WICHITA, Kan. — Jim Herman wasn’t happy with his performance at last week’s U.S. Open, finishing 36 holes at 10 over par and missing the cut. So he came to Wichita for this week’s Nationwide Tour event determined to do something about it — and if his first 36 holes this week are any indication, Herman is definitely on the right track.
After posting a 66 Thursday afternoon, the 34-year-old Herman used a run of five consecutive birdies on Crestview Country Club’s back nine to shoot 64 on Friday, one of four players to record a 7-under score in Round 2. Herman’s bogey-free score of 12-under 130 for the first 36 holes led to a two-stroke lead over Stanford product Joseph Bramlett, a runner-up earlier this year at the Chile Classic, and veteran Robert Damron, the winner of the 2001 Verizon Byron Nelson Classic on the PGA Tour and the 2008 Athens Regional Foundation Classic on the Nationwide Tour.
Herman’s stretch of consecutive birdies on the back nine started with a five-footer at the short par-4 11th after almost driving the green. He then holed 15- and 25-foot birdie putts and the next two par 4s before two-putting from 20 feet for birdie at the par-5 14th. His last birdie of the day came at the par-4 15th when he holed an eight-foot putt.
Herman’s two-day total this week is also just one stroke off Camilo Benedetti’s best first 36 holes on the 2012 Nationwide Tour, recorded at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open. The Palm City, Fla., resident was a 36-hole co-leader earlier this year at the Stadion Classic and eventually finished solo sixth in Athens. His only victory on the Nationwide Tour came at the 2010 Moonah Classic in Australia, where he was the solo leader after the first two days.
“I really wasn’t very happy with my effort at Olympic last week. I hit some sloppy shots and knew I could play better than that,” Herman said. “Today, I knew everything was going along pretty well because my putter was really working. Overall, I’ll take another bogey-free round today and move on to the weekend. I just want to keep doing what I do and that’s hitting a lot of greens. Sometimes I struggle doing that.”
Both Bramlett and Damron played in the afternoon but with light winds, each took advantage of the benign conditions. Bramlett’s 64 matched the same number he posted in the final round in Chile earlier this year and included a 5-under 31 on the back nine with four birdies over his last five holes.
“I’m happy to get off to a good start this week. I had never been to Kansas before playing here this year and it’s nice to not be hovering around the cut line. I’ve done that quite a few times on Friday this year,” Bramlett said.
Damron’s 65 was his best score on the 2012 Nationwide Tour, and he got off to a fast start in his second round with birdies on four of his first five holes, not having to make a putt longer than 10 feet during that stretch. “I had my short irons going early and thought if I just got it around the hole, I’d make it. I really didn’t hit the ball that great overall and made some mistakes that I got away with, “ Damron said. “I’ve been able to play a full schedule this year for the first time and that’s been good. I haven’t done that in awhile due to injury, apathy, you name it.”
a group of six other players, including first-round leader Casey Wittenberg, are in a group at 9-under 133 and just three strokes off the pace.
for the second consecutive year in Wichita, 65 players made the cut and this year’s cut number was 4-under 138. Last year’s cut at Crestview Country Club fell at 2-under 140. It matched the lowest cut on the 2012 Nationwide Tour: 4-under 138 at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
–Second-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win nine times in the previous 22 years in Wichita. The last to do so was Scott Piercy in 2008. thus far on the 2012 Nationwide Tour, four of 11 events have been won by the 36-hole leader/co-leaders. However, the last player to lead at the halfway point and go on to win was Luke List at the South Georgia Classic. List led by one stroke after two rounds and eventually won by two strokes.
–Bubba Dickerson eagled both par 5s on his first nine (Nos. 14 & 18), becoming the 18th different player to make a pair of eagles in the same round on the 2012 Nationwide Tour.
–Luke List, currently second on the 2012 Nationwide Tour money list, made the biggest move up the leaderboard in Round 2, jumping 79 spots into a tie for 15th after shooting 64 on Friday, his best round of the season.
