Solheim Cup recaps: Europe wins 18-10

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 17, 2013, 6:39 pm

OVERALL: EUROPE 18, U.S. 10

SUNDAY SINGLES: EUROPE 7 1/2, U.S. 4 1/2

MATCH 17: Stacy Lewis (US) halved with Anna Nordqvist

Nordqvist built a 2-up lead and Lewis fought back to take a 1-up lead into the last two holes but lost the 17th. A half-point is probably how this match deserved to end.

MATCH 18: Charley Hull (E) def. Paula Creamer, 5 and 4

The 17-year-old was too much to handle and made five birdies in 14 holes. Creamer did not play well in a spot that was a must-win for the U.S.

MATCH 19: Brittany Lang (US) def. Azahara Munoz, 2 and 1

Lang was the highest point-earneR for the U.S. and capped off a great week for her, but a terrible week for her team. Struggled early in this match, but found form late.

MATCH 20: Carlota Ciganda (E) def. Morgan Pressel, 4 and 2

Ciganda’s rookie Solheim Cup started terribly, but she birdied the last five holes in the match and pulled away from Pressel, who was an overwhelming favorite.

MATCH 21: Caroline Hedwall (E) def. Michelle Wie, 1 up

Fitting that it was Hedwall who clinched the point that retained the cup for Europe. It was an epic performance and the win gave Hedwall a perfect 5-0 record.

MATCH 22: Gerina Piller (US) halved with Catriona Matthew

Half-point won the cup outright for Europe when Matthew drained a key par putt on the last hole. Matthew didn’t play well all week, but was clutch when it mattered.

MATCH 23: Lizette Salas (US) halved with Suzann Pettersen

Pettersen missed a short putt on 18 that would’ve won the match outright but it didn’t matter. This was a well-played match. It’s a shame it didn’t matter.

MATCH 24: Jessica Korda (US) halved with Giulia Sergas

Korda won the 16th hole to take a 1-up lead but lost the 18th hole for a halve. Another match that didn’t matter. Neither player played particularly well.

MATCH 25: Lexi Thompson (US) def. Caroline Masson, 4 and 3

The cup was already clinched so this match didn’t matter. Still, Masson played poorly and handed rookie Thompson the easy victory.

MATCH 26: Jodi Ewart-Shadoff (E) def. Brittany Lincicome, 3 and 2

Ewart Shadoff made four birdies in a six-hole stretch to easily win this match. A great rookie showing for Ewart Shadoff ended with a 2-1 record.

MATCH 27: Beatriz Recari (E) def. Angela Stanford, 2 and 1

Stanford did birdie four of five holes on the back nine but Recari was too steady throughout. Stanford had the dubious distinction of going 0-4 for the week.

MATCH 28: Cristie Kerr (US) halved with Karine Icher

This match was halved on the 18th hole after both players hit their approach shots. Kerr was put in the anchor spot in case the match mattered. It didn’t.


SATURDAY FOURBALLS: EUROPE 4, U.S. 0

MATCH 13: Ewart Shadoff-Hull def. Creamer-Thompson, 2 up

Neither team had more than a 1-up advantage until the last hole. The difference here was a Thompson miss from 5 feet and a Hull make from 4 feet on the 17th hole for birdie.

MATCH 14: Ciganda-Munoz def. Stanford-Piller, 1 up

Ciganda, after a horrid performance the day before, closed with a clutch 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the match. Stanford dropped to 0-3 this week.

MATCH 15: Masson-Hedwall def. Wie-Korda, 2 and 1

A better-than-average match but the story here remains Hedwall, who moved to a perfect 4-0 record after two days. She’s an unstoppable force who is made for this event.

MATCH 16: Recari-Icher def. Kerr-Pressel, 1 up

The Americans were 3 down after 10 holes and took the match to the 18th hole. But Icher drained a 45-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to put an exclamation point on an afternoon sweep.


SATURDAY FOURSOMES: U.S. 2 1/2, EUROPE 1 1/2

MATCH 9: Nordqvist-Hedwall (E) def. Pressel-Korda, 2 and 1

Nordqvist closed out the match with an ace on the 17th hole. The shot of the tournament. This was a well-played match down the stretch. Hedwall is now 3-0 for the week.

