Friday night – as the Wisconsin men’s hockey team was blanked for the first time at home this season in a 3-0 decision against No. 10 Denver – I had the unsettling feeling I would soon have to eat my own words.Sitting next to former Heralder Ben Worgull in the press box, witnessing the frustration on the Badgers’ bench only a few levels below, Worgull leaned over and remarked, “Has Justin Schultz already gone pro”?The sarcastic one-liner could not have summed up Schultz‘s second half of the season in a more perfect way.Schultz leads the team with 13 goals, but only four of those goals have come in the second half of the season. While he’s managed eight assists in that span of time – for a season total of 27 – Schultz hasn’t made a mark on the stat sheet in seven of the Badgers’ 12 games since the break.Now it isn’t extremely unusual for most players to go stretches at a time without scoring, but for a player like Schultz, it’s downright weird.Only a few months ago he led the nation in points alongside sophomore Mark Zengerle (who we’ll come back to later). While his 40 points this season are impressive for a defenseman and earn him the No. 9 standing nationally, he was easily on pace to break his 47 points from a year ago headed into the break – something I boldly predicted he would do. With four games left in the season, he’ll have to average at least two points a game to beat last year’s mark by a single point.Similarly, Zengerle, who leads the Badgers with 41 points, went four games straight without posting a single point before Saturday night. There are only two other games this season when he hasn’t scored: the season-opener and the 3-0 shutout at Minnesota State on Jan. 14 that snapped his 20-game point streak.In a strange phenomenon that has epitomized the Badgers second half, Wisconsin’s two Hobey Baker hopefuls found themselves in a severe scoring drought, and I was starting to question whether I had counted my chickens too soon.Only a few weeks prior I had heralded Schultz‘s chances for a successful run at the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. After the first series back from break he looked more on top of his game than he ever has been. But then he had a rare weekend off the stat sheet, which soon became a trend.Then Zengerle seemed to be following in Schultz‘s lead, and the Badgers faced a five-game losing streak.The duo seemed to disappear and the offensive threat they carry became a faint memory.Waiting in the Kohl Center pressroom Friday night, I couldn’t help but to continually ponder over this strange disappearance, but the frustration that was emanating from these two – specifically Zengerle – could not have been more palpable.Throughout their disappearance from the box score, head coach Mike Eaves has addressed the need for them to find a way to make big plays and get back on the score card, but after Friday night, he simply wanted them to relax.And that’s exactly what they did.My fears subsided, only slightly, as the Badgers’ starting centerman put the Badgers back on the board and scored his first goal since hosting Alaska-Anchorage on Jan. 20.By his reaction, it was clear all frustration and worry of needing to score had melted away as did a classic bow-and-arrow celebration.“I don’t think I tried to do as much,” Zengerle said. “[Friday] night I tried to do a little too much; skating it in, I was losing it. Tonight I just tried to play [and do] what I was doing back my 20-game streak when I just tried to play my game and it worked out.”With just over five minutes left in the third, the Badgers had a comfortable 4-2 lead and were headed on the power play. So far they had been 0-7 with the man advantage throughout the series.That’s when Schultz finally broke his unwanted streak. From the point, the junior defenseman ripped one on net and DU sophomore goaltender Sam Brittain just couldn’t get a pad on it.While the duo can’t completely right the season, they’ve put themselves back on the map as they hold onto those No. 7 and 9 spots in the nation in points.Both Zengerle and Schultz posted a goal and an assist and showed that the lowly 11th place team still has some fight, taking down a team that is in contention for the conference title and giving its home crowd one final game to get stoked about.After the game ended, Schultz stayed out and lingered at center ice taking it all in – the band, the fans, everything. Zengerle went and gave him a hug and they headed into the locker room.“I was just kind of taking it in, who knows, this could be my last time playing here,” Schultz said. “I’m not saying it is but just kind of taking it in just in case I never get to play here again.”Kelly is a junior majoring in journalism. Think Schultz and Zengerle can still help UW make something more of this season? Send her a Tweet @kellymerickson.
