Woods in contention through 54 holes at Pebble

By Doug FergusonFebruary 12, 2012, 1:25 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. ' Charlie Wi played bogey-free at Spyglass Hill for a 3-under 69 to build a three-shot lead Saturday in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Now its time for him to face his demons of self-doubt'along with a familiar force in golf.

Tiger Woods took another step toward showing his game is nearly back. He ran off five birdies in a six-hole stretch early in his round at Pebble Beach and had a 5-under 67 that put him four shots behind going into the final round, the closest he has been to the 54-hole lead in a regular PGA Tour event since the 2010 Masters.

With a new swing, its starting to look like the old Tiger.

But the scenario doesnt change, Woods said. The ultimate goal is to win a golf tournament.

Thats something Wi has never done in 162 previous PGA Tour events. Wi, who was at 15-under 199, has a 54-hole lead for only the second time on tour. He had a one-shot lead at Colonial last year and was runner-up to David Toms.

This time, Wi will be in the last group with someone in a familiar spot. Ken Duke, who is winless in 142 starts on the PGA Tour, shot a 65 at Monterey Peninsula.

The last two weeks havent been too kind to 54-hole leaders. Kyle Stanley lost a five-shot lead at Torrey Pines, and Spencer Levin blew a six-shot lead the following week in the Phoenix Open. Both were going for their first PGA Tour wins.

Your turn, Charlie.

I havent really thought about that, Wi said, when asked if it were a blessing or a burden to be in front. But I enjoy being in the lead. Its a lot more fun than trying to come from behind. I know that tonight is going to be very exciting, and Im sure I wont sleep as well as if Im in 50th place. But thats what we play for, and Im really excited.

Along with Woods in the hunt, Phil Mickelson managed to stay in contention despite playing the par 5s at Pebble Beach in 1 over. He saved par on the 18th for a 70. That put him in a tie for fourth, six shots behind, and set up a date with Woods in the second-to-last pairing.

Padraig Harrington was chasing the lead until a sloppy finish at Spyglass Hill'a bogey on the par-5 seventh and a double bogey on the eighth. He had to settle for a 72 and dropped seven shots behind into a tie for ninth.

Even so, it served up quite the finale for Sunday.

Wi is No. 175 in the world, while Duke is at No. 258. They have combined for 304 starts without a win. Right behind them are Woods and Mickelson, who have combined for 18 majors and 110 PGA Tour wins.

Also in the group at 9-under 205 are two-time Pebble Beach winner Dustin Johnson, who had a 70 at Monterey Peninsula, and Hunter Mahan, who had a 70 at Spyglass Hill.

Its really fun, especially when the big guys are up there, Duke said. Thats when everyone is out there watching. If you do perform well and play well, they will be watching you, as well. Its going to be fun.

With a short burst of birdies, it looked as though Woods was having a blast.

Coming off his lone bogey at No. 12, Woods looked as though he were headed for another one. From the left fairway bunker on the 13th, he overcut his 9-iron so much that it was headed for deep rough right of the green. Instead, it bounced off a mound back toward the green, took the grain and settled a foot beneath the hole for a tap-in birdie.

Woods watched the ball take the hard hop, listened to the gallery around the green cheer wildly, and just smiled.

Looked like I was having a tough time making par, and I was making birdie, and off we go, Woods said. Sometimes, we need those type of momentum swings in a round, and from there, I made some putts.

He rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on the 14th, then had a 25-foot putt up the slope on the 15th. One of the amateurs in his group had a similar putt, so Woods was able to look at the break. He learned well, extending his left arm as he often does before the putt drops. And it did.

Woods made good birdie putts from 20 feet on the 17th and eight feet on the 18th, where he also got a small break. Not wanting to hit driver in the first place because he couldnt reach in two, he came out of the shot. It looked like it might go out-of-bounds until it hit a CBS spotter and settled behind the bunkers.

