Mickelson Makes Move Still Four Back

By Associated PressAugust 14, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipHAVEN, Wis. -- Phil Mickelson is starting to cast a huge shadow in the majors. Pursuing his second major victory of the season at the PGA Championship, the Masters champ moved into a five-way tie for third place Saturday with a 5-under 67. He is four shots back of third-round leader Vijay Singh and three behind Justin Leonard heading into Sunday's final round.
Still, Mickelson likes his chances. And, who can argue with the way he's played down the stretch this year? In addition to his breakthrough win at Augusta National, Lefty finished second at the U.S. Open and third at the British Open.
Now, he's in good shape to become the first player to finish in the top three in all four majors in the same year. The fact that he'll be playing in the second-to-last group doesn't hurt. He played in the final group at the Masters and in the second-to-last group at the U.S. and British Opens.
'I'll get a chance to go out ahead of them and try to put some pressure on,' said Mickelson, who posted a pair of 67s around an even-par 72.
He is confident he can go lower.
'I think so. I think today's round was really close,' he said. 'I think the back side, I had a couple of chances to really make a special round and just came up one or two shots shy.'
Mickelson got some help in moving into a prime tee time Sunday. Darren Clarke, Briny Baird, Ernie Els and Stephen Ames all dropped shots over the final holes enabling Mickelson to move past them in the final-round pairings.
He's tied for third at 8 under with Els, Ames, Clarke and Chris Riley.
Now, if he can only get a little help from Whistling Straits, which has yet to live up to its name.
'I would like to see it blow 20-30 knots,' Mickelson said after his third round that included six birdies - five on the front side - and just one bogey. 'That would be my ideal situation. I'd still have to shoot under par, but if its like it was today, I may go 6, 7, 8 under and it may not be enough..'
Billed as the longest course (7,514 yards) in majors history, this links-style layout on the shores of Lake Michigan has been a real softy this week. The forecast for Sunday is for sunny skies, temperatures in the 70s and more gentle breezes.
'If we don't have more adverse conditions, it will be tough to catch the leaders,' he said.
Mickelson started the third round at 3 under and birdied three of his first four holes. He kept the run going by knocking in a 40-foot putt - he thought it was 50 feet - for par at the dangerous par-5 fifth. That was a huge save for Mickelson, who thinned a 7-iron out of a bunker while trying to lay up on the hole named the 'Snake.'
On Friday, he needed four shots to reach the green and three-putted for a double-bogey 7.
'Yesterday I had a 50-footer for par as well and three-putted,' he said. 'Today, it went in, kept my momentum going and I birdied the next hole. That was a critical shot.'
Mickelson was 8 under after making the turn in 31, but his only birdie on the inward nine - at No. 16 - was ified by a bogey at 11.
'I got off to a great start, I was 5 under and thought if I could get to 10 that would be a great spot,' he said.
Mickelson would be closer to the lead if not for an even-par 72 on Friday. He was 3 under early in that round, but couldn't keep it going.
'You want to be in the lead,' he said. 'It's much easier having a couple of shots in hand than it is trying to chase because you don't have room for error. '
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - PGA Championship
  • Photo Gallery - Whistling Straits
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Course Tour - Whistling Straits
    Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

    PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

    She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

    “I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

    Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

    “Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

    She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

    “I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

    Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

    She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

    “They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

    Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

    While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

    “Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

    Getty Images

    Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

    PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

    In fact, she named her “Mona.”

    For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

    While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

    And that has her excited about this year.

    Well, that and having a healthy back again.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

    Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

    Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

    She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

    Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

    Getty Images

    Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

    By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

    PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

    Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

    Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.

    Getty Images

    Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:26 am

    PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.

    With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.

    After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.

    “I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”

    It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.

    Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.

    “It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”

    Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.

    “Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”

    Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).

    Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.

    “It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”

    Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.

    “This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”

    Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.