US wins third consecutive Walker Cup

By Associated PressSeptember 14, 2009, 1:17 am

USGAARDMORE, Pa. – After three straight one-point decisions in the Walker Cup, United States captain Buddy Marucci wondered if the teams were again headed toward a final-hole showdown.

Boasting a six-point lead heading into the Sunday singles, members of the U.S. team struggled in the middle of their rounds, giving a glimmer of hope to a Great Britain and Ireland team desperate to end a two-match losing streak.

But the Americans steadied their games and won their third consecutive Walker Cup, claiming five singles matches and halving another for a 16 1/2 - 9 1/2 victory over GB&I at Merion Golf Club.

U.S. Walker Cup team
The U.S. team celebrates its third consecutive Walker Cup victory. (Getty Images)
“I felt quietly confident … but memories of Royal County Down weren’t that far away,” said Marucci, recalling the U.S. team’s dramatic final-hole 12 1/2 -11 1/2 victory in 2007.

“But I just thought there was too much talent not to win 2 1/2 points.”

When it was over, Marucci, a Merion member who grew up just off the eighth green, choked back tears at the closing ceremony.

“The true spirit of Merion came out this week, and it comes out every time there is a championship,” the 57-year-old said.

This weekend, on the same layout where Bobby Jones played his first and last U.S. Amateur and completed the Grand Slam in 1930, the U.S. team eased away for a dominating victory in the amateur equivalent of the Ryder Cup.

Americans Rickie Fowler and Peter Uihlein won all four of their weekend matches, and Cameron Tringale won in an 8-and-6 romp in the third-largest winning margin by a U.S. player in singles.

Fowler’s victory punctuated a solid amateur career. Tringale’s victory ensured the U.S. would retain the title, and Uihlein’s 3-and-1 victory over Stiggy Hodgson won it outright.

The U.S. team’s margin of victory was the largest since an 18-6 win in 1997, at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y. The Americans lead the series 34-7-1.

The U.S. team needed two points in the Sunday singles to retain the cup and 2 1/2 to win the championship after going 3-1 in the morning’s alternate-shot matches that provided an 11-5 advantage.

Bud Cauley halved his singles with Chris Paisley and finished 3-0-1 for the U.S., which also got individual wins from Morgan Hoffmann and Brendan Gielow.

Marucci won his second straight title as U.S. captain.

“They gave me more than I will ever be able to give back,” said Marucci, the 2008 U.S. Senior Amateur champion and two-time Walker Cup player.

Scotland’s Gavin Dear, in the first singles pairing, tried to kick-start a GB&I comeback, posting a 3-and-2 victory over Brian Harman.

“I like going out early. I feel as though I can go up,” Dear said. “If the guys see that score, maybe it could give them some kind of incentive or a bit of confidence.”

But the six-point deficit after the morning session proved too big an obstacle to overcome for the GB&I under captain Colin Dalgleish, who dropped his second in a row and was openly disappointed.

Related Content

  • Event: Walker Cup

“I kind of feel that the 10 players we had here are better players and played better than the result would suggest, which is very frustrating for everybody involved here,” Dalgleish said.

Sam Hutsby, Tommy Fleetwood and Niall Kearney supplied GB&sI’s other singles wins.

Fowler and Uihlein, teammates at Oklahoma State along with Hoffmann, starred for the U.S. squad.

Delaying turning pro until after his second straight Walker Cup, Fowler played the 18th hole just once, Sunday morning when he and Cauley prevailed 1-up.

The 20-year-old from Murrieta, Calif., closed out his amateur career on the 17th hole and got a hearty handshake and hug from Marucci.

“This is the reason I stayed an amateur,” said Fowler, whose first pro event will be on the Nationwide Tour next week in Idaho. “Being here, in Buddy’s backyard, and winning it tops it all off.”

He finished with a 7-1 Walker Cup record, unbeaten in four foursomes, and 3-1 in singles.

Uihlein was one of the last two picks to the 10-man team, and he justified his selection by going undefeated.

“I just tried to do the best I could,” the 20-year-old from Orlando said. “It was a pretty special week.”

Uihlein teamed with Nathan Smith, the oldest member of the American squad at 31, for a pair of alternate-shot victories and had wins of 2 and 1, and 3 and 1 in singles.

After three straight losses from 1999-2003, the Americans followed victories at Chicago Golf Club in Illinois and Royal County Down in Northern Ireland with a win at venerable Merion East, which was hosting a record 18th USGA championship.

The U.S. won three straight from 1983-87 as part of an eight-title run between 1973 and 1987. GB&I won three straight titles from 1999-2003, before the current U.S. run.

The Americans raced to a 3-1 lead after Saturday’s alternate-shot matches and held an 8-4 edge after the first day following three wins and four halves in afternoon singles.

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

Getty Images

McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

Getty Images

Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

Getty Images

Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.