Wegmans LPGA finally playing like a true major

By Randall MellJune 9, 2012, 1:10 am

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Now this is more like it.

Now this feels like a major championship.

You could see the difference in the faces of the players as they marched into the scoring hut Friday at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

You could see the suffering and misery that wasn’t there with Yani Tseng and Cristie Kerr dismantling this golf course in runaways the last two years. They had way too much fun for a major. On Friday, you could almost see the bruises and wounds this punishing major championship test is now inflicting.

Photo gallery: Wegmans LPGA Championship

Video: Round 2 highlights from Locust Hill

Locust Hill seemed aptly named in the second round with players looking as if they were enduring some biblical plague. Nobody would have been surprised here if the severe weather forecast for Saturday called for a 60-percent chance that it will rain frogs.

Or if the water hazards turned to blood.

By day’s end, even Tseng couldn’t summon a smile. It takes a beastly test to rob the Rolex World No. 1 of her smile.

A year after routing the field in a 10-shot runaway, Tseng barely made the cut.

“It’s disappointing,” Tseng said. “I’m very sad.”

Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak was one of the few players smiling over their scorecard. With her 1-under-par 71, she moved to the top of the leaderboard in a bid to win her 26th LPGA title, her sixth major. She will be going for her fourth LPGA Championship title this weekend.

Pak leads at just 3-under 141. She’s one of just 11 players under par with the course creating a logjam of possibilities. Eighteen players are still within three shots of the lead.

“This is the most difficult conditions we’ve ever played on this golf course,” Pak said.

It doesn’t look like anyone is going to beat down the field this year. Instead, just about everyone seems destined for some kind of beat down.

Tseng won by 10 shots a year ago. She’s down by 10 going into the weekend this year.

“It was shocking,” Stacy Lewis said of watching Tseng post 76 and 75 in the first two rounds. “That’s probably the worst I’ve seen Yani play over two days. Usually, if she has a bad day, she bounces right back and is in it again.

“She got off to a good start today. She looked more confident with her swing, and then, throughout the day, I could tell she lost some confidence. It wasn’t the usual Yani out there.”

Confidence is hard to come by at Locust Hill, but it’s easy to lose.

Just 14 players broke par on Friday. A whopping 29 players couldn’t break 80.

With the winds up more in the second round, the scoring average bumped to 76.28, up from 75.66 on Thursday.

“It’s a lot tougher than the last couple years,” said Lewis, who has won the LPGA’s last two stroke-play events and sits three off the lead now. “The rough is long. It’s longest right off the fairways. You barely miss the fairway, and you don’t have a shot.”

And they are narrow fairways.

It’s all adding up to a complete test with emotional components also being examined this week.

“My attitude is what I’ve really been working on out here,” said Paula Creamer, who is one shot back. “If I don’t have a positive vibe, or energy, out here, it’s going to be a long day.”

It’s feeling like it’s going to be a long tournament with more suffering to come this weekend.

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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.