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Green (66) chasing, not intimidated by Thomas

By Will GrayOctober 19, 2017, 11:24 am

Although Gavin Kyle Green plays nearly all of his golf outside the U.S., a leaderboard with the name Justin Thomas emblazoned near the top doesn't phase him.

Green is Malaysia's top-ranked golfer, and he represented the country at last year's Olympics. He's in the midst of a strong season on the Asian Tour, where he has built a healthy lead in the Order of Merit race following a win three weeks ago at the Taiwan Masters.

But before he turned pro, Green was an All-American at the University of New Mexico, where he occasionally crossed paths with Thomas and frequently clashed with PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele at nearby San Diego State. That familiarity could pay dividends this week at the inaugural CJ Cup in South Korea, where Green shares second place behind Thomas after an opening-round 66.

The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges

"I've always wanted to come out here. I've always wanted to be on the PGA Tour. It's always been my goal since I was young," Green told reporters. "Playing a lot with Xander, and I played a couple of events with Justin. I definitely want to be out there with them. It's fun. I love it out here. Hopefully something good happens next couple weeks."

Green started on the back nine and birdied six of his first 10 holes to quickly vault into contention. At 6 under, he trails Thomas by three shots and shares second place with Marc Leishman, Chez Reavie, Patrick Reed and Scott Brown.

The 23-year-old is in the midst of a pivotal three-week stretch during which he has a chance to size up his game against the world's best. He finished T-61 in the 78-man field at last week's CIMB Classic, where he admitted the pressure of playing at home, combined with a balky putter, led to a frustrating result.

But he's off to a good start this week on a new venue, and has already locked up a spot in next week's WGC-HSBC Champions in China. Should he hang on to the top spot in the Order of Merit, more playing opportunities are sure to follow next year, but Green is keenly aware that a strong result this week could go a long way towards earning more PGA Tour starts for 2018 and beyond.

"Today I played real decent," Green said. "I'm just trying to play my game. This week obviously a lot of pressure is off. I'm just trying to enjoy myself out here."

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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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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.