Mickelson Makes a Move at Doral

By Sports NetworkMarch 4, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Ford Championship at DoralMIAMI -- Phil Mickelson posted a 6-under 66 on Friday to take the second-round lead of the Ford Championship at Doral. He missed the 36-hole record by a stroke at 14-under-par 130 and is two ahead of Billy Andrade.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods struggled Friday and is now five back of the lead.
Mickelson, who was part of a tie for the lead on Thursday, is unquestionably the hottest player on the PGA Tour. He won two of his last three starts, the FBR Open in Phoenix and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and played well before running into David Toms in the third round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
He finds himself with at least a share of the lead after his ninth consecutive stroke-play round. Mickelson missed Franklin Langham's 2000 record of 129 and the No. 4 player in the world can seem to do no wrong.
'The only thing that matters is leading on Sunday and that's kind of the goal right now,' said Mickelson, who leads the tour's money list. 'I haven't really thought about it much this week because there's so many good players right there.'
Andrade recorded a great bogey at the famed 'Blue Monster' at Doral Golf Resort and Spa. He finished with a second-round, 6-under-par 66 for a two-day total of 12-under-par 132.
Jose Maria Olazabal, who was one of four first-round co-leaders, shot a 3-under 69 on Friday and is alone in third place at 11-under-par 133. Billy Mayfair carded his second 5-under 67 in as many rounds and is fourth at minus-10.
This year's field boasts 11 of the top-12 players in the world rankings, with Ernie Els (No. 3) the only exception. Several of those players are in the group tied for fifth at 9-under-par 135.
Top-ranked Vijay Singh mixed six birdies and one bogey for a 5-under 67.
'I'm really happy with the way I'm striking the ball,' said Singh. 'I'm really disappointed I could have made one or two more under but that's the way it goes.'
Tiger Woods, the second-ranked player who can reclaim the top spot this week, was even after his first six holes, but rattled off four consecutive birdies around the turn to take the top spot.
Things turned quickly for Woods as he dropped a shot at the second, his 11th on Friday. He three-putted from 34 feet for another bogey at three and made it three consecutive bogeys at four when he three-putted from 33 feet.
'My bogeys were caused by a couple of three-putts and then on top of that, I made some poor decisions in commitment into the greens and consequently made two more bogeys on top of that,' admitted Woods.
Woods sank an 8-foot birdie putt at the fifth to get in the logjam at minus-9.
Also in the top 12 in the rankings and tied for fifth are Toms (66) and Stewart Cink (65). Defending champion Craig Parry (66), Langham (67), Joey Snyder III (69), Tim Clark (67), Hunter Mahan (69), James Driscoll (68) and first-round co-leader Brian Davis (71) joined the top players five out of the lead.
All of these great players are looking up at Mickelson on the weekend.
He opened on the back nine Friday and collected his first birdie at the par-5 12th. Mickelson's 3-wood came up short of the green, but he wedged his approach to 3 feet and converted the short birdie putt.
At the 372-yard, par-4 16th, Mickelson drove into a greenside bunker and blasted out to 6 feet. He made that birdie putt and added another at 18 when his 30-footer from the fringe was hit too hard, but found the bottom of the cup.
On the second nine, Mickelson kept his strong play going. The lefthander hit a 3-wood into a bunker at the par-5 first and hit his third to a foot. He tapped in the birdie putt and made it three birdies in a row with a 15-footer at two.
Mickelson parred his next six holes and found himself in a tie for the lead with Andrade. After Andrade bogeyed 18, Mickelson knocked a 7-iron to 8 feet and rolled in the putt for the two-stroke lead.
'I didn't necessarily hit the ball as well as yesterday, but I was able to salvage a lot of pars with my short game,' said Mickelson. 'That led to a bogey-free round which was really nice.'
Andrade was on fire on the front nine with six birdies and a single bogey. He ran home a 12-foot birdie putt at the 12th, then hit a spectacular wedge 2 feet short of the hole for a tap-in birdie at 17.
Andrade found trouble off the tee at the dreaded 'Blue Monster.' His drive went left into the water and he had a horrible lie for his third after the drop. Andrade's third went right of the green in a patch of grass near the bunkers. He chipped 20 feet short of the flag, but converted the bogey putt.
'Sometimes you make bad fives, and sometimes you make great fives,' said Andrade, who barely retained his card last season by taking 124th on the final money list. 'That was definitely a great five.'
There are some great players in a tie for 16th at minus-8. Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen (69), former winner Jim Furyk (66), Sergio Garcia (68) and Paul Casey (70) headline the group six behind Mickelson.
The 36-hole cut fell at 3-under-par 141 and first-round co-leader Marco Dawson made it on the number after a round of 77. Justin Leonard (145), Davis Love III (147) and Adam Scott 147), all ranked in the top-20 in the world, missed the cut.
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    After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

    Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

    On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

    Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

    After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

    Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

    A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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    Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

    PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

    At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

    “The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

    Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

    Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

    “Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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    Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

    PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

    Laura Davies won the day.

    It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

    Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

    Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

    For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

    In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

    “I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

    At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

    “It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

    Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

    “It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

    With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

    “People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

    “Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

    She also relished showing certain fans something.

    “Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

    Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

    In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

    Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

    “The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

    After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

    “I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

    Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

    In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

    “I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

    And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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    Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

    The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

    “Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

    And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

    After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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    Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

    “Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”