The U.S. Open doesn't randomly group golfers into threesomes when making tee times. Think themes.
For example, the English threesome of Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett and Ian Poulter tees off No. 1 at Shinnecock Hills at 6:51 (Central time). Spaniards Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrero Bello tee off No. 1 at 12:14 p.m.
Money leader Justin Thomas, Official World Golf Rankings leader Dustin Johnson and TV ratings leader Tiger Woods tee off No. 1 at 12:47 p.m.
So it's never too tough to guess Gary Woodland's playing partners with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Think long ball.
Woodland, who ranks fifth on the PGA tour in driving distance (313.3), ranks third in his threesome in that statistic. Tony Finau (315.3) is second on tour, Luke List (314.6) fourth. They tee off at 12:03 p.m. from the first tee. FS1 and Fox will televise the U.S. Open.
Woodland, who on Super Bowl Sunday won the Phoenix Open for his third tour title, is coming off a slump-busting, tied-for-23rd finish in the Memorial two weeks ago. Knocked out of contention by a blow-up round on Saturday, Woodland shot 69-68-75-67 for the tournament.
The strong showing enabled Woodland to break a streak of five consecutive missed cuts.
This will be Woodland's eight U.S. Open. He missed the cut three times and his best finish, tied for 23rd, came at Congressional in 2011.
A look at how Woodland, 34, stacks up statistically against the leaders in various categories heading into the U.S. Open:
|Category||Gary Woodland rank||PGA tour leader
|Official World Golf Ranking||55||Dustin Johnson|
|2018 PGA Tour money list
||32 ($2,011,702)||Justin Thomas ($5,764,100)|
|Vegasinsider.com odds to win||175/1||Dustin Johnson 7/1|
|Driving distance||5 (313.3)||Trey Mullinax (318.4)|
|Driving accuracy||T69 (63.57)
||Henrik Stenson (77.9)|
|Greens in regulation||5 (71.35)||Henrik Stenson (75.0)|
|Scrambling||196 (52.47)||Louis Oosthuizen (67.98)|
|Sand-save pct.||192 (39.84)||Phil Mickelson (64.21)|
|Strokes gained putting||70||Jason Day|
|Source for stats: PGAtour.com|
Stillwater, Okla. — Illustrations of the punitive nature of Karsten Creek, site of the NCAA championship, are easy to find.
First, consider that Northwestern, which led the first day after stroke play with a team score of 8-under 280, didn’t make the first cut, blowing up to 308 in the second round and finishing at 296 in Sunday’s third round.
The Wildcats tied for 16th with Stanford and only the top 15 advanced to today’s final round of stroke play. The top eight advance to match play.
Second, consider that Kansas which did not have anything higher than a double bogey on a card en route to winning the three-round Pacific Regional and had just four doubles, had 12 doubles and seven triples in three rounds at Karsten Creek.
Third, realize that the more Oklahoma State players compete on their home course, the more the point that conservative golf is the smart way to go.
“This course is so demanding you can’t really force anything out here,” said OSU’s Matthew Wolf, who shot 69 Sunday. “As soon as you force things and go after pins, that’s when you start making high numbers and mistakes that you wouldn’t normally make. I think we really had a good game plan sticking with being conservative.”
Karsten Creek has been OSU’s home course since 1994.
“That’s such an advantage we have knowing the course,” Wolf said.“Things might look pretty easy from the fairway, but if you miss it in one direction you’re probably making par or bogey. We stuck to our game plan well, aimed for the middle of the green and took advantage of the par 5s.”