–After 79 players recorded sub-70 scores in Round 1, 80 players shot scores in the 60s Friday. Last year on Friday, there were 60 scores in the 60s at Crestview. The second-round scoring average was 69.769, the second-lowest for a Friday on the Nationwide Tour this season. Last year’s Friday scoring average at the PHS Wichita Open was 70.659.
–Matt Davidson, making his first start on the Nationwide Tour since the 2011 Nationwide Tour Championship at the end of the season, is tied for 15th. Davidson finished No. 34 on the 2011 money list, a slot that earned him complete exempt status before a pickup basketball game in the off-season delivered a left-knee injury. He will play the third round with two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, who is also tied for 15th at 7 under through the first two rounds.
Casey Martin summed it up best. After a Tuesday practice round at the Olympic Club with his old Stanford teammate, Martin, the current golf coach at Oregon (and only golfer to have a Supreme Court decision named after him) said, "I get to go see all the top players coming up and watch them when they’re young. no disrespect to anybody I’ve seen, but there is no one even close that was like Tiger."
Martin should know. He saw Tiger as a junior and as a collegian and then as a fellow tour player during the 1998 – 2002 stretch when Tiger did things no one dreamed possible in the game. And very few people would argue with Martin's assessment. no golfer in his 20s comes close to the kind of career Tiger had when he was their age. And no junior golfer can touch the kind of dominance Tiger had when he was kid.
But all that is history. This week is about the here and now. And as we prepare for the first tee shot of the 112th U.S. Open, the question remains: is the Tiger Woods of today the same golfer that he was 10 years ago?
the reflexive answer is no, but that response isn’t as cut and dried as it was at the beginning of the season when Tiger was still struggling with swing changes that nobody understood and still battling the aches and pains of this injury or that.
His supporters will point to his two wins at Bay Hill and Muirfield Village against some of the strongest fields of the year and to his stats: no.1 in total driving, ball striking, birdies on par-threes, and putts made from 20 to 25 feet, and no.7 overall in greens hit in regulation. They will point to the Sunday 62 he shot at the Honda Classic to climb into second place, and the birdie-par-birdie finish at Jack's Memorial Tournament, a stretch that included the shot of the year so far: a flop shot from high rough that trundled into the hole.
Those are all valid points and serviceable reasons why Tiger is the favorite to win his 15th major championship this week. But his detractors have some good points as well. when he got into contention at the AT&T at Pebble Beach, a course he has owned over the years, Tiger shot a final-round 75 playing head-to-head with Phil Mickelson, as he will be doing the first two days at Olympic. then, immediately following his 62 at the Honda, he withdrew from the WGC event at Doral citing a booboo on his Achilles tendon.
He followed up the win at Bay Hill with a T40 finish at the Masters, a missed cut in Charlotte, and another T40 at the Players Championship: not typical Tiger post-win performances, and certainly nothing you could point to as a reason he will win this week.
if coming in with a "hot hand" is your rationale for picking a favorite, then Jason Dufner would have to be your man. He also has two wins and a second, but they have come in his last four starts. He hits more greens than Tiger and has played better on Thursdays and Fridays than any player on tour all year. Yet, Dufner is not part of any marquee pairing, nor is he generating much buzz.
Tiger's practice round with Casey Martin attracted thousands of fans and scores of photographers – his pre-tournament press conference watched by millions. Dufner and Hunter Mahan (the only other player with two PGA Tour wins this year) warmed up to Olympic with only smattering of fans walking every step, their shots greeted with polite applause once standard in golf in the pre-Tiger era.
Tiger could very well turn his major championship fortunes around this week. certainly his ball striking is as good as it has been in several years and the swagger seems to have returned after the Memorial.
But the golf world is a much different place now than it was when a pre-major victory for Tiger could be viewed as a prelude to another dominating performance.
"the reality is without Tiger in the mix, it's opened up opportunities for other guys to get in there and get themselves a major championship," PGA Champion and Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger said. "It's a return, really, to when Curtis (Strange) and I were playing. it was deemed there were no real dominant players. as much as Greg Norman stayed on top of the world rankings, there were several patches where there was a different winner at every major."
