Mickelson Tops Tiger - Then Fires Shot at Finchem

By Associated PressSeptember 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. -- As soon as Phil Mickelson shrugged off Tiger Woods and the rest of the field at the Deutsche Bank Championship, he decided to take on golf's powers-that-be.
 
Complaining that the PGA TOUR Playoffs are too much of a commitment for players already tired from a long season, Mickelson threatened to skip next week's BMW Championship.
 
'My frustration from this past year came from asking for a couple of things in the FedExCup that weren't done, and not feeling all that bad now if I happen to miss,' he said Monday. 'So I'm not really sure how it's going to play out.'
 
Mickelson would not elaborate on his complaints, but he did say that with his kids starting school on Wednesday he was torn between spending time with his family and fighting for points in Chicago. He has brought up his issues with PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem, to no avail.
 
'It's just that I'm conflicted,' Mickelson said, noting that it wasn't just the playoffs but a hectic season overall. 'I certainly feel the obligation to support the FedExCup, to support the PGA TOUR, and support the game of golf. And I also want to have a balance in my life, and my family has sacrificed a lot this year because it's been a very difficult schedule.'
 
Mickelson shot 5-under-par 66 on Monday in the final round of the Deutsche Bank to finish two strokes ahead of Woods, Brett Wetterich and Arron Oberholser. The victory was worth $1.26 million and 9,000 points in the playoffs, moving him to the top of the standings.
 
Wetterich shot 70, making a birdie on the final hole to earn enough points to move up 29 spots in the standings to No. 22 and giving him an excellent shot at making the TOUR Championship.
 
Oberholser was within one shot of Mickelson most of the back nine, but he needed an eagle on the final hole to force a playoff. Instead, he missed a 10-foot birdie putt when the tournament was sealed and improved to No. 29 in the standings; had he made the birdie putt, he would have gone to No. 20 and clinched a spot at East Lake for the Tour Championship.
 
John Mallinger and Bo Van Pelt moved into the top 70 to advance to the third round next week in Chicago.
 
Even if Mickelson does skip the next event, he long ago locked up a spot in the TOUR Championship.
 
But that would make it three consecutive weeks that a top 5 player in the world rankings has sat out one of the playoff events. Tiger Woods sat out Week 1, and Ernie Els sat out the Deutsche Bank to be with his kids as they started school.
 
Even missing Els, the TPC was not lacking in star power.
 
After playing in a threesome with Vijay Singh for the first two rounds, Mickelson and Woods paired up again in Monday's final round. Thousands of fans stood six-deep behind the greens and watched Mickelson move to a five-stroke lead before Woods made a move.
 
'For 10 years I've struggled against Tiger,' Mickelson said. 'The way I was able to answer with a couple birdies when Tiger was making his charge -- it felt pretty good. As we all know, he finishes better than anybody else. He certainly tried to do that today. I was able to hold him off.'
 
It was Mickelson's first victory since THE PLAYERS Championship in May. Then he injured his left wrist that cost him his summer, and only recently has Mickelson been able to swing without flinching.
 
But Woods was the one who was struggling this week.
 
He missed 11 putts from inside 10 feet over the weekend -- four of them from inside 7 feet. He three-putted three times. In the final round, he made just one putt from outside of 13 feet.
 
'It's very frustrating,' Woods said. 'That many three-putts, and I'm still right there, which means I'm hitting the ball well. I just need to clean up my greens for next week.'
 
Woods missed makable putts on three straight holes, including a 15-footer on No. 12 after Mickelson hit his second shot into a hazard and wound up with a double bogey.
 
'He made a mistake there,' Woods said. 'I felt that I should have -- if I could have made that putt, I could have gotten a big chunk back.'
 
Trailing by two strokes, Wood hit his tee shot on the 161-yard, par-3 16th to the back of the green and rolled it just 10 feet from the pin. But then Mickelson went straight at the flag, and left just 6 feet for birdie.
 
Woods sank his putt to get within one stroke -- but just for a matter of seconds. Mickelson also made birdie to move to 15 under and restore the two-stroke lead.
 
'To be able to stand up on 16 after he knocked it close and follow it with a birdie of my own, knock it inside of him and finish with a couple birdies of my own, it feels terrific,' said Mickelson, who improved to 3-2-1 against Woods in heads-up, final-round play.
 
'Now the next step is to try to hopefully go head-to-head in a major. We don't get paired very often in majors, and hopefully next year we'll have a chance to do that.'
 
Woods gave himself a chance for an eagle on No. 18 from 33 feet. But Mickelson ended it when, after going over the green with his second shot, he chipped from out of a downhill lie to within 5 feet -- an easy birdie.
 
For Lefty, it was the cap to a fun week in New England -- his first trip to the Boston area since he celebrated a stunning U.S. victory in the Ryder Cup at Brookline.
 
This time, Mickelson spent some time in Kennebunkport, Maine, for some golf and fishing with former President Bush. After Saturday's round, Mickelson headed over to Fenway Park and saw Red Sox rookie Clay Buchholz throw a no-hitter.
 
'It made for a very special, memorable week,' Mickelson said. 'I'm just so excited with the way it finished.'
 
