Blindsided Europe Leads Big - COPIED

By Sports NetworkSeptember 24, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- The European team took 2 1/2 points in the Saturday foursomes, the same point total the squad took in all four team sessions, and will carry a big 10-6 lead into the Sunday singles at the Ryder Cup.
Sergio Garcia completed a 4-0 team record this week as he and Luke Donald won the 15th and 16th holes to post a 2-and-1 victory over Phil Mickelson and David Toms in the first afternoon foursomes match.
Garcia is now a perfect 8-0 in foursomes in four career Ryder Cups.
For Mickelson, it ends a horrible team portion of the Ryder Cup. He went 0-3-1 and Toms was not much better as he went 0-2-1.
Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk earned some redemption from a Saturday morning fourball loss to Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood. The American pair, ranked first and third in the world, knocked off the Irish pair of Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, 3 and 2, in the foursomes.
Paul Casey recorded the sixth ace in Ryder Cup history in the Saturday foursomes. He aced the par-3 14th, which gave him and David Howell a 5-and-4 win over Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson.
Vaughn Taylor made his Ryder Cup debut for the American team Saturday afternoon. He and Chad Campbell valiantly earned a halve against the veteran team of Colin Montgomerie and Westwood.
Campbell rolled a long eagle putt into concession range, but Westwood had a chance to win the match outright. Montgomerie gave him 12 feet for eagle, but Westwood's putt narrowly missed the hole, meaning the teams earned half a point.
In the morning fourballs, the two superstar teams for the U.S. got trounced.
Woods and Furyk lost to Clarke and Westwood, 3 and 2, while Mickelson and Chris DiMarco got beat by Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal by the same score.
Team rookie Johnson gave the Americans a lift in the fourballs. He recorded six birdies in his first 10 holes en route to a 2-and-1 win for himself and Scott Verplank against Harrington and Henrik Stenson.
Another first-timer, J.J. Henry, eagled the 16th and birdied 17 in the morning as he played with Cink against Casey and Robert Karlsson. Unfortunately for Henry, he three-putted the last for a par, while Casey kicked in a 5-footer for birdie to earn a halve.
If the U.S. is to come back on Sunday during the singles, they will match the largest final-day comeback in Ryder Cup history. The 1999 American team at Brookline came back from the same margin, which was the last time the U.S. won the Ryder Cup.
American captain Tom Lehman played a pivotal role in the comeback at Brookline. He led off on Sunday, hit every fairway en route to toppling Westwood to kickstart the rally.
Only three players on the U.S. side remain from that magical team - Woods, Mickelson and Furyk.
'It's imperative that we as a team get off to a quick start like we did in '99,' said Woods, who is 2-2 this week. 'In '99 I think we had six matches that we were up early and got points early, and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow.'
The European team, which returns six players from Brookline, is keenly aware of the margin and what happened seven years prior.
'Unfortunately, the last time we were 10-6 up, you know the result in 1999,' said Montgomerie. 'We are not complacent at all. The Americans have always come out as favorites in singles. I believe we've got the strongest 12 singles players we've ever had in Europe and we have a great chance of winning this thing tomorrow.'
Montgomerie has been the leader on this team, but unquestionably the best European player this week has been Garcia. He and Donald moved 1-up Saturday afternoon after the Americans made a mess of the seventh.
The Europeans moved 2-up, but America came back. Toms sank a 10-foot birdie putt to win 13, then Garcia missed an 8-foot par putt to lose 14 and square the match.
Toms drove into the water at 15 to squash any momentum the U.S. built. They lost that hole, then Donald drained a 15-foot birdie putt to win the 16th. The teams halved 17 to give Europe the win.
'We came back nicely,' said Garcia. 'We snuck one in there in 16. It was a birdie that no one expected, but we managed to gut it out.'
Woods and Furyk showed some of the strong play that they showed Friday morning in their victory. Woods knocked a 7-iron to 8 feet at the fourth to set up a birdie putt by Furyk. The U.S. took the fifth to move 2-up.
The Irish pair closed the deficit twice, but never took the lead. McGinley kicked in a 2-footer for birdie to win the 12th and cut it 1-down. Harrington and McGinley bogeyed 13 to give the U.S. back its 2-up advantage.
Furyk rolled in a long birdie putt at 15 and McGinley could not hole out from a closer distance, so the Americans moved 3-up with three to play. Furyk lagged a birdie try close at 16 and the European side conceded the match.
The tightest match of the Saturday fourballs featured Campbell and Taylor versus Montgomerie and Westwood.
The European team built a 1-up lead through six, but the Americans won seven and 10 to move 1-up. Montgomerie holed a 7-foot birdie putt at 12 to square the match.
Much like Toms, Taylor drove into the pond at 15. The U.S. lost that hole, but came back to win the 17th with par, drawing even with the Europeans with one hole to play.
Westwood missed his eagle chance to win, settling for a disappointing halve.
'I wish that putt had gone in,' acknowledged Westwood, who also went undefeated with a 2-0-2 mark. 'We hit two fantastic shots to get to that position, just a shame I couldn't finish it off.'
Howell and Casey jumped all over their American counterparts. Europe won holes two through five to go 4-up and the Americans never got closer. Howell ran home a seven-foot birdie putt at 12 to move 5-up with six to play.
The Europeans were 5-up with five to go on the 213-yard, par-3 14th tee. Casey hit a 4-iron and watched the ball roll into the cup for the first ace at the Ryder Cup since Howard Clark in the 1995 Ryder Cup.
'That's my first hole in one in a professional tournament, much less in a Ryder Cup,' said Casey. 'It's remarkable. I mean, we played great golf today.'
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    Down seven pounds, Thomas can gain No. 1

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 11:29 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – On March 7, Justin Thomas had his wisdom teeth removed, and just when he was recovering from that, he was slowed by a bout with the flu.

