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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DJ, McIlroy, Spieth listed as PGA betting favorites

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 1:38 pm

Three majors are in the books, but there's still one more trophy up for grabs in two weeks' time.

While next year The Open will signal the end of the 2019 major season amid a revamped calendar, this is the final year that the PGA Championship will be held in August. The tournament returns next month to Bellerive Country Club outside St. Louis, which last hosted the PGA when Nick Price won in 1992 and hasn't hosted a PGA Tour event since Camilo Villegas won the 2008 BMW Championship.

Oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published PGA betting odds shortly after the final putt dropped at Carnoustie and Francesco Molinari left with the claret jug. Topping the board are a trio of major champions: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, all listed at 12/1.

McIlroy won the PGA in both 2012 and 2014, while Spieth needs only the Wanamaker Trophy to round out the career Grand Slam. Johnson has recorded four top-10s in the PGA, notably a T-5 finish at Whistling Straits in 2010 when a few grains of sand kept him out of a playoff with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.

Fresh off a T-6 finish in Scotland, Tiger Woods headlines the group listed at 16/1, behind only the three co-favorites as he looks to win a 15th career major.

Here's a look at the betting odds for a number of contenders, with the opening round of the PGA just 17 days away:

12/1: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth

16/1: Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

18/1: Justin Rose

20/1: Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Jason Day

30/1: Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

40/1: Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Paul Casey

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson

80/1: Adam Scott, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner

100/1: Ian Poulter, Thomas Pieters, Tyrrell Hatton, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Daniel Berger, Kevin Chappell, Brian Harman, Brandt Snedeker, Charley Hoffman

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Molinari moves to No. 6 in world with Open win

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:31 pm

After breaking through for his first career major title, Francesco Molinari reached some rarified air in the latest installment of the Official World Golf Rankings.

The Italian's two-shot win at Carnoustie moved him up nine spots to No. 6 in the world, not surprisingly a new career high. But it's also a quick ascent for Molinari, who has now won three of his last six worldwide starts and was ranked No. 33 in the world after missing the cut at The Players Championship two months ago.

A share of second place helped Xander Schauffele jump from No. 24 to No. 18 in the updated standings, while the same result meant Kevin Kisner went from No. 33 to No. 25. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy both went up one spot after T-2 finishes to No. 2 and No. 7, respectively - a new career high for Rose.

The drama in the rankings unfolded at No. 50, as Tiger Woods moved up 21 spots to exactly No. 50 following his T-6 finish. While some projections had him moving to 51st, Woods was able to sneak into the top 50 just in time to qualify for a return to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, as the top 50 in the rankings both this week and next qualify for Akron.

That includes Zach Johnson, last year's runner-up who was not yet qualified but moved from No. 52 to No. 49 this week. It also includes Kevin Chappell, who went from 61st to 47th with a T-6 finish in Scotland.

Despite missing the cut at Carnoustie, Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for another week followed by Rose, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Molinari is now at No. 6, with McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day rounding out the top 10.

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Simpson overtakes DeChambeau in Ryder Cup race

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:09 pm

A T-12 finish at The Open allowed Webb Simpson to move past Bryson DeChambeau into the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot in the U.S. Ryder Cup points race with just three weeks to go.

Simpson finished the week at 3 under, five shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. Adding another strong result to his win at TPC Sawgrass and T-10 finish at the U.S. Open, he's now edged in front of DeChambeau by less than 41 points. But with players earning one point per $1,000 each of the next two weeks and 1.5 points per $1,000 at the PGA Championship, the race is far from over.

Jordan Spieth's T-9 finish strengthened his position at No. 6, as the top six players are essentially assured of qualifying automatically. Rickie Fowler held onto his spot at No. 7, while Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner both moved onto the bubble following T-2 finishes at Carnoustie. After a T-6 finish, Tiger Woods jumped from 31st to 20th.

Here's a look at the updated American standings, with the top eight after the PGA qualifying automatically and captain Jim Furyk adding four picks in September:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Bubba Watson

6. Jordan Spieth

7. Rickie Fowler

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Xander Schauffele

12. Matt Kuchar

13. Kevin Kisner

14. Tony Finau

15. Brian Harman

On the European side, Molinari was already in position to qualify automatically but is now assured of a spot on Thomas Bjorn's roster this fall. Fellow major champs Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy also solidified their footing with runner-up performances.

Here's a look at how things look for the Europeans, with the top four from each list after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

European Points

1. Francesco Molinari

2. Justin Rose

3. Tyrrell Hatton

4. Tommy Fleetwood

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Thorbjorn Olesen

Russell Knox

Eddie Pepperell

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Alex Noren

3. Rory McIlroy

4. Paul Casey

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

Sergio Garcia

Ian Poulter

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.