A look at each of KU's players' score breakdowns from the NCAA finals:
|Daniel Sutton, Sr.||1||9||34||7||2||1||219 (+3)|
|Daniel Hudson, Sr.||0||9||34||9||1||1||221 (+5)|
|Harry Hillier, Fr.||1
|Andy Spencer, So.
|Charlie Hillier, Jr.||0||4||31||14||2||3||239 (+23)|
||2||40||156||52||12||8||+30 (Counting top four
scores each day)
A week earlier, at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton, Calif., crooked numbers were far more rare. The five Jayhawks combined for only four doubles and didn't have any doubles en route to the winning the Pacific Regional.
|Andy Spencer||15||32||7||0||208 (-8)|
|Daniel Sutton||15||30||8||1||211 (-5)|
|Charlie Hillier||11||35||7||1||214 (-2)|
|Daniel Hudson||11||33||10||0||215 (-1)|
|Harry Hillier||11||35||6||2||215 (-1)|
The players' combined breakdowns for both the regional and the finals:
|Daniel Sutton||1||24||64||15||3||1||430 (-2)|
|Daniel Hudson||0||20||67||19||1||1||436 (+4)|
|Andy Spencer||0||22||62||21||3||0||437 (+5)|
|Charlie Hillier||0||15||66||21||3||3||453 (+21)|
In becoming one of four Big 12 schools to win one of the six NCAA men's golf regionals and one of seven Big 12 schools to advance to the finals, Kansas was a model of steadiness and consistency.
KU's team score for the three days was -7, -6, -7. For comparison purposes, second-place Stanford scored -3, -5, -11. All five KU golfers finished in the top 23 in the 75-man regional. Stanford had just two in the top 23.
Eleven of the 13 teams in the Pacific Regional in Stockton, California, had at least one eagle during the tournament. Kansas and Southern California were the lone exceptions.
All 15 rounds played by KU's five golfers fell in the 67-to-74 range and 11 of the 15 were in the 69-to-72 range.
|Name||Class||Hometown||NCAA Regional score||NCAA Regional tidbits|
|Andy Spencer||Sophomore||Leawood||69-69-70—208||3.77 average on par-4 holes
lowest in regional.
|Daniel Sutton||Senior||Birmingham, England
||Opening-day 67 team's best
score for tournament.
|Charlie Hillier||Junior||Te Puke, New Zealand||72-73-69—214||KU's low scorer on final day.|
|Harry Hillier||Freshman||Te Puke, New Zealand||74-69-72—215||Averaged team-best 4.5
on par-5 holes.
|Daniel Hudson||Senior||Lagrange, Illinois||73-71-71—215||Team-best 1-under
on par-3 holes.
The regional round of tournament amounted to a resounding endorsement for the Big 12.
Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State won a regional, and Baylor, Iowa State and Texas Tech also will be among the field of 30 at the NCAA men's golf championships at Oklahoma State's home course, Karsten Creek, May 25-30.
This is the first time the Big 12 has had seven schools advance to the finals. TCU, which finished eighth in the Pacific Regional won by Kansas, was the only Big 12 school in the NCAA tournament that did not advance.
Kansas wins regional, advances to NCAA national championships in men’s golf for first time since 2000
When Kansas last advanced beyond the NCAA regionals in men’s golf, President Bill Clinton had recently announced that GPS access would no longer be restricted to just the U.S. military, and the Xbox did not yet exist.
It had been that long, 2000, to be exact. The drought has ended.
The Jayhawks played their way into the NCAA national championships by winning the Pacific Retional in most impressive fashion Wednesday at Spanos Regional Course in Stockton, California.
The top five schools among 13 competing at the regional qualified and Kansas left no doubt from start to finish in the final round that it would be included.
The Jayhawks finished one stroke ahead of Stanford, two ahead of Iowa State and five in front of Alabama. Oregon was in safe position to secure the final spot.
Each school had five golfers competing, but just the four best rounds each day counted toward the team score.
KU’s strong depth proved to the be the difference. All five golfers finished the regional with under-par scores.
KU’s individual finishes and places at the time its last player finished his round: Andy Spencer (-8, T5), Daniel Sutton (-5, T10), Charlie Hillier (-2, T24).Harry Hillier and Daniel Hudson both finished the tournament at 1-under.
