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Vanderbilt takes 4-shot lead after Round 1 at NCAA Championship

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SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – It’s Vanderbilt’s world so far.

The Commodores completed their opening round Saturday morning at the NCAA Championship, extending their lead at the NCAA Championship. The No. 3 team in the country sat 8 under and two ahead when play was suspended due to darkness Friday at Rich Harvest Farms but kept pushing to lower numbers the next day.

After the round concluded Saturday morning, it was a 10-under 278 for Vanderbilt’s first round. That score was four shots better than No. 20 Auburn, No. 6 Illinois and No. 4 Oklahoma State, which all tied for the second-best opening round with a 6-under 282. UNLV, ranked 16th, sat fifth at 5 under, while top-ranked USC and No. 14 Oklahoma were T-6 at 4 under.

It was a strong opening day Friday at the NCAA Championship, even if it didn’t go totally smoothly. Lightning in the area forced delays of roughly three hours in the middle of Friday afternoon.

All morning wave teams finished Round 1 on Friday. The afternoon wave could not, though, with all teams going off late hit by the delays and unable to finish their opening rounds before play Friday was suspended due to darkness around 8 p.m. CT.

First-round action resumed at 6:30 a.m. CT Saturday, and the second round is already underway.

The Rebels’ Braden Thornberry is the individual leader through 18 holes thanks to a 6-under 66 in the opening round. Thornberry, a sophomore, has won four times in college events in 2016-17 (as well as a victory at a high-level amateur event in the Jones Cup) and is rated fifth in the Golfweek/Sagarin men’s college rankings.

Three players (Auburn’s Jacob Solomon, Vanderbilt’s Matthias Schwab and USC’s Justin Suh) finished Round 1 tied for second after opening in 67. Scottie Scheffler (Texas), Bjarki Petursson (Kent State), Viktor Hovland (Oklahoma State) and Will Zalatoris (Wake Forest, playing as an individual) all finished the round tied for fifth at 4 under.

As for the lead team, the Commodores won their first SEC Championship earlier this spring, have overall earned two victories in 2016-17 and finished worse than fourth in a stroke-play event just once the whole season.

The 30-team field will be cut to the top 15 squads after 54 holes. Another cut will come after 72 holes, with the top eight teams making match play. Vanderbilt has reached match play each of the last two years, losing in the quarterfinals both times.

Vanderbilt finished Round 1 with four players under par. Schwab, a senior, led the way at 5 under while sophomore Patrick Martin opened in 3-under 69 to sit tied for ninth. Junior Theo Humphrey and sophomore Will Gordon both posted 1-under 71s to finish Round 1 in a tie for 29th.

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Live blog: 2017 Dean & DeLuca Invitational, Round 3

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The PGA Tour is in Fort Worth, Texas for the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial Country Club.

We are tracking all of Saturday’s third-round action. Follow along…

How to follow the action:

All times Eastern

  • TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Friday, 4-7 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 1-2:30 p.m.); CBS (Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m.)
  • RADIO: PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM and PGATour.com (Friday, 1-7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m.)
  • PGA TOUR LIVE: Friday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m.
  • ON GOLFWEEK: Tour Tracker | All coverage

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Dean & DeLuca Invitational tracker

“The most important shot in golf is the next one.”

– Ben Hogan pic.twitter.com/SdDSSskwpb

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 26, 2017

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NCAA Championship 2017 Live Blog, Day 2

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The first round will soon be complete.

With lightning in the area, play was been suspended at the 2017 NCAA D-I Championship at 3:04 p.m. CT Friday afternoon and roughly three hours of delays ensued. With that much time missed, the afternoon wave could not get finished with Round 1 before darkness suspended play for the day around 8 p.m. CT.

But the opening round resumed Saturday at 6:30 a.m. CT and the second round is expected to commence only hours later.

Despite the weather interruptions, it was a strong Day 1 at Rich Harvest Farms and we’re still on pace for everything to finish on time.

Want to keep track of all that’s happened so far at the national championship out in the Midwest? We have you covered with our live blog below! Follow along…

How to follow the action:

All times Eastern (Note: TV coverage doesn’t begin until Monday)

  • TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Monday, 4-8 p.m.; Tuesday, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. & 4-8 p.m.; Wednesday, 4-8 p.m.)
  • ON GOLFWEEK: Tracker | All coverage

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NCAA Championship tracker

Two matches in one day? 72 holes of stroke play?#NCAAGolf schedule needs changes, writes @GolfweekRingler: https://t.co/97gPl8Xp8Q pic.twitter.com/eG8fQYw655

— Golfweek (@golfweek) May 26, 2017

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Vanderbilt grabs Day 1 lead at suspended NCAA Championship

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SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Vanderbilt didn’t finish its opening round Friday at the NCAA Championship, but the Commodores are still on top.

