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Toms eyes second straight major at Senior Players

By Associated PressJuly 11, 2018, 11:24 pm

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. – David Toms is breathing a little easier.

Nothing like winning a major to toss a big weight off a player's shoulders, particularly when he had gone more than seven years without a victory on either the senior or regular tours.

Now, Toms has a shot at another one.

He comes into the Constellation Senior Players Championship looking to build on his win at the U.S. Senior Open at the Broadmoor two weeks ago.

''I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to try to win a tournament,'' Toms said. ''I felt like I had chances but wasn't getting it done, and that's when you think about when you go home at night away from the golf course. To finally get that, have that behind me now, it's all about going out and trying to play great and giving myself another opportunity.''

Toms is part of a loaded field at Exmoor Country Club featuring 49 of the top 50 senior players.


Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


Scott McCarron, with seven top-10 finishes this year and a win at the American Family Insurance Championship at University Ridge last month, comes in looking to defend a bittersweet comeback victory in last year's Senior Players. He made up a six-shot deficit at Caves Valley near Baltimore to beat Bernhard Langer and Brandt Jobe by a stroke with a local caddie carrying his bag. His usual caddie Rich Mayo rushed to El Paso, Texas during the week to be with his ailing father, who died while Mayo was en route.

''His dad Bud was a great guy and loved watching Rich and I golf and compete, and would scream and yell at the TV all the time, so kind of felt his presence all week long,'' McCarron said.

Langer hopes to extend his record with an 11th senior major championship. He won this event from 2014-16 before a late collapse helped give McCarron his victory last year. Langer was leading by one when he dropped his tee shot into the water on No. 17 for a double bogey. He had a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that would have forced a playoff lip out.

''It's a major. It's a big tournament for us,'' Langer said. ''We're all geared up to do the best we can.''

Toms is looking to build on a drought-busting victory. He spent last week vacationing with his family in Wyoming, getting in some time on the course with his son and avoiding the heat back home in Shreveport, La.

A 13-time winner on the PGA Tour, he hadn't finished at the top of a leaderboard since the 2011 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. That changed two weeks ago when he made two long putts down the stretch for his first PGA Tour Champions win.

Toms rolled in a 15-footer for birdie on No. 16 and buried a downhill 20-footer to save par after driving into a fairway bunker on the 530-yard, par-4 17th. He shot an even-par 70 to finish one shot ahead of Miguel Angel Jimenez, Tim Petrovic and Jerry Kelly.

Winning the U.S. Senior Open gave him a spot in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach next year if he chooses to play. A victory this week would get him to The Players Championship in March, where he lost a heartbreaking playoff to K.J. Choi at TPC Sawgrass in 2011.

''There's a lot of things that go along with it, as well as the purse was pretty big,'' Toms said. ''It was almost like winning a regular tournament. All of that makes it pretty special. But at the same time, it was just more about winning a tournament.”

''All of the other stuff is just a bonus on top of that,'' he continued. ''For me, I think it'll be the shot to the arm that I needed to continue to play great.''

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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.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


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.