MARANA, Ariz. – Luke Donald just made a 3-footer for par on the 13th hole to beat Charley Hoffman 6 and 5.
The match was the first to finish on a crisp sunny day at Dove Mountain. Hoffman only won one hole all day as Donald stretched his Accenture Match Play Championship record to 11-6.
Donald will play the winner of the winner of the match between Edoardo Molinari and Martin Laird. The Italian is currently 2 up through 12 holes.
European Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie has selected three-time major champion Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Edoardo Molinari as his three wild card picks for the matches in Wales Oct. 1-3.
Montgomerie also announced that Sergio Garcia will join as fourth vice captain. Earlier this month the Spaniard had announced that he was taking a sabbatical from competitive golf.
Molinari birdied the last three holes at Gleneagles to win the Johnnie Walker Championship on Sunday. The Italian, a former U.S. Amateur champ, joins his brother Francesco on the European Team. Montgomerie called Edoardo Molinari’s performance on Sunday at Gleneagles “one of -- if not the -- finest win” in his 24 years of European Tour experience.
Donald is making a strong bid Sunday to win The Barclays, which is the first event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. The Englishman, who won the Madrid Masters, birdied his first six holes and is now three strokes behind the overnight leader Martin Laird, who is just teeing off.
In selecting Harrington, Donald and Edoardo Molinari, Montgomerie left Paul Casey, who is ranked No. 9 in the world, and Justin Rose on the sidelines. Rose is a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR this year and started the final round of The Barclays five strokes off the lead.
“I and our team had to leave out world, world stars,” Montgomerie said.
Montgomerie said he spoke to Rose Sunday morning while he was on the range preparing for The Barclays. He was not able to speak to Casey, though, since he had already teed off at Ridgewood.
Montgomerie has also asked Welshman Rhys Davies to accompany the team to Celtic Manor. The previous captain, Nick Faldo, did similarly with Martin Kaymer, who qualified for the European Tour this year, for the matches in Valhalla.
Obviously, it's early yet. But Edoardo Molinari is bidding to become the 12th man to win the U.S. Amateur and go on to capture the U.S. Open later in his career.
The 29-year-old Italian won the U.S. Am at Merion in 2005. He just made a double bogey at the difficult par-5 14th but he's still just two strokes off the lead at even par.
The last player to complete the U.S. Am-U.S. Open double was Tiger Woods. He won the 1994, '95 and '96 U.S. Ams and the 2000, '02 and '08 U.S. Opens. That 2000 victory also came at Pebble Beach.
The other players who have won both are Francis Ouimet, Jermone D. Travers, Charles Evans Jr., Bobby Jones, John Goodman, Lawson Little, Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler, Jack Nicklaus and Jerry Pate. -- Helen Ross
Robert Karlsson’s posted his best finish of the season – and a career-best on the PGA TOUR – when he lost to Lee Westwood in a playoff at the St. Jude Classic presented by Smith & Nephew on Sunday.
The Swede continues to build on that momentum at the U.S. Open, too.
He just birdied the sixth and seventh holes to move to 2 under, although he gave a shot back on the next hole. So Karlsson is one stroke off the lead held jointly by Edoardo Molinari, Soren Kjeldsen and David Toms.
Contending at the U.S. Open is no surprise for Karlsson, though. He tied for fourth in the major in his last appearance in 2008 before he was sidelined with serious eye problems that only recently have been regulated. – Helen Ross
Luke Donald isn't the longest player on the PGA TOUR -- by any means. But Pebble Beach isn't one of the longer U.S. Open venues, either.
And the way the steady Englishman has been playing of late, many observers expected him to contend at the U.S. Open. Donald isn't disappointing, either.
He started on the back nine and reeled off nine straight pars. A birdie on the first hole has just put Donald in red numbers, only one stroke off the lead held by Soren Kjeldsen and Edoardo Molinari.
Donald ended a four-year victory drought with a win at the Madrid Masters last month. He tied for second in the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, the week before his win and finished third in Wales the week after. – Helen Ross