The No. 3 team in the country finished Day 1 at Rich Harvest Farms at 8 under, two shots ahead of the nearest competitor. The Commodores ended Friday, though, late in their round, as lightning in the area forced delays of roughly three hours in the middle of the afternoon.

All morning wave teams finished Round 1. The afternoon wave group is all halfway through their rounds or more, but none were finished when play was suspended due to darkness a little before 8 p.m. CT.

First-round action will resume at 6:30 a.m. CT Friday, with the second round commencing at 7:15 a.m. CT.

Vanderbilt is ahead by two over clubhouse leader Auburn (6-under 282). Fourth-ranked Oklahoma State is third at 5 under, with No. 1 USC fourth at 3 under (both those teams still have holes left in their first rounds).

Auburn, ranked 20th, is the clubhouse leader by five, with No. 33 Alabama and No. 21 Ole Miss (1-under 287) tied for second among the first-round finishers.

The Rebels’ Braden Thornberry (6-under 66) is the individual leader, with the Tigers’ Jacob Solomon (5-under 67) solo second. Four are tied for third at 4 under (that whole quartet still has holes to play).

Players were met with almost pristine conditions (and little wind) early in the day. But lightning encroached in the middle of the afternoon. Play was suspended at 3:04 p.m. CT, with action resuming briefly roughly an hour later before another suspension hit until roughly 6:20 p.m. CT.

The Commodores won their first SEC Championship earlier this spring, have overall earned two victories in 2016-17 and finished worse than fourth in a stroke-play event just once the whole season.

The 30-team field will be cut to the top 15 squads after 54 holes. Another cut will come after 72 holes, with the top eight teams making match play. Vanderbilt has reached match play each of the last two years, losing in the quarterfinals both times.

Vanderbilt has four players in the top 25, with senior Matthias Schwab (T-3, 4 under through 15) leading the way. Junior Theo Humphrey (T-13, 2 under) and sophomores Will Gordon (T-24, 1 under) and Patrick Martin (T-24, 1 under) are all off to good starts with holes to play in their first rounds.

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Vijay Singh thriving, in contention at Senior PGA Championship

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POTOMAC FALLS, Va. — Vijay Singh turned 50 early in 2013, but his accountant would suggest there were good reasons why Singh never showed much interest in playing senior golf.

Even though his PGA Tour earnings dropped from $1.58 million when he was 49 to just $309,000 in the season in which he turned 50, he bounced back with nearly $1 million in 2014 and more than $1.2 million last year.

Of course, age eventually catches up with every player, and the numbers show Singh is finding it more difficult to be successful on the PGA Tour, where he once was dominant. He finished in the top five in earnings every season of an 11-year stretch starting in 1998.

Leading up to this week’s 78th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C., Singh had made 12 PGA Tour starts in the current season and only two (excluding a team event) with fellow seniors. He’s shot in the 60s in PGA Tour events as many times (six) as he’s posted 78 or 79.

Before high winds turned to impossible in Friday’s second round of the Senior PGA, Singh’s second round of 3-under-par 69 gave him a two-day total of 10-under 134 and the clubhouse lead by one over Billy Andrade. Bernhard Langer had played 14 holes of his second round and led at 11 under par when play was called for the day.

British Open winds turned Trump National into a bear. The Round 2 scoring average was more than four and a half strokes higher than Round 1, and the gusts got so bad they forced a mid-afternoon stoppage of play with only 71 players having finished their second rounds. Play resumed about 35 minutes later, but with the schedule already thrown into chaos following two delays on Thursday, the second round will be completed Saturday morning.

In going 10 under par over the first two rounds, Singh has used his length to its fullest advantage. He’s 7 under on the par 5s, birdieing each of them so far this week except for the third hole in the second round, where a three-putt led to his only bogey of the first two days.

“I’m driving the ball really well, which makes a big difference,” said Singh. “If you drive the ball well on par 5s you’re going in with a middle to a long iron. It’s an advantage. . . . They’re all reachable.”

Andrade came to Trump National full of optimism. He collected his first PGA Tour victory, the 1991 Booz Allen Classic, at nearby Avenel.

