Former teammates now in a battle at PGA Championship

By Associated PressAugust 14, 2010, 2:49 am

2010 PGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Bryce Molder watched in awe as Matt Kuchar birdied hole after hole during their practice rounds together this week in preparation for the PGA Championship.

Kuchar is the one that’s still shocked – that Molder hasn’t found more success on the PGA Tour.

The two highly touted college prospects during their time at Georgia Tech kept chasing each other on Friday at Whistling Straits, just like they’ve done over the past 12 years and the more than 100 rounds they’ve played with each other.

It just so happens this time it’s for the PGA Championship, with Kuchar at 8 under after a 69 on Friday and Molder three shots behind following a 67 in his second round.

Gone are the expectations that came with the powerhouse Yellow Jackets program when they were together from 1998-2000. Kuchar, the 1997 U.S. Amateur champion, has two Tour wins and Molder has yet to break through despite a stellar collegiate career of his own.

“We thought it might happen a little sooner. Things happened. This game’s tough,” Molder said. “There’s a lot of really good players. Sometimes it takes a little while to figure out how to play your best, how to maximize your efforts out here. I feel like he’s just hitting his stride and I feel like I’m doing the same.”

Kuchar turned pro a year earlier than Molder and watched his teammate’s game continue to develop, believing Molder would ascend rapidly in the pros.

“I thought Bryce had no chinks in the armor. I thought out of school, he was hands-down the best player in college golf. I thought, there was a guy that’s going straight to the big leagues and going to do well out there,” said Kuchar.

It hasn’t happened, though the 32-year-old Molder is taking it in stride.

“It’s funny, everybody, we’re finding out, has trouble throughout their career at some point or another,” Molder said. “I think 15 years from now, I’ll feel like I was fortunate to do it early and learn and be humbled by the experience.”

Molder’s brilliant collegiate career included receiving All-American honors four straight years, joining Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Gary Hallberg as the only players to do it. He seemed on a fast track to PGA Tour success.

“I think most people would have expected the two of us to be doing this earlier on in our career,” Kuchar said. “But I remember talking to some guys when I was fresh on Tour, talking to them about a 10-year learning curve out here. It didn’t make much sense.”

The pair played 27 practice holes together this week, and Molder said Kuchar birdied 13 of them while he struggled and missed putts. While Molder said he owes Kuchar some money from those rounds, it committed him to staying patient and wait for opportunities.

Molder needed 22 holes before building momentum on the par-5 fifth on Friday, with the blustery winds at his back.

“You have to assume at some point you’re going to get hot and trust yourself that you are, and I did. I’m sitting at even par through 20-something holes and it can go one way or the other,” he said. “You just kind of keep playing, and suddenly I’d birdied three holes in a row.”

He’d birdie three more over the 10-hole stretch before a bogey on No. 18. In the background, Molder heard the cheers for Kuchar, who made a run of his own on the back nine and nearly holed out at No. 13 for the second straight round.

“I told the guys in my group if it was anybody else, I wouldn’t believe it. But it’s Matt, so that was yesterday and then he almost did it today,” Molder said. “I knew he was playing really well.”

Molder finally believes he is, too – and that his breakthrough will come soon.

“I feel like I’m just on the way to where I can play, should play, expect to play,” he said. “It’s just a matter of trying to find what you need to get there. It took me a little while, but it’s been a really, really fun journey.”

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Molinari holds off McIlroy to win BMW PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 3:20 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England - Rory McIlroy left his victory charge too late at Wentworth as Francesco Molinari delivered a clinic in front-running to win the BMW PGA Championship by two shots with a 4-under 68 on Sunday.

McIlroy, who led by three shots at halfway, entered the final round tied for the lead with Molinari on 13 under par but a Sunday shootout at the European Tour's flagship event never really materialized.

Instead, as McIlroy toiled to a 70 that was propped up by birdies on the par fives at Nos. 17 and 18, Molinari went bogey-free for a second straight day to claim the fifth victory of his career and the biggest since a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010.

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

The Italian only dropped two shots all week and finished on 17-under 271, with McIlroy alone in second place. Alex Noren (67) and Lucas Bjerregaard (65) were tied for third place a stroke further back.

Molinari moved into the automatic qualifying places for the Ryder Cup, which he hasn't played since 2012 when Europe beat the United States in the so-called ''Miracle at Medinah.''

He'd previously had five top-10 finishes in the last six years at Wentworth, including being runner-up to Noren last year.

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.