Stricker leads by five as Round 3 suspended

By Doug FergusonFebruary 7, 2010, 7:27 am
Northern Trust OpenLOS ANGELES – Steve Stricker had quite the Hollywood experience during a night out from the Northern Trust Open.

He went to a Lakers game Friday and spent more time watching the stars than players. Denzel Washington in the parking lot. Jack Nicholson courtside, along with George Lopez and one of the Kardashian sisters (he looked it up on the Internet – it was Khloe).

In unexpected sunshine Saturday afternoon at Riviera, Stricker was the star of his own show.
Phil Mickelson
Two-time defending champion Phil Mickelson shot 71 despite an eagle on the first hole. (Getty Images)
With an impeccable display of wedges and putting during a pivotal stretch in the middle of his round, Stricker turned a one-shot deficit into a five-shot lead in the Northern Trust Open before darkness halted the third round as he faced a 30-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole.

“I did a lot of good things,” said Stricker, who was at 14 under par.

The clubhouse leaders were Luke Donald, who shot a bogey-free 66, and J.B. Holmes, who made one final birdie to finish his 67. They were at 9-under 204, tied with Andres Romero, who was 9 under and in the final group with Stricker.

Stricker wasn’t sure how big his lead had grown, nor did he care. All that mattered was returning to Riviera at 7 a.m. Sunday to finish off the third round, and trying to keep hitting the shots that put him in this position.

The tournament caught a huge break with the weather. A storm system off the California coast managed to dodge Riviera in the afternoon, leaving mostly sunny conditions and allowing for enough play that the tournament is expected to end Sunday.

“I’ve got to prepare myself for a long day, and it’s going to be tough,” Stricker said.

He was the runner-up last year at Riviera, and a victory Sunday would be enough to put him at No. 2 in the world if Phil Mickelson does not finish in the top five. Mickelson shot a 71 and was 10 shots behind.

George McNeill had a 66 and was at 8 under, along with Dustin Johnson, who finished his second round Saturday morning by chipping in for birdie on the 18th hole for a one-shot lead.

A day after some players couldn’t reach the 18th green with a 3-wood, Johnson flew a 9-iron over the green and deep into the soggy turf. After a free drop, he chipped in for birdie to complete a 67 and take a one-shot lead.

But that didn’t last long.

Johnson hooked his tee shot into the deep grass well left of the third fairway and never found it. He had to return to the tee to play his third shot, scrambled for a double bogey and it rattled him. He missed a 6-foot par putt on the fourth, had to scramble for pars, then missed a 5-foot par putt on the ninth to fall farther behind.

Stricker, meanwhile, was practically flawless. During a seven-hole stretch in the middle of his round, Stricker gave himself birdie chances inside 15 feet on six holes.

“It was a key stretch,” Stricker said. “Stress-less would be the word. Is that a word?”

He made from 15 feet on the sixth and from just inside 10 feet on the eighth, after hitting into the ditch splitting the fairways. The exception came on the ninth, where Stricker drove into the left bunker and faced such a steep lip that he could only blast out to the fairway. From 123 yards, his wedge settled 8 feet away and he made it for par.

Then, he showed remarkable patience on the most intriguing hole at Riviera, the 298-yard 10th. There were three groups waiting, and while killing the time, Stricker was asked how he likes to play the hole. This was right after Justin Rose, in the group ahead, hit driver to a perfect opening just short of the green.

“I hit hybrid as far left as I can,” Stricker said. “See where Justin hit it? That’s perfect. I guess that’s why some guys like to hit driver here. But if you miss it any direction, you’re going to have problems.”

Moments later, Stricker hit hybrid to the left side of the fairway, giving him an open at the full length of the diagonal green. From there, he hit a 53-degree wedge that covered the flag and spun slightly back to inches a way.

It was a textbook birdie on a tricky little hole.

Then again, most of his round turned into an exhibition of keeping the ball in play, hitting his irons where he was looking and rarely flirting with danger while seizing command of the tournament.

Trying to become the first player to win three straight years at Riviera, Mickelson charged up his gallery by holing a 20-foot eagle putt to start his third round. But he missed three straight birdie chances inside 15 feet, dumped a wedge from behind the 10th green into a bunker for a bogey and couldn’t keep pace.

The best part for Donald was finishing, meaning extra sleep Saturday night. He also likes his position, although it is daunting with a player of Stricker’s caliber five shots clear.

“I would have thought I’d need to shoot something very low tomorrow to have any chance,” Donald said. “I’ll be trying to play the course more than anything, and hopefully post a low number and see if it’s good enough. But if Steve plays nicely, it’s sort of in his hands.”

DIVOTS: Scott Verplank shot a 65, important as he tries to move up in the world ranking and qualify for the 64-man Match Play Championship in two weeks. One more solid round should be enough. … Stephen Ames was among seven players who did not return to complete the second round Saturday morning. Ames was the only one still with a chance to make the cut. He was 1 over, and the cut was made at 2 over. … Because more than 78 players made the cut (81), there was a 54-hole cut to top 70 and ties. Among those who missed out was David Duval, who followed his opening 68 with rounds of 75-76.
George McNeill shot a 66 and was at 8-under 205.
Getty Images

Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

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 ...


2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


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

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

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.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


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

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


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

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

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.