“I like this place, for some reason,” he said. “I’ve had some success here. I was thinking about that this week as well, and I’m just looking forward to this weekend and having a chance.

“I just remember having great memories of the fans here being so great. It was a fun time, a pretty cool experience for me.”

Over his opening 36 holes, Andrade’s scrambling has been outstanding. He’s missed 12 greens but has been able to get up and down 11 times.

“I chipped it well,” said Andrade, who’s finished in the top 20 in six of eight Champions Tour starts this year. “All the chips I hit were close. . . . I putted a lot from off the green, so it wasn’t that I was chipping all the time.

“My dad will get on me all time. ‘Boy, you only hit eight greens.’ Yeah, but I was really close to the hole a lot of those times when I was off the green.”

With winds blowing steadily at 20 mph and occasionally gusting to as high as 40 on Friday, there was a dramatic scoring difference from the opening round, which was played under lift, clean and place conditions.

In Round 1 there were 37 double or triple bogeys. Before even half the field had completed play on Friday, that number for Round 2 had already more than doubled.

A few holes, like the fourth and 16th, were particularly brutal.

Playing directly into the gale on Friday, the 210-yard fourth yielded no birdies to any of the first 100 players go to through. The 16th, also playing straight into the west wind, was set up at 411 yards but playing impossibly long. At the time play resumed after the wind delay late Friday afternoon, an incomprehensible 9.1 percent of the field had hit that green in regulation in Round 2.

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Tee times, pairings: 2017 Dean & DeLuca Invitational, Round 3

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Here are the tee times and pairings for Round 3 of the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. (Note: All times Eastern)

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  • 8:20 a.m.: Geoff Ogilvy, Chris Stroud
  • 8:29 a.m.: Graham DeLaet, Scott Stallings
  • 8:38 a.m.: Wesley Bryan, Brian Stuard
  • 8:47 a.m.: Matt Jones, Steve Stricker
  • 8:56 a.m.: David Lingmerth, Chez Reavie
  • 9:05 a.m.: Ricky Barnes, Cameron Tringale
  • 9:14 a.m.: Sung Kang, Michael Kim
  • 9:23 a.m.: Phil Mickelson, Michael Thompson
  • 9:32 a.m.: Robert Streb, Matt Kuchar
  • 9:41 a.m.: Ryan Blaum, David Hearn
  • 9:50 a.m.: Zach Johnson, Patton Kizzire
  • 10:00 a.m.: Nick Taylor, Cody Gribble
  • 10:10 a.m.: Adam Hadwin, William McGirt
  • 10:20 a.m.: Chad Campbell, Ryan Palmer
  • 10:30 a.m.: Sam Saunders, Xander Schauffele
  • 10:40 a.m.: Emiliano Grillo, Billy Hurley III
  • 10:50 a.m.: Yuta Ikeda, Curtis Luck
  • 11:00 a.m.: Brandt Snedeker, Ben Martin
  • 11:10 a.m.: Angel Cabrera, Marc Leishman
  • 11:20 a.m.: Dominic Bozzelli, J.T. Poston
  • 11:30 a.m.: Bud Cauley, Ryan Moore
  • 11:40 a.m.: Ollie Schniederjans, Kevin Streelman
  • 11:50 a.m.: Harris English, Morgan Hoffmann
  • 12:00 p.m.: Charley Hoffman, Billy Horschel
  • 12:10 p.m.: Chris Kirk, Vaughn Taylor
  • 12:20 p.m.: Jonas Blixt, Nick Watney
  • 12:30 p.m.: Brian Harman, Derek Fathauer
  • 12:40 p.m.: Brian Gay, Stewart Cink
  • 12:50 p.m.: Whee Kim Seoul, Bill Haas
  • 1:00 p.m.: Kevin Tway, Scott Brown
  • 1:10 p.m.: Kelly Kraft, Jordan Spieth
  • 1:20 p.m.: Graeme McDowell, Tony Finau
  • 1:30 p.m.: Jon Rahm, Sean O’Hair
  • 1:40 p.m.: Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia
  • 1:50 p.m.: Danny Lee, Scott Piercy
  • 2:00 p.m.: Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner

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Webb Simpson among co-leaders after Round 2 of the Dean & DeLuca Invitational

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LEADING: Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner, Scott Piercy and Danny Lee hold a four-way share of the lead at 6 under for the tournament. Lee had the low round of the day with a 6-under 64, closing with four birdies and one bogey throughout his final five holes. Piercy and Simpson each shot 4-under 66 and Kisner carded a 3-under 67.

