Roberts on Top at Western Open

By Sports NetworkJuly 1, 2004, 4:00 pm
Cialis Western OpenLEMONT, Ill. -- Loren Roberts fired a 7-under-par 64 on Thursday to take the opening-round lead at the Western Open. Robert Allenby was one shot back after a round of 65.
Ben Curtis, who is preparing to defend his British Open title at Troon, joined Chad Campbell, Stephen Ames, Jonathan Byrd, J.L. Lewis, Robert Gamez and Mark Hensby in a tie for third at 4-under-par 67.
Defending champion Tiger Woods got back to action Thursday at Cog Hill for his first competitive round since a tough showing at Shinnecock. The top player in the game, who has since patched up his differences with former swing coach Butch Harmon, got off to a good start with back-to-back birdies starting at the par-4 fourth.
The 28-year-old soon found trouble, however, with a bogey at the sixth and a double bogey at the eighth. Woods looked to be in trouble again at the par-5 ninth after his third shot flew over the green, but he drained a 10-foot putt for par to make the turn at 1 over.
Woods got back to even-par with a birdie at the 11th and broke into red figures with a birdie at the 13th. Woods added a birdie at the 17th but closed with a bogey at the last for a round of 70.
'Well, I didn't play all that well today,' said Woods, a three-time winner of this event. 'I got off to a great start and lost it in the middle of the round and got it back towards the end. I haven't quite put it all together. Either I hit the ball great and miss everything or hit it like a dog and make every putt I'm looking at.'
Roberts jumped out of the gate with a birdie at the par-3 second and hit his tee shot to 12 feet for a birdie at the par-3 sixth. Roberts followed with a birdie at the seventh and knocked his approach inside 11 feet for a birdie at the par-4 eighth to make it three in a row.
'I drove the ball in the fairway just about every hole,' said Roberts. 'If you're going to make some putts, it equates to a low score.'
The 49-year-old missed a couple of birdie opportunities early on the back nine, but his putting came through down the stretch starting with a birdie at the par-3 14th.
Roberts hit his third shot out of a bunker to 5 feet for a birdie at the par-5 15th and drained a 12-foot putt for a birdie at the par-4 17th to finish off a bogey-free round.
'I had the ball in good position today,' said Roberts, who tied for third at this event in 1990 after opening with a 65. 'I didn't get it above the hole very often. I was always pretty much under the hole and I didn't have any tough putts.'
Roberts, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, has only one top-10 finish in 2004, a tie for 10th at the Nissan Open. He held the lead after the third round of the Buick Classic last month, but a final-round 78 left him seven shots out of a playoff. Despite that disappointing Sunday, Roberts has been able to move on.
'I had a bad putting day,' said Roberts, whose last win came at the 2002 Texas Open. 'I just got off to a bad start the first nine holes that day and didn't play well. You know, I've been out here long enough, I forget about those things.'
Allenby, who won this event in a playoff in 2000, used a strong finish to take second place alone. After picking up a pair of birdies and a bogey on the back side, Allenby countered with birdies at the second and the fifth to move to minus-3.
The Australian then birdied each of his last three holes to finish one shot off the pace.
Curtis tallied four birdies and a bogey over his first nine holes but stumbled on the back side with two straight bogeys starting at the 13th. Curtis countered at the par-5 15th and ran home a 35-foot putt for an eagle.
The 27-year-old, who will soon head across the pond to defend the major he came out of nowhere to win a year ago, added a birdie at the 17th for his round of 67.
'It's going to be a crazy week anyway just because I'm defending champ, but it's going to be a lot of fun,' Curtis said of the upcoming British Open. 'I'm looking forward to it.'
K.J. Choi, Skip Kendall, Steve Lowery, Scott Simpson, Michael Allen, Dan Forsman, Chris Smith, Dean Wilson, Kevin Sutherland, Woody Austin, Geoff Ogilvy, D.J. Brigman and David Branshaw share 10th place at 3-under-par 68.
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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.