Goosen Lefty Primed for Showdown

By Sports NetworkMarch 5, 2004, 5:00 pm
MIAMI -- Retief Goosen posted a 4-under 68 on Friday to take the second-round lead of the Ford Championship at Doral. The 2001 U.S. Open champion stands at 9-under-par 135 at Doral Resort and Spa.
 
Phil Mickelson carded a 3-under 69 and is tied for second place with Todd Hamilton (68) and Craig Parry (65) at 8-under-par 136.
 
There were heavy winds during the morning tee times that calmed down during the afternoon session. On Thursday, the wind was consistent throughout the day but the players at the top of the leaderboard all played later in Friday's second round.
 
Goosen began on the second nine at Doral and collected birdies at two of his first three holes. He parred the next six on the back side but caught fire on his second nine.
 
Goosen kicked off his second nine with a nine-foot birdie putt at No. 1 and made it two in a row with a birdie at the second. He drove into the rough at the third and made bogey but the South African rebounded from the miscue.
 
At the fifth, Goosen sank a five-footer for birdie and added another at No. 6 when he drained a 27-footer. Problems were ahead for the South African when he missed the short grass with his drive at the seventh. He tried to play a hook shot with a tall tree 20 feet in front of him but struck a branch and only advanced the ball 30-some yards. He played his third 25 feet from the cup and left his par-saving putt two feet short. Goosen kicked in the bogey putt to fall to 9 under.
 
Goosen did not give himself good looks for birdie at his final two holes but he took the 36-hole lead for the fifth time on the PGA Tour. He is 2-2 after his previous advantages but Goosen is playing some awesome golf of late on tour.
 
Dating back to his last eight rounds of last season, and including his play this year on the PGA Tour, Goosen extended his streak of rounds of par or better to 27 with his 68 on Friday.
 
'I know I played pretty well in January and had pretty good rounds going then,' said Goosen, who has three top-10s on tour so far in 2004. 'I don't keep track of those sorts of things. Get out there and play the game and just see what happens.'
 
Mickelson played the course from the first and birdied his first two holes. He dropped a shot at the par-5 10th when he hit his second into the water but the former No. 2 player in the world came back.
 
The left-hander birdied 12 then rolled home a five-foot birdie putt at 13 to get to eight-under on his round. Mickelson played a three-quarter 6-iron to five feet to set up birdie at 17 but the 'Blue Monster' at Doral caught up to him.
 
At 18, Mickelson hit a wonderful drive that ended up in the first cut on the left side. His second landed in the right fringe, close to the pin, which would be a difficult, downhill chip. Mickelson's third ran 10 feet past the hole and he missed the comeback putt to fall out of a share of first place with Goosen.
 
After a disastrous 2003, Mickelson has already won in 2004 and picked up the unofficial 'King of the West Coast Swing.'
 
'I had a whole different attitude after 2003. I wanted to forget about it, put it behind me and start fresh in '04,' said Mickelson. 'I wanted to focus on the things I was doing well in the three years (2000-2002) when I was No. 2 in the world.'
 
Parry was flawless on Friday with seven birdies and no bogeys.
 
Hamilton, a tour rookie, was tied for the lead after five birdies on Friday but the 'Blue Monster' claimed another victim. Hamilton bogeyed the 18th to fall into the tie for second.
 
Craig Perks, the 2002 Players champion, shot a 3-under 69 and was joined in fifth by Mark Calcavecchia (69) and Alex Cejka (68). The trio is knotted at 7-under-par 137.
 
Chris Smith, the overnight leader, struggled to a 4-over 76 and is part of a group in 25th at minus-3.
 
Defending champion Scott Hoch shot a 74 and shares 52nd at even-par 144.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at 1-over-par 145 and among the notable players who will miss the weekend are: British Open champion Ben Curtis (146), 2002 PGA Champion Rich Beem (147) and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton (148).
 
Related Links:
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.