As Oklahoma men’s golf coach Ryan Hybl turned in a 2-under 69 at Oak Tree National on May 6, he wasn’t thinking about advancing to U.S. Open sectional qualifying or even about his glory days as a professional golfer.
Hybl’s mind quickly turned to Oklahoma’s chances at the NCAA Championship, when he saw that one of his players, senior Abraham Ancer, had posted 66 that day.
“When I got in the scoring tent and they told me Abe shot a 66, I was more excited about that than I was about me shooting a 69 because he’s one of those guys that can really elevate us to a chance to make it through to nationals,” Hybl said.
In addition to Hybl, Illinois head coach Mike Small and Oregon’s Casey Martin advanced out of their respective local qualifying stages for the 2013 U.S. Open. It's merely an afterthought as NCAA postseason approaches.
“I’m going to a sectional qualifier Monday [June 3] after hopefully standing for six days on my feet, watching my guys play and not practicing,” Small said. “Last year, I couldn’t prepare as much because we were at ...
Moriya Jutanugarn stood on the 18th green and gazed up at the leaderboard. At the time, younger sister Ariya was 7 under and leading the Kingsmill Championship.
“I thought somebody put (up) the wrong number,” said Moriya, with a wry smile.
She knows better.
Ariya Jutanugarn, 17, boasts one of the best records in the world. In three tournaments on the LPGA and four events on the LET, she has five top-4 finishes. Ariya, a rookie on the LET, leads the Order of Merit thanks to a victory in Morocco and a T-2 at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters. She has finished second, fourth and third in three events on the LPGA and would be ranked eighth on the money list with $328,643 if she were a tour member.
“Last night she’s like, ‘Moriya, I can’t putt. I can’t hit the ball,’ ” said 18-year-old Moriya.
Apparently, Ariya whines like this often in the hotel room.
“Sometimes, I say, ‘Shut up!’ ” Moriya said, and then laughed.
Moriya didn’t realize that while she was putting the finishing touches on her 2-over 73, a local reporter was out there snapping pictures. It wasn’t until later that the ...
Two things are certain this week: Inbee Park will remain No. 1 regardless of the outcome at the Kingsmill Championship. And no one will play the 18th hole eight consecutive times.
“I saw it so many times, I don’t think I need a practice round on that hole ever again,” said Paula Creamer, who lost to Jiyai Shin at Kingsmill Resort's River Course last year – in a nine-hole playoff that extended into Monday.
Tournament officials have made sure that won’t happen again, posting notices about a new playoff procedure, should one be needed: 18th hole three times, followed by Nos. 16, 17 and 18. If more holes are required, players would return to 16, 17 and 18.
“I think every tournament after this one now has a strategic plan for playoff holes,” Creamer said. “I think we changed a lot of ways that tournament directors and associations look at events.”
What still confuses Creamer about last year’s "Groundhog Day" performance was that after playing the 18th hole eight consecutive times and having the playoff suspended because of darkness, she and Shin returned the next day and resumed play on the 10th hole. Creamer three-putted the 10th ...
Inbee Park shot a bogey-free 4-under 67 on Sunday to win the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout by a stroke over Carlota Ciganda, whose chance for a first LPGA victory was wiped out in a two-hole stretch.
Park, the world's No. 1 women's player, finished at 13-under 271 for her third victory this season and fifth in her last 18 starts. The 24-year-old South Korean sank a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th after Ciganda also birdied the hole even after a drive into the right rough.
After starting the day two strokes behind Ciganda, Park went ahead to stay with pars on Nos. 14 and 15, where her playing partner ran into trouble. Ciganda had bogey and double bogey on those holes, part of her 70.
Fifth-ranked Suzann Pettersen from Norway, the winner in Hawaii last week, had a closing 66 to get to 10 under and finish third. Hee Young Park (64) and So Yeon Ryu (68) tied for fourth at 275.
Ciganda matched the world's top player shot for shot early on.
They both had birdies at the 403-yard 8th hole, where Park knocked hers in before Ciganda, who responded with a slight ...
When Carlota Ciganda got to her half-submerged ball in a concrete drainage ditch right of the 12th fairway, her only thought was whether to hit 8- or 9-iron.
With about 140 yards to the pin, her caddie suggested 8-iron because the ball was in the water.
Ciganda hit that shot to about 10 feet and made the birdie, part of the Spaniard's 5-under 66 on Saturday. That gave her a two-stroke lead over Inbee Park, the world's No. 1 player, and LPGA Tour rookie Caroline Masson going into the final round of the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout.
"Well, it was unbelievable," Ciganda said about the shot from the ditch. "I didn't think much. I just tried to hit it as well as I could, and I think I was pretty lucky. "
After her second 66 this week to get to 11-under 202, Ciganda will have a chance Sunday for her first LPGA Tour victory — against some tough competition.
