Els No 1 in Ireland No 2 in the World

By Sports NetworkOctober 3, 2004, 4:00 pm
KILKENNY, Ireland -- Ernie Els overcame horrible weather conditions and a hard charge from Thomas Bjorn on Sunday to win the World Golf Championships-American Express Championship, his first individual win in the series.
 
Els, who held both the second and third-round leads, posted a 3-under 69 to finish the tournament at 18-under-par 270. He defeated Bjorn, who shot a 68 on Sunday, by a single stroke at Mount Juliet Conrad.
 
This was Els' first victory on either the PGA Tour or European Tour, where he put a stranglehold on the top spot in the Order of Merit, since the Memorial in May.
 
He came so close in this season's major championships. Phil Mickelson holed the 18-footer to beat Els by a shot at the Masters, and then the South African lost a playoff to Todd Hamilton at the British Open. Els was two back on Sunday at the U.S. Open, but imploded with a final-round 80. Quietly, Els missed the playoff at the PGA Championship by one stroke.
 
Els may not have captured a major this season, but this World Golf Championships event boasts one of the strongest fields all year. The win moved Els past Tiger Woods into second on the Official World Golf Ranking.
 
'It's been a good summer but a tough summer, and this really caps it off for me,' said Els, who pocketed $1.2 million for the win. 'I've been chasing Tiger for the last five, six years, and now it seems like I've got to chase Vijay. I think the game is on, well and truly. Vijay has won eight times, I've won four times. So it's kind of interesting.'
 
Els picked up his third PGA Tour win this season and his 15th all time. On the European Tour, this was the Big Easy's second win in 2004 and the 17th of his career.
 
David Howell, who played in Sunday's final group with Els and Bjorn, only managed a 1-under 71, but took a solo third at 13-under-par 275.
 
Woods, the two-time defending champion, who also won in 1999, fought through serious back pain all week and netted a top-finish. He shot his third consecutive 2-under 70 to came in ninth at minus-10, but fell to third in the rankings for the first time in five years.
 
Woods has not won a stroke-play tournament since this event last year. He captured the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship earlier this season, but now has gone a calendar year without a traditional win.
 
'So be it. Then I'll go into the next year,' said Woods, who skirted rumors he is getting married this week in Barbados. 'It was a long week. I'm happy to actually have played all four rounds. Somehow, I don't know how I did it, but I got a top-10 out of it.'
 
Light rain fell consistently on Sunday, the wind was up and temperatures fell. There was talk of a possible Monday finish because the forecast was so bad, but play was completed, albeit under difficult conditions.
 
Els, who held a two-shot lead heading into the final round, and Bjorn did their best from the first hole to make this a two-man race. Bjorn nearly holed his approach at the first and was assured a tap-in birdie. Els ran home a 20-foot birdie putt of his own and after Bjorn's formality, Els remained two ahead.
 
At the par-3 third, both players had 15 feet on opposite sides of the flag, and both made birdie. Bjorn, who served as one of European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer's assistant captains two weeks ago at Oakland Hills, birdied the fifth to get within one.
 
Els extended the margin back to two with a birdie at the par-5 10th, but Bjorn rebounded with a birdie at the par-3 11th. Bjorn dropped a shot at 14, but reclaimed the lost stroke with a birdie at 15 to hang one shot back.
 
At the par-5 17th, Bjorn reached the green in two, although 65 feet from the hole. His eagle putt ran 10 feet past the hole and he missed the birdie try. Els came up short with his second, but pitched to 6 feet for his third and rolled in the birdie putt to back up by two.
 
Els' approach landed in a greenside bunker at the difficult closing hole at Mount Juliet, but blasted out to 15 feet. Bjorn had a 40-foot look at birdie to keep the pressure on Els, but when he missed, Els two-putted for bogey and the win.
 
'Thomas kept me on my toes right to the last shot,' said Els. 'It was a very tough day, but right now I'm so happy.'
 
Despite not making it to the winner's circle, Bjorn has to be happy as well. He walked off the course the last time he played in Ireland, the European Open, in disgust about the status of his game.
 
'I'm disappointed, but obviously proud of what I've done this week,' said Bjorn. 'Thinking back on the last six or seven months, I mean, this is a massive improvement. I'm just happy with being in this situation.'
 
Darren Clarke holed out for eagle on the first hole en route to a 4-under 68. He shared fourth place with his Ryder Cup teammate Sergio Garcia, who carded a 2-under 70 on Sunday. The duo finished at 12-under-par 276.
 
Local favorite Padraig Harrington posted a disappointing 1-over 73 in the final round, but tied for sixth with some good company. Reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen (72) and this year's British Open winner Todd Hamilton (73) joined Harrington at minus-11.
 
Woods came in at minus-10, followed by Zach Johnson, who shot a final-round 71 to take 10th at 9-under-par 279.
 
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”