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    Ciganda, S.Y. Kim share lead in Shanghai

    By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 9:28 am

    SHANGHAI - Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to share the lead with Sei Young Kim after the third round of the LPGA Shanghai.

    Ciganda carded her fifth birdie of the day on the par-4 18th to finish tied with overnight leader Kim at 11-under 205. Kim shot a 71 with four bogeys and five birdies.

    Ciganda is attempting to win her third LPGA title and first since the 2016 season, when she won two tournaments in a one-month span. Kim is chasing her eighth career LPGA win and second title of the 2018 season.

    ''I want to win because I didn't win last year,'' Ciganda said. ''I love playing in Asia. It's good for long hitters, playing quite long, so I'm quite comfortable.''


    Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


    Angel Yin also birdied the final hole for a 68 and was a further stroke back with Brittany Altomare (69), Danielle Kang (71) and Ariya Jutanugarn (71).

    Yin and Altomare have yet to break through for their first LPGA win. A win in Shanghai would make either player the ninth first-time winner of the 2018 season, which would tie 2016 for the third highest number of first-time winners in a season in LPGA history.

    ''I love competing,'' Yin said. ''That's why I'm playing, right? I'm excited to be in contention again going into Sunday.''

    Local favorite Yu Liu was seventh after offsetting a lone bogey with four birdies for a 69.

    Paula Creamer also shot a 69 and shared eighth at 8 under with Minjee Lee (70) and Bronte Law (71).

    The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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    Koepka's pursuers have no illusions about catching him

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:50 am

    Ahead by four, wielding his driver like Thor's hammer, Brooks Koepka is 18 holes from his third victory in five months and his first ascent to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

    The tournament isn't over. No one is handing him the trophy and updating the OWGR website just yet. But it will likely take some combination of a meltdown and low round from someone in the chase pack to prevent a Koepka coronation Sunday in South Korea.

    Thirteen under for the week, the three-time major champion will start the final round four shots ahead of his playing partners, Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, and five ahead of six more players at minus-8.

    As is his nature, Poulter figures to be undaunted. The 42-year-old is fresh off a Sunday singles victory over Dustin Johnson at the Ryder Cup and in the midst of a career renaissance, having broken a five-year winless drought earlier this year. In one sense, it's Europe vs. the United States again, but this isn't match play, and Koepka, a guy who doesn't need a head start, has spotted himself a four-shot advantage.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "Tomorrow I'm going to need to make a few birdies. Obviously Brooks is in cruise control right now and obviously going to need a shoot a low one," Poulter conceded. "Do what I'm doing, just enjoy [it]. Obviously try and make as many birdies as I can and see how close we get."

    Perez, in the group at 8 under par, isn't giving up, but like Poulter, he's aware of the reality of his situation.

    "We're chasing Brooks, who of course obviously is playing phenomenally," he said. "A lot of the long hitters now when they get in contention, they hit that driver and they're really hard to catch. I'm not worried about it too much. It's going to be harder for me tomorrow than him, so I'm going to try and go out and just do my thing, hit some shots, hopefully hit some close and make some putts and we'll see. I don't expect him to come backwards, but hopefully I can try to go catch him."

    Gary Woodland, also 8 under par, summed up the predicament best when he alluded to Koepka's perhaps advantageously aloof demeanor.

    "You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can," he said. "You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number."

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    Koepka has his chance 'to earn' his way to No. 1

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:09 am

    There won't need to be any wonky math involved. He won't have to settle for finally reaching the the top via some kind of mathematical reset while he's sitting at home on the couch (or more likely working out in the gym).

    No, Brooks Koepka on Sunday in South Korea will have a chance to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking the way every player would most want to - with a victory.

    On the strength of a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 Saturday, Koepka will enter the final round of the CJ Cup four clear of Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, with six more players five behind.

    The tournament is Koepka's to lose, and so too is the No. 1 ranking. So long as Justin Thomas doesn't somehow defend his title from 12 shots back, Koepka can supplant Dustin Johnson atop the rankings with a win or a solo second-place finish.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "It was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to become World No. 1 in a week that I was playing," Koepka said Saturday. "I thought like I could really earn it and not have a week off where it just so happens that you bump up. No, it would be very special, and to do it here would be nice and hopefully get to world No. 1 and cap it off with a win, I don't think there would be much better."

    It would be a fitting end to this breakthrough year for Koepka, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title and then added his third major victory at the PGA Championship en route to claiming the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award. Oddly enough, considering his status a three-time major winner and an impending No. 1, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major; his only regular Tour win to date was his first, at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    "My confidence has always been pretty high," Koepka said. "Anytime you can win three majors you're going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I've done over the last two years has been special, but I'm looking to build on that."

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    Koepka ahead by four, with No. 1 ranking in his grasp

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

    Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

    Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Piercy (-9), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

    What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One off the lead to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

    Round of the day: After contending last week at the CIMB, Shubankhar Sharma rebounded from opening rounds of 74 and 75 with a nine-birdie, 8-under 64 to move up 45 spots into a tie for 26th through 54 holes.

    Best of the rest: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

    Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

    Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.