Logjam at Riviera leaderboard

By Doug FergusonFebruary 18, 2011, 7:16 am

Northern Trust Open

LOS ANGELES – Ten years after Australia’s Robert Allenby won a six-man playoff at Riviera, he was part of a nine-way tie for the lead Thursday in the Northern Trust Open.

Allenby kept it simple on a gorgeous day along Sunset Boulevard with a 4-under 67 that turned out to be enough for a share of the lead when former Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin faltered late.

It was the highest score to lead after one round at Riviera in 15 years.

Also atop the leaderboard when play was suspended by darkness were John Senden, Martin Laird, Spencer Levin, Aaron Baddeley, Ben Martin, Bill Haas, Carl Pettersson and J.B. Holmes.

In what might be the best weather all week, no one separated himself in mild temperatures, a light breeze and a sky clear enough to offer a peek of the Pacific Ocean through the eucalyptus trees.

A few players managed to stand out.

Dustin Johnson’s caddie thought his tee time was 40 minutes later than it really was, so Johnson was on the practice range in the middle of his warm-up routine when he was supposed to be high on the hill on the first tee. Johnson was penalized two shots, and nearly was disqualified. Players have five minutes to get to the tee, and Johnson got their with 6 seconds to spare.

He wound up with a 73.

Then came the retro movement of Pavin and Fred Couples, who combined to win this tournament four times during a six-year stretch in the early 1990s. Couples, whose back is in such bad shape that he’s going for treatment next week, made three straight birdies at the turn and shot a 68.

Pavin was the only player to reach 5 under, and it would have been an amazing story if he didn’t have to play the last six holes. But he made three bogeys in the twilight, including his last two holes, and had to settle for a 69.

“You always want to finish off a round, so it’s a little disappointing in that regard,” Pavin said. “But I just went out there and hit every shot the best I could, and I just didn’t finish the way I wanted to. But if I had said, ‘Take 2 under before the round started,’ I maybe would have taken it. I’m not sure.”

Phil Mickelson got off to a great start with birdies on his opening two holes, only to look suspect with a few irons and a few putts. He wound up with a 71. His hope is that the rain holds off until he finishes the second round.

“I thought it was going to be a great day but I gave a lot of shots back, made too many bogeys,” Mickelson said. “I’ll have a good chance tomorrow morning to get out and try to go low. This afternoon it was tough to make some putts. Even though there were some low scores, I struggled getting the ball to go in. And I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s early round.”

Vijay Singh, who turns 48 on Tuesday, continued to showed signs of getting back into the mix. He had a 68 and was in a large group that included Padraig Harrington.

Geoff Ogilvy was part of the pack at 69, with a round that included a 3-iron to tap-in range for eagle and what will go down as a two-putt par from 70 feet, even though it was much better. Realizing the greens were so fast and the putt could break sharply to the left and roll into a bunker, he chipped his sand wedge some 20 feet right of the pin and watched it roll to a foot away.

Typical of this tournament, not everyone could finish. Fourteen players will return Friday to finish the round, although the conditions could be much different.

Rain is expected for much of the next two days, which is why Haas was pleased with his start.

“If I was 2 over right now, I wouldn’t like the forecast,” he said. “Nobody likes the forecast, anyway, but we’ve all got to play in it, and I was fortunate to shoot a good round when it was nice.”

Allenby has not won on the PGA Tour in 10 years, and that 2001 season started with a dramatic win at Riviera. In a six-man playoff that featured two players at Riviera this year as broadcasters – Dennis Paulson and Brandel Chamblee – he hit 3-wood from 235 yards in a cold, driving rain to about 5 feet for birdie on the 18th.

That was a decade ago, although Allenby hasn’t lost his love for this course.

“This golf course suits me,” he said.

For the first round, it seemed to suit just about everybody. The Aussies ruled early, with Senden and Baddeley joining Allenby atop the leaderboard among those who teed off in the morning. 

“Maybe looking at all the big gum trees around the golf course makes this feel like we’re at home,” Senden said.

No one feels more at home than Couples, although there were times he wishes he could have been somewhere else. His back has been acting up, and it started to get to him toward the end of his round.

“It’s the shorter clubs that kill me,” Couples said. “But at the end of the day, I played 18 holes and had a great round.”

He then mentioned an MRI he has planned for Monday, followed by a treatment that he did not want to discuss. And he left little room to guess what it might be, saying that it was a “couple little things that may happen,” then describing it as “pretty drastic” and that “it’ll be fun for me to do it.”

That was about as easy to decipher as the leaderboard.

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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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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 later 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 it 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. They were safely in the third position after 54 holes of stroke play and needed to only 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 helluva 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 of 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 behind, which was all square after 16 holes, was going to be the one to decide the NCAA title.

Lakareber lost the 17th hole when her approach shot sailed well short and right of the green in thick, thick 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 failed to put pressure on Abe 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 awhile 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.

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Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

Off the course, they're also different.

The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''