DiMarco Holds 36-Hole Lead at Augusta

By Associated PressApril 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. --Chris DiMarco threatened to run away with the green jacket. Jack Nicklaus just faded away.
 
DiMarco, a perennial contender at Augusta National, shot his second straight 67 for a comfortable lead as the weather-delayed tournament finally reached its midway point Saturday afternoon.
 
DiMarco had a 10-under-par 134, good enough for a four-stroke lead over Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and six ahead of three-time winner Tiger Woods.
 
Top-ranked Vijay Singh and England's David Howell, a surprising star of last fall's Ryder Cup, were at 141. Defending champion Phil Mickelson was in the group another stroke back -- one day after a nasty confrontation with Singh over spike marks.
 
'Chris is playing well,' Woods said. 'Obviously, he's doing all the things right. Eleven birdies is not too bad.'
 
Nicklaus wasn't anywhere close to the lead. Afterward, he said he's done at Augusta -- for good.
 
After shooting a 9-over 153 and missing the cut by five strokes, the six-time Masters champion said he won't be back to play again.
 
The 65-year-old Nicklaus wiped away tears as he strolled up the ninth fairway, his final hole. He came back for this Masters at the urging of club chairman Hootie Johnson, just a few weeks after the drowning death of Nicklaus' 17-month-old grandson.
 
'I knew it was my last time walking up the fairway,' the Golden Bear said. 'Obviously, I had made up my mind. This is just too tough for me. I just can't do this.'
 
As he walked off the green, Nicklaus tipped his cap to the cheering gallery, stood for a few seconds to take it all in, then handed the ball to his caddie and son, Jackie.
 
'This was a treasure for me,' the Golden Bear said. 'I'll miss that -- greatly.'
 
DiMarco is leading a round at the Masters for the second straight day and fifth time in five years, but he still must prove he can be on top when it counts.
 
'I noticed how I separated myself from the field,' he said before starting the third round. 'I'm glad to be able to go back out today.'
 
DiMarco also had a 36-hole lead in his Augusta debut in 2001, and he was on top going into the final round a year ago before fading to a 76 in the final group with Mickelson.
 
Asked the last time he felt this good at the Masters, he replied, 'This time last year.'
 
DiMarco built his big lead on the par 5s. Over the first two rounds, he posted six birdies in eight tries on the long holes, and played solid everywhere else. Through 36 holes, he had only one bogey.
 
Bjorn had two eagles on the back side and birdied his final two holes, denying DiMarco the largest 36-hole lead in Masters history. The record remains at five strokes, by Herman Kaiser in 1946, Nicklaus in '75 and Raymond Floyd in '76. All three went on to win the tournament.
 
Woods came to life after a shaky first round. He had seven birdies on his way to a 66 -- the best round of the tournament so far and just one stroke off his lowest Masters score. He shot 65 in the third round of the 1997 Masters, on the way to a record 12-stroke victory.
 
'You've just got to keep plugging along,' Woods said.
 
He opened with a 74, even knocking a putt into Rae's Creek. It was the third straight year Woods has failed to break par in the first round of the Masters.
 
No one was able to complete the second round on Friday. Rain swept across Augusta early in the afternoon, wiping out play for the rest of the day.
 
The golfers returned Saturday morning to a thick blanket of clouds and a stiff breeze. But the sun finally broke through shortly after noon, warming things up and helping dry out the soggy course.
 
The forecast for Sunday was promising as well -- sunny, with temperatures in the upper 70s.
 
On Friday, Singh complained to rules officials that the metal spikes in Mickelson's shoes were too long and creating marks on the green.
 
Playing in the group behind Mickelson, Singh raised the issue at No. 12 after missing a 25-foot birdie attempt on about the same line that Lefty used to make his putt.
 
Mickelson wasn't happy about the way the situation was handled, and he said so to Singh afterward in the clubhouse -- a rare outburst in the genteel sport.
 
'I heard Vijay talking to other players about it, and I confronted him,' Mickelson said through his press agent, T.R. Reinman. 'He expressed his concerns. I expressed my disappointment in the way it was handled. I believe everything is fine now.'
 
Singh always seems to be in contention no matter where he plays. Even with the spike brouhaha, he held himself together and was in contention for his second green jacket.
 
Mickelson was trying to become just the fourth player to win the Masters two years in a row. Nicklaus, Woods and Nick Faldo are the only repeat champions.

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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.