LPGAs three Japanese players return to tour

By Associated PressMarch 23, 2011, 3:49 am

LPGA Tour _newCITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. – Ai Miyazato spent four days fearing the absolute worst after the earthquake and tsunami devastated northern Japan.

When the star LPGA golfer finally learned her friends were safe in tsunami-flattened Sendai, she resolved to join her fellow Japanese players in helping their homeland’s recovery while still pursuing their careers.

Ai Miyazato, Momoku Ueda and Mika Miyazato are returning to the LPGA this week at the Kia Classic in suburban Los Angeles. They announced plans Tuesday to channel their grief into disaster relief through a fundraising website and a supportive logo to wear in upcoming tournaments.

“I’ve never had this situation before, so it could be difficult to have good concentration during the tournament,” said Ai Miyazato, the former world No. 1. “But all I can do is just stay in the present and do something like playing really good … and hopefully get back good news to Japan. Maybe one of my responsibilities is to provide hope and courage to the Japanese people, but at the same time just be able to deal with the day-to-day tasks as they appear.”

The three players have paid to set up a fundraising site for a nonprofit relief organization, and they’re hoping their fellow pros will join them in wearing the self-designed buttons with Japanese characters reading: “Makeruna Nippon,” or “Never Give Up Japan.”

But the tragedy is still fresh in the minds of the golfers, who were all in Japan when the earthquake and tsunami hit March 11.

Ueda was on the freeway in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, literally feeling the ground shake beneath her.

“The initial emotion was speechless, and it’s still the same right now,” Ueda said. “I’ve seen someone being rescued after nine days at the site, as well as other stories. I feel sadness, (but) feeling sad just can’t move us forward in the right direction. So with golf, hopefully, I can provide smiles to as many people as possible. Right now sadness is behind me.”

Mika Miyazato, no relation to Ai Miyazato, was on a flight from Okinawa to Osaka, not learning exactly what happened until the following day.

“It’s certainly difficult right now,” Mika Miyazato said. “But I feel that it is one of my responsibilities as a professional golfer to go out and play, hopefully be able to provide hope and courage to the Japanese people.”

Ai Miyazato’s family is from southern Japan, but she went to high school in northern Sendai. She spent several days trying to contact close friends who lost their houses but managed to stick together in a gymnasium.

“Everyone is safe,” Ai Miyazato said. “At least that makes me feel relief.”

She was still in Japan after finishing 14th in the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. Miyazato won that event and the LPGA Thailand in 2010, becoming the first player in 44 years to sweep the LPGA’s first two events of the season.

Miyazato finished with five victories last year, holding the No. 1 ranking for a stretch.

All three players are wearing their self-designed buttons on their caps, and top-ranked Yani Tseng also wore the button Tuesday at her news conference. The Japanese golfers plan to distribute the buttons to others during the evening player meeting, asking them to display the logo on their caps or bags.

All three players only returned from Japan a few days ago, but they’ll attempt to get their seasons back on track while keeping bigger concerns in mind.

“I didn’t even know if coming to the U.S. was the right decision,” Mika Miyazato said. “But I feel that I want people to get back to their normal lives and live their normal lives as soon as possible.”

Getty Images

Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.


Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

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

Getty Images

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: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 4-7PM 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: $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)