Saturday, July 21, 2018

Akshay Bhatia and Michael Thorbjornsen Will Meet in 71st U.S. Junior Amateur Final

(Springfield, N.J.) - When Michael Thorbjornsen’s first met Akshay Bhatia, he was on top of the world, in a way. The 16-year-old from Wellesley, Mass., met his U.S. Junior Amateur championship match opponent at the U.S. Kids World Championships, which he won in 2012 and 2013. On Saturday, Bhatia will be the last hurdle for Thorbjornsen to leap in his quest to conquer the ultimate test in junior golf.

The duo advanced to Saturday’s 36-hole final after winning two matches on Friday on the Upper Course at Baltusrol Golf Club. Thorbjornsen defeated Joe Highsmith, 4 and 3 in the morning, his fourth straight match that ended before the 17th hole. He would have to work a lot harder in the afternoon, playing from behind for much of his semifinal match with Cameron Sisk before ultimately prevailing in 21 holes.

Bhatia, of Wake Forest, N.C., never trailed on Friday, winning a tight match in the Quarterfinals over Alejandro Madariaga, 1 up, before jumping out to a 3-up lead through nine holes over Cole Hammer on his way to winning their semifinal match, 4 and 2.

Bhatia drove the 280-yard, par-4 ninth hole on his way to winning the hole with a birdie and then dazzled with his iron play, hitting his approach shot on No. 12 to 6 feet before converting the birdie putt, and then closing out the match on No. 16 with a wedge from 136 yards to about two feet. The 16-year-old, who lost in the Round of 64 in his U.S. Junior Amateur debut last year, is excited to be playing Saturday’s final, and knows how difficult it was to beat Hammer, who is No. 41 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

“I love this golf course. I mean, you have to shape shots, you have to put in the correct spots; you have to make a lot of putts out here,” said Bhatia. “Every time you beat someone it boosts your confidence, especially someone who has done such great things this year and over the past couple of years.”

The odds were starting to look long for Thorbjornsen against Sisk, of El Cajon, Calif., who will play for Arizona State University this fall. He was 2 down after a bogey on No. 12, but was able to square the match on the par-3 15th when he hit his tee shot to about 10 feet and Sisk ended up conceding the hole after missing a lengthy par try. Thorbjornsen was in danger of losing the match on No. 18 after he pushed his approach shot on the par 4 well right of the green, but he hit a delicate pitch to about 2 feet to save par and extend the match.

On the 21st hole, Sisk’s par try from 26 feet stopped just on the lip of the hole, allowing Thorbjornsen to lag his birdie try to concession distance. In his USGA championship debut, he will have a chance to win it all on Saturday.

“That was quite the amazing 21 holes. Cameron and I really didn't let up at one point throughout our match,” said Thorbjornsen. “I mean, just being on TV for one more day, and playing this amazing golf course for 36 more holes, that's amazing. I just can't wait until tomorrow. I'm playing with one of my best friends, Akshay, and it should be a lot of fun.”

What’s Next
Bhatia and Thorbjornsen will square off in the 36-hole final on Saturday beginning at 7 a.m. EDT on Baltusrol’s Upper Course. Admission is free and fans are encouraged to attend. FS1 will have live TV coverage beginning at 1 p.m. EDT.

Notable
The winner of Saturday’s championship match will earn an exemption into the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. The exemption was announced in October of last year, meaning this will be the first championship match in which the finalists will know that a U.S. Open exemption is up for grabs.

With their semifinal victories, Bhatia and Thorbjornsen earned spots in the 2018 U.S. Amateur, to be played at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links Aug. 13-19. Bhatia had already qualified for the championship via sectional qualifying, while Thorbjornsen had not previously entered. Hammer and Sisk had both previously earned spots in the field.

The 21-hole match between Thorbjornsen and Sisk was the longest semifinal match in the U.S. Junior Amateur since 2014, when eventual runner-up Davis Riley defeated Sam Horsfield in 21 holes at The Club at Carlton Woods (Nicklaus Course), in The Woodlands, Texas.

Quotable
Cole Hammer (lost to Akshay Bhatia, 4 and 3):
“I completely lost my feel on the greens for some reason. I couldn't judge my speed at all. I was leaving everything thing like two feet short. Normally I hit my putts in the back of the hole and I was dying everything in. I was just all out of sorts. Akshay took advantage of that.”

Cameron Sisk (lost to Michael Thorbjornsen in 21 holes):
“It's a little rough. I played well. I hit a couple of clutch shots. I had a few chances to end it. I guess it wasn't my day.  I think he just hit a couple of good shots and I didn't really execute and he took advantage of it. That's that.”

Northern California Standouts Lucy Li, Yealimi Noh Headline U.S. Girls' Junior Semifinalists

(Pebble Beach, Calif.) - Medalist Lucy Li didn’t need to spend much time on the golf course on Friday. A day after playing 43 holes in winning three matches, the 15-year-old from Redwood Shores, Calif., only required 14 in dispatching Doey Choi, 18, of Australia, to reach the Semifinals of the 70th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Poppy Hills Golf Course.

For the fourth consecutive day, fog delayed play, this time for nearly six hours, forcing USGA officials to push the Quarterfinals to Friday afternoon, the Semifinals and the first 18 of the scheduled 36-hole championship match to Saturday, and the second 18 to Sunday morning. Fog has now delayed play for more than 15 hours this week. The Semifinals are scheduled to begin – weather permitting – at 7 a.m. PDT.

Four suspended Round-of-16 matches had to be completed on Friday due to fog.

Li, whose 36-hole qualifying score of 11-under-par 131 was one stroke off the championship record, won six consecutive holes from No. 8 to close out first-time U.S. Girls’ Junior competitor Choi, 5 and 4. Li was 2 down after two holes, including a three-putt bogey on the par-4 first, before embarking on a huge rally that began with a 7-foot birdie on the par-4 fifth hole. She eagled the par-5 10th to go 2 up when her long fairway-metal approach shot – “I was just trying to hit it into the [greenside] bunker” – got a fortunate bounce and stopped 10 feet from the flagstick.

From there, she won holes 11, 12 and 13 and halved 14 to close out what has been her quickest match of the week.

“At least I’ll get to rest,” said Li, No. 10 in the latest Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR). “After all that golf [on Thursday], I went home and my feet hurt and my legs hurt, so it will be good to take some time off and get ready for a long day [on Saturday].”

Li will face a familiar foe in fellow past Drive, Chip & Putt national champion Alexa Pano, 13, of Lake Worth, Fla., who eliminated Suzuka Yamaguchi, 17, of Japan, 4 and 3. Pano played the equivalent of 1-under-par golf on the outward nine – with the usual match-play concessions – in building a commanding 5-up lead. In four matches this week, Pano has played just 61 holes.

“I just kind of stayed consistent,” said Pano, who won DCP age-group titles in 2016 and 2017. “I’m definitely excited. Lucy is a good friend and she’s a really strong player, so it should be a really good match.”

The other semifinal will pit No. 2 seed Yealimi Noh, 16, of Concord, Calif., fresh off a record-setting performance in last week’s Girls Junior PGA Championship in Lexington, Ky., against Gina Kim, 18, of Chapel Hill, N.C.

Noh did not lose a hole in defeating incoming Michigan State University freshman Valery Plata, 17, of Colombia, 7 and 5. Noh, who also claimed the Californian Girls Junior State Championship title last month at nearby Monterey Peninsula Country Club, was the equivalent of 3 under par over 13 holes. She reached the par-5 ninth and 10th holes in two shots with 4-irons, halving the former and winning the latter, both with birdies.

Noh seemingly is getting stronger and gaining momentum with each passing round.

“I think I kind of start out a little slow in the beginning, like my other matches and this one, as well, and once I get used to the course and playing [in] a tournament , instead of [just] practicing,” she said. “I’m getting used to it. I get a little in the mode and have that momentum, I guess.”

Kim, who defeated Ashley Gilliam, 17, of Manchester, Tenn., 4 and 3, overcame an early 1-down deficit – Gilliam birdied the first hole – to take a 2-up lead at the turn. The turning point came on the par-4 seventh when Gilliam’s approach found some native area behind the green and she eventually conceded Kim’s birdie. The lead mushroomed to 3 up when Gilliam’s tee shot on No. 12 went out of bounds. Kim won the 14th with a par and closed it out on the next hole.

In four matches this week, Kim has not played beyond the 16th hole. She was extended that far in her suspended Round-of-16 match earlier on Friday, defeating Yushino Yoshihara, 16, of Irvine, Calif., 3 and 2.

NOTABLE
The semifinalists receive a two-year exemption to the U.S. Girls’ Junior, provided they are age eligible. The two semifinal winners on Saturday are exempt into next month’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at The Golf Club of Tennessee, while the champion earns a spot in next year’s U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston in South Carolina.

Alexa Pano is vying to become the fourth 13-year-old to win the U.S. Girls’ Junior and the first since Lexi Thompson in 2008. At 13 years, 11 months and 2 days, she would be the fourth-youngest champion. Aree Song Wongluekiet was 13 years, 3 months and 6 days in 1999.

This will only be the second time in U.S. Girls’ Junior history that the championship will be extended by a day. In 2008 at Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford, Conn., the 36-hole final was contested on Sunday after inclement weather wiped out an entire day earlier in the week.

Should Lucy Li and Yealimi Noh make the final match, it would be the first time in 54 years that the top two seeds would meet for the title. Medalist Peggy Conley defeated Laura MacIvor for the 1964 title at Leavenworth (Kan.) Country Club.

