Park Clings to Slim Lead in Spain

By Sports NetworkApril 24, 2004, 4:00 pm
CANARY ISLANDS -- David Park stumbled to a 1-over 71 Saturday, but held onto the lead through three rounds of the Canarias Open de Espaa. Park completed 54 holes at 10-under-par 200, one shot clear of Ricardo Gonzalez.
Christian Cevaer posted a 1-under 69 to join Peter Hedblom (68) in a tie for third place at 8-under-par 202. Bradley Dredge is one stroke further back at minus-7.
Battling breezy conditions on Saturday, Park opened with six consecutive pars to remain at 11 under. However, he faltered to a double bogey at the par-3 seventh at Fuerteventura Golf Club after finding water off the tee.
Park settled down to run off three pars in a row. He picked up his first birdie of the round at the par-4 11th.
The Welshman stumbled to a bogey at the very next hole to slip back to minus-9. Park fought back with a birdie at the 16th before closing with a pair of pars to maintain a one-stroke lead heading to the final round.
'I struggled a little bit out there today,' Park stated. 'To be honest, I hit the ball okay but I just struggled with the putting a little bit. Had the lines okay all day but I couldn't get the pace and kept leaving things short. But I was pleased the way I stuck in there after what happened at the seventh. I would have liked to have made a few more birdies, but it was a good performance on the back nine and a good score overall.'
Park takes a lead into the final round for the fifth time in his career. He won just one of those previous four, the 1999 European Grand Prix, by one stroke over David Carter and Retief Goosen.
Gonzalez flew up the leaderboard with a pair of eagles and two birdies. He chipped in for eagle from the back of the green at the par-4 sixth after driving his tee ball through the green at the 401-yard hole.
The Argentine rolled home a birdie at the ninth to get to minus-6 and sank another birdie try at the par-4 14th. Gonzalez jumped into second place with an eagle on the par-5 17th that capped a bogey-free round of 64.
'I am feeling very confident with my driver and as a result I am managing to keep it on the fairway a bit better this week than last which is giving me a chance to birdie,' said Gonzalez. 'There are a few short par-4s as well here which are good for me. Although my driving was good, I think my putting was my best feature today. I tried to concentrate hard over every shot and tried to make birdie or eagle whenever I possibly could.'
Gonzalez, who won the Open de Sevilla last week, will look to become the first European Tour player to win back-to-back events since Vijay Singh won the Carlsberg Malaysian Open and Caltex Singapore Masters in successive weeks in February of 2001.
'I have a good chance now,' said Gonzalez of his chances at winning two straight events. 'Tomorrow I need to go out and concentrate again and we will see what happens.'
Klas Eriksson used a 3-under 67 to move into sixth place at 6-under-par 204. Marcus Fraser, Gregory Havret and Santiago Luna are one stroke further back at minus-five after each posted rounds of 1-under 69.
Diego Borrego posted a 4-under 66 to jump into a share of 10th place at 4-under-par 206. He is joined there by Nicolas Colsaerts, Jose Manuel Lara, Rob Rashell, Jean-Francois Remesy and Charl Schwartzel.
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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.”