The FedEx Cup Playoffs are here, and it’s crunch time for the world’s best golfers to finish the season strong. The playoffs have been cut from four events to just three, so there will be added pressure to perform this week (for the golfers and the bet placers). Liberty National Golf Club will host the PGA Tour’s top-122 players who qualified for the playoffs, and it is one of the best venues in American golf. Liberty National hosted the 2017 Presidents Cup and last hosted a PGA Tour event in 2013, which was won by Adam Scott with a winning score of -11. Liberty National features pristine views of downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, and it’s one of the most scenic courses in the Northeast despite being built on a former landfill. Liberty National is a challenging layout that is a real test for the best players in the world. It’s reasonably long at 7,350 yards for a par 71 layout and will place a heavy emphasis on driving. The fairways aren’t extremely narrow, but there is thick fescue, water and tricky bunkering should players miss the fairway. Golfers will have to be both long and straight off the tee, and this is a week where I will be placing a heavy emphasis on gaining strokes off of the tee. MORE: RotoQL Lineup Builder Key Stats for Liberty National Golf ClubBall Striking Strokes Gained: Off the Tee Strokes Gained: Around the Greens Par 4 Scoring The Northern Trust betting adviceOutright Bets to Consider*odds via DraftKings SportsbookJustin Thomas 22/1 2019 has to be seen as a somewhat disappointing year for Justin Thomas. Despite playing fairly well with six top-10 finishes, Thomas has yet to secure a win. A player the quality of Thomas won’t be held out of the winner’s circle for long, and this week at Liberty National sets up well for his tee-to-green game. JT’s game has been trending in the right direction since missing the cut at the U.S. Open — going 4/4 in cuts with finishes of T9, T11, and T12 in his last three events. 22/1 is nice value, and starting your card with Thomas allows you to jam in a few more players in the 20/1-40/1 range, which is valuable at an event that has a truly elite field. Patrick Cantlay 25/1 I’m admittedly a hater of Patrick Cantlay. Watching him stand over the ball for 20 seconds before each shot is cringeworthy, but I won’t let my bias distract from the fact that he sets up perfectly for this week at Liberty National. Cantlay is an elite ball-striker who has taken his game to another level in 2019. The most significant improvement has to be Cantlay’s short game. He ranks 9th on Tour in SG: Around the Green, and 43rd in Sand Save Percentage — both being vast improvements over his career averages. 25/1 is an appropriate price, and I wouldn’t have any problem if you wanted to start your card with Cantlay or make him your 2nd outright bet if you’re going to grab one of the favorites in the field. Adam Scott 45/1Adam Scott has been frustrating to bet on this season. On one hand, he has drastically improved his putting woes that have held him back over the last few seasons, but he has still been too inconsistent to challenge for wins in 2019. With that being said, Scott won at Liberty National the last time the PGA Tour hosted an event here, and a difficult layout where the winning score should be in the -10 to -12 range will suit Scott’s style of play. Scott’s ball-striking remains elite, and a SG: Around the Green ranking of 10th makes me think that his game is where it needs to be to grab a win in an elite field. I love the 45/1 number and would be willing to wager on Scott up to 38/1. Marc Leishman 90/1 I’ve been a week early on Marc Leishman all year long. I bet on him to win The Open, and he missed the cut. He then followed that up with a T2 in his next outing at the WGC Invitational after firing a 63-67 on the weekend on a tough layout. I will always give the big Australian a look at courses where he can pound driver off the tee, and Liberty National will certainly allow him to do that given its 7,350-yard layout. Leishman is an excellent value at 90/1 and is one of the few players in that price tier that has a proven track record of contending (and winning) against elite fields. While the approach isn’t quite as important as off the tee, there is still plenty of trouble to be found around the greens. The bunkering around the greens is especially difficult, and I’ll be looking at both SG: Around the Greens, and to a lesser extent Sand Save Percentage to help make my picks. Outside of the WGC Invitational, we have seen birdie fest-type events for most of the second half of the season. That will change this week with -2 or -3 for a round being a great score. We’ve been able to look at players with deep odds over the last few weeks as well, but I want to target the top players at this event. Just take a look at the last few winners of The Northern Trust: Bryson Dechambeau, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, and Jason Day — all top-25 players in Official World Golf Rankings at the time of their win. Before we get into this week’s picks, here’s a reminder to check me out on Twitter ( @DFSBenj ) for even more NFL, NBA, MLB and PGA daily fantasy content and gambling advice.