Gina Kim is trying to become the second consecutive player with ties to Duke University to win the title. Erica Shepherd, who has committed to play for the Blue Devils in 2019, won last year's championship. Past Duke University players to win the U.S. Girls' Junior include Jamie Koizumi (1992) Beth Bauer (1997) and Leigh Anne Hardin (1998).

QUOTABLE
Alexa Pano on what she did to pass the time during the nearly six-hour fog delay:
“We made a puzzle. It was really hard, but they gave it to us as a gift [for making the Round of 16], and then we blew bubbles and sat around and talked about how bored we were. So that kind of sums it up.”

Pano on playing for a U.S. Women’s Amateur exemption:
“I would like to play in it. I have the last two years, but I came to the U.S. [Girls’] Junior to win the U.S. [Girls’] Junior. I didn’t come to qualify for another event. So I’m just kind of keeping my head on straight about that.”

Pano on what her dinner of choice has been this week:
“We’ve stopped at Smashburger every night. I haven’t been to In-N-Out yet.”

Lucy Li on how she dealt with the fog delay:
“I think a lot of the girls got here way earlier than I did. I got here like 10:30 [a.m.] because I woke up at like 6:40 and then I saw the delay, so I ate breakfast and then saw it was delayed again, so I went up and then took a nap and just hung out, stretched and then came out [to the course].”

Li on playing fellow Drive, Chip & Putt national champion Pano in the semifinals:
“We’ve played a lot of tournaments together. We hung out a lot this week. It’ll be fun to play against her. I just played with her last week in the [Girls] Junior PGA [Championship].”

Yealimi Noh on her plans to rest before Saturday’s potentially long day:
“Yeah, we are finally having dinner before bed. My caddie (Yoonhee Kim) is happier than I am.”

Noh on playing in the foggy conditions:
“It was definitely a little different, but I kind of liked it. It’s a little challenging and different from when it was bright and sunny [on Thursday afternoon], and I think it just tests everyone’s game and shows how consistent you have to be. You have to be smart, really smart.”

Noh on advancing to the semifinals, the furthest she’s advanced in five U.S. Girls’ Junior starts:
“Yeah, it’s really weird. When you’re on the range with quarterfinals, semifinals, there’s no one on the range, so I was on the range this morning, I was the only one there, and I was like, wow, I’ve never had this situation before … at USGA events.”

Gina Kim on her mental and physical state following the long days and fog suspensions:
“Very tired. Very mentally exhausted and physically exhausted, but I think that’s what helps me become a better player, so I’m ready for it.”

Kim on reaching the semifinals for the first time in four U.S. Girls’ Junior appearances:
“I feel amazing because I thought I was cursed at one point, just sticking around in the Round of 16. But it definitely showed me exactly how much I improved and how much I evolved into a better golfer and I’m really proud of myself for that.”

Friday, July 20, 2018

Golf’s Top Brands & Buyers Make Plans to Participate in the 2018 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience

(PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.) – Golf’s top fashion companies, equipment market leaders and a wide assortment of golf merchandise suppliers are making plans to showcase the newest apparel collections, golf lifestyle accessories, equipment and technology to PGA Professionals, golf retailers and influential industry leaders at the 2018 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience, Aug. 13-15, in Las Vegas.

The annual three-day industry gathering, coinciding with Las Vegas Fashion Week and multiple fashion trade shows, features golf merchandise sourcing from nearly 200 participating brands and companies, a comprehensive Education Conference and multiple special events at three premier host venues. On Aug. 13, the award-winning TPC Las Vegas will be the host course for the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Pro-Pro Tournament; and, Topgolf Las Vegas, the flagship property of the popular franchise, returns as the destination for the PGA Demo Experience. The 2018 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience will once again feature a full array of exhibits, a Live Fashion Show, Industry Networking Reception and a comprehensive Education Conference in the upscale setting of The Venetian Hotel, Aug. 14-15.

Equipment and Technology Companies
The PGA Demo Experience, in the air-conditioned setting of Topgolf Las Vegas, has attracted participation of top equipment and technology companies to the event on Monday, Aug. 13, from 4 p.m.–8 p.m.  The event offers hands-on testing in the Topgolf Level 1 hitting bays and an indoor marketplace in the Central and West Rooms.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 14-15, many equipment and technology companies also will be featured on the Show Floor at the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience.

A sampling of the current participating equipment and technology companies at the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience include:
(as of 7/17/18)
AfterShokz
Callaway Golf
COBRA PUMA GOLF
ERG Precision Golf
Ernest Sports
ERG Precision Golf
FlightScope
Foresight Sports
Full Swing Golf
Hat Saver
HONMA Golf
Human Touch
Miura Golf
Mizzen + Main
Outdoor Tech
P2 Golf Products
ParTee Inc
PING
Protag America Inc
PWRTAB
SkyGolf
Srixon/Cleveland Golf/XXIO
Swing Catalyst
Swing King
TaylorMade Golf
Tour Edge Golf
Wilson Golf
Yamaha Golf-Car Company
… and more

View the full Exhibitor Directory at PGALasVegas2018.com/exhibitors.

Apparel and Accessory Companies
More than 100 golf resort, apparel and accessories brands are planning to take advantage of Las Vegas Fashion Week and will introduce the newest golf and resort lifestyle fashion trends, plus the latest accessory collections on the Show Floor, Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 14-15. The main stage and networking lounge on the Show Floor will be transformed for a special evening Live Fashion Show on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 5:30 p.m.  This runway production will showcase many of the latest golf lifestyle collections by the industry’s top designers and will be emceed by Golf Channel Host, Reporter and Writer Bailey Mosier.  An industry networking reception will immediately follow, and the Show floor will remain open for business through 7 p.m., to provide a special evening affair for all registered guests.

A sampling of the participating apparel and accessory companies include the following:
(as of 7/17/18)
Ahead
Antigua Sportswear
Beth DePass
Belyn Key
Bobby Jones
Callaway Golf Apparel*
Carnoustie
Chase54
Chervo USA
Cutter & Buck
Daily Sports*
Donald Ross Sportswear
Dunning Golf
ECCO
EP New York
Fairway & Green
FJ
Foray Golf
Full Turn Direct
G/Fore
Garb Inc
Greg Norman Collection
Haus of Grey Cooperative
IBKUL
Imperial Headwear
J. Lindeberg*
Jamie Sadock
JL the Brand
Jofit*
Johnnie-O
Just4Golf*
Kaeli Smith*
Legacy Athletic
Levelwear*
LIJA
Linksoul
Marc Joseph New York
Mizzen + Main
Movêtes
Nivo Sport
One Putt Designs*
Oxford*
Peter Millar
PING Apparel
Private Reserve
Pukka*
SKECHERS*
Straight Down Clothing*
TABS Bermuda
Turtleson
Under Armour
Vineyard Vines
Zero Restriction
… and more.
*Current Live Fashion Show and/or featured fashion display participating companies

View the full Exhibitor Directory at PGALasVegas2018.com/exhibitors.

Golf Resorts/Destinations, PGA Professionals & Golf Buyers
Influential PGA Professionals and golf buyers are pre-registered to attend the event, as they represent top golf resorts, clubs and retail stores from around the world including:
(as of 7/17/18)
Arcis Golf
Bali Hai Golf Club
Bealls
Big Canyon Country Club
Blue Star Resort & Golf
Bonita Bay Club
Boulders Golf Club
Brentwood Country Club
Broken Sound Club
Carlsbad Golf Center
Classic Club
Dallas Golf
Desert Mountain
Discovery Land Company
Four Seasons Resorts
Grayhawk Golf Club
Haggin Oaks
Kapalua Golf Resort
Ko Olina Golf Club
La Quinta Country Club
Medinah Country Club
MGM Resorts International
Monarch Beach
Nevada Bobs Golf
OB Sports
Ocean Reef Club
Omni Tucson National Golf Resort
Pebble Beach Resort
PGA West
Pinehurst Resort
TGW.Com - The Golf Warehouse
The Broadmoor Hotel
The Olympic Club
Topgolf
Torrey Pines Golf Course
Toscana Country Club
Troon Golf
United States Golf Association
Wilshire Country Club
Wynn Golf Club

Event details and registration are available at PGALasVegas.com.

Callaway Apparel Summer Style Sweepstakes

(SWEEPSTAKES) - Callaway Apparel announced its Summer Style Sweepstakes where 3 grand prize winners will each receive a year’s supply of Chrome Soft Golf Balls and a $500 Callaway Apparel Shopping Spree for a total prize value of over $1,000. 5 runner up winners will receive prize values of over $230 each.

No purchase or payment is necessary.

Please visit https://www.callawayapparel.com/summersweeps.html to enter and for a complete list of rules and regulations.

Volvik Introduces Single-Color Vivid Lite Golf Ball Dozens

(ORLANDO, Florida) – Volvik, a rapidly-growing, premium high-performance golf ball company, announces that single-color dozens of Vivid Lite golf balls now are available for purchase. The popularity of Vivid Lite golf balls – which are one gram lighter than ordinary golf balls – has led to high demand for the balls to be sold in single-color dozens.

“Golfers everywhere are discovering the high-performance qualities of Volvik golf balls,” said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA, “and we are happy to comply with the demand for single-color dozens of our Vivid Lite line of balls.”

The new single-color dozens of Volvik Vivid Lite golf balls are being sold in major golf retail stores and green grass shops nationwide.

The new Volvik colors are leading the way for new market trends while maintaining the same top quality that provides golfers with superior performance, power and distance. Amateur golfers of every playing ability as well as players on multiple tours are benefiting from the high-performance characteristics of Volvik golf balls.

