Mickelson contending after 64 at Scottish Open

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2012, 7:15 pm

INVERNESS, Scotland – Phil Mickelson broke out of his slump with an 8-under 64 at the Scottish Open on Friday, leaving him five shots off the second-round lead shared by Alexander Noren and Francesco Molinari.

Noren used another round of 66 to move to 12 under alongside Molinari, who couldn't match his blistering 62 on Thursday but managed a 70.

Mickelson charged up the leaderboard in an overcast but largely wind-free round at the Castle Stuart links. The three-time Masters champion broke par for the first time since May, with an eagle and six birdies putting him in a strong position for the weekend and improving his confidence before the British Open.

''We've had perfect weather and the golf course was there for the taking,'' said Mickelson, who shot a 73 Thursday after cutting short his family holiday in Italy to play in the tournament. ''It's very helpful to see my game progress so quickly.


Mickelson hoping for bad weather at British Open


''I think the more I play, the better it gets. It's not to the level that I would like, yet, but I get closer each day.''

His 64 matched the lowest round of the day – along with Ricardo Gonzalez and Matteo Manassero, who finished at 11 under. S.S.P. Chowrasia of India was another shot back, while top-ranked Luke Donald shot 68.

''It was very stress-free,'' said defending champion Donald, who birdied the last two holes. ''It was a nice finish and I'm only three back. You've got to stay patient and you've got to know that this course does offer some opportunities, especially in reasonably benign conditions.''

The cut was 4 under, leaving Colin Montgomerie, Gregory Havret, Rich Beem and American John Rollins heading home early.

Mickelson chipped in for eagle with his lob wedge from 60 yards at his first hole. Driving long and straight and making 16 greens in regulation, he gave himself plenty of birdie chances.

It marked a massive improvement for Mickelson, who missed the cut at The Greenbrier Classic last week, tied for 65th at the U.S. Open and withdrew after a first-round 79 at the Memorial Tournament in his last three events.

''To have a good, consistent 18 holes of golf was a nice breakthrough and it gives me a chance on the weekend to try to do the same,'' he said.

The 89th-ranked Noren carried his 30th birthday celebrations over from Thursday by making six birdies and an eagle.

Molinari had an average round after his tournament record-equaling 62 on Thursday.

''I knew it was going to be hard following up yesterday,'' the Italian said. ''I knew it wasn't going to last forever.''

Oddly enough in the Scottish Highlands, a tee shot from Gonzalez rolled into an open packet of salt and vinegar chips on the par-4 seventh hole. After taking a drop, he made his first birdie and added six more.

Peter Whiteford made the second hole in one of the tournament after acing the 11th but missed out on the prize of 168 bottles of champagne – for each yard of the hole – because Andrew Johnston of England achieved the feat on Thursday.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 20, 2018, 7:08 pm

Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.


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Watch: Highlights from Tiger's first round at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is back at the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, and he provided the fans in Atlanta with some highlights on the first day of competition.

Still looking for his first win of the year after coming close on numerous occasions, Woods started the day off by splitting the fairway on the first hole with the driver, not even bothering to watch his ball land.

Despite the picture-perfect opening tee shot, Woods would go on to bogey the first hole, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, making putts from 26 and 15 feet.

Tiger's best shot on the front nine came on the par-4 seventh hole after he found the pine straw behind a tree with his drive. The 14-time major champ punched one under the tree limbs and onto the green, then calmly two-putted for par from about 40 feet en route to a front-side 1-under 34.

Woods added two more birdies on the par-4 12th and 14th holes, rolling in putts of 3 feet and 7 feet after a couple of great looking approach shots.

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Garcia (66) peaking for Ryder Cup?

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 20, 2018, 6:17 pm

Sergio Garcia might be finding his form just in time to terrorize the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Garcia made seven birdies during an opening round of 5-under 66 to sit just two shots off the early lead at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters.

It was Garcia’s fifth consecutive round of par or better, a stretch that includes rounds of 66-65-67-70-66. That solid play at the Wyndham Championship wasn’t enough to extend his PGA Tour season – he didn’t qualify for the FedExCup playoffs – but the Spaniard is starting to round into form with the Ryder Cup on deck.


Full-field scores from the Portugal Masters


A few weeks ago he was a controversial selection by European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. After missing the cut in all four majors, Garcia could have been left at home in favor of such players as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace (a three-time winner this season who, once again, is at the top of the leaderboard in Portugal), Matt Fitzpatrick or Thomas Pieters. But Bjorn tabbed Garcia, noting his Ryder Cup experience, his sterling foursomes record and his influence in the team room. If Phil Mickelson is the U.S. player under the most pressure to perform in Paris, all eyes will be on Garcia next week – especially since it could be one of his final opportunities to wear a European uniform, as he’ll be 40 for the 2020 matches.

Garcia’s 66 matched his lowest opening round of the year and puts him in position to secure just his second top-10 since March.

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Watch: 100mph storm destroys tent at St. Andrews

By Grill Room TeamSeptember 20, 2018, 4:25 pm

The Old Course at St. Andrews has endured all sorts of wacky weather over the years, but things ratcheted up a notch this week with the arrival of Storm Ali.

The first named storm of the season struck Wednesday, bringing 100 mph gusts, killing two people and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power in parts of Ireland, Scotland and England.

According to the Courier no one was injured in the St. Andrews area, but a video posted from the home of golf shows just how powerful the storm was as wind absolutely destroyed one of the hospitality tents set up in advance of the Dunhill Links Championship:

While plenty of clean-up is sure to be needed, officials say the Dunhill Links, which also be conducted at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, will go on as scheduled October 4-7.