The national championships take place May 25-30 at Karsten Creek, Oklahoma State’s home course.
Oregon’s Norman Xiong shot a 62 Wednesday and was low medalist at 15-under for the three rounds, edging Stanford’s Brandon Wu (-14).
I filed updates throughout the day, tracking the scores on golfstat.com:
3 p.m.: Andy Spencer, who birdied No. 17 to get back to 2-under on the day and 8-under for the tournament, is KU’s lone remaining player on the course. Daniel Sutton finished at 5-under, Charlie Hillier at 2-under, Harry Hillier and Daniel Hudson at 1-under.
2:45 p.m.: Freshman Harry Hillier (-20) finished his third and final round at -1, which also was his score for the tournament and Kansas expanded its lead over second-place Iowa State to three strokes.
2:30 p.m.: Junior Charlie Hillier, the first KU player to complete his round, carded a bogey on No. 18, but still shot a 3-under 69 for the Jayhawks, tied for first with Iowa State at 19-under.
2:15 p.m.: In a remarkable show of depth and consistency, all five Kansas players are under par in today's round. Andy Spencer, Daniel Sutton and Daniel Hudson each have birdied their most recent holes and Charlie and Harry Hillier have gone birdie, par in their most recent two holes. Kansas (-22) is in first place, four strokes ahead of second-place Iowa State.
2 p.m.: How is that Iowa State and Kansas are doing so well in a sport that warm-weather schools tend to dominate?
Kansas coach Jamie Bermel and Cyclones coach Andrew Tank have taken similar paths in building their rosters. Both coaches try to land the best players in their states and then head overseas to recruit tough-minded players.
KU’s five players competing in the regional come from Kansas (Andy Spencer), Illinois (Daniel Hudson), England (Daniel Sutton) and New Zealand (Charlie and Harry Hillier).
Iowa State has two players from Iowa competing, two from New Zealand and one from Australia.
With their five players having anywhere from two to three holes remaining, Kansas stands in first at 21-under, three strokes ahead of Iowa State and Alabama, who are tied for second.
Oregon’s Norman Xiong and Stanford’s Brandon Wu are tied for the individual lead at 12-under and KU’s Andy Spencer is tied for fifth at 8-under.
1:45 p.m.: Junior Charlie Hillier of New Zealand is having a terrific final round in the Pacific Regional at Spanos Regional Course in Stockton, California. Through 16 holes, Hillier had made five birdies and one bogey. His brother Harry is a bomber off the tee, but Charlie’s strength is his exceptional short game. Kansas (-21) has opened a three-stroke lead on second-place Iowa State and is 16 strokes ahead of sixth-place LSU.
1:30 p.m.: On a day when the pressure was greatest, all five Jayhawks have delivered steady rounds and not one is over par. Charlie Hillier is -3 for the day, Daniel Sutton -2, Andy Spencer -1 and Daniel Hudson and Harry Hillier are even par and Kansas remains atop the leaderboard at 19-under, one stroke in front of Iowa State.
1:15 p.m.: KU's impressive performance in the clutch continues and the Jayhawks are back on top at 20-under, two strokes ahead of Iowa State. Senior Daniel Hudson of Birmingham, England, birdied the first three holes of the back nine to move into a tie for eighth at 6-under, two strokes behind sophomore Andy Spencer of Leawood, who is tied for third.
1 p.m.: The Big 12 certainly is flexing its golf muscles in regionals across the country.
Iowa State (-20) leads Kansas by a stroke in the Pacific Regional.
Oklahoma State has an eight-stroke lead at the Columbus Regional and Texas Tech is fifth there.
Texas has a 27-stroke lead in the Raleigh Regional and Baylor is in third at the College Station Regional.
The NCAA Championships will be held from May 25-30 at Karsten Creek, home course of Oklahoma State.
