Haas, Durant share Greater Hickory lead with 63s

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2014, 9:55 pm

CONOVER, N.C. - Jay Haas and Joe Durant shot 8-under 63 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the Champions Tour's Greater Hickory Kia Classic.

The 60-year-old Haas, the 2005 and 2009 champion, had an eagle and seven birdies on the first 14 holes at Rock Barn Golf and Spa's Champions Course, dropped a stroke on the par-4 15th and closed with three pars.

Still, it was Haas' best single round this season on the 50-and-over tour. It also extended his streak of sub-par rounds in Champions Tour events to 21.

''I had a great start,'' said Haas, who won the last of his 16 Champions Tour titles in June 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa. ''It was pretty magical. I played well all day, expect for the bogey where I three-putted. But overall, I couldn't be happier.

''I've been playing well, and still playing well from earlier in the year. I drove the ball well, my irons were good and my putting was good today. It was nice to make those putts, and to get off to that start.''

The 50-year-old Durant - who teed off on the back nine - rebounded from bogeys on Nos. 14 and No. 17 to shoot a 7-under 28 over his final nine holes.



That equaled the tournament record for a nine-hole stretch, first set in 2011, and the Champions Tour mark for lowest nine-hole score this season.

Durant went on to finish with eight birdies and an eagle, and posted his lowest round since joining the tour in April.

''I'd have a good birdie, then I'd three-putt the next hole,'' said Durant, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour. ''I kept giving (the birdies) right back. But I was fortunate to make a birdie on No. 18 to turn (his first nine holes) at 1 under.

''After that, I felt that I was onto something. I made some good putts. The greens were very receptive, and the ball was rolling good. You could do some stuff out there.''

Roger Chapman and Scott Dunlap shot 65. Kirk Triplett, a two-time winner this season, was another stroke back along with Bill Glasson, Mike Goodes, John Riegger and Rocco Mediate.

Colin Montgomerie opened with a 69. A two-time major winner this season, Montgomerie is second in the Charles Schwab Cup standings - 771 points behind Bernhard Langer with three events left.

Langer is skipping the tournament after finishing third last year. He has a tour-high five victories, two of them majors.

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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.