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Stanford, USC (Women) & Vanderbilt, Illinois (Men) Advance to Championship Matches at East Lake Cup; Each Avenge Semifinal Loss at NCAAs

By Golf Channel Public RelationsNovember 1, 2017, 12:26 am

All Four Semifinal Matches Featured Rematch from NCAAs Earlier This Year, and All Four Saw Team that Lost at NCAAs Earn Revenge with Victory Today

 Wednesday’s Championship Matches (Live, 3-6 p.m. ET on Golf Channel): Stanford vs. USC (Women’s); Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (Men’s)

 Consolation Matches: Northwestern vs. Arizona State; Oklahoma vs. Oregon

 

ATLANTA, Oct. 31, 2017 – Revenge was the unanimous theme on Tuesday at the 2017 East Lake Cup presented by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, as all four teams that collectively fell in the men’s and women’s semifinals at the NCAA Championships earlier this year avenged those losses by taking down the very team responsible for ending their national championship hopes. Stanford and USC (women), along with Vanderbilt and Illinois (men) each will advance to tomorrow’s championship match for an opportunity to close out their fall season on a high note. 

WOMEN: (1) Stanford def. (4) Arizona State, 3-2; (2) USC def. (3) Northwestern, 4-1

MEN: (1) Vanderbilt def. (4) Oregon, 4-1; (3) Illinois def. (2) Oklahoma, 3-2

WOMEN’S SEMFINALS

The USC Trojans won its first three matches against Northwestern to clinch a spot in Wednesday’s championship match, with Alyaa Abdulghany (freshman), Robynn Ree (junior) and Allisen Corpuz (sophomore) each winning their match by a 3&2 result. Divya Manthena (sophomore) also won her match (2&1) to earn a fourth point for the 2015 East Lake Cup champions.

“I was definitely happy to see the girls come out [today],” said USC head coach, Andrea Gaston. “They felt a little flat yesterday, and didn’t feel like they played their best. Golf in general, it’s always the ‘what I missed, what I didn’t do well.’ We just said, ‘focus on what you did do well.’ There was a chance to learn a lot about this golf course, go out [today], take that information and use it to our advantage.”

Stanford overcame an 8&7 loss in its first match of the day at the hands of Arizona State’s Olivia Mehaffey thanks to victorious efforts from Shannon Aubert (senior), Albane Valenzuela (sophomore) and Ziyi Wang (sophomore) to defeat the Sun Devils 3-2. Competing in the East Lake Cup for the third consecutive year, the Cardinal on Wednesday will be looking to win the event for the first time.

“It stung a lot in May, so to come out and get a little revenge was good,” Stanford head coach Anne Walker told Golf Channel’s Kay Cockerill during the live telecast. “We haven’t faced USC for a long time. I think we’ll just reassess what we did well today. If we can do that tomorrow, I’ll be really happy win or lose.”

 MEN’S SEMIFINALS

Despite Norman Xiong’s (sophomore, Oregon) emphatic 6&4 victory over freshman Harrison Ott, the Vanderbilt Commodores swept the remaining matches to defeat the Ducks 4-1. Will Gordon – Day 1 individual stroke play champion at the East Lake Cup on Monday – led the way with a 4&3 victory in Tuesday’s opening match, while Patrick Martin (junior), John Augenstein (sophomore) and Theo Humphrey (senior) propelled Vanderbilt to Wednesday’s championship match courtesy of victories in each of their respective semifinal matches.

“It certainly feels good,” Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh told Golf Channel’s Chantel McCabe during the live telecast. “We respect Oregon and Coach Martin. Our guys were focused today. I just kind of challenged them last night. I didn’t think I needed to give some huge pep talk. We respect that team because we’ve been in a lot of battles with them. And we knew our best was going to be required.”

On the other side of the bracket, the Illinois Fighting Illini fended off Oklahoma, winning 3-2 to advance to the championship match for the third consecutive year at the East Lake Cup. The two-time champions of the event leaned on its senior tandem of Dylan Meyer – who won the team’s first match of the day – and Nick Hardy, who avenged his loss to Oklahoma’s Grant Hirschman earlier this year at the NCAA Championship. Michael Feagles (sophomore) clinched Illinois’ semifinal victory with the deciding point, beating Brad Dalke 2&1.

“Oklahoma is a great team, we all know that,” Illinois head coach Mike Small told Golf Channel’s Steve Burkowski on Tuesday night. “And Vanderbilt is just as strong or stronger, so we’ve got a big day tomorrow.”

WEDNESDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP & CONSOLATION MATCHES SCHEDULE:

Women’s Championship Match: (1) Stanford vs. (2) USC

Men’s Championship Match: (1) Vanderbilt vs. (3) Illinois

Women’s Consolation Match: (3) Northwestern vs. (4) Arizona State

Men’s Consolation Match: (2) Oklahoma vs. (4) Oregon

Golf Channel’s live coverage of Wednesday’s championship and consolation matches will air from 3-6 p.m. ET. Golf Central Pre-Game (2-3 p.m. ET) will preview each match and provide updates on matches already in progress.

