Funk in good spirits, game in good shape heading to Open

By Associated PressJune 9, 2011, 6:41 pm

CONOVER, N.C. – Fred Funk hasn’t been happy with his golf game over the last seven months, and even considered dropping off the Champions Tour until he straightened things out.

But Funk’s a happier man after qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open, and looks to carry that momentum into this weekend’s Greater Hickory Classic.

“That was a really good springboard for me,” Funk said Thursday of qualifying. “I expect to play good now. I’m looking forward to teeing off for the first time in a long time. I always expect to hit bad shots, but I also expect to hit good shots now.

“I’ve been searching for things, but the big thing was that I just went back to being me.”

The ninth-annual Champions Tour event will tee off Friday on the Rock Barn Golf and Spa’s Robert Trent Jones course – and without some of the tour’s top players and a former winner.

Only four of the top 10 players in the Charles Schwab Cup standings are entered in this year’s event, which is being played in early June for the first time after eight years in late August and early September.

Among the missing are Tom Lehman and Tom Watson, currently No. 1 and No. 2 in the standings; and two-time Classic winner Jay Haas, who is taking the weekend off to attend his youngest son Bill’s wedding.

However, among the entries in this year’s Classic field are Nick Price, currently third in the standings; and defending event champion Gary Hallberg, looking to become the third repeat winner and the first to win back-to-back titles since R.W. Eaks in 2007-2008.

The date change also moved the Classic to the weekend before the start of the U.S. Open, being played this year at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., after a 14-year absence.

Yet Funk didn’t think he’d get the chance to play in a U.S. Open again at Congressional, considering his performance this season. He had made the cut just once in six PGA Tour events, and had just two top-10 finishes in nine Champions Tour events.

“I’ve been really struggling this year,” Funk said. “So I decided to just throw away everything people have been telling me, and to go back to what worked for me all through the 2000s when I was playing well.

“I decided that 36-hole tournament was going to be the springboard for the rest of my season … but I knew just three holes into it that I was doing the right thing.”

Funk went on to win the 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier Monday at Rockville, Md. It was the second time in the last three years that the eight-time PGA Tour winner has made the Open through a qualifying tournament.

Now, Funk wants to carry what he learned into this weekend’s Classic, where his best finish is a tie for ninth last year.

“I’m looking forward to this week,” the six-time Champions Tour winner said. “I plan on using everything I’ve learned and just let it go. If I play well, great; if I don’t, fine – I’ll move on from that. But I know I’m doing the right thing.”

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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.


TV Times (all times ET):

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

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Fort Worth Invitational: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 10:30 pm

The PGA Tour makes the short drive from Dallas to Fort Worth and Colonial Country Club. Here are the key stats and information for this week. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Purse: $7.1 million

Course: Colonial Country Club (par 70, 7,209 yards)

Defending champion: Kevin Kisner. Last year he defeated Jordan Spieth, Sean O’Hair and Jon Rahm by one stroke

Notables in the field

Jordan Spieth

• Finished T-2, 1st and T-2 in last three starts in this tournament

• 52 under par at Colonial last five years (best of anyone by 27 strokes in that span)

• 100 birdies/eagles made here last five years (most of anyone in that span)

Rickie Fowler

• First start since missed cut at The Players

• More missed cuts (3) than top-10 finishes (2) in 2018

Jon Rahm at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship.

Jon Rahm

• Finished T-2 in this tournament last year (66 in final round)

• 17 top-5 finishes in 46 official worldwide individual starts as professional

Webb Simpson

• First start since Players victory (fifth PGA Tour win)

• Fifth on Tour in strokes gained: putting this season (177th two seasons ago)

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Maguire's storied Duke career comes to an end

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 8:39 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – After losing in the quarterfinals here at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Duke coach Dan Brooks gathered his team and walked back toward the 18th hole. He wanted to get away and deliver a parting speech to senior Leona Maguire, one of the most important players in program history.

“I feel like I didn’t say enough, and I feel like I didn’t say it right,” he said afterward. “I guess that’s inevitable when dealing with a player who has meant so much.”

Maguire’s heralded Duke career came to an end Tuesday when she and her teammates dropped their quarterfinal match to Southern Cal, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2. Maguire did her part, winning, 1 up, against USC’s Jennifer Chang, but it still wasn’t enough.

Maguire will go down as one of the best players not just in Duke’s storied history, but all time in college golf. She’s a two-time Player of the Year. She finished with the best scoring average (70.93) in Division I women’s golf history. She had a record 32 competitive rounds in the 60s. She spent 135 weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings, another record.

The 23-year-old from Ireland is the rare collegian who turned down guaranteed LPGA status to return to school to earn her degree and try to win a NCAA title with twin sister Lisa, the team’s No. 5 player. Ultimately, they never reached the championship match.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said softly outside the clubhouse. “The experiences, the memories, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Maguire said that she’s turning pro soon and has a full schedule upcoming. She’ll play the ShopRite LPGA Classic and then try to capitalize on her full status on the developmental Symetra circuit.

Asked about her potential at the next level, Brooks said that Maguire can be a future Hall of Famer.

“She’s the hardest worker and the smartest player I’ve ever coached,” he said. “I’m really going to miss her.”