Mickelson takes lead over Woods Watney at HSBC

By Associated PressNovember 7, 2009, 8:07 pm

SHANGHAI (AP)—Phil Mickelson was unwinding from a day of high energy and quickturnarounds, one that took him from a two-shot deficit against Tiger Woods to atwo-shot lead over the final eight holes Saturday in the HSBC Champions.

In the quiet of the clubhouse dining room, he marveled at how much thecrowds have grown in the three years he has been coming to SheshanInternational. And he could only imagine what it would be like Sunday, when heplayed in the final group with Woods for the first time in more than four years.

Then he smiled and raised his glass in a mock toast.

“And he’s got to give me one shot a side,” Mickelson said.

Ryan Moore of the United State…
AP - Nov 7, 5:31 am EST

A rivalry that was renewed six weeks ago in Atlanta continued halfway aroundworld in China when Woods stalled with pars and Mickelson poured in threebirdies over his last five holes for a 5-under 67 and a two-shot lead over Woodsand Nick Watney in the final World Golf Championship of the year.

“I know we are both looking forward to it,” said Mickelson, who was at14-under 202. “I think it will be a fun day, and we are excited to be playingin the last group here in China.”

It will be the first time the world’s top two players have been in the finalgroup since their Duel at Doral in 2005, when Woods rallied from a two-shotdeficit in the final round to win by one.

Woods wasn’t terribly pleased to be in this position. He took his firstoutright lead of the tournament with a 15-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole.After another 15-foot birdie putt on the 10th, his lead was up to two.

That turned out to be his last birdie of the round. He missed oneopportunity on the par-5 14th, badly missed on a 6-foot birdie putt on the 16thand finished his round by driving into the rough and hitting his approach intothe bunker on the par-5 18th, having to save par for a 2-under 70.

“I didn’t putt as well as I did the first two days,” said Woods, whoopened with 67-67. “And the back nine, I didn’t take advantage of the par 5sand 16. I hit it in there stiff and missed that one as well. Consequently, I wasthree shots worse.”

Not to be forgotten is Watney, who completes this All-American—for thatmatter, all-Californian—final group. After a three-putt bogey on the 17th, the28-year-old sank a 50-foot eagle on the 18th for a 70 to join Woods at 12-under204.

“I suppose I’m kind of the odd man out there,” Watney said. “But the goalin golf is always to improve, and tomorrow will be a big step for me. Regardlessof the outcome, I’ll get a chance to watch these guys and see how they handlethemselves, and hopefully, I can handle myself well, too.”

Ryan Moore , who qualified for the HSBC Champions by winning for the firsttime on the PGA Tour in August, had a 70 and was another shot back. LeeWestwood , who is leading the Race to Dubai on the European tour, did himself ahuge favor with eight birdies in a round of 65, leaving him well in the mix at10-under 206.

“This is a golf course that you can make up a lot of shots over a round,”Westwood said.

Mickelson didn’t have that many to make up in the third round, starting onlyone shot behind and briefly sharing the lead on a couple of occasions with threebirdies in the opening five holes. His lone bogey came on the ninth, and eventhen he found a positive.

Trapped against the bushes, Lefty had to invert a wedge to play right-handedback to the fairway. It reminded him of the 12th hole at Doral in March, when healso played a right-handed shot on his way to winning his first World GolfChampionship.

“I thought that might have been a good omen, even though it led to abogey,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson came to life with a lob wedge into the strong wind to 6 feet onthe 14th, then smashing a tee shot so far on the 487-yard 15th that it wentthrough the fairway and left him only a 9-iron, which he hit to 15 feet. Hepumped his fist when the birdie putt fell, giving Mickelson his first outrightlead of the week.

He hustled across the street toward the 16th tee and said in a singsongvoice, “Somebody’s got his putter back.” He is still gleaming from going backto his old style of putting, which carried him to victory in the TourChampionship six weeks ago and helped him to an unbeaten record in thePresidents Cup.

It has taken him to another chapter in the best rivalry of this generation,one that Woods still owns.

They were paired this year at the Masters, where both lit up AugustaNational with birdies until they ran out of holes, having started too far offthe lead. Mickelson won a tournament the last time they played together in afinal round, at the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship (although they weren’t inthe final group).

Woods has attracted the largest crowds, but not by much. And with themseparated by only one group, there was hardly an empty space along the ropesover two holes.

Woods was asked if he was excited about a potential battle between No. 1 andNo. 2.

“Yeah,” he said. “We are right there. Unfortunately, I’m two back. Butit’s just one of those things where Nick and I have got a chance tomorrow, andwe’re going to have to go out there and obviously play well.”

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.