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Men's regionals: Who's in, out for NCAAs?

By Ryan LavnerMay 15, 2018, 6:42 pm

The NCAA Division I men’s regionals continued Tuesday at six sites around the country. The top five teams and low individual on a non-advancing team will advance to the May 25-30 NCAA Championship at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.

Here are the second-round results from the Raleigh (N.C.), Kissimmee (Fla.), Columbus (Ohio), Bryan (Texas), Norman (Okla.) and Stockton (Calif.) regionals:

Raleigh regional, at Lonnie Poole Golf Course:

Leader (click here for full team scores): Texas (-24)

Second place: N.C. State (-16)

Also in position: Duke (-15), Georgia Tech (-15), Liberty (-11)

Work to do: Arizona State (-9), Middle Tennessee State (-7), Missouri (-5), California (+1)

Individual leader (click here for full individual scores): Doug Ghim, Texas (-12)

Skinny: A 64-66 start by Doug Ghim has Texas in position for its first victory of the season. Benjamin Shipp fired a second-round 64 to give host N.C. State a good chance to advance on its home course; it’d be the Wolfpack’s first NCAA berth as a team since 2011. Top-seeded Georgia Tech will enter the final round just four shots clear of the top-5 cut line, despite having four of their five starters in the top 25 individually. Duke shot the round of the day, a 12-under 272, led by Jake Shuman’s 64, to jump from 10th into a tie for third. The biggest disappointment in this regional has been second-seeded Cal, which is in danger of falling short of nationals for the second consecutive year. That’d be especially disappointing for Player of the Year contender Collin Morikawa, the top-ranked player in Golfstat’s rankings, who shot even par on Tuesday and is in a tie for 14th, nine shots back. If Cal is unable to advance – and that seems likely at this point, sitting in 11th place and 12 shots off the cut – then Morikawa has to shoot a low final round just to earn the individual spot, given to the low player on a non-advancing team.

Kissimmee regional, at Reunion Resort:

Leader (click here for full team scores): Florida (-25)

Second place: UCF (-20)

Also in position: Kent State (-16), South Florida (-13), Vanderbilt (-11), North Carolina (-11), Colorado State (-11)

Work to do: Arizona (-5), Purdue (-2)

Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): Kyler Tate, UCF; Andy Zhang, Florida; Austin Hitt, North Carolina (all at -8)

Skinny: After last year’s brutal elimination, Florida is pacing this regional by five shots and is 14 shots clear of the cut line. Host UCF remained in solid position, while top-5 seeds Vanderbilt, North Carolina, South Florida and Kent State are all on or inside the number. It’ll be a nerve-wracking final round for Vanderbilt, the top seed in the regional and one of the country’s deepest teams. They’ve yet to click through three rounds, and now they’re in a tie for fifth with two other teams heading into the final day. Patrick Martin is the only Commodores player currently inside the top 15 individually, while team leader Theo Humphrey is treading water at T-32. Colorado State, the 8 seed, shot a second-round 277 – the second-lowest round of the day – to climb four spots and sit in the three-way tie for the all-important fifth spot. The Rams haven't earned an NCAA berth since 2011. 

Columbus regional, at Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course:

Leader (click here for full team scores): Oklahoma State (-9)

Second place: Illinois (-6)

Also in position: UNLV (+7), Northwestern (+15), Texas Tech (+17)

Work to do: Penn State (+20), Wake Forest (+27)

Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): Nick Hardy, Illinois; Matthew Wolff, Oklahoma State; Michael Feagles, Illinois; Zach Bauchou, Oklahoma State (all at -3)

Skinny: Can you tell there’s a talent gap between Oklahoma State and Illinois and the rest of the regional field? Sixteen shots separate No. 1 overall seed Oklahoma State and UNLV, which slid from second to third place on Tuesday. The Cowboys, with all five starters inside the top 15 individually, have also opened up a 28-shot cushion between themselves and the top-5 cut line, currently occupied by Texas Tech, the 3 seed that has yet to be helped much by top player Fredrik Nilehn. A first-team All-American, Nilehn missed the last three events because of a back injury, and through two rounds he’s 9 over par. Illinois has looked formidable this postseason, first winning the Big Ten Championship and then putting together a strong regional performance to hang with Oklahoma State and post four counters within the top 10 individually through 36 holes, including senior Nick Hardy and sophomore Michael Feagles. On a difficult track like Ohio State’s Scarlet Course there’s never much margin for error, but Tech will have only have a three-shot cushion on sixth place Penn State heading into cut day.   

