Kirk emerges from pack to win Colonial

By Associated PressMay 24, 2015, 11:36 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas - Chris Kirk was prepared to need a putt for a playoff at Colonial.

No extra holes were necessary Sunday for Kirk to get his fourth PGA Tour victory.

Kirk made up for an errant tee shot at No. 18 with a par-saving and winning 7-foot putt after playing partner Brandt Snedeker's birdie try slid by the hole.

''My first three wins on Tour have all been little tap-ins on the last hole,'' Kirk said. ''So to step up and make a putt that I knew was to win is something I'll never forget.''

With his closing 4-under 66, Kirk got to 12-under 268, one ahead of Snedeker, local Masters champion Jordan Spieth and Jason Bohn.

Bohn had a 63 that included six consecutive birdies on the front nine. Spieth shot 65, with a near-birdie that became a bogey at the par-3 16th hole.

When Kirk got in trouble at No. 18, Bohn and Spieth went to the nearby No. 1 tee and were hitting balls in preparation for a potential playoff. Spieth was already back near the green when Kirk got ready to putt.


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Kirk hooked his tee shot at No. 18 into the left rough, then hit his approach from 155 yards over the green. A nice chip set up the winning putt after Snedeker's miss from 12 feet after a similar tee shot to finish a 67.

''Close friends with Brandt, and play a lot of golf with him, and he doesn't miss very many of those putts,'' Kirk said. ''Once he didn't make it, then I was able to change my mindset.''

Spieth was only a few minutes removed from a 20-foot birdie putt at the closing hole, where more than an hour earlier Bohn had a 28-footer that lipped the cup and left him lifting the putter over his head in frustration.

''I thought it was in, that's why I started running. I think it just straightened out,'' Bohn said.

''The second round set me back,'' Spieth said, referring to the 73 he had Friday after opening with a lead-tying 64.

Spieth has finished as the runner-up in all three PGA Tour events played in Texas this season.

As a junior at Georgia in 2006, Kirk was the runner-up for the Hogan Award given by Colonial to the nation's top college player. He decided then to return for his senior year for a chance to win the award - and did.

He now has a plaid jacket and a $1.17 million check, which will be plenty to cover the new home he is buying in Georgia, after winning on the PGA Tour at a saturated Hogan's Alley. The sun finally came out late in the final round after heavy rain overnight and throughout tournament week.

After having the best round Saturday with a 65, Kirk started the final day with an eagle. His only bogey came after hitting his drive at No. 7 into the rough.

Kevin Na, the outright leader after the second and third rounds, shot 72 and finished in an eight-way tie for 10th at 9 under. He was part of a leading four-way tie that included Spieth after the first round.

A 54-hole leader hasn't won Colonial since Phil Mickelson in 2008.

Spieth was making a bid to win the first of consecutive tournaments at home in the North Texas area for the 21-year-old Masters champion from Dallas.

Like all week, Spieth got a rousing ovation when he got to the 18th green. That got even wilder when he finished by draining the long birdie, which was almost good enough for a playoff.

''I wanted to give them something to cheer about,'' Spieth said. ''It was nice to have that one just to give myself an outside chance.''

The PGA Tour's next stop is the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, where Spieth twice made the cut as a teenage amateur.

Spieth had a 50-foot putt tracking to the cup at the 16th hole Sunday, but the ball went on the right edge and then curled 7 feet to the left. Spieth missed the comeback putt, dropping out to 10 under and out of the lead.

Instead of the putt, Spieth blamed his club selection off the tee, when he tried to punch a 7-iron to the green instead of hitting an 8-iron below the hole.

Bohn started with par at No. 1, hitting into the greenside bunker at the par 5 that is the easiest hole at Colonial. But he responded with birdie streak of six in a row, including Nos. 3-5 known as the Horrible Horseshoe because of the layout of difficulty of that trio of holes. His front-side 6-under 29 included a 36-foot birdie putt at No. 4, the 247-yard par 3.

''You can take a lot away from a round like this,'' Bohn said. ''I knew I had to put my foot on the pedal. I knew nobody was going to back up.''

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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.