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Morikawa quickly goes from college grad to major champion

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Collin Morikawa couldn't help but break into a smile, and not just because the shiny Wanamaker Trophy he won at Harding Park was positioned on a stand next to him. Just over 14 months ago, Morikawa went through commencement after his All-American career — on the golf course and in the classroom — across the Bay Bridge and up the road at Cal-Berkeley. Since then, he has played 28 tournaments around the world and already has three victories on the PGA Tour, one of them a major championship. In the last 50 years, only four other players won their first major before age 23 or younger — Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Seve Ballesteros. He already is No. 5 in the world. That alone puts him among the elite, except that Morikawa didn't need to win the PGA Championship to feel that way. “When I woke up today, I was like, ‘This is meant to be.’ This is where I feel very comfortable,” Morikawa said. “This is where I want to be, and I'm not scared from it. I think if I was scared from it, the last few holes would have been a little different. But you want to be in this position.” Harding Park was not a place for the meek. Rare is Sunday at a major with so many possibilities at the beginning, at the turn and down the stretch. The drama was relentless. Nine players at one point could claim a share of the lead. There was Dustin Johnson, who started with a one-shot lead. The power of Tony Finau, Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Champ was on full display. Jason Day brought the experience of winning majors and being No. 1 in the world. Morikawa embraced the moment and delivered the signature shot that allowed him to win a thriller. Actually, there were two moments. After catching a good break — even the most tested major champions need those — with a tee shot off a tree and into play on the 14th, he was short of the green and chipped in for birdie to take the lead. Two holes later, Paul Casey tied him with a nifty up-and-down for birdie on the 16th, where the tees were moved forward to 294 yards to entice players to go for the green. Morikawa thought back to the 14th hole at Muirfield Village during the Workday Charity Open, where he fearlessly hit driver in a similar situation — big trouble left, water right — and drilled it to 12 feet. His shot was the signature moment of this major, a driver that bounced just right and onto the green and rolled up to 7 feet below the cup. He made the eagle putt and was on his way to a two-shot victory with a 6-under 64, matching the lowest final round by a PGA champion. There were no spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Casey must have felt like one. He was still on the 17th tee when he looked back and saw Morikawa's shot. “Nothing you can do but tip your cap to that,” Casey said. “Collin has taken on that challenge and pulled it off. That's what champions do.” He won at Muirfield Village last month not from that bold play on the 14th hole, but after Justin Thomas made a 50-foot birdie putt in the playoff. Morikawa answered with a 25-foot birdie of his own and won two holes later. He is comfortable in the most uncomfortable situations. It was Thomas who gave Morikawa more confidence than he needed. They got together for dinner at the Canadian Open last summer, Morikawa's first start since graduating from Cal. Thomas told him he was good enough, he would make it. Thomas knew from experience. He spent a year in the minor leagues before getting his PGA Tour card, went through a year of learning without winning and now has 13 wins, a major and twice has been No. 1 in the world. Morikawa didn't wait that long. He won the Barracuda Championship to earn a PGA Tour card. He won against a strong field for validation. Now he's a major champion. Young stars are emerging every year, and it was easy to overlook Morikawa. He was a runner-up two years in a row for the Hogan Award, given to the nation's best college player. Doug Ghim won in 2018, Matthew Wolff a year later. And it was Wolff who denied Morikawa a victory last year in Minnesota by making a long eagle putt on the last hole. Players know best. “There’s always a bunch of guys that rock up on the scene, and he didn’t necessarily get the most publicity out of the group he was in,” Casey said. “I know talent when I see it. I don't like the term ‘talent,’ but you know when somebody is good. And Collin was good. We could just tell. ... And we weren't wrong.” Morikawa grew up in Southern California with Wolff. He considers the Bay Area a second home from his time at Cal and the dozen times the Golden Bears played or had qualifiers at Harding Park, a public course that never was this tough. In just over a year — it feels less than that because of the three months golf was shut down because of the pandemic — he has emerged as a star without ever being surprised. He thought back to his debut 14 months ago and recalled being comfortable then. He tied for 14th. “There's a different sense of comfort now,” Morikawa said. Another big smile. A bright future......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 10th, 2020