CHASING: Jon Rahm made back-to-back birdies on his final two holes to get to one off the leaders at 5 under, where he’s joined by fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia. The Masters champion shot 4-under 66 to get back into contention and sits T-5 along with Rahm, Paul Casey and Sean O’Hair. Graeme McDowell is two shots off the lead at 4 under while Tony Finau is 10th at 3 under.

SHOT OF THE DAY: Jordan Spieth, giving the cup a good scare with his approach at the par-4 second hole. Spieth made birdie and is at 2 under for the tournament after missing two straight cuts.

Back-to-back birdies for @JordanSpieth.

He’s clawing his way back at the @DeanDeLucaInv. pic.twitter.com/Wn7Yuv1BAb

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 26, 2017

QUOTABLE: “We are trying to go back to kind of an, I play my game and stop over-dissecting kind of each situation. Talk less and just hit the shots.” – Jordan Spieth.

UP NEXT: Golf Channel will air third-round coverage from 4-7 p.m. ET Saturday. Follow all the action live on Golfweek.com and our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

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Dylan Kim won't return to Baylor for junior season

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Dylan Kim won’t be returning to Baylor. She informed head coach Jay Goble prior to the NCAA Championship but didn’t let her teammates know until after the competition concluded.

“I tried my very best to put it out of my mind,” Kim told Golfweek. “That week wasn’t about me. It was about us as a team trying to win a national title.”

Baylor lost in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship to Stanford at Rich Harvest Farms. Two years ago, Kim graduated from high school a semester early to join the Bears in January of 2015. She led Baylor to its first Big 12 Conference title and helped the school reach the finals of the NCAA Championship before losing to Stanford.

Kim, one of the most talented players in the college game, took a redshirt season her sophomore year after a benign tumor was removed from her leg in October of 2015. She still takes Ibuprofen before every round to manage the pain.

A resident of Sachse, Texas, Kim declined to go into specifics about her reasons for leaving Baylor. She’ll be a sought-after transfer for many of the nation’s top programs, though Kim said that her release includes restrictions from schools beyond the Big 12.

“I have a lot of options,” she said. “But I don’t know where I’m going yet.”

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Ringler: NCAA Championship schedule in need of changes

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SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – The NCAA Championship is one round too long.

Throughout the entire year, 54 holes is the norm for a quality, competitive college golf tournament. When the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship had the second round of stroke play canceled due to inclement weather, 54 holes of stroke play was enough golf to determine the top eight teams.

Top-seeded Northwestern advanced to the championship match against top-ranked Arizona State at Rich Harvest Farms. The Sun Devils claimed their eighth national title and no one questioned the outcome. No flukes here.

With only 54 holes rather than the scheduled 72, the championship had a better flow to it. That 54-hole cut to 15 teams never made sense anyway. The only cut needed is the one that determines the top eight teams that advance to match play.

The race for the individual championship included several of the best players in the country. There were no whispers here about the championship being tainted because it was only three rounds.

Arizona State’s Monica Vaughn, who had just won an NCAA regional, was a deserving winner, and the names behind her on the leaderboard were first-team All-Americans.

The 2017 championship gave everyone a look at what a 54-hole stroke-play portion would look like, and it looked good.

Now, let’s talk about the most ridiculous day in college golf: Day 1 of match play.

Four teams play two matches in one day.

The Stanford women’s team has competed on this day in each of the past three years.

“The first match-play day is grueling,” said Anne Walker, Stanford’s head coach. “This year we pegged it at 7 a.m. and came off the course at sunset. My assistant had her fitness tracker running and logged just under 38,000 steps while walking with two players. That’s approximately 15 miles.”

A lot of emotion is spent in team match play, significantly more than stroke play. Having to go back out and do it again, within an hour, is too much to ask of student-athletes.

Give them time to savor victory.

At the men’s 2009 NCAA Championship at Inverness – the first to use match play – eighth-seeded Georgia knocked off top-ranked Oklahoma State in the morning quarterfinals. The Bulldogs then lost in the afternoon to Arkansas.

“It was a big emotional win beating Oklahoma State,” said Chris Haack, Georgia’s head coach, “and then to have to turn right back around and play that afternoon, our minds were not in it and all of our energy was zapped.”

Haack said his team had about one hour to regroup after Brian Harman defeated Oklahoma State’s Rickie Fowler to send the Bulldogs to the next round.

