Mickelson Love to Meet in Quarterfinal

By Sports NetworkFebruary 27, 2004, 5:00 pm
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Tiger Woods, the defending champion and No. 1 seed in the Bobby Jones bracket, trounced Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson, 5 and 4 in Friday's third-round action at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Woods advanced to Saturday morning's quarterfinals against No. 3 seed Padraig Harrington. The Irishman advanced thanks to a 1-up win over last year's runner-up David Toms.
 
Phil Mickelson, the two seed in the Sam Snead bracket, continued his fine form on Friday with a 3 and 2 victory over Chris DiMarco. Mickelson will face Davis Love III, the No. 1 seed, after Love handled Adam Scott, 4 and 3.
 
Darren Clarke, the 2000 winner of this event and three seed in the Gary Player bracket, beat Kenny Perry 3 and 2 and will face Jerry Kelly on Saturday. Kelly defeated Chad Campbell, 1-up, in the third round and it completed an amazing Friday for the eighth seed in the Player bracket.
 
In Friday's second round, Kelly ousted No. 1 seed Vijay Singh, 4 and 2.
 
The other No. 1 seed, Masters champion Mike Weir, was bounced by Stephen Leaney in the second round.
 
Leaney, the eight seed in the Hogan bracket, won the 18th hole in the third round to defeat Colin Montgomerie, 1-up. Ian Poulter, the 11th seed, dispatched John Huston, 2 and 1, and will battle Leaney in the quarterfinals.
 
The quarterfinals are scheduled for Saturday morning with the semifinals in the afternoon. The 36-hole final will take place Sunday and Woods is in solid position to become the first player to successfully defend his title.
 
Woods won the second and third holes to go 2-up, but Jacobson came back with wins at five and six to pull even. Woods rebounded with a win at seven and a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 8 to reclaim a 2-up lead.
 
At the 10th, Jacobson drove into the left rough against a tree and never recovered. He lost that hole to fall 3-down, then Jacobson missed the green at the par-three 12th to make bogey and fall 4-down.
 
Jacobson missed a par putt at the 14th and Woods drained a four-footer for par to end the match.
 
It might have been a good thing for Woods to end his match early. No golf was played on Thursday because La Costa was unplayable after nearly two inches of rain. The second round was completed Friday morning with the third round in the afternoon.
 
'It's quite a challenge,' said Woods, the only player to have won all four of the World Golf Championships events. 'I'll be good to go for tomorrow.
 
'I played well all day. I think what's important is I kept the pressure on my opponent all day.'
 
Harrington built a 3-up lead around the turn, but Toms birdied 11 to claw back into the match. Toms won the 13th and when Harrington missed the green right at the 14th and made bogey, the match was all-square.
 
The pair remained knotted until the par-3 16th. Harrington hit a 7-iron seven feet from the hole to set up birdie and win the hole. The Irishman had a look at birdie and the win at 17 but missed the cup.
 
Toms' 25-foot birdie chance at the 18th came up short and Harrington two-putted for the win.
 
'I was a little bit tired and my swing wasn't great to start off with,' said Harrington. 'I put a few bandages on it and thankfully just got home.'
 
Mickelson was down early but came back with a birdie at the sixth and with that, went 1-up. He won the seventh and 11th, then DiMarco came back to win the 13th and cut his margin to 2-down.
 
Mickelson sank a 25-footer for birdie at the 15th to go 3-up and closed out the match a hole later when DiMarco's birdie putt did not drop.
 
'I feel like I was playing well coming into the week. I played well on the west coast,' said Mickelson, who equaled the tournament record for shortest match in the second round with his 7 and 6 drubbing of reigning British Open champion Ben Curtis. 'I drove the ball in the fairway. I'm not really known for that.'
 
Love took advantage of Scott, who needed 22 holes to beat Robert Allenby in the second round. After the obligatory 30-minute break, Love won four holes on the front side and that was all he needed to dispatch the man who finished third last year.
 
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.