Kerr in 3-way tie for lead at LPGA Championship

By Associated PressJune 25, 2010, 4:43 am

LPGA Championship

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – With Lorena Ochoa out of the picture, Cristie Kerr began her quest to take over top spot in the women’s golf rankings.

What better time to start than Thursday at the LPGA Championship, the tour’s first major since Ochoa announced her retirement in April.

Relying on her clutch putting, and untroubled by a heavy downpour that briefly stopped play early in the afternoon, Kerr shot a 4-under 68 to match Stacy Lewis and Seon Hwa Lee for the lead at the Locust Hill Country Club outside of Rochester.

Though admittedly “punchy” after a weather-delayed round that lasted nearly 6 hours, Kerr was not hiding her desire to go from being the top-ranked American to No. 1 in the world before this year is over.

“I feel that as far as Number 1 goes, I’m right in there,” said Kerr, who opened the week ranked fifth.

Referring to Ai Miyazato, who took over top spot after winning the ShopRite LPGA Classic last weekend, Kerr added: “Ai’s been really hot winning four tournaments. I’m going to have to do some special stuff for the rest of the year, but it can be done.” 

Cristie Kerr
Kerr is tied for the lead at the LPGA Championship after an opening round 68. (Getty Images)

She’ll get plenty of challengers after the first round of the $2.25 million event in which no one was capable of separating from the pack.

Inbee Park, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open champion, Mika Miyazato and Lindsey Wright were a stroke back, leaving a logjam of 16 players within three shots of the lead.

It’s a group that includes Juli Inkster, who showed that turning 50 doesn’t mean she can’t compete for yet another major title. The 31-time LPGA tour winner celebrated her birthday by shooting a 71.

Inkster proved to be the crowd favorite as she was serenaded at least four times on the course by fans singing “Happy Birthday.

“It was nice to be loved,” Inkster said, before dismissing a question of whether she feels old. “It didn’t feel any different than it felt yesterday.”

Trouble is, her age showed through just a little as she struggled by finishing with four bogeys – sandwiched between a par and a birdie – over the final six holes.

Kerr, in her 14th season, showed no signs of letdown in a round that featured five birdies and only one bogey. She was particularly solid in saving par on her final hole – the 172-yard par-3 ninth – by two-putting from 35 feet on a tricky green.

“This is what I wanted starting the first day,” Kerr said. “You get kind of a taste of the blood in the water. It kind of motivates you and you look forward to getting up to play tomorrow.”

The weather played havoc with shots along the narrow tree-lined, 6,506-yard course that demanded accurate shots off the tee.

The early afternoon downpour had just begun when Lewis reached the green at No. 9, her final hole. Facing an 8-foot putt for birdie, Lewis acknowledged she had plenty of incentive to sink it before quickly escaping to the dry confines of the scorers’ tent.

“I was glad to hit the tee shot before it started to pour,” Lewis said. “I knew I was going to get soaked. And I knew I could go inside and dry off. I just didn’t worry about it.”

The 25-year-old Lewis is finally beginning to play to the potential she showed in tying for third at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open – a tournament she had led after three rounds. This year, her second on the LPGA Tour, Lewis is coming off a pair of top-16 finishes, and also earned a career-best second-place finish at the Tres Marias Championship last month.

Lee was relieved to make it through the elements with a 68 in what proved to be an up-and-down round.

After opening with a three-putt bogey on No. 10, she responded by chipping in a 127-yard shot for eagle at the 386-yard par-4 12th. She then followed with four birdies and a pair of bogeys before closing by holing out of the bunker for birdie.

“The rain had stopped, so it was not a very hard up and down,” Lee said. “I just had a lot of confidence in my bunker shot, so I just did the right thing.”

Paula Creamer, competing in only her second tournament since having surgery to repair ligament damage in her left thumb, was among those at 1 under. Creamer struggled with her putting, and played with her left thumb wrapped.

Yani Tseng, who won the Kraft Nabisco, faltered down the stretch in her bid to win two straight majors. After getting to 4 under through seven holes, Tseng had five bogeys on her next seven holes – including four in a row – and finished at 3 over.

Anna Nordqvist, the defending champion, opened with a 73.

 

 

 

 

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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.”

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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.

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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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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

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