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Match recaps: U.S. clinches Presidents Cup, 19-11

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 1, 2017, 10:15 pm

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – What looked like a foregone conclusion finally became a reality Sunday, as the United States finished off its dominating performance at Liberty National with a decisive, 19-11 victory over the Internationals. 

Daniel Berger delivered the clinching point for the Americans, who improved to 10-1-1 in the biennial event. 

Here are the match-by-match results from Liberty National:

DAY 4

Sunday singles: Internationals 7 1/2, U.S. 4 1/2

Overall: U.S. 19, Internationals 11

Kevin Chappell (U.S.) vs. Marc Leishman (International), halved: Leishman had a chance to earn a full point for the International side, but he three-putted from the back fringe on 17 for bogey. On 18, he was fortunate to even escape with a halve, after Chappell narrowly missed his birdie putt. 

Jason Day (International) def. Charley Hoffman (U.S.), 2 and 1: It’s been a rough go the past two Presidents Cups for Day, but he won three consecutive holes to begin the back nine to hold off Hoffman. The former world No. 1 is now just 1-7-2 in his last two cup appearances. 

Hideki Matsuyama (International) def. Justin Thomas (U.S.), 3 and 1: The Japanese star looked lost for much of these matches, but he managed to pull it all together against the presumptive PGA Tour Player of the Year. Racking up seven birdies and an eagle, he managed to eek past Thomas (who made eight birdies of his own) to give the Internationals a win when the outcome was already secured. Together, they combined for 15 birdies and an eagle.

Daniel Berger (U.S.) def. Si Woo Kim (International), 2 and 1: One of the Americans’ six rookies, Berger traded birdies and fist pumps with The Players champion until his halve on the 15th hole clinched the cup for the U.S.    

Charl Schwartzel (International) def. Matt Kuchar (U.S.), 1 up: Kuchar actually did well to extend this match to 18, after he was 4 down with seven holes to play. But Schwartzel’s par on the last was enough to earn the full point. Kuchar is now just 1-7 in singles matches.

Adam Scott (International) def. Brooks Koepka (U.S.), 3 and 2: Trying to avoid a winless cup, Scott won four holes in a row on the back nine – three with concessions from Koepka – to knock off the U.S. Open champion. 

Louis Oosthuizen (International) def. Patrick Reed (U.S.), 1 up: Tasked with taking on Captain America, the sweet-swinging South African won the 17th with a birdie, then earned a conceded birdie on 18 to steal the match after Reed sent his tee shot wide left on the closing par 3. 

Dustin Johnson (U.S.) vs. Branden Grace (International), halved: The world No. 1 surrendered a late lead, but he became the only player on either side to go 4-0-1 this week, going back and forth with the South African until they halved the 18th hole with a par.  

Jhonattan Vegas (International) def. Jordan Spieth (U.S.), 2 and 1: And it could have been worse. Vegas opened up a 4-up lead with four to play, but Spieth did well just to reach the 17th. Though he’s proven to be a formidable team player, remarkably, Spieth dropped to 0-5 in Ryder/President Cup singles. 

Rickie Fowler (U.S.) def. Emiliano Grillo (International), 6 and 4: One of the lone bright spots on an otherwise rough day for the Americans, Fowler watched his lead swell with wins on four of the first five holes on the back nine. It was the U.S. team’s most convincing victory Sunday.   

Kevin Kisner (U.S.) vs. Anirban Lahiri (International), halved: Indicative of his team’s day, Kisner coughed up the lead with bogeys on the last two holes to squander the opportunity for a full point. 


DAY 3

Saturday fourballs: U.S. 3, Internationals 1

Overall: U.S. 14 1/2, Internationals 3 1/2

MATCH 1: Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) def. Jason Day-Louis Oosthuizen (Internationals), 2 and 1: Oosthuizen almost single-handedly kept the Internationals alive in a match where neither team ever held more than a two-hole lead, but Spieth's 10-foot birdie on the 17th concluded the match. Spieth and Reed were 2-0-0 on the day to improve their career Presidents Cup/Ryder Cup record to 8-1-3.

