McNeill Medals 40 Secure PGA TOUR Cards

By Sports NetworkDecember 4, 2006, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)LA QUINTA, Calif. -- In terms of importance and excitement, it's one of those days when winning takes a back seat to finishing well.
 
On Day 6 of the PGA TOUR Q-school finals, fortunes are made and lost by a slim margin.
 
George McNeill was a runaway medalist on Monday, shooting a 5-under 67 to finish five shots clear of the field at 23-under-par 409. His winning margin was the largest since Scott Verplank coasted to a six-shot victory in 1997.
 
'I'm still kind of in the moment,' said McNeill. 'I'm sure it'll sink in really soon.'
 
But McNeill, 31, was just one of 40 players who earned their PGA TOUR cards for next season, and one of 17 who made it for the first time.
 
The low 30 scores and ties at the end of the six-day marathon earned exempt status for 2007; the rest of the large field received varying degrees of status on the Nationwide Tour.
 
Robert Garrigus shot a 4-under 68 and finished as a distant runner-up to McNeill at 18-under 414. Rich Barcelo had a 1-under 71 and was third at 17-under 415. Both are returning to the PGA TOUR.
 
Further down the leaderboard is where the real drama could be found.
 
All over the two host courses -- the Stadium Course at PGA West and the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course -- players were making and missing key shots, moving above and below the number that would give them their tour cards.
 
Bob May, best known for losing a playoff to Tiger Woods at the 2000 PGA Championship, was one of the fortunate ones.
 
May needed to make a greenside bunker shot at No. 9 -- his final hole -- to get to 9 under par, the make-or-break number at the time. His shot was dead on, but the ball lipped out and May settled for a cruel par.
 
Later on, as the final leaderboard shook out, the number fell to 8 under and May made it. As did Kyle Reifers, who bogeyed his last hole to fall to 8 under, only to realize later on that it was enough.
 
The important thing, all players know, is to settle down and realize that the best thing you can do is pace yourself.
 
'It's not a sprint, and we all know that,' said Paul Stankowski, who shot a 79 in the first round last Wednesday but earned his card at 13-under 419.
 
The PGA TOUR isn't the only option for these players, but it's by far the best -- a fact that eluded no one in the field, from McNeill all the way down to the 10 other players who tied for 29th place alongside May and Reifers.
 
The Nationwide Tour is something. The PGA TOUR is so much more.
 
'The PGA TOUR is the PGA TOUR,' said Alex Cejka, who beat the number by a couple shots at 10 under. 'I'm very happy, and we'll see what next year brings.'
 
Scott Gutschewski was another one of the lucky ones.
 
Gutschewski had two double-bogeys Monday, but also made eight birdies to shoot 68 and earn his card at 10 under. The Nationwide Tour might be the second- or third-best circuit in the world, Gutschewski rationalized, but it's still just a consolation prize at Q-school.
 
'You just have to get as low as you can and hope that it works out,' he said.
 
For those who have never played on the PGA TOUR, successfully making it through Q-school is like a dream. Tom Johnson, who finished at 13 under, is one of those players.
 
'It doesn't seem real,' he said.
 
For others, like Denmark's Anders Hansen, it's less of a dream than an opportunity to weigh one's options. Already exempt on the European Tour, he now has a PGA TOUR card as well.
 
'I heard it's a good tour,' joked Hansen, who finished tied for fourth place at 15-under. 'So I'm looking forward to it.'
 
McNeill, who played on the Nationwide Tour in 2003, found himself in a familiar position atop the leaderboard. He led Q-school four years ago, but failed to earn his tour card.
 
After spending a short time as a club pro in Florida, he's a different kind of professional now. And the world's best players await.
 
'I guess we'll see [what it's like],' McNeill said. 'A lot of it is attitude, but I'm interested to see how I'll do.'
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - PGA TOUR Q-School
  • Full Coverage - PGA TOUR Q-School
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 11:00 am

    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.

    Scoring:

    TV Times (all times ET):

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

    Getty Images

    Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

    By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

    STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

    Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

    The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

    “Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

    Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

    “I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

    Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.


    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


    Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

    “They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

    After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

    And the Wildcats better rest up.

    Alabama looks unstoppable.

    “They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

    Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

    After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

    They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

    Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

    “It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

    They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

    “We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

    That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

    The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

    “They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

    It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

    Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

    They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

    Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

    “I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

    Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

    Getty Images

    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)

    Getty Images

    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.”