Spieth chasing Grand Slam and hardly anyone notices

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The spotlight on Jordan Spieth should be bright enough to cut through the marine layer blanketing Harding Park this week at the PGA Championship. Win this major and he joins the most exclusive club in golf with the final leg of the career Grand Slam. Only five other players — Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen — have won all four majors since the Masters began in 1934. This is his fourth chance, and each year becomes more difficult. The longest anyone went from winning the third leg to completing the Grand Slam was three years by Player and Nicklaus. And hardly anyone is talking about it. It's not because Brooks Koepka is trying to become the first player to win the PGA Championship three straight times in stroke play, or because Tiger Woods is going for his record-tying fifth PGA. It's not even because golf has returned amid a coronavirus pandemic that has kept spectators away from a major championship for the first time. Spieth has become an afterthought because he hasn't won since he captured the British Open three years ago. Who would have guessed that? Certainly not the 27-year-old Texan. “If you told me that, I'd probably say that guy is kind of a jerk and I'd walk the other way,” Spieth said with a smile. “But here we are. And I hope to end that as soon as possible.” So much has changed since his last visit to the TPC Harding Park. That was in 2015 for the Cadillac Match Play. Spieth was the newly minted “Golden Child” in golf as the Masters champion. He would win the U.S. Open the following month, miss a British Open playoff by one shot at St. Andrews and be runner-up at the PGA Championship. No one ever made such a spirited bid for the calendar Grand Slam. Now, the world ranking tells the story. Spieth was No. 2 after winning at Royal Birkdale and getting his first shot at the career Grand Slam in the 2017 PGA Championship (he tied for 28th). He was No. 8 in the world going to Bellerive for the PGA Championship the following year (he tied for 12th). He was No. 39 going to Bethpage Black last year. He played in the final group with Brooks Koepka on Saturday, albeit eight shots behind, and fell back quickly. He tied for third. Now he has plunged all the way to No. 62, out of the top 50 for the first time since he was a 20-year-old rookie. More troublesome than not winning is that Spieth has rarely contended. He has not finished within three shots of the lead since his remarkable rally in the final round of the Masters two years ago left him two shots behind Patrick Reed. Is there hope? He has no doubt. Is there a chance at Harding Park? He has experience. “Majors aren’t necessarily totally about form,” Spieth said. “They’re about experience and being able to grind it out, picking apart golf courses. So I feel like I probably have more confidence going into a major no matter where my game is at than any other golf tournament.” Exactly what went wrong is a topic of debate and discussion. He was ill all of December before going into the 2018 season. His alignment got off. His putting, the hallmark of his game, went sideways. And he's been trying to put back the pieces ever since. The last two years he hasn't made it to the Tour Championship. His only real success of late has been a more positive attitude. Spieth used the word “grace” at Colonial, his way of saying he will learn to shrug off mistakes and keep going. “I almost feel at times like the game is testing me a little bit right now,” he said. Last week, he spoke of a shot that hit a tree. Whereas it used to bounce in the fairway, this one went off a cart path and out-of-bounds. The same thing happened at Hilton Head. “I feel like you can look at it a couple ways,” Spieth said. “You can get really upset and complain about it — which I’ve done and that’s not helpful — or you can look at it like, ‘Hey, this is part of the game testing you, and the better you handle these situations, the faster you progress forward.’” Spieth says he is in no hurry. At 27, he has plenty of golf ahead of him in his career. As brilliant as his 2015 season was, he'd like to think his best years are ahead of him. But there's only one PGA Championship this year. One shot at the career Grand Slam. “It's something that I really want,” Spieth said. “It's probably the No. 1 goal in the game of golf for me right now is to try and capture that. I’d love to be able to hold all four trophies.” The way the last three years have gone, any trophy would do......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2020

