Mickelson Makes Major Move in Rd2

By Sports NetworkAugust 12, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Phil Mickelson, the 2004 Masters champion, scorched Baltusrol's back nine, his opening side, on Friday with a five-under 31, en route to a five-under 65. He stands at eight-under-par 132 and is three ahead after two rounds of the 87th PGA Championship.
 
Jerry Kelly holed out from a bunker for birdie at the ninth, his 18th hole on Friday. He matched Mickelson's 65 and is alone in second place at five-under- par 135.
 
Davis Love III, the 1997 PGA Champion, posted his second two-under 68 in as many days and is tied for second place at four-under-par 136. First-round co- leader Rory Sabbatini (69) and Lee Westwood (68) joined Love in second.
 
Tiger Woods needed help on the back nine Friday to even make the 36-hole cut. He was seven-over par for the championship thanks to a two-over 36 on the front nine, and with the projected cut at plus-four for most of the round, the two-time PGA Champion had his work to do.
 
He drained a six-foot birdie putt at the 11th and made it two in a row with a 12-footer at 12. That got him to plus-five, but he got inside the cut line with a short birdie putt at 15.
 
Woods was at four-over when he hit a massive tee shot at the 650-yard, par- five 17th. He tried to become the second player in history to reach the green in two in a competitive round, but got a horrible bounce into the back of a bunker on the left. Woods had to blast out sideways into the rough and he could not get up and down for par.
 
He was now five-over and needed a birdie at the par-five closing hole. Woods hammered another drive into the fairway and knocked a seven-iron 12 feet right of the hole. He lagged his eagle try to tap-in range and polished off a round of one-under 69.
 
Woods made the cut on the number at four-over-par 144. He has made the cut in every major he has participated in as a professional, dating back to his 1997 Masters victory.
 
'It's one of those things you've got to stay patient, stay in the moment and keep grinding,' said Woods, whose PGA Tour record of 142 consecutive cuts made was snapped at this year's Byron Nelson Championship. 'You never know what can happen and it turned out well.'
 
Woods will begin the third round 12 shots behind Mickelson.
 
The lefthander started round two on the back nine at Baltusrol and wasted little time in breaking into red figures. He hit a nine-iron to 10 feet to set up birdie at the 11th, then he added birdies at 13 and 14 despite missing the fairway at both holes. Mickelson hit a five-iron into a bunker at the par- three 16th and failed to get up and down.
 
Mickelson took advantage of Baltusrol's two par-five closing holes. He ran home a 15-foot birdie putt at the 650-yard, par-five 17th, then assumed control of the tournament with a 20-footer for eagle at No. 18.
 
The deep rough at Baltusrol caught up with Mickelson at the par-four first. He left his third shot in the tall grass near the green and could do no better than double-bogey.
 
Mickelson, who holed three birdie putts of 30 feet or longer on Thursday, drained another long birdie putt at three. He ran home a five-foot birdie putt at the fifth to once again reach eight-under par for the championship.
 
He traded a birdie and a bogey on the way into the clubhouse and a commanding position.
 
'I'm feeling confident after the first two rounds, but certainly there's a lot of golf left,' said Mickelson, who was the runner-up to David Toms in 2001. 'The thing I was most pleased with was the way I was able to let go of some bad shots and forget about it and move on.'
 
Mickelson came within five strokes of winning the single-season Grand Slam last year after his breakthrough triumph at Augusta. He has not experienced the same level of success in the majors this year with a 10th-place finish at the Masters, a tie for 33rd at the U.S. Open and share of 60th at St. Andrews.
 
'I have done the same thing that I have done in the three previous majors this year as I did the four majors last year,' said Mickelson. 'I was able to get my short game and long game pretty sharp heading into this week.'
 
Mickelson owns the 36-hole lead in a major for the fourth time in his career. He held the halfway lead in the 1996 PGA Championship, the 1999 U.S. Open and last year's U.S. Open, but failed to win any of them.
 
Kelly, who is majorless, started on No. 10 and collected his first birdie at the 15th, when he ran home a 10-footer. He missed the green with his four-iron second shot at 18, but chipped to five feet and converted the birdie putt.
 
Kelly missed the fairway at the first, but hit a six-iron to eight feet to set up the birdie putt. He sank a 20-foot downhill birdie putt at the sixth to get to four-under par for the championship.
 
At the par-three ninth, Kelly played a four-iron into the right bunker. He holed his bunker shot to break out of the logjam at minus-four, and take second place on his own.
 
'I'm just going out and playing,' said Kelly. 'I knew it's been coming. I've been close. It's just nice to put it together. I kind of made it effortless, which is what I've been looking for. I've been putting so much effort into it for the last two years really, I guess that's what it took to kind of take the pressure off.'
 
Stuart Appleby, one of the six first-round co-leaders, managed an even-par 70 and is tied for fifth place with Greg Owen (69), Jesper Parnevik (69), Shingo Katayama (66) and defending champion Vijay Singh (67). The group is knotted at three-under-par 137.
 
Singh, who also titled at the PGA in 1998, started on No. 10 and recorded four birdies in his first 14 holes. He mixed two bogeys, including one at the ninth when his tee shot missed the green, and a birdie the rest of the way to stay in the hunt.
 
Stephen Ames and Trevor Immelman, two more of the first-round co-leaders, both posted matching rounds of two-over 72 on Friday. They are part of a group tied for 15th at one-under-par 139.
 
Ben Curtis, the 2003 British Open winner and final leader from Thursday, struggled to a three-over-par 73. He is tied for 23rd at even-par 140.
 
Among the notable players who failed to make the cut were: Lee Janzen, who won the 1993 U.S. Open at Baltusrol (145), Justin Leonard (145), Chris DiMarco (146), Colin Montgomerie (148), Darren Clarke (150) and Padraig Harrington (153).
 
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    McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

    Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

    McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

    Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

    McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, four shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

    Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

    “That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.