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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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x