Notes McIlroy wont ask What if

By Associated PressJuly 19, 2010, 2:07 am

Open 125w

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – One bad round. One completely, utterly awful round.

Take that away, and Rory McIlroy’s walk up the 18th fairway Sunday at the British Open might have been triumphant.

“I couldn’t help but think about Friday going up the last hole there,” McIlroy said after shooting a 68 that moved him into a tie for third. “You know, if I had just sort of stuck in a little bit more on Friday and held it together more, it could have been a different story.”

McIlroy finished eight strokes behind winner Louis Oosthuizen. Take away the 80 he posted Friday and give him a score in the 60s – as he had the other three days – and it explains why he wasn’t thrilled with his best finish at a major.

McIlroy’s best finish at the British Open was a tie for 42nd three years ago. He failed to make the cut at either the Masters or the U.S. Open this year.

“I knew that I had a good chance coming in here, and it was nice to sort of be there for a while,” he said. “I’m still a bit disappointed, to be honest, because I know if I could have played anywhere decent on Friday, I could have been a lot closer to the lead. I’m not saying that I could have got to 17 under, but I definitely could have been contending for second place, anyway.”

With Lee Westwood, the No. 3 player in the world still nursing a bum leg, McIlroy arrived at St. Andrews as the best hope to end the United Kingdom’s losing streak at its own Open. No golfer from Britain or Northern Ireland has hoisted the claret jug since Paul Lawrie in 1999, and Nick Faldo was the last Englishman to win, claiming the last of his three Open titles in 1992.

Though only 21, McIlroy is the kind of precocious talent who could carry the continent for a generation. The Northern Irishman turned pro in 2007, earned his European card without going to Q-school and broke into the top 10 in the world before his 21st birthday. He claimed his first PGA Tour win in May, bringing Quail Hollow to its knees with a 62 on Sunday

McIlroy tied the major-championship record by shooting 63 in pristine conditions Thursday morning. But with the wind howling and the Old Course showing its considerable bite, he blew up with the 80 on Friday afternoon.

“When you start off shooting 63 in any golf tournament, you fancy your chances going into the next three days,” McIlroy said. “It just so happened to be it got very windy on Friday, and I just didn’t deal with it very well. … I hadn’t played in wind like that for a long time. So it was a bit of a new experience.”

No player had ever shot such a high score after going so low the day before in a major tournament. As the strokes piled up, McIlroy began looking his age, rolling his eyes, slumping his shoulders, kicking the grass. It could have started him on a major meltdown, the kind that can linger for months.

Instead, McIlroy went back to his hotel room, ordered room service and went to bed. On Saturday, he came out and shot a 69.

“For three rounds, I was 16 under par, so it’s in there. It’s definitely in there,” McIlroy said. “It’s just a pity about Friday.”

But don’t expect him to keep wondering, “What if?”

“It’s not going to give me nightmares,” he said. “I was 16 under for three rounds of golf around St. Andrews in the Open, and just one bad round. It’s fine.”

YOUNG GUN: The older players can relax. Jin Jeong won’t be taking their money for a few more months.

The only amateur to make the cut at this British Open tied for 14th, a finish that would have earned him almost $88,000 if he was a professional. Though Jeong obviously has the game to compete with the big boys, he said he’s put his plans to turn pro in September on hold.

“I can play the Masters next year, and I really want to play that tournament,” the British Amateur champion said. “So I’ll probably stay amateur until then.”

The 20-year-old has an appreciation for golf’s grandest courses – he said playing St. Andrews was a “dream come true.” But it also means more sacrifice for him and his family.

Like many young South Korean golfers, he headed for Australia in the winter to work on his game when he was about 13. He made the move to Melbourne permanently about four years ago, leaving his parents and sister behind in Korea. He split time between living with a local Korean family and his coach, Trevor Flakemore.

Six months ago, his mother and sister relocated to Melbourne, a move that coincides with a sharp improvement in his play. But his father’s job required him to stay in Korea.

“That’s why my dad is not here. He’s working,” Jeong said. “He was going to come here to watch, but his business is going really busy, so he had to stay. It’s a shame.”

Jeong hits monster drives – when he outdrove PGA champion Y.E. Yang during a practice round recently, he posted on Facebook that it was the “happiest day in my life!” – and he drove the 18th green for a second straight day. Unlike Saturday, he made a 25-footer to close out his first British Open with an eagle.

The crowd, which took a liking to the youngster with the big smile, was delighted.

“All week I played really well, and all the crowds gave me claps,” Jeong said. “All week I can’t forget.”

RED, WHITE AND BLUE: The British Open leaderboard looked like it was borrowed from a European Tour event.

The Americans have owned the claret jug lately, having won seven of the last 10 coming into St. Andrews. They also hold down four of the top five spots in the latest world rankings.

But the champion Sunday was Louis Oosthuizen, a South African. The rest of the top five hail from England (Lee Westwood and Paul Casey), Northern Ireland (Rory McIlroy) and Sweden (Henrik Stenson). Not until the seventh place is there an American, and no, the name isn’t Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson.

Sean O’Hair and Nick Watney were the only Americans in the top 10 on Sunday. Woods tied for 23rd. Mickelson, who could have taken over the No. 1 ranking for the first time in his career with a win on the Old Course, tied for 48th. Neither was ever in contention.

“I’m not going to win all of them,” Woods said. “I’ve lost a lot more than I’ve won.”

