Pressel moves into Sybase semifinals

By Associated PressMay 19, 2012, 10:18 pm

GLADSTONE, N.J. - The Sybase Match Play Championship has been a tournament full of surprises since day one and nothing changed this year.

None of the top 14 seeds are still around. The final four consists of two so-called veterans seeking their first wins since 2008 and a couple of highly regarded youngsters seeking their first taste of victory in the LPGA.

Of the four, Morgan Pressel is the household name. She won a major at 18 in 2007 and won again the following year.

Candie Kung is a 30-year-old four-time winner, who has not held a trophy since 2008. Azahara Munoz of Spain won an NCAA title for Arizona State, while Vicky Hurst is a 21-year-old who represented the United States in the Solheim Cup last year.

In the semifinals Sunday, Pressel will face Munoz, and Kung will take on Hurst.

Pressel, who has struggled all season, is the most interesting story. The soon-to-be 24-year-old rallied from 2 down with three holes to play to stun No. 2-ranked Na Yeon Choi in 19 holes in the morning and rolled over Anna Nordqvist of Sweden, 5 and 4, in the afternoon quarterfinal in the surprise-filled event at the Hamilton Farm Golf Club.

Pressel is the highest seed left at No. 15. Munoz, who had two top-five finishes recently, is the 19th seed. Hurst is seeded 37th and Kung, who beat No. 1-ranked Yani Tseng in the morning round of 16, is the lowest seed left at No. 49.

''I think that I definitely want to win again and I'll have a chance tomorrow,'' Pressel said. ''No matter what happens, I think that I - this is the best I've played in a long time, and from Japan two weeks ago to this week, I finally feel comfortable with my game again to a point where I haven't been in a while. I'm going to give it everything that I have tomorrow.''

Pressel, whose best finish this year is a tie for 20th, has been steady this week. She made birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to tie Choi and won on the 19th when the South Korean missed a par-saving putt. In the afternoon, Pressel ran away from Nordqvist after the one-time U.S. Women's Open champion fell behind after a couple of bogeys.

''This afternoon, I had a little bit of a break and didn't need to make quite as many birdies, but tomorrow I'm going to need to make the birdies again because I'm sure 'Atha's going to come out and come out strong,'' Pressel said.

Munoz routed No. 6-seeded Stacy Lewis, 5 and 4, in a match in which the tour's best American this year didn't play well. In the round of 16, Lewis - who was the highest-seeded player remaining at that point - edged 2010 Sybase champion Sun Young Yoo, 1 up, in the morning.

''I played pretty horrible,'' said Lewis, who won in Mobile, Ala., two weeks ago. ''It was probably one of the worst rounds I played all year. It probably didn't matter who I was playing, I wasn't going to win.''

Munoz and Pressel are good friends.

''We both want to win bad, so I think it's going to be fun,'' the 24-year-old Munoz said. ''I wish I wasn't playing her, to be honest.''

Hurst and Kung both had to work harder to post their quarterfinal wins.

The long-hitting Hurst, who upset No. 5-ranked Cristie Kerr over 19 holes Friday, won the 15th and 16th holes to take the lead en route to a 2-up win over U.S. Women's Open champion So Yeon Ryu of South Korea. Kung also won the 15th and 16th holes to go 2 up against Julieta Granada of Paraguay and closed out a 2-and-1 win with a par at the 17th.

''We both played pretty solid the whole day,'' Hurst said. ''She kind of let it go at the end, but it was pretty close.''

Kung said her putting carried her Saturday, but she had other concerns after the matches. She probably didn't expect to be here Sunday and checked out of her hotel.

In the other morning matches, Ryu won seven of the first nine holes en route to a 5-and- 4 win over Katherine Hull of Australia. Nordqvist won four of the final six holes in beating No. 10 seed Amy Yang, 3 and 1. Hurst was a 2-and-1 winner over Angela Stanford in an All-American match.

Munoz posted a 2-and-1 win over Jodi Ewart of England, who upset defending champion Suzann Pettersen in the first round. Granada was a 1-up winner over Karine Icher of France.

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Simpson overtakes DeChambeau in Ryder Cup race

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:09 pm

A T-12 finish at The Open allowed Webb Simpson to move past Bryson DeChambeau into the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot in the U.S. Ryder Cup points race with just three weeks to go.

Simpson finished the week at 3 under, five shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. Adding another strong result to his win at TPC Sawgrass and T-10 finish at the U.S. Open, he's now edged in front of DeChambeau by less than 41 points. But with players earning one point per $1,000 each of the next two weeks and 1.5 points per $1,000 at the PGA Championship, the race is far from over.

Jordan Spieth's T-9 finish strengthened his position at No. 6, as the top six players are essentially assured of qualifying automatically. Rickie Fowler held onto his spot at No. 7, while Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner both moved onto the bubble following T-2 finishes at Carnoustie. After a T-6 finish, Tiger Woods jumped from 31st to 20th.

Here's a look at the updated American standings, with the top eight after the PGA qualifying automatically and captain Jim Furyk adding four picks in September:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Bubba Watson

6. Jordan Spieth

7. Rickie Fowler

8. Webb Simpson


9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Xander Schauffele

12. Matt Kuchar

13. Kevin Kisner

14. Tony Finau

15. Brian Harman

On the European side, Molinari was already in position to qualify automatically but is now assured of a spot on Thomas Bjorn's roster this fall. Fellow major champs Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy also solidified their footing with runner-up performances.

Here's a look at how things look for the Europeans, with the top four from each list after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

European Points

1. Francesco Molinari

2. Justin Rose

3. Tyrrell Hatton

4. Tommy Fleetwood


Thorbjorn Olesen

Russell Knox

Eddie Pepperell

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Alex Noren

3. Rory McIlroy

4. Paul Casey


Matthew Fitzpatrick

Sergio Garcia

Ian Poulter

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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.