Mickelson falls three back of McCarron at Riviera

By Associated PressFebruary 20, 2009, 5:00 pm
Northern Trust OpenLOS ANGELES ' With darkness rapidly descending, Scott McCarron saw enough of the 18th green from 211 yards away to realize it would be one of the tougher shots he faced Friday. The way his week is going, it turned into another birdie.
McCarron aimed his 5-wood toward the bleachers and watched it fade beautiful back toward the flag to about 10 feet, a final birdie in his round of 3-under 68 that gave him a two-shot lead over Steve Stricker and Tommy Armour III in the Northern Trust Open.
Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker's Friday 66 has him in contention entering the weekend. (Getty Images)
I usually do my best work at night, McCarron said.
Phil Mickelson will need to do better on the weekend if he wants to successfully defend his title at Riviera. He was nine shots worse than his opening-round 63, but it was easy to see the upside after a 72 put him in the group only three behind.
This is the first time Im in contention heading into the weekend, and Im excited about it, Mickelson said.
The last two groups finished in the dark, including two players whose PGA Tour debuts turned into short ones.
Ryo Ishikawa, the 17-year-old sensation from Japan, had a 71 to finish at 2-over 144 and miss the cut by three shots. Vincent Johnson, playing on the Charlie Sifford Exemption, bogeyed his last hole for a 74 to also finish three shots below the cut line.
The reason why I missed the cut was I didnt hit the shots I should have, Ishikawa said. Of course, pressure and nerves had something to do with it.
Johnsons round came undone on the fifth hole.
After opening with two birdies, he was preparing to chip for par from right of the fifth green when the ball moved ever so slightly as he placed his wedge behind it. Johnson wasnt sure it moved, so he checked with his playing partner, Bryce Molder, who did not think it did.
Television showed otherwise, and when rules official Steve Rintoul caught up with Johnson on the seventh tee, he had to deliver the bad news. It was a two-shot penalty ' one for the ball moving, another for not replacing it.
It was too hasty of a move instead of waiting for a rules official, Johnson said, adding that he had a good time and learned his lesson.
McCarron was at 10-under 132, the 36-hole leader for only the fifth time in his career. He could not have found Riviera more peaceful in the cool of evening, with the fresh smell of eucalyptus and the air filled with the chirping of birds.
Then again, there were hardly any fans on the course ' except the mass of media following Ishikawa. The biggest cheers McCarron has had all week came Thursday night when he and other former UCLA golfers were introduced at halftime of the Bruins win over Washington.
Maybe that will change if McCarron can keep it up.
He loves Riviera and has felt vexed on this fabled course off Sunset Boulevard. His first time playing in the final group on the PGA Tour came ini 1997, joined by Masters champion Nick Faldo and Craig Stadler. He closed with a 73 and tied for sixth. Seven years ago, he had a three-shot lead with seven holes to play, bogeyed two of the last three and watched Len Mattiace win.
I love this golf course, McCarron said.
It showed him a little love in return, especially over the final hour. McCarron went after a tucked flag on the par-3 14th and hit 6-iron to about 4 feet for birdie, then came the sweeping cut he played around the trees and onto the green with his 5-wood on the 18th.
Stricker had a 66 to get into contention, which was important for his psyche.
A month ago, he had the lead at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on Sunday until the desert wind began raging and Stricker paid for it on the 10th hole ' one tee shot out-of-bounds, another in the water, a bunker save for quadruple bogey that ultimate cost him the tournament.
And the next week, he missed the cut, describing his attitude as down in the dumps.
But he went home to the now in Wisconsin and returned ready to make amends.
Ive had to pick myself up a number of times out here on tour, so Im used to it, he said. You need to move on, and just try to keep doing what you know how to do. And for me, thats working at it and trying to get better and try to get myself in that position again.
Geoff Ogilvy, who opened the year with a wire-to-wire victory at Kapalua, had a 67 and was in the group at 7-under 135 that included Mickelson, K.J. Choi (69), Bob Hope winner Pat Perez (66), former Riviera winner Rory Sabbatini (67) and Luke Donald (69).
Armour and Stricker had both posted at 8-under 134 when Mickelson teed off, and he promptly holed a 30-foot eagle putt. But that was among the few highlights.
He found the right side of the par-3 sixth green ' the wrong place to be with the pin in the back left and a bunker in the middle of the green ' then bogeyed consecutive holes on the back nine.
Obviously, Ive got to get things turned around, he said. I just couldnt get it to click. But weve got two more days.
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    NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:00 pm

