'Disappointed' Lewis assesses another U.S. loss

By Randall MellJuly 27, 2014, 6:45 pm

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Rolex world No. 1 Stacy Lewis is a feel player, but she’s quite analytical in evaluating the nature of the game and what’s required to excel.

With the Americans in a resurgent mode on tour, all their winning didn’t translate into yet another team event at this week’s International Crown. After back-to-back Solheim Cup losses, now the Americans are dealing with this early exit from the game’s newest team event.

The Americans were eliminated from the International Crown Saturday by Korea in a playoff for the fifth and final berth into Sunday singles. Lewis, however, came back out to the course on Sunday to watch and assist Juli Inkster, who’s calling the action as a course reporter for Golf Channel, with Lewis possibly as Inkster’s cart driver.

With almost 24 hours to analyze what happened to the Americans this week, Lewis was asked Sunday what the Americans have learned in back-to-back losses. She said Saturday ultimately came down to putting. She says these team events also come down to a certain intangible.

“It’s all about toughness,” Lewis said. “That’s what we’ve learned, and that’s what we wanted to show the fans here this week.”

In a Morning Drive appearance with Golf Channel reporter Scott Rude, Lewis explained how the decision to send out Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson for the sudden-death playoff was made.

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Though Lewis is the No. 1 player in the world, she was coming off a tough loss with Paula Creamer to Thailand in the day’s last match. Kerr and Thompson had beaten Thailand handily in the next-to-last match. The U.S. team had five minutes after the loss to submit their pairing for the fourball playoff. With no captain for this format, the team huddled.

“My gut thought was to send Cristie and Lexi out,” Lewis said. “They won both their matches early the last two days. Paula and I were struggling. We were tired, and we just lost a really hard match. I thought that with momentum, with Cristie being fired up and ready to go, with Lexi’s length on 16, it made sense. I wanted to do what was best for the team. Yeah, Paula and I wanted to be out there, but it was best for the team.”

Lewis told Rude that her No. 1 ranking wasn’t a factor in the choice.

“I was pretty deflated coming off that match, and as quick as the turnaround was, I think it would have been really hard for Paula and I to get ready to play again,” Lewis said. “Cristie was so fired up and so excited. She went running to the range. Lexi, with her length, she hit 4-iron into that green. It made so much sense, there are no regrets.”

Lewis was asked why the Americans are struggling in team events.

“I don’t know how you explain it,” Lewis said. “It’s one week. It’s match play, and with match play, a lot can happen. It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the rankings. Lexi’s still won a major this year, I’ve still won three times, Paula’s won, Cristie’s still playing some great golf. It doesn’t change any of that. We just have to figure this out in team play. It’s just making some key putts. If we can make some key putts, we’ll be back on track in these team events.”

Lewis will look back and remember key putts.

“It came down to one putt for any one of us,” Lewis said. “If Yani [Tseng] doesn’t make that putt on us at 18 on Thursday, or if Paula and I make a putting coming in yesterday, we are playing today.”

Lewis said the team didn’t go their own ways after the loss. They got together at the team hotel and ate P.F. Chang’s takeout in a team dinner.

“Yeah, we were disappointed, but we had so much fun this week,” Lewis said. “Everybody got along so well.”

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Down seven pounds, Thomas can gain No. 1

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 11:29 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – On March 7, Justin Thomas had his wisdom teeth removed, and just when he was recovering from that, he was slowed by a bout with the flu.

In total, he estimates he lost about seven pounds, and he admitted on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play the event.

“I had a pretty serious conversation with my dad on Monday if I was going to play,” Thomas said. “I never want to play in a tournament, first off, if it's going to hurt my health. If I was sick or really sick, me trying to play this week wasn't going to do me any good.”

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Thomas went on to explain he was “50/50” whether he’d play the World Golf Championship, but decided to make the start and it’s turned out well for the world’s second-ranked player.

After going undefeated in pool play, Thomas cruised past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the round of 16 and secured himself a spot in the semifinals with a 2-and-1 victory over Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals. If Thomas wins his semifinal match against Bubba Watson on Sunday, he’s assured enough points to overtake Dustin Johnson atop the Official World Golf Ranking.

“I don't care when it happens; I just hope it happens and it happens for a while,” Thomas said when asked about the possibility of becoming world No. 1. “I don't know what to say because I've never experienced it. I don't know what's going to come with it. But I just hope it happens tomorrow.”

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Garnett's six-shot lead dwindles to two in Punta Cana

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 10:57 pm

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic - Brice Garnett took a six-stroke lead into the wind Saturday in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. He came out with a two-stroke advantage.