12:45 p.m. The Jayhawks' aren't taking any chances and are delivering clutch performances up and down the lineup. They are tied with Iowa State for first at 19-under, 16 strokes ahead of sixth-place LSU.
Andy Spencer is tied for third at 8-under and all five golfers are tied for 24th or better in a field of 75 golfers.
12:30 p.m.: Kansas sophomore Andy Spencer, the team’s steadiest performer throughout the regional, finished his front nine with consecutive birdies to move into a tie for third place with Iowa State’s Sam Vincent at 8-under. Spencer shot 69-69 the first two rounds.
Kansas, in second place at 18-under, one stroke behind Iowa State, has a 15-stroke lead on sixth-place Colorado.
The regional includes four schools ranked int the top 20 nationally, but it looks as if just two, No. 7 Alabama and No. 18 Stanford, will qualify. No. 6 LSU is in eighth, five strokes out of fifth at even par, and No. 19 Southern California is a stroke behind LSU.
12:15 p.m.: New Zealand has been very, very good to Big 12 schools at the Pacific Regional.
Sam Vincent and Denzel Ieremia of New Zealand are Iowa State's two top scorers. Vincent is in third, Ieremia in fifth on the individual leaderboard, helping the Cyclones to the top of the team standings at 19-under, one stroke ahead of second-place Kansas. Brothers Charlie (tied for 20th) and Harry Hillier (tied for 24th) of New Zealand are competing well for KU.
Midway through the round, Kansas has a 12-stroke cushion on fifth-place Oregon.
Noon: Tied for first with Iowa State at 18-under, KU is 12 strokes ahead of fifth-place Oregon. KU has shown remarkable balance and depth. All five players are under par for the tournament. Andy Spencer is tied for fifth at 6-under. Daniel Sutton (-4) is tied for 11th. Charlie Hillier (-2) is tied for 19th and Harry Hillier and Daniel Hudson are tied for 22nd at 1-under.
11:45 a.m.: Junior Charlie Hillier has finished his front nine in 3-under with six pars and three birdies and Kansas is tied with Iowa State at 19-under, 12 strokes in front of fifth-place TCU. Things are looking good.
11:30 a.m.: Harry Hillier, Daniel Sutton and Daniel Hudson all have carded a bogey since the last update and KU has fallen into second place at 16-under and the Jayhawks' lead over fifth-place TCU has dropped from 11 to eight strokes.
11:15 a.m.: The Hillier brothers from New Zealand came to play today. Charlie a junior is 2-under through seven holes. Harry, a freshman, is 2-under through six holes. Kansas sits atop the leaderboard at 19-under, two strokes ahead of second-place Iowa State, and 11 strokes ahead of fifth-place TCU.
11 a.m.: Kansas is off to a blistering start in the third and final round of the Pacific Regional of the NCAA men's golf tournament.
With their five players (only four best count toward team score) having played through anywhere from two to six holes, the Jayhawks are 5-under on the day and in a first-place tie with Iowa State at 18-under.
The Kansas men’s golf team made it to an NCAA regional nine times in Ross Randall’s final 10 seasons of a 27-year career as head coach, a stretch that included eight consecutive appearances (1998-2005). Upon Randall’s retirement after the 2007 season, KU experienced an eight-year drought and is in the midst of a revival under sixth-year coach Jamie Bermel.
The Jayhawks are playing in an NCAA Regional for the third consecutive year, this time the Pacific Regional in Stockton.
If KU can finish in the top five, it will advance to the NCAA Finals for the first time since 2000. Off to a good start, the Jayhawks were in second at the beginning of the second of three days of competition.
Kansas is seeking its sixth appearance in the NCAA Championships.
