Lefty Starts Strong Tiger Struggles

By Sports NetworkAugust 11, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Phil Mickelson, the 2004 Masters champion, posted a three-under-par 67 on Thursday and is part of a logjam tied for the lead after the first round of the 87th PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Stuart Appleby, Rory Sabbatini, Stephen Ames, Trevor Immelman and 2003 British Open winner Ben Curtis are knotted with Mickelson atop the leaderboard.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods had a rough opening round at Baltusrol, posting a 5-over 75 that leaves him eight strokes off the lead.
The leaderboard is tight below those in first as well with 11 players tied for seventh at two-under-par 68.
Davis Love III, the 1997 winner, 1995 PGA Champion Steve Elkington, two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen, Bernhard Langer, Jesper Parnevik, Heath Slocum, Greg Owen, Lee Westwood, Pat Perez, Ben Crane and John Rollins all posted 68s on Thursday.
One name not near the top of the leaderboard is that of the No. 1 player in the world.
Tiger Woods' quest for a third major championship in 2005 hit a snag on Thursday. He opened with a five-over-par 75 and is tied for 113th place.
'Every hole you could say there's something that I did wrong on the hole to not make birdie,' admitted Woods, who won this title in 1999 and 2000. 'That was frustrating.'
Woods began on the back nine Thursday and promptly bogeyed No. 10. He added bogeys at 14 and 18, then fell to four-over par for the championship with a bogey at the fourth.
Things got worse for the reigning Masters and British Open champion. Woods lipped out a seven-foot bogey putt at the seventh to move to plus-six. He rebounded at the eighth with a three-foot birdie putt, complete with a mock bow and tip of the hat after the putt fell.
'I've got to stay patient and build on it each and every day,' said Woods, who can become the first player in history to win three majors in one year twice. 'Patience helps and at least I'm still in it. There won't be too many guys under par by the end of the week and hopefully I can get myself there over the next three days.'
Mickelson drove into the rough on his third hole and had to chip back into the fairway. He made bogey at the hole, but reclaimed the lost stroke with a three-foot birdie putt at the fifth.
Things were interesting for Mickelson on the sixth. He hit a tree off the tee, then elected to play up the 17th fairway with his second shot. The No. 4 ranked player in the world hit a spectacular lob-wedge to five feet, but missed the par putt.
The lefthander picked up some steam around the turn with a pair of 35-foot birdie putts at the ninth and 10th holes. He was one-under par for the championship, but Mickelson kept it going with his putter.
At the 14th, Mickelson drained another long birdie putt, this time from 30 feet. He reached the green in two at the par-five closing hole and two-putted from 40 feet for a birdie and a share of the lead.
'There's a lot of good scores, don't get me wrong, and I'm very happy to be one of them,' said Mickelson, a three-time PGA Tour winner this year. 'It wasn't quite as stressful a round. I was able to keep the ball in play and hit a lot of greens in regulation and was able to make a few putts.'
Mickelson came within five strokes of winning the Grand Slam last season, but this year has not been close to that level of success. He took 10th in the Masters, but tied for 33rd at the U.S. Open and shared 60th at St. Andrews.
'I felt very confident last year going into the majors,' said Mickelson. 'I feel similarly this week in that the biggest difference is I feel like I know which way my misses are going to be with each club. I struggled a little bit this year missing it both ways in the majors, and the penalty for a miss is so great that I couldn't play effectively doing that.'
Appleby, who lost a playoff in the 2002 British Open, collected three birdies in his opening nine, the back side at Baltusrol. He bogeyed the first hole, but made back-to-back birdies from the rough off the tee at five and six.
The Australian was at four-under par, but ran into trouble with a bogey at the eighth. He went over the green with his approach and could not save par, dropping him into the logjam in first.
'The course has potential to get more difficult, but the greens generally are very round, so there's not many pins that can hide behind bunkers,' said Appleby. 'Everything is pretty visible from the fairway, unusual for a lot of the courses we play, even in normal tournaments.'
Sabbatini was one-over at the turn, but caught fire on the back nine. He sank an eight-footer for birdie at the 11th, then chipped in for a birdie at No. 12.
The South African closed the round with back-to-back birdies at the par-five closing holes. He ran home a 10-footer at the 650-yard 17th, then a 15-footer at the last.
'It's a course that really can give a lot, but it can take it away in a blink,' said Sabbatini. 'If you do have a birdie putt, really try to make some out there and capitalize on the situations because it kind of alleviates that stress on you.'
Ames was also one-over at the turn, but birdied three holes in a row from the 10th. He bogeyed 15 when he drove left of the fairway, but Ames, like Sabbatini, went birdie-birdie for his share of the lead.
Immelman, a 25-year-old South African, opened on the back side and broke into red figures quickly with a four-footer at No. 10. He dropped a shot at the 11th when his tee ball found the rough, but reclaimed the lost stroke with a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-three 12th.
He parred his next five holes, but made the turn at two-under par with a birdie at 18. Immelman drove it in the tall grass, but laid up short of the green at the par-five closing hole. He hit a wedge to 15 feet with his third to set up the birdie.
On the front side, Immelman played steady with seven consecutive pars. He collected his only birdie of the opening nine at the eighth, when his wedge stopped six feet from the hole.
'All in all, it was a pretty solid day for me,' said Immelman, who tied for fifth at the Masters and tied for 15th at the British Open. 'My putter really kept me in it, and I enjoyed it out there.'
Curtis recorded his first birdie at the fifth when his six-iron from a fairway bunker stopped four feet behind the hole. He parred the next eight holes around the turn.
At the 14th, Curtis knocked a nine-iron to 12 feet and rolled in the birdie putt. He parred 15, then got to minus-three with a spectacular tee ball at the par-three 16th. Curtis hit a three-iron to a foot at the 230-yard hole and tapped in the putt for his 67.
Defending champion Vijay Singh closed with back-to-back birdies at 17 and 18 to shoot even-par 70. He is tied for 28th.
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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

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''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.