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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Texas, Oregon will meet for NCAA team title

   Beau Hossler tried to raise his arms in triumph after his par putt fell Tuesday to give Texas, No. 2 in the latest Golfstat rankings, a 4-1 victory over No. 3 Southern California and a berth in the NCAA men’s Division I Championship match-play final, but he couldn’t.
   The junior from Mission Viejo, Calif., a member of the 2015 U.S. Walker Cup team, injured his shoulder so badly he couldn’t swing the club on the final hole of his match with USC’s Andrew Levitt, a senior from Ladera Ranch, Calif., over the 7,014-yard, par-70 Eugene Country Club layout in Eugene, Ore.
   Hossler managed to get his second shot into a greenside bunker with a swing that left him writhing in pain and the match behind him was allowed to play through while Hossler figured out if he could finish the hole. He putted out of the bunker rather than risk a full bunker shot and the ball skittered into the far fringe from where he holed the par putt that sent Texas to the final.
   The Longhorns also got wins from Scottie Scheffler, a sophomore from Dallas, Doug Ghim, a sophomore from Arlington Heights, Ill., and Taylor Funk, a redshirt sophomore from Ponte Vedra, Fla.
   The Hossler injury overshadowed, somewhat, the 3-2 victory for host Oregon, ranked 20th, over No. 4 Illinois in the other semifinal. Sulman Raza, a redshirt junior from Eugene, Ore. rammed home a five-foot par putt to finish off a 1-up victory over Illinois’ Charlie Danielson, a senior from Osceola, Wis., to clinch the win for the Ducks.
   The Ducks also got victories from Edwin Yi, a freshman from Beaumont, Calif. and Zach Foushee, a senior from West Linn, Ore.
   Oregon is on a roll heading into the final and the injury to Hossler doesn’t make things any easier for Texas.
   Earlier in the day, the Longhorns got victories from Hossler, Ghim, Funk and Gavin Hall, a junior from Pittsford, N.Y., to defeat No. 18 Oklahoma, 4-1.
   Southern Cal advanced to its meeting with the Longhorns by claiming a 4-1 victory over No. 8 Vanderbilt. The winners for the Trojans were Sean Crocker, a sophomore from Westlake Valley, Calif., Rico Hoey, a junior from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. who was the runnerup in the individual chase, and Justin Suh, a freshman from San Jose, Calif.
   Oregon ended the reign of defending champion LSU, ranked 12th, in the quarterfinals with a 3-1-1 decision. The Ducks got wins from Foushee, Raza and Aaron Wise, a sophomore from Elsinore, Calif. who claimed the individual national championship a day earlier.
   Big Ten champion Illinois reached the semifinals with a 4-1 win over No. 19 South Carolina. The Fighting Illini got victories from Danielson, Thomas Detry, a senior from Belgium, Edoardo Lipparelli, a freshman from Italy, and Nick Hardy, a sophomore from Northbrook, Ill.

Applebrook's McNabb cashes in at Sunnybrook

   Applebrook Golf Club head pro Dave McNabb has seen the bright lights of the PGA Championship, earning a trip to that major stage through the PGA Professional National Championship in 2013 and 2014.
   Some of that experience probably paid off Tuesday as he closed out a 5-under 67 at Sunnybrook Golf Club to grab the richest prize available to a club pro in a one-day tournament anywhere in the country, the $100,000 that goes to the winner of the Haverford Trust Philadelphia PGA Classic.
   McNabb’s round on a sun-splashed day at the 6,893-yard, par-72 Sunnybrook layout gave him the victory in the 20th edition of an event sponsored by the Haverford Trust Company, which also sponsors the Philadelphia Section PGA throughout its season through the Player of the Year points race.
    McNabb finished two shots ahead of Whitford Country Club assistant pro Andrew Turner, who carded a 3-under 69. Turner was the qualifying medalist in a local U.S. Open qualifier at Lebanon Country Club and will tee it up in a bid to make the field at Oakmont Country Club in a sectional qualifier Monday.
   Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Bill Sautter was alone in third place with a 2-under 70. The only other sub-par rounds of the day were by Bill Walker of Riverton Country Club and Jakob Gerney of Trump National Golf Club Philadelphia, as they finished tied for fourth at 1-under 71.
   Five players – John Appelget of Wildwood Golf & Country Club, Eric Kennedy, the head pro at Overbrook Golf Club, Corey McAlarney of host Sunnybrook, Michael Little of Lookaway Golf Club and Steve Swartz of the Country Club of Harrisburg – finished tied for sixth at even-par 72.
   Stu Ingraham, the head of instruction at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square, had a 79 at Sunnybrook, but might have been feeling the after-effects of a long weekend at the Senior PGA Championship at the Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich.
   It was a long weekend because Ingraham made the cut on the number at even-par 142 in the Champions Tour major. Ingraham had weekend rounds of 75 and 72 to finish in a tie for 68th at 5-over 289.