2 Sep 2015 It’s silver for England after a tight battle England’s senior women came tantalisingly close to retaining their European crown – only to lose a nerve-tingling final 3-2 to France. The players battled back to take two matches down the 19th in the final of the European senior women’s team championship at the National Golf Resort, Lithuania. But they lost them both as their brave defence came to an end and they had to settle for the silver medal. “The team played their hearts out,” said captain Pat Wrightson, “England could not have more closely defended the trophy.” Two of the five matches were decided by big margins early on: Julie Brown quickly claimed the first point for England, taking complete control of her game in the difficult, windy conditions, and winning 7/5. Then the French came straight back with their own big win, beating Lindsey Shaw 5/4. But the other three matches were extremely close. Cath Rawthore managed to claim her point with a very strong finish – she had been two up after 15 before being hauled back to all square, but she parred the difficult 18th to win. In the foursomes, Caroline Berry and Lulu Housman, the English senior stroke play champion, were one down with two to play. They won the 17th and halved the 18th to take the game on, only to three-putt the 19th. English senior champion Helen Lowe had a great fightback to give England another chance. She was four down after 10 and was still two down after 16, but won the 17th and 18th to keep the title hopes alive. However, her challenge ended on the par five 19th, where her third shot ran through the green and she was unable to get up and down. In the play-off for the bronze medal Ireland beat Germany 4-1. The women’s team was: Caroline Berry (Bromborough), Julie Brown (Trentham), Lulu Housman (Wyke Green), Lindsey Shaw (Chevin), Helen Lowe (Scraptoft), Cath Rawthore (Sale). In the European senior men’s team championship, England finished fifth by beating Switzerland 4-1 in Pravets, Bulgaria. Ian Attoe and Mark Stones led the way with a 4/3 win in the foursomes, while Stephen East and David Niven secured the necessary other two points in the singles. The matches of Alan Mew and Richard Partridge were halved. The title was won by Ireland, who beat Italy 3-2. Scotland beat France 3-2 to win the bronze medal. The men’s team was: Ian Attoe (Worplesdon), Stephen East (Moortown), Alan Mew (Stoneham), David Niven (Newbury & Crookham), Richard Partridge (Wildernesse), and Mark Stones (Boyce Hill). Click here for the full scores 04 September 2015 England’s seniors are going for gold England’s senior women are one match away from successfully defending their title as European team champions. The team swept Germany aside 4-1 to reach tomorrow’s final at the National Golf Resort in Lithuania. They will play France in the title decider, in a replay of last year’s final. Germany were the top seeds for the match play and England captain Pat Wrightson commented: “It was a very tight match today. We will be relaxing this evening before warming up for a very hard match tomorrow when we will be trying very hard to retain the trophy. “The weather forecast for tomorrow is breezy with showers, which will make the golf course even more challenging for all the players.” Despite the comfortable scoreline, today’s semi-final was closely contested. In the foursomes Caroline Berry and Lulu Housman, the English senior stroke play champion, were quickly down after their opponents birdied two of the first three holes. But they fought back to be all square at the turn and par golf over the next six holes gave them a 4/3 win. In the singles, English senior champion Helen Lowe fought a very tight match to secure a half point. Cath Rawthore was two down after nine holes but played the remainder in one-under par to win 3/2. Julie Brown was one down after three but chipped in on the 4th hole to get back to all square and reached the 10th tee two up. She extended her lead when she holed a difficult downhill put on the 11th for a birdie and finally won by the convincing margin of 5/4. Lindsey Shaw, playing par golf, had gone one down after her opponent chipped in from a very difficult position on the ninth. Her match was declared