Bryan regional, at Traditions Club:

Leader (click here for full team scores): Texas A&M (-18)

Second place: Clemson (-17)

Also in position: Baylor (-6), UCLA (E), Ole Miss (+3)

Work to do: South Carolina (+11), Kentucky (+12)

Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): Chandler Phillips and Brandon Smith, Texas A&M (both at -8)

Skinny: Texas A&M is doing what it’s supposed to on its home course, setting the pace through 36 holes with both Chandler Phillips and Brandon Smith sharing the early lead. Clemson’s 12-under 276 was the round of the day, by three, flip-flopping with Baylor and putting the Tigers 27 shots clear of the top-5 cut line. Baylor couldn’t get much going on Day 2, shooting 1 over, but the Bears are still in fine position to advance. Eight shots separate SEC foes Ole Miss and South Carolina for the fifth and six shots, respectively, with Kentucky another shot behind, so there might not be much volatility on the final day. Reigning NCAA champion Braden Thornberry of Ole Miss is currently in a tie for third, one shot off the lead, along with U.S. Amateur champion Doc Redman (Clemson).

Stockton regional, at The Reserve at Spanos Park

Leaders (click here for full team scores): Alabama and Iowa State (-14)

Third place: Kansas (-13)

Also in position: Stanford (-8), TCU (-7)

Work to do: Oregon (-4), Colorado (-4), LSU (E), Southern Cal (+3)

Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): Brandon Wu, Stanford (-10)

Skinny: Alabama’s 280 was the low round of the day, and the Tide were powered almost single-handedly by freshman Wilson Furr, who carded a second-round, 8-under 64. Iowa State continued to impress as the 10 seed, hanging on to a share of the lead, while Kansas, the 8 seed, backed up its impressive opening round with another 6-under effort to sit comfortably in third. The Jayhawks, who finished in the top-5 in seven of their last eight events, are searching for their first NCAA berth since 2000. Two of the other top teams are in trouble. Top seed LSU enters the final round seven off the top-5 cut line. The Tigers have been in this position before, however. In 2015, they rallied from 14 shots behind on the back nine on the final day to advance out of regionals, then kept the momentum rolling and won the NCAA title. Southern Cal’s hill is even steeper. The Pac-12 champions are 10 off the cut line, in 10th place. Haskins Award favorite Justin Suh might also be costing himself a shot at Player of the Year honors. He’s tied for 34th, and barring a team comeback on the final day, he won’t qualify for the NCAA Championship, which would dissuade many voters in a tight race. Complicating matters even more for Suh is that Oregon’s Norman Xiong is only one shot back individually.

Norman regional, at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club:

Leader (click here for full team scores): Oklahoma (-9)

Second place: Pepperdine (-7)

Also in position: North Florida (-5), BYU (-3), Auburn (-3)

Work to do: Florida State (+1), Virginia (+2), Nevada (+3), San Diego State (+4), Arkansas (+5)

Individual leader (click here for full individual scores): Blaine Hale, Oklahoma (-8)

Skinny: Oklahoma continued to stay in front on its home turf, but two teams made big moves directly behind the Sooners. The first was Pepperdine, which rocketed seven spots on the leaderboard, all the way into second place, after a scorching, 14-under 274 that was triggered by Joshua McCarthy’s 65 and Sahith Theegala’s 66. BYU also jumped inside the top 5 with a second-round 278, led by Patrick Fishburn’s 66. The Cougars present an interesting dilemma for NCAA schedulers, of course, since they can’t play on Sundays, which is when the third round of stroke-play qualifying is held at the NCAA Championship. (They’d have to play by themselves, on Thursday, which is normally the practice-round day for teams.) SEC champion Auburn is also barely in the top-5 bubble, while Florida State sits just four back.

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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.