Calcavecchia Grabs 36-Hole Lead in Tucson

By Sports NetworkFebruary 25, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Chrysler Classic at TucsonTUCSON, Ariz. -- Mark Calcavecchia fired a 7-under 65 on Friday to jump into the second-round lead of the Chrysler Classic of Tucson. He stands at 15-under-par 129 and leads by one over first-round co-leader Billy Mayfair.
Mayfair, who is playing this year on his exemption for being on the top-50 on the PGA Tour career money list, shot a 5-under 67. He is at 14-under-par 130.
Billy mayfair
First-round leader Billy Mayfair is just a stroke back heading into the weekend.
Geoff Ogilvy (66), Lucas Glover (67) and Gavin Coles (65) share third place at 13-under-par 131 at Omni Tucson National Golf Resort and Spa.
Calcavecchia opened his second round on the back nine and wasted little time in breaking into red figures. He two-putted from 65 feet for birdie at the par-5 10th, then added his second birdie at the next par-5. At 15, Calcavecchia could not reach the green with his second, but hit his third to 5 feet to set up birdie.
Calcavecchia knocked a pitching wedge to 5 feet for his second birdie in a row at 16. He parred his remaining holes to make the turn at 3-under-par 33.
It was once again a par-5 that moved Calcavecchia up the leaderboard. At the second, he two-putted from 30 feet for his fourth birdie of the round. He tallied another birdie at the fifth when he drained a 23-footer to get within one of Mayfair, who was in the clubhouse at minus-14.
Calcavecchia drove through the fairway at the par-5 eighth, then hit a 3-iron to the middle of the green. He ran home the 37-foot eagle putt to vault past Mayfair into first.
'After getting off to a good start yesterday, I knew I was going to make some birdies,' admitted Calcavecchia. 'Oddly enough, I tried to play smart, which I don't always do. I used my head today and stayed patient. My goal was to do something like that.'
Calcavecchia's strength this week has been his play on the par-5s. The 40-year-old is 8 under par on the longer holes so far and knows their importance.
'Three of them are reachable by pretty much everybody, so you need to birdie the par-fives for sure,' said Calcavecchia, an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour. 'It's just an enjoyable course in that sense. It's not hard. It's pretty defenseless.'
Mayfair played the course from the first and birdied No. 2 when he two-putted from 15 feet. He collected his second birdie in four holes at the fifth when he rolled in a 6-footer from over the flag.
Mayfair got it going again on the back nine. He missed the short grass at the par-5 10th, but hit a cut 4-iron into a greenside bunker. Mayfair blasted out to a foot for the tap-in birdie. He tallied his second in a row at 11 when his lob wedge approach spun back to 5 feet.
At the 13th, Mayfair hit a pitching wedge to 6 feet and converted the birdie putt. He parred out to put himself in position for his first tour win since the 1998 Buick Open.
'I was really happy with the way I played,' said Mayfair, who has yet to post a bogey this week. 'I gave myself a lot of birdie chances. If I could continue to do that, we'll see what happens.'
This tournament is opposite the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, but two former winners of that event crept into contention here. Kevin Sutherland (63) and Steve Stricker (68) were joined in sixth place by Doug Barron (66), Esteban Toledo (67) and Joe Ogilvie (66). That group is knotted at 12-under- par 132.
Mario Tiziani, who shared the opening-round lead with Mayfair, managed an even-par 72 on Friday and is tied for 18th place at minus-9.
The 36-hole cut fell at 5-under-par 139, a tournament record, and 70 players advanced to the weekend. Last year's winner Heath Slocum was not one of them as he finished two rounds at 1-under-par 143.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - Chrysler Classic of Tucson

  • Full Coverage - Chrysler Classic of Tucson
  • Getty Images

    Recovering Thomas thinks Match Play could help cause

    By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 10:07 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – It’s been a tough couple of days for Justin Thomas, and he hasn’t played an event in three weeks.

    The world’s second-ranked player had his wisdom teeth removed on March 7 following the WGC-Mexico Championship and has been recovering ever since.

    “I'm feeling OK. As funny as it is, as soon as I got over my wisdom teeth, I got a little strep throat,” Thomas said on Tuesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. “I was pretty worried yesterday, to be honest, how I was going to be doing, but I feel a lot better today and just keep taking medicine and hopefully it will be good.”

    Thomas, who is listed in the Tour media guide as 5-foot-10, 145 pounds, said he lost about 6 pounds when he had his wisdom teeth removed and has struggled to put that weight back on because of his bout with strep throat.

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Tee times

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    As a result, his energy levels are low, which is a particular concern considering the marathon nature of the Match Play, which could include as many as seven rounds if he were to advance to Sunday’s championship match. Thomas, however, said the format could actually make things easier this week.

    “I told my dad, I only have to beat one person each day. I don't have to beat the whole field,” said Thomas, who has won just one match in two starts at the Match Play. “If it was stroke play then I may have a little harder time. But hopefully each day I'll get better and better. Who knows, maybe that will help me win a match in this golf tournament, because I've had a pretty hard time in the past.”

    Getty Images

    Spieth thought Mickelson blew him off as a kid

    By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 7:50 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Phil Mickelson is widely recognized as one of the PGA Tour’s most accommodating players when it comes to the fans and signing autographs.

    Lefty will famously spend hours after rounds signing autographs, but sometimes perception can deviate from reality, as evidenced by Jordan Spieth’s encounter with Mickelson years ago when he was a junior golfer.

