OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Alec Bard watched his big brother float toward the Virginia stand bag, a Steadicam only a few feet from his face. He watched his brother empty his pockets – a ball, some coins, plenty of tees – and grab his phone. And his keys. And his wallet. He watched his brother rub his eyes. And shake his head. And sigh with relief. Finally, Alec couldn’t take any more. “So,” he said, clearing his throat, tugging at the strings on his caddie bib, “am I on the bag for the Masters?” That snapped Derek out of his daze. “Of course,” he said with a smile. “Of course you are.” A likely invitation to the Masters is just one of the many perks that are headed Derek Bard’s way after a 3-and-2 victory Saturday over Kenta Konishi sent him into the finals of the U.S. Amateur. Bard, a junior at Virginia, will face NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau in the scheduled 36-hole final Sunday at Olympia Fields. “It doesn’t feel like real life,” Bard said. His journey to the finals couldn’t be more different than his opponent’s. On Saturday, at least, there was no need for a furious rally. For the first time all week, Bard didn’t trail in his match, putting away Konishi with wins on Nos. 12, 14 and 15. He closed out the match a hole later, flagging a 3-iron from 225 yards. “One of the best shots of my life,” he said. DeChambeau, meanwhile, joked that he will prepare for the championship match by figuring out how to play Nos. 17 and 18. The only times he has seen the final two holes this week were from the back of a cart. His victories have been too decisive. Including stroke play and the usual match-play concessions, DeChambeau is a whopping 18 under par on this U.S. Open layout. Bard is 4 over. U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos When asked if he has sent a message with his dominating play, DeChambeau said: “I would think so. I’ve been playing pretty well.” Heck, even Bard, ranked 51st in the world, acknowledged that he will have to play his best to have even a chance during the marathon finale. “I’m the underdog,” he said. “It’s going to be tough, it really is. I’m just going to have to have one of those days where everything falls the right way.” No player of Bard’s caliber will ever admit that he’s surprised to be one of the last men standing in a field of 312. Still, there were few reasons to believe that this would be the week of his career breakthrough. He has only one college victory, at the U.S. Collegiate last fall, but even that title was improbable. A week earlier, Bard recorded his worst finish as a Cavalier (48th) and had only three days to regroup. Then he shot 64 on the final day, overtook then-teammate Denny McCarthy (whom he may soon supplant on the U.S. Walker Cup team) and won by six. Bard’s biggest amateur win came in June against a top-notch field at the Sunnehanna, but it didn’t prove to be a springboard. Prior to this week, he had poor finishes at the Porter Cup and Western Amateur. And then there was his unfortunate history with USGA match-play events: Three tries, three exits in the Round of 32. After he broke the curse this week, with a second-round victory over Georgia’s Sepp Straka, “Everything else was a bonus,” Bard said. “The monkey was off my back.” Gaining confidence each day, he topped U.S. Walker Cupper Hunter Stewart in the Round of 16 and then flipped a 3-down deficit with eight holes to go against world No. 1 Jon Rahm. “Long odds,” he said, but the turning point in the match – actually, the turning point in Bard’s week – came on the 11th hole, where he chipped a 9-iron to about 8 feet and made the putt. He won the next hole, Rahm missed a few shorties coming home, and Bard hung tough, a 1-up winner. On the eve of his semifinal match, Bard swapped texts with Dr. Bob Rotella, a volunteer assistant coach at Virginia. Rotella’s message was simple: “Be unflappable.” The good doctor might need some different material Saturday night, because Bard won’t find a more composed opponent than DeChambeau, who has steamrolled through the match-play bracket with ruthless efficiency. After a scare on Tuesday when the USGA assessed (and then rescinded) a two-shot penalty for being late to the tee, the SMU senior has been in complete control. Following wins over NCAA player of the year Maverick McNealy and British Open star Paul Dunne, DeChambeau was matched up Saturday against USC sophomore Sean Crocker, a fiery competitor who has drawn the ire of TV commentators for his on-course etiquette. Crocker unleashed a few fist pumps, but the electric moments were brief. DeChambeau silenced him with snug approach shots and timely putts, none more so than his 6-footer on 12 that boosted his lead back to 2 up. He eventually won, 4 and 3. “He knew that he was behind and he needed to keep pressing and hitting good shots, because I wasn’t going to let down,” DeChambeau said. “Ultimately, it got to him.” That’s been a familiar theme this week. One more to go.
