Stanton Claims Niagara Classic Crown
Kenneth Staton of Ormond Beach, Fla. sank a three-foot birdie putt on the final hole to card a 5-under-par 67, ending the 36-hole event at 10-under, one shot better than Australias Nathan Green. Doug McGuigan (Langley, BC) wound up in third spot, two strokes back.
For the 28-year-old Staton, it was his second win of the season, although the Niagara Classic is considered an unofficial event on the Canadian Tour schedule. He won the MTS Classic in Winnipeg back in July, and to date has three official tournament titles, as well as another three unofficial crowns, in his four-year Tour career. Staton will attend the PGAs Qualifying School beginning in October, and conceded that his recent play has helped boost his game to the level that will be needed next month.
I know people like to call this a developmental Tour, but I dont consider it a stepping stone at all, said the former NCAA All-American. During the year, this is how I make my living, and this Tour gives you the chance to maintain your game while improving the things you need to against top competition. It feels good to win any golf tournament, but this should give me momentum this heading into Q-school.
Green, 26, actually had a chance to send it into a playoff, which would have been the sixth tournament to go into extra holes in what has been a wild Canadian Tour season, but he lipped out his 12-foot attempt. Seconds earlier, Staton had nailed his second shot, a 5-wood from 232 yards out on the 519-yard, par-5 18th hole, that came to rest at the back of the green, 15 feet from the cup. Greens second shot went right, landing in a greenside bunker.
I played better today than I have in recent weeks, but I just came up one shot short, said Green. But you have to give Ken credit-he made the shots when he needed to coming in, and that made the difference.
With Green hitting first from the 18th fairway, Staton knew he had a chance to win in regulation when he saw the ball flare right.
The ball was in Nathans court, and when he hit it right I just wanted to give myself a chance at eagle. For some reason, when I am under pressure, I seem to hit clutch shots, and that is what happened again today.
Staton seems to have a flair for the dramatic. In Winnipeg earlier this summer, he hit his final-hole approach from 170 yards out to within three feet to edge Mark Slawter (Raleigh, N.C.) by a shot.
It was the third time in as many years that the tournament was decided on the 18th green. In the initial Niagara Classic back in 1999, Arden Knoll (Kelowna, BC) defeated Jason Bohn (Atlanta, Ga.) in a playoff, while Victorias Jim Rutledge held off Brian Payne of Chicago, Ill. on the final hole a year ago.
Sundays final round marked the end of the 2001 Canadian Tour schedule. The Panasonic Panama Open kicks off the 2002 campaign in January.
Full-field scores from the Niagra Classic
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
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.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
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.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
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.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
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.
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.