Australian Amateur Leads Down Under

By Sports NetworkNovember 23, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 MasterCard MastersMELBOURNE, Australia - Aaron Pike, an amateur from Australia, fired an 8-under 64 on Thursday to take the lead after one round of the MasterCard Masters.
 
Pike, 21, had six birdies and one eagle and turned in the best amateur performance in a European Tour event in three years.
 
'Obviously I am delighted with my start,' he said, 'but if you shoot 64 in the first round, realistically you can shoot it every day. I am not going to change anything or expect myself to win because I've got a 64. But we'll see what happens.'
 
Pike has only been a full-time golfer since last year, when he won the 2005 Queensland Amateur Championship. Prior to that he was a serious cricket player until the age of 16.
 
His round started with a jolt at the par-5 10th, where he made a 10-foot eagle putt to quickly move below par. Six birdies would follow, including four straight to end his round from the sixth to the ninth.
 
Afterward, Pike recounted his early eagle.
 
'At my opening hole I hit driver,' he said. 'It was the first shot of the day and it was a bit cold. I did not hit it the greatest...my caddie said where to hit [my second shot] and I pulled it about 10 feet. It was a bit of a miss-hit but a good miss-hit.'
 
Many of Pike's fellow Australians -- this event is being co-sanctioned by the Australasian Tour -- littered the top of the leaderboard.
 
Peter Wilson shot a 7-under 65 and shared second place with England's Nick Dougherty, making him one of 11 Australians in the top 15 at Huntingdale Golf Club.
 
Raphael Jacquelin of France was fourth after a 6-under 66.
 
Beyond that, Aussies Aaron Baddeley, Steven Bowditch, Tony Carolan, Peter Lonard and Craig Parry were tied for fifth place with Spain's Carl Suneson at 4-under 68.
 
Defending champion Robert Allenby shared 11th place with fellow Aussies Gavin Flint, Chris Gray and John Senden and Englishman Justin Rose at 3-under 69.
 
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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.