Stricker sets 54-hole PGA record at Deere Classic

By Associated PressJuly 11, 2010, 2:23 am

2006 John Deere Classic

SILVIS, Ill. – Steve Stricker continued his sizzling play at the John Deere Classic on Saturday, pulling away from the field with a 9-under 62 for six-shot lead heading into the final round.

Stricker’s mastery of the TPC Deere Run course left at 25-under 188 for the tournament, the best 54-hole score in PGA Tour history. With a 65 Sunday, he’d break the 72-hole record of 254.

So dominant was Stricker that Jeff Maggert shot a 63 and lost ground. Paul Goydos, golf’s latest Mr. 59 after a magical round on Thursday, played well enough to keep pace in most tournaments, just not this one.

It would be hard for anyone to keep up with Stricker the way he’s playing.

The 43-year-old from Madison, Wis., hit accurate approaches to give himself short putts for birdies in most cases and he deftly extricated himself the only two times he got in trouble.

As well as he played, Stricker’s round was just his second best of the tournament. He opened with a 60 and followed that with a 66.

So just what’s going on here?

“If I knew, I would bottle this,” Stricker said. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

Maggert, who started the day five shots behind Stricker, was at 19-under 194 and tied with Goydos, who trailed Stricker by just one stroke going into the round. Playing in the last group with Stricker, Goydos saw his deficit grow steadily as his partner drilled one birdie putt after another on the back nine.

Former PGA Champion Shaun Micheel also shot a 63 – and found himself 10 strokes off the lead. Rocco Mediate made a hole-in-one and an eagle en route to a 64 but trailed by 14. Matt Jones wriggled into fourth place with a 66 that left him 16 under.

“Stricker’s nine in front of me, so you’d have to have something miraculous happened to him,” Jones said. “That’s not going to happen the way he’s playing, so my goal now is to play for second.”

Still, Stricker remained wary. He had a six-stroke lead on the final day of the Northern Trust Open earlier this year and ended up winning by two.

“This course yields low scores, so you gotta be cautious that somebody can come from behind and post a low one and catch you,” he said. “So that’s going to be my mindset – play my own game and try to make as many birdies as I can.”

Mediate’s early score and those of Vaughn Taylor (64), Kenny Perry (65) and Gary Woodland (65) indicated that the course – the greens in particular – again was ripe for scoring.

“They would hold anything you threw in there,” the 49-year-old Perry said of the greens. “It’s definitely a birdie fest out there right now.”

It certainly was for Stricker.

He has 27 birdies for the tournament, giving him a shot at the Tour record of 32 for a 72-hole event, a mark shared by Mark Calcavecchia and Paul Gow.

Stricker broke the 54-hole record of 189 shared by Calcavecchia, John Cook and Tommy Armour III. Armour also holds the 72-hole record, in the 2003 Texas Open at The Resort at LaCantera, a par 70 course.

“Anytime you set a record it’s a nice thing to do,” Stricker said. “It’s cool and something you can reflect on later in life.”

For now, his thoughts are on maintaining his lead, which ballooned after he and Goydos matched each other shot-for-shot through nine – three birdies and five pars. A tense duel of accurate shot-making and crisp putting was going to come down to who faltered first.

It turned out to be Goydos, who missed an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 10. Stricker then birdied four of the next five holes, including a 31-footer on No. 12, to distance himself.

He drilled a 23-footer on 15 to go 24-under, but his approaches to the greens were so accurate that his seven other birdie putts all came from inside 10 feet. That included an easy 15-incher on No. 11 after he stuck an 8-iron from 170 yards.

“I’ve been putting the ball really well and I just try to get it on there in a good spot so I have a birdie putt,” Stricker said. “And I’ve given myself a lot of opportunities.”

Stricker didn’t get into any trouble until the last two holes.

He drove into the rough on the par-5 17th, then hit his second shot into a green side bunker.

Stymied?

Hardly. He blasted out to 4 feet and birdied the hole.

On 18, Stricker drove into a stand of trees and punched out into the fairway, his ball landing in a divot, 100 yards from pin. He had left the course with a sour feeling Friday after a missing a 2-foot par putt on 18 and was staring at another disappointing finish.

But his wedge from 100 yards stopped 7 inches short of the hole and he closed out his round with a tap-in.

“You never want to end with a bogey,” he said. “After I hit my poor drive, I played the hole smart. I just wanted to give myself 10 feet or under and get a putt at it. It was a good way to finish.”

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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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