Tiger is no longer the longest driver on tour (that title goes to Bubba Watson), nor is he the best putter. Aaron Baddeley, Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson and a host of others gain more shots with the flat stick than Tiger.
But he is still the rumbling giant, the man whose every birdie can cause the earth to tremble and the hills of San Francisco to reverberate with a deafening roar.
He might not win, or even contend. But for the first time in several major championship starts, nobody is counting him out. And you can bet that everyone – player and fan like – will keep an eye on the leaderboard, and stand a little straighter when the name Tiger Woods appears somewhere near the top.
April 27, 2012 11:50 pm By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
the Steelers went out of their comfort zone in two very big ways, bucking their history and challenging their own sense of rejecting players of questionable character when they drafted Ohio State Mike Adams on the second round Friday night.
It's the first time since 1968 that they drafted two offensive linemen on the first two rounds, taking Adams one day after they drafted Stanford guard David DeCastro with the first pick.
And they dug deep into their research to draft a player who tested positive for marijuana use at the Indianapolis combine and then lied to everyone about it.
Adams, who is 6-7, 322 pounds, apparently was mortified when he learned he had tested positive. A native of Farrell, Pa., and a lifelong Steelers fan he said, according to his agent, Monroeville native Eric Metz, “I blew it. I blew my chance of being a Steeler.''
Metz said he told him, “If you were my son, I'd tell you to get in the car, drive up there, see them face to face like a man and tell them you screwed up. he got in his car and drove over there. It was important to him, he wanted to be a Steeler.''
when he arrived, he met with Colbert, coach Mike Tomlin and president Art Rooney.
“We told him he was off our draft board,'' Colbert said.
but the fact that Adams made that drive, which the Steelers appreciated, led to circumstances that culminated in them drafting him Friday night.
the Steelers laid out some stipulations for Adams to get back on their draft board, which included counseling. Colbert said he met them all, and the put gave him a first-round grade on their board.
Colbert admitted he was a risk, but said all draft picks are risks, and that Adams showed them he is serious about making up for his mistake.
First Published 2012-04-28 00:48:53
Woods closed with a 3-under 69, sweeping his arm when the final putt dropped, then slamming down his first in a celebration that was a long time coming. it had been 749 days and 26 official tournaments since he last won on Nov. 15, 2009 at the Australian Masters, back when he looked as though he would rule golf as long as he played.
Alabama edged Oklahoma State in the final round of voting Sunday and will play the top-ranked Tigers in an all-SEC BCS national title game on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.
The Cowboys made a late surge by beating Oklahoma 44-10 on Saturday night, and closed the gap between themselves and Alabama in the polls. But it was not enough to avoid the first title game rematch in the 14-year history of the BCS.
The Tigers (13-0) beat the Tide 9-6 in overtime on Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama (11-1) finished second in both the Harris and coaches’ polls by a wide enough margin to make up for the fact that Oklahoma State was ahead in the computer ratings.
The Cowboys (11-1), champions of the Big 12, will play in the Fiesta Bowl against Stanford from the Pac-12.
STILLWATER, Okla. — Thousands of fans stormed the field and tore down goalposts after Oklahoma State’s 44-10 victory over archrival Oklahoma on Saturday, leaving at least 12 people injured, including one who were airlifted to a hospital.
Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis says he doesn’t know what more stadium security could have done to prevent fans from getting injured while storming the field following a Big 12 championship-clinching win.
NEW YORK — Attorneys for one of the alleged sex abuse victims of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky say his New York Times interview contains an “unconvincing denial and a series of bizarre explanations” for Sandusky’s behavior.
In a written statement released Saturday, the attorneys for one of Sandusky’s eight accusers say the former coach’s comments wrongly cast Sandusky as a “victim,” which further harms their client and the other alleged victims.
DALLAS — The suddenly splurging Miami Marlins landed their second big free agent in a matter of days, agreeing Sunday night to a $106 million, six-year contract with All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, a person familiar with the negotiations told The associated Press.
