Mickelson, Donald in the hunt at Scottish Open

By Associated PressJuly 14, 2012, 5:40 pm

INVERNESS, Scotland – Francesco Molinari held off a barrage of challengers at the Scottish Open on Saturday, shooting a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round.

The Italian, who held the overnight lead with Alexander Noren, remained consistent in changing weather around the Castle Stuart links to stay in front at 17 under.

After a third straight low-scoring day, Anders Hansen is Molinari's closest challenger after a 65. Hansen upstaged his top-ranked playing partner Luke Donald (68), while Phil Mickelson also carded a 65 and sits three shots back in a tie with three others.

Noren was among that quartet at 14 under. The Swede, who finished with a 70, kept pace with Molinari until a triple-bogey 8 on No. 12 after losing his ball in bushes off the tee.

Molinari is looking to emulate older brother Edoardo, who won the Scottish Open in 2010 when it was staged at Loch Lomond. They would be the second siblings to win the same event on the European Tour, after the victories of Antonio and German Garrido at the Madrid Open in the 1970s.

''I think it's going to need more than 20 under to win,'' said Molinari, who has already won this year at the Open de Espana. ''So I need to play like today and give myself plenty of chances.''

Molinari shot a tournament record-tying 62 in the first round and will have either shared the lead or held it on his own all four days.

Soren Kjeldsen and Marc Warren are two strokes behind after 64s - the lowest rounds of the day along with Martin Laird.

Scottish players Warren, Laird and Peter Whiteford (66) are all in the top eight, boosting hopes for a first home winner of the event since Colin Montgomerie in 1999.

With Donald failing to build on a bright start in glorious lunchtime conditions, when the rain stayed off and the flags were limp, Mickelson could now be Molinari's biggest challenger.

The American proved he is returning to form - less than a week before the start of the British Open - by building on a second-round 64 with another blitz of eight birdies. Six of those came on the back nine and he finished just as the day's only burst of heavy rain came.

Mickelson believes the wind will need to pick up if Molinari is going to be stopped on Sunday.

''We'll see more bogeys and we'll see the golf course play the way it's capable of playing,'' said the triple Masters champion, who was only entered for the event on Sunday after getting a late invitation. ''I think for us to catch the leaders, we need a little bit of weather.''

Mickelson played 12 holes at a local club Friday night to get some more practice in ahead of this weekend, and also with the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in mind.

Of the 77 players to make the cut, only 12 failed to shoot par or better Saturday. Two of that dozen came in the next-to-last pairing, with Ricardo Gonzalez (75) and Matteo Manassero (73) falling off the pace after being well-placed on Friday.

Donald, the defending champion, will still feel he has a chance of winning after birdies on two of the last three holes.

''Players have proved there are low scores out there and the leaders feel a bit more pressure and are more hesitant, and I feel I can use that a bit to my advantage to catch them up,'' he said.

Molinari, however, has dropped shots on only two of his 54 holes so far this week.

''I just have to start from scratch now,'' Molinari said.

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Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”

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Rory almost channels Tiger with 72nd-hole celebration

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:11 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy’s final putt at the Arnold Palmer Invitational felt awfully familiar.

He rolled in the 25-footer for birdie and wildly pumped his fist, immediately calling to mind Woods’ heroics on Bay Hill’s 18th green.

Three times Woods holed a putt on the final green to win this event by a stroke.

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McIlroy was just happy to provide a little extra cushion as the final group played the finishing hole.

“I’ve seen Tiger do that enough times to know what it does,” McIlroy said. “So I just wanted to try and emulate that. I didn’t quite give it the hat toss – I was thinking about doing that. But to be able to create my own little bit of history on the 18th green here is pretty special.”

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McIlroy remembers Arnie dinner: He liked A-1 sauce on fish

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 1:06 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Fresh off a stirring victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy offered a pair of culinary factoids about two of the game’s biggest names.

McIlroy regretted not being able to shake Palmer’s hand behind the 18th green after capping a three-shot win with a Sunday 64, but with the trophy in hand he reflected back on a meal he shared with Palmer at Bay Hill back in 2015, the year before Palmer passed away.

“I knew that he liked A-1 sauce on his fish, which was quite strange,” McIlroy said. “I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A-1 sauce?’ And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ He said, ‘No, for me.’”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

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A few minutes later, McIlroy revealed that he is also a frequent diner at The Woods Jupiter, the South Florida restaurant launched by Tiger Woods. In fact, McIlroy explained that he goes to the restaurant every Wednesday with his parents – that is, when he’s not spanning the globe winning golf tournaments.

Having surveyed the menu a few times, he considers himself a fan.

“It’s good. He seems pretty hands-on with it,” McIlroy said. “Tuna wontons are good, the lamb lollipops are good. I recommend it.”

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DeChambeau comes up short: 'Hat’s off to Rory'

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 12:48 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Amid a leaderboard chock full of big names and major winners, the person that came closest to catching Rory McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational turned out to by Bryson DeChambeau.

While Henrik Stenson faltered and Justin Rose stalled out, it was DeChambeau that gave chase to McIlroy coming down the stretch at Bay Hill. Birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 were followed by an eagle out of the rough on No. 16, which brought him to within one shot of the lead.

But as DeChambeau surveyed his birdie putt from the fringe on the penultimate hole, McIlroy put an effective end to the proceedings with a closing birdie of his own to polish off a round of 64. DeChambeau needed a hole-out eagle on No. 18 to force a playoff, and instead made bogey.

That bogey ultimately didn’t have an effect on the final standings, as DeChambeau finished alone in second place at 15 under, three shots behind McIlroy after shooting a 4-under 68.

“I thought 15 under for sure would win today,” DeChambeau said. “Rory obviously played some incredible golf. I don’t know what he did on the last nine, but it was deep. I know that.”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

DeChambeau will collect $961,000 for his performance this week in Orlando, just $47,000 less than he got for winning the John Deere Classic in July. While he would have preferred to take McIlroy’s spot in the winner’s circle, DeChambeau was pleased with his effort in Sunday’s final pairing as he sets his sights on a return to the Masters.

“For him to shoot 64 in the final round, that’s just, hat’s off to him, literally. I can’t do anything about that,” DeChambeau said. “I played some great golf, had some great up-and-downs, made a couple key putts coming down the stretch, and there’s not really much more I can do about it. My hat’s off to Rory, and he played fantastic.”