Mehra Holds On for Win

By Futures Tour MediaApril 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
Futures TourWICHITA, Kan. -- True to the season, the annual spring date for the $70,000 Frye Classic came roaring in like a scene from the Wizard of Oz and concluded with a peaceful walk in the Kansas sunshine.
 
And if any player tamed the wind, it was big-hitting Smriti Mehra of Calcutta, India ' a veteran professional and non-exempt LPGA Tour member who produced three rounds in the 60s for a tournament record 12-under-par finish of 204 at the Willowbend Golf Club. Mehra rattled in rounds of 69-66-69 and birdied the 287-yard 18th hole all three days ' successfully driving the par-4 green in two of the three rounds.
 
But Sunday, Mehra held back for the only time all week and safely smacked a 1-iron from the 18th-hole tee to within 80 yards of the flagstick. A wedge approach and a three-foot birdie putt later, Mehra was the new champion.
 
'If I had known I had a two-shot lead at that point, I would have gone for it,' said Mehra, who was talked into being conservative on the last tee by her husband/caddie Christopher Guffin. 'Chris said, You dont have to have it, so I laid up.'
 
But there was nothing else passive about her round. Mehra knew she was in for a challenge when Marie-Josee Rouleau of St. Lambert, Quebec, completed her second round with a 3-under 69 to draw within two shots of the clubhouse leader going into the final round. The Canadian got off to a quick start with a 25-foot birdie putt on the first hole to draw within one stroke, then knotted the score on the second hole with a gutsy chip-in from the back of the green.
 
'I pushed her right off the bat,' said Rouleau, who played 34 holes today. 'I knew I had to be aggressive because shes a good player and shes going to shoot a 68 or 69.'
 
Rouleau actually took the lead on the fourth hole when Mehra bogeyed, but the eight-year veteran came storming back with a birdie on the fifth, an eagle-3 on the par-5 sixth and another birdie on the eighth hole. By the time Mehra made the nine-hole turn, she held a five-shot lead.
 
Around the same time, Jimin Kang of Seoul, Korea, began making her move with birdies on the ninth, 10th and 12th holes. Like Rouleau, she played 34 holes Sunday and was feeling the weight of two days of stop-start play with four-hour storm delays, multiple suspensions and mornings that began long before daylight and ended into the night. The weather took its toll on the 144-player field, leaving most tired, aching and sleep-deprived.
 
'When I saw the scoreboard at No. 15, I said, Oh wow, time to wake up,' said Kang, who promptly carded an eagle-3 on the par-5 16th that moved her into sole possession of second place. The Korean crushed her drive on the 550-yard hole and used a 5-wood to reach the 210-yard flagstick, draining a 20-footer for eagle. Kang, who won the tours last event in Tampa three weeks ago, blistered the 6,405-yard, par-72 course with a final-round 66 on the most perfect day of the week for a 9-under finish of 207.
 
As Kang charged ahead, Rouleau battled her own roller coaster round with a birdie on hole No. 14 and a double bogey on the 15th, courtesy of a nasty bunker lie. Mehra had her own problems with an uncharacteristic double bogey at 14. By her own admission, she was worrying about not being able to finish the round because of darkness and leaked her drive into a fairway bunker. The ball plugged, Mehra went bunker to bunker and suddenly, a three-shot swing threatened to send in those scary Oz monkeys to steal her sparkling day.
 
'I wasnt really worried about anybody and I think I was in control most of the time,' said Mehra, whose only other Futures Tour win came in 1996 in Vermont. 'I told myself not to doubt myself. I stuck to my game plan. I committed and stayed committed.'
 
And as Mehra stood on that last tee box staring at the small green tucked behind a looming water hazard at the end of a seemingly endless week of rain, wind, mud and far too many Krispy Kreme doughnuts during storm delays, she knew just where she was going and how she was going to get there. The Kansas sun was setting and Mehras short birdie putt on 18 rang home.
 
It was one win on the way to regaining her full LPGA Tour card.
 
And everybody in Kansas knows, theres no place like home.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Frye Classic
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.