Langer defends his ACE Champions title

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2012, 1:06 am

NAPLES, Fla. ' The defending champion and runner-up are recovering from thumb injuries, the player of the year is in the field, and so is the guy who hit an upside-down, left-handed shot to win last week.

The 25th anniversary of the ACE Group Classic has multiple story lines this weekend at TwinEagles Club.

Bernhard Langer won The Quarry last season for the last of his 14 Champions Tour titles. He had a tournament-record 20-under total to beat Funk by four strokes but was sidelined later because of a torn thumb ligament. Funk is coming back from thumb fusion surgery.

Tom Lehman is making his first appearance in the tournament, and so is Corey Pavin, coming off his first Champions Tour victory after his incredible shot in the Allianz Championship.

Langer tied for third at the Allianz.

If you know me a little bit, Im a very competitive guy, Langer said Thursday, a day before the start of play in the 54-hole event. I like to be in contention. When youve won so many times, you like to win again. If Im able to practice and work at it, Id like to have some success.

Funk injured his thumb using a swing aid when it struck a porch rail. Thumb surgery did not work, then he had to have fusion surgery'the doctor even had Funk grip a golf club so he could check the preferred angle of the thumb before putting Funk under for the surgery. In his first event since last July, he tied for 10th at the Allianz.

Lehman was the tours top player last year but hasnt started 2012 that way. He tied for 12th at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii, then tied for 31st at Allianz.

I feel like the season is only now just starting for me, said Lehman, who played 29 times combined on both tours last year. Didnt have much of a break, so Im really anxious to kind of get moving with this season, and hopefully this week is the start of it.

Pavin won for the first time in 122 starts since the 2006 PGA Tour event in Milwaukee. He had to birdie the first playoff hole to beat Peter Senior, but it was Pavins unlikely up-and-down for par on the par-3 14th that people are talking about. His ball landed in a hole next to a root, and he didnt have a swing from the right side. So Pavin turned the clubhead of an 8-iron over and got the ball over a cart path and to the top of a green sloping away from him. The ball ended up four feet away, and he sank the putt.

It came out better than I could ever expect it to, and it was kind of almost laughable how good it turned out, Pavin said.

The tournament was last played at TwinEagles in 2006. Loren Roberts won that year to become the first Champions Tour player to open a season with three straight victories. Roberts also won in 2009 at TPC Treviso Bay.

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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.

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Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

“It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

“That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”