Ko, Park, Lewis battling for No. 1 at Women's PGA

By Randall MellJune 8, 2015, 8:41 pm

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship begins Thursday at Westchester Country Club in New York with more than a trophy at stake for Lydia Ko, Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis. The Rolex No. 1 ranking is up for grabs for the top three in the world rankings.

No. 2 Park moved within ten hundredths of a point of No. 1 Ko in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings this week. Park can get to No. 1 with a finish of 29th or better at Westchester, depending on what Ko and Lewis do. No. 3 Lewis is more than a full point behind Ko in her average world ranking but can still get to No. 1 with a victory, depending on what Ko and Park do.

Golf Channel will televise the first two rounds (1-4 p.m. ET) with NBC televising the weekend rounds (3-6 p.m., ET) Here are six groups to watch in the first two rounds (all times ET):

Inbee Park, Lexi Thompson and Suzann Pettersen: 8:30 a.m. Thursday; 1:40 p.m. Friday.
Though this is the inaugural KPMG Women’s PGA, Park is technically the defending champion. She won the LPGA Championship last year, and LPGA Championship records are carrying over to the Women’s PGA.

Park defeated Brittany Lincicome in a playoff in the LPGA Championship at Monroe Golf Club just outside Rochester, N.Y. Thompson is looking for her first victory since she won her first major, the Kraft Nabisco, early last year.

Pettersen enters this week red hot after winning the Manulife LPGA. Pettersen was in the final Sunday pairing with a chance to win at last year’s LPGA Championship but struggled to a 76 in the final round.

Lydia Ko, Christina Kim and So Yeon Ryu: 8:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:50 p.m. Friday.
Ko, 18, is looking to win her first major. If the Rolex world No. 1 does so, she will become the youngest woman to win a major.

Kim showed she remains a factor on tour winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational late last year. There are a lot of Solheim Cup points up for grabs this week as Kim looks to make the American team heading over to Germany in September. Kim is 15th on the USA points list and needs to rank among the top eight to automatically qualify for the team on points.

Ryu is looking to win her second major. She won the U.S. Women’s Open four years ago.

Stacy Lewis, Mi Hyang Lee and Caroline Hedwall: 1:30 p.m. Thursday, 8:20 a.m. Friday
Lewis is looking to heat up again after missing the cut last week at the Manulife Classic, her first MC in almost two years. There’s a lot to motivate Lewis at Westchester. KPMG is one of her sponsors, and she helped bring the company together with the PGA as a sponsor of the year’s second major.

Lee won her first LPGA title last fall, the Mizuno Classic. Hedwall is a European Solheim Cup dynamo but has yet to win an LPGA title.

Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr and Jessica Korda: 8:20 a.m. Thursday, 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Lincicome won the year’s first major, taking the ANA Inspiration in a playoff. She lost last year’s LPGA Championship in a playoff to Inbee Park.

Kerr won the Kia Classic in March for her 17th LPGA title but stumbled down the stretch last weekend with a chance to win the Manulife Classic.

Korda finished T-2 at the season-opening Coates Golf Championship but has missed the cut in two of her last three starts.

Karrie Webb, Paula Creamer and Anna Nordqvist: 1 p.m. Thursday, 7:50 a.m. Friday.
The Hall of Famer Webb is seeking her eighth major championship title, her first since winning the Kraft Nabisco in ’06. Creamer is returning to form after a short spring struggle. Nordqvist won the ShopRite Classic two weeks ago.

Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel and Charley Hull: 1:40 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Wie missed the cut at the ShopRite Classic in her last start, struggling with a left hip injury. She withdrew from the Manulife Classic before last week’s event started. She’s still looking for her first top-10 finish this season.

Pressel is showing the kind of form that made her so formidable on tough tracks like Westchester. She has finished third or better in three of her last seven starts. Hull is coming off a T-11 finish at Manulife last week.

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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.