Red-hot Levy leads G-Mac and Co. at BMW Masters

By Associated PressOctober 30, 2014, 11:30 am

SHANGHAI – France's Alexander Levy had five straight birdies in the middle of his round and finished with a 7-under 65 to take the lead in the BMW Masters on Thursday.

Levy began the birdie run on the par-4 ninth on Lake Malaren's Masters Course. He won the Volvo China Open in Shenzhen in April for his first European Tour title and took the rain-shortened Portugal Masters this month, becoming the first Frenchman to win two events in a single season on the European Tour.

''My golf game is very good as I was bogey-free in missing only one fairway and I'm still aggressive on the golf course and I like to play this golf, so I need to be thinking this way for the rest of the week,'' Levy said. ''I just like playing in China and, for me, this golf course is pretty much the same as in Shenzhen where there is a lot of water and you play target golf.''

Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts was a stroke back along with Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and France's Romain Wattel. Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell topped the six European Ryder Cup players in the field with a bogey-free 67 that contained three straight birdies from the 11th.

The tournament opens the four-event Final Series. The World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions is next week, also in Shanghai, followed by the Turkish Airlines Open and World Tour Championship in Dubai.

BMW Masters full-field scores

Wattel played his last 15 holes with a crack in his driver and did not know the rules allowed him to replace the damaged club.

''Given the length of this course, and also with the rain falling, you really need the driver so I was lucky not to have any real trouble using the club,'' Wattel said.

Wattel indicated he will replace the driver and use one offered to him by fellow Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, who was first reserve for the event but did not tee up.

Colsaerts included in his bag an old 2-iron that he used to capture the 2011 Volvo China Open and the 2012 World Match Play Championship in Spain. The 2012 Ryder Cup player is back playing after taking a week off at Hua Hin in Thailand, where he said he underwent a ''cleansing'' ceremony undertaken by local Buddhist monks.

Six players, including Ryder Cup players Jamie Donaldson, Thomas Bjorn and recent Alfred Dunhill Links champion Oliver Wilson, shared sixth place on 4 under.

Justin Rose, one of Europe's stars at the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, recovered from a triple-bogey 8 on the fourth hole of his round, when he found water twice – first with a 3-iron and then further up the fairway with a 5-iron. He finished on level-par 72.

''I can't remember the last time I shot an 8 as I am not a big numbers guy,'' Rose said.

''Really,'' he added, ''I was just one swing away from shooting 4 under par.''

Italy's Edoardo Molinari aced the par-3 13th – his fourth hole – with a 4-iron from 208 yards. The organizers are offering a BMW i8 sports sedan for a hole-in-one on the 17th hole, but Molinari had to settle for a miniature model along with a bottle of champagne.

''I now have a small car and maybe I can win the big one,'' he said.

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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.

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.