Woods made an easy birdie on the par-5 second, but that was it. He had to save par on the short par-4 fourth from a bunker and didnt give himself enough good looks the rest of the way.

No matter. He moved up the leaderboard, higher than he has been in some time on this tour.

Woods played in the final group two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, tied for the lead with Robert Rock, and he had his poorest day striking the ball and finished in a tie for third. He played in the final group at his Chevron World Challenge at the end of last year and birdied the last two holes to beat Zach Johnson.

Woods doesnt distinguish between tours, or even official events. Winning is winning. Losing is losing. All he sees at the moment is progress, and its hard to deny it.

Wi is making his own brand of progress, getting more comfortable with his swing and being in contention. He talks often about the demons in his head, which is typical of most any golfer.

Im sure Ill be fighting my demons all day tomorrow, and its how I handle myself tomorrow, Wi said. Its not what other players are doing. How I handle myself tomorrow is going to be the outcome of the tournament.

DIVOTS: Joseph Bramlett, playing on a sponsors exemption, made an albatross on the 11th hole at Spyglass when he holed out from 187 yards with a 6-iron. He negated that with two double bogeys and shot 73. Among the amateurs to make the cut were Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who is playing Pebble Beach for the first time.

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Maguire's storied Duke career comes to an end

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 8:39 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – After losing in the quarterfinals here at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Duke coach Dan Brooks gathered his team and walked back toward the 18th hole. He wanted to get away and deliver a parting speech to senior Leona Maguire, one of the most important players in program history.

“I feel like I didn’t say enough, and I feel like I didn’t say it right,” he said afterward. “I guess that’s inevitable when dealing with a player who has meant so much.”

Maguire’s heralded Duke career came to an end Tuesday when she and her teammates dropped their quarterfinal match to Southern Cal, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2. Maguire did her part, winning, 1 up, against USC’s Jennifer Chang, but it still wasn’t enough.

Maguire will go down as one of the best players not just in Duke’s storied history, but all time in college golf. She’s a two-time Player of the Year. She finished with the best scoring average (70.93) in Division I women’s golf history. She had a record 32 competitive rounds in the 60s. She spent 135 weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings, another record.

The 23-year-old from Ireland is the rare collegian who turned down guaranteed LPGA status to return to school to earn her degree and try to win a NCAA title with twin sister Lisa, the team’s No. 5 player. Ultimately, they never reached the championship match.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said softly outside the clubhouse. “The experiences, the memories, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Maguire said that she’s turning pro soon and has a full schedule upcoming. She’ll play the ShopRite LPGA Classic and then try to capitalize on her full status on the developmental Symetra circuit.

Asked about her potential at the next level, Brooks said that Maguire can be a future Hall of Famer.

“She’s the hardest worker and the smartest player I’ve ever coached,” he said. “I’m really going to miss her.”

Geoff Ogilvy and family at the 2009 WGC-Accenture Match Play. Getty Images

Notes: Ogilvy moving family to Australia

By Doug FergusonMay 22, 2018, 6:55 pm

Geoff Ogilvy's immediate future involves fewer golf tournament and longer flights.

Ogilvy has been contemplating in the last few years moving back home to Australia, and after discussing it with his Texas-born wife, Juli, they plan to return to Melbourne shortly after Christmas.

Their daughter, Phoebe, turns 12 in October and will be starting the seventh grade in Australia. They have two sons, Jasper (10) and Harvey (8). The Ogilvys figured that waiting much longer to decide where to live would make it tougher on the children.

''We just talked about it, for lots of reasons, and we kept making pros and cons. Juli was strong on it,'' Ogilvy said. ''We're excited. I'm at the point where I'm not going to play 27 times a year. It's going to be brutal to play from there. But you've got to choose life.''

Ogilvy won the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and he counts three World Golf Championships among his eight PGA Tour victories. He also has won the Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship and has reached No. 3 in the world.

His last victory was in 2014, and Ogilvy has slipped to No. 416 in the world.

