Mickelson in contention in Phoenix Open

By Associated PressFebruary 6, 2011, 6:39 am
  • Waste Management Phoenix OpenSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Phil Mickelson was locked in concentration over a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th, the some 20,000 onlookers mostly quiet on the amphitheater hole except a fan who screamed “Tiger would make it!”

Playing partner Bill Haas heard it, but Mickelson was oblivious to the slight, perfectly striking the putt that drew a thunderous cheer when it dropped in.

“It’s Saturday of the Phoenix Open. It’s always fun,” Mickelson said. “There’s a lot of people out here. I don’t think there’s a shot I wanted to make more, other than a major championship, than that putt on 16. I wanted to make that so bad.

“To see that go in with the crowd right there was a great feeling.”

Golf Channel will receive hand-off coverage of the Waste Management Phoenix Open from CBS at 6 p.m. ET and air it until PGA Tour officials end play at the end of the day.

Golf Channel will also air the conclusion of the event Monday at 11 a.m. ET.

The birdie and another on the short par-4 17th helped Mickelson close within four strokes of leader Tommy Gainey halfway through the frost-delayed tournament.

“There’s a lot of golf left,” Mickelson said. “Even though it’s Saturday – it feels like it’s the third round – but we’ve only played two, so we’re halfway through and to be within a few shots, it’s where everybody is trying to get to.”

The former Arizona State star, the 1996 and 2005 winner at TPC Scottsdale, birdied six of the last 11 holes for a 6-under 65. He was 10 under for two rounds in the tournament that will end Monday because of long delays Thursday and Friday.

Gainey played nine holes Saturday, finishing off a 65 after shooting a career-best 63 on Friday. He missed the cut in his first three events of the year.

“My ball-striking is really good,” Gainey said. “I hit a couple bad shots today, but they wasn’t bad enough to get in any trouble. I always think that’s a good thing, because as we all know, golf is a game of misses, so my misses today were pretty good.”

Mark Wilson was 13 under, completing a 64 on Saturday.

“Everything just flowed good today,” Wilson said. “I felt very calm.”

Haas was 12 under after his second 65. He lost a playoff two weeks ago in the Bob Hope Classic, then tied for ninth at Torrey Pines after fading in the final round.

“I really felt good going into Sunday last week and shot 75, so I’d argue that I’m not 100 percent sharp, just had some good finishes,” Haas said. “But to come out after doing that and shoot a pair of 65s feels pretty good.”

Chris Couch (65) was 11 under.

Rickie Fowler – dressed head to toe in bright green as part of title sponsor Waste Management’s “GreenOut” – had a 62 to join Mickelson at 10 under.

Fowler tied the course back-nine record with a 7-under 29. He eagled the par-5 13th, holing an 8-footer after a 329-yard drive and 220-yard, 5-iron approach, and birdied the 16th after nearly making a hole-in-one.

“I saw some of the scoreboards and knew that I was around the cut line early on and basically had to step on the gas and get going,” said Fowler, second last year behind Hunter Mahan. “I love this tournament.”

The third round started late in the afternoon and only 48 of the 74 players who made the cut teed off before play was suspended because of darkness. They will play until dark again Sunday, then finish Monday morning.

Mickelson, second last week in San Diego, needs a solo third-place finish or better to move past Tiger Woods for No. 3 in the world. If Lefty gets it done, it would be the first time since the week before the 1997 Masters that he has been ranked ahead of Woods.

“I really want to try to come out on top here,” Mickelson said. “I’ve won twice here in the past, and it was very special.

“I spent 12 great years here and went to college here, and my wife and I met here. We lived here for a number of years and had our first two children here. This is a special place. I love coming back. I love the way people treat us.”

The crowd was estimated at 131,627, up from 121,221 on Saturday last year. In colder weather, the attendance was 38,323 Thursday and 74,723 Friday.

Jarrod Lyle had a hole-in-one on No. 16 in the second round. The husky Australian, 5 under overall early in the third round, used an 8-iron on the 150-yard hole.

“That’s my first hole-in-one as a professional,” he said. “Of all the holes to have a hole-in-one in the world, this is probably the best one that you can think of.

“I probably carried on down there, but it’s just one of those things where the crowd spurs you on a little bit and I was trying to spur the crowd on a little bit, too, to make it as loud as possible. It was just an incredible feeling.”

Brendan Steele aced the 174-yard 12th with a 7-iron in the second round. He was 5 under early in the third round.

Because of frost and frozen greens, about 7 1/2 hours of anticipated playing time was lost Thursday and Friday – after the pro-am was wiped out Wednesday.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.