Obstacles Be Damned Semple Thompson Prevails

By Mike RitzAugust 4, 2002, 4:00 pm
She called it a fairy tale. Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen could not have scripted a better ending for the 32nd Curtis Cup Match.
 
No one player and event are linked more closely than Carol Semple Thompson and the Curtis Cup. This was the 12th time Carol had played in the match, extending her record.
 
A few nay-sayers had complained the 53-year-old did not belong on the United States team. They griped that her many friends on the USGA Womens Committee had gone too far in granting Semple Thompson a spot on the squad. But like the grumpy trolls in the stories of Grimm and Andersen, those few critics were sent crawling back into their holes.
 
On this sultry Sunday afternoon, Carol Semple Thompson, the reigning Senior Womens Amateur Champion, made the putt that clinched the Cup for Team USA.
 
The Yanks had built what seemed to be an insurmountable lead over Great Britain and Ireland heading to the final stanza ' the six Sunday singles matches. The score was 8-4. All the Americans needed to do to maintain the cup they had won two years ago was win one match or halve two.
 
But GB&I put on a furious rally. With all six matches through at least nine holes, the Brits and Irish led four and were all square in the other two. Who would step up for the Americans?
 
In the second match out, Semple Thompson was playing 21-year-old Vikki Laing, considered the second best player for GB&I. The Scot was out-driving Carol by some 50 yards. Through seven holes, Vikki was 3-up.
 
But the golfing goddesses, the fairies, would not let this story end poorly for Carol. This Curtis Cup match was played at the Fox Chapel Golf Club in Western Pennsylvania, just 30 minutes from Semple Thompsons home. This is one of my favorite courses in the world, said the six-time national champion.
 
A crowd of over 500 fans, many of them family and friends of Carol, followed her every move. With her match, and her teams fortune in jeopardy, Semple Thompson put on quite a charge. She won No. 8 with a par and then birdied two of the next three holes to go from 3-down to 1-up.
 
She played the next five holes even par to carry that one-up lead to the 18th. When the two arrived at the final green, GB&I had already won two matches. USA led in just one other. If Carol could just hang on to win her match, the Americans would win the most prestigious international amateur event in womens golf.
 
Laing had hit her approach just 10 feet from the hole. Semple Thompson faced an uphill, right-to-left, 25-footer from the fringe.
I was just trying to get it close, she would say. With four of her teammates and their captain kneeling nearby, Semple Thompson produced a perfect roll. As the ball slowly made its way toward the hole, her young teammates rose to their feet. And when the ball, improbably, impossibly, dropped into the hole for birdie, Team USA had secured the Curtis Cup.
 
Her teammates screamed, yelled and ran to their hero. The crowd erupted into a roar normally heard only at Steelers games in these parts. For her part, Semple Thompson looked almost dazed. Like everyone else who had witnessed it, she was shocked by what she had just accomplished. I cant believe I made THE putt.
 
She smiled and laughed and hugged her comrades in clubs.
 
Carol Semple Thompson is at least 31 years older than all of her Curtis Cup teammates, older than some of their mothers. She looked so comfortable, so perfect, among them. She belonged.
 
Trolls and ogres be damned.
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Garcia among bubble boys keeping playoff hopes alive

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 12:34 am

Sergio Garcia gave himself a chance to keep his perfect FedExCup Playoffs record going with his rally Friday at the Wyndham Championship.

D.A. Points moved into position to make a historic leap into the postseason.

And Johnson Wagner dunked his last shot of the day from long range to keep his hopes of making the playoffs alive.

But the day didn’t end nearly as well for Tyrone Van Aswegen’s FedExCup hopes.

Van Aswegen didn’t do himself any favors trying to hold on to the 125th spot on the FedExCup points list. He missed the cut by a shot.

Only the top 125 advance to The Northern Trust and next week’s start to the playoffs.

Van Aswegen wasn’t alone among “bubble boys” missing the cut. No. 122 Jhonattan Vegas, No. 123 Seamus Power, No. 124 Martin Piller, No. 126 Chad Campbell and No. 127 Robert Garrigus all failed to make the weekend.

Garcia is among 13 players who have advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs every year since they began in 2007, but his run was in jeopardy of ending starting the week. He’s 131st on the FedExCup points list

With a 65 Friday following his opening round 66, Garcia is in more than a great position to advance. He’s in position to win the Wyndham. He is tied for fourth, five shots off the lead. The day ended with Garcia projected to move up to 118th on the FedExCup points list.


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Current FedExCup points list


“I'm just going to try to keep building on the things that I did well these first two days,” Garcia said. “Whatever happens, happens. Like I said at the beginning of the week, if I have a great weekend, then it will be great. If I don't have a great weekend, it will still be great because

I'll get to rest.”

