Mickelson Shares 36-Hole Nissan Lead

By Associated PressFebruary 16, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Nissan OpenLOS ANGELES -- Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington spent Friday afternoon on opposite sides of Riviera as they played vastly different styles. All they had in common when the second round ended was a share of the lead at the Nissan Open.
 
Mickelson got hot with his irons on the back nine with back-to-back birdies inside 5 feet and a mammoth 3-wood from 287 yards that set up an eagle on the 17th hole, sending him to a 6-under 65 and a chance to win for the second straight week.
 
Padriag Harrington in action during the second round of the PGA TOUR
Padraig Harrington shares the lead heading into the weekend at Riviera. (Wire Images)
Harrington only made two pars on his first 10 holes, a round filled with brilliance and bogeys, until he finally settled down in the twilight hours off Sunset Boulevard to polish off a 68.
 
They were at 11-under 131, three shots clear of Charles Howell III.
 
Mickelson hasn't played Riviera since 2001, and he only added this tournament to his schedule at the last minute to test the newfound confidence in his driver. Two rounds has sent it soaring.
 
He reached all three par 5s in two, none more impressive than the 17th. Coming off his only bogey of the tournament, when he pulled his tee shot into a back bunker on the par-3 16th, Mickelson hit a bullet of a tee shot down the left side of the fairway some 310 yards. He followed that with a hard 3-wood that drew slightly and found the middle of the green, rolling to 15 feet.
 
'I just flushed it,' Mickelson said. 'It was a nice way to finish.'
 
It was another command performance, similar to last week at Pebble Beach when he won by five shots. He only missed four fairways, but none of them were off the fairway by much, and he never had a problem going after the flag.
 
He finished his round with an approach that sailed right of the green, but a flop shot landed softly and trickled 4 feet below the hole, allowing him to save par and go into another weekend in the final group. The next quiz comes on the weekend, for Mickelson has made the cut only five times in nine tries at the Nissan Open, and he has never finished in the top 10.
 
'It's a good start for two rounds,' Mickelson said. 'But one of the best players in the world, Padraig Harrington, is tied for the lead. The greens are going to be firm. It's going to be hard to get the ball close to the hole. It's going to be a challenge.'
 
Harrington found himself scrambling from the start, three-putting for bogey on No. 10 when he missed a 4-foot putt. But every mistake was followed by birdies on par 3s and good wedge play.
 
Howell was in the first group off and matched Mickelson for the best score of the day, playing bogey-free for a 65 to finish at 134. Howell made four straight birdies around the turn, two of them par 5s.
 
Sergio Garcia chipped in for birdie on the 17th on his way to a 68 and was in the group at 135 that included David Howell (68) and Pat Perez (69). Ernie Els didn't hit a fairway on the back nine until the 18th hole, and missed birdie putts inside 12 feet on his final two holes for a 68 that left him at 5-under 137, along with Jim Furyk (70) and Rich Beem (68).
 
Charles Howell III, the 27-year-old American, hasn't won in five years, but he took another step toward ending that drought. He already has two runner-up finishes this year, at the Sony Open and Buick Invitational.
 
'The best thing I can do is keep giving myself chances,' said Howell, who was at 8-under 134.
 
He gave himself plenty of chances around the turn, facing a three-hole stretch of two par 5s. Howell not only took care of the par 5s, he threw in birdies on the 18th with an 8-iron into 15 feet, and on No. 2 with an 8-iron into 10 feet.
 
'Riviera is an interesting golf course,' he said. 'There's a few birdie holes out here, and then all of a sudden you have a run of a few holes were par is a good score. So playing holes No. 17 and No. 1, you really have to make birdie on those holes.'
 
Garcia, among several international players making his PGA Tour debut at Riviera, finished strong. He traded birdies and bogeys most of the round until sticking his tee shot within 2 feet on the par-3 14th, holing a 10-foot birdie on the par-3 16th and chipping in on the 17th with a shot that quickly changed his mood.
 
He laid up on the par 5, but hung out his wedge to the right rough. But when the chip banged off the pin and disappeared into the hole, the Spaniard was all smiles.
 
'I just thought, 'What the hell? Why don't you just chip this in?'' he said. 'And it worked out.'
 
U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and former British Open champion Ben Curtis were among those at 4-under 138, while former Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman finally showed signs of life with a 66 that put him at 139.
 
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  • 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.