Players Hoping for Super Sunday


2006 FBR OpenWith the Super Bowl being contested this Sunday, it means one thing: Phil Mickelson will most certainly be asked who his favorite is to win the game.
While Mickelson may or may not offer his opinion, it is also most certain that he would rather win the FBR Open than see Pittsburgh or Seattle win the Lombardi Trophy.
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson is looking for his third career FBR Open title.
Mickelson enters this weeks stop, the most rowdy scene of the PGA Tour season, as the defending champion. He shot 11-under 60 in the second round a year ago to earn a share of the 36-hole lead. He then added rounds of 66-68 to win by five over Scott McCarron and Kevin Na.
The win was his first of the 05 season, and the first of two in a row, as he went on to win at Pebble Beach the following week for a second straight Super Sunday.
Mickelson will be looking to become the first player since Johnny Miller in 1974-75 to successfully defend his title in this event. Arnold Palmer won three straight in 1961-63. Ben Hogan (1946-47), Jimmy Demaret (1949-50) and Lloyd Mangrum (1952-53) are also repeat winners.
After a lengthy layoff, this will be the left-handers third consecutive start (he will play four-in-a-row including next weeks AT&T Pro-Am). He finished tied for fifth in his season debut at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, and then tied for eighth in last weeks Buick Invitational.
Mickelson has twice before retained a title, doing so in Tucson in 1995-96 and in Hartford in 2001-02.
Hes the favorite to do it a third time, but here are five others who may well stand in his way:
Chris DiMarco
Its been four years since DiMarco won this event, his last on the PGA Tour. Yet he returns to Scottsdale a winner. DiMarco captured the European Tours Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in his last start two weeks ago. The 37-year-old is as confident as just about anyone in golf ' and that was before he ended a four-year worldwide winless streak. Hes hoping that his victory in the Middle East will translate to more wins in the U.S. He has a great track record in this event. In addition to his 2002 title, he finished runner-up in 2004 and tied for fifth in 2001. Sixteen of his last 18 rounds at the TPC of Scottsdale have been in the 60s.
Jesper Parnevik
Eight years ago, Parnevik lit his first victory cigar in a tour event, doing so in regards to his three-stroke triumph at what was then known as the Phoenix Open. He added a second tour victory in 1999, two more in 2000, and yet another in 2001. The well, however, has since been dry. Last year, he finished 109th on the money list with only two top-10s in 24 starts. Its early in 06, but things seem to be getting better. Parnevik shot 62-67 over the weekend to tie for second at the Bob Hope. He then tied for 10th at Torrey Pines. He has five top-20s in his last nine trips to Scottsdale.
Vijay Singh
Like the two aforementioned contenders, Singh is a past champion at this event, having first prevailed in 1995. Unlike the other two, however, he has never stopped winning. The 1995 Phoenix Open was Singhs second career tour victory. Hes since won 26 times, including this event in 2003. Singh has yet to win this season, but is off to a solid start. He lost to Stuart Appleby in a playoff at the Mercedes Championships and then finished sixth at the Sony Open. He was in The Gulf last week for the Qatar Masters, where he tied for 24th. He has played this event 11 times and has never missed a cut; though, he did withdraw after a first-round 74 in 1999. In his last four starts here, he has finished no worse than T11.
Lucas Glover
Glover is off to a very good start thus far this season. He finished sixth under trying conditions at the Mercedes. He then missed the cut at the Sony, but rebounded with a tie for 10th at the Bob Hope and a tied for fourth last week in San Diego. This will be his first appearance in this event.
Mark Calcavecchia
Calcavecchia is a horse for this course. He not only set the 72-hole tournament scoring record with his 28-under 256 total in 2001; he established a new tour scoring record which stood until Tommy Armour III won the 2003 Texas Open in just 254 strokes. Calcavecchia won this tournament in 1989 and 1992. He has nine career top-10 finishes in 19 Phoenix starts. He has a pair of top-20s in three events this season.
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