Els in Total Command Down Under

By Sports NetworkFebruary 15, 2003, 5:00 pm
PERTH, Australia -- Ernie Els set a few records on Saturday as he fired an 8-under 64 to take a commanding lead through three rounds of the Johnnie Walker Classic. The South African stands at 23-under-par 193 and owns a nine-shot lead over Craig Kamps and Jean-Francois Remesy at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
 
Els established a new European Tour 54-hole record for lowest score in relation to par with his 23-under. He eclipsed the old mark of 22-under which Vicente Fernandez set at the 1975 Benson & Hedges Festival Tournament.
 
The reigning British Open champion narrowly missed the European Tour record for lowest score through 54 holes. Tiger Woods needed only 192 strokes through three rounds at the 2000 WGC-NEC Invitational but Els was able to snatch one record away from Woods on Saturday. Els' 193 broke Woods' old 54-hole tournament mark of 198 from the 2001 Johnnie Walker Classic.
 
'I'm really happy with the way I'm hitting the ball at the moment,' said Els, ranked second in the world. 'I've really enjoyed my week so far.'
 
Els held a four-stroke lead at the start of Saturday's third round but wasted little time in extending that margin. He drained a three-foot birdie putt at the first and rolled home a 35-footer for eagle at the third to build a five-shot lead.
 
At the fifth, Els sank an eight-foot birdie putt and nearly holed an eagle chip at the seventh. He settled for a tap-in birdie at the par-5 hole and a front-nine, 5-under 31.
 
Els continued his outstanding form on the second nine with a two-foot birdie putt at the par-5 11th. He collected back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 to build an eight-shot lead but ran into trouble at an unlikely spot.
 
Els eagled the par-5 15th in the first two rounds but on Saturday the three-time major winner hit a poor second shot into the left rough. He duffed his chip but his fourth shot nearly found the bottom of the cup before running six feet past the hole. Els missed the par save to dip to 22-under par and see his lead shrink to six as Remesy got up to 16-under par.
 
The Big Easy would not be fazed. He knocked a 7-iron 20 feet short of the stick at the 17th and rolled home the putt for birdie. When Remesy bogeyed the last two holes, Els' lead was nine and the record book was altered.
 
'Everyone assumes this is a nice position to be in, and don't get me wrong it is, this is what we play for over the first three days to take a lead into the final round,' said Els. 'But it is never that easy and in my mind the tournament is not over. I don't know how I will approach tomorrow yet. I will wait and see what the weather is like before deciding how we go about things.'
 
Despite what's in Els's head, the South African looks well on his way to the winner's circle on Sunday, a place he has frequented in 2003. Els opened the 2003 PGA Tour season with another record-setting performance, this one came at the Mercedes Championships and he earned a playoff victory over Aaron Baddeley the next week at the Sony Open. Three weeks ago he successfully defended his title at the Heineken Classic the following week.
 
Kamps shot a 64 on Saturday, while Remesy posted a 67 in the third round. Remesy, however, is realistic in his chances on Sunday.
 
'I don't think there is any way I or anyone can catch Ernie Els with a nine- shot lead, especially the way he is playing,' said Remesy, 'If I finish second it will be a great result for me because I have played well the whole week.'
 
Retief Goosen, the 2002 champion, made a move up the leaderboard Saturday with a 6-under 66. He is tied for fourth place with David Smail (64), Andre Stolz (67) and Stephen Leaney (68). The group is 10 off the lead at 13-under-par 203.
 
Craig Spence matched the course record at Lake Karrinyup Saturday with a 9- under-par 63. Gary Player established the mark in 1974 and Goosen equaled it last year. Spence is alone in eighth place at minus-12.
 

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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.