Mickelson Wedges into Lead at Colonial

By Associated PressMay 23, 2008, 4:00 pm
Crowne Plaza Invitational at ColonialFT. WORTH, Texas -- Phil Mickelson is carrying five different wedges in his bag at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. Hes used every one of them'very effectively.
 
Along with his putter.
 
Mickelson had 11 one-putts and converted all six sand saves in a 2-under 68 in the second round Friday to take the lead at 7-under 133. The worlds No. 2-ranked player led Matt Kuchar (64), Brian Gay (65) and Johnson Wagner (71) by one stroke.
 
It was probably the best putting round Ive had all year, said Mickelson, who needed only 25 putts.
 
Thats because Mickelson kept setting himself up with the short clubs. From the fairways, the rough and the bunkers.
 
Only four of his one-putts were 9 feet or longer (the longest was 18 feet). Three of those came at Nos. 3-5, the trio of holes known as Colonials horrible horseshoe because of the difficulty and layout of that stretch, where he hit his approach into greenside bunkers each time and saved par. That was part of his final nine holes.
 
Those putts kept the round going, Mickelson said. When I got through those holes, I thought I could get a couple of birdies coming in. I had a couple of good chances.
 
Mickelson didnt lower his score after that, missing a 6-foot birdie on No. 7 before his short approach at No. 9 bounced over the hole and he slid an 8-footer just past. But the 2000 Colonial champion, here for the first time in three years, still stayed alone at the top of the leaderboard.
 
Wagner, the first-round leader by two strokes, got a birdie on his second hole, the 611-yard 11th. But he three-putted from 27 feet for bogey at the par-3 13th and had double bogey after hitting his approach at No. 15 into a water canal. There were no more miscues, but only one more birdie.
 
Gay had a bogey-free round, including a 46-foot blast out of the bunker at the 171-yard 13th that was the first of his three birdies over the last six holes.
 
Kuchar, whose only victory on the PGA Tour came in 2002, started his round with four straight birdies. He opened with a 25-foot putt before a pair of 31-footers.
 
Seeing a putt go in on the first hole gets you off on the right foot, said Kuchar, who had 26 putts and only one bogey. Its awfully fun to see the ball fall in the hole.
 
To make room for an extra wedge, Mickelson hasnt carried a 3-wood at tree-lined Hogans Alley, the old-style 7,054-yard layout that is pretty much the same as it was when Ben Hogan won there five times from 1946-59.
 
This is a tournament where Ill hit a lot of drives, a lot more drivers than I thought I was going to hit in an effort to get it down there and make some birdies, Mickelson said. Ive used every wedge in my bag each round. I think the decision is paying off because Ive given myself more birdie opportunities.
 
Mickelson started with two bogeys his first seven holes, flubbing a short chip shot the 448-yard 14th before missing the green and two-putting from 22 feet at the par-3 16th. Three consecutive birdies preceded the horseshoe.
 
The 18-foot birdie at the 433-yard 18th hole got the streak started. Mickelson went into the greenside bunker at the 563-yard, par-5 No. 1 hole, hitting that shot within 5 feet. Then after almost driving the green at No. 2, a 387-yard dogleg-right, he pitched over a bunker to about 5 feet for another birdie to get to 7 under.
 
Lefty hit from the rough to a greenside bunker at No. 3, setting up a 12-foot par saver that led him to pump his fist. There were more bunkers, and more fist pumps after saving par with a 9-foot putt at the 252-yard No. 4 and a 12-footer at No. 5.
 
It wasnt anywhere near as tough as it was (Thursday), but my score didnt reflect it, said Mickelson, who opened with a 65. I probably didnt strike it quite as well as I did (Thursday), but I made up for it with some good putting.
 
Geoff Ogilvy, ranked No. 7 in the world, had a stretch of five straight birdies'from Nos. 17-3, all less than 12 feet'on way to his 64 after an opening 72.
 
They werent crazy putts, said Ogilvy, whose only bogey came on his 16th hole. Just the kind of putts guys hole when they shot a 6 under.
 
Divots
 
Defending champion Rory Sabbatini (144) missed the cut. Gay was born in Fort Worth, but lived their only as a baby. There were five top-10 players in the field, the most at Colonial since 2004. Only Mickelson and Ogilvy made the cut. Going home were K.J. Choi (143); Jim Furyk (144), who didnt have a birdie Friday; and Steve Stricker (147), who had consecutive double bogeys. Two-time Colonial champion Corey Pavin (1985, 1996) was 6 under before he bogeyed No. 4, his 13th hole, after missing the green. Pavin tossed his club to the bag as soon as he chipped 9 feet past the pin. He ended with another bogey and a 69, after an opening 67.
 
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''