The Volvik Vivid line is the world’s first and best-selling matte-finish three-piece golf ball, with a 75 compression and a larger core for more distance. The unique SF matte coating provides aerodynamic consistency and higher trajectory. Golfers experience the ultimate in distance – with softer feel and greater energy transfer from the highly resilient power core – as well as higher greenside spin for accurate pin control.

For more information, see volvik.com.

PING Apparel Unveils Warmer, Softer, Drier Autumn-Winter '18

(PHOENIX) – “Warmer. Softer. Drier.” It was a rallying cry of sorts for the planners and designers at PING Apparel as the company embarked on its Autumn-Winter '18 collection, and the performance apparel introduced today reflects that mantra up and down the men’s and women’s lines. The clothing and accessories are available in select golf shops now.

“We’re 100% committed to clothing that performs for golfers, moves as freely as they do, provides warmth without bulk and is engineered for the demands of the game,” said Andy Solheim, PING Executive Vice President. “We ensure all of that by sourcing the highest-quality materials because anything less affects playability. For AW18 we integrated extra-fine Merino wool, Primaloft insulation, and fleece that provides unrivaled softness. From our jackets and sweaters to the outer layers, the polos and pants, every piece combines comfort, breathability and freedom of movement.”   

Solheim highlighted three key technologies for guarding against the elements with exceptional comfort: Primaloft insulation, Zegna Baruffa fine Italian Merino wool, and Pertex for the ultimate in stretchable, breathable windproof and waterproof technology. He added that the AW18 collection carries on with its Sensor Technology Platform – SensorWarm, SensorCool, and SensorDry – apparel custom-engineered to perform from base layer to outer layer. 

MEN’S
Primaloft Silver Active Insulation provides the ultimate in thermal efficiency, offering warmth without bulk, extreme compressibility, and superior softness. A lead example is the Norse Primaloft Zoned Jacket, a lightweight, windproof and water-resistant jacket with stretch properties for freedom of movement.  

The men’s Norse Primaloft Fleece is integrated with the Primaloft Energy Series, which delivers unrivaled softness and hand feel on the golf course and elsewhere. This fleece product absorbs very little moisture with fast drying times.

The AW18 sweater range is constructed of 100% extra-fine Zegna Baruffa H2Dry K-Wool®. H2Dry K-Wool ensures outstanding comfort and wearability while offering a superb weight-to-warmth ratio. The Knox hooded full-zip sweater, Pax full-zip sweater, and Sanford half-zip are made of this fine Italian wool.

“Zegna Baruffa wool checks all the boxes: it’s incredibly soft, it’s warm yet light, and it’s easy to maintain so it’s amazingly durable – there’s nothing like it,” Solheim said. “There really is a difference when you experience the best.” 

For AW18, men’s garments are engineered around three color stories: 
Dark Matter -- Luxurious shades of ultra-dark navy paired with ink, black, and shades of grey to create a head-to-toe stealth look focusing on premium performance. 

Coastal Links -- Sophisticated casual performance. Cool shades of stellar, shell pink and ice blue are versatile enough to work across market sectors. These soft shades are perfect for layering with polos and Merino pieces. 

Grounded Greens -- A fresh, contemporary approach to AW men’s golf. Emerging as a key trend, it offers a modern and smart focus, working well with black and all shades of grey.
 

LADIES
Once again, like the men’s, the ladies collection offers clothing that integrates premium-quality fabric technology designed to perform as beautifully in everyday life as it does on the golf course. “Our women’s line delivers on ‘warmer, softer, drier’ and conveys that message of quality that we want to send across every piece in the collection,” Solheim said. “The clothes do a great job balancing style with superior feel, comfort and performance for golf or daily activities.” 

Primaloft Silver Active comes into play in the Oslo Primaloft Vest, a lightweight garment engineered for core warmth and protection. 

The Mette Jacket, fully seam sealed, stretchable and waterproof, offers SensorDry technology to provide protection in the rain. For a hooded softshell jacket, the Ria in blue indigo is a fashionable and lightweight, 100%-polyester option. 
  
New for AW18 are the Coralia and Elka polos, which feature the flourish print. These polos were designed to be paired with the new Allium pull-on skort to create a fresh look. Also new for fall is the full-length Ada pull-on stretch pant offered in grape and navy.   

The women’s AW18 color palette is conveyed across three stories. 
Refined romance - A beautifully refined palette, this story focuses on shades of indigo and rich reds. Dusky shades of indigo compliment core colors of black and navy but also create a striking combination when worn together with the reds.

Red Bud -- Rich and luxurious red bud and grape emerge as key shades for AW. Modern sophistication, this palette creates depth across all product categories. Pair with black and asphalt for a clean sophisticated silhouette.

Blue -- Dusky shades of powder blue paired with mood and blue indigo, and can be paired with navy and black or worn with the flourish print for a light, fresh combination.

Lucy Li Repeats as Medalist as Fog Wreaks Havoc on U.S. Girls’ Junior

(Pebble Beach, Calif.) - Competitors in the 70th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship have had two opponents this week: a challenging Poppy Hills Golf Course and Northern California coastal fog.

The latter continued to foul up the schedule on Wednesday, creating the possibility for a marathon sprint to the finish line. For the second consecutive day, heavy fog delayed the start of play and thus only five of the scheduled 32 opening-round matches were completed.

On Tuesday, the second round of stroke play was delayed 4½ hours, and a day later, the suspended round could not be started until 9:45 a.m. PDT, a delay of 2 hours, 45 minutes.

The first Round-of-64 match went off the first tee at 3:45 p.m., and six matches never started before darkness and heavy fog halted play for the day shortly after 8 p.m. Matches are set to resume at 7 a.m. on Thursday, weather permitting. The completion of the Round of 32, as well as the Round of 16 are scheduled to be contested on Thursday.

The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Friday, with the 36-hole championship match on Saturday.

Sisters Yu Wen Lu, 15, and Jing Wen Lu, 18, both from the People’s Republic of China and competing in their first U.S. Girls’ Junior, were two of the five competitors to finish; the former defeating Haeley Wotnosky, 2 and 1, and the latter edging Maria Jose Martinez Almeida, of Mexico, 1 up. Almeida’s younger sister, Maria Fernanda, also was eliminated on Wednesday by Heeji Kim, 16, of the Republic of Korea, 5 and 4.

Alexa Pano, 13, of Lake Worth, Fla., lost the opening hole to University of Oregon rising sophomore Shotika Phadungmartvorakul, 18, of Bakersfield, Calif., before winning seven of the next 11 holes in rolling to a 6-and-5 victory. Doey Choi, 18, of Australia, built as much as a 4-up lead on 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball co-runner-up Ya Chun Chang, of Chinese Taipei, before settling for a 2-and-1 victory.

Round 2 of stroke play concluded slightly after 1 p.m. with Lucy Li, 15, of Redwood Shores, Calif., officially earning medalist honors for a second consecutive year. The No. 9 player in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR) who helped the USA reclaim the Curtis Cup last month posted a 36-hole total of 11-under 131, one stroke shy of the championship record. She is the seventh player to win consecutive Girls’ Juniors.

Fellow Northern Californian Yealimi Noh, 16, of Concord, who won last week’s Girls Junior PGA Championship with a record 24-under-par total, made a strong bid to match Li, getting to 8 under par thru 25 holes before settling for a 1-under 70 and a 6-under 136 total.

NOTABLE
The cut for match play came at 9-over 151 with a 14-for-10 playoff deciding the final spots in the draw. The playoff was conducted on holes 17 and 18 and lasted four holes and 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Abbey Daniel, 17, of Covington, La., and Elizabeth Caldarelli, 18, of Scottsdale, Ariz., each recorded holes-in-one on the 134-yard 17th hole. Daniel’s came with a pitching wedge during the second round of stroke play, while Caldarelli aced the hole with a 9-iron on the third playoff hole of the 14-for-10 playoff. They are the 19th and 20th holes-in-one in U.S. Girls’ Junior history, and the first since 2012.

Notable players who failed to qualify for match play include 2017 semifinalist Elizabeth Moon, 2017 quarterfinalist Ami Gianchandani and four-time U.S. Girls’ Junior qualifier Malia Nam.

Stacy Lewis, a 12-time LPGA Tour winner, was on the grounds Wednesday. Lewis’ husband, Gerrod Chadwell, is the head women’s golf coach at the University of Houston and is here recruiting future players. Lewis played her final tournament of 2018 last weekend in Sylvania, Ohio, before taking a hiatus for the impending birth of the couple’s first child.

Eight of the 16 past Drive, Chip & Putt finalists qualified for match play, including medalist Lucy Li, who won the 10-11 division in the inaugural year (2014).

The youngest (11-year-old Avery Zweig) and oldest (18-year-old Elizabeth Caldarelli) competitors  in the field this week qualified for match play.

All seven golfers in the top 100 of the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR) advanced to match play, as did all eight of this year’s U.S. Women’s Open competitors.

Of the 64 players in match play, 39 are Americans and 25 are internationals. California leads the way with 15 players.

QUOTABLE
Yu Wen Lu, 15, of the People’s Republic of China on playing in the fog:
“A few holes, I just kind of had to wait it out. On the 15th hole, the second shot, I could barely see the pin. I just waited for like a minute for the fog to clear. If we would have had to play one more hole, I don’t think we would have made it because the fog was getting pretty heavy.”

Lu on completing her Round-of-64 match:
“It’s really bad right now, so I am really happy we got [the match] done today.”

Yealimi Noh (66-70–166), 16, of Concord, Calif., on not using a caddie during stroke play:
“My friend (Yoonhee Kim) came up to caddie for me in match play. In stroke play, I like playing by myself. A caddie is OK, but I like being in my own zone. Even raking bunkers and pushing a cart is part of my routine. It’s what I do in [most junior tournaments] because we don’t have caddies.”

