Blindsided Europe Leads Big

By Sports NetworkSeptember 23, 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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    Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

    The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

    Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

    The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.



    Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

    "If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

    "Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

    "In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

    "I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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    Wallace holds off Olesen to win BMW International

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

    PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

    Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

    ''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''


    Full-field scores from the BMW International Open


    Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

    ''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

    Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

    England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

    Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

    Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

    By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

    Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

    Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

    This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

    Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

    Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

    Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

    “I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

    “It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

    The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

    The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.


    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.