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By Mercer BaggsJune 29, 2009, 4:00 pm
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LIKE A GLOVE(R): Lucas Glover won the 109th United States Open at Bethpage Black, finishing at 4-under 276. The 29-year-old South Carolinian made only one birdie in shooting a final-round 3-over 73, but still finished two shots clear of David Duval, Phil Mickelson and Ricky Barnes.
 
Backspin How unlikely was this win? Glover had won only once on the PGA Tour, had never made a cut in the U.S. Open, and had never finished better than T-20 in a major championship. But thanks to some steady play over his final nine holes and a multitude of mistakes by the rest of the challengers, Glover got his named etched alongside Woods, Nicklaus, Palmer and just about every other legend to ever play the game.
 

 
GIVE HIM FIVE: Phil Mickelson claimed his record fifth U.S. Open runner-up finish, shooting even-par 70 in the final round to finish at 2-under 278. Mickelson grabbed a share of the lead with an eagle at the par-5 13th, but bogeyed two of his final four holes for another disappointing Open result.
 
Backspin There was the scene: New York. There was the storyline: a wife with breast cancer. And there was the moment: the eagle that earned him a share of the lead with five holes to play. Even the ultimate Mickelson pessimist had to think that this was finally his time. But it wasn't. Maybe it's just not meant to be.
 

 
FROM NO. 882 to T-2: David Duval earned his best finish since winning the 2001 Open Championship, rallying for a tie for second. Duval began his day with a plugged tee shot at the par-3 third, which led to a triple bogey. Undaunted, he birdied holes 14, 15 and 16 to grab a share of the lead, before brutally lipping out a par putt at 17.
 
Backspin This was an unbelievable performance by Duval, one that most people never saw coming ' but some did (kind of). Duval will lament his Monday misfortune, but he will also take a lot of positives out of this week, including locking up his Tour card for next year. If there is one negative that will come out of all of this, it's that people's expectations of him ' and his exposure ' will increase dramatically. Duval has always seemed more comfortable out of the spotlight.
 

 
BARNES DOOR OPEN: Ricky Barnes led by as many as six strokes in the third round, became just the fourth player to ever reach double digits under par in a U.S. Open, and had sole possession of the lead entering the final stanza. He then closed in 6-over 76 to tie for second.
 
Backspin I have 20/400 vision and I could see Barnes' meltdown coming. Still, it didn't make it any less painful to watch. I'm going to go home tonight and watch replay after replay of Lawrence Taylor breaking Joe Theisman's leg just to get the image of Barnes' swing out of my head.
 

 
STUCK ON 14: Tiger Woods finished 72 holes at Bethpage right where he started, at even par, good for a tie for sixth. Woods, who spent the entire tournament playing catch up, didn't reach red figures until making a birdie putt on the 14th hole Monday. He didn't stay there long, however, as he bogeyed the very next hole.
 
Backspin Tiger ' or Tiger proponents ' can blame the draw or his closing four holes in the fist round (which he played in 4 over), but the fact is: Tiger had a chance to win on Monday. He just wasn't good enough. Woods didn't make the putts he needed to in order to win. He didn't deserve this one.
 

 
PLEASE MAKE IT START ... AND STOP: The opening day of the 109th U.S. Open at Bethpage was washed out due to incessant rain, and the championship never caught up. The third round didn't begin until Saturday night, with the final round getting underway Sunday evening. The United Stop-and-Start Open finally concluded Monday around 1:25 p.m. ET.
 
Backspin This was a brutal Open all the way around ' for the players, the caddies, the officials, the media, and even the fans. A Mickelson victory would have overshadowed all of the negatives. But that didn't happen. And this Open ' except in the opinion of Glover ' was far from a classic.
 

 
WE MISSED YOU: Inevitably, some of the players you think might contend for the title end up missing the cut. At this particular major that list included: Masters runner-up Chad Campbell, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Zach Johnson and David Toms.
 
Backspin Of all the disappointments, two stand out ' and neither are Harrington (the way he's played this year, it's not surprising he missed out on the final two rounds). The first is Casey. Here comes Mr. No. 3 in the World and he shoots 75-75 to miss the cut by six. For all the youthful talent around the world (Casey, Scott, Kim, Donald, Poulter, Garcia, etc.), none have a major victory ' except Lucas Glover. Then there is Els, who shot 78-77 to miss the cut by 11 shots. You don't want to pick on the guy ' because you never know what's going on in his personal life ' but it doesn't seem like he ever recovered from losing to Phil Mickelson in the 2006 Masters. And may never will.
 

 
REMEMBERING PAYNE: This year marked the 10th anniversary of Payne Stewart's dramatic U.S. Open triumph at Pinehurst, in which he made a 15-foot putt on the 72nd hole to defeat Phil Mickelson. Stewart perished four months later in a plane crash.
 
Backspin Just as no one who witnessed the 1999 U.S. Open will ever forget it, no one who ever saw Payne Stewart play will ever forget him. For all of the run-of-the-mill players on Tour today, Stewart was irreplaceable. October 25 will officially mark the 10-year anniversary of when the plane he was flying in crashed in Aberdeen, S.D.
 

 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Michelle Wie and Natalie Gulbis were among the notable players who failed to make it through qualifying for the U.S. Women's Open. ... John Daly was involved in an automobile accident when the fan and awnings from his RV were ripped off in a tunnel and hit another car. ... Chris Smith's wife was killed in an automobile accident.
 
BackspinNo Wie? They might as well just cancel the event. ... Somehow Daly will blame this on the victim. ... Smith's two children were also in critical condition. Just a true Father's Day tragedy.
 
Related Links:
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    NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 11:00 am

    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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    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.”