Garnett bogeyed three of the final six holes in the wind and rain for a 3-under 69 and a 16-under 200 total.

''Once we made the turn coming back, all those holes coming in toward the north, it was all we wanted and then some,'' Garnett said. ''I kind of took advantage of some holes going out, some holes downwind, some par 5s, and then we were just trying to leave it in the right spot those last four or five holes. Pars are pretty good scores on those holes.''

Canadian Corey Conners was second after a 67, and Tyler McCumber also had a 67 to get to 12 under. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo dropped out Friday, finishing last in the 132-man field in his PGA Tour debut. He shot 77-82 playing as an amateur on a sponsor exemption.

A stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds, Garnett opened with a bogey, birdied Nos. 2, 4 and 6, eagled the par-5 seventh, and made two more birdies on the par-3 ninth and par-5 12th. He bogeyed the par-4 13th, par-5 15th and par-3 17th.

Full-field scores from the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship

''I looked once and the lead was a little bigger than what it is now,'' Garnett said. ''The eagle was huge, kind of gave me that confidence that I can push it on out and stretch it a little bit more. That wind was tough and I'll take a two-shot lead into tomorrow.''

The 34-year-old Garnett is winless on the PGA Tour. He won twice last year on the Web.com Tour.

''You've got another 18 holes. So much can happen,'' Garnett said. ''Just going to try to keep the golf ball in front of me. I have that self-belief this week and that's what I had last year when I won, so I'll just keep my head down and just keep going.''

Conners had five birdies and a bogey on the front nine and added a birdie on No. 12.

''Really happy with the round,'' Conners said. ''I got off to a nice start, made a bunch of birdies on the front nine and kind of held it together on the back nine. It was playing really difficult. The wind was really blowing out there, made things challenging.''

McCumber, the son of 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber, has played his last 39 holes with a bogey.

''Second shots have been pretty solid,'' McCumber said. ''Putting pretty well, short game is pretty good. Just really being in the right areas and staying below the hole.''

Tom Lovelady was fourth at 11 under after a 68. Seamus Power (71), Denny McCarthy (71) and Seungsu Han (72) were 10 under.

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Poulter incorrectly told he's in Masters before loss to Kisner

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 10:33 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Ian Poulter was not happy, and it was only partially because of his blowout loss to Kevin Kisner in Saturday’s quarterfinals at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Following his morning victory in the round of 16 over Louis Oosthuizen, the Englishman was incorrectly informed that by making it to the Elite 8 at Austin Country Club he was assured enough Official World Golf Raking points to move into the top 50 and qualify for the Masters in two weeks.

“I should never listen to other people,” Poulter said following his 8-and-6 loss to Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals. “When you finish a round of golf and the press and everybody is telling you you're in the Masters, and then you get a text message 10 minutes before you tee off to correct everybody, to say, ‘Oh, we've made a mistake, actually, no, that was wrong, you're not in. You need to go and win.’

“Not that that's an excuse in any form or factor, it's a little disappointing.”

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Poulter actually needed to advance to the semifinal round to move into the top 50. Instead, his last chance to qualify for the Masters is to win next week’s Houston Open, although he was unsure if he’d play the event.

“I don't know yet, I haven't decided,” said Poulter when asked if he’d play next week. “I'm tired. It's been a long week. It's been a draining week. I'll wait until Monday night and if I have the energy then I will.”

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Not DJ, not Poulter: Kisner most proud to take down Kuchar

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 9:34 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – On his way to this week’s Final Four at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Kevin Kisner has beaten world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and the European match play ninja Ian Poulter. But neither match could compare to his duel with Matt Kuchar early Saturday.

“I was more jacked to beat [Kuchar], really. Kuch is such a good player and our games are so similar,” said Kisner, who defeated Kuchar in the round of 16, 1 up. “We both made eight birdies this morning and I barely snuck out of there. I thought it was a lot of fun.”

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By comparison, his quarterfinal bout against Poulter wasn’t nearly as electric. Kisner won two of the first four holes when the Englishman made bogey (No. 3) and when he was conceded the fourth hole, hecruised to an 8-and-6 victory for the week’s most lopsided win.

“I don't know Ian that well, so I don't really have a history with him, other than watching him kill us in the Ryder Cup,” Kisner laughed.

Things won’t get any easier for Kisner on Sunday when he’ll play Alex Noren in the semifinals. The Swede has been dominant this week and is considered one of Europe’s top players heading into this year’s Ryder Cup.