Donald shoots 64 at BMW PGA in bid to become No 1

By Associated PressMay 26, 2011, 5:40 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England – Luke Donald closed in on golf’s top ranking after shooting a 7-under 64 in the incomplete first round of the BMW PGA Championship on Thursday, leading by two strokes and finishing eight ahead of world No. 1 Lee Westwood.

Donald mastered the wet and windy conditions at the West Course at Wentworth to equal his lowest European Tour round. He made a run of five birdies in seven holes from No. 4 onward, then made three more which were offset by a single bogey.

“That was probably one of the best rounds I’ve ever played,” said Donald, last year’s runner-up. “It was tough conditions out there. The wind was swirling. There was some rain showers, and this isn’t an easy course in the best of conditions. So to pretty much have total control of the golf ball today doesn’t happen very often in golf, but that’s how I felt today. I was just seeing the shots and was able to hit them.

“The goal is to try and win this event, and if I finish ahead of Lee, then great,” he added.

The Englishman needs to outperform Westwood to take the top spot. He has already missed out on two opportunities this season, losing to Brandt Snedeker in a playoff at The Heritage in April and going down to Ian Poulter in the final of the World Match Play event in Spain last weekend.

Donald has had trouble closing out strokeplay tournaments, having won only one in the past five years. He has, however, picked up the Accenture Match Play title in Arizona in February as part of eight straight top-10 finishes in a remarkable run of consistency.

“Top 10s are nice but winning is what’s important,” said Donald, who had previously shot a 64 on the European Tour three times. “I thought anything under par was going to be a good round – 1, 2 under was going to be a solid round. I certainly didn’t expect to come out here and shoot 7 under.”

Westwood made a double-bogey after a penalty drop at No. 6 to go with two bogeys in a 72. He then had to undergo a random doping test but joked the testers had the wrong man.

“They should drug-test Luke after a 64. I can’t quite figure that one out. It’s a very good score,” he said, before criticizing his own form on the greens. “When the longest putt you hole is 5 feet, you’re going to struggle to shoot 7 under in these kind of conditions, which is really the story of the day for me.”

The round was suspended because of bad light with five groups still out on the course, including Oscar Floren of Sweden, who was at 4 under with four holes to play.

Matteo Manassero of Italy, who became the youngest winner on the European Tour at 17 years, 188 days last October, shot a 66 to tie for second with Johan Edfors of Sweden.

English pair Ross McGowan and Poulter and Bradley Dredge of Wales all shot 68s, one stroke ahead of a group that included winning European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie.

Montgomerie, the champion in 1998, ’99 and 2000 who is now ranked No. 462, found some of his old form by holing birdies at three of the first four holes to reach the turn in 30. But five bogeys on the back nine ruined his brilliant start.

His seven birdies ensured he still matched his best round of the season, and Montgomerie is well placed to make his first top-10 finish in more than 2 1/2 years.

“In certain ways, it’s disappointing to only finish 2 under after that start, a flying start. But at the same time, it is tricky. Anybody that breaks 70 today has done extremely well,” said Montgomerie, who revealed that his regular caddie had left him to join Ryder Cup player Francesco Molinari.

Rory McIlroy continued his indifferent form since his 14-stroke turnaround after starting the final round of The Masters leading by four shots. He hit a 76 on Thursday, following on from his group-stage exit at the World Match Play.

PGA Championship holder Martin Kaymer of Germany, who also has a chance to become No. 1, shot a 74. Playing partner Charl Schwartzel, the Masters champion, had a terrible start to his round with double bogeys on holes 3 and 5 before signing for a 79.

Jose Maria Olazabal, the next European Ryder Cup captain, was one of three players to pull out during a round that was interrupted for 36 minutes due to thunder and lightning. A back problem forced his exit after seven holes, joining Robert-Jan Derksen (rib) and Paul Waring (hand) in withdrawing.

Getty Images

Bjorn adds four Ryder Cup veterans as vice captains

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 1:05 pm

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has added a quartet of vice captains for the biennial matches this fall in Paris.

Bjorn had already named Robert Karlsson as his first assistant, and he announced Tuesday at the BMW PGA Championship that his group of advisors will also include major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, and former world No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

Westwood is among Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup players, and his addition in this role signals he likely won't participate as a player in the matches for the first time since 1995. The Englishman has spoken openly about his desire to captain the European squad at Whistling Straits in 2020, but he's been quiet on the course in recent months, with a missed secondary cut at the Houston Open his only start since mid-February.

Harrington is seen as another possible captain for the 2020 matches, and he'll don an earpiece for the third straight Ryder Cup, having represented Europe as a player on six straight teams from 1999-2010.

Donald played on four Ryder Cup teams from 2004-12, with the Europeans winning each time he was on the roster. This will mark his first stint as a vice captain, as Donald announced last month that he would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a back injury.

At age 38, McDowell will be the youngest vice captain in the room, having holed the winning putt eight years ago at Celtic Manor. He won the French Open in both 2013 and 2014 at Le Golf National, site of this year's matches, and will also be making his debut as a vice captain.

Getty Images

Bidder pays $50,000 to caddie for Woods

By Grill Room TeamMay 22, 2018, 12:28 pm

Someone has paid $50,000 to caddie for Tiger Woods at this year’s Hero World Challenge.

An unnamed bidder paid for the opportunity at an auction Saturday night at Tiger Jam, where monies are raised to support the Tiger Woods Foundation.



The Hero World Challenge will be contested Nov. 29-Dec. in Albany, Bahamas. The pro-am is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28.

Getty Images

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

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:28 am

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 have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on 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 action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Tuesday
11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals

Getty Images

Arizona grabs last spot with eagle putt, playoff win

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 3:18 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – With her team freefalling in the standings, Arizona coach Laura Ianello was down to her last stroke.

The Wildcats began the final round of the NCAA Championship in third place, but they were 19 over par for the day, and outside the top-8 cut line, with only one player left on the course.

Bianca Pagdaganan had transferred from Gonzaga to compete for NCAA titles, and on the 17th hole Ianello told her that she needed to play “the best two holes of your life” to keep the dream alive.

She made par on 17, then hit a 185-yard 6-iron out of a divot to 30 feet. Not knowing where she stood on the final green, Pagdaganan felt an eerie calm over the ball. Sure enough, she buried the eagle putt, setting off a raucous celebration and sending the Wildcats into a play-five, count-four team playoff with Baylor at 33 over par.

Their match-play spot wasn’t yet secure, but Ianello still broke down in tears.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring


“Bianca is such an inspiration for all of us,” she said. “She’s the kind of kid that you want to root for, to have good things happen to.”

Arizona prevailed on the second playoff hole. As the 8 seed, the Wildcats will play top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Karsten Creek.

Though the finish had plenty of drama, no teams played their way into the coveted top 8 on the final day of stroke-play qualifying.

Baylor came closest. The Bears barely advanced past regionals after a mysterious stomach virus affected several players and coaches. They competed in the final round with just four healthy players.

On Monday, Gurleen Kaur put Baylor in position to advance, shooting 68, but the Bears lost by three strokes on the second extra hole.

Arkansas finished one shot shy of the team playoff. The second-ranked Razorbacks, who entered NCAAs as one of the pre-tournament favorites, having won seven times, including their first SEC title, couldn’t overcome a 308-300 start and finished 10th. Player of the Year favorite Maria Fassi finished her week at 19 over par and counted only two rounds toward the team total.