Juniors set to return to Pebble for First Tee Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 6, 2016, 1:00 pm

The First Tee announced Wednesday the names of the 81 junior players competing in this year’s Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, Sept. 16-18.

The PGA Tour Champions event groups one senior player with one junior First Tee participant (age 15-18) and two fellow amateurs. This will mark the 13th edition of the tournament, which is contested at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course. Esteban Toledo is the defending champion.


Nature Valley First Tee Open: Mountain Region contestants
Nature Valley First Tee Open: Pacific Region contestants
Nature Valley First Tee Open: Central Atlantic Region contestants
Nature Valley First Tee Open: Southeast Region contestants


Here's a list of the juniors selected to compete:

Kendel Abrams, The First Tee of Greater Baltimore (PA)

Alejandra Ayala, The First Tee of Atlanta (GA)

Aysis Azarcon, The First Tee of Great Dallas (TX)

Tyler Armstrong, The First Tee of East Baton Rouge Parish (LA)

Mariano Barbosa, The First Tee of Greater Dallas (TX)

Catherine Batang, The First Tee of San Francisco (CA)

Ryan Birkedal, The First Tee of the Triad (NC)

Dylan Bissell, The First Tee of Yakima (WA)

Stephen Boyd, The First Tee of Greater Houston (TX)

Brette Bryant, The First Tee of Augusta (GA)

Tyler Burkum, The First Tee of Three Rivers Park District (MN)

Isabelle Castro, The First Tee of Silicon Valley (CA)

Neeve Chen, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (CA)

Sadie Chlapowski, The First Tee of St. Petersburg (FL)

Dylan Choi, The First Tee of Greater Pasadena (CA)

Perry Chong, The First Tee of Hammond (IL)

Beah Cruz, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (CA)

Julia Dai, The First Tee of Greater Seattle (WA)

Madelyn Dimitroff, The First Tee of Northwest Florida (FL)

Emily Dixon, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (CA)

Brandon Doner, The First Tee of The Palm Beaches (FL)

Cole Elmore, The First Tee of Salina (KS)

Patrick Fernandez, The First Tee of Phoenix (AZ)

Abbi Fleiner, The First Tee of Northern Nevada (NV)

Joshua Fleiner, The First Tee of Northern Nevada (NV)

Faith Francioso, The First Tee of Metropolitan New York (NY)

Ross Funderburke, The First Tee of Roanoke Valley (VA)

Jairus Gaines, The First Tee of Greater Baltimore (MD)

Sydnie Gamble, The First Tee of Fort Smith (AR)

Peter George, The First Tee of Naples/Collier (FL)

William Gibson, The First Tee of Fort Smith (AR)

Emily Harvey, The First Tee of Valparaiso (IN)

Madison Harwell, The First Tee of Augusta (GA)

Makenzie Hotchkiss, The First Tee of Naples/Collier (FL)

Gerry Jones, Jr., The First Tee of Hampton Roads (VA)

Kaden Kinard, The First Tee of Delaware (DE)

Trinity King, The First Tee of Fort Worth (TX)

Yianni Kostouros, The First Tee of Valparaiso (IN)

Nicolas Kresl, The First Tee of Lakeland (FL)

Grant Leppek, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (CA)

Calista Lothliam, The First Tee of Fort Worth (TX)

Alexander Lowe, The First Tee of Fort Worth (TX)

Trevor Madridejos, The First Tee of North Florida (FL)

Summer Marshall, The First Tee of Metropolitan Oklahoma City (OK)

Grayson Martin, The First Tee of Central Arkansas (AR)

Zoe Mayfield, The First Tee of The Piney Woods (TX)

Jacob Meyberg, The First Tee of Silicon Valley (CA)

Joshua Meyberg, The First Tee of Silicon Valley (CA)

Callie Montgomery, The First Tee of Roanoke Valley (VA)

Connor Moore, The First Tee of the Triangle (NC)

James Morotti II, The First Tee of Tampa Bay (FL)

Jake Moscoso, The First Tee of Miami (FL)

Kelly Newbrough, The First Tee of Naple/Collier (FL)

Lauren Palmer, The First Tee of Greater San Antonio (TX)

Kayla Parsons, The First Tee of the Triangle (NC)

Nicole Polivchak, The First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee (FL)

Brandon Pozzie, The First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee (FL)

Calista Reyes, The First Tee of San Diego (CA)

Josie Roberson, The First Tee of Central Arkansas (AR)

Pierce Robinson, The First Tee of the Foothills (NC)

Rachel Roter, The First Tee of the Tri-Valley (CA)

Kailer Rundiks, The First Tee of Denver (CO)

Annaliesia Salazar, The First Tee of Greater Dallas (TX)

Scott Schuster, The First Tee of Greater Houston (TX)

Tya Seth, The First Tee of Greater Portland (OR)

Julia Simon, The First Tee of Greater New Orleans (LA)

Chase Skrubis, The First Tee of Connecticut (CT)

Brice Smoker, The First Tee of Aiken (SC)

Isabella Stepanek, The First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee (FL)

Megan Tang, The First of Memphis (TN)

Jonathan Tanihana, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento (CA)

Christian Taylor, The First Tee of Naples/Collier (FL)

Lauren Thibodeau, The First Tee of New Hampshire (NH)

Maxwell Turnquist, The First Tee of Yakima (WA)

Soulai Vang, The First Tee of Tulsa (OK)

Claire Vermette, The First Tee of St. Petersburg (FL)

Drew White, The First Tee of Greater Washington, D.C. (VA)

Ryan Woo, The First Tee of Greater Richmond (VA)

Caitlyn Yamashita, The First Tee of Greater Pasadena (CA)

Aubrey Zastoupil, The First Tee of The Piney Woods (TX)

Madeline Zunino, The First Tee of San Joaquin (CA)

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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.


Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

Getty Images

Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

Getty Images

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

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 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 and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

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

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)