After adding All-Star closer Heath Bell for $27 million over three years, the Marlins gave the NL batting champion a deal that includes a club option for 2018 that would make the contract worth $120 million, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been announced.
NEW YORK — Miguel Cotto battered a one-eyed Antonio Margarito over nine lopsided rounds then won a TKO decision amid confusion in the corner before they came out for the 10th on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Cotto (37-2-0) earned a punishing measure of payback for his loss to Margarito three years ago. With the New York crowd going wild for the Puerto Rican Cotto, he was never seriously threatened and retained his 154-pound title, shuttering Margarito’s right eye to cause the stoppage.
SEVILLE, Spain — Rafael Nadal recovered from a terrible start and beat Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (0) Sunday to give Spain its fifth Davis Cup title.
Nadal endured his most lopsided set defeat in the competition as Del Potro fired forehand winners at will, with the Spaniard failing to hold his first four serves to trail 1-0, 40-0 by the second game of the second set.
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta — Lindsey Vonn won the super-G at Lake Louise on Sunday to complete a sweep of this weekend’s World Cup races in her first competition since she announced she was going through a divorce with her husband of four years.
The American also won both downhills at the mountain resort west of Calgary. The only other woman to sweep all three World Cup races at Lake Louise was Germany’s Katja Seizinger in 1997.
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Marcel Hirscher of Austria turned in a blazing final run to overtake Ted Ligety and win a World Cup giant slalom on Sunday.
Hirscher finished in a combined time of 2 minutes, 38.45 seconds, holding off Ligety by 0.16 seconds. Fritz Dopfer of Germany was third for his first podium finish.
KENNESAW, Ga. — Teresa Noyola scored from point-blank range Sunday to help top-ranked Stanford beat no. 3 Duke 1-0 and finally give the Cardinal their first NCAA women’s soccer title.
Copyright 2011 The associated Press. All rights reserved. this material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
SYDNEY (AP) – Tiger Woods and Steve Williams could learn a lot from each other.
They no longer are the best of friends, not even close. Their indiscretions were nothing alike. But a timeless lesson applies to both of them over the last two years: Treat people well on the way up, or there won't be anyone to catch you on the way down.
Woods set an incomparable standard with numbers that even now are staggering – 54 wins around the world, 10 majors and the career Grand Slam twice while still in his 20s.
Outside the ropes, he left a lot to be desired.
He rarely stopped to sign autographs, and when he did, it wasn't for long. Woods didn't help tournament promoters with his policy of waiting until the last minute to announce he was playing. With the exception of Notah Begay, his roommate at Stanford, Woods didn't take part in other players' charity events. Even among his peers, he didn't let more than a few players get close to him.
Most of the disdain, however, came from the media.
Woods felt burned early in his career by a GQ magazine article, but it soon became a game of how little he could say. Woods is not a naturally gifted speaker, and there's nothing wrong with that. But there was so little effort that it came across as arrogant.
No one should have been expected to go easy on Woods when his life came crashing down in a shocking episode of serial adultery. He brought that on himself. But in some corners, there was delight to see him lose his corporate sponsors, lose his marriage, lose his game.
Even now, and without as much effort as he realizes, Woods still has a chance to reinvent himself. It starts with winning, and getting back to the top of his game. Neither will be easy as it once was.
Williams, though, has a tougher road.
He's still just a caddie.
Williams showed how much contempt he has for Woods at the Bridgestone Invitational when he caddied for Adam Scott in victory, allowed himself to be interviewed on the 18th green by CBS Sports and made it sound as though he won the tournament. “The best win of my life,” he said.
It was that interview that led to an even bigger mess. at the caddies award party last week in Shanghai, his peers chose to roast him with the “Celebration of the Year.” In a night filled with bar room banter that wasn't supposed to leave the room, Williams was asked about that interview and said, “It was my aim to shove it up that black a——.”
He made himself an easy target for racism, though that's not what this was about.
Woods said as much himself Tuesday at the Australian Open. With a chance to bury Williams, he bailed him out by saying, “Stevie's certainly not a racist, there's no doubt about that. I think it was a comment that shouldn't have been made and was certainly one that he wished he didn't make.”
