Battle for No 1

By Randall MellJuly 25, 2010, 11:56 pm

LPGA Tour _newThe fight for No. 1 is head-spinning stuff in women’s golf.

You wouldn’t know it, though, in Jiyai Shin’s unwavering and resolute march back to the game’s mountaintop just six weeks after she underwent emergency surgery for an appendicitis.

With no missteps in her thrilling victory Sunday at the Evian Masters, Shin assured that she will move back to No. 1 when the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings are released Monday.

It will mark the fifth change at the top of the women’s rankings in the last 14 weeks.

That’s more lead changes than we’ve seen in the last decade in the men’s Official World Golf Ranking.

This is good theater for women’s golf, especially the dramatic way it’s playing out.

This isn’t like the men’s game, where it seems as if nobody wants to take the No. 1 ranking from Tiger Woods when Woods is offering it up on a platter.

The women are making hard, feisty charges up the game’s mountaintop.

Though Lorena Ochoa retired from women’s golf this past spring, she didn’t hand over the top ranking. Shin took it from her. Shin seized the top spot with her performance in Ochoa’s farewell tournament at the Tres Marias Championship early in May.

Ai Miyazato has taken two turns atop the women’s rankings this summer with her four victories this season. Cristie Kerr bumped Miyazato off the top with Kerr’s record 12-shot victory at the LPGA Championship.

It’s a wonderful summer show the women are giving us, one that makes you want to see more. They’re putting on the kind of show that begs for more than the 24 events we’re going to get to see this year, the kind of show that will make us miss the women when they take their next long furlough.

Though Paula Creamer didn’t move to No. 1 with her virtuoso performance winning the U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont two weeks ago, she looked like she’s intent on getting there.

The Evian Masters finish was edge-of-your seat theater.

With Shin walking to the 18th tee Sunday at Evian Masters Golf Club, 15-year-old Alexis Thompson was up ahead trying to make history. In a spirited finish, Thompson hit a wedge to 12 feet, then coolly drained the birdie putt to get to 13 under.

Thompson’s birdie created a four-way tie for the lead.

Shin and Morgan Pressel were in that logjam. So was Na Yeon Choi, who charged magnificently with birdies at four of the last five holes.

“I was watching the leaderboard all day, I was so nervous,” Shin told in a telephone conversation after. “My hands were shaking at the end.”

Shin didn’t betray any nervousness. She looked totally unaffected, burying a testy 6-foot putt for par at the 17th hole and then striping her final drive down the middle after Pressel nearly pulled her drive into the trees.

After Shin made her final birdie putt from 8 ½ feet, the drama only built. Pressel had a birdie chance to tie from 8 feet. She clipped the left side of the hole, leaving Shin the winner.

With a 5-under-par 67, Shin posted the only bogey-free round among the final five twosomes off in the final round.

Shin is just 22 years old, but she’s already won 32 times around the world as a professional.

Despite all the quality challenges from various players this summer, Shin looked more than worthy of that top ranking with her finish Sunday. If she hadn’t been raced to the hospital on the eve of the State Farm Classic six weeks ago, there’s no telling if she would have ever let go of that No. 1 ranking she took from Ochoa.

With Shin still recovering and out of action following her surgery on June 9, Miyazato won the Shoprite LPGA Classic on June 20, ending Shin’s seven week run at the top of the rankings.

“I think the time off after the surgery helped me,” Shin said by telephone. “After that, I enjoyed coming back. I felt happy playing.”

Just 10 days after her surgery, Shin was back hitting balls. Fourteen days later, she was teeing it up in the LPGA Championship. Her caddie, Dean Herden, said she couldn’t finish her swing without pain starting the first round of that major, but she ended up tying for third in her return.

“I knew we had a lot of big tournaments coming up,” Shin said. “I told myself, I have to recover quickly. It really made me focus.”

Shin heads to the Women’s British Open this coming week, the site of her first LPGA title and the most important triumph of her career.

“I go with a lot of confidence,” she said.

So do so many challengers eager to knock her off the mountaintop. It’s what is making the LPGA worth watching this summer.

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High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

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Watch: Pumped up Beef deadlifts 485 lbs.

