Lightning Strikes Twice for Goosen

By Sports NetworkJune 20, 2004, 4:00 pm
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Retief Goosen shot a 1-over 71 on Sunday to hang on for the win at the 104th U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills. Goosen finished at 4-under-par 276 for his second U.S. Open title.
'It wasn't easier than the first time,' said Goosen, who became the 21st multiple champion of the U.S. Open. 'Obviously, this time I knew I could do it.'
Phil Mickelson came close to winning the U.S. Open once more, but a three-putt double bogey at the par-3 17th left him with his third runner-up finish at the event after a round of 71 left him at 2-under-par 278.
'I'm not disappointed in the way I played at all,' said Mickelson. 'I just would have liked to have won, that's all. But I can't worry about the fact that somebody played better than me, because Retief played some great golf.'
Goosen was steady in the wind on Saturday with a 69, and as the course dried up, leaving unbelievably slick greens and difficult playing conditions, he put together another major championship caliber round to secure the title.
The South African, who was struck by lightning as a youngster, remains, along with fellow countryman Ernie Els, the only international players to capture the U.S. Open since 1981 when Australia's David Graham won at Merion.
Goosen buckled, but never surrendered his lead en route to his fourth career victory on the PGA Tour. He seemed poised to take the tournament by force after landing his second shot to the par-4 first in the middle of the green and quickly draining the long birdie putt to jump to 6 under.
'I wasn't letting my guard down,' he said. 'Just trying to stay focused.'
Shinnecock, which bared all its teeth over the weekend, soon caught up with Goosen, making a 6-foot putt for par seem an impossibility at the par-3 second after his tee shot found a greenside bunker.
Goosen maintained the lead at minus-5, but found trouble again with a bogey at the eighth. He had a birdie chance at the 10th, but his putt rolled 9 feet past the hole and Goosen could not make par coming back.
Things changed for Goosen at the par-3 11th, however. He hit a spectacular tee shot to four feet and converted the short birdie try to hold a two-shot lead over Mickelson. Goosen was in a world of trouble at the par-4 14th, but his putter was on fire on the back nine and he rolled in a 13-foot putt to save bogey.
Mickelson, with the support of the thousands of fans at Shinnecock carrying him from hole to hole on the back nine, made a valiant effort down the stretch and knocked his approach to 6 feet for a birdie at the 15th to join Goosen in the lead at the minus-3.
The left-hander then got some revenge at the par-5 16th, a hole that haunted him when he tied for fourth at the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock. Mickelson hit his drive in the rough and advanced his second shot down the fairway. He then played his third to 5 feet and ran home the putt to take the lead at 4 under.
'I knew Phil was coming at me,' said Goosen. 'And I knew it was coming down to me and him.'
With the 16th out of the way, Mickelson soon met with a new nemesis at Shinnecock. He found a bunker off the tee at the par-3 17th and hit out of the sand to 5 feet. Mickelson could not save par, and the quick greens dragged his ball away from the hole. He had a 4-footer for bogey but again was unable to convert.
'The putt was downwind,' said Mickelson. 'When the wind gets a hold of it on these greens, it takes it. It just wouldn't stop.'
After disaster struck for Mickelson, Goosen stared down the 16th and left his third shot inside 10 feet. Just as he had been doing leading up to the putt, Goosen converted for birdie to regain a two-shot advantage.
Carefully planning his approach to the 18th, Goosen safely landed his ball on the putting surface. Unwilling to repeat his putting on the 72nd hole of the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills, Goosen two-putted for par and the win.
'I didn't want to three-putt,' said Goosen, who only needed 24 putts to get around Shinnecock in the final round. 'Two-putt, win this thing, and go home.'
For Mickelson, who was trying to become the first person since Tiger Woods in 2002 to win the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year, the end was bittersweet. He had a piece of the 36-hole lead, but gave way to the winds on Saturday. On Sunday, Mickelson fought hard in a losing effort.
He dropped a shot early at the third after a poor drive but kept his composure and ran home a 14-foot putt for a birdie at the fourth. Mickelson's second shot to the par-4 10th carried through the green on his way to another bogey, and Mickelson fell further back with a bogey at the 12th after a short putt failed to fall.
Mickelson countered again, and sank a 9-foot putt for a birdie at the 13th. A few holes later he was back in the lead at the U.S. Open, only to fall victim to the tough Shinnecock green at the 17th.
Jeff Maggert, who tied for fourth at Shinnecock in 1995, posted a 72 to finish alone in third place at 1-over-par 281. Mike Weir and Shigeki Maruyama, who held a piece of the lead after each of the first two rounds, were one shot further back at 2-over-par 282.
Fred Funk, who played alongside Mickelson in the final round, carded a 77 to take sixth place at 5-over-par 285. Robert Allenby, who began the day in a tie for 34th, shot a 70 to share seventh place with Steve Flesch at 7-over-par 286.
Jay Haas, who held a share of the opening round lead with Maruyama and Angel Cabrera, finished at 7-over-par 287 along with Els, Chris DiMarco and Stephen Ames.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods also struggled with the conditions on Sunday. He began the day at 4 over par and after a couple of good par saves, Woods hit a bad drive at the par-4 third and left his approach short of the green.
Woods played his third to 6 feet and failed to save par to fall back to plus-5. That was just the beginning of Woods' problems in the final round.
He dropped another shot at the eighth and followed that up with a double bogey at the par-4 ninth. Woods then bogeyed the 10th and dropped further shots with bogeys at the 13th and 15th.
The 28-year-old closed with his only birdie of the day at the par-4 18th to complete his eighth consecutive major without a win.
'I feel alright, not really great,' said Woods, whose last major title came at the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage. 'Actually I would like to do a little better than I am.'
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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.”

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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.

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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.

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    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.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.