MATCH 10: Lewis-Creamer (US) def. Munoz-Icher, 1 up

Epic match that produced 12 birdies. Europe went a six-hole stretch where it birdied five holes, but it butchered the last hole to hand the Americans the point.

MATCH 11: Matthew-Masson (E) halved Lincicome-Salas

Feels like more of a loss for the Americans, who were 2 up at several points during the match, including on the 16th hole. Europe won the last two holes for the halve.

MATCH 12: Wie-Lang (US) def. Pettersen-Recari, 2 and 1

Wie made the winning putt on the 17th hole and is 2-0 so far this week. She and Lang handed Pettersen her first loss of the week, moving to 2-1.


FRIDAY FOURBALLS: EUROPE 2, U.S. 2

MATCH 5: Pettersen-Ciganda (E) def. Lewis-Thompson, 1 up

Europe won but the story here is that Lewis lost both her matches on the first day. Some things just defy explanation. Lewis and Thompson failed to make a birdie in the last nine holes.

MATCH 6: Masson-Hedwall (E) def. Stanford-Piller, 2 and 1

This was a good match with good golf but Masson and Hedwall were unflappable down the stretch to hold on. Stanford and Piller put up a valiant effort in defeat.

MATCH 7: Lincicome-Lang (US) def. Nordqvist-Sergas, 4 and 3

Nordqvist and Sergas only birdied one hole and never were in the match from there. The long-hitting Brittanys cruised and closed the match with consecutive birdies.

MATCH 8: Kerr-Wie (US) def. Matthew-Hull, 2 and 1

Michelle Wie looked like the Michelle Wie of old and made five birdies. She and Kerr paired well together and even though the score looked close, they seemed in control.


FRIDAY FOURSOMES: EUROPE 3, U.S. 1

MATCH 1: Nordqvist-Hedwall (E) def. Lewis-Salas, 4 and 2

Nordqvist-Hedwall was a terrific alternate-shot pairing, hitting numerous fairways and greens while Lewis was surprisingly shaky and Salas was surprisingly steady. 

MATCH 2: Pettersen-Recari (E) def. Lang-Stanford, 2 and 1

Early momentum continued for Europe. The match was fairly good golf, the difference was a late bogey from the U.S. and a late birdie from Europe. 

MATCH 3: Pressel-Korda (US) def. Matthew-Ewart-Shadoff, 3 and 2

Unlike the previous match, this was shaggy golf. Europe made four bogeys and a lone birdie, and the U.S. made two birdies and two bogeys to cruise. 

MATCH 4: Munoz-Icher (E) def. Kerr-Creamer, 2 and 1

Surprise, surprise. Munoz-Icher easily took down America’s strongest duo. The difference was a three-hole stretch (8-10) where Europe made three birdies, all with putts of 20 feet or longer.

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Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

"It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”

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Koepka still has chip on his chiseled shoulder

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 3:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brooks Koepka prepared more for this Open than last year's.

He picked up his clubs three times.

That’s three more than last summer, when the only shots he hit between the summer Opens was during a commercial shoot for Michelob Ultra at TPC Sawgrass. He still tied for sixth at The Open a month later.

This time, Koepka kept his commitment to play the Travelers, then hit balls three times between the final round in Hartford and this past Sunday, when he first arrived here at Carnoustie.

Not that he was concerned, of course.

Koepka’s been playing golf for nearly 20 years. He wasn’t about to forget to how to swing a club after a few weeks off.

“It was pretty much the same thing,” he said Tuesday, during his pre-tournament news conference. “I shared it with one of my best friends, my family, and it was pretty much the same routine. It was fun. We enjoyed it. But I’m excited to get back inside the ropes and start playing again. I think you need to enjoy it any time you win and really embrace it and think about what you’ve done.”

At Shinnecock Hills, Koepka became the first player in nearly 30 years to repeat as U.S. Open champion – a major title that helped him shed his undeserved reputation as just another 20-something talent who relies solely on his awesome power. In fact, he takes immense pride in his improved short game and putting inside 8 feet.

