Four for First at Wachovia

By Sports NetworkMay 4, 2006, 4:00 pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jim Furyk, Rory Sabbatini, Trevor Immelman and local favorite Bill Haas all posted 4-under-par 68s on Thursday to share the opening-round lead of the Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
 
Davis Love III, Lucas Glover and Billy Andrade are knotted in fifth place at minus-3.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson is three back after an opening 1-under 71.
World No. 3 Retief Goosen, Paul Azinger, 2003 PGA champion Shaun Micheel, Vaughn Taylor, Justin Rose, Stewart Cink, Robert Garrigus and Bo Van Pelt are tied for eighth place at 2-under-par 70.
 
The difficult Quail Hollow layout proved tricky once again on Thursday, with just 32 of the 155 players who teed off breaking par. There are 15 players within two of the four leaders.
 
Furyk, who lost in a playoff to Vijay Singh last year, started his opening round on the back nine at Quail Hollow. He tallied birdies at the 10th and 18th holes, but the 2003 U.S. Open champion surged up the leaderboard with his play on the front nine.
 
He birdied the third and fifth holes to get to 4 under, but was one behind Sabbatini at the time. Furyk drained a 10-footer for birdie at the eighth to join Sabbatini at minus-5.
 
The par-4 ninth proved to be trouble for Furyk, the seventh-ranked golfer in the world. Sabbatini bogeyed the hole before Furyk, who then drove into a right fairway bunker. His approach landed in a greenside trap and the best he could do was blast out to 24 feet. Furyk's par try missed, but he tapped in for a bogey and a share of the lead.
 
'I'll take it either way. It's 68. I think that's pretty interesting,' said Furyk. ' It's a very good, difficult golf course. It's demanding, and you really have to pretty much have all aspects of your game in good shape to play well here.'
 
Sabbatini, who is fifth on the PGA TOUR money list, mixed four birdies and two bogeys on his opening nine, the back side at Quail Hollow. He was the first player to reach 5 under par with birdies at two, five and seven, but problems were ahead.
 
At the ninth, Sabbatini drove into the trees and could not reach the green with his second shot. He hit a solid third shot 11 feet past the flag, but the South African missed the putt to fall into the logjam.
 
'Three weeks off so I was a little rusty out there today but managed to hang in there and played pretty solid golf the whole way,' said Sabbatini. 'I limited my mistakes to a severe minimum.'
 
Immelman, a South African, began on the back nine, and tallied two bogeys and two birdies. His biggest problem came at the par-4 14th when he drove in the rough, then his approach hopped into the water. Immelman made double bogey to make the turn at 2-over-par 38.
 
The second nine was a completely different story for Immelman. He knocked his approach to 5 feet to set up birdie at the first. The South African recorded back-to-back birdies from the third, both inside 10 feet, then did it again from the sixth.
 
At the par-4 ninth, Immelman hit a 6-iron to 4 feet and cashed in the birdie try. All tallied, it was six birdies in his final nine holes that gave Immelman a piece of the lead.
 
'I just caught some momentum there on that nine holes and it was nice to convert all my chances,' said Immelman, who is winless on the PGA TOUR. 'There's a premium on hitting the ball in the fairway and from there, you can take advantage of a couple of holes.'
 
Haas, who was born in the Charlotte area, teed off on the 10th and his front nine was horrible. He made bogey from the fairway at the 12th, and drove under a tree at the 15th. Haas made those two bogeys and made the turn at plus-2.
 
Like Immelman, the second nine was what put him atop the leaderboard. He tapped in a short birdie putt at the second, eagled the par-5 fifth, and recorded three birdies in a row to close his round.
 
Haas has struggled so far this season on the PGA TOUR. He has made only six cuts in 11 starts with his best finish a tie for 15th last week in New Orleans.
 
'It's only a 68. It's only 4 under,' acknowledged Haas, whose father Jay and brother Jay Jr. are also in the field this week. 'If it was 64 coming off the year I've had, that might surprise me a little bit.'
 
Defending champion Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson -- who owns the last two major titles -- and Ernie Els, playing here this week for the first time, highlight a group at 1-under-par 71.
 
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    Arizona caps an improbable journey with a title

    By Ryan LavnerMay 24, 2018, 3:49 am

    STILLWATER, Okla. – Five hours before the final match at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Arizona coach Laura Ianello sat cross-legged on a couch in the Holiday Inn lobby and broke down four times in a half-hour interview.

    It’s been that kind of exhausting season.

    From poor play to stunning midseason defections to a stroke-play collapse, Ianello has felt uneasy for months. She has felt like she was losing control. Felt like her carefully crafted roster was coming apart.

    So to even have a chance to win a NCAA title?

    “I know what this team has gone through,” she said, beginning to tear up, “and you don’t get these opportunities all the time. So I want it for them. This could be so life-changing for so many of them.”

    A moment that seemed impossible six months ago became reality Wednesday at Karsten Creek. Arizona continued its magical run through the match-play bracket and knocked off top-ranked Alabama to capture its third NCAA title, with junior Haley Moore – who first rose to fame by making the cut at an LPGA major as a 16-year-old – rolling in a 4-footer to earn the clinching point in extra holes.

    All throughout nationals Arizona was fueled by momentum and adrenaline, but this was no Cinderella squad. The Wildcats were ranked ninth in the country. They won twice this spring. They had four medalists this season. They were one of the longest-hitting teams in the country.

    But even before a miracle end to NCAA stroke play, Arizona needed some help just to get here.