Williams didn't make many friends in the 12 years caddying for Woods. He has even fewer now.
His job was unlike other caddies, just as Woods was unlike any other player. Williams felt as though he had to be a bodyguard as much as a caddie, though he often took it to an extreme.
He could be gruff with marshals and tournament officials, a lawman when it came to photographers. He was accessible only to the media he knew. He operated by his own set of rules, wearing shorts before they were allowed and letting Woods pay the fine. most annoying to some was his habit of removing his caddie bib on the 18th green instead of waiting until the round was over.
Three years ago, he used a vulgar term to describe Phil Mickelson. How many other caddies have been caught saying that about players, let alone one of the sport's biggest names?
Most of all, though, Williams lost touch with his peers.
In conversations over the years, the recurring theme from so many caddies was that Williams behaved as if he were better than the rest of them. some of them smiled at Firestone when they saw Williams in the caddie tent. It was the first time they had seen him there in a long time. much like Woods, he had a few close friends among caddies – Fanny Sunesson, for example – but not many.
When he found himself in trouble in Shanghai, few among his colleagues came to his defense.
A comment like that was bound to get out, even if the night was off the record. four British reporters were the first to go with the story, none of whom were at the party.
How did they find out what Williams had said?
From another caddie.
As much as the media try to keep this story going, Williams most likely will survive. Scott, along with the tours, have condemned his choice of words and spoken out against anything resembling a racist remark. they also accept his apology and are ready to move on.
For Woods, it was the second time he has taken the high road after Williams tried to make him look bad – first with the TV interview, then with his racial slur at the caddies' dinner. That makes the caddie's actions look only worse.
Even among caddies, few will argue that Williams is among the best in the business. But no matter how bitter Williams is toward is former boss, even if he feels justified by his feelings, he needs to realize it's a battle he will never win.
Ultimately, fans care about who wins the tournament – not who was carrying the clubs.
Copyright 2011 The associated Press. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
“It’s a big deal, but if I focused on winning three, I wouldn’t have won,” Martinez said. “The most important thing was to go to NorCals.”
She advanced to next week’s NorCals at Stanford along with fellow medalists Paige Lee of Granite Bay and Nichole Cruz of section team champion Christian Brothers (there are no playoffs for medalist honors).
The trio topped a field of 102, but the day belonged to the Long Beach State-bound Martinez, who worked her magic one more time in sunny and almost windless weather.
“Shawnee is consistent and focused and a good all-around kid,” Enochs coach Matt Doyle said. “She pushes herself and often has to compete against herself. she deserves what she is getting.”
Martinez winced a little over her 72, above her victorious 70 a year ago and 71 as a sophomore. that said, it was the highest score she could have returned.
Her slow take-away and smooth but aggressive release is a comfortable fit at the Reserve, which was again set at 5,608 yards for the section’s best. Though only 5-foot-1 — “I haven’t grown since eighth grade” — she dominates by committing virtually no major errors.
Swinging with the precision of a metronome — tick, tick, tick — Martinez hit 16 greens in regulation and didn’t hole a putt longer than seven feet.
Her two-bogey, two-birdie day was interrupted by a nearly costly event at the par-4 17th. Incredibly, for the second straight year, she pushed her 7-iron approach off the green and into the water. after her drop, she bogeyed by burning the right edge from about 25 feet.
“I would do that, but I didn’t give up. I thought I made the putt,” Martinez said. “I hit everything solid but the putts just slid by.”
Martinez anchored four individual qualifiers, along with the three top teams, who will continue their season. Christian Brothers shot 399 and ended St. Francis’ run of five straight Masters titles, though St. Francis captured third behind runner-up Lodi.
Already plotting her revenge at The Reserve was promising Oakdale freshman Mabel Wong, the Valley Oak League MVP. Wong shot 77 and missed a playoff for a NorCal berth by one stroke, a painful result after finding hazards with three tee shots.
“I got a new driver but it didn’t work out so I went back to the old one two weeks ago,” she said. “I had some bad kicks.”
