Winsday Hot List: Wentworth to Ft. Worth

By Win McMurryMay 23, 2012, 6:56 pm

A salute to all that is bigger and better this week on the Hot List, in honor of the PGA Tour’s final leg of the Texas Swing! And speaking of bigger and better, we’re crisscrossing the globe to Wentworth where the European Tour’s best tee it up in their “fifth major.” The top three players in the world hail from that continent, and equally as impressive, nine of the top 30 in the world are European. So bring on the glitz and glamour of European golf royalty…then we’ll get to Hogan’s Alley.

Wentworth – Loyalty to your home tour is one thing, but more Americans should make this trip. This is where the action is this week. Take it from the defending champion. “You don't have to travel far to play in a $6 million event at a great course at Colonial,' said Luke Donald during The Players. 'But I've always been a proponent of to get the most out of your game, it's important to travel and to experience new places. I think at least go try it once, and if you don't like it, fair enough. But it's a big event on our tour. It's considered our Players Championship of the European Tour. And I would have thought that would incite some interest in some of the big Americans that would be exempt for it.'

Luke Donald at the 2012 Players Championship

Luke Donald – George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, revealed that Donald earned the European players' Player of the Year award, with 95 percent of the vote. With that hardware, he was also named the 41st player to receive honorary life membership. 'Probably the only person who didn't vote for him was himself,' O'Grady said. Gotta love his modesty.

Tiger Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Tiger’s Vacation Time – Springtime is heating up, and so is Tiger Woods’ schedule. This could be Tiger’s last two-week stretch off until October. Beginning with the Memorial, he is slated to play seven tournaments in the next 11 weeks, through the PGA Championship, and then it’s off to the FedEx Cup playoffs where four events are played over a five-week span. The next week is the Ryder Cup at Medinah.

Lee Westwood

Subway Sponges – It’s not quite a Cinderella story how Australian sandwich shop owner Michael Waite became caddie for one of the top players in the game. Waite, who is known as Sponge by his peers, took control of his own destiny and called Lee Westwood’s injured caddie, Billy Foster, to put in a good word with his boss. It wasn’t very long before Chubby Chandler called to see if he had visas for the U.K., Sweden and the U.S. Sponge made his last sandwich on Thursday, and then took off for the BMW PGA Championship where he’ll be on Westwood’s bag at least through the U.S. Open. Waite was on Michael Campbell’s bag in 2005, when he won the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. He has also caddied for Rodger Davis, Ian Baker-Finch, and Robert Allenby.

Cheyenne Woods

Excel Sports Management – According to the agency, Tiger Woods’ niece Cheyenne Woods has joined her uncle’s management team. Mark Steinberg has represented Woods since 1999, first at IMG before joining Excel last summer. His newest client was an All-American at Wake Forest University, where she set the lowest scoring average in school history and won the ACC Championship by seven shots. She graduated with a degree in communications and is said to seek sponsor exemptions this summer and go to LPGA Q-School later this year.

Dicky Pride at the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship

Dicky Pride – After his runner-up finish Sunday at the Byron Nelson, Pride has racked up $1,088,363 in seven starts. That’s something worth celebrating considering in his past 18 years on the PGA Tour the most he ever made in a single season was $483,923 in 23 tournaments.

Harris English

Harris English – Just outside of Dallas on Monday, the PGA Tour rookie shot a course-best – and International Finals America qualifying record – 60 to qualify for the British Open. Combined with a 63 at the par 70 Queens Course at Gleneagles Country Club, Harris was one of eight to win a spot at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. 'It was a very relaxing round. I just lost track on what I was doing,' said English, whose best PGA Tour finish is a tie for 16th in Mayakoba, Mexico, earlier in the year. 'It's pretty amazing.' Yeah, I’d say.

Win McMurry

Ft. Worth – On a trip for Gone with the Win a few weeks ago, I made my first acquaintance with this great cattle town. From Billy Bob’s to the Flying Saucer, Bob’s Steak and Chop to the rodeo, Tour players and fans trade in their dress shoes for cowboy boots and take a load off at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Jonas Blixt  

Jonas Blixt – The former Nationwide Tour player is on a roll and I had no idea until I received a text from golf instructor Jorge Parada of the Tour Academy at TPC Sawgrass, who works with Blixt and was shocked that I didn’t take him as my pick in Group 3 in the Fantasy Challenge for Colonial. His last three results? T-13, T-9, T-3. Sign me up. 

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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.

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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)

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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.”

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

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

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.


TV Times (all times ET):

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