperated from surgery to remove an ovary.

''We proved a lot to ourselves,'' Trapani said. ''We kind of lost it in ourselves after constantly having bad news. Literally, it was like one thing after another. We're young, and we shouldn't have to be faced with all the things we've been through. Ultimately, we've grown as people and as a team, and it showed after our performance at regionals.''

Evans managed to watch the Tigers tee off on the final day and returned for the finish after rebuilding strength with a long nap.

Evans, who starts chemotherapy five days after the championships end, received her doctor's blessing on Wednesday to make the trip to Athens. She's already discussed the course with her team because she doesn't expect to be able to make the practice round.

The ''kooky,'' fun-loving players who have been through so much make Evans chuckle.

''I love this team. It's a gutsy little team, and they're a lot of fun,'' said Evans, who started feeling fatigued in February. ''For me, it's more of a celebration. I get to go over there and watch them do their thing and see a lot of amazing coaches that reached out to me over the last few weeks and kind of enjoy myself for a couple of days. Then be able to come back here and get ready for this battle I have.''

It seemed unlikely the Tigers would make it this far.

They finished last in back-to-back tournaments after a strong start in the fall but earned a No. 14 seed in the regional after a resurgence at the Bryan National Collegiate in Greensboro, N.C., and the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Trapani's return provided a morale boost.

She remained in school during the spring but mostly took a break from golf amid the burden of her mother's own cancer fight. Kim Trapani had been diagnosed with breast cancer when Victoria was in high school.

Doctors found that it had returned right before finals in December and that the cancer had metastasized into her lungs.

Some good news finally came after spring break because the cancer hadn't spread in the previous few months. Victoria Trapani returned to the course.

''I told her that if she tries to beat this and changes her diet and does certain things, then I'll get back out on the golf course and try to make our lives as normal as possible,'' the sophomore said. ''We made kind of a deal. That's when I started back playing golf.''

Shirley now works for Atlanta Junior Golf, where she got her own start as a youngster. She was diagnosed with low blood pressure after she had passed out several times, including once at Auburn football’s national championship game in January 2011. She took much of November and December off, and doctors placed her on travel restrictions until May.

Shirley, who played for Evans, said she's fine now. She showed up for part of the Friday round during regionals to cheer on her former team and said what they accomplished ''brought me to tears.''

''They just kind of had that look in their eye,'' Shirley said. ''They're fighters. They've had to be this year. There's only one way to do it. You could tell they were playing for Coach just from the minute they walked out on that golf course.''

Evans has her own take on what the Tigers have endured this season. It's the highs and lows of life, not just golf.

''It's been a year of life is what it's been,'' she said. ''We've all kind of had a little chapter in it. I couldn't be more proud of them to just keep on keeping on. They're taking it as they come. The good times, too. We've had some great times.

''They're just going to keep on keeping on.''

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Actor/Comedian Kevin Nealon Joins "Feherty," Monday, Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. ET

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 16, 2018, 1:15 pm

Actor/comedian Kevin Nealon (Saturday Night Live) will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

Filmed at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles last month, the episode will focus on numerous topics, including:

  • Nealon discussing his start in comedy in Los Angeles, where he worked as a bartender and filled in for comics who failed to show up for their act.
  • Reminiscing about his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1984.
  • Reflecting on his nine-year run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.
  • Recounting the time when his golf ball struck Adam Sandler during a round they were playing with filming Happy Gilmore.
  • Recalling time spent with Arnold Palmer during the filming of a commercial a few years ago.

The following Monday (Aug. 27), Feherty will be joined by 20-time LPGA Tour winner Cristie Kerr at 9 p.m. ET, and then on Monday, Sept. 3 (9 p.m. ET), major champion Jimmy Walker will join as a guest for the series’ season finale.

A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver, Golf Films as well as the network’s instruction platforms.

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Thomas talks Tiger, plays 'Facebreakers' on 'Tonight Show'

By Grill Room TeamAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 pm

Justin Thomas didn't successfully defend his title at last week's PGA Championship, but he did get a guest spot on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."

