Familiar Name with Unfamiliar Face Leads in Penn
DiMarco takes a three-shot lead over three others into the final round of the inaugural SEI Pennsylvania Classic at the Waynesborough Country Club in Paoli, Penn.
Saturday, DiMarco fired a 5-under-par 66 to move to 12-under-par through 54 holes, three strokes clear of Loren Roberts, Frank Lickliter and fellow Gator Mark Calcavecchia.
DiMarco began the third round one shot back of Lickliter and Calcavecchia. After a front-nine 2-under-par 33, DiMarco gained his first share of the lead by dropping an eight-foot birdie putt on the par-4 11th.
After two consecutive pars on the 12th and 13th, DiMarco stuck another tee shot to within ten feet at the par-3 14th. The ensuing birdie gave DiMarco the solo lead at 11-under, one shot lower than Lickliter.
Playing in the final group with Calc, Lickliter fell two off the pace by bogeying the 14th, when his tee shot flew the green. It was Lickliter's first bogey of the tournament. But the 31-year-old atoned for his iron mistake by sinking a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-5 15th.
However, as was the case at the par-3 14th, the par-3 17th proved to be a two-shot hole. DiMarco drained a 15-foot birdie putt to move to 12-under, while Lickliter missed a four-footer for par to fall to 9-under.
The two would remain in their respective positions, as each man parred the home hole.
'I've never (had a final-round lead) here on Tour,' said DiMarco. 'Up around it. I've been one back or even, but I've never had a two- or three-shot lead.
'I like it right now. Spot me three tomorrow, I like that.'
DiMarco will be paired with Roberts on Sunday. Roberts tied DiMarco's third-round 66 to earn a spot in the final group.
'I'm just going to go out and start out with the idea that if I can go through the first five holes and be, you know, 1-under for the round, I've got a real shot; I'm right there.'
Lickliter and Calcavecchia each carded rounds of 1-under-par 70 on Saturday. Once again, the two men will be paired together over the final 18 holes.
'I've still got a shot,' said Calcavecchia after birdying the par-5 18th. 'Chris has never won before. I'm sure he'll be a little nervous.
'You know, I've just got to hope things go a little bit better tomorrow. Nothing really good happened to me today. And as you know without a little luck in this game, you can forget it.'
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.
Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.
There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.
Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.
“I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.
In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.
“It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.
“That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”