Compton tied for lead at McGladrey through Rd. 1

By Doug FergusonOctober 23, 2014, 10:54 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Erik Compton is happy with where he is in golf, and he's not referring to his 5-under 65 on Thursday for a share of the lead in the McGladrey Classic.

A return to Sea Island provides an occasion to take stock of how far he has come in the last 13 years, and what Compton refers to as the ''hurdles'' he didn't anticipate.

There's a medical term for these hurdles. It's called a second heart transplant.

''I'm almost 35 years old. I've had a good career in golf, really,'' he said. ''Even though I've had some time off, I've been able to support myself and have a good life.''

Compton remarkably earned a PGA Tour card just four years after he drove himself to the hospital while suffering a heart attack, dodging death until he received a second transplant. He now is in his fourth straight season on golf's toughest circuit, and he has shown steady improvement.

The next step is to win, and Compton has been around long enough not to get overly excited about a good start.

He opened with a pair of birdies in the morning chill on the Seaside Course at Sea Island, dropped only one shot and joined Sea Island resident Brian Harman, Michael Thompson and Will MacKenzie in the lead.

Chesson Hadley was among six players one shot behind. More than half of the field was at par or better on a gentle day for scoring.

''I expect I should win this year. That's a goal of mine,'' Compton said. ''It's always been a goal, but I think every time I get on the course it becomes more of a realistic expectation.''


McGladrey Classic: Articles, videos and photos


Compton first played Sea Island when he competed in the SEC Championship while at Georgia in 2001. A few months later, Compton played in the Walker Cup at nearby Ocean Forest.

The first hurdle when he turned pro was realizing that ''everybody out here is really, really, really, really good.'' The more serious hurdle was his heart.

Compton had his first transplant when he 12 because of cardiomyopathy, an enlarging of the heart that hinders its ability to pump blood. He had his second in 2008 and ended that year by making the cut in the final PGA Tour event.

His story never gets old, and Compton is happy to tell it, especially if that means bringing attention to the ''Donate Life America'' campaign. He prefers to look ahead, at the next shot, the next tournament, trying to get the most he can out of his game, just like the guys he is trying to beat.

Compton has reached the FedEx Cup playoff the last two seasons and advanced to the third round at the BMW Championship last month. In the short offseason, he spent more time in the gym trying to get stronger at the recommendation of former Miami Heat guard Ray Allen.

''I went to the gym with him a couple of times and played him for some money games in Miami,'' Compton said. ''He was just trying to motivate me to get in better shape. So I worked out a little bit. And then just played five or six rounds with him before I went back on the road.''

Easy money? Compton smiled.

''I got him five ways one day,'' he said without mentioning a dollar amount.

Compton played on that Walker Cup team with 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover along with Bryce Molder and D.J. Trahan, who both went on to win on the PGA Tour. The Britain & Ireland team featured former world No. 1 Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell, the U.S. Open champion at Pebble Beach.

Compton's hopes were not much different from theirs - turn pro, win tournaments.

''I think when I was younger, I had some unrealistic expectations,'' he said. ''I knew I was a good player. I obviously had some hurdles that I had to deal with in front of me, which I didn't see coming. I didn't know I was going to have to deal with that.''

What's real to him now is being a PGA Tour regular. He's going to the Masters next year for the first time, courtesy of his runner-up finish in the U.S. Open. That remains his biggest highlight in golf.

What's next? He's curious to find out. Compton is learning not to swing so hard to take advantage of his putting stroke.

''I just want to get the ball in play and hit on the green and see where I can go,'' he said. ''And that's difficult to do in four days, and it's proven difficult for a lot of guys who have never won on tour who have great careers. I happen to be one of those guys right now, and I feel like if I can do the things like I did today and get out of my own way, there's no reason I shouldn't continue to progress in this game.''

DIVOTS: Mark Anderson had the first ace in tournament history, a 4-iron from 212 yards on No. 3. ... Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson were in the group at 67, while defending champion Chris Kirk opened with a 68. ... McGladrey extended its title sponsorship through 2020.

Getty Images

NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 11:00 am

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)

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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)

Getty Images

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.”