Share Argonaut Weekly: December 7-13 Argonaut of the Week Amy Drake (Photo by Ron Besser) PENSACOLA, Fla. – The West Florida women’s soccer team’s perfect season came to an end in the semifinal round of the NCAA Division II Championships held at the University of Tampa, as the Argonauts fell to Cal State Dominguez Hills in penalty kicks 4-1 after finishing double overtime in a 1-1 tie. Meanwhile, the UWF men’s and women’s basketball teams each split a pair of games over the weekend, as the men’s team was on the road at Valdosta State and the women hosted the UWF Argo Classic.ARGONAUT OF THE WEEKAmy DrakeWomen’s BasketballSenior GuardSenior guard Amy Drake (Niceville, Fla./Winthrop) continued her hot streak with two more strong games at the UWF Argo Classic at home over the weekend. Drake scored in double digits in both games, including a 24-point outburst on Saturday against visiting Columbus State. The sharpshooter was perfect from the free throw line over the weekend, shooting 16-16 and making 17 in a row dating back to the previous week. Drake leads the team this year with 17.4 points per game and is shooting .506 from the field, .515 from three-point territory, and .914 from the free throw line.For all of your hotel needs in the Pensacola area, visit www.highpointe.com. WOMEN’S SOCCER (22-0-1, 7-0 GSC)- 12/3 vs. Cal State Dominguez Hills (NCAA Semifinals): 1-1 T (CSUDH Advances 4-1 on penalty kicks)The University of West Florida women’s soccer team saw their season come to end after falling 4-1 in penalty kicks to Cal State Dominquez Hills in the NCAA Semifinals. The Argos would strike first early on in the match but would surrender the equalizer just before the end of the first half. The Argos would take the 1-1 tie through two sudden victory overtime periods and into penalty kicks, eventually falling 4-1 to the Toros. Cal State Dominguez Hills would eventually fall to Grand Valley State 1-0 in the national championship game.West Florida would get on the board first in the 35th minute on another Gordon to Duncan connection. With Shaneka Gordon streaking down the left sideline she found an open Shakira Duncan inside the six yard box for the game’s first goal, giving the Argos a 1-0 advantage. Of Gordon’s 21 assists this season 14 have come on goals by Duncan. CSUDH responded with a goal eight minutes later on a corner kick, and the score stay tied through 110 minutes to force penalty kicks.In penalty kicks the Toros converted their first attempt to put them ahead 1-0. On the first kick by the Argos, Dernelle Mascall’s shot went wide left to put the Argos in the hole 0-1. Another made penalty kick by the Toros’ Brooke Thompson and UWF’s Taylor Murphy put the count 2-1 in favor of the Toros. Third in the lineup for the Argos was Marcela Franco whose shot was blocked as she attempted to go to the bottom left corner making it 3-1 Toros. Melissa Livergood would seal the fate of the Toros as she netted the fourth and clinching penalty kick.WOMEN’S BASKETBALL (5-3, 0-0 GSC)- 12/4 vs. Eckerd: 69-62 W- 12/5 vs. Columbus State: 77-82 LWest Florida split a pair of games last weekend at the UWF Argo Classic held in Pensacola on Friday and Saturday. The Argonauts picked up a 69-62 win over Eckerd on Friday before falling to Columbus State 77-82 on Saturday.Dominique Boykins, Amy Drake, and Tiffany Williams combined for 44 of the Argonauts’ 69 points in Friday’s victory over Eckerd, and Boykins added 11 rebounds to pick up the double-double. Drake continued her hot shooting on Saturday against the Cougars, scoring 24 points and shooting a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line.UWF will host Gulf South Conference West Division foe Delta State this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. The Lady Statesmen (7-0) are ranked No. 3 in the latest WBCA national poll, and they return to the UWF Field House after the Argonauts picked up a 64-58 win on November 16 last season. UWF is 2-0 against GSC West Division teams so far this season.MEN’S BASKETBALL (3-4, 0-0 GSC)- 12/4 vs. Palm Beach Atlantic: 66-61 W- 12/5 vs. Saint Leo: 75-84 LWest Florida (3-4) went on the road last weekend to compete at The Loop Pizza Grill Classic hosted by Valdosta State, and UWF came out with a 1-1 record for the weekend. The Argos picked up a 66-61 win over Palm Beach Atlantic on Friday night before falling to Saint Leo 75-84 on Saturday.Point guard Maurice Thomas scored 15 with eight rebounds and eight assists in Friday’s win, while Jonathan Jackson (14) and Ervin Herron (12) also scored in double digits. Foul trouble was the difference in UWF’s loss to Saint Leo on Saturday, as three starters picked up five fouls against the Lions. Jackson was the top UWF scorer at 15 points, while Max Hoggard added 14.The Argos will welcome Delta State (4-2) to the UWF Field House this weekend for a non-conference game on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.MULTIMEDIAThe UWF Sports Information office is proud to offer a variety of ways to stay updated on Argonaut Athletics:- Live Video- Live Audio- Live Stats- eScores- E-mailing List- www.Facebook.com/GoArgos- www.Twitter.com/GoArgos- Photo Galleries- RSS Feeds- Podcasts2009-10 ARGONAUTS OF THE WEEK12/7Amy DrakeWomen’s Basketball11/30Dominique BoykinsWomen’s BasketballMaurice ThomasMen’s Basketball11/23Shameka GordonWomen’s SoccerJonathan JacksonMen’s BasketballTiffany WilliamsWomen’s Basketball11/16Courtney JonesWomen’s SoccerJamie NicholsVolleyball11/9Frank CopeMen’s SoccerLindsay HommeVolleyball11/2Shakira DuncanWomen’s SoccerPatricia GandolfoVolleyball10/26Kara GonzalezVolleyballEddie PaganMen’s Cross CountryJordan StoneWomen’s Soccer10/19Valissia BrathwaiteVolleyballRichard DixonMen’s Soccer10/12Donald DavisMen’s Cross CountryShakira DuncanWomen’s Soccer10/5Kevin DucrosMen’s TennisLeandro FerreiraMen’s TennisBailee HedstromWomen’s Cross Country9/28Patricia GandolfoVolleyballJenny LinesWomen’s GolfKaley MorrisWomen’s Soccer9/21Tyler BowmanMen’s Cross CountryJay MainvilleMen’s Soccer9/14Kimberly ClarkVolleyballDernelle MascallWomen’s Soccer9/7Shaneka GordonWomen’s SoccerMegan SteinocherWomen’s Cross Country8/31Paul WilloughbyMen’s SoccerTHIS WEEK’S UWF ATHLETICS SCHEDULESunday, December 13W. Basketball vs. Delta State 2:00M. Basketball vs. Delta State 4:00For information on all UWF Athletics, visit www.GoArgos.com.Print Friendly Version