Winsday Hot List: WGC-Cadillac Championship

By Win McMurryMarch 6, 2013, 1:02 pm

Fasten your seatbelt, but don't bother checking your clubs as we take you on a trip through the hottest topics in the world of golf. We begin in China as one golf course Americanizes with an Asian flare. Back in the good old U.S., American stars and the pursuit of the American Dream have us flying high as the PGA Tour travels to a piece of property owned by one of the most entrepreneurial businessmen on the planet. No need to put your seat back in the full upright position. Just sit back, relax and enjoy this week's ride.

1. Surreal Golf: Mission Hills is at it again. This time with its Fantasy Course, the 12th on the massive property. It will feature terra cotta warriors and waterfall hazards, pandas and Mayan ruins and a green that is an enormous bowl of Chinese noodles. Serious. Yes. Wow.

2. Golf Boys 2.Oh: The Golf Boys are back with 2.Oh. Wow. If it doesn't make you crack a smile (Remind yourself these are talented professional golfers by day), I can't think of what would. I burst out laughing at my desk today, while watching the Birdman again, who crashed last year’s U.S. Open.

3. Team America: All nine winners so far in the 2013 Tour season are U.S. born. Here's the list: Dustin Johnson, Russell Henley, Brian Gay, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, John Merrick, Matt Kuchar and Michael Thompson. Time for the Internationals to step it up, and there’s no better place than this week, when the Tour splits its time between the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the Puerto Rico Open.

4. America's Sweetheart: While we're on the topic of American dominance, Stacy Lewis deserves a tip of the hat. The 2012 Rolex Player of the Year (first American on the LPGA to earn the honor since Beth Daniel in 1994) won the HSBC Women's Champions at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore on Sunday.

5. Smart Golf: An advent in new technology has golfers attaching sensors to belts and golf club grips to track each shot during a round in the new Golf Game. These sensors combined with GPS and data sharing can be transferred to smart phones, tablets and personal computers for sharing highlights and garnering feedback from others through existing social media networks. 'See, share and compare,' said John McGuire, the CEO and co-founder of Game Golf, who is looking to revolutionize the way golf and other sports are played.

6. Carry-on Clubs: Don't worry about parting with your Scotty anymore. The TSA announced Tuesday at a conference in Brooklyn that they are making changes to aviation security that will take effect April 25. Travelers will now be able to board flights with up to two golf clubs. Other newly permitted carry-ons include small pocket knives, hockey sticks and ski poles.

7. Mat Kearney and Charity: We're revisiting Golf Boys to appreciate singer/songwriter Mat Kearney from Nashville who wrote the music and lyrics at the request of Ben Crane. The puns are worth a second look. Some of my favs, 'Vaca in Sang Moon Bae,' and 'I like olives in my Rory Sabbatini.' Also, 'I want to win so Aaron Baddeley,' and 'I get a massage every single Jason Day.' All proceeds benefit charity: water, which raises awareness and support for the clean-water crisis. Entertaining and environmental. I like it.

8. Third Annual Els for Autism Golf Challenge: It's the largest international charity-driven amateur golf tournament in history. Comprised of more than 20 events across North America, teams compete in a combined low-net event for prizes that include trips to Africa, South America and England, as well as a chance to join Els and other Tour players in Las Vegas. The Challenge has raised to date more than $4 million for autism between 3,300 rounds of golf and more than 13,000 donors.

9. Spotlighting The Top Three: Rory, Tiger and Luke. We get the fab three for back-to-back rounds this week as they tee it up at Donald Trump's TPC Blue Monster at Doral. Despite their top positions in the Official World Golf Ranking, there are plenty of questions surrounding them. Will McIlroy’s swing struggles continue following his walk-off in the second round at last week’s Honda Classic? And how's that wisdom tooth? Will Woods ever be able to dominate again at Doral as he did prior to 2007? And what's going on with Donald? We have only seen him play two times this year, one of them being an early out in the WGC-Match Play Championship. 

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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)