Mayfair leads Mickelson two back at Quail Hollow

By Doug FergusonMay 2, 2010, 1:43 am

Quail Hollow ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Winless for almost 12 years on the PGA Tour, Billy Mayfair will take whatever he can get.

There was that Friday game he won a few weeks ago at Whisper Rock, the Arizona club where members include Geoff Ogilvy and Paul Casey. He won a match against his wife, a good college player. And he won a qualifier Monday, significant because it gave Mayfair a tee time in the Quail Hollow Championship.

Now comes a chance for the real thing.

Mayfair kept the ball in play Saturday and kept the lead at Quail Hollow, shooting a 1-under 71 to take a two-shot lead over Masters champion Phil Mickelson and Carolina favorite Davis Love III.

A victory would be his first since the 1998 Buick Open, and the first time a Monday qualifier won on the PGA Tour since Fred Wadsworth in the 1986 Southern Open.

“Today was a real test for me,” Mayfair said. “I kept it going for 18 holes and still have the lead going into tomorrow.”

It is hard for Mayfair not to get caught up in the possibilities.

He lost his PGA Tour card after the worst season of his career, and a victory would sure take care of that. He only got into Quail Hollow because of a Monday qualifier that he almost missed. Mayfair was late arriving in Charlotte, had to race to the course to make his tee time and then shot a 65, his best score of the year.

All that’s left is to hold off Mickelson, Love and a collection of players who have won far more recently than Mayfair.

“I’ve got to put it out of my mind,” he said. “I’ve got to use my 21 years of experiences out here, and I’ve got to say, ‘You know what? I’ve been out here.’ I’m a tour veteran, I’ve got a lot of veterans that are chasing me. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I know what I need to do tomorrow and how to handle it. And try to do the best I can.”

He has been good enough so far, finishing three rounds at 9-under 207. It’s his first 54-hole lead in four years.

Mickelson, in his first start since winning a third green jacket, overcame food poisoning at the start of the week and a few errant shots to put himself in a great position to join a strong list of champions at Quail Hollow. He birdied the par 5s on the back nine, and he closed with a tough two-putt from 60 feet for a 71.

He made par, and he made a point.

It was such an impossible putt that Mickelson told his caddie to leave the pin in the cup because he wasn’t aiming at the hole, wanting to avoid any chance of the ball going down a slope. Instead, he hit it well to the right, then made about a 6-footer for par.

“For as beautifully designed as this golf course is tee to green, the greens are by far the worst designed greens we play on Tour,” Mickelson said. “Even though they’re in immaculate shape, I would say that 18 would be the worst green that we have on Tour, except that it’s not even the worst on this golf course – 12 is.”

Love birdied three of his last five holes for a 4-under 68 and will play in the final group with Mayfair.

For a tournament that no longer has Tiger Woods, who missed the cut, it is not lacking in star power. Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera had a 73 and was in the group at 6-under 210 that included Pebble Beach winner Dustin Johnson (72) and J.J. Henry (71).

Another shot back was Jim Furyk, who already has won twice this year. Furyk had a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole that caught the lip and spun 5 feet away, he wound up three-putting for bogey. He still shot 71 and was right in the mix.

So was Rory McIlroy, who had to make eagle on his 16th hole Friday to make the cut on the number. Playing early Saturday, McIlroy made birdie on half of his holes for a 66. By the end of the day, he was only four shots out of the lead.

Ten players were within four shots of the top, a margin that doesn’t seem so large considering how long it has been since Mayfair has been tested like this.

The 43-year-old Mayfair is a five-time winner and still the only player to beat Woods in a playoff on the PGA Tour. That was in the 1998 Nissan Open, and he won the Buick Open later that year. That was his last victory.

He was tested the most Saturday in the middle of his round, hitting his tee shot into the creek on the par-5 seventh and making a bogey as his lead dropped to one shot. He made a tough par after hitting a tree with his tee shot on the next hole, made a good par save on the ninth, then hit a wedge to about 6 feet for birdie on the 10th.

“Once I birdied 10, I kept the momentum going,” Mayfair said.

Mickelson didn’t have much and was happy to shoot the score he did. He made birdie after hitting a spectator in the head on the par-5 10th, and despite not feeling crisp, made only three bogeys.

Mickelson has never won in his first start after the Masters.

“I didn’t have it today,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t have great control over my ball-striking and missed a number of putts that I probably could have made. But I controlled the misses, I kept the round in check, and because of the difficult conditions was able to shoot a number that kept me in contention for Sunday. So I’m excited about my opportunities tomorrow.”

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

Getty Images

Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.