Notes Eagle putt awaits Lefty Zingers strong view

By Associated PressAugust 9, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Phil Mickelson wasnt the best lefty in his twosome.
 
Steve Flesch was 2 under through five holes, and moved into a tie for fifth at 1 over on Saturday when thunderstorms forced suspension of play for the day at the PGA Championship.
 
Mickelson was even par through the same stretch and remained at 3 over, four shots behind second-round leader J.B. Holmes.
 
I dont know if either one of us has a lot to be proud of today, Flesch said. I think both of us will be looking to get some momentum in the morning, hoping it will carry us through on whats going to be a long day.
 
The suspension meant the two left-handers faced 31 holes on Sunday.
 
Mickelson is in the midst of his longest stretch with one top-10 finish at a major, going nine starts with only a tie for fifth in April at the Masters.
 
Lefty shed the label of being the best player without a major championship in 2004 at Augusta, won the PGA Championship in 2005 and earned another green jacket in 2006.
 
Mickelson was tied for 18th and 19th in the U.S. Open and British Open, respectively, this year. He missed two cuts at majors last season, finishing no better than 24th, and finished outside of the top 15 in the final two majors of 2006.
 
The worlds second-ranked player got off to a great start Saturday with a drive that landed in the fairway, just 72 yards from the green at 435-yard first hole.
 
But Mickelson didnt take advantage, finessing an approach that went in a bunker short. He came up short again but had a good chip out of the rough on the short side of the green to set up a short putt for bogey.
 
Mickelson drove down the middle of the fairway on No. 5 and hit a beautiful shot that trickled toward the cup and left him with about a 5-foot birdie putt. But he barely caught the left side of the cup. After tapping in for par, he shook his head as he walked off the green.
 
Mickelson gave himself a chance, though, to make up ground with an 8-foot eagle putt at No. 6 only to have the horn blow. He marked his ball and took a look at the line hed have before getting in an SUV to evacuate the course.
 
It took 17 minutes to get Mickelson and Flesch back to the clubhouse as a caravan slowly made its way from the far end of the course to the clubhouse.
 
After a 4-hour delay, Mickelson left the course without talking to reporters.
 
DOESNT COUNT
 
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger played in the PGA Championship, so he knows how difficult it is to play Oakland Hills.
 
Its the hardest course Ive ever played, Azinger said after his third-round 76 left him at 14-over 224.
 
That speaks volumes considering the source, who is playing in his 66th major and has competed in five Ryder Cups and two Presidents Cups.
 
The top eight players in the Ryder Cup standings after Sundays final round will get automatic berths for next months event at Valhalla. Azinger will fill out the rest of the side with four captains picks to be announced Sept. 2 in New York City.
 
Players who struggled at Oakland Hills this week have not doomed their chances, Azinger insisted.
 
Doesnt mean anything, he said. This isnt the Ryder Cup week. We have three weeks to go. I want a guy who is confident and if the guys confidence is shattered when he left here, join the club.
 
FUN AT THE TURN
 
Rocco Mediate and Mark Calcavecchia both birdied the par-3 ninth in the third round, the first time in the tournament all the players in a group left the green with scores under par.
 
That coupled with a midmorning tee time put them in a good mood on the 10th tee, knowing they would get their round in before the expected storms rolled into the Motor City area.
 
Have fun at 9 oclock! Calcavecchia shouted to D.J. Trahan, who had a 1:20 p.m. starting time and managed to play four holes before play was suspended for the day.
 
After Mediate hit his drive, he walked over to Trahan on the practice green to shake his hand and say a few words.
 
Mediate (72) is 9 over for the tournament and Calcavecchia (76) is 13-over 223.
 
The ninth hole, which was 220 yards with the forward tee used, was the 14th-toughest hole when play was suspended Saturday after being among the most difficult in the first two rounds.
 
With wind whipping around the course so hard that a sports section flew out of somebodys hands near the green, some players struggled at the hole Saturday.
 
John Mallinger sent a 3-wood tee shot that was headed for the middle of the green only to sail into the right rough because of a gust of wind. Japans Hiroyuki Fujita, playing in the same group, used a hybrid only to be disappointed when the wind knocked down his tee shot into the fairway. Both ended up bogeying the hole.
 
KILLIN TIME
 
While play was suspended for over 4 hours, players found anything they could to wait out the weather.
 
Tom Lehman, who got in seven holes before play was called, said he tried a little bit of everything.
 
I spent a lot of time in the fitness trailer; Ive got an elbow issue, he said. So I was warming it up and then Id go practice, then re-warming it up and then going to practice again. And I was eating, and watching the Olympics, and talking and taking a nap ' I just kind of covered all the bases.
 
U.S. PRIDE
 
If an international player wins the PGA Championship, it will the first time Americans didnt win at least half of the majors since 1994.
 
Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open in June but had knee surgery soon after and didnt play in the British Open, won by Irelands Padraig Harrington, or the PGA. South Africas Trevor Immelman won the Masters.
 
In 1994, South African Nick Price won two majors (PGA and British) and Spains Jose Maria Olazabal (Masters) and South Africas Ernie Els (U.S. Open) each won one.
 
DIVOTS
 
Ernie Els has won the most money in PGA Championships (nearly $1.4 million) without winning the major. He has made the cut in 13 of 16 starts and finished among the top five in three of the last four. Detroit Pistons coach Michael Curry and assistant Pat Sullivan were among the faces in the crowd Saturday. Houston Rockets forward Shane Battier, who was a prep star at nearby Detroit Country Day High, was in the gallery during the first round. Battier hadnt watched a major in person since the final round of the 2001 Masters, when he and Mike Dunleavy were coming off a national championship at Duke and Tiger Woods became the first player to hold all the major titles at the same time.
 

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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.