Euros on way to lofty heights in golf

By Randall MellFebruary 3, 2011, 2:48 am

2009 European TourWe could wake up Monday morning with three Europeans atop the world rankings.

We could see Germany’s Martin Kaymer as the new No. 1, the sixth European to gain the top spot in the 25-year history of the Official World Golf Ranking.

Jay Townsend won’t be stunned if it happens.

Townsend is a European Yank.

No American is more plugged into the European Tour than Townsend, who played the tour for more than a decade before becoming a European Tour broadcaster. With the Euro Tour’s rise in prominence, many of you are hearing more and more from Townsend as you tune into the overseas’ telecasts on Golf Channel. Townsend is hired out by European Tour Productions and also works major championships for BBC5.

“There’s a lot of pride over there in the success the European Tour’s having now,” said Townsend, who makes his home in Tequesta, Fla. “I think they’ve felt like they were looked down upon as the proverbial red-headed step child for a long time, and they’re certainly enjoying this.”

If Paul Casey finishes first or second at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters this week, the Euros have a shot to hold down the top three spots in next week’s rankings. Casey will move up to No. 3 with a top-2 performance as long as Phil Mickelson doesn’t finish among the top 3 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and as long as Steve Stricker doesn’t win in Qatar.

There will be more beaming in Europe if Lee Westwood, Kaymer and Casey hold the top three spots.

Townsend is seeing European golf come full circle.

Back in ’84, after leaving the University of Florida and turning pro, Townsend advanced through European Tour Q-School to earn his card. He was witness to the rise of Europe’s Big Five with Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam making their marks. Townsend’s best finish was second behind Sam Torrance at the ’93 Catalonia Open.

When the first Official World Golf Ranking was released in ‘86, three Europeans topped the chart. Langer was No. 1, Ballesteros No. 2 and Lyle No. 3.

Townsend likes the talent rising once more in the European ranks, but don’t ask him to compare today’s players to the Big Five.

“It’s too early in the day, if you want to put it that way, to compare them,” Townsend said.

The Big Five combined to win 16 major championships. Today’s European contingent holds five major championship titles. Kaymer and Graeme McDowell have one apiece and Padraig Harrington has three.

If today’s European contingent goes on to rival the Big Five, Townsend won’t be surprised by that, either.

He’s seen it all in international golf over two decades, including a monkey steal his golf ball once in a tournament in Sun City, South Africa, in the mid ‘90s.

Actually, Townsend didn’t really see the heist. After he and his playing partners hit their shots onto the green, they came around a bend to discover their balls were gone.

“One of the caddies saw a pack of monkeys in a tree by the green, and they had our golf balls,” Townsend said.

How do you get a golf ball back from a monkey? You dig some more balls out of your bag and throw them into the tree.

“They threw the balls back at us,” Townsend said. “But they had been chewing on them. The balls were marked up.”

There’s an unpredictable element to the European Tour and its journeys to exotic locales that's always appealed to Townsend. With European Tour golf on the rise, Americans are sure to hear more of the wild twists and turns the pros there endure on their way to increasingly loftier heights in the game.

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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.