Granada leads CME; four others chase $1 million

By Doug FergusonNovember 22, 2014, 9:50 pm

NAPLES, Fla. - Julieta Granada kept in front of a growing pack of challengers Saturday with a 2-under 70 and a one-shot lead in the CME Globe Tour Championship, only one part of what was shaping up as a tense conclusion to the LPGA Tour season.

The race for $1 million was even tighter.

Granada's long two-putt for par on the 18th hole at Tiburon Golf Club gave her a one-shot lead over Morgan Pressel and Carlota Ciganda of Spain, who both made big putts on the final hole. Pressel hit a 7-iron to 5 feet for birdie and a 70, while Ciganda rolled in an 8-foot par putt for a 71.

Sandra Gal of Germany (70) hit into the water for bogey on the 18th and was two shots behind.

None of the top four can win the Race to CME Globe and its $1 million bonus, the biggest payoff in women's golf.

All that commotion is right behind them.

Stacy Lewis, who effectively wrapped up LPGA player of the year and the Vare Trophy when Inbee Park faltered, made only one mistake in her round of 70. It moved her into a tie for 10th, six shots out of the lead but enough to give her a slight edge in the points race for the $1 million.

Lydia Ko (68) and So Yeon Ryu (70) were tied for fifth, three shots behind. Both are very much in the running for the bonus, especially Ko, who only has to win the tournament. Also still in the mix was Michelle Wie, who survived an up-and-down day for a 72 and was only four shots behind.


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All of it will be settled over 18 holes on Sunday, and there's even a chance for a playoff to decide who gets the winner-take-all bonus.

"I still have a chance - I'm not out of it," Wie said. "That's all I can ask for. I'm excited for the opportunity tomorrow, and we'll see what happens. I'm just going to play as hard as I can and see what I can do."

Inbee Park, who is No. 2 in the Race to CME Globe, shot a 73 and was 11 shots behind.

Lewis hit every fairway and missed only two greens. She was poised to move closer to the leaders until her approach on the par-5 17th failed to the right and into a hazard, leading to a bogey on the easiest of the par 5s at Tiburon.

Even so, she scored well enough to be in the top 10, not far from the other three players vying for the $1 million.

"I don't know exactly how it all works, but there are people on the leaderboard I'm definitely cheering for over others," Lewis said, honest as ever. "I've been thinking about all these awards and the Race to the Globe for three, four weeks now. Unfortunately, that's not going to go away overnight."

Her only goal Sunday was to hit greens and try to make putts, move up the leaderboard and hold out hope for a big rally to win the tournament.

"That's what I did today and it really seemed to help me stay focused on the shot at hand," she said.

Ko, the 17-year-old rookie, made the biggest move. She is No. 3 in the standings, meaning a victory Sunday would guarantee the $1 million bonus (along with $500,000 for winning the tournament). She took on more than she intended with a 6-iron that flirted with trouble left of the 18th green. Instead, it took a hop to the right and settled 3 feet away for a birdie.

"I come to the press room or get asked by the media, and that's when I go, `Oh, there's is $1 million on the line.' When I'm out there, I'm trying to make as many birdies as I can," Ko said. "I think that's actually keeping me a little distracted."

Wie is No. 4 and Ryu is No. 5 in the standings, meaning they need to finish strong and have Ko and Lewis lose some ground to have any chance.

But it's all right there for any four of them on Sunday.

Granada was the first instant millionaire in LPGA history when she won a winner-take-all format at the ADT Championship eight years ago, her only LPGA victory. At stake is a chance for her to go wire-to-wire for another big prize.

Pressel has gone six years without a win, and that's all that matters to her. The Tour Championship is all she can win, and Pressel isn't even up to speed on anything else.

"Someone is going to win $1 million, and it's not going to be me," Pressel said. "But there's other things I can win."

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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.