Els Westwood in Match Play Finals

By Sports NetworkOctober 16, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 HBSC World Match Play ChampionshipSURREY, England -- Ernie Els steamrolled into the finals of the HSBC World Match Play Championship with a 5 and 4 victory over Padraig Harrington Saturday at the Wentworth Club. Els, who is seeking a record sixth victory at this event, will meet Lee Westwood on Sunday.
Westwood was rolling in his match against an exhausted Miguel Angel Jimenez until the Spaniard battled back, forcing their contest down to the wire.
'I am pleased with the way I played and I am proud of the way I played, especially this afternoon when I battled back and to take it to the last hole was a good effort,' said Jimenez. 'I knew if I could start hitting the ball a bit better I had a chance and that is what happened.'
Westwood took a 3-up advantage over Jimenez after the morning 18. Jimenez, who had to complete his quarterfinal match against Bernhard Langer early on Saturday, bogeyed the 19th hole to dig an even deeper hole and Westwood took a 5-up lead with a birdie at the 22nd hole, the par-5 fourth.
The Englishman looked to extend his lead even further after his approach to the 24th stopped within 8 feet of the hole. Jimenez had a long distance to cover on the green, but he holed his birdie try putting the pressure on Westwood.
Westwood made his putt to halve the hole, but the momentum was beginning to shift. Jimenez matched Westwood with a birdie at the 28th and went to 4-down after Westwood bogeyed the 29th.
Jimenez reached the green in two at the par-5 12th, the 30th hole, while Westwood left his second shot short of the putting surface and putted his third within a foot of the hole. Jimenez then drained his eagle try to close the gap to 3-down.
Jimenez won the following hole to go 2-down and spun his second shot back within a few inches of the cup for a birdie at the 34th hole. Westwood, who moments before had hit a solid approach to 7 feet, failed to convert and just like that his advantage was 1-up with daylight fading.
'When I hit it close at 16, I expected him to hit it close,' Westwood said. 'That's the way you play match play, don't take anything for granted and expect the worst.'
After delays forced the suspension of play on Thursday and Friday, Jimenez and Westwood were facing the prospect of having to return to the West Course Sunday morning to finish their match.
Jimenez was out of gas at that point, however, and Westwood held on for a 1-up win after he reached the par-5 closing hole in two.
'It boosts your confidence any time you win a game,' said Westwood. 'That's why these games are over 36 holes to see who is the best one over 36 holes.'
Els had a much easier time in his match against an ailing Harrington who injured his hand in the quarterfinals.
'I was really on early on and if it wasn't for those missed putts, it could have been a really good score,' said Els.
Els led 3-up after the morning session and increased his lead to 4-up after Harrington bogeyed the 21st hole. The duo halved the 22nd with birdies, but Harrington ran home a 20-foot putt for a birdie at the 23rd to get to 3-down.
'I think this morning I couldn't put my thumb on the club at all,' said Harrington. 'This morning I couldn't put it near the club, and after lunch I tried a few shots with it on the club and it wasn't too bad. Awkward, but not too bad.'
Els responded at the par-4 seventh, the 25th hole, and dropped his second inside 12 feet for a birdie to regain a 4-up lead. Harrington won the 26th with a birdie, but Els countered with a birdie at the 29th.
They halved the 30th with birdies and Harrington saw the match slip away after he bogeyed the 32nd.
'A lot of shots have been hit and played out there and I'm just delighted to get into the final,' said Els. 'It's one thing making the final, it's another thing trying to win.'
Els and Westwood are both premier players on the European Tour, but the South African has dominated this event over the last 10 years. While Els is in search of his sixth victory at this event, Westwood is no stranger to success in match play at Wentworth, having defeated Colin Montgomerie in a thrilling final to win the championship in 2000.
'I have a good record against Ernie here. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, which will hopefully be a great match for everybody to watch,' said Westwood. 'We'll have a good game.'
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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.