Finau leads Memorial at 65 as Woods has quiet return to golf

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Tiger Woods was back on the PGA Tour for the first time in five months Thursday and saw Muirfield Village like never before. It was practically empty. Woods opened with a 10-foot birdie and there was silence. He finished with a 15-foot birdie for a 1-under 71, leaving him five shots behind Tony Finau in the Memorial, and he walked to the side of the green and stood with Rory McIlroy, chatting briefly before they nudged their elbows toward one another without touching. It’s a different world, Woods keeps saying. It was a reasonable return. “Got off to almost an ideal start and got a feel for the round early,” Woods said. “I just didn’t make anything today. I had looks at birdies, but I really didn’t make much.” He left that to Finau, who seemed to make everything. Finau finished with seven birdies over his last 10 holes on a Muirfield Village course that was faster and tougher than last week in the Workday Charity Open. That gave him a one-shot lead over Ryan Palmer. The greens are being replaced after the Memorial, so there’s no concern about them dying out. They were 2 feet faster on the Stimpmeter, the wind was strong and often changed direction without notice. That showed in the scoring. Only seven players broke 70, compared with 35 rounds in the 60s for the first round last week. This is the first itme in 63 years the PGA Tour has played consecutive weeks on the same course. Muirfield Village only looked like the same course. “It’s night and day,” Palmer said. “The greens, they’re 2, 3 feet faster for sure. So I knew it wasn’t a course you had to just go out and light up.” It wasn’t a course to overpower, either. Bryson DeChambeau hit one drive 423 yards with the wind at his back, leaving him 46 yards to the pin on No. 1, a hole where he recalls hitting 5-iron in the past. That was a rare birdie. With wedges in his hand, he still managed only a 73. Collin Morikawa won at Muirfield Village last week at 19-under 269, beating Justin Thomas in a playoff. Morikawa opened with a 76. Thomas, who didn’t make a bogey until his 55th hole last week, had two bogeys after two holes. He shot 74. Dustin Johnson shot 80, his highest score on the PGA Tour in more than four years. Rickie Fowler shot 81. By now, players are used to seeing open spaces with minimal distraction. That wasn’t the case for Woods, who last played Feb. 16 when he finished last in the Genesis Invitational during a cold week at Riviera that caused his back to feel stiff. The absence of spectators was something new, and it was even more pronounced with Woods playing alongside McIlroy (70) and Brooks Koepka (72). They still had the biggest group, with 36 people around them on the 16th green. That mostly was TV and radio crews, photographers and a few volunteers. No one to cheer when Woods opened with a birdie and quickly reached 2 under with a wedge that spun back to a foot on the third hole. And there was no one to groan when he wasted a clean card on the back nine with a bunker shot that sailed over the green into the rough. “I definitely didn’t have any issue with energy and not having the fans’ reactions out there,” Woods said. “I still felt the same eagerness, edginess, nerviness starting out, and it was good. It was a good feel. I haven’t felt this in a while.” U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland and Brendan Steele each shot 68, with Jon Rahm among those at 69. McIlroy had two splendid short-game shots on the back nine that led to par and birdie, and he was in a group at 70 that included Jordan Spieth and defending champion Patrick Cantlay. Cantlay hit a pitch-and-run across the fifth green that last week would have settled next to the hole. On Thursday, it kept rolling until it was just off the green. Finau didn’t play last week, so he wouldn’t know the difference. “I don’t know about an advantage, but I definitely felt like I played this golf course this way before,” Finau said. “I don’t know what the numbers might be as far as the guys that played last week compared to this week. I’ve played this golf course in these type of conditions, and it definitely helped me.” DeChambeau brought the pop with five more tee shots at 350 yards or longer, two of them over 400 yards. Some of his tee shots wound up in places where players normally hit into the trees or rough and can’t reach the green. But he failed to capitalize with short clubs in his hands. He hit a wedge into a bunker on the 14th and his chip went over the green, which would not have happened last week. He had to make a 6-footer to save bogey. He also was a victim to the swirling wind at the worse time — a 7-iron from 230 yards over the water to the par-5 fifth. The wind died and he never had a chance, leading to bogey. “When I was standing over it, it was 20 miles an hour downwind. And when I hit it, it dead stopped. Can’t do anything about it,” DeChambeau said. “That’s golf, man. You’re not going to shoot the lowest number every single day. I felt like I played really bad. My wedging wasn’t great. If I can tidy that up, make some putts, keep driving it the way I’m doing, I’ll have a chance.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2020