Noh on having to complete the second round on Wednesday after another fog delay:
“I really wish we were able to get in more holes yesterday and not have that really big delay. The second round, when I was playing at 6:30 [p.m.], I was hitting it really, really well. My putting was good. Everything was clicking, but I wasn’t able to continue [due to darkness].”

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Destination Partnership Forged between Folds of Honor and Woodloch Resort

Pennsylvania Resort and Folds of Honor Expand Their Five-Year Partnership by Establishing East Coast Destination Partnership and Military Appreciation Weekend

(Hawley, PA) – In front of a standing-room-only crowd, John Pillar, PGA Director of Golf Operations at Woodloch Springs, announced the birth of a new destination partnership bringing closer together Woodloch Resort, an award-winning family resort in the Pocono Mountains, and Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization which provides educational scholarships to families of military men and women who have fallen or been disabled while on active duty. Woodloch’s 6th Annual Folds of Honor Golf Classic culminated in a celebration of more than 200 attendees eager to rejoice in the fact that over $50,000 was raised for this year’s event, creating scholarships and changing the lives of 10 families.

“We want to serve as a reprieve, as temporary as it may be, for families who have given the ultimate sacrifice by allowing them a little relaxation or just a distraction.  Woodloch fosters an environment for families to reconnect and have a lot of fun doing so,” remarked Pillar. “This is why Woodloch and Folds of Honor are a perfect team. The core purpose of both is to bring families closer together.”

As the destination partner for Folds of Honor, Woodloch Resort will host its inaugural military appreciation weekend, November 2 – 4, 2018, which will cap off with a fundraiser cocktail party and dinner that Sunday evening. A portion of Woodloch’s overall earned revenue from Folds of Honor Weekend will further support the foundation and its efforts. At the heart of the cooperative, Woodloch will host at least half a dozen military families throughout the year serving as a respite as they strive for reconnection and normalcy.

“We want our families to be strengthened in many ways, even beyond the scholarships. Woodloch provides a new outlet for us to have them come together and take an important step forward, which may otherwise be a challenge given their sacrifice,” described Maj. Dan Rooney, founder of Folds of Honor.

During Folds of Honor Weekend, guests can look forward to:
- Family Friendly Boot Camp Olympics which will pit teams of families and friends of all abilities in various head to head challenges, along with the encouragement of several Navy SEAL Team Members.
- Military-Themed Baking Wars, a team versus team event that has “bakeries” competing in both resource management and creativity all under time constraints.
- Woodloch’s Broadway-style Theme Show, featuring an entertaining musical revue, elaborate costumes and professional choreography, will pay special tribute to veterans and active military.
- Haunted Hayrides, one of Woodloch’s premier attractions in the fall, will be available for their final run of the year. The immersive experience is comprised of over a dozen interactive frightening scenes.
- Some of the family resort's most popular amenities including a zip-line and climbing wall, go-karts, bumper cars, game shows and trivia, and the Indoor Pool Complex complete with slide and Splash Zone

To obtain more information about the tournament or to register, visit: https://www.woodloch.com/folds-weekend/. To learn more about The Folds of Honor Foundation, visit www.FoldsofHonor.org.

21st Annual Father-Son Team Classic, Family Golf Week Tees off in Myrtle Beach

700 Players from 42 States are Participating in Golf’s Largest Family Tournament

(Myrtle Beach, S.C.) – Family Golf Week - highlighted by the 21st annual Father-Son Team Classic – is being played July 19-21 on seven of Myrtle Beach’s best courses. The event, which celebrates the bonds between golf and family, has attracted 700 players from 42 states and four countries (Ireland, UK, Canada, America)

Family Golf Week features a pair of 54-hole tournaments, the ever-popular Father-Son and the new Parent-Child Team Classic, which has brought mothers, daughters and grandparents into the fold.

Buoyed by the new event and the efforts of East Coast Golf Events and the tournament staff at Golf Tourism Solutions, this year’s event is up 15 percent.

“We can’t wait for Family Golf Week to tee off,” said Mike Buccerone, president of East Coast Golf Events. “Families are traveling from across America and beyond to play in an event that is about so much more than tournament results. This week is a celebration of what is great about the game, and we have outstanding golf courses and an exciting schedule of events awaiting 700 players.”

The host courses for Family Golf Week include Rivers Edge and the Love Course at Barefoot Resort, layouts that have been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses. Also hosting will be Crow Creek, home of Myrtle Beach’s newest bentgrass greens, Arcadian Shores, Heathland at Legends Resort, Wild Wing Avocet and Wachesaw Plantation East.

Entry fee was $995 per team and included three rounds of golf, daily lunch, pre- and post-event functions, and a gift bag valued at $500. Included among the gift bag items are a $150 tournament gift card that can be used at host courses for food, merchandise and golf, a logo’d polo shirt, a dozen Srixon golf balls and more.

Both Family Golf Week events require participants to have a USGA approved handicap and feature a different format of play each day, starting with a two-person captain’s choice, followed by better ball and alternate shot.

East Coast Golf Events, LLC, a valued National Partner of East Coast Golf Management, has partnered with Southern Dunes, the tournament’s long-time proprietor, to take over the Father-Son and Parent-Child team classics. East Coast, which provides management and marketing support to 25 courses, is one of the region’s most innovative and resourceful companies, maximizing growth for its partner courses.

East Coast is working with the Golf Tourism Solution’s Tournament Division, which manages eight events, including the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship, to handle tournament operations.

For more information, go to www.familygolfweek.com.

Arccos Golf Announces Next-Generation Artificial Intelligence Platform Now Available for Android

Powered by Microsoft Azure, “Golf’s Smartest Caddie” Now Provides 
Strategic Insights for Every Shot, Helping Users Play Smarter to Shoot Lower Scores

(STAMFORD, Conn.) – Arccos Golf announced the debut of its next-generation artificial intelligence platform, Arccos Caddie 2.0, for the Android platform. Powered by Microsoft Azure, Arccos Caddie 2.0 provides players with strategies for every shot on any hole in the world. Previously a premium feature, Arccos Caddie 2.0 is now free for all users of the Arccos 360 system.

Arccos boasts the richest dataset in golf, including over 100 million shots hit during 1 million+ rounds played by the Arccos community and 418 million GPS mapping data points on 40,000+ courses worldwide. After a series of hackfests and other collaborations, these vast resources were harnessed by Arccos engineers and Microsoft’s world class A.I. scientists. The result is a major development of Arccos Caddie’s capabilities and an expansion to the Android platform following initial launch for iOS devices this May.

“The entire sports landscape is being revolutionized by advanced analytics, and golf is the most ideal sport for the application of these concepts,” said Sal Syed, Arccos CEO and Co-Founder. “Working with Microsoft, we’re plugging into a very traditional framework – the caddie/player relationship – and taking it to the next level through the power of A.I. Considering only 3% of golfers today have access to advice from a human caddie, we’re also helping democratize the caddie experience by making it available to anyone. With Arccos Caddie 2.0 now on Android, even more golfers can leverage the full power of data and AI to play their best golf.”

Arccos Caddie 2.0 uses a wide variety of inputs to provide a golfer with insights into their optimal and alternative strategies, as well as outcome predictions, for every shot they play. Factors considered include but are not limited to:
- A user’s shot history
- The historical performance of other Arccos users
- Wind speed/direction and other weather conditions
- Elevation changes
- Hole geometry
- Hazard locations

“The PGA TOUR has done a great job of using advanced analytics to help its players practice and perform their best,” said Mike Downey, Director, Principal Evangelist – Sports at Microsoft. “At other levels of the game, capturing the necessary on-course data has been a real challenge. Arccos has cracked that code and built a robust data set which they’re deploying via the Microsoft Azure cloud to the benefit of golfers worldwide.”

Winner of the Golf Digest Editor’s Choice Award for “Best Game Analyzer” three years running, the Arccos platform helps golfers of all skill levels play smarter to shoot lower scores. In 2017, Arccos users improved their handicap by an average of 3.55 strokes – a rate that’s 46.7x faster than the average player with a USGA handicap.

“Arccos Caddie demonstrates A.I. complementing human capability,” added Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President – A.I. Business at Microsoft. “Through the power of Microsoft Azure, amateur golfers have information at their fingertips that was not easily available before. A.I. will have a huge effect on the golf industry, and it is an exciting time to be in this space as we help Arccos lead the charge.”

In addition to Microsoft, Arccos is an official partner with Cobra Puma Golf, which recently launched golf’s first smart set, Cobra Connect Powered By Arccos. As part of this ongoing collaboration, every club in the Cobra KING F8 line features an Arccos sensor embedded in the grip. This helps players improve faster by automatically tracking and receiving actionable insights for every aspect of their game.

For more information, visit: arccosgolf.com.

Medalist and Top Seed Kelly Chinn Wins First-Round Match at 71st U.S. Junior Amateur

(Springfield, N.J.) - The top of the match-play bracket ruled the day at Baltusrol Golf Club, as the top nine seeds, and 13 of the top 14, won their matches in the Round of 64 of the 71st U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. Overall, the higher seeds won 23 of 32 matches on Wednesday, with medalist Kelly Chinn setting the tone with a 2-and-1 victory over Trent Geritz in a match he never trailed.

Chinn, 15, of Great Falls, Va., took the lead with a birdie on the par-4 second hole and never relinquished it, though his advantage never grew beyond two holes. His margin narrowed to 1 up when he bogeyed the par-4 13th hole, but he hit his approach shot on the par-4 15th hole to 4 feet, and his ensuing birdie putt moved him back to 2 up with three to play.

