Lewis advances; No. 5 Kerr ousted on first playoff hole

By Associated PressMay 18, 2012, 10:20 pm

GLADSTONE, N.J. – Stacy Lewis is the top American left in the Sybase Match Play Championship, and it's really not a surprise.

Lewis has been the best American on the LPGA Tour all season.

On Friday, Lewis won the first four holes and rolled to a 4-and-3 decision over Sandra Gal in the second round at Hamilton Farm Golf Club.

The tournament has become a minefield for the tour's marquee players. Defending champion Suzann Pettersen, No. 4 ranked Ai Miyazato and American stars Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicomeand Michelle Wie went down in the opening round.

Cristie Kerr, last year's runner-up and the No. 5 ranked player, lost Friday along with No. 7 Jiyai Shin and No. 14 Karrie Webb. Eleven of the 20 seeded players in the 64-woman field have been eliminated.

''I don't think Suzann losing really opens things up for me,'' said Lewis, who was in Pettersen's bracket. ''I think I've got a lot of tough matches still ahead of me, and there were a lot of upsets yesterday, so it just shows what match play is. Anything could happen on any given day.''

There's still talent at the top.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng posted a 3-and-1 win over American Katie Futcher, and No. 2 ranked Na Yeon Choi was a 3-and-2 winner over fellow South Korean Jenny Shin.

The 27-year-old Lewis has more pressing problems. Her third-round opponent will be Sun Young Yoo, who won this event two years ago and the tour's first major earlier this year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

''Sun Young's having a great year,'' Lewis said. ''She's playing really well.''

So is Lewis. She has a win and four other top-10 finishes with earnings of $436,746, fourth best on tour.

Her sights are set on being the top American.

''That's the reason I go out and play every day,'' Lewis said. ''I think I've probably been playing as good, if not better, than a lot of the American players and I haven't got noticed yet, and that's what drives me every day to go out and get better and to keep playing and to keep winning matches. I think if you're up on that leaderboard enough and you win enough golf tournaments, people will start to take notice.

''I haven't been noticed, but it's driving me every day.''

Lewis never gave Gal a chance. The former Arkansas star played 15 holes in 5-under par. She made birdies of 4, 10 and 30 feet on the first three holes and won the fourth when Gal bogeyed. The German moved within 2-down after 11 holes, but Lewis birdied the 13th and 14th to open daylight again.

Tseng, who has won three events this year, was down 1 after seven holes, but she won four holes between Nos. 11 and 17 to move on.

Choi never trailed in her match with Shin and closed out her countrywoman with a birdie at the par-3 16th.

Kerr saved par from a greenside bunker at No. 18 to extend the match, but she hit her second shot into a lateral hazard on the first playoff hole and had to take a drop. Hurst opened the door a little by missing the green and knocking her third about 4 feet past the cup. However, Kerr, winless since 2010, missed her bogey putt and conceded the match.

There were a couple of surprises again.

Jodi Ewart of England, who knocked out Pettersen in the opening round, sent another Scandanavian to the sideline with a 3-and-1 win over veteran Sophie Gustafson. The 24-year-old will face Azahara Munoz. The Spaniard beat Webb 2 and 1.

American Angela Stanford, the No. 12 seed and the runner-up to Yoo two years ago, was impressive with a front-running 4-and-3 win over Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea. Stanford will play Hurst in the third round.

Anna Nordqvist of Sweden upset Jiyai Shin 2 and 1, winning three of the final five holes.

The weekend will be double rounds. The third round and the quarterfinals will be played Saturday, and the semifinals and championship on Sunday.

Julieta Granada of Paraguay posted the most impressive win on Friday with a 6-and-5 thrashing of Ryann O'Toole, who eliminated Lincicome in the first round.

Americans Mina Harigae and Jennifer Johnson both lost Friday after posting upsets in the first round.

A day after beating Creamer, Johnson lost 2 and 1 to Karine Icher. Harigae, who defeated Wie, was beaten 3 and 2 by U.S. Women's Open champion So Yeon Ryu.

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U.S. Amateur playoff: 24 players for 1 spot in match play

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2018, 1:21 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer and Daniel Hillier were tied at the top after two rounds of the U.S. Amateur, but the more compelling action on Tuesday was further down the leaderboard.

Two dozen players were tied for 64th place after two rounds of stroke play at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. With the top 64 advancing to match play, that means all 24 will compete in a sudden-death playoff Wednesday morning for the last spot in the knockout rounds.

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

They'll be divided into six foursomes and start the playoff at 7:30 a.m. on the par-3 17th at Pebble Beach, where Tom Watson chipped in during the 1982 U.S. Open and went on to win.

The survivor of the playoff will face the 19-year-old Hillier in match play. The New Zealander shot a 2-under 70 at Spyglass Hill to share medalist honors with the 18-year-old Hammer at 6 under. Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas who played in the 2015 U.S. Open at age 15, shot 68 at Spyglass Hill.

Stewart Hagestad had the low round of the day, a 5-under 66 at Pebble Beach, to move into a tie for 10th after opening with a 76 at Spyglass Hill. The 27-year-old Hagestad won the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur and earned low amateur honors at the 2017 Masters.

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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Purse: $6 million

Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.

Notables in the field

Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson

• Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

• Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open

Sergio Garcia

• Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

• Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)

Webb Simpson

• Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

• 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."