Irwin Takes ACE Group Classic

By Sports NetworkFebruary 10, 2002, 5:00 pm
Hale Irwin shot a 4-under 68 to capture his second ACE Group Classic title Sunday. He finished at 16-under 200 for his 33rd career victory on the Senior Tour.
The win moved Irwin past the $20 million mark in all-time career earnings, joining Tiger Woods as the only other player to reach that plateau. It is also the eighth straight year that Irwin has earned a Senior Tour win.
'It's been a great career,' he said. 'The entire career I've been very fortunate to be at the right place at the right time.
Irwin began the day two shots behind overnight leader Tom Watson in what became a head-to-head battle between the two golf legends.
The pair stepped onto the decisive par-5 17th tee. Irwin played first, hitting his drive into a fairway bunker. It was now a three-shot hole for Irwin, with Watson giving himself the opportunity to reach the green in two after a solid tee shot.
'I knew I couldn't get to the green in two,' said Irwin. 'After Tom really bombed his drive, I wanted him to go for that green. It's not an easy shot, he just didn't hit it the way he wanted to.'
Watson had 232 yards to clear the water in front of the green, but his fairway wood fell just short of the ledge before the putting surface. His fourth shot left him with a long par putt and opened the door for Irwin.
Irwin hit out of the bunker leaving a short approach. He landed his third shot 12 feet from the hole to set up a birdie while Watson made bogey for a two-shot swing.
'I had my opportunity at 17 and I hit it about 10 yards left from where I was trying to hit it,' said Watson. 'I was trying to put the pressure on Hale. He's back there in a safe position and I'm in a risky position right there and I didn't hit the risky shot very well.'
The lead was enough for Irwin to bogey the final hole as Watson managed only a par.
'It was like the old days out there,' said Watson. 'I've always admired the way he plays.'
'It just so happened two players with some fame or infamy were
battling it out,' said Irwin.
He made his first birdie on the third to climb to 13-under while Watson matched him with a birdie on the same hole to retain the margin.
On the following hole Watson made the first of back-to-back bogeys while Irwin began his charge on the fifth with a birdie and took the lead outright at minus-14.
Irwin then birdied the sixth and ran home a long birdie putt on the seventh to take a two-shot lead over Watson at 16-under. But the 56-year-old kept Watson in the game, finding bunkers twice on the ninth for a double-bogey.
The duo was knotted in first place when Dana Quigley joined them in the lead on the 11th with a 12-foot birdie putt.
Watson set up a long eagle putt after reaching the green in two on the par-5 13th. He two-putted for birdie to move to 15-under while Irwin blasted out of a bunker to within six feet for a birdie of his own.
Irwin had a chance to re-take the lead but missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 14th. Watson capitalized, making birdie with a putt from just off the green.
On the 16th, the same hole Watson aced in the opening round, Irwin hit his tee shot to within 12 feet for a birdie and a share of the lead. It then came down to No. 17, where Irwin walked off with the title.
Jim Dent (66) used an eagle on the 13th to finish tied for third at 14-under 202 alongside Jim Thorpe (68). A trio of players finished one shot further back at 13-under, including Quigley (70). He was joined by Sammy Rachels (67) and Allen Doyle (69).
Ben Crenshaw, who made his Senior Tour debut, came back from an
opening-round 4-over 76 to finish at 1-under 215.
Full-field scores from the ACE Group Classic
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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.