Pebble Beach ready for this years US Open
Incredibly, this course, which has been the site of the AT&T Pro-Am and its predecessors for decades, as well as other prestigious tournaments in its near century of existence, didn't play host to its first U.S. Open until 1972. You might remember that one, when Jack Nicklaus hit a laser 1-iron into the wind on the par-3 17th en route to victory.
Ten years later it was Tom Watson who chipped in at 17 to win, and there have been two more U.S. Opens since then, including Tiger Woods' incredible performance in 2000.
This could be the best yet because the golf course has never been better. Monday was media day, and except for the rough, which will be a little higher in just over a month, the course was set up to USGA specs. That means narrow fairways, difficult pins and fairly fast greens. The course has also been modified since 2000, with Pebble Beach board member Arnold Palmer directing a number of tweaks that should make this year's Open even more interesting.
For example, fairways have been cut all the way to cliff's edges on certain holes (like the par-5 sixth), making it easier to run one into the ocean. There's new bunkering, new teeing grounds and about 250 yards in added length, bringing the course to more than 7,000 yards for the Open.
The cool thing about the setup is that regular playing guests like us will be able to experience it all year, even after the U.S. Open is played.
The course is also in incredible condition, thanks to superintendent Chris Dalhamer and his crew. Greens were flawless Monday, as were the fairways and rough.
'I have never seen Pebble Beach as good as it is right now,' said Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of rules and competition. 'What that allows us to do is really kind of nit-pick between now and that second week of June and really try to get everything perfect. And it's so agronomically good right now that we're going to be able to do the things candidly that we want to do.'
At 7,000 yards, Pebble Beach is short by major championship standards. The course, however, is a great mixture of long and short holes, so the overall length is misleading. Just ask anybody not named Tiger back in 2000 when the course was just 6,800 yards long. Nobody in that field, with the exception of Woods, broke par. We could see more of the same if the wind blows and it stays dry next month.
Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama
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.
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.”
NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times
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.
- Finals: Alabama vs. Arizona
- Semifinals: Alabama def. USC, 3.5-1.5
- Semifinals: Arizona def. Stanford, 4-1
- Quarterfinals: Alabama def. Kent State, 4-1
- Quartefinals: USC def. Duke, 3.5-1.5
- Quarterfinals: Arizona def. UCLA, 3-2
- Quarterfinals: Stanford def. Northwestern, 3-2
- Individual stroke play
TV Times (all times ET):
4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)
Fort Worth Invitational: Tee times, TV schedule, stats
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: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream
Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream
Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.
Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; 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
• 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)
• First start since missed cut at The Players
• More missed cuts (3) than top-10 finishes (2) in 2018
• Finished T-2 in this tournament last year (66 in final round)
• 17 top-5 finishes in 46 official worldwide individual starts as professional
• First start since Players victory (fifth PGA Tour win)
• Fifth on Tour in strokes gained: putting this season (177th two seasons ago)
Maguire's storied Duke career comes to an end
STILLWATER, Okla. – After losing in the quarterfinals here at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Duke coach Dan Brooks gathered his team and walked back toward the 18th hole. He wanted to get away and deliver a parting speech to senior Leona Maguire, one of the most important players in program history.
“I feel like I didn’t say enough, and I feel like I didn’t say it right,” he said afterward. “I guess that’s inevitable when dealing with a player who has meant so much.”
Maguire’s heralded Duke career came to an end Tuesday when she and her teammates dropped their quarterfinal match to Southern Cal, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2. Maguire did her part, winning, 1 up, against USC’s Jennifer Chang, but it still wasn’t enough.
Maguire will go down as one of the best players not just in Duke’s storied history, but all time in college golf. She’s a two-time Player of the Year. She finished with the best scoring average (70.93) in Division I women’s golf history. She had a record 32 competitive rounds in the 60s. She spent 135 weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings, another record.
The 23-year-old from Ireland is the rare collegian who turned down guaranteed LPGA status to return to school to earn her degree and try to win a NCAA title with twin sister Lisa, the team’s No. 5 player. Ultimately, they never reached the championship match.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said softly outside the clubhouse. “The experiences, the memories, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Maguire said that she’s turning pro soon and has a full schedule upcoming. She’ll play the ShopRite LPGA Classic and then try to capitalize on her full status on the developmental Symetra circuit.
Asked about her potential at the next level, Brooks said that Maguire can be a future Hall of Famer.
“She’s the hardest worker and the smartest player I’ve ever coached,” he said. “I’m really going to miss her.”