1 vs 2 in Masters Sunday Showdown
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods will go head-to-head for the Green Jacket on Sunday in the 65th Masters; with the worlds No. 1 ranked players leading the worlds No. 2 by a single stroke.
Woods fired a 4-under-par 68 to grab the Masters lead for the first time since he won the tournament in record fashion four years ago. At 12-under-par through 54 holes, Woods is one clear of Mickelson, who overcame a double bogey at the 14th for a 3-under-par 69.
Woods talks about going for his 4th straight major
Mark Calcavecchia carded a bogey-free 68 to move into a share of third place at 10-under with fellow Florida Gator Chris DiMarco. DiMarco, who also uses the same putting grip as Calc, posted an even-par 72 to drop from two-up to two-down with 18 holes remaining.
Ernie Els (68) and David Duval (70) are tied for fifth place with Angel Cabrera (70) at 9-under. Cabrera led the tournament on the back nine, but hit his second shot to the par-5 15th into the water. He eventually made double bogey to fall into the pursuing pack.
DiMarco, Calc, Duval and Els talk about Rd.3
Woods recorded only one bogey on Saturday when he flew the green on the par-3 12th. However, he bounced back with three consecutive birdies to grab sole possession of the lead by days end.
Im right where I want to be, said Woods, who is 24-4 worldwide when taking at least a share of the lead into the final round of an event.
The caliber of guys atop the leaderboard is real interesting.'
After making the turn in 2-under 34, Mickelson took the outright lead with a birdie at the par-5 13th. But after his approach shot at the par-4 14th rolled down to the front of the green, the short-game wizard decided to try a flop shot to reach the hole positioned on the back left of the putting surface.
The chip came up well short of the hole. After missing his par save, Mickelson then two-putted from three feet for a double bogey 6.
Poor putting plagued Mickelson throughout the third round. He three-putted from three feet for bogey at the 8th; and also missed a four-foot birdie putt at the 10th.
Yet despite the wasted opportunities, Mickelson birdied the 17th and 18th holes to earn a spot in Sundays final pairing.
I wanted to be playing with him, said a confident Mickelson. I desperately want to win this. Ive been dreaming of this day. This is not just a major. If you win, you become a part of the history of the game.
Mickelson talks about going for his 1st major
Woods started his third round with six straight pars before rolling in a 35-foot birdie putt at the par-4 7th to move to 9-under for the event. Following another birdie at the 11th, Tiger blasted his tee shot on the 12th over the green and into the pine straw.
Fortunately for Tiger, his ball rolled down the mound just off the green; however, he was unable to get up and down for par.
After parring both of the par 5s on the outward half, Woods birdied both of the long holes on the back. In between, he sandwiched a third birdie at the 14th, courtesy of a staked second shot to four feet.
Tiger closed his round by parring his final three holes.
Masters rookie DiMarco held up under the pressure of playing alongside Woods for the first time.
The 18- and 36-hole leader bounced back from a bogey at the par-5 2nd to record birdies on the 3rd and 7th holes.
The 32-year-old parred holes 8-14, but blew his third shot over the green at the 15th and posted a bogey. As he had done all week, DiMarco responded with a birdie at the 16th, but gave the shot back with another bogey at the 17th.
Of course I was nervous. Im not going to lie and say I wasnt. I was playing with the best player in the world and we were playing in the Masters, said DiMarco, who is trying to become the first player since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win in his first Masters appearance
Over the past two seasons, only Mickelson has proved to be a constant thorn in Tigers paw.
The 18-time PGA Tour winner stopped Woods six-consecutive victory streak at last years Buick Invitational. He then won the season-ending Tour Championship at Tigers expense.
Now, Mickelson is trying to stop another streak. Since finishing fifth in the 2000 Masters, Woods has won the U.S. Open by 15 shots; the British Open by eight shots; and the PGA Championship in a playoff over Bob May.
No player has ever held all four major championships at the same time.
Just to have the opportunity to do it is going to be a lot of fun, said Woods.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Defending champion Vijay Singh is in a tie for 23rd place at 3-under-par after shooting a third-round 73.
*The 72-hole tournament record is 18-under-par 270, set by Tiger Woods in 1997.
*Rocco Mediate shot the low score in the third round, a 6-under-par 66. Mediate is in a tie for eighth with Kirk Triplett (70) at 8-under.
Read 3rd Round interview transcripts for Woods, Mickelson, DiMarco and others
Full Coverage of the 2001 Masters Tournament
Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open
JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.
The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.
Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.
''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''
Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting 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, including future release dates:
No. 5: Dec. 12
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open
Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.
Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.
Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.
The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 6, Dustin Johnson
Only Dustin Johnson could win four times in 2017 and it still feels as though he underachieved.
That’s unfair, perhaps, but it’s a testament to Johnson’s awesome ability – and his incredible run of form last spring – that observers can’t help but shake the feeling that his year could have been even better.
In February, he rose to the top of the world rankings for the first time, the culmination of a long, bizarre journey in which he often battled himself (through major blunders and, reportedly, drug-related suspensions) as much as his peers. Johnson’s blowout victory at Riviera was his first of three consecutive titles (including two WGCs), as he achieved Tiger-like levels of dominance and rolled into the Masters as the prohibitive favorite.
Expectations for this star-crossed talent are always different, and so the surprise wasn’t that he blew that major but that he didn’t even give himself a chance. In one of the biggest stunners of the year, Johnson’s manager announced on the eve of the first round that his client had suffered a back injury while slipping on a set of stairs in his rental house. Just like that, the year’s first major was thrown into chaos, with Johnson unable to play – the line of demarcation in his good-but-not-great year.
Though he added a playoff victory at the end of the season, Johnson failed to factor in any of the remaining three majors and was surprisingly inconsistent, perhaps because of swing compensations after the injury.
Would DJ have denied Sergio Garcia a green jacket? Would he have created even more separation at the top of the world rankings? Would he have defended his Player of the Year title? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
In typical DJ fashion, he left us to ponder what could have been.
Johnson becomes world No. 1, starts season with three straight wins
Johnson enters Masters as odds-on favorite, withdraws after falling down stairs
DJ welcomes second child with fiancée Paulina Gretzky
This and that: DJ and Paulina in 2017
Johnson adds fourth win of season, blows chance at fifth