A look at some details of the first five:
|Year||Place in NCAA
|1989||22||John Ogden/ John Sinovic
||Sean Thayer MC/148|
|1993||15||Matt Gogel||Matt Gogel (T-34)|
|1996||15||Dan Rooney||Slade Adams (T-21)|
|1999||22||Chris Thompson||Ryan Vermeer (T-23)|
|2000||21||Conrad Roberts||Ryan Vermeer (T-30)|
Live scoring is available at golfstat.com. It offers a hole-by-hole scorecard for each player. A quick check of it this morning revealed that Daniel Sutton had carded an early bogey, Andy Spencer an early birdie, drawing them into a tie for fourth place in the individual standings. Shortly after that, KU had pulled within a stroke of first-place Iowa State in the team standings, thanks to consecutive birdies from Harry Hillier.
Warning: Tracking golfers via live scoring can be very addictive.
2:08 p.m. update: Kansas is in first place in the team standings, one stroke ahead of Alabama, the nation's No. 7-ranked team.
2:12 p.m. update: Kansas has fallen two strokes behind Alabama.
2:19 p.m. update: The Jayhawks have drawn within one stroke of Alabama.
2:32 p.m. update: KU and the Crimson Tide are tied for first at 14-under.
2:48 p.m. update: Kansas has fallen into second-place tie with Iowa State at 13-under, one stroke behind Alabama.
2:56 p.m. update: Kansas has dropped into third place, one stroke behind co-leaders at 14-under Alabama and Iowa State.
3:09 p.m. update: The top four scores from the five golfers competing for each team count, so after two days, that's eight rounds per team, a lot of room for separation, yet somehow the team scores are almost always so close. That always blows me away.
Alabama and Iowa State are atop the team leaderboard with 562 strokes (14-under) and Kansas is third with 563 (13-under). The rest of the schools still have golfers on the course. At the moment, Stanford stands four at 8-under, TCU fifth at 7-under.
Many who never took up golf cling to the false notion that it takes no toughness to play it. Some even maintain it’s not a sport because it doesn’t feature contact with other humans.
Anyone who thinks that should watch the best Kansas golf team since 2000 compete. These guys aren’t just golfers, they’re grinders. If they had their druthers, they would play the NCAA regionals in Siberia. Unfortunately, there isn’t a regional there so they’ll prepare to go where the NCAA sends them when the field is announced next Thursday.
Wind and cold made Prairie Dunes, a tough golf course under the best of conditions, a severe test of mental toughness during the Big 12 Championships played Monday through Wednesday in Hutchinson.
Kansas coach Jamie Bermel loved hearing what senior Chase Hanna, who by the way would not be intimidated by putting on Siberian ice, said as he walked off the course after the third round on his way to dinner: “I hope it’s blowing 40 tomorrow.” Half of Hanna’s wish was granted. Winds reached 20 mph and the senior from Shawnee Mission East High birdied four of five holes from 13 through 17 to become the school’s first conference champion since 1995.
Slade Adams, who died last October, was Big Eight tri-champion in 1995. Adams made the cut at the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional. Matt Gogel, retired from the PGA tour, on which he won an event and now is an announcer, won the outright Big Eight title in 1991.
Hanna has an impressive trophy case. He won three Sunflower League titles, the Kansas Junior Amateur and the Missouri Junior Amateur. He became the first amateur to win the Tom Watson Challenge, defeating Watson in the summer of 2015, and won the prestigious Kansas Amateur.
“I’d put this at the top,” Hanna said, “because I was competing for Kansas.” Spoken like a true third-generation Jayhawk.
In college golf tournaments, five golfers compete and only the four best scores count toward the team total. Nobody shot worst than a 75 for Kansas on the final day. Texas won the conference championship and had an 83 tossed out the final day. Oklahoma State finished second by a stroke, 1,168-1,169, and had a 78 tossed out the final round. Kansas finished four strokes behind Teas.
Hanna and freshman Andy Spencer were high school teammates. Danie Hudson’s from LaGrange, Ill. Daniel Sutton’s from Birmingham, England, and Charlie Hillier’s from Te Puke, New Zealand.
“These guys are all used to playing in the wind and cold,” Bermel said. “Those were good conditions for us.”