MATCH 2: Daniel Berger-Justin Thomas (U.S.) def. Jhonattan Vegas-Hideki Matsuyama (Internationals), 3 and 2: The Internationals won the second, third and fourth holes, then didn't win another hole. Berger became the last U.S. player to win a match this week. Matsuyama dropped to 0-2-1 this week and 3-6-3 in his Presidents Cup career.

MATCH 3: Anirban Lahiri-Si Woo Kim (Internationals) def. Kevin Chappell-Charlie Hoffman (U.S.), 1 up: Hoffman chipped in for birdie on the 17th hole, triggering a wild celebration, but Lahiri birdied on top of him to keep the Internationals 1 up going to the 18th, where the U.S. conceded Lahiri's par putt for a halve of the hole. It was Lahiri's first career Presidents Cup win after four losses.

MATCH 4: Brooks Koepka-Dustin Johnson (U.S.) def. Marc Leishman-Branden Grace (Internationals), 3 and 2: In a match where the U.S. never trailed, DJ improved his record to 4-0. He is looking to become only the sixth player to go 5-0-0 in a Presidents Cup.

Saturday foursomes: U.S. 3 1/2, Internationals 1/2

Overall: U.S. 11 1/2, Internationals 2 1/2

MATCH 1: Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) def. Jason Day-Marc Leishman (Internationals), 4 and 3: Leishman pulled his opening tee shot into the water, and things didn't get much better from there for the Aussie duo. While the match was all square through 11 holes, Spieth and Reed closed things out in style with four straight birdies to put the first point of the day on the board. The Americans are now 7-1-3 when paired together, while Day's individual record in Presidents Cup foursomes drops to 0-5-3.

MATCH 2: Matt Kuchar-Dustin Johnson (U.S.) def. Adam Hadwin-Adam Scott (Internationals), 4 and 3: The U.S. team won the first hole with a par and that set the tone for the morning session. Kuchar and DJ made only three birdies over the span of 15 holes but it was easily enough to secure a comfortable victory. They led, 4 up, at the turn and were never threatened. This American tandem won both of their foursomes matches this week and DJ is now 5-0-1 in the format in this competition.

MATCH 3: Kevin Kisner-Phil Mickelson (U.S.) def. Emiliano Grillo-Jhonattan Vegas (Internationals), 2 and 1: The Americans won the first hole but it was close throughout. It was all square until Grillo and Vegas bogeyed the par-4 14th. The U.S. team kept that lead through 16 holes and sealed the match with a big Kisner putt at the 17th. Mickelson and Kisner at now 2-0-1 this week.

MATCH 4: Justin Thomas-Rickie Fowler (U.S.) vs. Louis Oosthuizen-Branden Grace (Internationals), halved: The only morning foursomes match that reached the 18th hole. Thomas and Fowler handed Grace and Oosthuizen their first Presidents Cup loss as a team on Friday. On Saturday, the International side led by as much as 2 up and the U.S. by as much as 1 up, and it was all square for the final seven holes. With the away team in for par on the last, Thomas had 5 feet to halve the match and got his putt to circle in.


DAY 2

Friday fourballs: U.S. 4 1/2, Internationals 1/2

Overall: U.S. 8, Internationals 2

MATCH 1: Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) vs. Hideki Matsuyama-Adam Hadwin (Internationals), halved:  Trailing 2 down on the back nine, the Americans’ most successful staged a late rally to steal a half point from the struggling Matsuyama and rookie Hadwin. Spieth and Reed, who have now gone 6-1-3 as a team, made back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 and had opportunities on the last two holes to earn the full point, including Spieth’s 20-footer on 18 that spun around the cup. 

MATCH 2: Justin Thomas-Rickie Fowler (U.S.) def. Louis Oosthuizen-Branden Grace (Internationals), 3 and 2: Quickly turning into the Americans’ best duo, Thomas and Fowler handed Oosthuizen and Grace their first loss in team play (5-1). They played 7 under as a team, and Thomas helped put away the Internationals with some dazzling short-game shots, first a touchy up and down on 12, a holed bunker shot on 14 and then an 8-foot birdie putt on 15. 