    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring


    On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, texted Ianello that she was turning pro. It may have been a gift to her parents, for their years of sacrifice, but it was a lump of coal in Ianello’s stocking.

    “I was absolutely heartbroken,” she said. “It was devastating.”

    Even more bad news arrived a few weeks later, when junior Gigi Stoll told Ianello that she was unhappy, homesick and wanted to return to Portland, Ore. Just like that, a promising season had gone off the rails.

    Ianello offered her a full release, but Stoll looked around, found no other suitors and decided to remain with the team – as long as she signed a contract of expected behavior.

    “It was the most exhausting two months of my life,” Ianello said. “We care so much about these freakin’ girls, and we’re like, Come on, this is just a small, little picture of your life, so you don’t realize what you’re possibly giving up. It’s so hard to see that sometimes.”

    Stoll eventually bought in, but the rest of the team was blindsided by Quihuis’ decision.

    “We became even more motivated to prove we were a great team,” said junior Bianca Pagdanganan.

    It also helped that Yu-Sang Hou joined the squad in January. The morale immediately improved, not least because the players now could poke fun at Hou; on her fourth day on campus she nearly burned down the dorm when she forget to add water to her mac-and-cheese.

    Early on Ianello and assistant coach Derek Radley organized a team retreat at a hotel in Tucson. There the players created Oprah-inspired vision boards and completed exercises blindfolded and delivered 60-second speeches to break down barriers. At the end of the session, they created T-shirts that they donned all spring. They splashed “The Great Eight” on the front, put the state of Arizona and each player’s country of origin on the sleeves, and on the back printed their names and a slogan: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

    “I can’t think of anything else that better embodies this team,” Radley said.

    This spring, they rallied together and finished no worse than fourth in a tournament. Through three rounds of stroke play here at the NCAA Championship, they used their distance advantage and sat third in the standings. Then they shot 17 over par in the final round, tumbling outside the top-8 cut line.

    They were down to their final chance on the 72nd hole, needing an eagle to tie, as Pagdanganan lined up her 30-footer. She drained the putt, then gathered her teammates on the range.

    “This means we were meant to be in the top 8,” she said. Less than an hour later, they beat Baylor in the team playoff to earn a match-play berth.

    Ianello was so amped up from the frenetic finish that she slept only three hours on Monday night, but they continued to roll and knocked off top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals, beating a pair of Player of the Year contenders, Lilia Vu and Patty Tavatanakit, in the process. In the afternoon semifinals, they jumped all over Stanford and won easily.

    It was a cute story, the last team into the match-play field reaching the final match, but a stiffer challenge awaited the Wildcats Wednesday.

    Alabama was the top-ranked team in the country. The Tide were a whopping 110 under par for the season, boasting three first-team All-Americans who were so dominant in their first two matches that they trailed for only two of the 99 holes they played.

    Ianello already seemed to be bracing for the result on the eve of the final match.

    “Win or lose,” she said, “this has been a hell of a ride.”

    But the wild ride continued Wednesday, as Hou won four holes in a row to start the back nine and defeat Alabama’s best player, Lauren Stephenson, who had the best single-season scoring average (69.5) in Division I history.

    Then sophomore Sandra Nordaas – the main beneficiary after Quihuis left at the midway point of the season – held on for a 1-up victory over Tide freshman Angelica Moresco.

    And so Arizona’s national-title hopes hinged on the success of its most mercurial player, Moore. In the anchor match against Alabama’s Lakarebe Abe, Moore jumped out to a 2-up lead at the turn but lost the first three holes on the back nine.

    By the time Radley sped back to help Moore, in the 12th fairway, she was frazzled.

    “But seeing me,” Radley said, “I saw a sense of calm wash over her.”

    Moore played solidly for the rest of the back nine and took a 1-up lead into the home hole. She didn’t flinch when Abe hit one of the shots of the championship – a smoked 3-wood to 12 feet to set up a two-putt birdie and force extras – and then gave herself 4 feet for the win on the first playoff hole. She sank the putt and within seconds was mobbed by her teammates.

    In the giddy aftermath, Ianello could barely speak. She wandered around the green in a daze, looking for someone, anyone, to hug.

    The most trying year of her career had somehow ended in a title.

    “At some moments, it felt impossible,” she said. “But I underestimated these young women a little bit.”

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    Pac-12 continues to dominate women's golf

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 24, 2018, 3:04 am

    Arizona's national women's golf championship marked the fourth consecutive year in‌ which the women's Division I national title was won by a Pac-12 Conference team. All four championships were won by different schools (Stanford, 2015; Washington, 2016; Arizona State, 2017; Arizona, 2018). The Pac-12 is the only conference to win four straight golf championships (men or women) with four different schools.

    Here are some other statistical notes from the just-concluded NCAA Div. I Women's Golf Championship:

    • This is the second time that Arizona has won the national title the year after rival Arizona State won it. The last time was 1996.

    • Arizona now has three women's golf national championships. The previous two came in 1996 and 2000.

    • Arizona is only the sixth school to win three or more Div. I women's golf championships, joining Arizona State (8), Duke (6), San Jose State (3), UCLA (3) and USC (3).

    • Arizona's Haley Moore, who earned the clinching point on the 19th hole of her match with Alabama's Lakareber Abe, was the only Arizona player to win all three of her matches this week.

    • Alabama's Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight also went 3-0. Gillman did not trail in any match.

    • Since the match-play format was instituted in 2015, Arizona is the lowest seed (8) to claim the national title. The seeds claiming the national championship were Stanford (4) in 2015; Washington (4) in 2016; and Arizona State (3) in 2017.

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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

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