Majoy Baron in FIVB website feature article: Enjoying both volleyball and fashion worlds

Filipino volleyball stars continue to make headlines in the FIVB website. Majoy Baron’s humble volleyball journey to her slaying it on the catwalk and her incredible story of striving to be at her best in both worlds is the latest Filipino volleyball  feature article on the site. The F2 Logistics middle blocker shared the news on her Instagram post on Sunday.               View this post on Instagram                   Thank you FIVB for the feature. I am humbled to be able to share my journey not only as a volleyball player but also as a model. I hope to inspire others to go beyond their limitations. Pursue your passions and don’t be afraid to do the things you love. You are limitless ?? Click full article on my bio! A post shared by Majoy Baron (@majoybaron) on Jun 6, 2020 at 6:20pm PDT “Thank you FIVB for the feature,” she posted. “I am humbled to be able to share my journey not only as a volleyball player but also as a model. I hope to inspire others to go beyond their limitations. Pursue your passions and don’t be afraid to do the things you love. You are limitless.” Baron, who is a mainstay in the national team since 2018, told the website that she fell in love with beauty pageants growing up. It was her first love. “Before I became a volleyball player, I used to enjoy joining beauty pageants,” the 5-foot-10 stunner on and off the court told the website. “In the Philippines, beauty pageants are very popular. Miss Universe is our Super Bowl and is one of the major events the Filipinos look forward to every year. Growing up with that energy and enthusiasm, pageants and modelling easily became my first love.” Baron added that walking on the ramp puts her on a different high. “There was a rush every time I would put on a beautiful designer garment and walk down an elevated ramp in front of an audience,” she said. “What I enjoyed the most was transforming into a different person that was totally removed from my real self even just for a few minutes.” Her modelling career had to take a backseat when the Concepcion, Tarlac native was recruited to play for the Ramil De Jesus-mentored De La Salle University Lady Spikers in the UAAP. “My skills in high school weren't sufficient to make me stand out, I was tall and that was it. After a national tournament, only two schools scouted me for college. I was very grateful to even receive an offer from two schools with well-known and established volleyball programmes,” she said. “Going to DLSU for college turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Baron continued. “It still gives me goose bumps remembering the time I was playing for the them. Those championships, trophies and individual awards we got were the fruits of our unending hard work and dedication to the sport.” Her first two years with the green and white were disappointing with DLSU losing to archrival Ateneo de Manila University in Season 76 and 77. Baron became a UAAP champion in 2016 in her third year and in her fourth year with the squad, she bagged Season 79 Most Valuable Player award as well as leading the Lady Spikers to a back-to-back. She left a winning legacy after closing her collegiate career as a three-peat champion. Baron also enjoyed a flourishing career in the commercial league, helping the Cargo Movers collect titles in the Philippine Superliga. Her talents and skills also landed her a spot in the national team. Baron saw action in the 2018 Asian Games and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and was named Best Middle Blocker twice in the two-leg 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix. She returned to modelling after college, squeezing in photo shoots for magazines, product endorsements and fashion shows, in between her commitments with her club and national squad. “It was not hard juggling volleyball and modelling duties, but the determination and discipline that I honed while playing volleyball took over. Know your priorities, pursue excellence, and push to be better than before,” said Baron, who was the fourth Filipino featured in the website after Jaja Santiago, Sisi Rondina and Bryan Bagunas.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2020

Saso flies to Tokyo, skips LPGA major

Reigning US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso has skipped the next LPGA major, the Evian Championship in France, to focus on her bid for gold in the Tokyo Olympics......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 19th, 2021

US Women s Open champ Saso gets pat on the back from idol McIlroy

McIlroy, a four-time major champion and a former world No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, was the blueprint for Saso's swing as the teen used to watch the former's videos on YouTube to fine-tune her game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 7th, 2021

Did FQ Mom follow her own advice when she was a fresh grad?

