Winsday Hot List: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Win McMurryMarch 20, 2013, 1:00 pm

The King shines in the Sunshine State this week as several top players pay homage to Arnold Palmer at the last stop of the Florida swing. A streak is on the line and so is the No. 1 ranking, but many players who have made the Orlando, Fla., area home will be jockeying for the prestigious title – handed out by the man himself – on their own turf. We have you covered with golf’s hottest topics online, on-air and on the course.

1. Stacy Lewis: She rightly takes the No. 1 spot in our rankings this week, capturing the top spot in the world rankings with her scorching come-from-behind victory at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. Lewis is only the second American to claim the honor since the rankings began in 2006 (Cristie Kerr held the position for five weeks in 2010). Lewis also earned Player of the Year in 2012, becoming the first American to do so since Beth Daniel in 1994.


2. American dominance: You have to applaud the red, white and blue. To go along with Lewis’ accomplishment, Americans have won every event played on the PGA Tour this season. The hot streak is at 12, so will it be lucky or unlucky No. 13 this week?


3. King for a Day: As Arnold Palmer holds court this week, Lamkin, the grip company he’s been affiliated with for more than 60 years, kicks off a sweepstakes where one lucky winner will win a VIP trip for two to meet the King in his hometown; play golf at his home course; and win a set of Callaway clubs, Lamkin grips and autographed Arnold Palmer memorabilia. Enter at www.meetarnoldpalmer.com.


4. The First Tee of Central Florida: And speaking of Palmer, he’s making even more dreams come true in central Florida. With a $200,000 donation to The First Tee of Central Florida, he established the Arnold Palmer Scholarship Fund, which will help provide educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, promote healthy choices through the game and ensure that no child ever gets turned away for an inability to pay.


5. Tiger and Lindsey: It’s official. And Facebook official at that! Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn confirmed that the two have been dating for a couple months. They published professional photos of the two of them together (wearing their sponsor’s logos, nonetheless) and asked for their privacy. Now professional photos for an engagement announcement are somewhat the norm these days, but for a dating announcement, that’s new to me. Perhaps social “engagements” attended by the two of them together are in the near future.


6. World ranks: Not only is Woods making headlines with his relationship, but this week’s defending champion can regain the No. 1 ranking with another win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He hasn’t held the top position since October 2010, 29 months ago.


7. Nona Blue: Perhaps the main man in Woods' way to the top at Bay Hill is local resident Graeme McDowell, who has donned blue competing against Woods in the Tavistock Cup for Lake Nona, while Woods has dressed in both Isleworth red and Albany pink. McDowell, who was runner-up to Woods last year at this event, opened a restaurant and bar this past weekend, just outside the gates to his Lake Nona home. If you’re in town, this would be the “who’s who” spot for celebrating victories and drinking away sorrows.


8. Jordan Speith: In just four PGA Tour starts this year, the 19-year-old earned special temporary exempt status for the remainder of 2013 with two top-10 finishes – a T-7 last week in Tampa and a T-2 in Puerto Rico. He joins an elite group of players who have earned their card without advancing through Q-School or the Web.com Tour, including Justin Leonard, Gary Hallberg, Scott Verplank, Phil MickelsonRyan MooreBud Cauley and Woods.


9. South African Golf: We’ve given a nod to the Americans, so it’s only right to acknowledge the other country producing a notable number of winners this season. South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel won the Alfred Dunhill Championship, followed by fellow countryman Louis Oosthuizen, who picked up the title at the Volvo Golf Champions. Other South African winners include Richard Sterne, Darren Fichardt, Dawie Van Der Walt and last week’s champion, Thomas Aiken.


10. Doubling up in the Carolinas: In South Carolina, Hilton Head’s Harbour Town Golf Links, home of the RBC Heritage, will undergo construction for a new clubhouse. Demolition will begin after the 2014 Heritage and is to be completed by the 2015 tournament. And in North Carolina, Greensboro’s Sedgefield Country Club, site of the Wyndham Championship, will merge with Cardinal Golf and Country Club to create one brand, the Sedgefield Country Club’s Ross Course and Dye Course. The merger will make it the only private club in the nation with both a Donald Ross and a Pete Dye course. It will also feature both Bermuda and bent grass greens, so members can have ideal putting conditions year-round.

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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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