Power Rankings: 2014 Evian Championship

By Will GraySeptember 10, 2014, 3:37 pm

This week marks the final two-event fantasy week this season, as the LPGA conducts its fifth and final major at the Evian Championship. An elite field will tee it up this week in Evian-les-Bains, France, with the event in its second year as a major championship.

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Suzann Pettersen returns to defend the title that she won here a year ago by two shots over Lydia Ko. Here are 10 names to watch in France:

1. Stacy Lewis: Her tie for sixth here last year came on the heels of back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2012. The No. 1 player in the world has had a stellar 2014 campaign, but she has yet to hoist a major championship this year and has one final chance to join the other three Americans, along with Inbee Park, who have already done so this year.

2. Lydia Ko: Last year's runner-up has one final chance to eclipse Young Tom Morris as the youngest major champion in golf. The 17-year-old has a pair of wins already this year and finished third at the most recent major championship, the Wegmans LPGA Championship, last month.

3. Inbee Park: After Americans dominated the first three majors, Park snuck up and claimed the Wegmans LPGA Championship in a playoff over Brittany Lincicome for her fourth major title in her last nine major starts. She followed that up with a third-place finish in Canada and boasts four results in a row of fourth or better.

4. Suzann Pettersen: The defending champ pulled away from the field a year ago, and now returns to France on the heels of six straight results of T-16 or better. After battling injury during the first part of 2014, the Norwegian now has a clean bill of health and should be in contention for the second year in a row.

5. So Yeon Ryu: The Korean won last month in Canada, and enters the final major of the year on a hot streak that includes three top-three finishes in her last four starts, with the outlier still netting a T-13 result at the Wegmans. She tied for fourth a year ago and hasn't finished worse than T-32 in three career Evian starts.

6. Karrie Webb: The veteran can still hang with players half her age, and she tends to thrive on this venue. Webb won the Evian in 2006, one of four top-five finishes she has in France since 2003, and tied for 15th in last year's rain-shortened edition.

7. Lexi Thompson: Thompson finished third at Evian a year ago, and tied for second in her 2010 debut in France. While she has cooled since her torrid start to the year that included a major win, her length off the tee will once again prove a sizeable advantage on a course where she has experienced prior success.

8. Na Yeon Choi: Choi tied for fifth in her most recent start in Portland, a result that came on the heels of a runner-up showing at the Canadian Pacific Women's Open. While she hasn't cracked the top 20 in the last three years in France, she did have a three-year run from 2008-2010 that included a pair of runner-up finishes and a tie for eighth.

9. Shanshan Feng: Feng has showed up this year in the majors, with four finishes that ranged from a runner-up (Ricoh Women's British Open) to a T-15 (U.S. Women's Open). She tied for 11th at Evian last year, and managed a T-4 finish in 2012 after going 68-66 across the weekend.

10. Cristie Kerr: Kerr has been in contention for much of the summer, and enters this week off a string of four top-10 finishes in her last seven starts, including a pair of runner-ups. While she missed the cut at this event last year, she had five straight results of T-31 or better from 2008-2012, including a pair of top-10s.


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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.