Illinois upsets Cal, will face Alabama in NCAA final

By Associated PressJune 1, 2013, 9:47 pm

MILTON, Ga. – Thomas Pieters of Illinois beat Max Homa with a par on the 20th hole to give Illinois a 3-2 victory over top-seeded California on Saturday in the NCAA golf semifinals.

The 15th-seeded Illini will face No. 2 Alabama in the final Sunday, with both seeking their first title. The Crimson Tide beat host Georgia Tech 3-0-2 on the Capital City Club's Crabapple Course.

''We won five tournaments this year,'' said Illinois coach Mike Small, whose team beat defending champion Texas on Friday in the quarterfinals. ''People think we're a Cinderella thing. We're better than people think we are.''

NCAA final: Alabama-Illinois pairings

Homa, the tournament’s individual winner Thursday, three-putted for a bogey on the second extra hole.

Alabama lost to Texas last year in the title match.

California lost after setting an NCAA season record with 11 victories in its last 13 tournaments. The Golden Bears had all five of their starters ranked among the top 25 in the nation.

Illinois' Charlie Danielson beat Joel Stalter 3 and 2, and Brian Campbell topped Michael Kim 2 and 1. California's Michael Weaver edged Thomas Detry 1 up, and Brandon Hagy beat Alex Burge 4 and 3.

''There's no pressure on us,'' Pieters said. ''I think it's easier for us to play free. We're just trying to have fun.''

Pieters, the NCAA individual winner last year, was 3 down through nine holes, before rallying to win the next three holes and even the match. Pieters had a chance to win on the 18th hole, but his 8-foot putt lipped out.

Each player parred the first extra hole. After two good drives at the 20th hole, Pieters hit his approach within 10 feet, and Homa's wedge took a bad kick and finished 30 feet above the hole. Pieters missed his birdie try and was conceded the par putt. Homa eased his first putt over the ridge that cuts through the green, but the ball rolled 8 feet past and he missed the comebacker.

''Even though I was 3 down, I didn't get down on myself,'' Pieters said. ''I told myself to keep hitting good shots and give myself a chance.''

Alabama had little trouble against Georgia Tech. Trey Mullinax, Justin Thomas and Cory Whitsett won their matches before they reached the 18th hole. Mullinax was 2 down through seven holes, but wound up beating Shun Yat Hak 4 and 3. The other two matches were not finished and scored as all-square.

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Romo turns in even in PGA Tour debut

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 3:00 pm

After stumbling out of the gates, Tony Romo has found his footing in his PGA Tour debut.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies from Nos. 4-8 while playing alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:

Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Romo, who plays to a plus-0.3 handicap, said earlier in the week that he expected some jitters once it came time to put a tee in the ground.

"You'll be nervous on Thursday on the first tee. Just going to be," Romo said. "I've got to get through the first three or four holes. If I can handle the nerves on the first three or four holes, I think that I'll settle in and hopefully just play the way I've been playing."

Click here to watch live first-round action on Golf Channel.

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Kim's missing clubs show up at sporting goods store

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 1:58 pm

More than a month after they were lost on an American Airlines flight, the clubs I.K. Kim used to win last year's Ricoh Women's British Open turned up on the sale rack of a California sporting goods store.

Kim's clubs became lost in late January when she flew from Miami to San Diego, with the airline suggesting she simply rent a new set. A few weeks later, Kim shot a "What's in the bag" television segment which according to a Golfweek report caught the eye of three good samaritans in the San Diego area.

The three men recognized Kim's clubs for sale at a local Play It Again Sports, with the major winner's tools listed at $60 each. The store even had Kim's tour bag, complete with her LPGA player badge. Kim filmed the reunion with her bag - containing wedges and a few hybrids, minus the head covers - at the Carlsbad police station:

Kim was back in southern California this week for the Kia Classic, where she'll begin play Thursday morning at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.

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New dad Garcia removes shoes, wins match

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 12:48 am

AUSTIN, Texas – In one of the day’s most explosive matches, Sergio Garcia rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole to defeat Shubhankar Sharma, 1 up, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The duo halved just nine holes on Day 1 at Austin Country Club, with Garcia going from 2 up through four holes to 1 down with five holes to play.

But the Spaniard rallied with five birdies over his final eight holes and pushed his record to 20-17-1 in the Match Play. He also gave himself his best chance to advance out of pool play since the format began in 2015.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

The victory continued what has already been a memorable week for Garcia, whose wife, Angela, gave birth to the couple’s first child last Wednesday.

“I already feel like I’m a winner after what happened on Wednesday,” Garcia said. “Obviously, it's something that we're so, so happy and proud of and enjoying it as much as possible.”

The highlight of Garcia’s round on Wednesday came at the 12th hole when he took a drop on a cart path. After considering his options, he removed his shoes and hit his approach from 212 yards to 29 feet for a two-putt birdie to halve the hole.

“I have spikes. So if I don't take my shoes off, I'm going to slip. It's not the kind of shot that you want to slip,” Garcia said. “I had tried it a couple of times on practice swings and I was already slipping a little bit. So I thought I would just take my shoes off, try to get a little bit in front of the hole and it came out great.”