Waite-ing For Woods

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 9, 2000, 4:00 pm
For the second consecutive week, Grant Waite has earned a spot in Sunday's final group. But this time - for the first time in seven years - he'll play alongside Tiger Woods in the final round of the Bell Canadian Open.
 
Waite used birdies at the 16th and 17th to tie Woods at 15-under, but missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th, which would have given him sole possession of the 54-hole lead at the Glen Abbey Golf Club.
 
Waite and Woods are one-shot clear of Stephen Ames and J.L. Lewis, who chipped in for eagle at the home hole. Australian left-hander Greg Chalmers is solo fifth at 11-under, four off the lead.
 
Saturday, the Bell Canadian scoreboard was covered in more red than the National Flag. Everybody from Brian Watts to Keiichiro Fukabori earned of share of the lead at some point during the third round.
 
Stephen Ames made the biggest move on moving day. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, the 36-year-old is currently a resident of Calgary, Alberta. The transplanted Canuck carded nine birdies and no bogeys in Oakville, Ontario for a near-perfect round of 9-under-par 63.
 
In the clubhouse at 14-under, it appeared as if Ames had played his way into a final pairing with Woods on Sunday. That didn't happen, but it would have made for an interesting coupling.
 
Earlier in the year, Ames sent a broadside criticism to Woods, calling him 'spoiled' and saying Tiger was inconsiderate of players around him because of the commotion caused during his rounds.
 
A harsh statement considering Ames and Woods have never played in the same group together.
 
'I did the appropriate thing,' said Ames. 'I sent him a letter and apologized to him at Dallas.
 
'I don't think we'll have our boxing gloves on (tomorrow).'
 
Five-under for the day through his first 14 holes, Tiger gained a share of the lead by birdying the par-3 15th. You'll recall, Woods did the same in Friday's second round, which began a 6-under-par performance in a four-hole stretch.
 
Said Woods following his round: 'I looked over at (my caddie) Stevie and he said `Let's go.''
 
Tiger listened to his looper by carding his second eagle in as many days at the par-5 16th. This time, Woods smoked a 3-iron from 236 yards to within ten feet of the cup. He converted the eagle putt to move into first place by his lonesome at 15-under-par.
 
Tiger's momentum stalled after he missed a 17-foot birdie putt at the 17th. Still, Woods had one hole left - and a par-5 at that. In the greenside bunker in two, it took Tiger two more shots to get it out. Woods tapped in for a par.
 
'Today was a good day,' said Tiger, who has posted rounds 72-65-64. 'I drove the ball very well today. My driving allowed me to be a little more aggressive at the green.'
 
Saturday, Tiger hit 13 of 14 fairways. That would have been 12 for 14, had it not been for an unfortunate spectator. Tiger's tee shot at the par-4 8th went left, into the crowd, then caromed of the head of a young man, and back into the fairway.
 
'I felt so bad for the guy,' said Woods, who gave the dazed spectator a ball. 'He was very lucky he didn't get split open.'
 
Even par through his first 12 holes, Waite was floundering while everyone else was flourishing. But everything changed at the par-5 13th. Waite, whose only Tour victory came at the 1993 Kemper Open, stuck his second shot to seven feet, and then dropped in the ensuing eagle putt.
 
After two more pars on the 14th and 15th, Waite two-putted for birdie at the par-5 16th. Waite, now just one shot back of Tiger, joined his Orlando neighbor at the top of the leaderboard after another stellar approach shot resulted in another red number at the 17th.
 
Though he didn't convert the short birdie putt at the 18th, Waite still shot 68 on Saturday. And that will give him some much-needed confidence playing alongside Woods in the final round.
 
'I've never played with Tiger Woods in the final round or on the weekend,' said Waite. 'The only time I played with him in a Tour event, he was 17 and I could be beat. He wasn't as intimidating back then.'
 
Waite was making reference to the 1993 Doral-Ryder Open. Both players missed the cut, but Waite went on to win the following week.
 
'Maybe Tiger rubbed off on me,' Waite said with a smile.
Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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)