“I'm playing well, have a lot of confidence,” said Chinn. “I’m going to have to hit a lot better shots. I'm just going to sharpen my game and keep moving forward.”

Castillo, the No. 2 seed in match play, had a much more suspenseful match on Wednesday. The 17-year-old was facing No. 63 seed Bryce Kvick, who earned one of the last three spots in match play in Wednesday morning’s playoff, and was 2 down with six holes to play before miscues by Kvick led to a bogey and double bogey on Nos. 13 and 14, respectively, putting the match all square. Another bogey by Kvick on No. 16 opened the for Castillo, but he three-putted from 15 feet to keep the match even. It would stay that way until the 21st hole, when the Yorba Linda, Calif., resident rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt to end the match and advance.

“Well, I got the job done, but didn't get it done the way I wanted to. It wasn't pretty. I definitely didn't play to my standard as I did the last couple days,” said Castillo. “In the end, I'm still going on to tomorrow.”

The most dominant performance of the day belonged to Akshay Bhatia, of Wake Forest, N.C. Bhatia, 16, was victorious, 6 and 5, over fellow North Carolinian Fulton Smith. Bhatia, who was 5 under over 13 holes with the usual match-play concessions, jumped out to a 4-up lead through five holes thanks in part to birdies on Nos. 3 and 4. The left-hander hit his tee shot on the par-3 third hole to 5 feet, and his approach shot on the fourth to 3 feet.

The biggest upset of the day came from the No. 55 seed, Colin Sikkenga, of Kalamazoo, Mich., who defeated Canada resident and Albanian citizen Ilirian Zalli, the No. 10 seed, 4 and 2. Sikkenga was 1 up through 13 holes before winning Nos. 14 through 16 to close out the match.

Cole Hammer, the No. 8 seed and 2018 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball co-champion, was nearly upset by No. 57 seed Jackson Suber. Hammer was 1 down with three holes to play before hitting his approach shot from 175 yards on No. 16 to 6 feet and converting the birdie putt to square the match. Suber would miss a 9-foot par attempt on No. 18, paving the way for Hammer, who rolled in his par putt from about 3 feet to win the match.

What’s Next: Two rounds of match play. The Round of 32 begins at 7 a.m. EDT on Thursday, with the winners advancing to the Round of 16 on Thursday afternoon.

Notable:
Chinn was one of three 15-year-olds to advance to the Round of 32. He is joined by Ben James, of Milford, Conn., and Jolo Timothy Magcalayo, of the Philippines. James is the youngest player remaining in the field.

All three USGA champions in the field advanced to the Round of 32. In addition to Hammer, his 2018 Four-Ball partner, Garrett Barber, advanced with a 1-up victory over Jack Rahon, and Shuai Ming (Ben) Wong defeated Jake Beber-Franker, 1 up.

Ryan Smith, of Carlsbad, Calif., who defeated Canon Claycomb, 1 up, will enter Thursday as the only 2017 quarterfinalist remaining in the field. Rayhan Thomas, who reached the semifinals last year, fell to William Mouw, 6 and 5 on Wednesday.

Quotable:
Karl Vilips (won 1 up vs. Julian Perico): “I feel like I've conserved my energy pretty well this week. I've just come off a couple 36-hole events, and I think the way I maintain my nutrition and hydration during the day is going to be key.”

Travis Vick (won 2 and 1 vs. Cole Ponich): “It's a different mindset from stroke play. You're playing the competitor instead of the golf course. So I kind of set a number, and that's what I want to achieve. Match play is completely different; the strategy changes, but I enjoy it as well.”

Shuai Ming (Ben) Wong (won 1 up over Jake Beber-Frankel), on winning after his opponent missed a 4-foot putt: “You know, I would never like to win in that way, in that fashion. I would like for both of us play well and the winner edge it out. So, I didn't really want to see him miss that putt, but I just had to do whatever to win, so I'm really grateful.”

William Mouw (won 6 and 5 over Rayhan Thomas): “I didn't play too well in stroke play, but knew as long as I get to match play, tables will turn. Hit some fairways and hit some greens and finally made some putts. My caddie, Rick, gave me some good reads and I hit the lines and made them.”

Akshay Bhatia (won 6 and 5 over Fulton Smith): “This week is going to be a huge grind, especially on this tough of a golf course. Just kind of realizing that pars will really win a lot of holes. If you sneak a couple birdies in, that's also a bonus.”

Cole Hammer (won 1 up over Jackson Suber): “This is really good. I'm excited for the rest of it because I feel like I can beat anybody, that's for sure, after this match. It was a dogfight and I was lucky enough to come out on top. It was anyone's match.”

Reserva Conchal Beach Resort, Golf & Spa to Host Final Round of 2018 Guanacaste Classic

Three-Round Tournament Pits Golfers Battling Top Courses in Costa Rica

(PLAYA CONCHAL, Costa Rica) – Reserva Conchal Beach Resort, Golf & Spa – the luxury resort on Costa Rica’s scenic northwestern Pacific coast – will host the final round of 2018 Guanacaste Classic on July 22 on its Robert Trent Jones II golf course.

The 16th edition of the tournament, which occurs July 20-22, offers four flights based on official United States Golf Association handicaps. The first round will occur at the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo. The following day, the Hacienda Pinilla Beach Resort hosts the second round.

“We are pleased to once again host the final round of the Guanacaste Classic, as it is one of the premier tournaments in the region,” says Carlos Rojas Soto, Director of Golf of Reserva Conchal. “The tournament boasts a full field and a wonderful roster of golf courses that will provide myriad challenges.”

The sporty, par-71 Reserva Conchal design meanders between the azure Pacific Ocean waters and lush greens of the neighboring “dry” tropical forest, exposing players to a variety of elements. The returning nines feature ocean vistas with unforgettable holes winding through lakes, rugged ravines and rolling hills.

Golfweek and Golf Digest Magazines recently named Reserva Conchal the top golf course in Costa Rica. Reserva Conchal also was the first course in Costa Rica bestowed certification by Audubon International. It boasts a world-class practice facility and learning center with four green complexes, bunkers, chipping and approach areas, and an expansive practice tee.

Earlier this May, Reserva Conchal was the site of the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica’s Essential Costa Rica Classic. Reserva Conchal hosted the inaugural tournament in 2017, which was Costa Rica’s first PGA TOUR event in more than 30 years. Many players in the field raved about the golf course for its playability, scenery and conditions.

For more information about the Guanacaste Classic, email golf@reservaconchal.com or call (506) 2654-3031.

For more information about Reserva Conchal, visit www.reservaconchal.com or call 855.851.5000.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Lucy Li Leads Fog-Delayed U.S. Girls' Junior After Near-Record Performance

(Pebble Beach, Calif.) - Lucy Li nearly matched the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship’s 36-hole scoring record, but is hoping to settle for medalist honors for a second consecutive year instead.

Li, 15, of Redwood Shores, Calif., carded a 2-under-par 69 on Tuesday for a two-round total of 11-under 131 and the clubhouse lead by six strokes over Brooke Seay, 17, of San Diego, Calif.

Only half of the 156-player field completed the second and final round of stroke play due to a 4½-hour fog delay before play could begin. Play was suspended for the day due to darkness at 8:18 p.m. PDT, and will resume on Wednesday at 7 a.m. The field will then be cut to the low 64 scorers for match play.

Li, No. 9 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR), won’t have to worry about being in the draw. The only drama on Tuesday was whether she would match or break the 36-hole scoring mark held by Taylore Karle, who shot 130 in 2005 at BanBury Golf Club in Eagle, Idaho. That mark also stands as the lowest total recorded in any USGA amateur competition that features 36 holes of stroke play followed by match play.

Li’s 131 matched the total of Angel Yin in the 2014 Girls’ Junior at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz.

For her part, Li was unaware of her flirtation with golf history.

“Nobody told me anything. Honestly, it doesn’t matter,” she said. “It’s just stroke play right now.”

Li, a member of last month’s victorious USA Curtis Cup Team, came to the 18th hole, an uphill par 5 measuring 485 yards, needing a birdie to match Karle’s record. She stuffed her 100-yard, pitching-wedge approach to 5 feet, only to slightly mishit the birdie putt. Li said her ball striking was as good as on Monday when she matched the championship’s 18-hole scoring mark with a 9-under 62.

She finished with four birdies and two bogeys.

“I didn’t putt as well,” said the two-time U.S. Women’s Open competitor who made headlines in 2014 when at age 11 she became that championship’s youngest-ever qualifier. “I think they put a couple of tougher pins out there. There were a few that were right over the false fronts and some tucked pins.”

Seay, one of four five-time U.S. Girls’ Junior competitors in the field, backed up her first-round 67 with a 1-under 70. Yujeong Son, of the Republic of Korea, a semifinalist in 2017, carded a 3-under 68 to finish eight strokes behind Li at 139.

Yealimi Noh, 16, of Concord, Calif., teed off late in Round 2 a day after shooting 5-under 66 and completed six holes on Tuesday at 2 under par. She is 7 under par for the championship as she looks to make history on Wednesday when play resumes.    

NOTABLE
Lucy Li is bidding to become the seventh player in U.S. Girls’ Junior history to earn medalist honors in consecutive championships. The last two players to accomplish the feat – Inbee Park (2002-2003) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2011-12) – each have gone on to win the U.S. Women’s Open, the former twice.

Through the morning wave, the course was playing two-tenths of a stroke harder than Monday. The scoring average was 77.0 to 76.8 on Monday.

Pat Hurst, the 1986 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion and 1990 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, was briefly on the property Tuesday. She posed for photos with a few of the U.S. Girls’ Junior competitors, including Li and 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball co-champion Hailee Cooper.

