Els Completes Hawaii Sweep

By Golf Channel NewsroomJanuary 19, 2003, 5:00 pm
Ernie Els is off to the best start in 14 years on the PGA Tour.
 
The 33-year-old South African became the first player since Steve Jones in 1989 to win the first two tournaments of the season by capturing the Sony Open Sunday in Honolulu, Hawaii.
 
Els shot 3-under 67 at the Waialae Country Club to match Aaron Baddeley, who had a 69, at 16-under-par 264.
 
He then made an improbable 43-foot birdie from the fringe on the second extra hole. Baddeley had a 20-footer to continue the playoff, but left it inches short.
 
'It was a fun day,' said Els, who earned his 12th tour win. 'I thought the kid was gonna go away, but he kept at me. Unlucky for Aaron, but he's going to win a lot of titles.'
 
Els added another $810,000 to his bank account. He collected $1 million in his record-breaking performance a week ago in Maui. He won the Mercedes Championships - by eight shots - in 31-under par, a tour record in relation to par.
 
This win was a bit harder to come by.
 
Baddeley, making his first start as a card-carrying member of the PGA Tour, had his worst ball-striking round of the week ' he hit four of 14 fairways and nine of 18 greens in regulation, but still managed to hang with the second-ranked player in the world.
 
Both men made four-foot birdie putts on the first extra hole, the par-5 18th. They then went back to the 353-yard, par-4 10th.
 
Els had driven the hole earlier in the day, but hooked his tee shot into the rough the second time around. Baddeleys tee shot finished in the front left greenside bunker.
 
With little green to work with, and a tree limb impeding a flop shot, Els ran his pitch shot through the green, 43 feet from the hole.
 
Baddeley had a straight-forward - albeit lengthy - bunker shot, but blasted out well short of the hole. After Els ran his birdie bomb home, and then Baddeleys putt to tie died on the lip.
 
'I didn't strike it the best today but I was there and had a chance to win in the end,' said Baddeley. 'Ernie didn't make many mistakes. He was putting the pressure on me to drive it in the fairway as well or hit it on the green. That and he was very composed.'
 
The victory was a bit of redemption for Els. He lost to Tiger Woods in a playoff in the 2000 Mercedes Championships, when Woods made a 40-foot birdie on the second extra hole to prevail.
 
'Tiger made that putt on me and I had a chance to tie him and I left it on the edge,' said Els. 'The world keeps on turning. Sometimes it works out for you.'
 
Els started this Sunday two back of Baddeley, but took a one-shot lead into the last after a bizarre 17th hole.
 
Els' 25-foot birdie putt was tracking toward the cup when it hit Baddeley's marker to keep it from going in.
 
Baddeley was ready to strike his three-foot par putt when he backed off after hearing a portable toliet door close. He re-started his routine, but lipped out the putt.
 
Last year, John Cook was distracted by a ringing cell phone at 17 and hit his tee shot in a greenside bunker. He bogeyed the hole and ended up one stroke behind eventual winner Jerry Kelly.
 
Baddeley was given a reprieve, however, when Els left his 15-foot birdie putt for victory at 18 short of the hole. Baddeley then converted one from nearly the same length to force the extra session.
 
Chris DiMarco shot 4-under 66 to finish third, two back of Els and Baddeley. Defending champion Kelly (65) eagled the last to tie Robert Allenby (66) for fourth place, at 12-under.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Sony Open
  • Full coverage of the Sony Open
  • 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.