Top Seed Sorenstam Advance at World Match Play
Twelve of the 16 LPGA members in the 32-player field won their opening matches versus their JLPGA counterparts Thursday at Sohsei Country Club.
Sorenstam, the top-seeded player on the LPGA side, won the seventh, 10th and 15th holes before halving the 16th to take the day's first match. Nasu, seeded 16th for the JLPGA, failed to win a single hole during her match with the Swede.
Sorenstam, ranked first in the world with six wins in 2001, will face the LPGA's No. 9 seed Michele Redman in Friday's second round. Redman beat Kasumi Fujii 2 & 1.
This event, which was played as a stroke-play team competition since its inception in 1979, switched to an individual match-play format this year and offers a first-place prize of $144,000.
The first round featured 16 head-to-head matchups between the LPGA players and the JLPGA players. Players from each tour were seeded one through 16 based on their position on their tour's money list.
Six seed Kaori Higo was the first JLPGA golfer to earn a victory when she bested Nancy Scranton 1-up in the sixth scheduled match.
Laura Davies, who won the WPGA International Match Play event in Scotland last month, came from behind to beat Chieko Amanuma. The big-hitting Brit stumbled with bogeys on the first two holes but rallied to win three of the next six en route to a 2-up victory. Davies came into the contest the 15th LPGA seed while Amanuma was the No. 2 seed from the Japanese circuit.
Lorie Kane and Emilee Klein were each on the winning end of lopsided matches Thursday. Canada's Kane won six of 15 holes to dispatch Midori Yoneyama 5 & 3, and Klein brushed aside Fuki Kido 5 & 4, closing out their match by taking the ninth, 11th, 12th and 14th holes.
Se Ri Pak, the only LPGA player with a chance to catch Sorenstam for the 2001 money title, took an early 3-up lead then watched Michiko Hattori win three straight holes around the turn to square the match. Pak grabbed the 12th and 15th holes to prevail 2 & 1.
The 16th-seeded Jill McGill upset the JLPGA's top-earner, Yuri Fudoh, with a 1-up triumph in 19 holes. Fudoh came into this week 14th in the world, the highest Japanese player in the rankings.
Three other showdowns needed extra holes in round one. Kaori Harada outlasted 2000 Solheim Cup hero Carin Koch of Sweden in 20 holes. Rachel Teske, 3-down after 13, won three of the last five scheduled holes to force a 19th and got by Ikuyo Shiotani, and Aki Takamura edged Sophie Gustafson in 20 holes.
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
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.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
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.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
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.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
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.
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.