Should a playoff be necessary on Wednesday to determine the final match-play spots, holes 17 and 18 will be utilized.

QUOTABLE
Lucy Li (62-69–131), of Redwood Shores, Calif., on the possibility of being medalist two consecutive years:
“It would be great if I was medalist two years in a row. The main goal is to get through stroke play and when the match play starts, it’s a completely different tournament.”

Li on what she did to pass the time during the fog delay:
“I looked through my course notes and hung out in the player locker room. We were playing Jenga and everyone was making s’mores. It was fun.”

Brooke Seay (67-70–137), of San Diego, Calif., on dealing with the 4½-hour fog delay:
“It’s definitely a challenge to be here for six hours before [teeing off]. It was difficult to warm up and warm up again. It’s something everyone [who had a morning tee time] had to deal with in some way. It’s tough. But there’s not much you can do about it. You just have to stay patient and stick to your game. And once you get out there, you have to forget that it even happened, and do the best you can.”

Seay on the performance of Li:
“She’s playing awesome. I haven’t seen her play, but to shoot that out here, you definitely have to be making good shots and good putts. I don’t think she’s making mistakes.”

Seay on going from stroke play to match play:
“It’s kind of nice to reset. You just take it one day at a time from here. Every match is important. Sometimes, the danger is to worry too much about what your opponent is doing and get caught up in their game instead of sticking to your own. It’s definitely a different mentality to play against one other person instead of the course.”

Sea Pines Country Club to Undergo Second Round of Enhancements

Multi-Million Dollar Fitness Center Highlights Most Recent Expansion

(HILTON HEAD, S.C.) – Sea Pines Country Club (SPCC) will initiate a $2.55 million fitness center renovation and expansion adding a grab-and-go café, infrared saunas, state-of-the-art equipment and other amenities.

The project includes an addition of a second floor, increasing the size of the facility from 2,500-square-feet to 7,300-square feet. It features a new multi-purpose room for group classes and gatherings, and a café serving up healthy fare with expansive views of the club’s tennis courts and practice facility driving range.

The locker rooms will double in size with new offerings such as fresh lockers. Infrared saunas, the latest cardio equipment and an audio and video system will round out the improvements.  

“We always strive to enhance the member experience and add value to their lifestyle pursuits,” says Robbie Ames, GM / COO of Sea Pines Country Club. “The treatment rooms and infrared saunas help rehabilitate injured members. New locker rooms are more convenient for pool goers, tennis players, fitness enthusiasts and golfers and the café will offer healthy food options that everyone will love.”

Choate Construction will manage the project, estimated to begin after Labor Day. In 2017, Sea Pines Country Club completed a $2.7 million refresh of its clubhouse – including the creation of an entirely new Blue Heron Pub and Grille, modernizing its 24-meter outdoor pool and existing saline indoor pool and building a brand-new children’s splash pool.

“Sea Pines Country Club was awarded an 88 percent on America’s Healthiest Club’s Health Report, making us one of the country’s healthiest private clubs,” continues Ames. “Wellness is an integral part of our lifestyle offerings, and we’re thrilled to begin this final health-focused renovation.”

2018 has been a stellar year for Sea Pines Country Club, as it was recently awarded Distinguished Club status. Only 179 out of 3,400 private clubs in America have been given this prestigious distinction.

Membership is by invitation only. For more information, contact Nic Booth at (843) 671-2335 or nbooth@seapinescountryclub.com. Learn more about Sea Pines Country Club at www.seapinescountryclub.com.

Kelly Chinn Earns Medalist and Top Seed in Match-Play Bracket at 71st U.S. Junior Amateur

(Springfield, N.J.) - What Happened: 15-year-old Kelly Chinn, of Great Falls, Va., earned medalist honors in his first USGA championship, following up Monday’s 66 with a 3-under 67 on the Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club. Chinn birdied five of his last six holes on Tuesday to vault to the top of the leader board with a 36-hole score of 8-under 133, besting Ricky Castillo and Karl Vilips by two strokes.

Round 2 was delayed for just over four hours on Tuesday due to heavy thunderstorms. Play resumed on Baltusrol’s Upper and Lower courses at 6:20 p.m. EDT, and stroke play concluded right before dusk.

Chinn, who attends Langley High School in McLean, Va., got off to a shaky start on his back nine Tuesday, making bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11. But then his solid all-around game took over. Chinn rolled in a 20-foot putt for birdie on No. 13 and a 15-footer for birdie on No. 14. On No. 15, he hit a 4-iron out of the rough to 3 feet. Sharp wedges on Nos. 17 and 18 allowed him to finish with back-to-back birdies.

“I feel really good about my game, so I’m really excited for match play," said Chinn. "This is such a huge tournament. Just to be in it was amazing, and to be medalist would be really high on my achievement list."

Vilips, who shared the lead with Chinn after Round 1, was also solid on the Lower Course Tuesday. The Australia native hit a wedge to 2 feet on No. 18 for a birdie to finish off a 1-under 69. The 16-year-old had four birdies to go along with three bogeys, all of the latter coming on the back nine.

Castillo, of Yorba Linda, Calif., also played the Lower Course on Tuesday, birdieing his last two holes, the only par 5s on the course, to post a 2-under 68. The 17-year-old advanced to the Round of 16 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur, and he also advanced to the Round of 32 in the U.S. Amateur a year ago.

The round of the championship thus far was turned in by Japan’s Yuki Moriyama, who fired a bogey-free, 5-under 65 on the Lower Course, including a 29 on the front nine, tying the championship record for nine holes.

All three USGA champions in the field, 2018 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball co-champions Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, and 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball co-champion Shuai Ming (Ben) Wong, advanced to match play. Hammer shot 68 on the Upper Course on Tuesday to finish at 4-under 137, while Wong finished at even-par 141 and Barber at 5-over 146.

What’s Next: Eight players at 7-over-par 148 will play off for the final three spots in the match-play bracket, starting at 7 a.m. on the fourth hole of the Lower Course. The Round of 64 will begin at 8 a.m. on the Upper Course.

Quotable:
Trent Phillips (-4, 70): “I feel like I’m improving for sure, especially coming off the practice rounds. I played some of my worst golf. I didn’t know where the ball was going, I was just hitting it. To shoot what I did the last two days, two under-par rounds, was kind of shocking. I just tried to come out here with no expectations and just go low.”

Ricky Castillo (-6, 68): “My game feels like it’s in the right place right now. I didn’t have any terrible shots so I didn’t really put myself in a bad position. I was just trying to play a solid game and get into match play. I wasn’t trying to look for anything crazy.”

Ilrian Zalli (-3, 68): “I’ve never played match play, but I like the fact that I am able to play against one player, one person. I don’t think it’s going to be too much of a surprise. I know what to do and what not to do. I’m just going to leave it all on the table tomorrow.”

Cole Hammer (-4, 68): “I am glad we don’t have to come out tomorrow morning and finish. It’s nice and kind of the same schedule I have always been on for this tournament. I feel like I am prepared and playing well, I really have fun with match play.”

Notable:
Moriyama’s 29 was the second in U.S. Junior Amateur history. Eric Bae shot 29 on his inward nine during the second round of stroke play in the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur, held at The Club at Carlton Woods (Nicklaus Course), in The Woodlands, Texas.

While the Upper Course was the easier of the two courses, only three bogey-free rounds were recorded during stroke play, and all of them were on the Lower Course. Akshay Bhatia fired a 4-under 66 on the Lower on Monday, and on Tuesday, Yuki Moriyama (65) and Joseph Pagdin (67) accomplished the feat.

Through seven holes on Tuesday, Canon Claycomb, 16, was sitting at 6 over for the championship, right around the cut line. That all changed in a hurry. Claycomb birdied five of his last 11 holes on the Upper Course, including his last three, to post 1-over 142 and comfortably book a spot in match play.

Sailfish Point Selects Buffalo.Agency to Manage Public Relations

(STUART, Fla.) – Sailfish Point – the 532-acre oceanfront luxury community on Hutchinson Island, 45 minutes north of Florida’s Palm Beaches – has selected Buffalo.Agency as its public relations partner.

The first full-service, integrated marketing solution dedicated to sport, industry and lifestyle segments, Buffalo.Agency will publicize Sailfish Point in national and relevant regional media covering luxury real estate, golf, yachting and related topics.

“Sailfish Point is one of the most stunning and distinctive oceanfront properties along the East Coast,” says Kristen Cheskaty, Managing Partner of Sailfish Point Realty. “Strategic, hyper-targeted earned media will further position us one of the top places to live not only in Florida, but nationally.”

The vibrant, oceanfront enclave features 520 distinctive homes from spacious waterfront estates to low-maintenance condos, villas and townhomes with private boat slips. The island is surrounded by three bodies of water – the Atlantic Ocean, Indian River and St. Lucie Inlet. Residents enjoy access to a stunning, 1.5-mile stretch of private beach and a freshly updated, 60,000-square-foot oceanfront clubhouse with fine and casual dining, event space, new fitness center and multiple pools.

Golfers relish the nationally-ranked Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course that winds through the island and along the St. Lucie Inlet, culminating in a dramatic finish at the 443-yard, par-4 18th with its green perched against the Atlantic Ocean. Shifting coastal breezes factor into shot-making on the 7,088-yard, par-72 layout while members and guests appreciate Bermuda greens that roll fast and true.