Gillman will be a U.S. Amateur veteran when she arrives at Rolling Green

   Kristen Gillman was 16 when she headed to the U.S. Women’s Amateur at the Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y. on Long Island in 2014 to play in the biggest event of her life.
   “I was playing in the Women’s Amateur for the first time, I had no expectations,” Gillman said via Skype Tuesday as the hype for this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Rolling Green Golf Club started to build at media day. “I went there to have as much fun as I could.”
   By the end of the week, Gillman and Canadian teen Brooke Henderson were the last two standing. And when Henderson, who turned professional later that year and already has an LPGA victory under her belt, won the 17th and 18th holes, Gillman was 2-down at the break of the scheduled 36-hole final.
   “I just said to myself, you didn’t come all this way, eight days and all these matches, to lose,” Gillman said. “I just had to keep fighting.”
   And fight she did. Gillman would fall 3-down with 10 holes to go when she unleashed a furious finishing kick that included five birdies and gave her a 2-up victory. Her name is inscribed on the Robert Cox Trophy along with the greats of the game.
   The victory also took her to the game’s biggest events, last summer’s U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club chief among them, and to team events around the world. And she doesn’t officially matriculate at Alabama until later this year.
   “I was rooting for Alabama (at last week’s NCAA Championship) and I’m excited to get to there and try to help them,” Gillman said.
   Gillman will be headed for Springfield, Delaware County to tackle the 6,259-yard, par-71 William Flynn design that is Rolling Green Golf Club beginning Aug. 1. It is 60 days away and the preparations are reaching a fever pitch.
   Gillman will not be the only teen-age former champion in the field as last year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur final saw Hannah O’Sullivan of Chandler, Ariz. defeat Sierra Brooks of Sorrento, Fla., 3 and 2, in a battle of 17-year-olds. O’Sullivan is headed to Southern California while Brooks will play her college golf at Wake Forest.
   The other star of the championship will be the golf course itself as the USGA returns to Rolling Green for the first time since the 1976 U.S. Women’s Open, won by World Golf Hall of Famer JoAnne Carner, her eighth and final USGA victory.
   Flynn made full use of the elevation changes on the property (they aren’t kidding about the Rolling part) and the greens are borderline diabolical.
   “The greens here, Flynn leaves the players above the hole time and time again,” tournament director Shannon Rouillard said Tuesday.
   It is the second of four USGA events that will be staged in Pennsylvania this year with the U.S. Open returning to Oakmont Country Club for the ninth time, the U.S. Mid-Amateur being staged at Stonewall in northwest Chester County and the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur slated for The Kahkwa Club in Erie.
   “Pennsylvania is so rich in golf, so rich in the history of the game with so many classic golf courses,” Rouillard said. “We just can’t help but keep coming back to Pennsylvania and to the Philadelphia area in particular.”
   You can see 156 of the best women players in the world, free of charge, beginning Aug. 1 at Rolling Green. Parking will be at nearby Cardinal O’Hara High School.
   There will be 36 holes of qualifying for match play Aug. 1 and 2. The field will be whittled to the 64 players who qualify for match play, which gets under way with the first round Aug. 3. Second- and third-round matches will be Aug. 4, the quarterfinals will be Aug. 5, the semifinals Aug. 6 and the scheduled 36-hole final will be Aug. 7.
   Visit the tournament website www.rggc2016.com for information, opportunities for corporate sponsorship and updates as the U.S. Women’s Amateur gets closer.