Stricker two back, seeking third straight John Deere title

By Associated PressJuly 9, 2011, 12:32 am

SILVIS, Ill. – Chez Reavie, who had major knee surgery a year ago, relied on near-flawless putting Friday to shoot a 9-under 62 and claim a two-stroke lead at the John Deere Classic.

Reavie found the greens at TPC Deere Run to his liking while making an eagle and a succession of birdie putts, going 8 under during one nine-hole stretch. He went into the weekend at 14-under 128 in search of his first victory since the 2008 Canadian Open.

Reavie finished early, then waited to see if anyone could catch him; no one did.

Steve Stricker shot a 64 to finish at 12 under in his bid for a third straight victory in the tournament. Steve Marino (66) also was 12 under, while Jhonattan Vegas (64), Mark Wilson (67), Brendon De Jonge (66) and Kyle Stanley (67) were four off the lead.

The last two British Open champions, Louis Oosthuizen (2010) and Stewart Cink (2009), both were 3 under and missed the cut by one stroke. Oosthuizen shot a 68, Cink a 67. Paul Goydos, last year’s runner-up, failed to reach the weekend after going 66-75.

Reavie said “I knew if I just got it on the green somewhere, I really had a good chance of making a birdie.”

It was a sharp contrast to the way he played early in the year, when he missed the cut in three of his first five tournaments. Reavie blamed those struggles on worrying too much about his right knee – which underwent surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament and torn meniscus – and everything he missed while sitting out for eight months.

“At first I was kind of counting my starts and counting how much money (I wasn’t making) and I was so stressed about thinking about that I wasn’t thinking about golf so much,” he said. “So after about five or six tournaments at the beginning of the year, I just said to hell with this, I’m just going to go play and wherever I finish up, I finish up.

“Then I started playing better golf.”

“The putter’s been great,” he said. “That’s been the key. I saved some poor shots with good par putts and hit some good shots and made birdies. “It’s always fun when you do that.”

Reavie was playing so well that he had his sights on a 59 after he birdied his 16th hole of the day, the par-3 No. 7, to drop to 10 under for the round.

Birdies on his final two holes would have put him at the magic number, which Goydos reached in the first round of last year’s tournament. But those hopes died when Reavie’s birdie attempt from 14 feet lipped out on No. 8.

Stricker got off to a birdie-eagle start while playing the course with his usual precision. During his two victories and the two rounds this year, he’s 58 under par. He would have been a stroke closer to Reavie except for a birdie putt that skidded just past the hole on 18.

“I don’t know what it is,” Stricker said of his success on the course. “I make a lot of putts. I’ve been putting real well here and seem to read the greens OK. I don’t know what it is, but it’s been a good ride.”

Marino highlighted his round with a 22-foot eagle putt at No. 2 after reaching the green with a 5-iron from 225 yards. He gave one of those strokes back with a bogey on 5, but rolled in a 19-footer for birdie two holes later.

“Yesterday, the putter was really good. I made a bunch of putts,” Marino said. “Today, I hit the ball great, hit a bunch of shots close to the hole and was able to make a few putts.”

First-round leader Kris Blanks drove his first shot of the day into a bunker left of the fairway on No. 1, made double bogey and never found the rhythm he had Thursday, when he birdied his final five holes. He finished with an even-par 71 to remain 8 under heading into the weekend.

“I’ve just got to hit it a little better,” Blanks said. “I didn’t hit it very good today and got out of position a lot, so I can’t be too upset.”

John Daly was on track to make the cut for the first time in seven appearances here after an eagle on his 11th hole of the day, the par-5 No. 2, left him to 2 under for the tournament. But two holes later, he sent his tee shot into thick grass right of the fairway, hacked at the ball seven times while advancing it only a few feet on each try, finally took a drop and ended up with a 13.

“It’s just brutal over there,” said Daly, who finished with an 81 that left him 11 over. “I mean, I hit it in the worst spot on the golf course. You just can’t hit it there.”

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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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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)

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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.”

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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)