Ochoa Again in Position for First Win

By Sports NetworkMay 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Franklin American Mortgage Champ.FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Lorena Ochoa carded her second consecutive, 5-under 67 on Saturday to take the 54-hole lead of the Franklin American Mortgage Championship. She stands at 12-under-par 204 at the Ironhorse Course at Vanderbilt Legends Club.
 
Ochoa shared the third-round lead with Cristie Kerr last week at the Michelob Ultra Championship, but shot an even-par 71 and was overcome by Se Ri Pak. Ochoa, a collegiate standout expected to make a big splash on the LPGA Tour, now has another opportunity for victory No. 1.
 
'I have been very consistent and been in the top 10 and that's what I've been trying to do,' said Ochoa. 'I'm ready and prepared, and I've learned a lot. I'm not going to change my plan because I have been doing good so far.'
 
Mi-Hyun Kim fired her lowest round of the year on Saturday with an 8-under-par 64. She is tied with 36-hole co-leader Pat Hurst, who shot a second-round 68, at 11-under-par 205.
 
The second round was completed Saturday morning after darkness forced the suspension of play on Friday. After overnight rain, play was contested under lift, clean and place.
 
Ochoa struggled on the front side with an even-par 36. She got rolling on the back nine with a 25-foot birdie putt at the 10th, which pulled her one shot from the lead.
 
She canned a 7-footer for birdie at 11 and made it three in a row with a 6-footer at the 12th. That birdie tied her with playing partner Hurst atop the leaderboard.
 
At the 14th, Ochoa sank a 12-foot birdie putt. She birdied No. 15 to go ahead by two, but Kim and Hurst both birdied 18 to shrink Ochoa's margin to a single stroke.
 
'I'm extremely happy with the way I finished,' said Ochoa. 'I didn't play the way I wanted to with the bogeys and being even on the front, but I got going on the back.'
 
Kim was flawless on Saturday with five birdies on her front nine. She ran home a 10-footer for birdie at the 14th, then sank an 18-footer for her second straight birdie at the 15th.
 
Kim got into the clubhouse at 11 under par thanks to her play at the par-5 closing hole. She knocked a wedge 18 feet from the hole and drained the birdie putt for her 64.
 
'I didn't have a birdie yesterday, so after the second round I didn't practice because I wanted to lose my bad feel,' Kim said. 'I just ate a lot and didn't think about golf.'
 
Hurst landed in a bunker at the seventh, but blasted out to 12 feet and holed the birdie putt. She converted a pair of birdie putts inside 10 feet at nine and 11, then birdied 18 to get within one of Ochoa's lead.
 
'I played pretty good,' said Hurst, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour. 'I was just hitting it pretty close and making putts. I'm just trying to go out and play and make as many birdies as I can.'
 
Wendy Ward shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday and is alone in fourth at minus-10. Stacy Prammanasudh also posted a 4-under 68 and has fifth to herself at 9-under-par 207.
 
Dorothy Delasin only managed a 1-under 71 but has sole possession of sixth place at 7-under-par 209. She is one ahead of Liselotte Neumann, who carded a 4-under 68 on Saturday.
 
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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.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    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.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “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.”