Not to be outdone, Sailfish Point’s maritime offering is second to none in the Sunshine State. Its full-service marina and yacht club houses 77 wet slips and 45 dry slips while accommodating vessels up to 125 feet. Within minutes, anglers are in the marine-rich Gulfstream casting lines for mahi-mahi, wahoo or the eponymous, ferocious sailfish. Boaters navigate from Sailfish Point through the Okeechobee Waterway across the state to the Gulf of Mexico.

“From its enviable island location, five-star amenities and nationally-ranked golf course, Sailfish Point is rich with captivating story angles,” says Shane Sharp, Vice President of Buffalo.Agency.  “The community is its own paradise – like living on your private Caribbean Island – and we’re excited to share the Sailfish Point story.”

More information: www.sailfishpoint.com, 772.225.6200.

10 Reasons Every Golfer Should Visit North Carolina's Outer Banks This Fall

(OUTER BANKS, NC) – Golf around North Carolina’s storied Outer Banks represents an outstanding selection of fun and affordable yet quality golf courses — along with eclectic accommodations and a plethora of off-course activities that have transformed the Outer Banks into a mini-Mecca sportsman’s paradise.

Here are 10 “shore” things that make the OBX a perfect destination for a fall golf trip.

1. Autumn offers the best weather and course conditions of the year. Fall golfers face many enviable choices during their trips …  wearing shorts or pants, hitting 5- or 6-irons into ocean breezes, flopping or pitching off lush turf, deciding between links or parkland designs, among others.

2. A famous expression coined long ago at Cahoon’s Grocery and Variety Store in Nags Head goes, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” This OBX motto could easily be applied to its golf. From true barrier island links courses to modern parkland marvels located inland, the region is so chock full of variety, golfers truly don’t have to go anywhere else. The challenges at The Pointe, The Carolina Club, Nags Head Golf Links, Kilmarlic and The Currituck Club are as spectacular as the coastal views they possess. There may be no better location for an affordable and memorable fall golf getaway than the Outer Banks.

3. An autumn golf trip to OBX is all about tee times, shots along the sound, and an array of before and after-golf dining options that include selections pulled directly from nearby waters and then freshly prepared by local chefs. Ask any regular visitor to OBX and he or she will most likely clue you in about breakfast at Sam and Omie’s, lunch at Tortugas’ Lie, Kill Devil Rum tastings at Outer Banks Distilling, dinner at The Blue Point and OBX Trio, not to mention takeout from Currituck BBQ Company or in-home catering from Red Sky Cafe.

4. Afternoon drives take on a whole new meaning along the coast just minutes north of Rees Jones’s 18-hole gem known as The Currituck Club, the grandest design along the coast “sculpted on the type of land where golf began” among 600 acres of dunes, wetlands, maritime forests and sound seascapes. There, a unique après-golf excursion unfolds in the form of 12 miles of beachfront that is only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles. Known as “beach riding,” this one-of-a-kind activity leads you to nothing but sun, sand, ocean, some vacation rental homes and those wild Spanish mustangs that can be found grazing in an untamed area called the “Corolla Outback.” Spotting the feisty horses is a popular OBX pastime.

5. Every time golfers tackle historic Nags Head Golf Links, they find themselves facing a different challenge. Crafted by Bob Moore, Nags Head plays hard along the inner waterway on the southern end of the Outer Banks, where capricious breezes off sound-side waters create a unique golfing experience each and every day. With its coastal winds, rugged shoreline, island holes, seaside vistas, and tees and greens are separated by rolling dunes and wild sea grass, Nags Head bears far more than a passing resemblance to the famed Scottish golf links.

6. You don’t have to travel far from your place on the beach to find great interior golf at the Outer Banks. Golfers who haven’t already played one of the designs located at the gateway to the beach on the way into town don’t have to backtrack very far. Located just across the Wright Memorial Bridge (one of only three vehicle access points connecting the island with the mainland), The Pointe Golf Club is the first in a sequence of championship golf courses — layouts close to the sounds and ocean but more parkland in settings. The course is also said to be the first in the country to have the A-1 bent grass — a dense, disease-resistant strain — installed across its corridors.

7. Golfers can dip their toes in the Atlantic Ocean 10 minutes after a round of golf at Kilmarlic Golf Club — a popular Tom Steele design nestled along the marshland of the Albemarle Sound and host course for both the 2004 and 2009 North Carolina Opens, as well as annual host of the Old Dominion/Outer Banks collegiate championship each autumn. A wonderful mainland course amidst 605 beautiful acres of maritime forest provides a pure OBX layout with water and wetlands virtually in play at all times.

8. The Pointe Golf Club’s sister course is The Carolina Club. Highlighted by a memorable par-3 island green No. 7, The Carolina Club’s positioning as the first course heading into town from the north and last one on the way out makes it the ideal play on either side of your OBX fall golf vacation.

9. A wide range of top-shelf and equally eclectic accommodations can be found all along OBX, from the iconic Sanderling Resort in Duck to the fully-equipped Kilmarlic Golf Cottages featuring golf course views of the championship course, along with access to a 5,000-square foot, lighted putting green and a four-hole Short Course. If your group prefers to be closer to the shore, you can choose from a vast array of beach or sound-side homes that range from one-bedroom condos to multiple bedroom estates. Then, rest up between rounds at any number of privately owned vacation residences with luxuries such as private pools, pool tables, high-definition televisions and much more.

10. “Away from it all” is how golfers feel teeing it up on any one of the outstanding golf courses located in the OBX. But don’t think for a moment that this coastal destination is bereft of things to do once your group’s round of golf is complete. When not standing on a green or tee box looking out across the ocean or a sound, golfers can stay busy living the good life in quaint villages and towns with funky names like Currituck, Corolla, Coinjock, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Duck and Kitty Hawk. For those who like hunting lighthouses as much as they do birdies, the region is well known for a beautiful string of lighthouses that stretch from Corolla in the north all the way to Cape Hatteras in the south.

Learn more about these courses, the OBX golf experience and special package prices at www.PlayOBXGolf.com or 800-916-6244.

StrackaLine Produces Industry Leading Greens Guides For Niagara Falls Country Club, Porter Cup

Players in One of Amateur Golf’s Most Hallowed Events Will Have Access to StrackaLine Greens Guides

(San Diego, Calif.) – StrackaLine scanned Niagara Falls Country Club and produced its industry leading greens guides for the historic club, which is hosting the 60th annual Porter Cup July 18-21.

The Porter Cup, which counts Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson among its alumni, is one of amateur golf’s most prestigious events. The 72-hole tournament is played annually at historic Niagara Falls CC, one of Western New York’s, premier layouts.

Originally an A.W. Tillinghast design, Niagara Falls CC has been updated by Robert Trent Jones Sr., among others, and the 6,871-yard layout has been a proving ground for the game’s greats.

“The opportunity to scan Niagara Falls Country Club was a great opportunity,” said Jim Stracka, president of StrackaLine. “The Porter Cup and Niagara Falls Country Club are names immediately recognizable to competitive amateur golfers, and we are proud to have our industry leading greens guides available to tournament players and the club’s membership.”

The StrackaLine team took its state-of-the-art laser scanner to Niagara Falls and scanned every green, allowing the company to map each putting surface with accuracy down to the millimeter.

StrackaLine’s quality and accuracy have led to widespread adoption on the PGA, LPGA, Symetra and Web.com tours, in addition to their use by more than 300 Division I college teams.

StrackaLine scans courses for $1,500 and that includes 100 greens guides for resale. The scanning process takes five hours to complete and is unobtrusive to the golfer experience.

StrackaLine now has 700+ courses scanned, including some of the nation's most prominent layouts. Use of the greens guides at the highest levels of the game surged throughout 2017, and the company now counts nearly every Division I golf program, including last year’s national champions, among its users.

The greens maps, which feature easy to read arrows, allow players to view contour and fall lines, in addition to slope percentage, anywhere on the green.

Professional usage has helped drive interest in StrackaLine Greens Guides, and the technology is just as valuable to "regular" amateur golfers hoping to improve their score.

For golf course owners and operators, the technology can be used to improve pace of play and help ensure quality course conditions. StrackaLine offers hole location software that allows superintendents to utilize a proprietary algorithm to help set hole locations.

StrackaLine will continue to add to its library of golf courses throughout 2018. It takes just eight minutes to scan and capture an entire green and the StrackaLine team can complete an 18-hole course and practice green in five hours without disrupting play.

For more information on how to order a greens guide or have a course scanned, go to www.StrackaLine.com.

"The Men In Blazers" Hosting Nightly Show From The Open, July 18-22 on NBCSN

Show to Include Off-beat Interviews, Unique Features and Men In Blazers Distinctive Takes on The Open

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – Culminating in France’s thrilling win on Sunday, NBC Sports’ critically-acclaimed The Men In Blazers – Roger Bennett and Michael Davies – have spent the past month breaking down all of the action surrounding the FIFA World Cup. However, there will be no rest for the duo as they leave behind their Panic Room studio in the “crap part of SoHo” in Manhattan to host a nightly show in conjunction with The 147TH Open. The show will feature the pair’s signature, unconventional style in providing unique takes on golf’s original championship while “sporting an arsenal of the finest golf sweaters that could be found on eBay.” Originating from Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland, Men In Blazers will air nightly on NBCSN Wednesday, July 18 through Sunday, July 22.

In addition to delivering a series of features for NBC Sports’ coverage surrounding The Open, the nightly Men In Blazers show on NBCSN will offer expanded highlights following each round; off-beat interviews, special guests and cameos; along with non-traditional stories highlighting cultural elements relevant to Carnoustie and The Open.

“Both Davo and I grew up with The Open being the heartbeat of our sporting year,” said Bennett. “To cover it from that beautiful monster that is Carnoustie is the honor of a lifetime. We look forward to savoring every attempt to tame Hogan’s Alley, the futile battle between man and nature, and all those ‘subtle’ Ian Poulter wardrobe changes, in equal measure.”

