Mickelson Cruising Along in the Big Easy
Phil Mickelson may be happy to say that he is following the rules better than everyone this week.
Mickelson followed up two consecutive rounds of 66 at English Turn Golf & Country Club with a Saturday showing of 64, and at 20-under-par 196, is threatening to run away with the tournament.
Mickelson leads by three shots over Harrison Frazar (66) and by a full five strokes over Ernie Els (65) in third place.
David Toms (63) and co-leader through two rounds Brian Gay (70) are six back at minus-14, while youngster Charles Howell poured in a 63 of his own to finish at 13-under.
Just how many super rounds of golf were there Saturday at English Turn? A bunch. Three players shot 63, two shot 64 and five went around in 65. Nine others carded scores of 66. Players were commenting that 69 was playing the equivalent to an even-par round.
Said Frazar, who was just a stroke off the pace following the second round: I didnt expect to look at the leaderboard before I teed off and drop back to fifth or sixth place.
Yet he had. And so too had Mickelson.
It didnt take the lefthander long to get back in front, however. Mickelson birdied the par-3 3rd and then rattled off five red numbers in a row from the 7th through the 11th. Three more birdies at Nos. 13, 15 and 17, and it appeared that Mickelson might also join the 63 Club on Saturday.
Yet a bogey at the closing par-4 18th gave the field a shot back and Mickelson a 64. Nevertheless, he appears to be right where he wants.
Winning would mean a lot to me, he commented following his round. Ive had a number of opportunities this year where Ive come up just short ' seconds and thirds.
Ive had a lot of opportunities to win and only one win to show for it. So I certainly feel this would be a very important win for me. It would be a big confidence booster for me if I was able to withstand the challenge and come out on top.
Mickelsons latest close-call came several weeks ago at Augusta National, when playing in the last group with Tiger Woods, he couldnt quite muster the late birdies he needed to win. He would ultimately finish three strokes behind Woods, and proceed to take the next three weeks off from tournament golf.
It seems the rest has done him good. Yet Mickelson does not seem to be quite satisfied with his game just yet.
I just feel Im not able to get as aggressive as I would like. I know Ive made a bunch of birdies, but Ive wanted to make sure Ive managed it okay. I dont feel like its firing on all cylinders right now, but as the week has progressed, Ive started to strike it much better.
And if it continues to get better? Better ask Frazar what to do next.
Hit fairways, hit it close and make some putts, he said. Its a pretty simple recipe.
Full-field scores from the Compaq Classic of New Orleans
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.