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Rohanna ready for another shot in LPGA Q School

Rachel Rohanna’s strong play in the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship was worth more than the $12,438 she pocketed for her share of a two-way tie for fourth place.

The payday moved her into 34th on the money list, meaning the Waynesburg High School graduate was able to bypass Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying School. The top 35 on the money list were exempt for playing in Stage II.

The strong finish enabled Rohanna to save a round of qualifying and pocket the costs of playing in Stage II.

“Bypassing Stage II is pretty cool. It means I don’t have to pay an extra $4,000,” said Rohanna. “The way I finished in the last three weeks helped a lot. It was very comparable to the way I was playing in the early part of the season.”

Rohanna finished at 13-under 275 in the Symetra Tour Championship last week, including three rounds under par of 67, 67 and 69.

She opened with an even-par 72 after 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey. Rohanna made the cut with a 5-under in the second round with six birdies and one bogey.

Rohanna shot up the leaderboard after a bogey-free third round that featured five birdies.

She closed with five birdies and two bogeys in the final round, and, momentarily, had a share of the lead after her 13th hole.

“I only had four bogeys over four days. I love that course (LPGA International, Jones Course in Daytona Beach, Fla.) so much. I have so much confidence playing there,” said Rohanna. “It’s pretty wide open and I can swing away on it. I was able to use my driver. That helped a ton.”

Rohanna also acknowledged an equipment change she made midway in the tournament.

“I switched balls. I’ve played Callaway my whole life. I told my caddie I was hitting good shots, but the ball was not reacting like I wanted on the green,” explained Rohanna. “I decided to give something else a try to be more consistent on the greens. I went to the pro shop and bought a couple sleeves (of Bridgestone balls). Twelve dollars for three balls,” Rohanna said with a laugh.”

Rohanna will spend the next couple weeks at home practicing before the final stage of qualifying at Pinehurst Resort begins Oct. 23.

“Qualifying changed last year,” said Rohanna. “Only 25 golfers out of 300 advance from Stage II. The top 45 in the final stage get their full-status card.”

Four rounds will be played at Pinehurst No. 6 from Oct. 23-26 and four more at Pinehurst No. 9 from Oct. 30-Nov. 2.

Rohanna said she’s mentally ready for so many rounds of golf and noted the physical toll 144 holes of golf can have on a body.

“I’ve been in a really good place mentally all year,” said Rohanna, adding, “Physically, I’m getting up there. I’m 28.”

ACC 'carnival' in Coastal Division poised for wild finish

Chaos is brewing in the ACC’s Coastal Division once again.

With the midpoint of the regular season approaching, the Atlantic Coast Conference race is shaping up with prohibitive favorite Clemson sitting atop the Atlantic Division and more unpredictability dominating the Coastal.

Nothing can be taken for granted. Two teams in the up-and-down division blew 20-point leads on the same day – and still managed to win.

The division seems poised for another wacky stretch run to sort out which of the Coastal’s mostly mediocre members will earn the right to most likely lose to the second-ranked Tigers in the title game.

“You’re at a carnival going onto one of the rides – now here is the Coastal ride,” Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall quipped. “And holy cow, you never know what’s going to happen when you’re on that ride.”

A week into October, and his 20th-ranked Cavaliers (4-1, 2-0) are the lone Coastal team without a league loss.

Looking at the history of the division, the Cavaliers aren’t likely to finish that way.

Since the ACC expanded to 14 teams in 2013, the only Coastal champion to finish 8-0 in league play was North Carolina in 2015. Meanwhile, four other division winners had two league losses. Last year’s winner, Pittsburgh, had an overall record of 7-7.

“When I say (it’s) even, a lot of people think of that as a bunch of average teams,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “It’s not.”

No Coastal team has won the league championship since Virginia Tech in 2010. Florida State and Clemson have combined for four undefeated finishes in ACC play and all eight titles during that timeframe.

That is the key difference between the divisions.

For much of the past decade, the ACC as a whole – and the Atlantic Division in particular – has been dominated by one powerhouse program, either the Seminoles or Clemson.

The Coastal has been a free-for-all, with six different champions in six years. The only team that hasn’t won it in that stretch – Virginia – currently holds first place. And only once since 2013 has a Coastal team has finished in the top 10 of the final AP Top 25, when Georgia Tech ended 2014 at No. 8.

“There’s no singular program that has in recent years been able to have that consistency year to year to win the division,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said. “It’s sort of fascinating to watch. And we’ve had some really entertaining games.”

The data indicates more parity: In Jeff Sagarin’s latest computer ratings, five Coastal schools – Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Miami – are bunched between Nos. 31 and 55 nationally. Of the four highest-ranked ACC teams, three (Clemson, Wake Forest and Florida State) are in the Atlantic.

“I think it’s a very balanced league, the ACC overall and especially the Coastal Division,” Duke quarterback Quentin Harris said. “You have a lot of teams that are really good teams, and if you don’t bring your best effort, you could easily find yourself on the wrong side of a score or a shootout – or even a defensive battle, too.”

That parity tends to produce days like this past Saturday, when in the span of a few hours, two Coastal teams let huge leads slip away before regrouping to beat division rivals.

Virginia Tech was up by 28 points on Miami before the Hurricanes scored three touchdowns in less than 4 minutes late to tie it. The Hokies came up with the winning touchdown with 1:03 remaining.

A few hours later, Pittsburgh staged an even more daunting escape at Duke.

