Dynamic Duo Mickelson Furyk Lead at Pebble

By Associated PressFebruary 9, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Phil Mickelson is so enthused about how well he is hitting the ball that he was looking forward to tough, windy conditions along the ocean Friday at Pebble Beach.
 
He didn't get what he wanted, and had few complaints.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson made four birdies over his final six holes to tie for first place.
Mickelson only had to cope with the cold and rain -- but not much wind -- and that helped him sail to a 5-under 67 and a share of the lead with Jim Furyk at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
 
'It was a good day. We got a pretty good draw,' Mickelson said. 'It was a little windy the last three or four holes, but I'm not going to complain. We had a great day to take advantage of scoring.'
 
He had chances to score even lower, but three straight birdies on the back nine at tame Pebble Beach, and a simple up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 18th enabled him to catch Furyk and reach 12-under 132.
 
Furyk also was pleased to see the flags drooping instead of flapping when he arrived at Poppy Hills, especially after seeing a forecast of 15 mph wind and heavy rain. The rain was brief and light, and he birdied all but one of the par 5s on his way to a 65.
 
'I think we got out of it pretty good today,' Furyk said. 'Hoping for the same tomorrow.'
 
That gave the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am a good 1-2 punch at the top from two of the highest-ranked players in the field.
 
Furyk (No. 2) and Mickelson (No. 6) had a three-shot lead over rookie John Mallinger and Kevin Sutherland, who turned in the best round of the dreary afternoon by firing off 10 birdies for a 63 at Spyglass Hill.
 
Sutherland thought briefly about the course record of 62 at Spyglass, just long enough to snap-hook his 3-wood into the trees and out of play on the par-5 seventh. He reloaded with a two-stroke penalty, reached the green in two, escaped with a bogey and didn't let one bad hole take away from his round.
 
'Spyglass is one of my favorite courses in the world,' said Sutherland, who has played it countless times dating to his amateur days in Northern California. 'I'd rather play there than Pebble Beach. But a 63 was not the score I was thinking about when I teed off.'
 
Sutherland plays his best golf on the West Coast -- his only victory was the 2001 Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa -- and was in the final group two weeks ago at Torrey Pines until he finished in a tie for 14th. The attention that week was on Tiger Woods, who isn't at Pebble again.
 
The names atop the leaderboard were still enough to get his attention, especially since Mickelson is a two-time winner at Pebble Beach.
 
'I'm very much aware I need to make a lot more birdies,' Sutherland said with a smile.
 
Davis Love III made a quiet climb into contention with a 67 at Pebble Beach, but perhaps the biggest surprise came from the group behind Mickelson -- 57-year-old Tom Watson, playing this tournament for the last time.
 
Watson asked to play with his son, Michael, and the old man showed he still has a few tricks. He birdied three of his first four holes, and showed that he wasn't out for a few laughs after slapping his thigh in disgust when he missed birdie putts inside 8 feet on the sixth and seventh holes.
 
He also made birdie on the par-3 17th, but not with a chip from behind the green, as he did in 1982 when he won the U.S. Open. The flag was on the other side of the green, and Watson only had to make a 15-foot birdie putt.
 
It led to a 68, leaving him six shots behind at 6-under 138.
 
'He's playing great,' Mickelson said. 'I saw him birdie 17, which was nice.'
 
This tournament still won't come into clear view until after Saturday, when everyone completes the three-course rotation. Mickelson heads to Spyglass Hill, where he opened with a 62 two years ago on his way to a wire-to-wire victory. Furyk takes on Pebble Beach, and he can only hope the wind stays away for one more day. Pebble is a beast when the wind blows, a pushover when it doesn't.
 
Sutherland gets Poppy Hills, but he pays so little attention to these matters that his only concern is getting on the right shuttle.
 
'Is Poppy notoriously the easiest of the three?' he asked.
 
That's usually the case, although without the wind, Pebble was the place to be on Friday. It was the only course in the rotation that played under par (71.66), and Mickelson did his best to take advantage.
 
He birdied his first two holes, picking one up on the par-5 second with one of those shots created years ago in his backyard. He had to play a flop shop over the bunker, with the green running away from him and only 10 feet between the fringe and the cup. Mickelson hit it some 5 feet to the left of the flag, and it spun sideways to about 20 inches.
 
But he missed good opportunities at the fourth, fifth and sixth holes and dropped a shot on the ninth when he missed the green. Then came his three straight birdies on the back, finishing with a slick downhill putt on the 15th that went in from the side.
 
'I probably let a few shots go in the first nine or 10 holes, and I picked up some shots on the last eight or nine holes that I probably shouldn't have,' Mickelson said. 'So it was a good day.'
 
Divots:
Not only is Tom Watson in a tie for eighth, he is tied for second in the pro-am competition with his son. Watson is heavily involved with Michael, coaching him after a duffed chip at No. 6 and picking clubs and yardages for him. 'Play it like it's 95 yards,' he intently told Michael on the seventh tee, and the son obliged by hitting it to 4 feet. 'Atta boy!' Watson shouted, showing that gap-tooth grin. On the next tee, Watson walked up to his son and told him, 'It's 230 yards to the cliffs -- hit your hybrid 2, take it just off the right of that tan house,' he said.
 
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  • Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

    Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

    By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

    Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

    Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

    “Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

    Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

    “When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

    Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

    “Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

    In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

    “Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

    Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

    “The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

    Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

    “Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

    Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

    Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

    LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

    Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

    Christina Kim:

    LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

    LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

    LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

    LPGA pro Jennie Lee:

    Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

    Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

    ''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

    ''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

    Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

    ''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

    Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

    Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday.