Daly chasing Lawrie at Qatar Masters

By Associated PressFebruary 4, 2012, 2:58 pm

DOHA, Qatar – Former British Open Champion Paul Lawrie recovered from a penalty for dropping his ball on a marker to shoot a 5-under 67 Saturday and take a one-shot lead over Nicolas Colsaerts into the final round of the Qatar Masters.

Lawrie took advantage of calmer conditions at the Doha Golf Course to make six birdies for an 8-under total of 136 after two rounds of the wind-affected event, which has been shortened to 54 holes. The 43-year-old Scotsman birdied the 16th to move into a tie with Colsaerts and then added another on 18 to take the outright lead.

The tournament has been disrupted by wind all week, and organizers were forced to call off Friday’s play and reduce the event to three rounds. Dozens of players were forced to stop their rounds after gusts of up to 56 kph (35 mph) moved balls and tossed around signs. Conditions improved Saturday but it remained windy.

“I played very good again, hitting it beautifully tee to green,” said Lawrie, who won the Andalucian Open in 2011 for his first win in nine years. “Anytime you play as solidly as that and hit a few putts in there it’s a fair chance you are going to play well.”

Lawrie’s could have had an even bigger lead, had he not accidentally dropped his ball on his marker at the 10th green. Since it was unclear whether the ball moved, Lawrie was forced to take a one-shot penalty. It was a similar mistake to that made by Ian Poulter during a two-way playoff at the Dubai World Championship in 2010, when his penalty essentially gave the win to Robert Karlsson of Sweden.

“I didn’t see it and no one else saw it so you have to take the penalty and kind of kick on,” Lawrie said. “It’s one of these freak, stupid rules. … It’s like Poulter in Dubai, the same thing. It’s one of those many rules that could do with changing a wee bit.”

Playing in front of Lawrie, Colsaerts also birdied the 18th after a bunker shot that rolled to within a foot of the pin to briefly take the lead. It was one of his six birdies on the day and came after he had one of his two bogeys on the 17th.

“I am playing very well even though I think I could have hit closer to some flags,” the Belgian said. “I managed quite well, kept the ball in play and didn’t do anything stupid.”

Colsaerts, known for his big hitting, won his first victory on the European Tour last year at the Volvo China Open and then finished fourth at the Volvo Golf Champions in January.

Peter Hanson of Sweden (69) and Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina (67) were two shots off the lead. James Kingston of South Africa (69) and Simon Kahn of England (68) – who eagled his final hole – are three shots back with another 10 players including Jason Day (72), Sergio Garcia (68) and John Daly (73) a further shot back.

Third-ranked Lee Westwood (70) and fourth-ranked Martin Kaymer (70) are at 3 under.

Hanson, who dropped out of contention with a 78 in the final round in Abu Dhabi, did well to remain in the hunt. He endured a stretch where he had a pair bogeys to finish the front nine and then bogeyed two of three holes on the back before closing out with two birdies on final two holes.

“I got off to a great start, 4 under par after seven, and then made some stupid mistakes around the turn, lost a bit of rhythm, and was just trying to hang in there,” Hanson said. “It was nice to finish with those two birdies as well to get to 6 under.”

First-round leader Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (75) couldn’t match his nine-birdie performance on Thursday – ending up with no birdies and three bogies. Daly, the clubhouse leader when play was suspended, started strong with a birdie on the second but had three of his four bogeys on his front nine to drop down the leaderboard.

“I didn’t hit the tee-balls as good as I did Thursday,” Daly said. “But I hung in there. Some of those bogeys I made could have been doubles or triples just as easy.”

Several big names failed to make the cut, led by Hunter Mahan of the United States who finished at 5-over 149 after poor putting led to four bogeys on his back nine. K.J. Choi was just a shot off the lead Thursday but a 78 that included two double bogeys left him at 2 over for the tournament.

Mahan, who made a 17,000-mile detour to play in the Middle East for the first time, struggled in the windy conditions from the start and never recovered from an opening-round 74.

“I played awful today,” Mahan said. “It just didn’t happen today. I’m going to go home and I’ve got three more tournaments coming up and I’ve got to get ready for them.”

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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.


Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)