The results at St. Andrews are part of a trend that could spell trouble for the Americans at the Ryder Cup, which will be played in Wales in October. Golfers from Britain and Northern Ireland won three straight PGA Tour events last month and four of five, including Graeme McDowell’s win at the U.S. Open.

Of the top 25 at St. Andrews, 13 were European players.

“We’re going to have a great team,” England’s Paul Casey said. “It doesn’t guarantee a victory, but I think we’ll be pretty good.”

Europe has won five of the last seven Ryder Cups.

HALLOWEEN COSTUME: John Daly finally has some competition for worst outfit.

Rickie Fowler did his best imitation of a giant pumpkin in the final round of the British Open on Sunday, decked out in hazard-cone orange from head to toe. Shoes, pants, belt, necklace, cap – even his Rolex had orange accents.

“I went to Oklahoma State,” Fowler said, explaining the reason for his Day-Glo outfit. “Not many people wear orange. It’s a good way to stand out.”

Actually, Fowler didn’t need any help for that. He finished his first British Open in a tie for 14th at 4 under after posting his second 67 of the week Sunday. He also made one of the best shots of the day, holing a putt of almost 130 feet from off the green for birdie on the 17th hole. Fowler tossed the ball into the crowd after he fished it out of the cup.

“That was pretty cool,” he said. “I think it’s the longest putt I’ve ever made.”

A little payback, too.

The PGA Tour rookie had only played two other majors before coming to St. Andrews, tying for 60th at the 2008 U.S. Open and missing the cut last year. He shot a 79 on the Old Course on Thursday thanks, in part, to a double-bogey on 17 after he four-putted from off the green.

Scrambling just to make the cut, Fowler rebounded with a 67 on Friday. He was below par each of his last three days, and had just two bogeys – none Sunday.

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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

A post shared by ETPI (@etpi_performanceunit) on

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Arizona captures NCAA DI Women's Championship

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 11:56 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – Turns out this match-play format provides fireworks. Almost always.

In the four years since the women’s NCAA Championship has switched from the stale, 72-hole stroke-play format the championship matches have been pure magic.

This year, for the third time in the past four years, the final outcome came down to the last match and Arizona took home its third title with a 3-2 victory over Alabama on Wednesday when junior Haley Moore defeated senior Lakareber Abe on the 19th hole.

The Wildcats also won NCAA titles in 1996 and 2000, the latter when current Arizona coach Laura Ianello was on the team as a player.

“Arizona is my home, it is where I went to school and [the championship] needs to be back home,” Ianello said. “So I am so proud to be the coach to bring it back.”

Two days ago, Arizona was in the midst of an epic collapse. The Wildcats were safely in the third position after 54 holes of stroke play and needed only to be inside the top eight after 72 holes to advance to the match-play portion of the event.

But they played the worst round of the day and were on the outside looking in with one hole remaining when junior Bianca Pagdanganan made eagle on the par-5 18th hole. That propelled the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor that they ultimately won.

On the first day of match play, Arizona continued to ride the wave of momentum by defeating Pac-12 rivals UCLA, the top seed, and Stanford, a match-play stalwart the past three years.

Next up for Arizona was Alabama, the top-ranked team in the country and the second seed this week after stroke play.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a hell of a ride,” Ianello said, attempting to take pressure off her team, which, on paper, looked like an underdog.

But you know the saying, anything can happen in match play, and often does.

Alabama coach Mic Potter put out his three first-team All-Americans in the first three spots hoping to jump out to an early lead. Junior Lauren Stephenson played poorly in the opening match and lost, 4 and 3, to freshman Yu-Sang Hou.

Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight dispatched Wildcats Gigi Stoll and Pagdanganan easily in the second and third matches.

Arizona’s Sandra Nordaas beat Angelica Moresco, 1 up, in the fourth match meaning the fifth and final match, which was all square after 16 holes, was going to decide the NCAA title.

Lakareber lost the 17th hole when her approach shot sailed well short and right of the green in thick, gnarly rough. She attempted to advance the ball but could not and headed to the final hole 1 down.

With seemingly every golf fan in Stillwater on site, including several men’s teams here to participate in next week’s championship, Abe hit a laser second shot into the par-5 18th hole setting up a 12-foot look for eagle. Moore missed her birdie putt and Abe won the hole to set up extra holes to decide the championship.

In the extra frame, Moore was left of the green in two shots and Abe was short in the greenside bunker. Moore chipped to 4 feet and Abe’s bunker shot was 6 feet away. Abe missed, Moore made and Arizona walked away with the hardware.

“It means so much, it’s actually like a dream,” Moore said. “I’m just so happy for my team right now.”

Potter has been a head coach for 35 years – at both Furman and Alabama – and finally was able to collect his first NCAA Championship in 2012. Being so close to a second one will sting for quite a while but he will be able to live with the outcome for one simple reason.

“They fought their hearts out all year,” Potter said. “I just want to congratulate them for the way they battled, not only today, but in match play. Everyone gave their best on every shot - that’s all we can ask.”

Arizona def. Alabama, 3-2

Yu-Sang Hou (AZ) def. Lauren Stephenson (AL), 4 and 3

Kristen Gillman (AL) def. Gigi Stoll (AZ), 4 and 3

Cheyenne Knight (AL) def. Bianca Pagdanganan, 4 and 2

Sandra Nordaas (AZ) def. Angelica Moresco (AL), 1 up

Haley Moore (AZ) def. Lakareber Abe (AL), 19th hole

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Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.