Europe Desperate for Road Win

By Associated PressSeptember 7, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupCARMEL, Ind. -- Laura Davies somehow feels empty at the Solheim Cup.
 
She has played in every one since it began in 1990 and has been such a key component of the European team that Davies has teed it up in 32 of a 33 possible matches over 15 years. She has won 17 1/2 points, a record shared with Annika Sorenstam, and she has hoisted the crystal trophy three times.
 
But never in the United States.
 
'It's going to happen at some point,' Davies said. 'I would like it to happen when I'm playing. It would be very disappointing not to win here. I think the team we've assembled this time has the chance to do that.'
 
The next opportunity comes Friday at Crooked Stick, which John Daly made famous in 1991 when he overpowered the course to win the PGA Championship as the ninth alternate.
 
Europe has the big hitters -- Davies, Sophie Gustafson, Annika Sorenstam and Maria Hjorth are ranked among the top six on the LPGA Tour in driving distance -- so the course would seem to favor their games.
 
The American advantage is home soil.
 
And that might be just as big.
 
'There's nothing better than winning at home,' Juli Inkster said. 'I can't imagine anything worse than losing at home, and we don't plan on doing that.'
 
But the Americans cannot simply show up, glance at the flag-waving crowd and expect to win. Three years ago in Minnesota, Europe was ahead 9-7 going into the final day until the United States dominated the 12 singles matches and went on to another victory.
 
'We're very aware of the situation that we haven't won there before,' Carin Koch said. 'That's a big task.
 
A victory by the road team could be just what these matches need.
 
The Ryder Cup was merely an exhibition until Europe won for the first time in the United States in 1987 at Muirfield Village, which helped raise interest in the matches and eventually turned it into a bonanza, with big TV ratings, record galleries and no shortage of acrimony among the players.
 
'We have come pretty close over here, and everybody would love to win here,' European captain Catrin Nilsmark said. 'To break that barrier would be big for not only us, but for the Solheim Cup as a competition. If they lose on home soil, it would be even more hype next time.'
 
All the Solheim Cup has thus far is some hard feelings.
 
It started in 1998 when the Europeans were so infuriated with Dottie Pepper's celebrations that they pasted her picture on a punching dummy and took turns whaling away. Two years later at Loch Lomond, the Americans ordered Annika Sorenstam to replay her chip-in for birdie because she went out of turn. Sorenstam was in tears.
 
Even now, the Americans can sense some needling by the Europeans.
 
Davies led off Tuesday afternoon by saying the Americans 'don't seem to have quite the fun we have.'
 
Then came Trish Johnson of England.
 
'The American team, in all honesty, they try to beat each other every single week of the year apart from once every two years, when all of a sudden they're supposed to be best mates,' Johnson said. 'That's really difficult.'
 
All of which came to a surprise to the Americans, who drove to Crooked Stick in a motor home for a practice round a few weeks ago and have been all smiles throughout the week.
 
'We have a blast,' Beth Daniel said. 'For them to say that is absurd. 'They're trying to make people think we don't enjoy it. They're just trying to stir the pot.'
 
Europe might need all the help it can muster.
 
It brings the best player in the world in Sorenstam, but Koch is the only other player who has won on the LPGA Tour this year. Eight of the Europeans play most of their golf on the LPGA Tour.
 
Sorenstam has not won in America since the LPGA Championship brought her halfway home to the Grand Slam. She fizzled in the U.S. Women's Open and has been relatively quiet most of the summer. 'I've just seen how she's playing now,' Nilsmark said. 'And it looks really good. I would say she's strong as ever.'
 
Europe won two years ago in Sweden by leading from the opening session of alternate-shot matches (3 1/2-1/2). It clinched the cup in the sixth of 12 singles matches, and went on to the largest margin of victory in the Solheim Cup, 17 1/2-10 1/2.
 
There was hardly any red, white and blue in the gallery at Barseback Golf and Country Club.
 
'In Sweden, I thought the atmosphere was great. Obviously, we had a lot of fans pulling for us,' Sorenstam said. 'When we come here, it's probably going to be the opposite, but that's what makes this competition so much fun. It's harder away. It's a big challenge for us.
 
'If you think about it, the golf ball doesn't know which country you're in.'
 
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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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    Arizona captures NCAA DI Women's Championship

    By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 11:56 pm

    STILLWATER, Okla. – Turns out this match play format provides fireworks. Almost always.

    In the four years since the women’s NCAA Championship has switched from the stale, 72-hole stroke-play format the championship matches have been pure magic.

    This year, again, the title came down to the last match and Arizona took home its third title with a 3-2 victory over Alabama when Haley Moore defeated Lakareber Abe by making a birdie on the 19th hole. The last time the Wildcats won the NCAA Championship was in 2000, when coach Laura Ianello was on the team.

    Arizona def. Alabama, 3-2

    Yu-Sang Hou (AZ) def. Lauren Stephenson (AL), 4 and 3

    Kristen Gillman (AL) def. Gigi Stoll (AZ), 4 and 3

    Cheyenne Knight (AL) def. Bianca Pagdanganan, 4 and 2

    Sandra Nordaas (AZ) def. Angelica Moresco (AL), 1 up

    Haley Moore (AZ) def. Lakareber Abe (AL), 19th hole

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    Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

    Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

    Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

    And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.

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    Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

    By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

    The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

    The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

    ''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

    Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

    Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

    That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

    ''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

    Off the course, they're also different.

    The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

    Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

    Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

    ''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

    Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

    Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

    Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

    On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

    In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

    Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

    Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

    ''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

    The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

    ''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

    LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

    Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

    ''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''