Icher (62) takes ShopRite lead

By Associated PressJune 4, 2016, 11:24 pm

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Karine Icher matched the Bay Course record with a 9-under 62 on Saturday to take the second-round lead in the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The 31-year-old French player, winless on the tour, had nine birdies in a 13-hole stretch in the round that started on No. 10 at Stockton Seaview. She tied the record on the Donald Ross-designed course set by Laura Davies in 2005 and matched by Jimin Kang that year and Jennifer Johnson in 2014.

''I don't realize,'' Icher said after her lowest round on the LPGA Tour. ''I just like try to play easy and not look at the scoreboard, because it doesn't serve me. I know that. So, try to play shot after shot, and then it's becomes like a game to make as many birdies as possible.''

Icher began the run on Nos. 14 and 15, added two more on 17 and 18, ran off four straight on 3-6, reached 12 under on the eighth and closed with a par. She had only 23 putts.

''I made a lot of second shots close to the hole, so made some birdie easier to do,'' Icher said. ''The greens are difficult to read, and to get the right speed with the right slope. So, the closer you are, the easiest it is. It was a good round. I putted well. I had good wedges. So, quite happy.''

She chipped in on the par-4 sixth.

''I had to do like a rescue hybrid,'' Icher said. ''That one was lucky because it was quite hard. Dead straight in the hole.''

Japan's Haru Nomura, a two-time winner this year, and South Korea's Na Yeon Choi were a stroke back at 11 under. Nomura had a 66, and Choi birdied five of the last eight in a 64.

''I just remind myself like, 'Hey, you can go aggressive a little bit more. You can shoot lower,' So, I kind of motivate myself,'' Choi said. ''And just back nine, my shot was great and I got a lot of birdie chances, too. Seven under, I still feel like I left a couple out there.''

Nomura eagled the par-5 third and rebounded from a bogey on 14 to birdie three of the last four.

''Everything good,'' Nomura said. ''Driver, woods, irons, putting not bad.''

Defending champion Anna Nordqvist, tied for the first-round lead after a 64, had a 68 to drop to fourth at 10 under. The Swede bogeyed the first two holes, eagled the third and had five birdies and two bogeys the rest of the way.

''I feel I played pretty good,'' Nordqvist said. ''It was really tough wind this afternoon. A little hard to judge the direction. And then 17, 18 played dead into the wind. Made those holes a little tougher. But I shot 3-under today and I'm two shots out of it, and I feel like I'm in a good spot.''

Colombia's Mariajo Uribe had a birdie-eagle finish for a 65 to reach 8 under. She holed out from 35 yards on the par-5 18th.

''It landed like 5 yards short and it just went in on the second bounce, an eagle,'' Uribe said. ''It's a pretty nice way to finish.''

Fourth-ranked Brooke Henderson was 3 under after a 70. The 18-year-old Canadian is coming off a third-place tie last week in Ann Arbor, Michigan, her ninth top-10 finish of the year.

Stacy Lewis, the tournament winner in 2012 and 2014, followed her opening 66 with a 74 to drop to 2 under. Down to sixth in the world, the 31-year-old Lewis is winless in 49 starts since taking the North Texas LPGA Shootout in June 2014 for her 11th LPGA Tour victory. She tied for second three weeks ago in Alabama, her 10th runner-up finish during the drought and her 23rd overall.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko and streaking Ariya Jutanugarn skipped the tournament to get ready for the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, the second major championship of the year, next week at Sahalee near Seattle. Jutanugarn has won three straight events, the last a five-stroke victory last week in Ann Arbor.10th tee boxes.

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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.