Thomas appeared on the talk show Wednesday night and, of course, a primary topic was Tiger Woods' run at the Wanamaker Trophy.



Thomas also played a game of "Facebreakers" with host Fallon, in which both men tried to break panes of glass emblazoned with the other's face with golf shots. Thomas nearly took out the real Fallon on his first shot, and after several uncessful attempts by both men, massive cheating ensued.

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Bhatia loses U.S. Am match after caddie-cart incident

By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 2:21 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – One of the hottest players in amateur golf had his U.S. Amateur run end Wednesday under unusual circumstances.

Akshay Bhatia, the 16-year-old left-hander who has been dominating the junior golf circuit over the past year, squandered a late lead in his eventual 19-hole loss to Bradford Tilley in the Round of 64.

Bhatia was all square against Tilley as they played Pebble Beach’s par-5 14th hole. After knocking his second shot onto the green, Bhatia and his caddie, Chris Darnell, stopped to use the restroom. Bhatia walked up to the green afterward, but Darnell asked what he thought was a USGA official for a ride up to the green.

“The gentleman was wearing a USGA pullover,” Darnell explained afterward. “I asked if I could get a ride to the green to keep up pace, and he said yes. So I hopped on the back, got up to the green, hopped off and thought nothing of it.”

Conditions of the competition prohibit players and caddies from riding on any form of transportation during a stipulated round unless authorized.

It turns out that the cart that Darnell rode on was not driven by a USGA official. Rather, it was just a volunteer wearing USGA apparel. A rules official who was in the area spotted the infraction and assessed Bhatia an adjustment penalty, so instead of winning the hole with a birdie-4 to move 1 up, the match remained all square.


U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


Even more interesting was what Darnell said happened earlier in the match.

“I had already seen the other caddie in our group do it on the ninth hole,” Darnell said. “Same thing – USGA pullover, drove him from the bathroom up to the fairway – so I assumed it was fine. I didn’t point it out at the time because everything seemed kosher. He had the USGA stuff on, and I didn’t think anything of it.”

Bhatia won the 15th hole to go 1 up, but lost the 17th and 19th holes with bogeys to lose the match. He didn’t blame the outcome on the cart incident.  

“What can you do? I’ll have plenty of opportunities to play in this tournament, so I’m not too upset about it,” he said. “It’s just frustrating because I deserved to win that match. That wasn’t the outcome I wanted, but I can’t do anything about it.”

Bhatia, of Wake Forest, N.C., has been a dominant force in the junior ranks, going back-to-back at the Junior PGA (including this dramatic hole-out), capturing the AJGA Polo, taking the Sage Valley Invitational and reaching the finals of the U.S. Junior.

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1, 2, 3 out: Thornberry, Suh, Morikawa lose at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The top three players in the world had a tough afternoon Wednesday at Pebble Beach.

Braden Thornberry, Justin Suh and Collin Morikawa – Nos. 1-3, respectively, in the World Amateur Golf Ranking – all lost their Round of 64 matches at the U.S. Amateur.

Thornberry lost, 2 and 1, to Jesus Montenegro of Argentina. As the No. 1 amateur in the world, the Ole Miss senior was in line to receive the McCormack Medal, which would exempt him into both summer Opens in 2019, provided he remains amateur. But now he’ll need to wait and see how the rankings shake out.

Suh and Morikawa could have played each other in the Round of 32, but instead they were both heading home early.


U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


Suh, a junior at USC, never led in his 1-up loss to Harrison Ott, while Cal's Morikawa lost to another Vanderbilt player, John Augenstein, in 19 holes.

Englishman Matthew Jordan is the fourth-ranked player in the world, but he didn’t make the 36-hole stroke-play cut.

The highest-ranked player remaining is Oklahoma State junior Viktor Hovland, who is ranked fifth. With his college coach, Alan Bratton, on the bag, Hovland beat his Cowboys teammate, Hayden Wood, 3 and 2, to reach the Round of 32.