Oklahoma Well Represented at Southern Hills

By Associated PressAugust 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Two colors stood out to Charles Howell III at the PGA Championship in a state where he went to college and won an NCAA title.
'The orange is Oklahoma State and the red is Georgia, right?' Howell said Wednesday after his final practice round at Southern Hills. 'Either way, it's a win-win.'
Even while playfully dismissing the crimson of Oklahoma, Howell said he really 'didn't get into that utter hatred' in the Bedlam rivalry that this week will feature seven golfers -- five from Oklahoma State and two Sooners -- in the PGA field.
Scott Verplank, Hunter Mahan, 1986 PGA champion Bob Tway and Bo Van Pelt -- who made it in at the last minute as an alternate -- will also be representing Oklahoma State this week in Tulsa, about 80 miles east of the school's Stillwater campus. The field also features Anthony Kim and Todd Hamilton, who played for the Sooners.
For Howell, Southern Hills presents the second time in the year's four majors that he'll get to play on something of a home course. The Augusta, Ga., native tied for 30th at the Masters in his hometown in April.
'If we can keep coming here and Augusta, we'll be great,' said Howell, who won the individual title while leading Oklahoma State to the NCAA championship in 2000.
Howell said he remains close with Van Pelt, who was his college teammate in 1998. They will frequently play practice rounds together on Tuesdays and Wednesdays leading up to tournaments 'when he doesn't sleep in on me,' Howell said. The other former Cowboys aren't strangers either.
'We see each other all the time, and it's really nice,' Howell said. 'There is a bond there because we all did play for the same program and the same coach.'
Mahan agreed that the Oklahoma State golfers maintain a brotherhood, maybe because the program has had only three coaches in its 60-year history and most of the current players on tour played under Mike Holder, who is now the university's athletic director. The Cowboys have won 10 NCAA titles, nine in the past 31 years, the most in the nation in that span.
'I think everyone really respects him and the program and what it's meant to each of them,' Mahan said.
The fans clad in orange or crimson will provide the biggest edge for the golfers returning to Oklahoma this week. The tournament isn't being played on a home course for any of them.
'I've only played one tournament here, so I didn't really remember too many holes,' Mahan said.
That one previous experience at Southern Hills for Mahan was a 13-stroke victory over Texas' Jason Hartwick and the rest of the field at the 2003 Big 12 tournament. He shot a 73 and then finished with rounds of 67 and 68 to finish at 2 under.
Mahan said the course will play far differently with a PGA Championship setup that includes more difficult rough.
'This is a major, that was a Big 12 championship. No disrespect to the Big 12 by any means, but this is the big time,' Mahan said. 'At this course, they've been waiting for this for a couple years, they've been getting ready for it.'
Mahan has been considered a dark horse by some after a two-month surge that included his first PGA TOUR win at the Travelers Championship in June. He followed that with three more top 10 finishes -- including sixth at the British Open -- before tying for 22nd at last week's Bridgestone Invitational.
'He's got a lot of momentum and he's playing great,' Howell said. 'Anytime you get hot like that, your confidence runs up and the game seems pretty easy.'
Mahan grabbed the first-round lead at each of his last two events, matching the Canadian Open record with a 62 that included three eagles.
'I definitely feel like I'm trying to get stronger throughout the week,' Mahan said. 'I want to build rounds and build a tournament and build a week. I want to make sure I'm fresh on Sunday and ready to play.'
That could be a little easier this week, with fans yelling 'Go Pokes!' to help him hearken back to his college success.
'Golfers don't get many home games like this,' Mahan said. 'So I'm going to take advantage of it.'
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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.