The Odyssey

By Randall MellAugust 26, 2011, 12:06 am

ERIN, Wis. – Here’s all you need to know about the epic duel Patrick Cantlay won Thursday at the U.S. Amateur. Here’s all you need to know about his emotionally charged victory in sudden death against fellow U.S. Walker Cupper Russell Henley.

After rolling in a 35-foot eagle at the first playoff hole, Cantlay howled and punched the sky.

UCLA’s gifted sophomore never howls. The NCAA’s Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year never punches the sky. The guy who shot 60 in a PGA Tour event this summer never shows that much feeling. He’s a guy who makes you believe his shot making is programmed by some internal circuit board.

“That is the most emotion I think I’ve ever shown on a golf course,” Cantlay said.

That eagle putt didn’t even win the match, but it kept Cantlay’s terrific comeback going on his way to a 1-up victory over 21 holes in the second round at Erin Hills.

“It is the craziest match I have ever been a part of,” Cantlay said. “If you would have told me all that stuff would happen the way it happened today, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Cantlay’s reward? He’ll meet England’s Tom Lewis in a third-round match Friday that is every bit as delicious in its anticipation as Cantlay’s match with Henley. Lewis won the Silver Medal as low amateur at the British Open this summer after taking a share of the first-round lead with a 65, the lowest score by an amateur in that championship’s long history.

Cantlay vs. Henley felt like a heavyweight bout.

How tough was it?

Walking to the 11th tee, Henley’s nose started bleeding. He looked like he needed a cut man more than a caddie. He played five holes with a napkin stuffed into his right nostril.

“I got hit in the nose twice in high school playing basketball and ever since, when it gets dry, it seems to start bleeding,” Henley said.

This match was everything it was hyped to be even if it felt as if it came too early in the week as a second-round showdown.

Henley, winner of the 2010 Haskins Award as the nation’s most outstanding collegiate golfer at the University of Georgia, won the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic this summer, becoming only the second amateur to win an event on the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit. He’s graduated but won’t turn pro until after teaming with Cantlay at the Walker Cup in Scotland in two weeks.

The match was drenched with drama the entire back nine, but it reached a fever pitch at the first playoff hole.

“Everyone was going pretty crazy at that point,” Cantlay said.

After Cantlay holed his eagle putt from 35 feet, Henley rolled in a 25-foot eagle on top of him. Back-to-back roars rolled over Erin Hills with the gallery swelling around them. They both knew they were orchestrating something special as they arrived at the tee box for the second extra hole.

“Russell was waiting there, and he says ‘Nice putt,’” Cantlay said. “We both smiled at each other, and we gave each other fist bumps.”

Two up with two to play, Henley lost despite having Cantlay dormie.

Like heavyweight champs, they kept hammering each other with shots. Henley birdied four of the first eight holes, including a run of three in a row. They both shot 4-under-par 68s in regulation with concessions. 

After rolling in a 15-foot birdie at the 16th to go 2 up, Henley looked to have Cantlay beaten. That’s where Cantlay dug deep for some magic. After flaring an 8-iron short of the 17th green, Cantlay had his caddie pull the flagstick before he set up over a 45-foot chip shot. He sent a jolt through the gallery holing it for birdie to win the hole.

At the 18th, Henley pushed his tee shot into a bad patch in a bunker. Cantlay hit the par-5 finishing hole in two and two-putted for birdie to send the match to extra holes.

“In match play I always tell myself I’m going to fight as hard as I can until it’s over,” Henley said.

That’s what Henley did rolling in that eagle putt on top of Cantlay’s at the first playoff hole, but Henley’s day would sour at the third extra hole when both players found trouble. Henley was in perfect position with a wedge in his hand in the middle of the fairway, but he pulled his approach over the green and into deep fescue. Cantlay hit a wedge heavy out of the rough and into trouble on the face of a steep bunker in front of the green.

After Henley barely chunked his chip onto the green, Cantlay hit a marvelous escape, blasting over the steep bunker face to 4 feet. After Henley missed a downhill 20-footer for par, Cantlay holed the winning putt.

The gallery gave them both a long ovation leaving that green.

“Unbelievable match,” Cantlay said.

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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)

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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.”

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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.


TV Times (all times ET):

4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)

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Fort Worth Invitational: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 10:30 pm

The PGA Tour makes the short drive from Dallas to Fort Worth and Colonial Country Club. Here are the key stats and information for this week. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Purse: $7.1 million

Course: Colonial Country Club (par 70, 7,209 yards)

Defending champion: Kevin Kisner. Last year he defeated Jordan Spieth, Sean O’Hair and Jon Rahm by one stroke

Notables in the field

Jordan Spieth

• Finished T-2, 1st and T-2 in last three starts in this tournament

• 52 under par at Colonial last five years (best of anyone by 27 strokes in that span)

• 100 birdies/eagles made here last five years (most of anyone in that span)

Rickie Fowler

• First start since missed cut at The Players

• More missed cuts (3) than top-10 finishes (2) in 2018

Jon Rahm at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship.

Jon Rahm

• Finished T-2 in this tournament last year (66 in final round)

• 17 top-5 finishes in 46 official worldwide individual starts as professional

Webb Simpson

• First start since Players victory (fifth PGA Tour win)

• Fifth on Tour in strokes gained: putting this season (177th two seasons ago)