“I can take advantage of long golf courses,” he said, “but I enjoy plotting my way around probably - more than the bombers’ golf courses - where you’ve got to think, be cautious sometimes, and fire at the center of the greens. You’ve got to be very disciplined, and that’s the kind of golf I enjoy.”

Which is why Koepka once again fancies his chances here on the type of links that helped launch his career.

Koepka was out of options domestically after he failed to reach the final stage of Q-School in 2012. So he packed his bags and headed overseas, going on a tear on the European Challenge Tour (Europe’s equivalent of the Web.com circuit) and earning four titles, including one here in Scotland. That experience was the most fun and beneficial part of his career, when he learned to win, be self-sufficient and play in different conditions.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“There’s certain steps, and I embraced it,” Koepka said. “I think that’s where a lot of guys go wrong. You are where you are, and you have to make the best of it instead of just putting your head down and being like, 'Well, I should be on the PGA Tour.' Well, guess what? You’re not. So you’ve got to suck it up wherever you are, make the best of it, and keep plugging away and trying to win everything you can because, eventually, if you’re good enough, you will get out here.”

Koepka has proved that he’s plenty good enough, of course: He’s a combined 20 under in the majors since the beginning of 2017, the best of any player during that span. But he still searches long and hard for a chip to put on his chiseled shoulder.

In his presser after winning at Shinnecock, Koepka said that he sometimes feels disrespected and forgotten, at least compared to his more-ballyhooed peers. It didn’t necessarily bother him – he prefers to stay out of the spotlight anyway, eschewing a media tour after each of his Open titles – but it clearly tweaked him enough for him to admit it publicly.

That feeling didn’t subside after he went back to back at the Open, either. On U.S. Open Sunday, ESPN’s Instagram page didn’t showcase a victorious Koepka, but rather a video of New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dunking a basketball.

“He’s like 6-foot-2. He’s got hops – we all know that – and he’s got hands. So what’s impressive about that?” Koepka said. “But I always try to find something where I feel like I’m the underdog and put that little chip on my shoulder. Even if you’re No. 1, you’ve got to find a way to keep going and keep that little chip on.

“I think I’ve done a good job of that. I need to continue doing that, because once you’re satisfied, you’re only going to go downhill. You try to find something to get better and better, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Now 28, Koepka has a goal of how many majors he’d like to win before his career is over, but he wasn’t about to share it.

Still, he was adamant about one thing: “Right now I’m focused on winning. That’s the only thing I’ve got in my mind. Second place just isn’t good enough. I finished second a lot, and I’m just tired of it. Once you win, it kind of propels you. You have this mindset where you just want to keep winning. It breeds confidence, but you want to have that feeling of gratification: I finally did this. How cool is this?”

So cool that Koepka can’t wait to win another one.

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Despite results, Thomas loves links golf

By Jay CoffinJuly 17, 2018, 2:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Despite poor results in two previous Open Championships, Justin Thomas contends that he has what it takes to be a good links player. In fact, he believes that he is a good links player.

Two years ago at Royal Troon, Thomas shot 77 in the second round to tie for 53rd place. He was on the wrong side of the draw that week that essentially eliminated anyone from contention who played late Friday afternoon.

Last year at Royal Birkdale, Thomas made a quintuple-bogey 9 on the par-4 sixth hole in the second round and missed the cut by two shots.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I feel like I’ve played more than two Opens, but I haven’t had any success here,” Thomas said Tuesday at Carnoustie. “I feel like I am a good links player, although I don’t really have the results to show.”

Although he didn’t mention it as a reason for success this week, Thomas is a much different player now than he was two years ago, having ascended to the No. 1 position in the world for a few weeks and now resting comfortably in the second spot.

He also believes a high golf IQ, and the ability to shape different shots into and with the wind are something that will help him in The Open over the next 20 years.

“I truly enjoy the creativity,” Thomas said. “It presents a lot of different strategies, how you want to play it, if you want to be aggressive, if you want to be conservative, if you want to attack some holes, wait on certain winds, whatever it might be. It definitely causes you to think.

“With it being as firm as it is, it definitely adds a whole other variable to it.”