Mickelson Wins at Colonial with Clutch Putt

By Associated PressMay 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
Crowne Plaza Invitational at ColonialFT. WORTH, Texas -- Phil Mickelson made a 9-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a one-stroke victory at the Crowne Plaza Invitational over Tim Clark and Rod Pampling, who led by two strokes going to the back nine Sunday.
 
It was the 34th career victory for Mickelson, who began the final round with a one-stroke lead. But like he did the day before, Mickelson fell behind before regaining the lead on his final putt of the day.
 
Mickelson had a closing 2-under 68 to finish at 14-under 266. Mickelson won at Colonial in 2000, and has won 11 tournaments multiple times.
 
After saving par out of a greenside bunker at 188-yard 16th, Pampling still led by a stroke.
 
But on the ensuing drive at the 382-yard 17th, Pampling (68) hit the ball way right toward a ditch. He had to take a penalty stroke after a drop'though that put his ball where it could be seen rather than buried in heavy rough at the edge of a concrete gully. He managed to get the approach shot into a bunker, then blasted to 4 feet, pushing both arms in the air before tapping in the bogey. That came after Mickelson had two-putted from 28 feet for par.
 
Mickelson still kept it interesting, pushing his final drive well left into the rough between trees. Pampling put his drive in the center of the fairway.
 
Lefty calmly hit the shot, then took a couple of steps before jogging out of the trees to see the ball fall near the flag. Pampling left his approach 38 feet away, making his par after Mickelson made the winning putt.
 
Pampling may have still done enough to get into the top 50 for a spot in the U.S. Open.
 
Clark had birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 to get to 13 under'and tied for the lead'that same stretch where Pampling first saved his lead only to blew it after his next shot.
 
Pampling hit his tee shot at 16 into the right greenside bunker, and blasted within 9 feet. After Mickelson made par, Pampling took extra time to examine his line and then saved par, and his one-stroke lead, pumping his right fist hard in the air as the ball dropped into the hole.
 
As Mickleson and Pampling were finishing No. 17, Clarks 14-foot birdie chance at the closing hole curled just short and he finished with a round of 66.
 
Stephen Ames (70) finished fourth at 269, a stroke ahead of Ben Crane (67).
 
Mickelson earned $1.098 million, nearly double the $594,000 check he got for winning the last Colonial eight years ago, and surpassed $49 million in career earnings. He is the 11th player to win multiple times at Hogans Alley, where five-time champion Ben Hogan is the only golfer to win more than twice.
 
Mickelson was back within a stroke after getting on the green at the 611-yard 11th in two, then two-putting from 33 feet. Pampling, the Australian native who lives in nearby Flower Mound and gets to play Colonial often, hit his first two shots at the hole out of the rough before a 13-foot birdie chance stopped right by the hole.
 
But they kept matching pars after that'until the final two holes.
 
When Mickelson got to the 6th tee in front of the huge scoreboard Sunday, he still had a one-stroke lead over Pampling. That was the spot the day before when Mickelson realized he had dropped out of the lead and three strokes behind Pampling, who was in a different group then.
 
But Mickelson didnt hold his lead much longer.
 
After driving into the right rough at the 394-yard hole, Mickelsons shot from there hit a tree branch and ricocheted left into the fairway, though he managed to save par after hitting the third shot within 3 1/2 feet. But Pampling got even with a 48-foot birdie putt off the fringe, after coming out of his stance once and turning around to ask a spectator to turn off their phone.
 
Then at No. 7, Pampling outdrove Mickelson by 60 yards and made a 7-foot birdie putt to get to 13 under, a stroke ahead.
 
Pampling made it a two-stroke lead after his approach at No. 9 was within 4 feet for another birdie. Mickelsons 16-foot attempt slid right of the hole.
 
Ames began the day tied with Pampling for second place, but came up short on some early chances and couldnt stay out of the bunkers.
 
Clark, who hasnt won yet on the PGA TOUR, got to 11 under with birdies at Nos. 6 and 8, the latter a par-3 where he made a 20-foot putt. But Clark had only pars until his consecutive birdies late.
 
Divots
 
Mickelson is the seventh Colonial winner who had at least a share of the 54-hole lead. Geoff Ogilvy, the No. 7-ranked player, followed an opening 72 with three subpar rounds and finished tied for seventh at 273. Oglivy and Mickelson were the only of the five top-10 players in the field to make the cut.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Crowne Plaza Invitational
  • Getty Images

    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

    Getty Images

    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

    Getty Images

    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

    Getty Images

    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.