MATCH 3: Phil Mickelson-Kevin Kisner (U.S.) def. Jason Day-Marc Leishman (Internationals), 1 up: Going head-to-head for the second straight day, Mickelson didn’t miss on the final green this time. Burying a 15-footer on the last, the 47-year-old gave the Americans their first lead of the day and a full point after Leishman missed his 10-footer. These two teams squared off Thursday, with Mickelson missed an 8-footer on the last for the win.

MATCH 4: Charley Hoffman-Kevin Chappell (U.S.) def. Charl Schwartzel-Anirban Lahiri (Internationals), 6 and 5: After sitting out the opening foursomes, the American rookies pounced all over the overmatched International squad. Taking a 5-up lead at the turn, Hoffman buried the Internationals with a par on the drivable 12th, after getting up and down from 270 yards. Schwartzel has now been trounced in both of his matches this week, while Lahiri, who was disqualified from playing the third hole Friday after taking a practice shot out of a bunker, is now 0-4 in Presidents Cup play over the past two editions. 

MATCH 5: Dustin Johnson-Brooks Koepka (U.S.) def. Adam Scott-Jhonattan Vegas (Internationals), 3 and 2:  The American bash brothers didn’t play their best for much of the match, but they still erased an early deficit with six birdies and held off Vegas and Scott to earn the final point of the day. Johnson buried a 20-footer for birdie on 15, then pured an iron to 10 feet on 16 to close out the match. It was Scott's 19th match lost, the most in tournament history. 


DAY 1

Thursday foursomes: U.S. 3 1/2, Internationals 1 1/2

Overall: U.S. 3 1/2, Internationals 1 1/2

MATCH 1: Rickie Fowler-Justin Thomas (U.S.) def. Hideki Matsuyama-Charl Schwartzel (INT), 6 and 4:  After falling in an early hole, Fowler and Thomas, the presumptive PGA Tour Player of the Year, won four holes in a six-hole span to take a commanding lead on the International duo, which went out in 4 over. It didn’t get much better on the back nine, as Matsuyama, the International team’s best player, struggled mightily. Thomas won in his team debut.

MATCH 2: Dustin Johnson-Matt Kuchar (U.S.) vs. Adam Scott-Jhonattan Vegas (INT), 1 up: A tight match throughout, Johnson and Kuchar played bogey-free and broke out of a tie after Johnson’s 7-iron to 8 feet on 16 that was conceded for birdie. Johnson then closed out the match with another sweet 7-iron on 18, this one to 20 feet, to earn the full point for the Americans. He improved to 4-0-1 in foursomes. 

MATCH 3: Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) def. Emiliano Grillo-Si Woo Kim (INT), 5 and 4: One of the most successful partnerships of the past few years (6-1-2), Spieth and Reed continued to roll, this time wiping out the all-rookie International team of Grillo and Kim. Spieth and Reed ripped off four straight wins on Nos. 4-7 (needing to play that stretch in only 1 under) and cruised to another team victory, never leading by fewer than two holes. Spieth is now the only player in Presidents Cup history with a 4-0 or better record in foursomes. 

MATCH 4: Louis Oosthuizen-Branden Grace (INT) def. Brooks Koepka-Daniel Berger (U.S.), 3 and 1: The South African duo of Oosthuizen and Grace put the first point on the board for the Internationals. They picked up where they left off in South Korea, taking out the former Florida State teammates with wins on Nos. 13 and 15. Oosthuizen and Grace, now 5-0 together, trailed for only two holes Thursday.  

MATCH 5: Phil Mickelson-Kevin Kisner (U.S.) vs. Jason Day-Marc Leishman (INT), halved: Playing in his 23rd consecutive team event, Mickelson was in charge of guiding rookie Kisner around Liberty National. The Americans squandered a 3-up lead on the front nine, but they battled back late, winning the 17th hole and then looking at a 6-footer to steal a full point over the Australians. Mickelson, however, missed the par putt, and each side received a half point.

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."

Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

Golden: Dull rude, caddie 'inebriated' at Florida Mid-Am

By Ryan LavnerMay 25, 2018, 1:03 am

Jeff Golden has offered more detail on what transpired at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, writing in a long statement on Twitter that Marc Dull’s caddie was “inebriated” before he allegedly sucker-punched Golden in the face.

