Mednick Notches First Victory
Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin (71) and Sweden's Anders Forsbrand (68) shared fourth place at 1-under-par 287.
Italy's Massimo Florioli, who held the 54-hole lead after the third round was completed Sunday morning, struggled to a 4-over 76 and tied for sixth with Adam Crawford and Philip Walton. The group came in at even-par 288.
Mednick trailed Florioli by a stroke when the final round teed off and quickly grabbed a piece of the lead. Mednick ran home a four-foot birdie putt at the second hole to share the lead at 4-under par.
Mednick, an American-born Swede, took the outright lead when he two-putted from 20 feet at the par-5 fourth. He dropped a shot at the fifth when he landed in a left bunker but Florioli also lost ground with a bogey at the same hole, two groups behind Mednick.
The Swede birdied the ninth and when Florioli bogeyed eight, Mednick was in charge of the tournament. Mednick collected one bogey on the back and birdied three holes, including the last two, to walk away with the title.
'It has been a fantastic week and it was nice to finish with that birdie on the last,' said Mednick, whose best finish this season was a tie for 16th at last week's Wales Open. 'When I first came here and drove up the driveway I said this place looks fantastic. I love links courses and links golf and I am really glad we played on a links course this week. Ballyliffin is right up there with the best of them.'
The 35-year-old earned his tour card for 2002 at Qualifying School but that will not be a concern next year. This victory gives him a valuable one-year exemption on the European Tour.
'This win means the world to me,' said Mednick. 'I was on the borderline for not getting into tournaments in the future and I haven't had many starts this year, but now I can plan my season exactly the way I want to the rest of the year and next year as well.'
Coltart had only one top-10 finish this season, a tie for sixth at the Open de France. He fashioned a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 to share second place.
'I am starting to hole some putts and that makes a huge difference,' said Coltart, who established a new course record at the Glashedy Links of Ballyliffin Golf Club with a 66 on Friday. 'I'm delighted with the way I have putted this week. It gives me a good confidence boost going into the next few weeks.'
For Rocca, it was a chance to earn his first title since he won the inaugural North West of Ireland Open at Galway Bay in 1999. He could only muster an even-par 72 Sunday and would have a solo second but missed a four-foot par save at the last.
'It would have been nice to have won it again' said Rocca, who beat a young Tiger Woods in the Sunday singles at the 1997 Ryder Cup. 'If I had been 4-under par after the front nine I might have a chance. Tried hard but didn't hole anything.'
Joakim Rask of Sweden finished alone in ninth at two-over par, followed by Michele Reale of Italy, who took 10th at plus-four.
Full-field scores from North West of Ireland Open
TT postscript: This 65 better than Aronimink 62
ATLANTA – The start wasn’t much to look at, but that finish was something else. Tiger Woods eagled the final hole on Thursday and shares the 18-hole lead at the Tour Championship. Here are the things you know you want to know:
• First of all, let’s give a pat on the back to the man who most deserves it today: Me. Early this morning, I sent this tweet:
Less than an hour until tee time. Gotta good feeling about this week. Let’s set the O/U today at 66.5 on the par 70. And then take the under.— Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) September 20, 2018
Never doubt my good feelings. Ben Crenshaw doesn’t have my good feelings. We may have 54 holes to play, but I gotta good feeling we’re going to be changing that Tiger Tracker avatar Sunday night.
• Now onto Tiger. After all, he did hit 10 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens in regulation and took 28 putts. It wasn’t looking good early when he had nine putts through four holes and was 1 over par. But he birdied Nos. 5 and 6, turned in 1 under, and really turned it on down the stretch with two birdies and an eagle over his final seven holes. And if you take a good look at the scorecard below you’ll notice he didn’t make a bogey after the first hole.
• How good is a 65 at East Lake? Better than his opening 62 at Aronimink, according to Woods: “This was by far better than the 62 at Aronimink. Conditions were soft there. This is – it's hard to get the ball closer. There's so much chase in it. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can't get the ball close.”
Woods added that you had to play “conservatively” and be patient – take what the course allowed. Tiger missed five putts – four of them for birdie – inside 15 feet. But in the 93-degree heat, he kept his composure and made putts of 26 and 28 feet for birdie, and 28 feet for eagle.
• This week feels different. It feels like Tiger is really ready to win again. He seems very serious, very focused. He talked about “getting the W” on Wednesday and said on Thursday, “[T]he objective is to always win.”
After shooting 65, Woods signed a few autographs and eventually made his way to the putting green. If he gets those 15-footer to fall, we’re going to be two wins away from tying Sammy.
• So, what about that eagle on 18, you ask? Tiger said he “hammered” a driver – which was listed at 320 yards – and then hit a 5-wood from 256 yards to 28 feet. As for the putt: “It took forever for that putt to start breaking, grain coming down off the left. But once it snagged it, it was going straight right.”
Right into the cup. Right into the lead. Our man is making history this week.
Watch: Highlights from Tiger's first round at East Lake
Tiger Woods is back at the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, and he provided the fans in Atlanta with some highlights on the first day of competition.
Still looking for his first win of the year after coming close on numerous occasions, Woods started the day off by splitting the fairway on the first hole with the driver, not even bothering to watch his ball land.
Despite the picture-perfect opening tee shot, Woods would go on to bogey the first hole, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, making putts from 26 and 15 feet.
Tiger's best shot on the front nine came on the par-4 seventh hole after he found the pine straw behind a tree with his drive. The 14-time major champ punched one under the tree limbs and onto the green, then calmly two-putted for par from about 40 feet en route to a front-side 1-under 34.
Woods added two more birdies on the par-4 12th and 14th holes, rolling in putts of 3 feet and 7 feet after a couple of great looking approach shots.
Woods finished his round with a vintage eagle on the par-5 18th hole, finding the green with a 5-wood from 256 yards out and then sinking the 28-foot putt.
Co-leader. pic.twitter.com/MMUZ8zptQ9— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 20, 2018
The eagle at the last gave Woods a share of the early first-round lead with Rickie Fowler at 5-under 65.
Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship
Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.
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Garcia (66) peaking for Ryder Cup?
Sergio Garcia might be finding his form just in time to terrorize the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Garcia made seven birdies during an opening round of 5-under 66 to sit just two shots off the early lead at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters.
It was Garcia’s fifth consecutive round of par or better, a stretch that includes rounds of 66-65-67-70-66. That solid play at the Wyndham Championship wasn’t enough to extend his PGA Tour season – he didn’t qualify for the FedExCup playoffs – but the Spaniard is starting to round into form with the Ryder Cup on deck.
A few weeks ago he was a controversial selection by European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. After missing the cut in all four majors, Garcia could have been left at home in favor of such players as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace (a three-time winner this season who, once again, is at the top of the leaderboard in Portugal), Matt Fitzpatrick or Thomas Pieters. But Bjorn tabbed Garcia, noting his Ryder Cup experience, his sterling foursomes record and his influence in the team room. If Phil Mickelson is the U.S. player under the most pressure to perform in Paris, all eyes will be on Garcia next week – especially since it could be one of his final opportunities to wear a European uniform, as he’ll be 40 for the 2020 matches.
Garcia’s 66 matched his lowest opening round of the year and puts him in position to secure just his second top-10 since March.