Sights Set Mickelson Eyes Second Straight

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Nissan OpenLOS ANGELES -- Masters champion Phil Mickelson dropped three shots on the back nine Saturday, but a birdie at the 17th gave him a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Nissan Open.
Mickelson carded a 2-under 69 and completed 54 holes at 13-under-par 200. He is one stroke clear of fellow second-round leader Padraig Harrington, who shot 70 in round three.
Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington enters the final round one back of Phil Mickelson. (WireImage)
Mickelson, who earned his 30th PGA TOUR crown at Pebble Beach last week, and Harrington are both looking for their first win at this event.
Former PGA champion Rich Beem had the shot of the day as he aced the par-3 14th at Riviera Country Club. That helped him card the low round of the day, a 6-under 65, which moved him from a tie for eighth to solo third.
'I stole my reaction from Peter Jacobsen. He made one I don't know how many years ago, but he hopped into the convertible and acted like he was driving,' said Beem, who jumped on top of a nearby Nissan that he won for the hole-in-one. 'I've been working really hard on my game. I've been swinging at it great so it is nice to see the work payoff.'
Beem stands at 11-under-par 202. He is searching for his first PGA TOUR win since the 2002 PGA Championship. Robert Allenby, the 2001 winner here, and Charles Howell III share fourth place minus-10.
Mickelson looked like he was going to run away from the field early. He converted back-to-back birdie chances from the first to pull two clear of Harrington.
The Irishman responded with a birdie of his own at the third. However, Harrington gave that stroke back when he was unable to get up and down for par after missing the green at the par-3 sixth.
Mickelson parred seven straight from the third, six of those were two-putt pars. He dropped his approach within 3 feet at the 10th to set up his third birdie of the round.
The 36-year-old Mickelson came right back with an up-and-down birdie on the par-5 11th. Harrington matched that birdie to remain three back.
Things took a turn for the worse for Mickelson. He knocked his second shot to the back fringe on 12 and three-putted for bogey from there.
Mickelson missed a 6-foot par putt at the next to slide back to 13 under.
After a pair of pars, he missed the green at the par-3 16th and again could not save par. That bogey dropped Mickelson into a share of the lead with Harrington at 12 under.
Mickelson steadied himself with a 4-foot birdie putt on 17. He nearly chipped in for birdie on 18, but settled for a tap-in par and a one-stroke lead.
'I fought my swing a little bit all day even though I was 4 under through 11,' said Mickelson. 'Those three bogeys let a lot of people back into it. A lot of people have a chance tomorrow. On the other hand, I am leading going into the final round, which is a good thing.'
Harrington, after his birdie on 12, parred the final seven holes to finish one back.
'I had a few chances there in the end, some 6-foot putts, that didn't go in, but I'm not too worried about that,' Harrington stated. 'It would have been nice to get a few birdies out there and get to 15 or 16 under par and take a few of the guys out of it. Of course, we still have to play the last day anyway.'
Former major championship winners Ernie Els and Jim Furyk each shot 67 on Saturday. They stand alongside Sergio Garcia (69) at 9-under-par 204. K.J. Choi and U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy are one stroke further back at minus- eight.
Defending champion Rory Sabbatini is tied for 11th at 7-under-par 206.
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm