Lietzke Races to Audi Victory

By Sports NetworkFebruary 24, 2002, 5:00 pm
Bruce Lietzke came from five shots down on Sunday to shoot a bogey-free 67 and win the Audi Senior Classic, his third title in 14 starts on the Senior Tour. His 8-under-par 208 was good enough for a one-shot win over Hale Irwin and Gary McCord, who in the end, was the only player who could catch Lietzke.
 
The swing took place when Lietzke was at 17 and with McCord playing the 16th in the group behind. Lietzke knocked his tee shot 12 feet from the hole at the par-3 17th and watched his ball drop into the left side of the cup to make birdie and match McCord at 8-under-par.

McCord, who took the one-shot lead with a 10-foot birdie putt from the fringe at the 15th, drove into the right rough at 16. His second shot missed the green short and right and his chip on to the green was less than spectacular, stopping 15 feet from the hole. McCord missed the par save left to fall one behind Lietzke with two holes to play.
 
Lietzke nearly dropped his swinging 20-foot birdie try in the side of the cup at 18, but settled for par and a one-shot clubhouse lead. McCord stiffed his tee ball seven feet from the stick at No. 17 but his bid to tie Lietzke for the lead fell one foot short of the hole.
 
McCord, making his first start of the season after weeks of broadcasting for CBS, nailed a 3-wood down the fairway at 18 but he left himself with a length to the hole that was in between clubs. He went with the less-lofted club and it did not work out, pushing his approach 65 feet right of the hole.

McCord gave it a run but missed short, giving Lietzke his first title of 2002.

'It was a great weekend,' said Lietzke, who finished 66-67. 'The golf course played into my hands when the wind quit blowing this weekend. I started hitting it close and made some putts. It worked on the weekend.'

Ed Dougherty and Bruce Fleisher occupied the top spots on the leaderboard heading into the final round but back-nine bogeys cost them dearly.

Dougherty, the overnight leader, dropped shots at 12 and 13 to fall out of contention while Fleisher was in position to capture the title until bogeys at the Club de Golf Chapultepec's final two par-3s, the 13th and 17th, also cost Fleisher a chance at his 15th Senior Tour victory.
 
McCord grabbed the lead around the turn thanks to a 60-foot, left-to-right eagle putt at No. 8. He added birdies at nine and 11 to extend the lead but he let the field back in the tournament at 12 when he missed a seven-foot par save.
 
Lietzke started to claw into the tournament on the front nine with birdies at four and eight but he drew within one of McCord with a 12-foot birdie putt at the 11th. He played a gorgeous iron shot into the 12th green that stopped two feet from the hole and when McCord bogeyed the 12th, Lietzke was tied for the lead.

Lietzke has his opportunities to pull away from McCord, first at the 13th when his tee shot landed 10 feet short of the hole. His birdie try targeted the hole but turned right at the last second, costing Lietzke a birdie and a one-shot lead.

At 15, Lietzke hit a beautiful pitch over trees for his third from the right rough that came to rest six feet from the hole. Once again failed to capitalize, leaving the green with a five but he remained tied for the lead in the championship after the unlikely par.
 
'I couldn't have made a par going low,' said Lietzke, referring to his options from the rough at 15. 'All of a sudden there was an opening real high that I didn't see the first time. I was trying to get it 15 feet, but I hit it six feet.
 
'Maybe the moral there is to take a little extra time and check all of your options. I found the option there that allowed me to make a par and keep my momentum.'
 
It was his birdie at 17, coupled with McCord's mistake at 16 that gave Lietzke his third title on the Senior Tour and the $255,000 first-prize check.
 
McCord finished with a 69 in his bid for his third Senior Tour title and his first since the 1999 Senior Tour Championship.
 
Irwin once again snuck up on the field on Sunday. He reached 5-under-par before he dropped a shot at the par-3 13th but rebounded with back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15.

Irwin missed an eight-foot birdie putt that would have tied him for the lead at 16 but after Lietzke went to 8-under, Irwin could not get closer. He ran home a 10-foot birdie at 17 and had a final chance at reaching 8-under on the 18th.
 
The three-time U.S. Open champion left himself only six feet but his putt missed right at the end and instead gave Irwin his second runner-up finish this season.

'I'm not getting off to that good start and I just put myself in such a position to crawl back so far,' said Irwin, who lost by one stroke to Doug Tewell last week at the Verizon Classic. 'I hit a good putt at the last hole. That's the nature of the game.'
 
Irwin finished with a five-under 67.
 
Full-field scores from the Audi Senior 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.