By Grill Room TeamMay 24, 2018, 12:19 am

Andrew "Beef" Johnston has been playing some solid golf on the European Tour this season, and he is clearly pumped up for one of the biggest weeks of the year at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Judging from the video below, Beef will have no problems lifting the trophy on Sunday as he reportedly deadlifted 220 kg ... (Googles kilogram to pounds converter, enters numbers) ... that's 485 lbs!

@beefgolf with a new deadlift PB 220kg ! #youcantgowronggettingstrong

A post shared by ETPI (@etpi_performanceunit) on

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Arizona captures NCAA DI Women's Championship

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 11:56 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – Turns out this match-play format provides fireworks. Almost always.

In the four years since the women’s NCAA Championship has switched from the stale, 72-hole stroke-play format the championship matches have been pure magic.

This year, for the third time in the past four years, the final outcome came down to the last match and Arizona took home its third title with a 3-2 victory over Alabama on Wednesday when junior Haley Moore defeated senior Lakareber Abe on the 19th hole.

The Wildcats also won NCAA titles in 1996 and 2000, the latter when current Arizona coach Laura Ianello was on the team as a player.

“Arizona is my home, it is where I went to school and [the championship] needs to be back home,” Ianello said. “So I am so proud to be the coach to bring it back.”

Two days ago, Arizona was in the midst of an epic collapse. The Wildcats were safely in the third position after 54 holes of stroke play and needed only to be inside the top eight after 72 holes to advance to the match-play portion of the event.

But they played the worst round of the day and were on the outside looking in with one hole remaining when junior Bianca Pagdanganan made eagle on the par-5 18th hole. That propelled the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor that they ultimately won.

On the first day of match play, Arizona continued to ride the wave of momentum by defeating Pac-12 rivals UCLA, the top seed, and Stanford, a match-play stalwart the past three years.

Next up for Arizona was Alabama, the top-ranked team in the country and the second seed this week after stroke play.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a hell of a ride,” Ianello said, attempting to take pressure off her team, which, on paper, looked like an underdog.

But you know the saying, anything can happen in match play, and often does.

Alabama coach Mic Potter put out his three first-team All-Americans in the first three spots hoping to jump out to an early lead. Junior Lauren Stephenson played poorly in the opening match and lost, 4 and 3, to freshman Yu-Sang Hou.

Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight dispatched Wildcats Gigi Stoll and Pagdanganan easily in the second and third matches.

Arizona’s Sandra Nordaas beat Angelica Moresco, 1 up, in the fourth match meaning the fifth and final match, which was all square after 16 holes, was going to decide the NCAA title.

Lakareber lost the 17th hole when her approach shot sailed well short and right of the green in thick, gnarly rough. She attempted to advance the ball but could not and headed to the final hole 1 down.

With seemingly every golf fan in Stillwater on site, including several men’s teams here to participate in next week’s championship, Abe hit a laser second shot into the par-5 18th hole setting up a 12-foot look for eagle. Moore missed her birdie putt and Abe won the hole to set up extra holes to decide the championship.

In the extra frame, Moore was left of the green in two shots and Abe was short in the greenside bunker. Moore chipped to 4 feet and Abe’s bunker shot was 6 feet away. Abe missed, Moore made and Arizona walked away with the hardware.

“It means so much, it’s actually like a dream,” Moore said. “I’m just so happy for my team right now.”

Potter has been a head coach for 35 years – at both Furman and Alabama – and finally was able to collect his first NCAA Championship in 2012. Being so close to a second one will sting for quite a while but he will be able to live with the outcome for one simple reason.

“They fought their hearts out all year,” Potter said. “I just want to congratulate them for the way they battled, not only today, but in match play. Everyone gave their best on every shot - that’s all we can ask.”

Arizona def. Alabama, 3-2

Yu-Sang Hou (AZ) def. Lauren Stephenson (AL), 4 and 3

Kristen Gillman (AL) def. Gigi Stoll (AZ), 4 and 3

Cheyenne Knight (AL) def. Bianca Pagdanganan, 4 and 2

Sandra Nordaas (AZ) def. Angelica Moresco (AL), 1 up

Haley Moore (AZ) def. Lakareber Abe (AL), 19th hole

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Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.