Mickelson Now 1-2-3 in Majors

By Associated PressJuly 18, 2004, 4:00 pm
TROON, Scotland -- Four months ago, Phil Mickelson was the guy who couldn't win a major. Nowadays, it's rather surprising when he doesn't.
Mickelson had a one-shot lead with eight holes to play Sunday at the British Open, seemingly incapable of making a bogey. But when he fell behind by missing a 4-foot putt on No. 13, he never quite caught up.
'The guys behind me were making birdies,' Mickelson said. 'And I wasn't.'
Mickelson finished one shot out of the playoff, won by Todd Hamilton over Ernie Els.
In any other year, Mickelson's third-place finish at Royal Troon would have been cause for celebration because he had never before been in the top 10 at the British Open. And there is another bright side, too: Once 0-for-42 in majors, they now seem as easy as 1-2-3.
He won the Masters in April for his first major title. He finished second at the U.S. Open after a three-putt from 5 feet on the 71st hole at Shinnecock Hills. And he was closer than ever on the links of the British Open.
'I don't feel like I lost a chance,' Mickelson said. 'I felt I played well, and I thought if I could get to the top of the leaderboard -- or tied -- with nine to go, I could make nine pars. I couldn't see that many birdies out there.
'What Todd and Ernie did is really incredible.'
Mickelson, who closed with a 3-under 68, first tied for the lead by chipping in for eagle on the par-5 fourth. He got there again with a 6-foot birdie on the seventh hole. But he really looked impressive with pars.
Mickelson came up short with a chip on the ninth and saved par with an 18-foot putt. Then his approach ran through the 10th green, down a slope and into thick grass. A bogey looked imminent when he chipped 15 feet past the hole, but Lefty made that putt, too, to stay at 9 under.
Els and Hamilton also were at 9 under and playing behind him, but they were struggling. Els took double bogey on No. 10 after hitting into thick rough twice, while Hamilton missed a 6-foot par putt.
'I was just playing for pars ... and thought shooting even par was going to be good enough,' Mickelson said.
No one was better. Mickelson had not made a bogey since the 17th hole of the first round Thursday, but his streak ended at 49 at the worst time -- a 4-foot miss on the 13th.
By the time he got another birdie on the par-5 16th, Hamilton already had birdied the 11th and chipped in for birdie on the 13th to take a one-shot lead.
Mickelson ran out of holes. Hamilton also birdied the 16th, while Els birdied the 16th and 17th with clutch shots and wound up in a playoff when Hamilton dropped a shot on the final hole.
They headed for the first tee for the four-hole playoff. Mickelson was reduced to signing autographs.
'To miss out by a shot is certainly disappointing,' said Mickelson, who opened with a 73 and was below the cut line until charging back. 'I felt after the first day it would take a lot to get into contention, and I played three very good rounds, making only one bogey, and I was very proud of that.'
With the PGA Championship to come, Mickelson still has another chance to win a second major this year at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, Aug. 12-15.
But he is also looking ahead to next year's Open at St. Andrews.
'I love this tournament, I just haven't played well in the past,' said Mickelson, whose best finish before Sunday was a tie for 11th at St. Andrews. 'I feel like I've been working hard on the shots that are required over here. I feel I executed them well. It's a little disappointing to fall short here, but it's also very encouraging to know that I'm able to contend in this great championship.'
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    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.

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    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.