Garcia wins Qatar Masters on third playoff hole

By Associated PressJanuary 25, 2014, 2:28 pm

DOHA, Qatar – Sergio Garcia birdied the third extra hole to beat Mikko Ilonen in a playoff Saturday and win the Qatar Masters for his second victory in three events.

Garcia entered the round three shots behind overnight leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello but birdied six of his last 12 for a 7-under 65, forcing Ilonen to make an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to force the playoff with a 66. They both finished on 16-under 272.

Garcia missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the last that would have given him the win in regulation, and then couldn't make an eagle putt for the victory on the first playoff hole.



The Spaniard and Ilonen both had birdies on the second extra hole as well before Garcia sealed the victory with a tap-in birdie at the third to Ilonen's par.

''I started the day thinking if I can shoot a 6 or 7 under, I can have a chance,'' Garcia. ''I'm very happy to be able to win it.''

Cabrera-Bello only managed a 69 and fell to a tie for third with Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark (68).

Garcia's victory helped make up for last year's disappointment in Doha, when he finished runner-up after England's Chris Wood eagled the last hole to claim his first European Tour win. It also came on the heels of his victory at the Thailand Golf Championship in December, when he had his girlfriend Katharina Boehm caddie for him. Boehm was among the first to congratulate him after he sealed the win on Saturday.

''When things off the golf course are on good terms it is a little easier to concentrate when you don't have too many things in your head,'' Garcia said. ''I am very fortunate with Kathy and with my family and all those around me, so it's great to be playing well and to be in this winning situation with the goal now to keep improving.

''I still feel like I can do better and that is the goal.''

Ilonen was seeking just his third tour victory after ending a six-year winless drought last June at the Nordea Masters.

''I came up two shots short of my target in regulation thinking a 64 would win outright, but a 66 was good enough for the playoff,'' the Finn said. ''But Sergio was a bit better than me.''

Olesen had the chance to join the playoff but missed his eight-foot eagle putt on 18.

European No. 1 Henrik Stenson finished strongly with birdies on his last four holes for a 67 that put him in a tie for 28th – perhaps a good sign at the end of a disappointing tournament ahead of next week's Dubai Desert Classic.

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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.