    “I think I was at the [AT&T] Byron Nelson with my dad and Phil Mickelson and Davis Love were on the putting green. I was yelling at them, as I now get annoyed while I'm practicing when I'm getting yelled at, and they were talking,” Spieth recalled. “When they finished, Phil was pulled off in a different direction and Davis came and signed for me. And I thought for the longest time that Phil just blew me off. And Davis was like the nicest guy. And Phil, I didn't care for as much for a little while because of that.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Tee times

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    Entering his sixth full season on Tour, Spieth now has a drastically different perspective on that day.

    “[Mickelson] could have been late for media. He could have been having a sponsor obligation. He could have been going over to sign for a kid’s area where there was a hundred of them,” Spieth said. “There's certainly been kids that probably think I've blown them off, too, which was never my intention. It would have never been Phil's intention either.”

    Spieth said he has spoken with Mickelson about the incident since joining the Tour.

    “He probably responded with a Phil-like, ‘Yeah, I knew who you were, and I didn't want to go over there and sign it,’ something like that,” Spieth laughed. “I’ve gotten to see him in person and really see how genuine he is with everybody he comes in contact with. Doesn't matter who it is. And he's a tremendous role model and I just wasn't aware back then.”

    Getty Images

    This week, let the games(manship) begin

    By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 7:47 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – The gentleman’s game is almost entirely devoid of anything even approaching trash talk or gamesmanship.

    What’s considered the norm in other sports is strictly taboo in golf - at least that’s the standard for 51 weeks out of the year. That anomaly, however, can be wildly entertaining.

    During Monday’s blind draw to determine this week’s 16 pods, Pat Perez was the first to suggest that this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is the exception to the stoic rule on the PGA Tour.

    “Me and Branden [Grace] played a nine-hole match today and were chirping at each other the entire time,” Perez laughed. “Stuff like, ‘go in the trees.’ We were laughing about it, I didn’t get mad, I hit it in the trees.”

    Although Perez and Grace may have been on the extreme end of the trash-talk spectrum, it’s widely understood that unlike the steady diet of stroke-play stops in professional golf, the Match Play and the Ryder Cup are both chances to test some of the game’s boundaries.

    “There’s been a couple of different instances, both in the Ryder Cup. I can't share them with you, I'm sorry,” laughed Jordan Spieth, before adding. “I think they [the comments] were indifferent to me and helped [U.S. partner Patrick Reed].

    Often the gamesmanship is subtle, so much so an opponent probably doesn’t even realize what’s happening.

    Jason Day, for example, is a two-time winner of this event and although he was reluctant to go into details about all of his “tricks,” he did explain his mindset if he finds himself trailing in a match.

    “Always walk forward in front of the person that you're playing against, just so you're letting them know that you're pushing forward and you're also letting them know that you're still hanging around,” Day explained. “People feed off body language. If I'm looking across and the guy's got his shoulders slumped and his head is down, you can tell he's getting frustrated, that's when you push a little bit harder.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Tee times

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    Some moments are not so innocent, as evidenced by a story from Paul Casey from a match during his junior days growing up in England.

    “I remember a player’s ball was very close to my line, as his coin was very close to my line and we were still both about 10 feet away and he kind of looked at me,” Casey recalled. “I assumed he looked at me to confirm whether his marker was in my line and it needed to be moved. I said, ‘That's OK there.’ So he picked [his coin] up. And then of course he lost his ability to understand English all of a sudden.”

    While the exploits this week won’t be nearly as egregious, there have been a handful of heated encounters at the Match Play. In 2015 when this event was played at Harding Park in San Francisco, Keegan Bradley and Miguel Angel Jimenez went nose to nose when the Spaniard attempted to intervene in a ruling that Bradley was taking and the incident even spilled over into the locker room after the match.

    But if those types of encounters are rare, there’s no shortage of mind games that will take place over the next few days at Austin Country Club.

    “It's part of it. It should be fun,” Spieth said. “There should be some gamesmanship. That's the way it is in every other sport, we just never play one-on-one or team versus team like other sports do. That's why at times it might seem way out of the ordinary. If every tournament were match play, I don't think that would be unusual.”

    It also helps heat things up if opponents have some history together. On Tuesday, Rory McIlroy was asked if he’s run across any gamesmanship at the Match Play. While the Northern Irishman didn’t think there would be much trash talking going on this week, he did add with a wry smile, “Patrick Reed isn’t in my bracket.”

    McIlroy and Reed went head-to-head in an epic singles duel at the 2016 Ryder Cup, which the American won 1 up. The duo traded plenty of clutch shots during the match, with Reed wagging his finger at McIlroy following a particularly lengthy birdie putt and McIlroy spurring the crowd with roars of, “I can’t hear you.”

    It was an example of how chippy things can get at the Match Play that when McIlroy was asked if he had any advice for Spieth, who drew Reed in his pod this week, his answer had a bit of a sharp edge.

    “Don't ask for any drops,” laughed McIlroy, a not-so-subtle reference to Reed’s comment last week at Bay Hill after being denied free relief by a rules official, “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys,” Reed said on Sunday.

    Put another way, this is not your grandfather’s game. This is the Match Play where trash talking and gamesmanship are not only acceptable, but can also be extremely entertaining.

    Getty Images

    Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

    By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

    While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

    The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

    "I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

    Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

    According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

    "I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

    Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

    Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

    "I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

    Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.