He has been dividing some of his time with a golf course design business with projects that include Shady Oaks in Fort Worth, Texas, (including a ''Little Nine'' course that opened last year), a renovation in China and a 36-hole course called Peninsula Kingwood in Melbourne.

Ogilvy, who grew up at Victoria Golf Club, still has a home on the 14th hole of the West Course at Royal Melbourne. If he didn't move back home, Ogilvy figured he would be spending six months in Melbourne and six months in Scottsdale, Arizona.

''It's a feeling more than anything,'' he said. ''Scottsdale is dreamy. We live a great existence. I know what I'm getting there. If we didn't move back, we'd be a six-and-six family. The kids get out of school, and they're bounced back and forth. It's not good for continuity.''

As for golf?

Ogilvy narrowly kept his full PGA Tour card last year and this season has been a struggle. He hasn't sorted out what kind of schedule he would keep, understanding it would involve long trips from Sydney to Dallas.

The immediate goal would be to play a heavy fall schedule and miss most of the West Coast swing to get acclimated to the move.

''And then we'll start working it out,'' he said.


US OPEN QUALIFYING: The U.S. Open likes to consider its championship the most democratic of the majors, and it has it just about right again this year. With the addition of 23 players who became exempt by being in the top 60 in the world ranking, 77 players in the 156-man field are exempt from qualifying. That number could go up slightly with another cutoff for the top 60 the Sunday before U.S. Open week.

The U.S. Open is the only American major that does not offer automatic exemptions to PGA Tour winners. Five such winners from this season still face qualifying, including Patton Kizzire, who has won twice (OHL Classic at Mayakoba and Sony Open). The others are Austin Cook, Ted Potter Jr., Andrew Landry and Aaron Wise.

Kizzire is at No. 63 in the world, followed by Wise (66) and Landry (69). All have three weeks to crack the top 60.

Until 2011, the U.S. Open offered exemptions to multiple PGA Tour winners since the previous Open. It leans heavily on the world ranking, as do the other majors. It also awards recent major champions and top finishers from the previous U.S. Open, along with the Tour Championship field from the previous year, to reward a consistently strong season.

''All of the tours around the world have bought into the official world golf ranking rankings,'' said Jeff Hall, the USGA's managing director of rules and open championships. ''And this provides just the right place for us to be with exemptions. We don't have to get into the weighting of one tour over another, this championship versus that event, a week-to-week event. We focus on the official world golf rankings and it seems to get us the right players for our championship.''



FICKLE GAME: Careers can change quickly in golf. No one can attest to that as well as Michael Arnaud.

The 36-year-old Arnaud had never finished better than a tie for fifth in his 49 starts on the Web.com Tour, and that was three years ago. His career earnings were just over $130,000. He had only made it into one previous event this year, and he wasn't in the field at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in South Carolina last week until Kent Bulle withdrew on the eve of the event.

Arnaud tied the course record with a 60 in the second round. He closed with a 63 and won by five shots.

He won $126,000 and moved to No. 13 on the money list, giving him a reasonable chance to reach the PGA Tour if he finishes the season in the top 25.

''A lot of people kept pushing me when I wanted to step away from it,'' Arnaud said. ''My wife was one of those that told me to take the chance and go. Low and behold it really paid off.''


SHINNECOCK SAVANT: Rory McIlroy is excited to get back to Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open, a course he already has played a few times.

Equally excited is his manager, Sean O'Flaherty, who knows the course on New York's Long Island better than McIlroy.

O'Flaherty spent two summers as a caddie at Shinnecock Hills.

He went to college at Trinity in Dublin, had friends in the Hamptons and came over during the summer months in 2002 and 2003 to work as a caddie.

''I got to know a lot of members,'' O'Flaherty said. ''I can't wait. To me, it's the best course in the world.''