In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Charlotte County Police responded to a call May 13 after Golden claimed that he’d been assaulted by his opponent’s caddie in the parking lot of Coral Creek Club, where he was competing in the Mid-Am finals. Golden told police that the caddie, Brandon Hibbs, struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

Golden posted a 910-word statement on the alleged incident on his Twitter account on Thursday night. He said that he wanted to provide more detail because “others have posed some valid questions about the series of events that led to me withdrawing” from what was an all-square match with two holes to play.

Golden wrote that both Dull and Hibbs were rude and disruptive during the match, and that “alcohol appeared to be influencing [Hibbs’] behavior.”

Dull, who caddies at Streamsong Resort in Florida, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’ve never seen an opposing caddie engage in so much conversation with a competitor,” Golden wrote. “On the eighth hole I had become extremely frustrated when my opponent and caddie were talking and moving. I expressed my disappointment with their etiquette to the rules official in our group.”

On the ninth hole, Golden informed the official that he believed Hibbs had broken the rules by offering advice on his putt. Golden won the hole by concession to move 2 up at the turn, and Hibbs removed himself from the match and returned to the clubhouse.

Golden wrote that after the penalty, the match “turned even nastier, with more negative comments from my opponent on the 10th tee.” He added that he conceded Dull’s 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 because he was “sick of the abuse from my opponent, and I wanted the match to resemble what you would expect of a FSGA final.”

Though there were no witnesses to the alleged attack and police found little evidence, save for “some redness on the inside of [Golden’s] lip,” Golden wrote that the inside of his mouth was bleeding, his face was “throbbing” and his hand was also injured from bracing his fall. X-rays and CT scans over the past week all came back negative, he said.

Golden reiterated that he was disappointed with the FSGA’s decision to accept his concession in the final match. He had recommended that they suspend the event and resume it “at a later time.”

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Asked last week about his organization’s alcohol policy during events, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that excessive consumption is “highly discouraged, but it falls more broadly under the rules of etiquette and player behavior.”

Dull, 32, was back in the news Wednesday, after he and partner Chip Brooke reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They lost to high schoolers Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, 4 and 3.

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D. Kang, M. Jutanugarn in four-way tie at Volvik

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:50 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Amy Olson crossed paths with her coach, Ron Stockton, on her walk to the 18th tee at the Volvik Championship.

''Make it another even $20,'' Stockton said.

The coach was already prepared to give his client $35 for making seven birdies - $5 each - and wanted to take her mind off the bogey she just had at 17.

Olson closed the first round with a 6-under 66, putting her into the lead she ended up sharing later Thursday with Moriya Jutanugarn , Caroline Masson and Danielle Kang.

Do small, cash incentives really help a professional golfer?

''Absolutely,'' said Olson, who graduated from North Dakota State with an accounting degree. ''He'll tell you I'm a little bit of a hustler there.''

Olson will have to keep making birdies - and petty cash - to hold her position at Travis Pointe Country Club.

Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan, Morgan Pressel, Megan Khang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were a stroke back at 67 and six others were to shots back.

Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championship winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

The Jutanugarn sisters are Korda are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour's first two-time winner this year.

Moriya Jutanugarn won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles.

''What I feel is more relaxed now,'' she said. ''And, of course I like looking forward for my next one.''

Olson, meanwhile, is hoping to extend the LPGA Tour's streak of having a new winner in each of its 12 tournaments this year.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


She knows how to win. It just has been a while since it has happened.

Olson set an NCAA record with 20 wins, breaking the mark set by LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, but has struggled to have much success since turning pro in 2013.

She has not finished best finish was a tie for seventh and that was four years ago. She was in contention to win the ANA Inspiration two months ago, but an even-par 72 dropped her into a tie for ninth place.

If the North Dakota player wins the Volvik Championship, she will earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama. If Olson finishes second or lower in the 144-player field, she will enjoy an off week with her husband, Grant, who coaches linebackers at Indiana State.

''I'll make the best of it either way,'' she said.

