Ochoa Two Back of Lee in New Jersey

By Associated PressMay 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Sybase ClassicCLIFTON, N.J. -- Had it not been for been Sarah Lee, defending champion Lorena Ochoa would be atop the leaderboard again at the Sybase Classic.
Lee shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead over Ochoa and four others after the first round of the $1.4 million Sybase Classic on Thursday.
Future Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak, up-and-coming Brittany Lincicome, rookie Angela Park and Hye Jung Choi joined Ochoa at 68, a shot ahead of three others led by recent first-time winner Meaghan Francella.
'I've been close in the last few weeks, and this will be a nice week,' said Ochoa, who hasn't won since supplanting Annika Sorenstam as the top-ranked player last month. 'It's important to be in a good position and to give myself a chance on Sunday and hopefully it will happen.'
The 25-year-old Mexican star certainly played well enough to have the lead, overcoming an early double bogey with a run of birdies on both nines of the Upper Montclair Country Club, which has replaced Wykagyl Country Club as the Sybase site.
Heading to the par-3 eighth, Ochoa was 5 under and seemingly headed for the lead. However, she pulled her tee shot left on her 17th hole and couldn't get up and down.
Still, it appeared it would be good enough for a share of the lead, that is until Lee came up big in the afternoon pairings.
Lee, who led after the first two rounds of last week's Michelob Ultra Open and eventually finished third, had birdies ranging in length from 7 to 18 feet, capping her round with a 9-footer on the par-5 18th.
It was impressive performance after Lee was forced to skip practice Tuesday because she was sick and then was limited to seven holes Wednesday in the pro-am because of heavy rain.
However, she also was coming off a great week at Kingsmill in Virginia. Her opening-round 63 and her 36-hole total of 131 were season lows on the LPGA Tour.
'I got great opportunity to win but you know, I couldn't handle the last two, three holes,' said Lee, who had a final-round 74 in Virginia. 'But I learn from that how I'm going to play.'
The competition will be tough if the leaderboard stays the same.
Ochoa, the LPGA player of the year in 2006, has a win and seven top-10 finishes in nine events this year. Lincicome, who won the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship in New Jersey last summer, won the Ginn Open last month. Pak, who won her fifth career major last year with the McDonald's LPGA Championship, hasn't finished worse than 13th in her last four events.
Francella of nearby Port Chester, N.Y., also has game. She beat Sorenstam in a playoff earlier this year.
Ochoa is the one to fear though. She had seven birdies, a double bogey and a bogey on an old-fashioned course that reminded her of the one she plays at home.
Starting on No. 10, she birdied the 11th from 5 feet. She ran into trouble on 408-yard 12th, hitting her second into wood chips on a green protected by water. She chipped over the green and then chipped into the rough on the other side en route to a double bogey.
Birdies of 4, 2 and 15 feet got her righted, and she added three more birdies on her second nine, including a tap-in on a par 5.
'The last two weeks in Tulsa and Kingsmill, that was my struggle that every time I make a birdie, then a made a bogey,' Ochoa said. 'I felt like I couldn't get a good momentum going. That was the difference today.'
Lincicome had a wild round that included four birdies, two eagles, two bogeys and a double bogey. She didn't know she was tied for the lead after the morning until she was asked to report to the media room.
Pak, who has to complete four events to qualify for the Hall of Fame, was at even par after 13 holes. She birdied four hole of her final holes, with putts from a tap-in to 10 feet.
'I'm happy the way I finished but it's still three more days to go,' Pak said.
Park, an 18-year-old South Korean who was born in Brazil, had four birdies and no bogeys. She leads the tour rookie standing with three top-20 finishes, including a tie for third.
Choi had five birdies and a bogey. The second-year LPGA player has four top-25 finishes and four other events she would like to forget about.
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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.

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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.

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    “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.”