Nilsson Still on Top at Saint-Omer Open

By Sports NetworkJune 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
European TourFRANCE --Sweden's Christian Nilsson birdied the final hole Saturday to post a 1-under 70 and maintain a two-shot lead after three rounds of the Saint-Omer Open.
Nilsson completed 54 holes at 4-under-par 209. He will go for his first tour win on Sunday. Nilsson, whose best finish was a tie for seventh at the Italian Open, has missed the cut in four of his seven starts this year.
Robert Coles fired the low of round of the day with his 5-under 66. That moved him from a share of 28th into a tie for second at minus-2, where he stands alongside Francois Delamontagne (67)
Nicolas Vanhootegem (69) and Liam Bond (70) are the final players in red figured at 1-under-par 212.
With many of the top players in the world playing the U.S. Open, the field this week was filled by players from the European Tour as well as the Challenge Tour.
Nilsson opened with 10 straight pars to remain at three-under. Several players tied him there, but Nilsson made his move around the turn.
He rolled in a birdie effort on the par-3 11th. Nilsson made it two straight with a birdie on the 12th on the Val Course at Aa Saint Omer Golf Club.
Nilsson parred his next four holes and led by as many as three, before trouble struck at the 17th. He struggled to a double-bogey to slip back to minus-3 and a one-shot lead.
However, Nilsson birdied the par-4 18th for the second straight day to push his lead back to two after three rounds.
'It felt great to make a birdie on the last hole, to make up for the disappointment of the double-bogey on 17,' Nilsson said. 'I had a really long putt from the top tier, hit it too hard, and the ball rolled off the green. I chipped back on and two putted, which at the time felt like a disaster.
'But it could've happened to anyone, so I forgot about it straight away, and focused again. Overall, I was really pleased with my game, although I didn't make nearly as many putts as I did yesterday.'
Coles had a great run on the front nine. He birdied the second, then ran off four birdies in a five-hole span from the fifth to jump to 2 under.
Around the turn, Coles faltered to a double-bogey at the 12th. He recovered one stroke with a birdie at 13 and got the other shot back as he birdied the par-three 17th.
'I've been really short of confidence,' admitted Coles. 'When you're not putting a run of scores together, it's hard to believe in yourself. Once you find some consistency, then obviously your confidence grows. But I haven't been able to do that, mainly because I haven't made many cuts. So it's been a slow season. But hopefully I'm peaking just at the right time.'
Delamontagne collected two birdies on both nines. His front nine birdies came at five and seven. On the back nine, he dropped in back-to-back birdies from the 11th to gain a share of second.
David Dixon and Steven O'Hara are tied for sixth place at even-par 213. Cesar Monasterio, Richard Bland, John E. Morgan, Richard Treis and first-round leader Roope Kakko are one shot back at plus-1.

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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.

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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.”