DIVOTS: Justin Thomas won the Honda Classic on Feb. 25 at No. 4 in the world. No one from the top 10 in the world has won a PGA Tour event since then, a stretch of 12 tournaments. ... Guy Kinnings is leaving IMG after nearly 30 years to become the deputy CEO and Ryder Cup director of the European Tour. He will report directly to European Tour chief Keith Pelley. ... The LPGA tour will play in China during its fall Asia swing at the Buick LPGA Shanghai at Qizhong Garden Golf Club. The tournament will be Oct. 18-21, one week before the men play the HSBC Champions at Sheshan International in Shanghai. ... Alice Chen of Furman has been selected for the Dinah Shore Trophy, awarded to top college women who excel in golf, academics and work off the golf course. ... The Irish Open is going to Lahinch Golf Club in 2019, with former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley serving as the tournament host.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Matt Kuchar, Peter Uihlein and Jhonattan Vegas are the only players to compete in all five Texas events on the PGA Tour this year.


FINAL WORD: ''The sum of his shots seems to add up to slightly less than the sum of the shots from another guy.'' - Geoff Ogilvy on Jordan Spieth.

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Arizona's run continues, knocks off top seed to reach semis

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 6:35 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – The No. 1 seed in match play has still never won the women’s NCAA Championship.

That dubious distinction continued Tuesday at Karsten Creek when Arizona knocked out top-seeded UCLA on the final hole of the final match.

With the matches tied at 2 apiece, the anchor match between Arizona junior Bianca Pagdanganan and UCLA freshman Patty Tavatanakit was tied on the 18th hole, a par 5 that’s reachable in two shots by many.

Tavatanakit was just short of the green in two and Pagdanganan, the Wildcats’ hero from Monday when she made eagle on the last hole to give her team a shot at match play, blasted her second shot onto the green. Tavatanakit failed to get up and down – missing a 4-footer for birdie – and Pagdanganan two-putted for birdie to give Arizona the victory.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


“We’re lucky to be in match play,” Arizona coach Laura Ianello said. “Let’s ride the highs. Why not?”

Arizona will now face Stanford in the semifinals. The Cardinal, the 2015 champion and 2016 runner up, has qualified for match play in each of the past four seasons. They beat Northwestern, 3-2, in the quarterfinals to advance.

USC will face Alabama in the other semifinal, meaning three Pac-12 teams have advanced to the Final Four. The Crimson Tide had an easy go of it in their quarterfinal match against Kent State, winning 4-1. The decisive victory gave Alabama extra rest for its afternoon match.

USC beat Duke, 3-1-1, in the other quarterfinal, pitting teams that have combined to win nine NCAA titles in the past 20 years. But neither team has had much success in the past four years since the championship turned to match play. Not only has neither team won, neither has even reached the championship match.

Duke’s Leona Maguire won the first match and the second match was halved, but USC swept the last three matches with Gabriela Ruffels, Alyaa Abdulghany and Amelia Garvey all winning to propel the Trojans into the semifinals.

Alabama (2) vs. USC (3)

2:30PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (A) vs. Jennifer Chang (USC)

2:40PM ET: Kristen Gillman (A) vs. Amelia Garvey (USC)

2:50PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (A) vs. Allisen Corpuz (USC)

3:00PM ET: Lakareber Abe (A) vs. Alyaa Abdulghany (USC)

3:10PM ET: Angelica Moresco (A) Gabriela Ruffels (USC)


Stanford (5) vs. Arizona (8)

3:20PM ET: Emily Wang (S) vs. Gigi Stoll (A)

3:30PM ET: Shannon Aubert (S) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (A)

3:40PM ET: Mika Liu (S) vs. Haley Moore (A)

3:50PM ET: Albane Valenzuela (S) vs. Sandra Nordaas (A)

4:00PM ET: Andrea Lee (S) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (A)

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

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:50 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 were contested Tuesday morning with semifinals in the afternoon. The finals are being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Tuesday
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals (Click here to watch live)

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals