Mickelson Takes Charge at Bob Hope

By Sports NetworkJanuary 23, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicLA QUINTA, Calif. -- Phil Mickelson continued his stellar play at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic with an 8-under 64 on Friday to take a two-shot lead after the third round. Mickelson, who won this event in 2002, finished with a 54-hole total of 21-under-par 195.
 
Jay Haas, another former winner of this event, finished in second place at 19-under-par 197 along with Ben Crane. Paul Azinger and Todd Fischer were one shot further back at 18-under-par 198.
 
Mickelson, who is coming off a year in which he went without a win on the PGA Tour, put together a pair of solid rounds on two of the courses in rotation at this five-round event before taking on the Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA West on Friday.
 
'I don't know if I'd say it's a dream start but it's a nice start to the year,' said Mickelson. 'I think the nicest thing about it is the work that I've put in the off-season, I can see it paying off.'
 
The left-hander played the back side first and knocked at 8-iron to 15 feet for a birdie at the 10th. He added a birdie at the 11th and played his tee shot to 10 feet at the par-3 12th. Mickelson calmly drained the putt for his third consecutive birdie to start the day.
 
Mickelson landed a sand-wedge inside 12 feet for a birdie at par-4 16th but sent his second shot in the drink at the par-4 18th en route to a bogey.
 
He recovered on the front side with another remarkable stretch that saw him run home an eight-foot putt for a birdie at the first. Mickelson then two-putted for a birdie at the par-5 second and made it three in a row with a birdie at the third to pull two clear of the field at 19 under.
 
While Haas looked to keep things close, Mickelson kept on rolling and dropped a 5-iron inside 10 feet for a birdie at the par-4 seventh.
 
At the par-4 eighth, Mickelson played a sand-wedge to 18 feet and rolled in the birdie putt to secure a two-shot edge heading into the weekend.
 
'I've been very excited about 2004,' said Mickelson. 'I just could not wait for the year to get started. I couldn't wait to get 2003 behind me. I'm very encouraged by the way the first three rounds have gone.'
 
Haas played Indian Wells on Friday, a course Mickelson had his way with the day before, and fell hard out of the gate with a double bogey at the opening hole.
 
He countered with back-to-back birdies starting at the par-4 second but found trouble again with a bogey at the par-3 fourth.
 
At the par-5 fifth, Haas knocked a 5-wood inside 12 feet and converted the eagle putt to turn things around.
 
The eagle was all the 50-year-old needed as he drained a 15-foot putt at the par-4 seventh for his first of five consecutive birdies.
 
'I didn't get too panicky after the first hole because I knew the course usually yields a lot of birdies,' said Haas, who titled at this event in 1988. 'I just felt like I played well and they would come.'
 
Haas added a birdie at the 14th and played a sand-wedge within 10 feet of the cup for a birdie at the par-4 17th on his way to a round of 64, a score good enough to possibly entice the veteran to putting off going to the Champions Tour for another year?
 
'I certainly don't want to forget about it,' Haas said of the elder circuit. 'I feel that if I split my time that I wouldn't give myself the best opportunity to do well on the PGA Tour, nor would I give myself the best opportunity to succeed on the Champions Tour.'
 
Overnight leader Kenny Perry posted a 3-under 69 at Bermuda Dunes to join Skip Kendall, Kirk Triplett and Geoff Ogilvy in a tie for sixth place at 17-under-par 199.
 
Robert Gamez played the back nine first at Indian Wells and collected three birdies over his first nine holes before catching fire on the front half.
 
The 35-year-old ran off seven birdies and an eagle coming home for a 27 on the front nine. Gamez matched the all-time PGA Tour mark for best nine-hole score and also shot a 12-under 60 in the process.
 
'I guess I finally played well,' said Gamez, who established a new course record at Indian Wells. 'I hit some good shots and some putts, but I knew I was hitting well and starting to strike it well. Then the front nine just clicked.'
 
Gamez finished at 16-under-par 200 along with Bob Burns, Richard S. Johnson, Loren Roberts and John Senden.
 
Defending champion Mike Weir finished 10 shots off the pace in a group at 11- under-par 205.
 
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  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is also one shot off the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu and Shanshan Feng are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''


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    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''