Davis Takes Lead to the Weekend in Florida

By Associated PressFebruary 29, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Dudley Hart spent some of Friday afternoon poised to turn The Honda Classic into a runaway. Later in the day, it was Brian Davis turn to take what seemed like a huge lead.
 
But PGA National eventually caught up with them.
 
And by nightfall, the Honda leaderboard was muddled again.
 
Davis shot a 3-under 67 to finish the day at 8 under, one shot better than Matt Jones (67) and two shots ahead of Hart'a former South Florida resident whose last victory was at the 2000 Honda, and who peeled off six straight birdies in a 66.
 
Around this course, I think youd need about a 20-shot lead with one round to go, Davis said. You know around here, its going to come down to the last nine holes, just the way the course is set up. I cant see anybody getting a six-shot lead out there tomorrow.
 
He almost had one Friday.
 
After a bogey-free opening round, Davis started his second round just as precisely, getting to 10 under at one point and four shots clear of the field.
 
Then this diabolical course'as it typically does'began to fight back.
 
Davis made a double bogey at the par-3 7th, his 16th of the day, then missed the green to the right and slid a 10-foot par try just past the cup on his final hole.
 
Im sure every players got a few hiccups around here, Davis said.
 
Some fewer than others, though.
 
John Mallinger (67) and Ben Crane (66) were tied for fourth, three shots off the lead. Ernie Els shot a 70 and was in a group of six players, including Mark Calcavecchia and Robert Allenby, five shots back of Davis.
 
First-round leader Luke Donald shot a 74, including a quadruple bogey on the 14th, to fall six shots back.
 
Hart played in the afternoon, when the wind picked up and the course, theorhetically, was significantly harder than in the morning session. But he went out in 29, and only a double bogey at the par-3 17th kept him from finishing the day with a share of the lead.
 
You dont birdie six in a row very often, Hart said. You know, everybody out here has gone through stretches where they have done that. Its just hard to describe, really. Just things are clicking right, and the putts are falling, and good things are happening.
 
Most players at PGA National didnt have the same sentiment.
 
Defending champion Mark Wilson shot his second straight 73 and missed the cut, along with other notables Mike Weir, Chris DiMarco. Rich Beem and Fred Funk. Tadd Fujikawa, the 17-year-old from Honolulu, still hasnt made the cut as a pro after missing by 10 shots, and David Duval missed by six.
 
The cut was 4-over 144, and 77 players made it'meaning the tours new second cut policy wont come into play after Saturdays round. If more than 78 advanced Friday, the tour would have trimmed again to the low 70 and ties following the third round, under an amended plan newly installed this week.
 
Duval, like Hart, has a major medical exemption this year because of health problems endured by his wife in 2007. Hart'whose wife fell seriously ill last year but is now healthy'is only about $150,000 shy of what he needed to make this year, yet says he isnt spending much time thinking about it.
 
I came out this year and I just said, you know, Im going to try to work hard, play well and if I make the money and do it, then great, said Hart, who made more than $300,000 with a third-place finish at Pebble Beach. But if I dont, its not going to kill me. I have three kids, a healthy wife at home and a lot of good things going on there.
 
Duval hasnt bounced back so well.
 
He was over par on eight of his 18 holes Friday, including three double bogeys. Duval hasnt earned a penny this year in five starts, meaning he has 15 chances left to make the $713,235 he needs to reach what would have been 125th on last years money list.
 
Davis is on pace to make that, and plenty more, this weekend.
 
With seven first-time champions in the past 12 years, the Honda'which pays $990,000 to the winner'is a haven for those seeking a breakthrough victory, a fact not lost on Davis.
 
Hes 0-for-98 on tour. Hes never had such a good chance to change that, either.
 
Its a welcome return to form, Davis said. And its where you want to be.
 
Notes
 
Scott Hoch, who entered the Honda after two straight wins on the Champions Tour, made the cut on the number. Tim Petrovic withdrew because of a neck injury after completing eight holes, the last two resulting in double bogeys. Carl Petterson holed a 30-yarder for eagle at the par-5 third hole, highlighting his round of 66 that got him within six shots of the lead. Tag Ridings, who didnt have a bogey in his first 22 holes, finished with seven Friday'but still squeaked into the weekend on the cut line.
 
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - The Honda Classic
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    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.