Can a long putter a better Wie make?

By August 28, 2011, 12:26 am

Perhaps it was just a matter of mild tinkering that kept Michelle Wie from fully reaping the benefits that can come with a switch to a long putter. The 6-foot-plus LPGA player put the long stick into play at the Evian Masters, but has really caught fire with it at the Canadian Women’s Open.

Wie is tied for the lead through 54 holes with Tiffany Joh and Ai Miyazato at 12 under at Hillsdale G&CC. 

Wie seeks to become the first player to win this event in consecutive years since Pat Bradley did so in 1985-86 when the event was an LPGA major known as the du Maurier Classic. She credits hard work with her new putter as influential in her putting performance – averaging 27.66 putts per round.

“I’ve been working really hard at my putting,” Wie said. “Finally I kind of figured out a grip that I like, and I’ve been going at it for a couple of weeks now. I’m getting the hang of it, just trying to make some putts out there. That’s the most important thing.”

Joh grabbed the early clubhouse lead with 7-under 65 that could have been even better. The UCLA product and amateur standout is seeking her first LPGA win. Her previous best finish is a T-25 at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Perhaps that explains her incredulous feelings toward her hot start on Saturday.

“It was really unexpected, so every time I’d make a putt, I’d turn around and look at my caddie and be like, wow, that went in. And pretty soon I think around the 11th or 12th hole I realized what I was doing, and I kind of tightened up a little bit and hit a couple wayward shots. I hit one just delicious chili dip on the par-5 12th,” she said.

Wie would earn her third professional win with a successful Sunday. Miyazato would earn her second title in a month, having won the Evian Masters in July – an event that will become a major championship in 2013.

The Japanese standout welcomes the possibility of windy conditions on Sunday due to Hurricane Irene’s march up the east coast.

Miyazato said, “I grew up in an area where it was windy, so I actually like playing in the windy situations. But if it rains, it will definitely be difficult. But because I’m used to those situations, I think there will be no problem keeping my tempo.”

Angela Stanford and Brittany Lincicome are a shot back of the lead trio at 11 under. Cristie Kerr, Na Yeon Choi, Jiyai Shin, Becky Morgan and Song-Hee Kim are just two shots off the pace.

Sunday tee times were moved up by an hour-and-a-half in anticipation of a possible strike from Hurricane Irene in the Montreal area. Players will go off the first and tenth tees in groups of three beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET.

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Bjorn adds four Ryder Cup veterans as vice captains

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 1:05 pm

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has added a quartet of vice captains for the biennial matches this fall in Paris.

Bjorn had already named Robert Karlsson as his first assistant, and he announced Tuesday at the BMW PGA Championship that his group of advisors will also include major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, and former world No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

Westwood is among Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup players, and his addition in this role signals he likely won't participate as a player in the matches for the first time since 1995. The Englishman has spoken openly about his desire to captain the European squad at Whistling Straits in 2020, but he's been quiet on the course in recent months, with a missed secondary cut at the Houston Open his only start since mid-February.

Harrington is seen as another possible captain for the 2020 matches, and he'll don an earpiece for the third straight Ryder Cup, having represented Europe as a player on six straight teams from 1999-2010.

Donald played on four Ryder Cup teams from 2004-12, with the Europeans winning each time he was on the roster. This will mark his first stint as a vice captain, as Donald announced last month that he would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a back injury.

At age 38, McDowell will be the youngest vice captain in the room, having holed the winning putt eight years ago at Celtic Manor. He won the French Open in both 2013 and 2014 at Le Golf National, site of this year's matches, and will also be making his debut as a vice captain.

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Bidder pays $50,000 to caddie for Woods

By Grill Room TeamMay 22, 2018, 12:28 pm

Someone has paid $50,000 to caddie for Tiger Woods at this year’s Hero World Challenge.

An unnamed bidder paid for the opportunity at an auction Saturday night at Tiger Jam, where monies are raised to support the Tiger Woods Foundation.

The Hero World Challenge will be contested Nov. 29-Dec. in Albany, Bahamas. The pro-am is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:28 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 have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on 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 action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

4-8PM: Match-play finals

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Arizona grabs last spot with eagle putt, playoff win

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 3:18 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – With her team freefalling in the standings, Arizona coach Laura Ianello was down to her last stroke.

The Wildcats began the final round of the NCAA Championship in third place, but they were 19 over par for the day, and outside the top-8 cut line, with only one player left on the course.

Bianca Pagdaganan had transferred from Gonzaga to compete for NCAA titles, and on the 17th hole Ianello told her that she needed to play “the best two holes of your life” to keep the dream alive.

She made par on 17, then hit a 185-yard 6-iron out of a divot to 30 feet. Not knowing where she stood on the final green, Pagdaganan felt an eerie calm over the ball. Sure enough, she buried the eagle putt, setting off a raucous celebration and sending the Wildcats into a play-five, count-four team playoff with Baylor at 33 over par.

Their match-play spot wasn’t yet secure, but Ianello still broke down in tears.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

“Bianca is such an inspiration for all of us,” she said. “She’s the kind of kid that you want to root for, to have good things happen to.”

Arizona prevailed on the second playoff hole. As the 8 seed, the Wildcats will play top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Karsten Creek.

Though the finish had plenty of drama, no teams played their way into the coveted top 8 on the final day of stroke-play qualifying.

Baylor came closest. The Bears barely advanced past regionals after a mysterious stomach virus affected several players and coaches. They competed in the final round with just four healthy players.

On Monday, Gurleen Kaur put Baylor in position to advance, shooting 68, but the Bears lost by three strokes on the second extra hole.

Arkansas finished one shot shy of the team playoff. The second-ranked Razorbacks, who entered NCAAs as one of the pre-tournament favorites, having won seven times, including their first SEC title, couldn’t overcome a 308-300 start and finished 10th. Player of the Year favorite Maria Fassi finished her week at 19 over par and counted only two rounds toward the team total.