Points started the week 214th on the FedExCup points list. With back-to-back 64s, he trails only Brandt Snedeker going into the weekend. He’s projected to move to 81st in points. Nobody has ever started the Wyndham Championship that far back in points and qualified for the playoffs. Davis Love III was 186th when he won and advanced in 2015.

Wagner, 136th on the FedExCup points list, went to spectacular lengths Friday to keep his playoff hopes alive. He was outside the cut line until holing his 153-yard approach at the last.

Bill Haas, who is among those 13 players to have qualified for the playoffs every year, started the week 150th in points. He can keep his perfect playoff record going with a big weekend. He shot 68 Friday to make the cut. He’s tied for 52nd in the tournament.

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Points two back after missing 16 of 17 cuts

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:54 pm

What’s the better story come Sunday?

Brandt Snedeker turning his 59 in the opening round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship?

Or D.A. Points winning after missing 16 cuts in his last 17 starts?

They’re both scripts in the works at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.

Points, who has been struggling this season with a herniated disc that causes numbness in his fingers, has broken through his season-long funk to shoot back-to-back 64s. He starts the weekend in second place, two shots behind Snedeker.


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“It's been difficult,” Points said of his slump. “It's been hard on my family. I was in this position a couple years ago, and I clawed my way back and won in Puerto Rico.

“I had that big downturn, and I clawed my way out of it just to find myself way back down in another deep hole again.”

Points, 41, is a three-time PGA Tour winner. He won his first title playing alongside Bill Murray at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2011 and two years later won the Shell Houston Open. He slipped into a three-year funk after that, before rebuilding his game and winning the Puerto Rico Open last year.

“Hopefully, this is my way of starting to claw back out,” Points said.

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New 'Mr. 59' Snedeker needs Day 2 rally to keep Wyndham lead

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:24 pm

Brandt Snedeker struggled coming off the emotional high that comes with shooting 59, but it didn’t stop him from rallying Friday to try to turn his historic round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship.

After a sluggish start to the second round, Snedeker caught fire on the back nine at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., to take the lead going into the weekend.

With a 3-under 67, Snedeker moved to 14 under overall, two shots ahead of D.A. Points (64).

“I knew it was going to be tough” Snedeker said. “It wasn't going to be the same way it was yesterday. Kind of battling the emotion of everybody pulling hard for you, wanting to see you do it again. So the front nine was disappointing.”

A day after becoming the ninth player in PGA Tour history to post a sub-60 tournament round, Snedeker opened with three bogeys and two birdies on the front nine. He said it was a struggle to begin anew.


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“You hear people telling you every two seconds, `Mr. 59,’ or saying how cool it was to watch it,” Snedeker said. “Phone's still blowing up this morning, guys in the locker room are still talking to me about it. So, yes, totally on your mind. You can't ignore it. You can't try to forget about it. Hardest thing is trying to get back into a rhythm.”

Snedeker did with an eagle and two birdies on the back nine. Rolling in a 30-foot eagle putt at the 15th gave him back the lead he lost earlier in the round.

“To see that go in was huge,” Snedeker said.

Not every player to break 60 on the PGA Tour has gone on to win. In fact, Snedeker is looking to become just the fifth player to do so.

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Garwood (64) leads Dick's Sporting Goods Open

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 9:53 pm

ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Doug Garwood birdied the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and the first-round lead Friday in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open.

The 55-year-old Garwood had nine birdies and a bogey, playing his final nine holes - the front nine at En-Joie Golf Club - in 6-under 31.

''Drove it well, hit the irons well, pitched well, putted well, thought well,'' Garwood said. ''I got to a point I was just making birdies and I kind of lost track of how it was going,'' Garwood said. ''That's always a good thing.''

He won the 2016 SAS Championship for his lone PGA Tour Champions title.


Full-field scores from the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open


"I haven't been playing great this year, but I've been working hard on my game and things I've been working on are paying off,'' Garwood said. ''My golf, I take it a shot at a time, don't think about too far in advance because you really can't control, you know, the 13th hole tomorrow. It's just about the tee shot on No. 1.''

Michael Bradley and Marco Dawson shot 65, Woody Austin and Clark Dennis followed at 66, and Bob Estes and Tom Gillis were at 67.

''It was a good day,'' Bradley said. ''I've traditionally not driven the ball well here and you've got to drive the ball good here to shoot a good score. I drove the ball well and made a few putts, so that was that.''

Kenny Perry, the 3M Championship winner two weeks ago in Minnesota, had a 68. Bernard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez each shot 70. Langer won the 2014 tournament. Jimenez is coming off a victory at St. Andrews in the British Senior Open.

Defending champion Scott McCarron had a 72. Kevin Sutherland also had a 72. He shot the only 59 in PGA Tour Champions history in the 2014 event. John Daly, the winner of the PGA Tour's 1992 B.C. Open at En-Joie, opened with a 73.