Dufner leads Johnson by one at Crowne Plaza

By Associated PressMay 26, 2012, 10:06 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson have set up what will basically be a match-play final round for the winner's plaid jacket at the Colonial.

It will be Dufner, whose only two PGA Tour victories came in the last four weeks, against the 2007 Masters champion who got the last of his seven wins two years ago at Hogan's Alley.

''It seems like one of us is either going to win or finish second,'' Dufner said after his 4-under 66 in the third round Saturday.

After two bogeys the previous three holes, Dufner matched playing partner Johnson's birdie putt on the 17th hole and overcame a wayward final tee shot to save par and keep the lead.


Video: Colonial highlights

Photos: Colonial Round 3


Dufner's 15-under 195 total put him a stroke ahead of Johnson, who shot 65. Tom Gillis was a distant third at 7 under after a 69.

''I really wasn't aware of (the separation) until I looked at the board on 13. It was more than I anticipated,'' Johnson said. ''It seemed like I didn't hear too many roars in front of us, so that's a telling sign. ... I still have 18 holes and that's my focus. I totally anticipate Dufner to keep doing what he's doing. There's not a whole lot going on that's wrong.''

Dufner, the winner last week in the Byron Nelson Championshipabout 30 miles away, is trying to win for the third time in his last four starts. He also is trying to do something only Ben Hogan has done.

Hogan, Dufner's hero, is the only player to win both PGA Tour events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the same year. When he did it in 1946, they weren't played in consecutive weeks.

The last player to win in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour was Tiger Woods in 2009. Nobody won more than two tournaments last season.

Like Johnson, who wore a plaid-collared shirt Saturday, the first time Dufner realized the gap from everyone else had widened was when he saw that scoreboard at 156-yard 13th hole. And he had a three-stroke lead then.

''From that point on I kind of knew that ... we are going to be battling it out in kind of a unique situation,'' Dufner said. ''The leaderboards here most of the year have been pretty packed and you got a lot of guys having a chance to win the title the last nine holes.''

Dufner avoided a playoff at the Nelson with a 25-foot birdie on the 72nd hole. He has led or shared the lead after 12 of his last 35 rounds, including five of the last seven.

After bogeys at Nos. 14 and 16, Dufner's approach at the 379-yard 17th rolled about 8 feet from the flag.

Johnson, within a stroke of the lead after a 17-foot birdie at the par-3 16th, followed Dufner at No. 17 with a shot to the same spot – his ball up and stopped against the one already on the green. After a rules official sorted out the marks, Johnson curled in a birdie putt. Dufner then did the same to keep his lead.

When his final tee shot of the day went way left, closer to the 10th fairway than the 18th, Dufner got his next shot on the green and two-putted from 68 feet to save par.

Before winning at New Orleans on April 29, the 35-year-old Dufner was winless in his previous 163 PGA Tour starts. He then took a week off to get married, returned to play at The Players Championship before winning the Nelson.

Bo Van Pelt had his streak of 13 consecutive sub-par rounds at Hogan's Alley end with a 71. But he was fourth at 204, one ahead of John Huh and Ryan Palmer.

When Dufner and Johnson completed their first nine holes, they were tied at 13 under and had a five-stroke lead on the rest of the field. Dufner then had three straight birdies.

Dufner made a 20-foot birdie putt at the 386-yard 10th hole, where Johnson had his first two-putt of the round – from nearly 51 feet – to save par.

Dufner had a streak of 38 consecutive bogey-free holes snapped at the 449-yard 14th when he drove into the rough then missed the green with the second shot. But Johnson had his first three-putt of the tournament at the same hole, from 60 feet after his approach from a fairway bunker.

At No. 15, Johnson's second shot settled into a grassy clump only inches from rolling over a ledge into a ditch. With his feet together to keep from falling over himself, Johnson's pitch from about 81 feet rolled only inches from the cup to set up a tap-in par-save.

Johnson needed only eight putts for a 31 on the front nine, though some of those putts were just to save par since he hit just three of those greens in regulation.

''Today was a battle as far as my ball-striking. With the exception one lucky shot on 15, I didn't put myself in terrible position,'' Johnson said. ''I just scored. I think Dufner played better than I did, but I scored.''

Divots: Masters runner-up Louis Oosthuizen opened his third round with four consecutive birdies. He was in a group of seven players tied for seventh, but 11 strokes behind Dufner. .. That group at 206 includes Kelly Kraft, the 2011 U.S. Amateur who turned pro after the Masters. The former SMU player was 6 under through his first eight holes and played even the rest of the round. ... Vijay Singh, who got the last of his 34 PGA Tour wins four years ago, was 4 under through six holes Saturday. He had four consecutive bogeys on the back nine.

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

Pac-12 continues to dominate women's golf

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 24, 2018, 3:04 am

Arizona's women's golf championship marked the fourth consecutive year in‌ which the women's Division I national title was won by a Pac-12 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.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


• 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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

A post shared by ETPI (@etpi_performanceunit) on