Top-ranked junior Goodwin falls after gutsy U.S. Am run

By Ryan LavnerAugust 17, 2016, 5:49 pm

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Eight days ago, Noah Goodwin withdrew from the Junior PGA Championship with sharp pain in his upper back.

It seemed like an innocuous incident – he had ripped a drive but didn’t feel right – but after a stinger 3-wood on his seventh hole of the first round, “it felt like somebody was stabbing a knife into my back. I just couldn’t do it after that.”

Diagnosed with a strained lat, Goodwin spent the next few days face down on the bed with ice packs on his back. There was talk of withdrawing from this week's U.S. Amateur, but those conversations always ended the same way: “I was going to try to tough it out the best I could.”

And so when Goodwin – the top-ranked junior player in the country – arrived at Oakland Hills, he hit only a few balls and didn’t even bother with a practice round on the easier North Course. He still shot even par there in the stroke-play qualifier, despite seeing the track for the first time. Goodwin’s 2-under 138 total was good enough to grab the 16th seed in match play.

Goodwin says he felt the most pain on the range, as he was getting loose with his short wedge shots. Once he got on the course, however, “everything gets going and adrenaline kicks in.”

Through 13 holes Wednesday, Goodwin was 5 under par for the day but only 1 up on Clemson freshman Doc Redman. Goodwin lost the 14th with a bogey, then made a mess of the 17th, after his 3-wood on the 243-yard par 3 flew the green and left an awkward flop shot. One down on the last, he tried to hit 5-iron from the fairway bunker but barely caught the lip, leading to a bogey and a concession. 

“I know my game is good enough,” he said, “I just need to polish up a few things.”

Goodwin, 16, was one of the country’s most highly sought-after prospects, and his profile rose even more after his recent loss in the U.S. Junior finals. He has given a verbal commitment to SMU, about an hour from his parents’ home in Corinth, Texas. 

One of the main reasons he chose the Mustangs was the proximity to his swing coach, Cameron McCormick, who has taught Jordan Spieth since he was young. They’ve worked together for the past two years, and McCormick has improved Goodwin’s mindset and ability to fix his swing on the fly.

“I feel like that will be able to elevate myself past college and on to the next stage,” he said.

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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.