Park, from South Korea, finished her third-round 67 with consecutive birdies. Na Yeon Choi, the No. 3 player and also from South Korea, was 8 under and alone in fourth after a bogey-free 66.
"When it comes to ...
Caroline Masson was relieved to be finished with her second round at the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout. She was fortunate to still have the lead.
Masson bogeyed three of her last four holes Friday to wrap up an even-par round of 71, good enough for a one-stroke lead over Carlota Ciganda.
"After the last few holes, I'm pretty happy it's over now," said Masson, who opened with a bogey-free 7-under 64. "I don't know what went wrong really. It was just a few bad shots, but I think that it's good that it's over and then I can, yeah, just relax now and tomorrow I think I'll be fine again."
At 7-under 135, Masson was a stroke ahead of Ciganda (70), and two ahead of top-ranked Inbee Park (70), 18-year-old LPGA Tour rookie Moriya Jutanugarn (66) and Kathleen Ekey (67).
When Masson got to the 15th hole Friday, she was 10 under and had a four-stroke lead. Her advantage dwindled to one in a hurry.
Masson's drive at the 390-yard 15th went left, but the ball then rolled right across the sloping fairway into the water.
"It just carried down the downslope ...
Setting a record by more than 750, the U.S. Open will feature 9,860 entrants trying to qualify for the 2013 championship at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., the USGA said Thursday in a news release.
Local qualifiers are set for 111 sites May 3-16. Sectional qualifiers are set for 13 sites May 27 and June 3. Registration closed April 24, when 643 registrations were accepted – including the final one from Joseph Bush, 45, a professional from Scotch Plains, N.J., just eight seconds before the 5 p.m. EDT deadline, the USGA said.
“The fact that we have a record number of entries, from across the world, is a testament to both the great appeal of the U.S. Open and the historic nature and grandeur of Merion Golf Club,” USGA Executive Director Mike Davis said.
Other years in which the U.S. Open attracted more than 9,000 entrants: 2012 (Olympic), 2010 (Pebble Beach), 2009 (Bethpage; previous record, 9,086) and 2005 (Pinehurst).
Fifty-two players among the entrants are exempt. That number will grow to include the winners of two May tournaments, the PGA Tour's Players Championship and the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship ...
Suzann Pettersen won the LPGA Lotte Championship on Saturday, beating Lizette Salas with a par on the first hole of a playoff after Salas chunked her approach shot into the water.
Pettersen, the leader after the second and third rounds at Ko Olina, bogeyed the final hole of regulation to set up the playoff on the par-4 18th. The 32-year-old Norwegian closed with a 5-under 67, and Salas had a tournament-record 62 to finish at 19-under 269.
"I thought 20 was going to do it," Pettersen said. "That would take a fantastic round from anyone behind me, and it would take some good golf from me, but that was kind of the number I was shooting for."
Salas had a double bogey on the playoff hole. She played a nine-hole stretch in 9 under, birdieing Nos. 8-9, holing out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 10th and adding birdies on Nos. 12-16.
"Chunk is not bad, but if you have water it's really bad," Salas said. "But I still had a chance, and that putt didn't go in. Not everything is going to fall, but I played my butt off today."
Salas has four top-10 finishes ...
At some point Saturday or Sunday when you settle in at home to watch coverage of the RBC Heritage, you will see sweeping camera views of the 18th hole at Harbour Town Golf Links.
What will most likely accompany the breathtaking visual will be the voice of Jim Nantz, telling you of this iconic 18th hole, with “out-of-bounds and condominiums to the right, Calibogue Sound to the left, where par is a meaningful score.”
If you are of a generation that remembers black-and-white TV or when there was no cable or when finding a sports telecast of any kind wasn’t at the flick of a clicker . . . well may I suggest that you raise a toast and salute a giant of the industry and a man who came into your living rooms on so many occasions he felt like part of the family.
Pat Summerall died Tuesday.
“He was bigger than life to me,” said Lance Barrow, coordinating producer for CBS Sports. “The TV industry lost a true legend last night.”
Chances are, that sentiment is being echoed far and wide throughout the American sports landscape because Summerall was that good of an announcer, that massive of a presence. “He ...
Even as the first Australian to earn the green jacket for his homeland, Adam Scott can't help but look around at the competition he put in his rear-view mirror Sunday.
During a Wednesday interview with "CBS This Morning," Scott – who at age 32 stands 17 major championships behind Jack Nicklaus – says Tiger Woods, who has won 14 majors, will be the one to break Nicklaus' record.
"I absolutely believe he will," Scott said. "I have learned in my career, and I have played through his prime the whole time, which has been hard because he was so dominant, but I never doubt what he is capable of on a golf course. He's just proven us all wrong so many times if you doubt him, and he'll find a way to do it, for sure. I believe that.
