Romero Still Leads Price Haas Close

By Associated PressMay 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Senior PGA ChampionshipKIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Eduardo Romero took the sting out of The Ocean Course for a second straight day, grabbing a two-stroke lead at the Senior PGA Championship.
 
Romero, the first-round leader after a 4-under 68 in strong wind, shot a 70 in calmer conditions Friday to move to 6 under.
 
And the Argentine star has dealt with few of the problems many others in the 50-and-over field have had over Pete Dye's seaside layout.
 
Maybe it was Romero's caution and concern that kept him trouble free so far.
 
'I told my caddie, 'We have to be very careful because double bogey and triple bogey are waiting for us,'' Romero said.
 
Instead, Romero used some big, accurate drives -- he said his tee shot went about 380 yards on the par-5 seventh -- to keep out front.
 
Naomichi 'Joe' Ozaki (71) remained second at 4 under. Nick Price, who won PGA Championships in 1992 and 1994, was next at 3 under after a 70.
 
But it was Romero's unwavering steadiness that led the way. He birdied two of his first three holes to extend his lead. When he slipped with bogeys on the back nine's two difficult par threes, Nos. 14 and 17, he quickly regained his form.
 
Romero's final birdie came at No. 7, giving last year's Champions Tour rookie of the year his cushion over the field.
 
'I cross my fingers for the conditions to remain like this,' Romero said, grinning.
 
The howling Atlantic wind Romero savors wasn't nearly as bothersome Friday with gusts falling off to 10 to 15 mph -- about half their first-round strength.
 
'I hesitate to say it was easier than yesterday, but the wind certainly was down,' said defending champion Jay Haas, five shots behind Romero.
 
Still, there were other obstacles. The biggest was the par-3 17th, a treacherous hole that sliced up competitors during the 1991 Ryder Cup -- and maintained its ferocious reputation Thursday and Friday.
 
The horror stories rivaled anything from 16 years earlier.
 
Ben Crenshaw stepped the tee a shot off the lead and left with a triple-bogey 6. He hit into a bunker left of the green, then chipped into the water when with his approach.
 
'There's no sand in that bunker,' said Fuzzy Zoeller, who played with Crenshaw. 'That's harder than the ... road we drove in on.'
 
David Ishii made par there the first round, but on Friday put three balls in the water on the way to a 10.
 
Tateo 'Jet' Ozaki's early run up the leaderboard was stopped cold by a triple on No. 5. Denis Watson was a shot from the lead before his double-bogey 5.
 
Haas' only back-nine bogey came at, you guessed it, No. 17.
 
There's not much for organizers to do. The hole, originally listed at 197 yards, was shortened to 178 for the opening round. On Friday, it was shrunk even more to 164 -- a simple wedge for some players.
 
Just like the opening round, officials used several forward tee placements that took about 180 yards off the scorecard yardage of 7,201.
 
Crenshaw said players had their hands full figuring out Dye's magnificent, maddening design. 'This was meant to be a punishing golf course,' Crenshaw said. 'And Pete Dye attempted (it) and brought it off.'
 
Irwin, part of the winning U.S. Ryder Cup team here 16 years ago, followed his opening 78 with a nifty 70. But afterward said, 'I'm still wondering what's going on.'
 
Zoeller, not out of it at 1 over, might have summed it up best: 'I'm going to have a vodka tonic.'
 
DIVOTS
Talk about a birthday present. D.A. Weibring, who turned 54 Friday, shot a 2-under 70, 10 strokes better than his opening round score. ... Haas is attempting to become the event's first repeat winner since Irwin won three straight from 1996-98. ... It looked as if Mike Reid would have to tee off by himself. Both his partners, John Mahaffey and Bill Rogers, withdrew during the first round. Officials paired Reid, a former Senior PGA winner, with California pro Ric Burgess on Friday. ... Ishii's 10 wasn't the only double-digit performance. Reed Hughes had a 10 on the par-5 16th.
 
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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.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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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.”