Haeggman Goes Low for Victory

By Sports NetworkMarch 14, 2004, 5:00 pm
DOHA, Qatar -- Joakim Haeggman fired a final-round, 7-under 65 on Sunday to come from behind and win the Qatar Masters. He finished at 16-under-par 272 and won by a single shot over Nobuhito Sato at Doha Golf Club.
 
The victory was Haeggman's first since the 1997 Volvo Scandinavian Masters and his third on the European Tour. He is playing this season on a medical exemption after breaking his ankle in an ice hockey accident.
 
'I tripped over and sat on my ankle,' said Haeggman, who broke his ankle in two places. 'I am not so fast these days and the bone didn't hold. I spent a long time trying to walk again but it's fine now. The nearest I get to an ice rink is 400 yards away when I drive past.'
 
Sato, an overnight co-leader, needed an eagle on the final hole of regulation to force a playoff but only made birdie. He carded a 4-under 68 on Sunday to post his highest finish on the European Tour.
 
Raphael Jacquelin, the other co-leader with Sato after the third round, managed a 3-under 69 and tied for third place with Brian Davis and Jose Manuel Lara, who both shot rounds of 5-under 67. The trio came in at 14-under-par 274.
 
Haeggman, who began the final round two strokes behind the co-leaders, broke out quickly on Sunday with five birdies in his first seven holes. He took over sole possession of first place with a tap-in birdie at the par-5 10th to reach 15-under par.
 
The Swede birdied the par-3 13th to go two ahead but dropped a stroke to par at the very next hole. Haeggman parred holes 15-17 to remain one up on the field as he played the par-5 18th at Doha Golf Club.
 
Haeggman sank a 15-footer for birdie at the last to go two in front of Sato and Jacquelin, who both needed eagle at the final hole to force a playoff.
 
Sato landed in the fairway at 18 but realized he could not make the putting surface in two. He laid up then pitched his third to six feet and made the birdie putt to go to 15 under.
 
Jacquelin tried a driver off the fairway with his second at 18 and landed in a greenside bunker. His blast did not fall into the cup and he made par to stay in third place.
 
With the victory, Haeggman now has his sights set on making this year's Ryder Cup team, a team he has made only once in 1993. He was one of Sam Torrance's advisors at the European victory in 2002 but now the Swede wants to be a bigger part of the action this September.
 
'The hard practice has paid off and I would love to get back into the Ryder Cup Team again,' said Haeggman, who went 1-1 at the Belfry in '93. 'I enjoyed walking the fairways with Sam last time, but I couldn't see why I wasn't there playing. This is just one step on the road and I feel I can cope with pressure and play at the highest level again.'
 
For Sato, this finish was a step in an ongoing process. Sato, who turned 34 on Friday, earned his tour card this year through Q-School but with his second-place check this week, he moved to 18th on the Order of Merit and looks to be in solid shape for retaining his card next year.
 
'I am so happy,' said Sato. 'I never expected to play so well and to make only two bogeys all week was good. I am pleased with the birdie at the last because I have done so much to keep my card for next year.'
 
Martin Maritz shot a final-round 67 and took sixth at 13-under-par 275, Greg Owen finished a stroke back at minus-12 thanks to a 5-under 67 in Sunday's final round.
 
Roger Chapman (70), Robert-Jan Derksen (65), Stephen Gallacher (67) and David Howell (70) shared eighth place at 11-under-par 277.
 
Darren Fichardt, the 2003 champion, shot a 1-over 73 on Sunday and tied for 36th place at 5-under-par 283.
 
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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 at Carnoustie. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was one of 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 continuing 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.

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    Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

    By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

    There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

    Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.


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    “I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

    In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

    “It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

    “That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”