East Lake Cup final: Duke vs. USC; Illinois vs. UGA

By Ryan LavnerNovember 3, 2015, 3:03 pm

ATLANTA – The favorites rolled Tuesday at the inaugural East Lake Cup, setting up a pair of championship matches that will feature four of the top 15 teams in the country. 

Duke and Southern Cal, who have won eight of the past 14 women's NCAA titles, will clash in the final match that begins at 11:15 a.m. ET at East Lake. The Blue Devils and Trojans are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.

On the men’s side, Georgia held off reigning NCAA champion LSU, 3-1-1, while Illinois won the first three points to take down USC by the same score.

Duke received points from Gurbani Singh, NCAA Player of the Year Leona Maguire, Celine Boutier and Sandy Choi during a 4-1 rout of defending NCAA champion Stanford.

USC led a depleted Baylor squad by only a 2-1-2 margin when play was suspended Monday because of darkness. The Trojans pulled away thanks to Kyung Kim and Robynn Ree, who won big, and then Gaby Then, who won three holes in a row late to earn the clinching point. 

“It’s gonna be a dogfight,” USC coach Andrea Gaston said. “They’re stacked.” 

Men's highlights: UGA defeats LSU
Men's highlights: Illinois defeats USC
Women's highlights: Duke defeats Stanford
Women's highlights: USC defeats Baylor

Georgia’s Zach Healy needed to make a 4-foot par putt on the last to hold off LSU senior Zach Wright – who went undefeated in match play last June – and send the Bulldogs to the finals.

“He had a pretty good record,” Healy said, “so it feels really good to be able to take him down.” 

The Bulldogs also received points from Jaime Lopez Rivarola, their No. 5 man, and senior Lee McCoy, who cruised to a 5-and-4 victory despite dislocating a rib only four days earlier. 

Georgia has a tough finals match against Illinois, which ended any hopes of a USC rally by winning the first three matches. 

The Illini needed some help to do it. Sophomore Dylan Meyer appeared on his way to losing in 19 holes, with USC’s Jonah Texeira only 20 feet away for eagle, but Texeira four-putted down the slope to hand the match to Meyer.

“I thought he’d two-putt,” Meyer said, “but I had a similar putt yesterday and knew it wasn’t easy.”

About five minutes later, with his match all square on the final hole, Illinois senior Thomas Detry watched with surprise as his opponent, freshman Justin Suh, hit 3-wood for his second shot into the par-5 ninth. Suh needed to hammer the fairway wood just to clear a cross bunker, and he didn’t, not in the cool, damp air.

“A strategic mistake,” Detry said.

Suh then skulled his 50-yard bunker shot over the green, into the practice area, and later conceded Detry’s 15-footer for birdie. 

Illinois, which earned the top seed after NCAA stroke play in June, is ranked No. 2 in the country, after posting three wins in four fall starts. The Illini have four players ranked inside the top 65, but match play tends to level the playing field, especially in the 18-hole format. 

“Everybody counts us out,” Healy said, “but we’re going to keep fighting. We like that go-for-broke system. We’re kind of a happy-go-lucky team, not a whole lot of stress, and we can just go out, be aggressive and let it rip.”

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DJ, McIlroy, Spieth listed as PGA betting favorites

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 1:38 pm

Three majors are in the books, but there's still one more trophy up for grabs in two weeks' time.

While next year The Open will signal the end of the 2019 major season amid a revamped calendar, this is the final year that the PGA Championship will be held in August. The tournament returns next month to Bellerive Country Club outside St. Louis, which last hosted the PGA when Nick Price won in 1992 and hasn't hosted a PGA Tour event since Camilo Villegas won the 2008 BMW Championship.

Oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published PGA betting odds shortly after the final putt dropped at Carnoustie and Francesco Molinari left with the claret jug. Topping the board are a trio of major champions: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, all listed at 12/1.

