McIlroy rips through a defenseless Old Course

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2010, 9:35 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The Old Course was defenseless and no one took advantage of it more than Rory McIlroy.

The 21-year-old from Northern Ireland tied the major championship record Thursday by shooting a 9-under 63 in the opening round of the British Open.

One of golf’s brightest prospects, McIlroy started his romp with an eagle at the 352-yard ninth, where he drove the green and rolled in the putt. He then made six birdies on the homeward holes for a 30 that tied the tournament’s back-nine record.

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy's first round 63 has him atop the leaderboard at The Open. (Getty Images)

McIlroy became only the eighth player to go so low at the British Open, equaling a mark from 17 years ago by the late Payne Stewart at Royal St. George. Overall, just 22 players have shot 63 in one of the four major tournaments, including Greg Norman and Vijay Singh, who each did it twice.

The last to do it: Tiger Woods at the 2007 PGA Championship. The world’s No. 1 player wasn’t quite as sharp to start this major, but a 67 put him in the thick of things.

Woods and everyone else were chasing McIlroy, who missed the cut at the first two majors of the year but began to live up to his enormous potential with his first PGA Tour win at Quail Hollow.

“I didn’t get off to a flying start,” McIlroy said. “The eagle on 9 really sort of turned things around for me, and I just got going from there. It was great to get into the rhythm of the round and get into a flow. And yeah, it was a very pleasant round of golf.”

McIlroy had a chance to claim the record all to himself.

A brilliant approach at No. 17, the famed “Road Hole,” left him with a 5-footer for birdie. But the putt slid wide of the cup, and McIlroy rolled back his head in disappointment after tapping in the par, knowing that he had squandered a chance at a truly historic score.

While no one ever expects to shoot 63 in a major, it was certainly a day for posting a low number.

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa took a run at McIlroy until he failed to get up-and-down at 17, taking his only bogey on the way to a 65. John Daly matched the best score of his Open career with a 66, a number equaled by Scottish journeyman Andrew Coltart, England’s Steven Tiley, Bradley Dredge of Wales and Sweden’s Peter Hanson.

The birthplace of golf played like a muni for the morning starters, with hardly any wind blowing in off St. Andrews Bay and only a sprinkling of rain. In fact, the sun popped out just as McIlroy was finishing up, and competitors were able to strip off their jackets and play in short sleeves.

“The old lady had no clothes on today,” said 60-year-old Tom Watson, who opened with a 73 and was one of the few early starters who failed to break par.

Winds stiffened as the day went on, making it more difficult for afternoon players like Phil Mickelson, who took a double-bogey 6 at No. 13 and had nothing but pars over the first 17 holes.

Just past 6 o’clock, the expected rains finally arrived, at least on part of the course, forcing players to scramble for their wet gear. But the showers were brief, and the sun popped back out again as the remaining groups finished.

Tougher conditions didn’t seem to bother England’s Lee Westwood, who recently was diagnosed with a ruptured muscle in his right calf and couldn’t get in much practice time. He shot 67 and was solidly in contention on a scoreboard filled with red numbers.

Woods showed this might be the week for his first victory since being tarnished by a sex scandal that had the British media speculating as much about his personal life as the prospects of him becoming the first player to win three Open titles at St. Andrews.

His only stumble also came at the Road Hole, where he took a bogey.

Woods romped to dominating wins in 2000 and 2005; a third straight would give him 15 majors titles, just three shy of Jack Nicklaus’ career record.

“It’s getting better every week,” Woods said. “I’m hitting shots that I haven’t hit in a long time. It’s building.”

Daly knows a thing or two about problems away from the course, from failed marriages and financial woes to trouble with alcohol and weight.

He underwent surgery to deal with his ballooning waist line, and has lost nearly 100 pounds. But his game had shown little signs of turning around – he’s ranked 455th in the world and his best finish of the year was a tie for 24th at the Puerto Rico Open.

No matter, Daly still has quite the following. Fans of “grip it and rip it” had no trouble spotting him at the Old Course, where he wore lavender paisley pants, a sky blue sleeveless sweater, a peach shirt and a turquoise cap. None of it matched. Not that it mattered.

Strolling the course puffing on a cigarette and carrying a diet soda, Daly put up his best score since a 66 at Royal St. George in 1993. It could have been a lot better, too – four putts lipped out or caught the edge of the cup, including one that spun 180 degrees around the back of the 12th hole to end a streak of four straight birdies.

Could it be 1995 all over again?

That year, Daly managed to put aside his problems long enough to capture his second major championship, beating Costantino Rocca in a British Open playoff with a mop of blond hair that was much longer than it is now.

“It’s a golf course, I don’t know, I just love it. I don’t know why,” Daly said. “It suits my game. Just a special, special place.”

But the Old Course relies on the elements to provide its best defense. Without the usual rain and wind, it was like target practice for the world’s best.

Of the first 84 players who teed off before noon, only 25 posted scores above par. Among those in the red: defending Open champion Stewart Cink, who got off to what normally would have been a very solid start.

This day, though, a 70 felt like an opportunity squandered.

“It was out there for the taking,” said Cink, who beat Watson in a playoff at Turnberry after the five-time champion missed an 8-foot putt on the 72nd hole that would have made him the oldest major champion in golf history. “I definitely left a few out there.”

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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 national women's golf championship marked the fourth consecutive year in‌ which the women's Division I national title was won by a Pac-12 Conference 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.

• 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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