    The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

    After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

    Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


    TV Times (all times ET):

    11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
    4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

    4-8PM: Match-play finals

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    Davis: USGA learned from setup errors at Shinnecock

    By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 4:51 pm

    With the U.S. Open set to return to Shinnecock Hills for the first time in 14 years, USGA executive director Mike Davis insists that his organization has learned from the setup mistakes that marred the event the last time it was played on the Southampton, N.Y., layout.

    Retief Goosen held off Phil Mickelson to win his second U.S. Open back in 2004, but the lasting image from the tournament may have been tournament officials spraying down the seventh green by hand during the final round after the putting surface had become nearly unplayable. With the course pushed to the brink over the first three days, stiff winds sucked out any remaining moisture and players struggled to stay on the greens with 30-foot putts, let alone approach shots.

    Speaking to repoters at U.S. Open media day, Davis offered candid reflections about the missteps that led to the course overshadowing the play during that infamous final round.

    "I would just say that it was 14 years ago. It was a different time, it was different people, and we as an organzation, we learned from it," Davis said. "When you set up a U.S. Open, it is golf's ultimate test. It's probably set up closer to the edge than any other event in golf, and I think that the difference then versus now is we have a lot more technology, a lot more data in our hands.

    "And frankly, ladies and gentlemen, what really happened then was just a lack of water."

    Davis pointed to enhancements like firmness and moisture readings for the greens that weren't available in 2004, and he noted that meterological data has evolved in the years since. With another chance to get his hands on one of the USGA's favorite venues, he remains confident that tournament officials will be able to better navigate the thin line between demanding and impossible this time around.

    "There are parts that I think we learned from, and so I think we're happy that we have a mulligan this time," Davis said. "It was certainly a bogey last time. In fact maybe even a double bogey, and equitable stroke control perhaps kicked in."

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    UCLA junior Vu named WGCA Player of the Year

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 3:23 pm

    UCLA junior Lilia Vu was named Player of the Year on Tuesday by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).

    Vu recorded the lowest full-season scoring average (70.37) in UCLA history. Her four tournament wins tied the school record for most victories in a single season.

    Vu was also named to the WGCA All-America first team. Here's a look at the other players who joined her on the prestigious list:

    WGCA First Team All-Americans

    • Maria Fassi, Junior, University of Arkansas
    • Kristen Gillman, Sophomore, University of Alabama
    • Jillian Hollis, Junior, University of Georgia
    • Cheyenne Knight, Junior, University of Alabama
    • Jennifer Kupcho, Junior, Wake Forest University
    • Andrea Lee, Sophomore, Stanford University
    • Leona Maguire, Senior, Duke University
    • Sophia Schubert, Senior, University of Texas
    • Lauren Stephenson, Junior, University of Alabama
    • Maddie Szeryk, Senior, Texas A&M University
    • Patty Tavatanakit, Freshman, UCLA
    • Lilia Vu, Junior, UCLA
    Chris Stroud and caddie Casey Clendenon Getty Images

    Stroud's caddie wins annual PGA Tour caddie tournament

    By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2018, 3:15 pm

    Casey Clendenon, who caddies for Chris Stroud, won the gross division of the annual PGA Tour caddie tournament on Monday, shooting a 5-under 66 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, site of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

    Scott Tway (65), who caddies for Brian Harman, won the net division by two strokes over Wayne Birch, Troy Merritt’s caddie.

    Kyle Bradley, Jonathan Byrd’s caddie, took second place with a 71 in the gross division.

    The tournament was organized by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, and proceeds from the event went to two charities. The APTC donated $20,000 to Greg Chalmers’ charity, MAXimumChances.org, which aids families living with autism. The association also donated $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.