Creamer Ochoa Take on Ward

By Associated PressApril 12, 2006, 4:00 pm
LAS VEGAS -- Wendy Ward knows what it takes to win the traditionally low-scoring Takefuji Classic.
'You have to be more aggressive, for sure. I also think a three-day tournament kind of lends itself to that; you have to get off to a fast start out of the gate,' she said.
Ward got off to a fast start last year, shooting an opening 7-under 65 over the Las Vegas Country Club layout. Then she kept it up, with all three rounds in the 60s and a 16-under 200 to win the 54-hole event.
Lorena Ochoa finished second at 202, followed by Paula Creamer and Shi Hyun Ahn another shot back in a third-place tie.
The 6,550-yard, par-72 Las Vegas layout presents a different kind of challenge for the LPGA players, said Ward, who had 18 birdies and only two bogeys in the 2005 tournament.
'This is a fun course because this is a side of golf we don't get to play that often -- the hard, fast conditions,' she said of the course carved out of the desert.
She said she usually shoots at flags and the ball holds, but that's not the case on this course.
'You almost have to manage yourself better around the course -- running through fairways, going over greens, you've got to calculate that. More thought goes into it,' she said.
Ward, who ended a four-year victory drought with her Las Vegas win a year ago, went on to finish in the top 10 in four other events, including a pair of thirds, and ended the season 17th on the money list with $675,129 for her best year since 2001.
The Las Vegas win got her rolling.
'It's the jump start that kind of kicks everything into gear, where your confidence is like, 'Give me the yardage,' I pull the club, I hit, go up there and knock it in,' the 32-year-old Ward said. 'It's just the mentality and rhythm, like (Phil) Mickelson the last few weeks.
'That's fun to watch, but it's also fun to know that I've experienced that and you can just carry it over.'
Returning to the site of her only win since 2001 also gives her a confidence boost heading into Thursday's opening round of the event that runs through Saturday.
'There is a feeling and a sensation, like 'I'm the champ,' that's who everybody remembers,' Ward said. 'I don't ever think of it that way, but it's fun and it's exciting.
'For me, it's like, 'Wendy, it's time to start playing again.''
Among Those back to challenge Ward this year is Ochoa, who lost a playoff to Karrie Webb in the Kraft Nabisco championship earlier this month, her second playoff loss of the year.
In Las Vegas a year ago, Ochoa shot a 74 the first day, then got it going the next two days with 63-65 to fall just short in her comeback bid.
Creamer, with two top-10 finishes in the five events she's played this year, also is back.
'I like this golf course a lot. Last year I took third, so I'm feeling very confident with it,' said Creamer, a 19-year-old in her second season on the tour.
She's certainly aiming high for 2006.
'By the end of the year, I do want to be the No. 1 player in the world. That's a goal of mine,' Creamer said. 'I want to be in contention every week.'
Others in the field include 2004 champion Cristie Kerr and 17-year-old In-Bee Park, a Las Vegas resident who will be making her pro debut. She finished fifth in the tournament as an amateur last year and eighth in 2004.
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.