Imada leads by two at Torrey Pines Mickelson four back
Imada avoided the trouble that caught up with so many other contenders Saturday, making only one bogey and escaping with several key pars for a 2-under 70 that gave him a two-shot lead over Ben Crane and Michael Sim in the Farmers Insurance Open.
Imada essentially won the B-Flight two years ago when he closed with a 67 to finish eight shots behind Woods. No matter the score or who’s in the field, he obviously has figured out something about the tough South Course at Torrey Pines.
He was at 13-under 203 and will be in the final group with Crane, who had a 69, and Sim, the 25-year-old Australian playing Torrey Pines for the first time since he was a teenager at the Junior World Championship in 2002.
“The score looks pretty solid, but it was a struggle out there,” Imada said.
He made a nifty up-and-down from short of the 15th green for one par, saved another par from left of the 16th green, and finished the day with a 35-foot birdie putt that gave him a slightly bigger cushion than he expected.
For so many others, birdies were offset by adventures.
Phil Mickelson lost a ball in a eucalyptus tree and took double bogey, then rallied for a 70 and was four shots behind. U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover made double bogey on one of the easiest par 4s, then followed with four birdies for a 68, leaving him three shots behind going into Sunday.
D.A. Points, who shared the lead with Imada after two rounds, kept pace until he chipped over the 14th green and into the hazard, scrambling for a double bogey. He had a 74, although he was still in the mix.
Ten players were separated by four shots going into the final round, which isn’t much on a course that hosted the U.S. Open in 2008.
“You cannot predict what’s going to happen in this game, especially on this course,” Crane said.
Mickelson would not have predicted seeing a ball get stuck in a tree – two days in a row. On Friday, it happened in his group to Ryan Palmer. This time, it was Lefty who stared up into the eucalyptus tree, even sending a young fan up the tree to help.
“My short game kept me in it,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t hit the ball the way I’ve been hitting it coming in. I don’t feel like it’s far off. But at least I’m in a position now where a good round tomorrow can get it done.”
Mickelson and so many others were in range.
Brandt Snedeker, who played in the final group at Torrey Pines in 2007, birdied the last hole for a 68 and was in the group at 207 along with Mickelson, K.J. Choi (69), highly regarded rookie Rickie Fowler (70), Matt Every (72) and Points.
Ernie Els had a 69 to lead the group at 8-under 208 that also featured Robert Allenby, who has two victories and a runner-up finish in his last three tournaments.
“You can’t really fake it around here,” Els said.
That much was clear on a sun-filled day along the Pacific bluffs. Points was one shot out of the lead and in front of the 14th green trying it pitch to a back pin. It came out a little strong, tumbled down the hill and into a hazard.
Even more adventurous was Mickelson.
He drove left over the cliff on the fourth hole and down the hill in the plants, just above Black’s Beach. Mickelson found his ball, managed to get it back onto the golf course and then thrilled his large crowd with a par.
He wasn’t as fortunate with his next mistake.
Mickelson hit another tee shot to the left on the par-4 seventh, and the fans could hear it clatter into a eucalyptus tree. They just couldn’t hear it land. By the time Mickelson arrived at the base of a tree, rules official Steve Rintoul already had his binoculars out. He had spotted one ball lodged in the branches, but couldn’t identify it as a Callaway with Mickelson’s markings.
One man offered to climb into the tree. Mickelson, not as spry at age 39, gave his full blessing. The man climbed 10 feet into the tree and shook with all his might as the crowd cheered him on. The ball never came down, but it moved enough for Mickelson to realize it wasn’t his. He headed back to the tee and hit another drive behind the trees, and did well to escape with double bogey.
By the end of the day, he still had a chance.
Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)
The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...
And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.
Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas
He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.
Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.
Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.
In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.
Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.
Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.
Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ
Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year
And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.
They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.
Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.
Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.
''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''
The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.
In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''
Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.