    In total, he estimates he lost about seven pounds, and he admitted on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play the event.

    “I had a pretty serious conversation with my dad on Monday if I was going to play,” Thomas said. “I never want to play in a tournament, first off, if it's going to hurt my health. If I was sick or really sick, me trying to play this week wasn't going to do me any good.”

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    Thomas went on to explain he was “50/50” whether he’d play the World Golf Championship, but decided to make the start and it’s turned out well for the world’s second-ranked player.

    After going undefeated in pool play, Thomas cruised past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the round of 16 and secured himself a spot in the semifinals with a 2-and-1 victory over Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals. If Thomas wins his semifinal match against Bubba Watson on Sunday, he’s assured enough points to overtake Dustin Johnson atop the Official World Golf Ranking.

    “I don't care when it happens; I just hope it happens and it happens for a while,” Thomas said when asked about the possibility of becoming world No. 1. “I don't know what to say because I've never experienced it. I don't know what's going to come with it. But I just hope it happens tomorrow.”

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    Garnett's six-shot lead dwindles to two in Punta Cana

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 10:57 pm

    PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic - Brice Garnett took a six-stroke lead into the wind Saturday in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. He came out with a two-stroke advantage.

    Garnett bogeyed three of the final six holes in the wind and rain for a 3-under 69 and a 16-under 200 total.

    ''Once we made the turn coming back, all those holes coming in toward the north, it was all we wanted and then some,'' Garnett said. ''I kind of took advantage of some holes going out, some holes downwind, some par 5s, and then we were just trying to leave it in the right spot those last four or five holes. Pars are pretty good scores on those holes.''

    Canadian Corey Conners was second after a 67, and Tyler McCumber also had a 67 to get to 12 under. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo dropped out Friday, finishing last in the 132-man field in his PGA Tour debut. He shot 77-82 playing as an amateur on a sponsor exemption.

    A stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds, Garnett opened with a bogey, birdied Nos. 2, 4 and 6, eagled the par-5 seventh, and made two more birdies on the par-3 ninth and par-5 12th. He bogeyed the par-4 13th, par-5 15th and par-3 17th.

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    ''I looked once and the lead was a little bigger than what it is now,'' Garnett said. ''The eagle was huge, kind of gave me that confidence that I can push it on out and stretch it a little bit more. That wind was tough and I'll take a two-shot lead into tomorrow.''

    The 34-year-old Garnett is winless on the PGA Tour. He won twice last year on the Tour.

    ''You've got another 18 holes. So much can happen,'' Garnett said. ''Just going to try to keep the golf ball in front of me. I have that self-belief this week and that's what I had last year when I won, so I'll just keep my head down and just keep going.''

    Conners had five birdies and a bogey on the front nine and added a birdie on No. 12.

    ''Really happy with the round,'' Conners said. ''I got off to a nice start, made a bunch of birdies on the front nine and kind of held it together on the back nine. It was playing really difficult. The wind was really blowing out there, made things challenging.''

    McCumber, the son of 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber, has played his last 39 holes with a bogey.

    ''Second shots have been pretty solid,'' McCumber said. ''Putting pretty well, short game is pretty good. Just really being in the right areas and staying below the hole.''

    Tom Lovelady was fourth at 11 under after a 68. Seamus Power (71), Denny McCarthy (71) and Seungsu Han (72) were 10 under.

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    Poulter incorrectly told he's in Masters before loss to Kisner

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 10:33 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Ian Poulter was not happy, and it was only partially because of his blowout loss to Kevin Kisner in Saturday’s quarterfinals at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

    Following his morning victory in the round of 16 over Louis Oosthuizen, the Englishman was incorrectly informed that by making it to the Elite 8 at Austin Country Club he was assured enough Official World Golf Raking points to move into the top 50 and qualify for the Masters in two weeks.

    “I should never listen to other people,” Poulter said following his 8-and-6 loss to Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals. “When you finish a round of golf and the press and everybody is telling you you're in the Masters, and then you get a text message 10 minutes before you tee off to correct everybody, to say, ‘Oh, we've made a mistake, actually, no, that was wrong, you're not in. You need to go and win.’

    “Not that that's an excuse in any form or factor, it's a little disappointing.”

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    Poulter actually needed to advance to the semifinal round to move into the top 50. Instead, his last chance to qualify for the Masters is to win next week’s Houston Open, although he was unsure if he’d play the event.

    “I don't know yet, I haven't decided,” said Poulter when asked if he’d play next week. “I'm tired. It's been a long week. It's been a draining week. I'll wait until Monday night and if I have the energy then I will.”

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    Not DJ, not Poulter: Kisner most proud to take down Kuchar

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 9:34 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – On his way to this week’s Final Four at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Kevin Kisner has beaten world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and the European match play ninja Ian Poulter. But neither match could compare to his duel with Matt Kuchar early Saturday.

    “I was more jacked to beat [Kuchar], really. Kuch is such a good player and our games are so similar,” said Kisner, who defeated Kuchar in the round of 16, 1 up. “We both made eight birdies this morning and I barely snuck out of there. I thought it was a lot of fun.”

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    By comparison, his quarterfinal bout against Poulter wasn’t nearly as electric. Kisner won two of the first four holes when the Englishman made bogey (No. 3) and when he was conceded the fourth hole, hecruised to an 8-and-6 victory for the week’s most lopsided win.

    “I don't know Ian that well, so I don't really have a history with him, other than watching him kill us in the Ryder Cup,” Kisner laughed.

    Things won’t get any easier for Kisner on Sunday when he’ll play Alex Noren in the semifinals. The Swede has been dominant this week and is considered one of Europe’s top players heading into this year’s Ryder Cup.