U.S. holds slim lead after Day 1 at Presidents Cup

By Will GrayOctober 3, 2013, 11:02 pm

While the Americans appeared in control for much of the day in Ohio, a late afternoon rally from the International Team cut into what could have become a sizeable deficit at the Presidents Cup. Here's how things shape up after the first day of matches at Muirfield Village, where the U.S. Team holds a 3 1/2 to 2 1/2 lead:

Results: Tiger Woods/Matt Kuchar (USA) d. Angel Cabrera/Marc Leishman (International), 5 and 4; Jason Day/Graham DeLaet (International) d. Hunter Mahan/Brandt Snedeker (USA), 1 up; Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel (International) d. Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley (USA), 2 and 1; Bill Haas/Webb Simpson (USA) vs. Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama (International), halved; Zach Johnson/Jason Dufner (USA) d. Branden Grace/Richard Sterne (International), 5 and 3; Steve Stricker/Jordan Spieth (USA) d. Ernie Els/Brendon De Jonge (International), 1 up.

What it means: The U.S. squad at one point led in all six fourball matches and seemed very much in control before a weather delay brought their momentum to a halt. The Internationals stormed back once play resumed, trimming what could have been a 6-0 or 5-1 margin to just 3 1/2 to 2 1/2 by day's end.

Match of the day: After winning the opening hole, Day and DeLaet found themselves 3 down after just six holes. The duo battled back, though, winning holes 7-8 and finally re-taking the lead after a birdie from DeLaet on No. 16. Though Snedeker squared the match with a birdie on the 17th hole, Day closed things out with a lengthy birdie at the home hole to give the International Team its first point of the week.

Best of the rest: The pair of Haas and Simpson didn't lose any of the first eight holes in their match, amassing a 2-up advantage in the process. After Scott squared the match with birdies on Nos. 9 and 11, the Americans reinstated their prior advantage with wins on holes 12-13. The International pair would not go quietly, however, winning three of the final four holes, including a kick-in birdie from Matsuyama on No. 18 to ultimately halve the match.

Biggest disappointment: Entering the day's fourth match, many expected the veteran Els to help carry de Jonge, his partner playing in his first Presidents Cup. Instead, it was the Zimbabwean that carried the team with little if any support from the four-time major champion. De Jonge carded seven birdies across a nine-hole stretch in the middle of the match, but clutch putting from Spieth and Stricker kept the Americans ahead for nearly the entire match. An International rally was largely derailed when Els, who recorded just a single birdie Thursday, missed a short putt at No. 16.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Though the Americans hold a one-point advantage, the International Team will likely take some momentum from their late rally into Day 2. Still, the Americans can take solace in knowing that the team that won Day 1 has gone on to win the cup in all but one of these competitions. Six more contests await Friday, this time in the foursomes format in which the U.S. has historically held a significant edge.

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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.