In a game that had a combined 10 turnovers, the Panthers led by 23 points with less than 3 minutes left in the third quarter before the Blue Devils reeled off 27 straight points to take a 30-26 lead with 1:30 remaining.

Kenny Pickett then threw a touchdown pass with 38 seconds left to give the Panthers a 33-30 victory and cap what Pitt defensive back Dane Jackson called one of the “probably top-five, top-three” wildest games of the redshirt senior’s career.

There’s a good chance there could be more during the second half of the season.

His Panthers (4-2, 1-1) have a chance to repeat as Coastal champs with a schedule built for a stretch run: None of their final six opponents own a record better than 3-2.

Virginia holds the tiebreaker with Pitt, but the division might come down to the finale against rival Virginia Tech – which has won the last 15 meetings in the series. And don’t count out Duke or North Carolina – which fell one point shy of upsetting Clemson in what would have been the season’s biggest upset.

“Just from that (Virginia Tech-Miami) game alone,” Virginia safety Joey Blount said, “you can tell that the Coastal, or the ACC in general, is up for grabs.”

No. 17 Iowa looks to tighten things up vs. No. 10 Penn State

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa’s offense surrendered eight sacks in last week’s 10-3 loss at Michigan.

Penn State is next for the No. 17 Hawkeyes on Saturday night, and all the Nittany Lions have done this season is lead the nation in sacks.

The Hawkeyes know the blueprint is there for Penn State and everyone else.

“Yeah, if you put something on tape that you didn’t pick up, you have to expect another team to bring that at you,” center Tyler Linderbaum said Tuesday.

Quarterback Nate Stanley, on the receiving end of all of those hits from the Wolverines, thinks the challenge from the No. 10 Nittany Lions is just what Iowa needs.

“I think that’s honestly the best thing that can happen for us,” Stanley said. “We know these guys are a great defense, tops in the nation in a lot of statistical categories. We know that there’s no time to feel sorry for us, that we have to get back on the horse and prepare and get ready to play.”

Penn State (2-0 Big Ten, 5-0) allows only 7.4 points per game, second best in FBS. The Nittany Lions, who had 10 sacks in last Saturday’s 35-7 win over Purdue, lead the nation in tackles for loss as well.

“Their defense is very good,” Iowa running back Toren Young said. “Their defensive line sticks out. They’re big, they’re fast, they’re physical. They bring different blitzes and pressure. So we’ll have to be locked in on those things when it comes to pressure.”

Iowa’s offense had 261 yards against Michigan. The eight sacks for 65 yards reduced the Hawkeyes’ rushing total day to just one yard. Add in the eight penalties, including back-to-back 10-yarders late in the fourth quarter when Iowa had first-and-10 at the Michigan 25, and it was a full day of mistakes for a team that had been fundamentally sound to open the season.

“There’s no one magic answer,” coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We didn’t play consistently enough. There are some good plays in there, certainly and didn’t play consistently enough. The negative yardage plays are always going to affect you and part of that was our lack of execution, maybe part of that’s Michigan, being a really athletic, aggressive defensive team but that being said, we are looking at the same kind of opponent this week.

“Penn State has got great athletes and they play hard and can be very disruptive, too. We are going to have to hopefully have a little tighter plan maybe and be a little bit tighter with our technique and a little better, more cohesive in our play.”

Iowa was held without a touchdown for the first time this season, but the Hawkeyes knew they had their chances.

“We know we can move the ball,” Stanley said. “We know we can compete with teams like Michigan. We just have to clean up some of those mistakes.”

The consensus on Tuesday was it’s about attention to detail.

“We were really close on things,” Young said. “A lot of times, we were close. Sometimes you watch the film, and you get a little bit of confidence, because you know. Yeah, we lost, but we were close on some things. It just helps you realize how important the details are, how you need to do the little things. Eliminate penalties, getting your hands in the right place blocking.”

The Hawkeyes (1-1, 4-1) didn’t seem too interested in further analysis of the Michigan game.

“You just forget about it,” wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette said. “You know you took a loss. But ultimately, it’s the next week. New game, new team. You can’t let it linger.”

John Bazemore 

Associated Press

St. Louis Cardinals’ Kolten Wong celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch in the first inning of Game 5 of their National League Division Series game Wednesday.

10-spot: Cardinals score 10 runs in 1st inning vs Braves

ATLANTA – The St. Louis Cardinals have scored a record 10 runs in the first inning of the decisive Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves.

The biggest first inning in MLB playoff history stunned the crowd at SunTrust Park on Wednesday and put the Braves on course to tie a big league record with their 10th straight postseason first-round loss.

Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz, who pitched seven scoreless innings in Game 2, retired only one hitter. A huge error by first baseman Freddie Freeman cost the Braves a chance to get out of the inning with only one run scoring. Freeman had a hard-hit ball by Yadier Molina bounce off his glove. Had he fielded it cleanly, it could have been an inning-ending double play.

Tommy Edman, Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong each had a two-run double, Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty walked with the bases loaded to force in a run, and St. Louis added to the Braves’ misery by scoring its final run on a strikeout.

Marcell Ozuna swung at a pitch in the dirt was already heading back to the dugout when he realized the pitch had gotten by Brian McCann. The catcher fell down trying to retrieve the ball and his throw to first to too late to get the late-running Ozuna.

The Cardinals sent 14 batters to the plate before Max Fried finally got the final out.