Turlock, the eight-time reigning Central California Conference champion and one of 13 teams to earn its way to Masters, tied with Whitney for seventh. East Union, the five-time VOL champion which has claimed five of the last six Division IV titles, settled for 12th.
The day ended beautifully for St. Mary’s junior Claire Burke (82), whose final shot produced a hole-in-one — a 9-iron from 106 yards at the fourth.
But no one wore a bigger grin than Martinez, who posed in front of the leaderboard, arm outstretched and three fingers held aloft.
A nice way to say goodbye to Shawnee’s Alley.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2302.
Tucson Olympic hopeful breaks 2:40 inmarathon
Olympic hopeful Gina Slaby sliced nearly 3 minutes off her besttime in finishing 10th among women running Sunday in the TwinCities Marathon in St. Paul, Minn.
Slaby, 30, of Tucson, finished in 2 hours 39 minutes 35 seconds.She had already qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in themarathon with a time of 2:42:20 in January’s P.F. Chang Rock ‘n’Roll Marathon in Phoenix.
The Olympic trials qualifying standard for women is 2 hours 46minutes. the Olympic trials will be Houston in January.
Fellow Tucsonan Tia Accetta finished six spots behind Slaby onSunday, clocking 2:48:52.
Wildcats beaten by Stanford in volleyball, Utah insoccer
The Arizona Wildcats lost 3-1 to Utah Sunday in a Pac-12 soccergame in Salt Lake City.
The loss means the Wildcats are still winless at 0-9-2, 0-2-1 inthe conference. But the good news is that their scoring droughtappears to be over.
After being shut out in seven of its first eight games, the UAscore three goals on the trip to Colorado and Utah. SophomoreAna-Maria Montoya had the UA goal Sunday.
The Wildcats face the Oregon schools this weekend at MurpheyStadium.
• Despite a season-high 21 kills from Courtney Karst, theWildcats lost 3-1 at no. 6 Stanford in Pac-12 volleyball. Setscores were 25-21, 23-25, 25-15, 25-18.
Things get no easier this weekend as the Wildcats play host toNo. 5 USC and no. 2 UCLA.
• the Wildcats lost to no. 9 Arizona State 3-2 after a shootoutin club hockey Saturday in Tempe. UA is 0-2.
Blind Luck won’t run in Breeders’ Cup Ladies’Classic
ARCADIA, Calif. – Blind Luck will miss the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’Classic next month, although Hall of Fame trainer JerryHollendorfer says last year’s 3-year-old filly isn’t injured.
Blind Luck finished a surprising last in the $250,000 Lady’sSecret Stakes on Saturday, beaten by 19 lengths.
It was the first time in 22 career starts that she finishedworse than third. She was considered a leading contender for the $2million Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.
California swimmer, 31, sets distant record inNY
NEW YORK – Evan Morrison broke the record for the 17.5-mile swimfrom Sandy Hook, N.J., to lower Manhattan’s Battery Park, winningthe Ederle Swim on Sunday in 5 hours 24 minutes 53 seconds.
Morrison, 31, of Goleta, Calif., broke the mark of 6:06:01 setby Elizabeth Fry in June.
The race is named for Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swimthe English Channel.
• in Reno, Nev., Carson High School kicker Austin Pacheco booteda 64-yard field goal with 27 seconds left to lead his team to a27-24 win over Bishop Manogue on Saturday night.
The Nevada Appeal of Carson City reported it was thesecond-longest field goal in Nevada history. in 1985, Reno High’sDirk Borgognone kicked a 68-yarder against Sparks. the NFL recordis 63 yards.
• in Bangkok, fourth-ranked Andy Murray claimed his 19th careertitle in beating American Donald Young 6-2, 6-0 in the final of theThailand Open.
Staff and wire reports
Tiger Woods, his once formidable game in shambles due topersonal problems and injuries, will fall out of world golf’s top50 today.
consecutive weeks – two shy of 15 years – Woods has been in thetop 50, much of that time atop the rankings.
SOURCE: the associated Press