Dedicated features being showcased over the duration of the week include: a retrospect on past Opens having been staged at Carnoustie; an in-depth recollection of the unforgettable 1999 Open; an introduction to the second-oldest golf shop in the world; a history lesson on Carnoustie and its influence on golf around the world; and an examination of Carnoustie’s local delicacy known as “bridies”.

MEN IN BLAZERS AIRTMES FOR THE 147TH OPEN WEEK (All Times EST)
July 18 - 11-11:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
July 19 - 11-11:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
July 20 - 1-1:30 a.m. (NBCSN, Saturday overnight)
July 21 - 11:30 p.m.-Midnight (NBCSN)
July 22 - 10-10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

TaylorMade Golf Company Formally Announces GAPR

Featuring SpeedFoam Technology, New Trio of Products Engineered to Deliver Golfers Maximum Performance to Fill Distance Gaps in Their Long Game

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) – TaylorMade Golf, the industry leader in high performance product innovation and technology and creators of the original Rescue line of hybrids in 1999, announced today the debut of GAPR, a highly innovative trio of products with unique identities and performance deliverables providing golfers with the right clubs to fill gaps in the long game.

Nearly every golfer has a gapping challenge in the long part of their set; specifically, the difficult-to-manage yardage between the longest playable iron and the shortest metalwood. With a majority of players not comfortable hitting 3, 4 and even 5 irons consistently to precise yardages or with any dependable accuracy and 5, 7 and 9 woods often difficult to control, TaylorMade set out to engineer a line of products that allow golfers to get the distance, carry and control needed to fill these gaps. The result is GAPR, three distinct products which invite golfers to choose their shape, find their distance and bridge their gap.

In recent years, the majority of hybrid clubs have gradually evolved into extensions of the iron set or simply smaller fairway woods. Few compelling options for golfers to upgrade their hybrids exist unless they purchase them as part of an iron set. On Tour, the number of wood-style hybrids has steadily declined. Players are starting to adopt iron-style utility clubs and driving irons for better control and workability.

In each of the 3 different GAPR models, engineers have incorporated TaylorMade's innovative SpeedFoam technology, which was first introduced in the globally-successful P790 irons last fall. SpeedFoam serves the dual purpose of generating ball speed while also dampening vibrations to create optimal sound and feel. SpeedFoam is injected into the club head in liquid form before expanding within the club, providing increased face support while maintaining the soft, solid sound and feel that golfers prefer. Additionally, strategically-placed ultra-low center of gravity in each GAPR model creates a hotter, higher launch for more distance and improved playability.
GAPR LO
Designed primarily for players with faster ballspeeds, GAPR LO is the smallest of the three models and features a low-forward CG for extreme distance with a mid-to-low trajectory. It’s driving iron-type shape has a players profile that allows for excellent flighting and workability, and the mid-thin sole width delivers maximum performance and versatility for the stronger player.

GAPR MID
Slightly larger in size than the GAPR LO, GAPR MID was designed with players of all skill levels in mind. Featuring a CG that is ultra-low and forward for maximum distance and a mid-high trajectory, GAPR MID has an iron face profile that inspires confidence and easy alignment and a medium-wide sole width for ease of play and versatility.

GAPR HI
Similar to the GAPR MID, GAPR HI was engineered for the widest range of players. The largest of the three models, GAPR HI features an ultra-low/back CG for maximum distance and a high, penetrating trajectory. Where the HI differs from the other 2 models is its shaping, which features modern Rescue™ shaping with a high-toe, peanut shaped clubhead. The dropped crown feature provides lower CG and improved alignment.

“More Tour players are adopting utility clubs to bridge the gap between their longest iron and shortest fairway wood. GAPR provides innovative options for players to confidently hit a specific yardage with a specific trajectory. With SpeedFoam, Loft Sleeve and Speed Pocket technologies, golfers have the performance and adjustability to fine-tune their long game for the right combination of distance, versatility and precision.” -Tomo Bystedt, Senior Director, Product Creation, Metalwoods

Specs, Availability & Pricing
Available on August 24 at an MSRP of $250 USD, GAPR will be available in the following models/lofts/lengths:
GAPR LOW
#2 | 17° | 40.25”
#3 | 19° | 39.75”
#4 | 22° | 39.25”

GAPR MID
#3 | 18° | 40.25”
#4 | 21° | 39.75”
#5 | 24° | 39.25

GAPR HI
#3 | 19° | 40.75”
#4 | 22° | 40.25”
#5 | 25° | 39.75”
#6 | 28° | 39.25”

Each GAPR comes equipped with a KBS Hybrid shaft in either an 80/x, 80/s, 70/r or 60/a profile (via custom) and a Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grip. Additional shaft options are available through TaylorMade's custom program as well.

Tim Brown and Jerome Bettis Named Honorary Chairmen of 2019 U.S. Senior Open Championship

The Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame Will Host the 40th U.S. Senior Open in June 2019

(LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.) – Tim Brown and Jerome Bettis, two University of Notre Dame football greats who each went on to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, have been named honorary chairmen of the 40th U.S. Senior Open Championship. The United States Golf Association (USGA) will conduct the U.S. Senior Open on The Warren Course on the campus of Notre Dame, in Notre Dame, Ind., from June 27-30, 2019.

Brown became the seventh Notre Dame player and the first wide receiver to receive the Heisman Trophy when he was recognized as college football’s most outstanding player in 1987. Brown, who was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009, would later cap a 17-year National Football League career, primarily with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, with induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

“It is a great privilege to work alongside fellow Notre Dame alumnus Jerome Bettis as honorary chairmen of the 2019 U.S. Senior Open,” said Brown, who is the lone Raider to have scored a touchdown as a receiver, rusher, kickoff returner and punt returner. “I have been returning to South Bend and The Warren Course in recent years to host a golf tournament that assists middle school students and the surrounding community has been very supportive. I am sure the Michiana area, Chicago and alumni and fans of the Blue and Gold will support this national championship.”

Bettis, an All-America fullback for the Fighting Irish, played for 13 years in the NFL, including his final 10 seasons with Pittsburgh. He helped the Steelers win Super Bowl XL, a 21-10 victory over Seattle in 2006, advance to four AFC championship games, qualify for the AFC playoffs six times and capture five AFC Central crowns. Bettis, who was chosen to the franchise’s all-time team as part of the 75th season celebration in 2007, was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, along with Brown, in 2015.

“Tim Brown and I have many things in common, Notre Dame football and being part of the same Pro Football Hall of Fame Class to name two, so it is only natural that we work together to help promote next year’s U.S. Senior Open at The Warren Course,” said Bettis. “It is an honor to help support this prestigious championship. I know my hometown of Detroit and golf fans from across the Midwest will join me in welcoming the game’s greatest senior players to South Bend.”

Since 2013, Brown has been the general manager and co-owner of the Texas Revolution, which won the 2017 Indoor Football League Championship. He has also served as national chairman for Athletes & Entertainers for Kids and 911 for Kids.

Bettis, who after retirement embarked on a career as a commentator and studio analyst, started his own foundation to care for children with asthma and has been active with the NFLPA’s online community to support current and former NFL athletes. He was the recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2001.

“Tim Brown and Jerome Bettis are two of the most accomplished football players in both Notre Dame and NFL history and are also fine examples of athletes who are outstanding citizens in their communities,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “They will be excellent ambassadors for the U.S. Senior Open and the game of golf.”

Brown was twice chosen to the Associated Press All-America Team and a unanimous selection as a senior at Notre Dame. He would become a first-round pick and the sixth overall in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Raiders and went on to be voted first-team All-Pro twice, earn a spot on the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and receive nine Pro Bowl selections. Brown, who played in the 2003 Super Bowl and won four AFC West Division titles as a member of the Raiders organization, is still ranked among the NFL’s career leaders in receptions (7th, 1,094), receiving yards (7th, 14,934) and receiving touchdowns (tie, 9th, 100).

Bettis, who led the Fighting Irish to victory in the 1992 Sugar Bowl and 1993 Cotton Bowl, was chosen in the first round (10th overall) by the Los Angeles Rams and was the consensus 1993 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Following a trade to Pittsburgh where he would earn the nickname, “The Bus,” for the way he dragged defenders on his back, Bettis would rush for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons with the Steelers and received 1996 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He would be chosen first-team All-Pro twice and was a six-time Pro Bowl selection. Bettis currently stands seventh among the NFL career leaders in rushing yards (13,664) and is tied for 11th in rushing touchdowns (91) with Steelers Hall of Famer Franco Harris.

In their honorary role, Brown and Bettis will support the second USGA championship to be held at The Warren Course at Notre Dame. The course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and the site of the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, will be the first collegiate facility to host a U.S. Senior Open. The public course is nestled among 250 acres of woodlands and is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

Tickets for the 40th U.S. Senior Open Championship at The Warren Course are now on sale here: 2019ussenioropen.com/tickets/. For full coverage of the U.S. Senior Open, visit usga.org/2019ussenioropen.

The U.S. Senior Open Championship, for golfers age 50 and older, is open to any professional and any amateur with a Handicap Index not exceeding 3.4. In 2020, the U.S. Senior Open will be played June 25-28 at Newport (R.I.) Country Club. The 2021 Senior Open, to be contested July 8-11, will be held at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club. Saucon Valley Country Club, in Bethlehem, Pa., will host the 2022 championship from June 23-26. The 2025 U.S. Senior Open will return to The Broadmoor, in Colorado Springs, Colo., following a successful championship earlier this summer.