Muller Leads the Tour Championship

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 22, 2001, 5:00 pm
While the biggest names in the field, Ernie Els and Mark McNulty, struggled, Grant Muller, who was on the verge of packing in professional golf just two years ago, fired a superb seven-under-par 64 over the much-vaunted Leopard Creek lay-out, bordering the Kruger National Park, to take the first round lead in The Tour Championship on Thursday.
 
Muller's bogey-free effort left him a shot clear of Canadian-based Scotsman Doug McGuigan and South Africans Richard Kaplan and Bradford Vaughan, the runaway winner at last week's Investec Royal Swazi Sun Open.
 
Darren Fichardt, who ended his round with four straight birdies, was one of a quartet on 66, which also included highly rated amateur Dean Lambert, who had six birdies and just a single dropped shot over the testing par-71 lay-out. In fact, it was a brilliant first day for the trio of amateur invitees, with both Richard Sterne and Jaco van der Merwe carding 69s.
 
But with 42 of the field of 75 returning scores of level par or better, Els and McNulty suffered the rare indignity of being among the first day also-rans. The 'Big Easy', who indicated he's struggled off the tee, was five over par for his round after a double-bogey six at the 10th, where he hit his drive 'way right' - 'I didn't even go and look for that one,' he said later - but an eagle three at the 13th and a rare birdie at the 15th got him back to a two-over-par 73.
 
McNulty also struggled early and was three over through seven holes, before making two birdies for a 72.
 
By contrast, 30-year-old Muller began in sensational fashion, with five birdies in a row, to cruise into an early lead. After that, he managed two further birdies, at the two par-fives on the back nine, the 13th and 18th.
 
Muller, who said he had developed a spasm between his shoulder blades on Wednesday evening and had got his (unnamed) room-mate to give it a rub, said the new lay-out was 'a hell of a tough course.'
 
'When I first looked at it, it looked to me like the toughest course I'd ever played. You can make this far tougher than Sun City,' he said. 'What made it a bit easier for me today was that I didn't miss a fairway.'
 
Muller, who has always worked to supplement his golf, as a teacher, an insurance salesman and in his own paint contracting business, said the current Sunshine Tour was 'the first year I've not worked and played and it has paid off.' He's still doing some teaching, but has confined that to certain hours in the day and is very much focussed on the professional game.
 
Not one of the longer hitters on the Tour, Muller said he preferred courses to be tougher, punishing shots that missed fairways, rather than allowing the big hitters to spray the ball off the tee 'and always have a shot.'
 
Noting that Leopard Creek was just such a lay-out, he said he fully expected 'to see McNulty up there by the end of the week.'
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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)

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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.”

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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)

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Fort Worth Invitational: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 10:30 pm

The PGA Tour makes the short drive from Dallas to Fort Worth and Colonial Country Club. Here are the key stats and information for this week. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $7.1 million

Course: Colonial Country Club (par 70, 7,209 yards)

Defending champion: Kevin Kisner. Last year he defeated Jordan Spieth, Sean O’Hair and Jon Rahm by one stroke


Notables in the field

Jordan Spieth

• Finished T-2, 1st and T-2 in last three starts in this tournament

• 52 under par at Colonial last five years (best of anyone by 27 strokes in that span)

• 100 birdies/eagles made here last five years (most of anyone in that span)


Rickie Fowler

• First start since missed cut at The Players

• More missed cuts (3) than top-10 finishes (2) in 2018


Jon Rahm at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship.

Jon Rahm

• Finished T-2 in this tournament last year (66 in final round)

• 17 top-5 finishes in 46 official worldwide individual starts as professional


Webb Simpson

• First start since Players victory (fifth PGA Tour win)

• Fifth on Tour in strokes gained: putting this season (177th two seasons ago)