Note to graduates whose parents took care of their college education expenses: Please thank your parents, big time......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 25th, 2021

Matsuyama receives Prime Minister’s award

On Friday, the 29-year-old received the Prime Minister's Award from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo in recognition of him becoming the country’s first male major champion......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2021

After epic trek to Masters win, Matsuyama shuns greatest tag

Hideki Matsuyama won’t accept the title as Japan’s greatest-ever golfer, but after a quarter-century journey from child novice to historic Masters champion, the usually humble star will accept some praise. “I can’t say I’m the greatest,” Matsuyama said. “However, I’m the first to win a major, and if that’s the bar, then I’ve set it.” […] The post After epic trek to Masters win, Matsuyama shuns greatest tag appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 12th, 2021

US-based Pinay named MVP, national champion in NAIA women s hoops

Playing for the Westmont College Warriors, Berberabe led her team to a four-game sweep of the NAIA tournament to claim the program's ninth NAIA national championship last week......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 31st, 2021

Tiger makes digital return in golf video game deal

New York---Tiger Woods, a 15-time major champion recovering from injuries suffered last month in a car crash, is making a comeback in golfing video games, announcing a new deal Tuesday with 2K......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMar 17th, 2021

Celebrities, sports stars wish Woods fast recovery

WASHINGTON—Golf legend Jack Nicklaus and US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau were among shocked supporters praying for Tiger Woods on Tuesday as the 15-time major champion was undergoing surgery for multiple leg injuries following a solo car crash near Los Angeles......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 24th, 2021

Woods unsure of Augusta Masters& rsquo; comeback yet

Los Angeles---Tiger Woods made his first public comments since undergoing his fifth back surgery, with the 15-time major champion uncertain if he will be able to play at the Masters......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 22nd, 2021

Osaka grows from shy youth to champion

Melbourne, Australia---Naomi Osaka, who swept to her fourth Grand Slam title in as many major finals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jennifer Brady on Saturday, has made a rapid and at times uncomfortable climb to the top......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 21st, 2021

Osaka’s rise: from shy youngster to four-time Grand Slam champion

Naomi Osaka, who swept to her fourth Grand Slam title in as many major finals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jennifer Brady on Saturday, has made a rapid and at times uncomfortable climb to the top. The 23-year-old’s zen-like mentality and increased gravitas on and off the court have elevated her alongside Serena Williams to being […] The post Osaka’s rise: from shy youngster to four-time Grand Slam champion appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 21st, 2021

Thiem falls as Osaka, Serena survive at Aussie Open

Melbourne---US Open champion Dominic Thiem became the first major men’s casualty of the Australian Open on Sunday, as Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams survived scares to reach the quarter-finals......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2021

St. Scho-Tacloban grad ranks 1st on this year’s med-tech licensure exam

A graduate from St. Scholastica’s College-Tacloban has bested the almost 3,000 examinees who took this year’s Medical Technologist Licensure Examination held last month. With a 91.40 percent rating, Fred Lawrence Delantar Samante gained the top spot from the 1,919 who passed the examination. Samante was followed by Angelo Pansoy Huliganga from the Far Eastern University-Nicanor […] The post St. Scho-Tacloban grad ranks 1st on this year’s med-tech licensure exam appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2021

Biden opens major push for LGBTIQ rights abroad

President Joe Biden has quickly launched a campaign to support LGBTIQ people abroad, putting their rights higher on the US foreign policy agenda than ever before......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2021

Masters plans to admit limited number of fans

Los Angeles---History-making Masters runner-up Cameron Smith of Australia and 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa are excited to see Augusta National’s plans for limited spectators at the major showdown in three months time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 13th, 2021

Charlie Woods wows dad Tiger

Miami—Charlie Woods wowed his 15-time major champion father Tiger with an impressive eagle for Team Woods in the PNC Championship family tournament in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 21st, 2020

Kim: US Open golf& rsquo;s masked marauder

Hong Kong---In this coronavirus-ravaged sporting year, it was somehow fitting that golf’s final major champion of 2020 holed the winning putt wearing a mask as well as, we assume, a smile......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 17th, 2020