Storms halt St Jude Classic with Brian Gay holding lead

By Associated PressJune 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. ' Phil Mickelson is looking a bit more at ease, the golf course providing some of the distraction he wanted while he and his wife deals with her breast cancer.
 
Now if he can just his putter back under control.
 
Mickelson just missed a couple birdie attempts Friday, then cost himself a stroke when a par putt lipped out. Not that he got the chance to correct his stroke during the second round of the St. Jude Classic. He marked his tee shot in the 16th fairway, got a ride off the course and jumped into his car after play was stopped ahead of thunderstorms that had tornado sirens wailing.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson reacts to a missed putt Friday at the St. Jude Classic. (Getty Images)
Play was halted and fans and players were cleared from the TPC Southwind course when the horn sounded 10 minutes before thunder could be heard on Friday. Tornado sirens then went off approximately 40 minutes after play was stopped with the storm tossing equipment around the course and knocking power out in parts of town.
 
Brian Gay held the clubhouse lead after a 4-under 66 put him at 10-under 130 through 36 holes, two strokes ahead of Robert Allenby and Bryce Molder (63), with Allenby having three holes to play. A total of 78 golfers still must finish when the second round resumes Saturday morning.
 
Mickelson was at 4 under with three birdies and a bogey in his first event since announcing his wife has breast cancer. This is a tuneup for the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, and his preparation showed when he pulled an iron instead of driver or a wood on the tee a couple times Friday.
 
Hundreds of fans followed Mickelson from hole to hole yet again at the TPC Southwind course, many wearing pink in support of Mickelson and the fight against breast cancer.
 
The star this week is Phil Mickelson, said John Senden, who shot a 66.
 
Mickelson appeared much more relaxed Friday, even laughing a couple times during breaks with playing partner Padraig Harrington. He started tied for 19th at 2 under and began with three straight pars on a day with almost no wind and near perfect scoring conditions until the storm approached.
 
He finally got going with a birdie on No. 4 ' the first of three birdies over the next six holes.
 
He mashed his drive 348 yards on the par-4 9th, staying dry when his ball stopped within a few feet right of the pond guarding the front left of the green. He stuck his approach within 5 feet from the pin and rolled in another putt for birdie to move to 5 under.
 
Then came the struggles with the putter. Mickelson left a birdie attempt short on No. 11 and had to tap in for par. He pulled an iron off the tee on the par-4 No. 12 and laid up to avoid the lake along the right fairway before dropping his second shot 12 feet from the cup. His birdie attempt rolled just right of the hole and a couple feet past.
 
Then Mickelson pushed his drive into the rough, coming up a couple feet short of knee-high weeds. He bogeyed the hole but not because of that drive. He missed a 25-footer for birdie, then lipped out a 3-footer for par when the ball hit the back of the cup and turned out right.
 
He laid up again on the par-4 15th and had a short birdie putt he pushed a couple feet past with his frustration starting to show.
 
Mickelson rebounded with a strong drive on the par-5 16th, a good scoring hole especially with him 210 yards away. The horn blasted so he handed his ball to his caddie, got into a cart and was driven off the course. He didnt stop to talk as he headed to his car to beat a storm with sideways rain and winds that tossed equipment across the course.
 
Woody Austin (66) was tied at 133 with a group including David Toms, the two-time champ here who was at 7 under with four to play. Rich Beem (68) and Loren Roberts (67) were among those tied at 134.
 
Gay birdied five of his first eight holes and got as low as 12 under when he birdied the par-4 12th and 15th to become the first to reach 12 under. But he bogeyed his final two holes and fell back to 10-under 130 through 36 holes.
 
Its the third time Gay has led after 36 holes but the 130 total is the best of his career. He needed only 23 putts Friday and has a tournament-best 14 birdies after picking up in the morning where he left off the first round Thursday afternoon. He won at Hilton Head in April by 10 strokes and said he likes to be in the lead.
 
I did pretty good being ahead last time, so I was telling myself on the back nine out there to, I was really trying to push and try to make as many birdies as I could but probably pulled the wrong club on a couple holes coming in, Gay said.
 
Allenby lost here in a playoff a year ago. He had just bogeyed No. 6 when the horn sounded. With humidity making conditions very sticky, he doesnt mind coming back Saturday.
 
Ill probably look at it as a bonus. To get off the golf course, rest and rest up well tonight and get ready for tomorrow. Sure tomorrow is going to be a long day, but thats fine, Allenby said.
 
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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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    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.  

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

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

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    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.


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    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.

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