Watson, Yang share overnight lead in Phoenix

By Will GrayJanuary 31, 2014, 12:22 am

A record-setting crowd descended upon TPC Scottsdale Thursday as the "Greenest show on grass" got underway. Here's where things stand after one round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where Bubba Watson and Y.E. Yang share the overnight lead:

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-7), Y.E. Yang (-7), Matt Jones (-6), Pat Perez (-6), Kevin Stadler (-6), Harris English (-6), Chris Kirk (-6)

What it means: As is often the case at TPC Scottsdale, low scoring was the name of the game Thursday as players got back to making birdies after a week at penal Torrey Pines. Setting the early pace are a pair of major winners in Watson and Yang, both of whom have yet to win since their respective major triumph, though a total of seven players sit just one shot back.

Round of the day: Watson played well Sunday in San Diego and carried that momentum into Thursday's round in Arizona, where he birdied the first two holes and never looked back. The southpaw recorded eight birdies in total, dropping his lone shot of the day at No. 11, and seems eager to put a disappointing 2013 season behind him.

Best of the rest: Yang's 7-under 64 was his lowest score on the PGA Tour since the final round of the 2013 Sony Open, and the second year in a row that the former PGA champion has started well in Phoenix. With eight birdies on his card against just a single bogey, Yang has put himself in position to win on Tour for the first time since leaving Hazeltine with the Wanamaker Trophy in 2009.

Biggest disappointment: Defending champ Phil Mickelson was nearly a last-minute scratch after a bad back forced him to make an early exit last week at Torrey Pines, but while the five-time major winner opted to tee it up Thursday, the end product left something to be desired. Mickelson notched five birdies but also suffered three bogeys in addition to a double bogey when his tee shot found the hazard at No. 12. As a result, Lefty shot an even-par 71 that left him in danger of missing the 36-hole cut heading into Friday's second round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: While Watson and Yang both hope to end their winless droughts this week, there are no shortage of big names chasing the co-leaders after one day. That list includes English, already a winner earlier this season in Mexico, and Hunter Mahan and Keegan Bradley, who both sit just two shots off the pace after rounds of 5-under 66.

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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.