McIlroy won the PGA in both 2012 and 2014, while Spieth needs only the Wanamaker Trophy to round out the career Grand Slam. Johnson has recorded four top-10s in the PGA, notably a T-5 finish at Whistling Straits in 2010 when a few grains of sand kept him out of a playoff with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.

Fresh off a T-6 finish in Scotland, Tiger Woods headlines the group listed at 16/1, behind only the three co-favorites as he looks to win a 15th career major.

Here's a look at the betting odds for a number of contenders, with the opening round of the PGA just 17 days away:

12/1: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth

16/1: Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

18/1: Justin Rose

20/1: Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Jason Day

30/1: Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

40/1: Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Paul Casey

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson

80/1: Adam Scott, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner

100/1: Ian Poulter, Thomas Pieters, Tyrrell Hatton, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Daniel Berger, Kevin Chappell, Brian Harman, Brandt Snedeker, Charley Hoffman

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Molinari moves to No. 6 in world with Open win

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:31 pm

After breaking through for his first career major title, Francesco Molinari reached some rarified air in the latest installment of the Official World Golf Rankings.

The Italian's two-shot win at Carnoustie moved him up nine spots to No. 6 in the world, not surprisingly a new career high. But it's also a quick ascent for Molinari, who has now won three of his last six worldwide starts and was ranked No. 33 in the world after missing the cut at The Players Championship two months ago.

A share of second place helped Xander Schauffele jump from No. 24 to No. 18 in the updated standings, while the same result meant Kevin Kisner went from No. 33 to No. 25. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy both went up one spot after T-2 finishes to No. 2 and No. 7, respectively - a new career high for Rose.

The drama in the rankings unfolded at No. 50, as Tiger Woods moved up 21 spots to exactly No. 50 following his T-6 finish. While some projections had him moving to 51st, Woods was able to sneak into the top 50 just in time to qualify for a return to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, as the top 50 in the rankings both this week and next qualify for Akron.

That includes Zach Johnson, last year's runner-up who was not yet qualified but moved from No. 52 to No. 49 this week. It also includes Kevin Chappell, who went from 61st to 47th with a T-6 finish in Scotland.

Despite missing the cut at Carnoustie, Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for another week followed by Rose, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Molinari is now at No. 6, with McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day rounding out the top 10.

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Simpson overtakes DeChambeau in Ryder Cup race

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:09 pm

A T-12 finish at The Open allowed Webb Simpson to move past Bryson DeChambeau into the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot in the U.S. Ryder Cup points race with just three weeks to go.

Simpson finished the week at 3 under, five shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. Adding another strong result to his win at TPC Sawgrass and T-10 finish at the U.S. Open, he's now edged in front of DeChambeau by less than 41 points. But with players earning one point per $1,000 each of the next two weeks and 1.5 points per $1,000 at the PGA Championship, the race is far from over.

Jordan Spieth's T-9 finish strengthened his position at No. 6, as the top six players are essentially assured of qualifying automatically. Rickie Fowler held onto his spot at No. 7, while Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner both moved onto the bubble following T-2 finishes at Carnoustie. After a T-6 finish, Tiger Woods jumped from 31st to 20th.

Here's a look at the updated American standings, with the top eight after the PGA qualifying automatically and captain Jim Furyk adding four picks in September:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Bubba Watson

6. Jordan Spieth

7. Rickie Fowler

8. Webb Simpson


9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Xander Schauffele

12. Matt Kuchar

13. Kevin Kisner

14. Tony Finau

15. Brian Harman

On the European side, Molinari was already in position to qualify automatically but is now assured of a spot on Thomas Bjorn's roster this fall. Fellow major champs Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy also solidified their footing with runner-up performances.

Here's a look at how things look for the Europeans, with the top four from each list after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

European Points

1. Francesco Molinari

2. Justin Rose

3. Tyrrell Hatton

4. Tommy Fleetwood


Thorbjorn Olesen

Russell Knox

Eddie Pepperell

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Alex Noren

3. Rory McIlroy

4. Paul Casey


Matthew Fitzpatrick

Sergio Garcia

Ian Poulter

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.