Mickelson, Bradley find their groove in foursome matches

By Randall MellOctober 5, 2013, 12:20 am

DUBLIN, Ohio – Phil Mickelson summoned the kind of roar you hear only at major championships.

When he buried a 15-foot putt for eagle at the fifth hole in the leadoff foursome match Friday at the Presidents Cup, a small quake rolled across Muirfield Village Golf Club. If it were any deeper into October, the roar might have emptied the trees here of all their leaves.

This may not be the Ryder Cup, but for one wild moment, it sounded as if it were.

Mickelson and teammate Keegan Bradley played like it was.

The duo found their mojo again in a big way. After going 3-0 as partners at the Ryder Cup last year, Mickelson/Bradley were dealt their first loss as a team in Thursday’s fourballs at the Presidents Cup. They bounced back Friday with a fury, though, drumming Jason Day and Graham DeLaet, 4 and 3.

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“It reminded me of the Ryder Cup, getting excited, hitting a lot of great shots, feeding off each other and never allowing them to get a hole,” Bradley said. “If they were to beat us, they were going to have to make birdie or better.”

Mickelson and Bradley claimed the first American point in Friday’s rain-suspended session after a front-nine blitz.

Bradley set up the run at the fifth hole, as only he can do, with his idiosyncratic prelude of multiple club twirls and false starts before drilling a majestic hybrid some 270 yards, just past the flag, leaving Mickelson 15 feet for the eagle. After Mickelson’s putt fell, bringing down all that noise, Bradley slapped his partner on the butt.

“It was 248 or 250 yards to carry the water there,” Mickelson said. “I’d be really worried about carrying the water with a hybrid, but it wasn’t even a consideration for Keegan. He hit the most beautiful hybrid, dead straight. It couldn’t have been an easier 15-foot putt downhill. It felt great to make that putt and take advantage of the great shot he just hit. It was a big momentum boost.”

Day hit a wedge to a foot there to set up an easy birdie.

“They ended up losing a hole with a birdie,” Mickelson said. “That’s always tough to take.”

Mickelson and Bradley were 1 down going to the fifth, but they found the spark they needed there. They went eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie to take a 3-up lead going to the ninth hole. They had a chance at another birdie there after Bradley carved a wedge to 8 feet. Mickelson, with an opportunity to close out a front-nine 29, couldn’t convert. Still, they made the turn 3 up.

The front-nine 30 they posted is ridiculously good in alternate shot, the most difficult format in team golf.

“I just think when Phil and I get going in alternate shot, we really complement each other,” Bradley said. “I think we both really enjoy showing off in front of each other.”

Even Friday’s 2-hour 36-minute rain delay couldn’t slow Mickelson and Bradley. They came out after the skies cleared to resume action at the 10th hole. They promptly won the first three holes of the back nine to take a commanding 6-up lead.

Though they lost the 13th and 14th holes, Mickelson and Bradley closed out the match in unusual fashion at the 15th. They conceded a 20-foot birdie putt to Day and DeLaet, then Bradley sank a 4-footer for birdie for the win.

“No matter what, I needed to make that putt,” Bradley said.

Back at last year’s Ryder Cup, Mickelson and Bradley teamed to defeat the foursome juggernaut of Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, who were a combined 14-0-1 in the format. They also took down the formidable Northern Ireland pairing of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell that same week.

This is Bradley’s second international team competition as a pro. He has yet to team with anyone other than Mickelson as a partner. They’re now 4-1 as partners, 3-0 in foursomes.

They were both highly motivated after losing Thursday’s foursome match to Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

“After losing, the first match we’ve lost together, we were both pretty devastated,” Bradley said. “It felt horrible. We were ready to go out and win this match.”

Mickelson, 43, took Bradley, 27, under his wing a few years back. They’ve forged a bond in Mickelson’s weekly money matches in practice rounds at PGA Tour events. They seem to relish exchanging good-natured barbs.

At last year’s Ryder Cup, Mickelson acknowledged Bradley’s effect on him.

“I felt young, and it felt great,” Mickelson said after they took down Donald and Garcia.

The talents match up pretty well.

“I know wherever I hit it, Phil can get it up and down,” Bradley said earlier this week. “So that's lucky for me. If Phil hits it in the woods and I've got to chip out, that's totally fine. If I do it to him, I know he's going to do the same. There's no 'I'm sorry’s, none of that nonsense.”

It was a no-nonsense day of shot-making for the American duo.

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.