Molinari holds steady beats Westwood by one

By Doug FergusonNovember 7, 2010, 4:30 pm

WGC-HSBC Champions

SHANGHAI – Francesco Molinari outlasted Lee Westwood in a spirited duel Sunday in the HSBC Champions for a one-shot victory to capture his first World Golf Championship and continue a memorable year for Italy.

Molinari closed with a 5-under 67 at Sheshan International for his first win this season, and only the second of his career. He spoiled the debut of Westwood as the world’s No. 1 player, although the Englishman put up a fight worthy of his ranking.

Two shots behind on the par-5 18th, Westwood hit a powerful drive that left him only an iron into the green. He had a 25-foot eagle putt to force a playoff, but the ball stayed left of the hole the entire way, and Westwood had to settle for a 67.

It was only his second stroke-play tournament in three months, and Westwood played the final 43 holes without a bogey.

Molinari finished at 19-under 269.

“It wasn’t easy,” the Italian said. “I’m just really proud of the way I played and the way I handled myself. Lee is No. 1 in the world, and he was playing some fantastic golf. It was a great finish at the end.”

Tiger Woods closed with a 68 and tied for sixth, 13 shots behind. It was only his third top 10 of the year, and his best finish since a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open. For the first time in his career, Woods failed to win on the PGA Tour, ending a streak of 14 years.

“That’s just the way it goes,” Woods said. “It’s not like I didn’t try. It just didn’t happen this year. But I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made of late. Things are building and heading in the right direction, which is good.”

Molinari had not won since the Italian Open four years ago. He became the third Italian to win on the European Tour this year, joining brother Edoardo Molinari and Matteo Manassero. No doubt, the other wins inspired him.

“It makes me work a little harder,” Molinari said. “Because I wanted to contribute to this golden moment of Italian golf.”

Molinari, who earned $1.2 million, moved to No. 14 in the world ranking, three spots ahead of his brother.

Molinari built a two-shot cushion with a birdie on the second, and Westwood twice made clutch putts on the front nine after Molinari had already made birdie. When they reached the back nine, they were well clear of the rest of the pack.

Richie Ramsay of Scotland closed with a 71 and tied for third with Luke Donald, who faltered to a 73. For Ramsay, it was enough to secure a spot in the Race to Dubai finale at the end of the month.

Rory McIlroy had a 67 for a European sweep of the top five spots.

Molinari only had to tap in for par on the final hole for his 67 – it was the third time this week he had the low round of the day – and walked off the course as fireworks lit up the hazy sky over Sheshan International. The tournament was delayed 1 hour, 15 minutes at the start of the final round because of fog.

Westwood found little to complain about. He had a few bad breaks down the stretch, made big putts and whipped everyone in this field except for one player.

“I mean, 18-under par and nine shots clear of third is never too bad,” he said. “Just needed the breaks to win and it didn’t happen.”

The final round turned on the 16th.

Westwood’s tee shot on the 288-yard hole was just left of the green, with a pot bunker between him and the front flag. Molinari drove into the left rough, but hit a wedge to about 4 feet. Westwood had to play a delicate flop shot, and he caught it heavy. It didn’t clear the bunker, staying in the thick collar of grass, and he had to settle for par.

Molinari made his putt to go two shots up with two holes to play, and it looked as if he was a lock when Westwood pulled his tee shot on the par-3 17th into a bunker, then blasted out 15 feet by the hole. But as he had done all day, Westwood made yet another big putt to save par, then gave himself a chance on the 18th.

His runner-up finish gives Westwood a larger cushion in the battle for No. 1, although he’s still not safe.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson, who shot 73 and tied for 41st, and PGA champion Martin Kaymer, who shot 71 and tied for 30th, are playing next week in the Singapore Open. Woods remains at No. 2 and heads Down Under to defend at the Australian Masters.

“It wasn’t really about the rankings,” Westwood said. “It was about trying to win this week. The rankings come as a consequence of playing well, and I’m playing well. I know I am. Today is just very typical of how I’ve played for the last two years.”

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.