a half on the 16th tee after England secured the necessary points for the overall win. The women’s team is: Caroline Berry (Bromborough), Julie Brown (Trentham), Lulu Housman (Wyke Green), Lindsey Shaw (Chevin), Helen Lowe (Scraptoft), Cath Rawthore (Sale). In the European senior men’s team championship, England beat Spain 3½-1½ at Pravets, Bulgaria. Ian Attoe and Mark Stones won a tight foursomes match on the 19th but there were big wins for Stephen East (5/4) and Alan Mew (6/4). Tomorrow England will play Switzerland and a win will give them fifth place in the top flight. The final is between Ireland and Italy, while Scotland and France play for the bronze medal. The men’s team is: Ian Attoe (Worplesdon), Stephen East (Moortown), Alan Mew (Stoneham), David Niven (Newbury & Crookham), Richard Partridge (Wildernesse), and Mark Stones (Boyce Hill). Click here for full scores 03 September, 2015 England senior women reach Euro semi-finals England’s senior women continued their defence of their European team title with a confident performance to reach the semi-finals. They beat Spain 3½-1½ in the European team championship quarter-final at the National Golf Resort in Lithuania. Now they will meet top seeds Germany in tomorrow’s semi-finals. In the other match Ireland will play France. England captain Pat Wrightson reported: “Caroline Berry and Lulu Housman were quickly up in the foursomes match, playing excellent golf to have a resounding win of 6/5. “Helen Lowe, Cath Rawthore and Julie Brown were all two up after nine holes (in the singles); both Helen and Cath won their matches by 2/1, Julie’s match was deemed a half as England had won three points.” In the final match, Lindsey Shaw played par golf but lost by 3/2 to the on-form Maria De Orueta, who was three-under par for the 16 holes played. The women’s team is: Caroline Berry (Bromborough), Julie Brown (Trentham), Lulu Housman (Wyke Green), Lindsey Shaw (Chevin), Helen Lowe (Scraptoft), Cath Rawthore (Sale). Meanwhile, the England senior men lost their quarter-final to Scotland in a close match at Pravets Golf Club, Bulgaria. The result was finally decided in the last singles, when Alan Mew was beaten on the 19th. English champion Ian Attoe and Mark Stones won their foursomes and Stephen East took the top singles. But the remaining three points went to Scotland, who play Italy in tomorrow’s semi-final. England are out of the medal hunt but will play for place in the top flight and meet Spain tomorrow. The men’s team is: Ian Attoe (Worplesdon), Stephen East (Moortown), Alan Mew (Stoneham), David Niven (Newbury & Crookham), Richard Partridge (Wildernesse), and Mark Stones (Boyce Hill). Click here for full scores 02 September 2015 England teams target European medals England’s senior men and women have made it through the 36-hole qualifying and are targeting medals in their European team championships. The women, who are the defending champions, qualified fourth at the National Golf Resort in Lithuania. They are safely within the top eight who contest the medals and will play Spain in tomorrow’s quarter finals. English senior amateur champion Helen Lowe (Scraptoft) led the team’s scoring with rounds of 79 and level par 72 and was sixth on the individual table. Cath Rawthore (Sale) shot 78 75 to finish in the top ten. Team captain Pat Wrightson commented: “This is a challenging course built within a river bed and featuring water hazards on 15 holes and the first qualifying round was interrupted by thunderstorms, causing a four-hour delay from midday to 4pm. “Fortunately all England players completed their round before play was suspended due to poor light. The prevailing wet weather conditions have made the course very long and the pin positions are tricky.” There was some spectacular scoring on the 299-yard par four 14th where both Caroline Berry (Bromborough), in round one and Cath Rawthore, in round two, holed their second wedge shots to card an eagle two. The women’s team is: Caroline Berry (Bromborough), Julie Brown (Trentham), Lulu Housman (Wyke Green), Lindsey Shaw (Chevin), Helen Lowe (Scraptoft), Cath Rawthore (Sale). England’s senior men – who have been bronze medallists for the past three years – qualified for the matchplay in third place, behind Ireland and Italy, at Pravets Golf Club, Bulgaria. In tomorrow’s quarter final they play Scotland, who they beat in last year’s third place play-off. English senior amateur champion Ian Attoe (Worplesdon) led the team’s scoring with a level par total for 36 holes, with rounds of 71 73. The men’s team is: Ian Attoe (Worplesdon), Stephen East (Moortown), Alan Mew (Stoneham), David Niven (Newbury & Crookham), Richard Partridge (Wildernesse), and Mark Stones (Boyce Hill). Click here for full scores