Olson was at her best in the opening round on the front nine, closing it with four birdies in a six-hole stretch. Her ball rolled just enough to slowly drop in the cup for birdie on the par-3, 184-yard 13th. She had three birdies in five-hole stretch on the back, nearly making her second hole-in-one of the year at the par-3, 180-yard 16th. A short putt gave her a two-stroke lead, but it was cut to one after pulling and misreading a 6-foot putt to bogey the 17th.

Even if she doesn't hold on to win the tournament, Olson is on pace to have her best year on the LPGA Tour. She is No. 39 on the money list after finishing 97th, 119th, 81st and 80th in her first four years.

''Two years ago, I started working with Ron Stockton and whenever you make a change, it doesn't show up right away,'' Olson said. ''That first year was tough, but we've turned a corner and I've just found a lot of consistency in the last year. And, it's a lot of fun to go out there and play golf a little more stress free.''

Stockton helped her stay relaxed, walking along the ropes during her morning round.

''Maybe some people feel a little more pressure when their coach is there,'' she said. ''I'm like, 'Great. If he sees the mistake, he knows what can go wrong and we can go fix it.' So, I like having his eyes on me.''

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Club pro part of 6-way tie atop Sr. PGA

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:04 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Nevada club professional Stuart Smith admitted sleeping on the lead of the biggest tournament available to him might be a problem.

''I can't say, 'Oh, it won't bother me.' But to me, it's fun,'' Smith said after shooting a 5-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

Smith closed his morning round with a double bogey on the par-4 18th, and Scott McCarron, Tim Petrovic, Wes Short Jr., Barry Lane and Peter Lonard matched the 66 in the afternoon.

One of 41 club pros in the field at Harbor Shores for the senior major, Smith is the director of golf at Somersett Country Club in Reno.

''To see my name on the board out there, it's not like I'm blind to the leaderboard, that was cool,'' said Smith, who is playing in his fourth Senior PGA and third at Harbor Shores - where he has made the 36-hole cut the previous two times.

''All my members are taking pictures and I know at home my members are pulling up that screen and like I tell them, going to the middle and looking down. So it probably took them a while to find my name today."

Petrovic, who was among the leaders in the Regions Tradition last week before a poor final round, said it was a little bit of a surprise when he heard Smith was at 7 under through 17 holes.

''There was a little bit of buzz, we were talking about it,'' he said. ''I heard somebody say 7 under and I said 'who is it? And we looked up, but we didn't know who the player was. In a tournament like this, you know how it is, there's always one guy, one smart-alec that shoots 7, 8 under in the first round.''

Smith, who birdied five consecutive holes starting at the seventh, played college golf at UCLA and knocked around the mini tours and South Africa for several years without ever gaining his tour card. He was college teammates with some of the players in the field, including Corey Pavin, Duffy Waldorf and Steve Pate, but said he no longer seeks the tour life.


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


''It's just not me anymore,'' he said. ''So that's why maybe I do have an advantage this week because it's just fun to me. It's like my wife said - just enjoy the ride.''

Petrovic had seven birdies in his round while McCarron and Lonard played bogey-free rounds. Short holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par 4 12th and made eagle on the par 5 ninth hole, his last hole of the day.

McCarron is the only one of the six leaders with a major on his resume. He won the Senior Players Championship last year, and played The Players Championship recently.

''It was a lot of fun being on that stage, of course being at The Players with the best players in the world playing one of the best golf courses in the world,'' he said. ''I think the preparation there and just being on that stage helped me going into last week in Alabama, and certainly this week.''

The top two money winners on the PGA Tour Champions are not in Benton Harbor. Defending champion Bernhard Langer is skipping the event to attend son Jason's high school graduation, and Steve Stricker is playing the PGA Tour event in Texas.

Paul Goydos, a five-time senior winner including the 2016 Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and Chris Williams of South Africa shot 67. Joe Durant, David Toms, Kenny Perry, Jerry Pate and Fred Funk were among 15 players at 68.

Colin Montgomerie, who won the first of consecutive Senior PGA titles here in 2014, shot 69, and Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off a win last week in the first major of the year at the Regions Tradition, opened with a 70.