Westwood 1 shot back of Molinari at HSBC Champions

By Doug FergusonNovember 5, 2010, 3:14 pm

WGC-HSBC ChampionsSHANGHAI – Lee Westwood figured a 5-wood would be enough to carry the water on the par-5 18th and set up an easy birdie for a share of the lead Friday at the HSBC Champions.

Only when he got to the green did he realize the hole was closer to the edge of a slope than usual, and that his position some 15 yards left of the pin made it nearly impossible to keep it on the green. He had to settle for par, leaving him one shot behind Francesco Molinari.

“That’s why you shouldn’t play golf by memory,” he said after a 2-under 70.

That was only one shot on one hole.

As for the rest of the game, Westwood has total recall. It does not look as though the Englishman is playing in only his second tournament since the first week of August. He was on a roll this year, and the only difference now is the No. 1 ranking next to his name.

In his first tournament since replacing Tiger Woods atop the world ranking, Westwood didn’t know what to expect from his game in the final World Golf Championship of the year.

tiger woods shanghai
Tiger Woods mixed five birdies with five bogeys for an even-par 72 in the second round.

“Everything is pretty competitive in my game,” Westwood said. “It’s a good performance the first two rounds to come back. I’m pleasantly surprised with how well I’ve played.”

Equally happy was Molinari, whose game is built more on precision than power. Sheshan International measures 7,266 yards, which is a little on the long side for the Italian. But he opened up a four-shot lead with three early birdies, then held it together the rest of the round for a 70 and heads into the weekend at 9-under 135.

“To be better for my characteristics, the course will be probably a bit shorter and with thicker rough,” Molinari said. “So in theory, it should be the best course for me. But as I said, it’s a golf course that you can play many different ways.”

Ernie Els played it like he had nothing to lose, firing at flags on a day when a slightly stronger breeze made scoring slightly harder. Not for the Big Easy, who made eight birdies in a round of 65 and was only two shots behind, along with Richie Ramsay of Scotland and Jaco Van Zyl of South Africa, who had a 29 on his back nine.

Tiger Woods was still in the mix, just not as close to the lead as he would like. Woods hit into the water on the par-5 second, recovered with a pair of birdies, then dropped three shots in a four-hole stretch around the turn. All the putts inside 10 feet that he made in the opening round stayed out on Friday.

Frustration set in late in the round, especially with his final tee shot that he hooked into the rough. Woods let the driver fall from his hands, then he kicked the club about five yards in front of the tee box.

He shot 72, and was five shots out of the lead in the only World Golf Championship he has not won.

“Struggled a little bit,” he said later. “Didn’t hit it very good and had a couple of three-putts there, and had five lip-outs. So my score could have been worse, but it also could have been a lot better.”

Defending champion Phil Mickelson, who played with Westwood, shot a 71 and joined Woods at 4-under 140. PGA champion Martin Kaymer had a 69 and was another shot behind.

The top four players in the world were all in the top 20 heading into the weekend, adding to the anticipation of the first skirmish for the No. 1 ranking. Any of them can get there by winning.

With all the attention on the “Big Four” in Shanghai, Molinari keeps plodding along.

“I think it’s really exciting for everyone watching that one of the four guys could be No. 1 in the world at the end of the week,” Molinari said. “But for us, it doesn’t really make a difference. We play together with them, against them, pretty much week in and week out. So I think everyone is really just focusing on improving his ranking rather than seeing who is going to be on top.”

Luke Donald, who keeps steadily moving up the rankings despite only one victory in Europe this year, shot 70 and was at 6-under 138. Woods and Mickelson had plenty of company at 140, including Padraig Harrington, Ian Poulter, newlywed Nick Watney and Robert Allenby.

The strongest move came from Els, who got a small measure of redemption on the final hole.

A year ago, Els had a chance to shoot 61 in the final round and win the tournament. He had a downhill lie in the 18th fairway and tried to cut a 5-wood into the green, only to catch it fat and watch it go into the water. He made bogey and finished one shot behind.

With an identical shot this year, Els went with a 4-iron. It barely cleared the water, ran through the back of the green and he hit a delicate putt down the slope to 3 feet for a birdie.

“Just after I hit that shot last year, I said, ‘I should have gone with a 4-iron instead of trying to cut a 5-wood.’ That was probably the shot I should have played last year,” Els said. “I would have shot 61 and I would have won the tournament. Yeah, I did think about it.”

Els also made another putter switch, using the one he tried for two rounds last week in Malaysia. He said it helped playing with Woods because of how the former No. 1 looks so comfortable over putts.

Maybe so, but Woods didn’t look terribly comfortable after so many putts failed to drop.

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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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