SEMIFINAL RESULTS:

Women’s Division

(1) Stanford def. (4) Arizona State, 3-2

(2) USC def. (3) Northwestern, 4-1

Stanford (1)                            vs.                               Arizona State (4)

Madie Chou                                                                Olivia Mehaffey (8&7)

Shannon Aubert (1up)                                              Sophia Zeeb

Andrea Lee                                                                 Linnea Strom (1up)

Albane Valenzuela (1up)                                          Roberta Liti

Ziyi Wang (4&3)                                                        Madison Kerley

 

USC (2)                                    vs.                              Northwestern (3)

Alyaa Abdulghany (3&2)                                         Sarah Cho

Robynn Ree (3&2)                                                    Stephanie Lau

Allisen Corpuz (3&2)                                                Brooke Riley

Muni He                                                                      Hannah Kim (3&2)

Divya Manthena (2&1)                                             Janet Mao                   

Men’s Division

(1) Vanderbilt def. (4) Oregon, 4-1

(3) Illinois def. (2) Oklahoma, 3-2

Vanderbilt (1)                         vs.                               Oregon (4)

Will Gordon (4&3)                                                    Edwin Yi

Patrick Martin (2&1)                                                Ryan Gronlund

Harrison Ott                                                             Norman Xiong (6&4)

John Augenstein (1up)                                             Donald Kay

Theo Humphrey (3&2)                                             Thomas Mulligan

 

Oklahoma (2)                          vs.                              Illinois (3)

Blaine Hale                                                                 Dylan Meyer (3&2)

Garett Reband (3&2)                                                Giovanni Tadiotto

Riley Casey (1up)                                                      Brendan O’Reilly

Grant Hirschman                                                         Nick Hardy (6&4)

Brad Dalke                                                                  Michael Feagles (2&1)

Presented by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), the East Lake Cup Collegiate Match Play Championship is a three-day competition that features the eight semifinalists – including reigning NCAA national champion Oklahoma (men) and Arizona State (women) – reconvening at historic East Lake Golf Club.

For more information about the East Lake Cup, please visit the tournament website www.golfchannel.com/eastlakecup. Stay connected with the championship using the hashtag #EastLakeCup.

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Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

In this week’s Memorial weekend edition, the European team adheres to the Ryder Cup secret formula, the USGA readies for the ultimate mulligan at next month’s U.S. Open and a bizarre finish at the Florida Mid-Am mystifies the Rules of Golf.

Made Cut

Cart golf. When the U.S. side announced the creation of a Ryder Cup task force following the American loss at Gleneagles in 2014, some Europeans privately – and publicly – snickered.

The idea that the secret sauce could be found in a meeting room did stretch the bounds of reason, yet two years later the U.S. team emerged as winners at Hazeltine National and suddenly the idea of a task force, which is now called a committee, didn’t seem so silly.

To Europe’s credit, they’ve always accomplished this cohesion organically, pulling together their collective knowledge with surprising ease, like this week when European captain Thomas Bjorn rounded out his vice captain crew.

Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald (a group that has a combined 47-40-13 record in the matches) were all given golf cart keys and will join Robert Karlsson as vice captains this year in Paris.

Perhaps it took the Americans a little longer to figure out, but Bjorn knows it’s continuity that wins Ryder Cups.



Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

The USGA’s mulligan. The U.S. Open is less than a month away and with it one of the most anticipated returns in recent major championship history.

The last time the national championship was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004 and things didn’t go well, particularly on Sunday when play had to be stopped to water some greens that officials deemed had become unplayable. This week USGA executive director Mike Davis was asked about the association’s last trip to the Hamptons and, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to reinvent history.

“Looking back at 2004, and at parts of that magnificent day with Retief (Goosen) and Phil Mickelson coming down to the end, there are parts that we learned from,” Davis said. “I’m happy we got a mulligan this time. We probably made a bogey last time, maybe a double bogey.”

Put another way, players headed to next month’s championship should look forward to what promises to be a Bounce Back Open.

Tweet of the week:

Homa joined a chorus of comments following Aaron Wise’s victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which included an awkward moment when his girlfriend, Reagan Trussell, backed away as Wise was going in for a kiss.

“No hard feelings at all,” Wise clarified this week. “We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was.”


Missed Cut

Strength of field. The European Tour gathers this week in England for the circuit’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and like the PGA Tour’s marquee stop, The Players, the event appears headed for a new spot on the calendar next year.

As the PGA Tour inches closer to announcing the 2018-19 schedule, which will feature countless new twists and turns including the PGA Championship’s move to May and The Players shift back to March, it also seems likely the makeover will impact the European Tour schedule.

Although the BMW PGA currently draws a solid field, with this week’s event sporting a higher strength of field than the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, it’s likely officials won’t want to play the event a week after the PGA Championship (which is scheduled for May 16-19 next year).

In fact, it’s been rumored that the European Tour could move all eight of its Rolex Series events, which are billed as “unmissable sporting occasions,” out of the FedExCup season window, which will end on Aug. 25 next year.

Although the focus has been on how the new PGA Tour schedule will impact the U.S. sports calendar, the impact of the dramatic makeover stretches will beyond the Lower 48.

Rules of engagement. For a game that at times seems to struggle with too much small print and antiquated rules, it’s hard to understand how things played out earlier this month at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship.

In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Jeff Golden claimed he was assaulted on May 13 by Brandon Hibbs – the caddie for his opponent, Marc Dull, in the championship’s final match. Golden told police that Hibbs struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

The incident occurred during a weather delay and Golden conceded the match to Dull after the altercation, although he wrote in a post on Twitter this week that he was disappointed with the Florida State Golf Association’s decision to accept his concession.

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Because of the conflicting statements, it’s still not clear what exactly happened that day at Coral Creek Club, but the No. 1 rule in golf – protecting the competition and the competitors – seems to have fallen well short.

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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.



Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."