Turning Point at Turning Stone - COPIED

By Brian HewittSeptember 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
Joe Durants pride goeth before the Fall Series.
 
Last year at this time Durant was arguably the hottest player in golf. He finished 2006 with five straight top 10s including a victory at the FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World Resort.
 
If you havent won in a long time, you go from tunnel vision to spray vision, Durant said that day in Orlando after the win. Disney was his first victory since prevailing at at Doral in 2001. And it spearheaded a late 2006 charge that would leave him with a career best 13th place finish on the money list.
 
Durant also closed last year with 17 straight rounds of par or better and Player of the Month honors for October/November.
 
Now Durant is looking for a little dj-vu-all-over-again. And hes hoping it will begin for him at the Turning Stone Resort Championship that begins next Thursday at Atunyote Golf Club in Verona, New York where a full field of PGA TOUR players will compete for an eye-popping six million dollar purse.
 
Turning Stone will also mark the kickoff of the 7-event 2007 Fall Series where players will, among other things, be looking to secure their cards for 2008 and nail down a variety of berths in 2008 major championships and invitationals. For example, the top 30 players on the season-ending money list will receive invitations to next Aprils Masters.
 
Durant is exempt on TOUR through 2008 thanks to his Disney win. But hed dearly love to get back to Augusta. A top 10 finish at Turning Stone would be his first of the year and would provide the kind of momentum he needs to make a jump from the money list doldrums where he currently is languishing at No. 121.
 
I feel like I need to try and redeem this year, Durant said recently. I need a fall like I had last year. So hopefully I can start cranking things up a little bit.
 
Atunyote Golf Club, near Syracuse, is a 7,315-yard Tom Fazio design that got pressed into service last year when flooding forced this event to move from nearby En-Joie Golf Club. The 2006 winner was John Rollins, who stormed to victory with an 8-under closing 64.
 
For his part, Durant dropped out of the FedExCup race the first week of the playoffs at The Barclays. He had finished tied for 18th at the PGA Championship and tied for 14th a week earlier at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. But he realizes now it was too little too late for the FedExCup.
 
You need to come out of the box (this year) a little quicker, he said. I started very slowly.
 
Now he has seven events to make amends. They are, in order, Turning Stone, the Viking Classic, the Valero Texas Open, the Frys.com Open, the Frys Electronics Open, the Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro, and a defense at Disney World in what is now called the Childrens Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart.
 
Durant led the TOUR in driving accuracy last year and was a respectable 93d in driving distance. Those numbers have dropped significantly this year to sixth in driving accuracy and 126th in driving distance.
 
Certainly, the $1.08 million dollar first prize at Turning Stone will also serve as incentive to Durant and the rest of what shapes up to be a strong field.
 
The Viking Classic, which comes the week after Turning Stone, was where Durant lost in a three-hole playoff last year to first-time winner D.J. Trahan. Durant fired a sizzling 66, the low round of the final day at Annandale Golf Club to make up five shots on Trahan. But Trahans birdie on the final hole of the playoff kept Durant from being a two-time winner in 2006.
 

 

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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.

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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

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “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.”