Lewis overtakes Miyazato for Founders title, gains top ranking

By Associated PressMarch 17, 2013, 10:43 pm

PHOENIX – The determined Texan who wore a back brace 18 hours a day for six years as a teen has fought her way to the top of women's golf.

Stacy Lewis jumped from third to first in the world rankings, ending Yani Tseng's 109-week run at No. 1 with a comeback victory Sunday in the LPGA Founders Cup.

Diagnosed with scoliosis when she was 11, Lewis had to have major back surgery when the brace failed to correct the curvature in her spine.

''I was going into surgery to put a rod and five screws in my back,'' Lewis said. ''That was just 10 years ago. That's not normal, that's not supposed to happen. I mean, I'm not, I'm really not supposed to be here. People with metal in their back, how do you play golf? I don't know. I don't know how. I don't know why I'm here. I know that there's a reason and I know that everything happens for a reason.''


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Coming off a victory two weeks ago in Singapore, the 28-year-old Lewis won her seventh LPGA title. She won the 2011 Kraft Nabisco and has six victories in her last 23 events.

''I'm having a blast on the golf course, and to be No. 1 in the world, it's what everybody out here on tour is working for and to be that person is, I mean, I really don't even know what to say,'' said Lewis, the tour player of the year last year after winning four times.

She's the second American to top the rankings that began in 2006. Cristie Kerr was No. 1 for five weeks over three stints in 2010.

''It's crazy,'' Lewis said. ''That was my goal kind of since the middle of last year and I really didn't think it would be possible this quick. ... I'm going to have fun, I know that. I watched Yani struggle with it for too long and I'm going to go have fun.''

Lewis beat Ai Miyazato by three strokes, closing with an 8-under 64 at Desert Ridge to finish with a tournament-record 23-under 265 total on the cactus-lined Wildfire layout. Miyazato, three strokes ahead with six holes to play, finished with a 71.

The tournament turned with a three-stroke swing on the 16th hole, a day after Lewis was penalized two strokes for her caddie's blunder on the short par 4.

On Sunday, Lewis took a two-stroke lead with a birdie after Miyazato made a double bogey following an errant approach shot that left her with an unplayable lie in a desert bush.

Miyazato took an unexpected four-stroke lead over Lewis and Jee Young Lee into the final round when Lewis was penalized after play Saturday when it was ruled that caddie Travis Wilson tested the sand before Lewis played out of a bunker on No. 16.

''I wasn't even mad at him because he didn't do anything on purpose,'' Lewis said. ''I just felt really bad for him just because all the stories were 'Stacy Lewis' caddie, Stacy Lewis' caddie.' The spotlight was on him and he never wants that. We were so motivated today.''

Miyazato was a stroke ahead on the 16th tee and was seemingly in perfect position after splitting the fairway on the 307-yard hole. But the straight-hitting Japanese star's pitching wedge sailed left, hit on the bank near the edge of the green and rolled into the desert bush.

''My shot was like totally in between clubs,'' Miyazato said. ''I hit the pitching wedge, but my instinct said that it was an easy 9, so it was a little bit indecisive and that's why I pulled my shot.''

Instead of playing again from the fairway, she elected to drop in sand in the desert, leaving her with an uphill shot with little green to work with. Her shot from the desert went to the far edge of the green and she two-putted for a double-bogey 6.

''I decided I would take a drop almost like in a bunker position and I thought we had that little backstop behind the pin, so I thought I could make it stop a little bit more,'' Miyazato said. ''It was kind of a little flat when I dropped, so it was hard.''

Lewis, a 12-time winner at the University of Arkansas, found the right fairway bunker off the tee, hit to 15 feet and holed the birdie putt.

''I was shocked that she hit the shot she did,'' Lewis said. ''That is not like Ai at all. She's green, green. I mean, it's boring to play with her because she hits so many greens.''

Lewis added an 18-footer on the par-3 17th for her third straight birdie.

''I was certainly surprised she finished the way she did, but to make those two putts I did on 16 and 17 was pretty unbelievable,'' Lewis said. ''I'm really speechless. I played great and I was super motivated from all that happened yesterday and just happy for Travis.

''Weird things happen when you play enough golf rounds and I told him that over and over and over again. He would have felt horrible if we lost by two, so that's why I just put the dagger in and made some more putts there coming in.''

Miyazato also tied for second last year at Desert Ridge, a stroke behind Tseng. The nine-time tour winner was playing for the first time since sustaining a whiplash injury in a five-vehicle crash last month in Bangkok after the LPGA Thailand.

''All in all, I had a good day,'' Miyazato said. ''I have a good feeling and my play was really solid, just the one bad shot on 16. I was a little disappointed.''

DIVOTS: Lewis earned $225,000 to push her tour-leading total to $526,364. She donated $50,000 to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf. ... Angela Stanford was third at 17 under after a 68. ... Tseng shot a 70 to tie for 59th at 4 under. ... Lee, the second-round leader after opening 65-64, closed 72-72 to tie for fourth at 16 under.


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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.