In 2010, the NCAA changed the format to include three rounds of match play over three days. Former Augusta coach Josh Gregory’s teams went 6-0 in two years – winning back-to-back titles – under that format.

“There is way too much emotion involved to have to play two matches the same day,” said Gregory. “In 2011, after we beat Oklahoma State on its home course, I would be willing to bet that if we had to play Georgia again that afternoon, we would have lost.”

Instead, Augusta played Georgia one day after upsetting the Cowboys and claimed a second consecutive title.

“You need time to enjoy,” said Gregory, “to celebrate and relax and get ready for the next day.”

In 2013, the format returned to the quarterfinals and semifinals being held on the same day. It has been that way since because of television. With only three days of televised play, all parties involved want to be able to televise both the final round of stroke play and all three rounds of match play.

For Walker, it’s a matter of timing. The double-round day comes on the fifth day of competition. (The sixth day of golf if you count the practice round.)

“It almost puts us in an endurance sport category,” said Walker.

For one week a year.

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Led by confident Jacob Solomon, Auburn grabs early NCAA clubhouse lead

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SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – The Auburn Tigers surged to the top early at Rich Harvest Farms, posting a 6-under 282 to take a five-shot lead through the morning wave in Round 1 at the NCAA D-I Men’s Championship.

And they’re happy to prove the doubters wrong.

“I never hear our name being talked about,” said Jacob Solomon, an Auburn sophomore. “We’re an awesome team and we know that.”

While the group has already dropped to a tie for second with the afternoon wave started – play was suspended at 3:04 p.m. CT due to lightning in the area – Auburn is in sniffing the top early at nationals.

That’s despite little outside expectation that the Tigers would crack the top eight for match play. Heck, only one of four Golfweek experts picked Auburn to make it through regionals (Whoops!).

But Auburn has now made it to six straight NCAA Championships, and this specific Tigers squad has won four times this season.

Solomon showed Friday just how potent the 20th-ranked Tigers can be. The sophomore is No. 164 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, fifth-highest on the team, and is playing in Auburn’s fifth spot this week. And yet he went out Friday and shot 5-under 67, tied for the Tigers’ second-lowest round ever at the NCAA Championship. And that score has him solo second (Ole Miss’ Braden Thornberry leads at 6 under).

The sophomore started his round at No. 10 and was 4 under after chipping in for birdie at the par-4 fourth.

He closed in style, too. Solomon pulled out a 9-iron from 152 yards at the par-4 ninth and stuffed it to a foot. Granted, he was aiming 10 feet right of the hole and pulled it, but…

“Shoot, if you hit it to a foot, it can’t ever be bad,” Solomon said.

Matt Gilchrest (T-4, 3 under) also contributed a big score and none of Auburn’s starting five shot worse than 74.

For Solomon, this strong performance hasn’t come without some fight. Then again, that’s his style.

“He’s a gritty little guy,” said Nick Clinard, Auburn’s head coach. “He’s been a big-time player for us for two years.”

Clinard in fact often calls Solomon a big-time player. Not that the road has always been smooth.

Last February, Solomon had a bad cough and congestion during the Amer Ari Invitational. He got the symptoms checked out with Auburn doctors when he got back: Solomon had mono.

For the next month, Solomon had to sit out of workouts – doing no more than some work on a stationery bike – and could do little physical activity while resting as much as he could.

Solomon was frustrated because he was following instructions and felt fine while weekly blood tests showed he was getting no better.

“I remember going in (to the doctors), and they’d be like, ‘Why are you not following our recommendations?’ And I’m like, ‘I am!’ ” Solomon said.

Well … Solomon did put in some light range sessions, even though doctors advised him not to hit balls. Otherwise, he was heeding orders.

Solomon was finally cleared to play by early March at the Tiger Invitational, and posted a strong spring.

But this fall, a different issue popped up. Solomon failed to qualify for three straight events. In the last of the three – for The Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate – Solomon was several shots back heading into the final round of a three-for-one 54-hole qualifier among him, Trace Crowe and Ryan Benton. Solomon closed in 8-under 64 at Moore’s Mill Club, and fell a couple shots short.

“When you’ve got as competitive as a team as we do,” Solomon said, “qualifying’s always tough.”

Solomon finally got back in the lineup after a strong qualifying performance for … the Amer Ari Invitational. A full circle moment.

He’s been in the lineup ever since, and posted two top 10s and four top-17 finishes overall this spring. He’s back on a roll.

“I just have a lot of confidence in myself,” Solomon said.

Watch out for these Tigers, they can’t be underestimated anymore.

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