Casey in the hunt for claret jug

By Associated PressJuly 18, 2010, 2:51 am

Open 125wST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Go ahead, pile the hopes of all of England on Paul Casey’s shoulders. The rest of the United Kingdom, too. He doesn’t mind.

A year after a rib muscle forced him to miss three months of the season, Casey is in contention to become the first Englishman to win the British Open since 1992. His bogey-free 67 Saturday afternoon matched the low round of the day, and pulled him within four strokes of Louis Oosthuizen.

“Sitting here right now, I’m ecstatic,” said Casey, who couldn’t stop grinning. “You know, even right now, occasionally I feel the muscles in the ribs. In no way do they affect my golf. But it’s a small reminder that quite often you take for granted a lot of things, and nothing is better than an Open Championship at the home of golf.

“So I’m loving it. I’m loving the fact I’m playing absolutely great golf, and I’m four shots behind Louis.”

While conditions at the Old Course were challenging on moving day, there were birdies to be had for those who played it right. Casey played the front nine at 5-under, and then parred out to earn a spot in the final pairing Sunday. Martin Kaymer is in third place after a 68, and Henrik Stenson matched Casey’s 67 to climb into a tie for fourth.

Former British Open champ Mark Calcavecchia also made a move – in the wrong direction.

Trying to become the third straight member of the senior set to steal the show at the British Open, the 50-year-old instead opened with three straight bogeys. He then had a quadruple-bogey nine – yes, a nine – after being assessed two penalties worth three shots over a lost ball.

Calcavecchia rallied with three straight birdies on the back nine, but he’s now at 2 under for the tournament, 13 strokes behind Oosthuizen.

“It was unfortunate for Calc there, and he had a tough few holes,” said Oosthuizen, his playing partner. “He started off rough and he came back nicely, made very nice birdies there in a run there on the back nine.”

While Americans win their national championship with regularity, the British Open is often a source of consternation for the British. For all the great young golfers they’ve produced the last two decades – Casey, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, to name a few – no Englishman has won the Open since Nick Faldo at Muirfield.

The stats aren’t much better when you throw it open to the rest of the U.K., with Scotland’s Paul Lawrie in 1999 the last Brit to hoist the claret jug.

But the British arrived at St. Andrews brimming with confidence, thanks to their recent run of success on both sides of the Atlantic. Golfers from Britain and Northern Ireland won four PGA Tour events in five weeks, including Graeme McDowell’s surprise victory at the U.S. Open, and seven players in the top 20 hail from the U.K.

That it’s Casey, not Lee Westwood or Rose, near the top of the leaderboard might be the only surprise.

Casey had climbed to No. 3 in the world last year before straining the rib muscle a week before Turnberry. He tried to let it heal with rest and treatment, but withdrew early in the first round at Firestone and then again at the PGA Championship. He would not play a full round again until the World Match Play Championship in October, where he lost all three of his matches.

Casey had a couple of top-10 finishes earlier this year, but it was more time off that really turned things around for him coming into St. Andrews. After Pebble Beach and the BMW International, he actually took a vacation. In the summer, the height of golf season.

He returned the first week of July at the charity J.P. McManus Invitational Pro-Am in Ireland.

“I will admit I had no clue where the golf ball was going to go at J.P., but I didn’t care because I was relaxed. Bit of a tan, nice and chilled out, and, you know, just enjoyed myself on the golf course,” Casey said. “And I feel fresh and feel ready to play good golf. I feel ready to work. I’ve got a good attitude. And I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year, which I wasn’t four or five weeks ago.

“And whatever happens tomorrow happens. But already I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Catching Oosthuizen might be tough considering how the South African is playing. He’s had four bogeys in the first three rounds, and just one – on the first hole – on Saturday. But Casey is eager to try.

Though he grew up playing links golf – and did it quite well, getting four victories without a loss in Britain and Ireland’s 1999 Walker Cup win – he got away from it after he moved to the United States to attend Arizona State. The U.S. game requires higher ball flight, and Casey found himself not trusting his instincts when he played in Britain.

He has just two top-20 finishes at the British Open; his best result was a tie for seventh at Royal Birkdale in 2008.

“It’s in there,” he said. “I know how to do it, and I love doing it.”

And if it brings him – and England – a British Open title, so much the better.

“I desperately want to be a major champion, and I think I have the ability and I think I’m working hard enough,” Casey said. “But that doesn’t guarantee anything, as we know. So we will see.”

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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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