". . . I don't know if I'll get to 18, but I would love to get another one some time." [Click here to watch the interview with Scott.]
• • •
ELIGIBLE BACHELOR, OR NOT?
Asked about being perhaps the world's most eligible bachelor, he also divulged another statement that will open some eyes, even if not in a historical context: He ...
If you visit Augusta National enough times and enjoy late-afternoon walks in beautiful weather Monday and Tuesday, chances are you will see Padraig Harrington. He is a staple late in the afternoon, even if it’s to play nine holes over the vaunted stretch from Amen Corner through 13 and 15 and up to 18.
Turns out, the man has good reason for playing so late. (Then again, is it a surprise he has put this sort of thought into it? No.) The shadows.
“If you want to win this tournament, you’re going to finish at the time I did yesterday,” said Harrington, referencing his Monday round that stretched into the dinner hour.
“You have to putt in those shadows I putted in on the back nine. That’s why you play late on the back nine.”
No, Harrington didn’t get a chance to put his game to the test in those Sunday shadows (he missed the cut), but after hearing Adam Scott and his caddie, Steve Williams, talk about how difficult it was to read putts late in the day when it became dark and the shadows really were an issue, you appreciate the Irishman all the ...
Of the 17 first-time Masters participants, no one impressed more than Thorbjorn Olesen.
“It was everything I had hoped it would be – and even more,” said Olesen, who certainly had a swing of emotions. Sitting at 4-over 148 when he finished early Friday afternoon, the Dane shook his head, not thinking he had a chance to make the cut. On several occasions the leaders got to 7 under that day, but Jason Day settled in atop the leaderboard at 6 under. So with the 10-shot rule in effect, all those at 4 over qualified for the weekend.
No one took advantage like Olesen, who shot 68-68 on the weekend and finished tied for sixth.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise, probably, given that he has been moving along nicely for more than a year now – consistently showing the ability not only to play, but to do so on big stages. Going back to last summer, Olesen, 23, has been top 10 in seven of 20 tournaments, including a T-9 in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes and a T-27 at the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. So it might be time to extend a little more ...
If you can remember the demolition that Tiger Woods put on the field at the 1997 Masters, when he won by a mind-boggling 12 strokes, his work on Augusta’s back nine was incredible. His scores were 30, 32, 33, 33 – or 16-under par.
Yes, he ate up the par 5s, but he didn’t have issues anywhere.
Pretty much since then, he’s continued to master the inward holes, although not to the degree that made him utterly unbeatable in 1997.
Still, from 1997-2011, a period of 15 Masters, Woods was under par for the back nine for the tournament all but one time, in 2000 when he was 3-over.
For the last two years, however, it has been a bit strange. Woods was 4-over on the back last year and just 1-under this time around. True, the two-stroke penalty is factored into that; still, he hasn’t looked like a guy who steps to the 10th tee with a look that says, “time to shoot 33.”
For those first 15 years, again 1997-2011, Woods posted a sub-par back nine on 35 of his 60 chances, or 58 percent. He’s done so just twice in eight back-nine trips ...
Inbee Park, who won the first major of the LPGA season a week ago, rose to World No. 1 status this week. Park, winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, overtook Stacy Lewis in the Rolex Rankings. Lewis had held the top spot for the past four weeks.
“This is a very big day in my golf career,” Park said. “I’m so happy to share it with my family who are here in Hawaii with me.
"It’s nice to reach this goal, but I know a lot of players are close to No. 1. It gives me something else to play for every week and I know it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The rankings are based on two-year performances, with an emphasis on the most recent 13 weeks. So as older events drop out, the rankings update even if no tournament is played.
In 31 worldwide starts in the past 52 weeks, Park has 21 top-10 finishes. That includes four victories (Kraft, Honda LPGA Thailand, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Evian Masters) and 11 runner-up finishes. She won the 2012 Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average.
Park has been the top-ranked player in the Golfweek/Sagarin ...
Surely you heard that Tiger Woods caught a bad break Friday at No. 15, striking the flagstick, and then compounded it with an illegal drop.
In golf, however, bad luck abounds. It found a hard-charging Bernhard Langer on Sunday as well, to hear the 55-year-old German tell it.
Langer stood 5 under through 57 holes. But the rains came, after which he joined the ranks of golfers who found difficulty in gauging the speed of Augusta National's famed greens, he said. Then at Amen Corner, he said he fell victim to poor fortune – with back-to-back double bogeys.
"On 12, I hit a good shot that hit the bank and rolled back in the water," Langer said. "Thirteen, I probably hit the best shot of the week, my second shot, hit a little twig like this at the very end, in a tall tree, hit that and went straight left. Unplayable. Made 7.
"So those two holes cost me five shots right there. Because I hit that ball perfect. It was going left of the flag and it was solid, it was a perfect shot on 13 . . . if it hadn't hit that little twig, I would have been putting ...