Notes: Mickelson 'not sharp mentally' in Rd. 1 of WGC

By Associated PressAugust 1, 2013, 11:32 pm

AKRON, Ohio – He was in the Buckeye state, but his head was still in Scotland.

Phil Mickelson, yet to escape a British Open hangover, shot a 2-over 72 and was stuck in the middle of the pack Thursday after the first round of the Bridgestone Invitational.

''Today I had a hard time focusing,'' said Mickelson, who missed 3-foot par putts on the sixth and seventh holes. ''Mentally I wasn't sharp. I could tell I was a little bit tired or I just wasn't able to see the shot clearly. I just had a hard time visualizing and seeing the shot today.''

No one could really blame Mickelson for hanging on to thoughts of his last tournament. He climbed from well off the pace Sunday, birdieing four of the final six holes for a stirring victory in the British Open at Muirfield two weeks ago.

Mickelson spent time at home with his family after flying overseas after the stunning triumph, his fifth major championship, and also went to Oak Hill to prepare for next week's final major of the year, the PGA Championship. He came to Firestone Country Club saying he wanted to use his time in Ohio to concentrate on his game.

Even though he felt he was focused on the task at hand, he understood how he could be distracted after such a remarkable win.

Asked if he had found it difficult to deal with the next tournament after winning a major, he said he'd been down this road before.

''I am aware of it. I'll try to make sure I'm a bit more rested and sharp heading into the weekend,'' he said. ''But it does happen. It's a good problem to have.''


WEATHER REPORT: It rained overnight, deadening the greens just enough so that the first players off the tee could take advantage by tossing shots directly at the flags.

''It's soft,'' Ryan Moore said after a 66. ''The greens are receptive, so you can hit 5-irons and 4-irons into the greens and stop them around the hole. It (the course) was longer, but still scoreable.''

Some of those who had practiced all week on a relatively dry and fast layout said the rain didn't make things easier, but harder.

''I played quite a nice shot and it lands quite dead,'' said English pro Chris Wood, making his first appearance ever at the Bridgestone. ''It didn't release as far as I thought and it took quite a few holes to get used to that.''

Moore played in the third group off the tee. Tiger Woods, who was in the fifth twosome starting on the 10th hole, said the conditions would get more difficult as the wind blew and the moisture disappeared.

''It'll get quicker, there's no doubt,'' he said.

And it did.


OH, NO, NOT AGAIN: Tiger Woods has said repeatedly how happy he is with his swing. Well, except for one, anyway.

At the ninth hole, his last of the day in a round of 66, he didn't exactly produce a classic stroke.

''It was a high, hammered snap-hook,'' he said with a smile. ''I hit all of it. It was nice. It was beautiful.''

The ball ended up in the middle of the fairway - the 10th fairway.

''Hey, I count it as a fairway hit,'' Woods cracked.

In the second round of the 2006 Bridgestone, Woods had famously hit an overcooked 9-iron that caromed high off a cart path and ricocheted atop the clubhouse roof at Firestone Country Club. He would go on to win the fifth of his seven Bridgestone titles.

Woods was asked if his shot on Thursday was ever in jeopardy of ending up on the roof.

''No,'' he said with a laugh. ''If I hit that one from the middle of a fairway onto a roof, you could take my name off the bag.''


YOU CAN COME HOME AGAIN: Jason Dufner spent the first 11 years of his life living in and around Cleveland, not far away from where he's toiling this week.

He played Little League baseball, made lots of friends and even walked the Firestone course during his younger days. Then his parents divorced and he moved away.

After a long and circuitous trip through golf's minor leagues, Dufner has made it to the big stage. He played in the Bridgestone for the very first time a year ago, finishing seventh. In Thursday's opening round, he put up a 3-under 67 on the board.

''I have some family and relatives and friends here that come out and support (me),'' he said. ''There's probably 15 or 20 people here. I hear a lot of good support out there. People know I was born here and lived here for a while and still have some family here, so it's always good to come back to Northeast Ohio.''

Despite not spending much time in the area for more than two decades, he still feels at home at Firestone. He opened with rounds of 67 and 66 for sole possession of fourth place a year ago at the Bridgestone before shooting 73 and 68 on the weekend.

''That was about the same type of round to start the week as last year,'' Dufner, now 36 and living in Auburn, Ala., said about his first round Thursday. ''It's a good golf course for me. It feels all right with my game.''


MONSTROUS CHALLENGE: The signature hole at Firestone is the 667-yard, par-5 16th. In the days of wood woods when only the longest hitters could go 300 yards off the tee, it was a daunting task to even reach the green - with a placid but threatening pond in front - in three shots.

That's not the case anymore, although the hole Arnold Palmer dubbed ''The Monster'' - after he made a triple bogey in the 1960 PGA Championship is still a load for even the biggest hitters.

Now even those who can't play the hole can at least get a feel of what it's like to baby an approach shot to the undulating green.

Fans can hit two shots at a faux, 33-yard Monster, made out of green carpet with a mini-water hazard in front of the plastic-grass green. There's netting that prevents shanked shots from, say, decking Zach Johnson over on the 10th tee. It also eliminates the possibility of a skilled player lofting a high flop shot anywhere near the hole.

Dan Crowe, who manages the interactive site, said more than 900 people played the hole on Wednesday, with that number expected to rise each day through the weekend.

If one of your shots ends up on the green, you win a sleeve of golf balls. Hole a shot - like one lucky participant did - and you receive a $150 gift card toward either Bridgestone tires or golf equipment.

This much is certain: No one will be acing the real ''Monster.''


STARTLING STAT: Tiger Woods has won 41 percent of his World Golf Championship starts. He's 3 for 13 in the Match Play event, 7 of 13 in both the Bridgestone and the Cadillac Championship and is 0 for 2 in the HSBC. That's 17 of 41 heading into this week's Bridgestone at Firestone Country Club.

Oh, and he has finished in the top 10 in 32 of 41 of those WGC tournaments - although he's won only one of the last 11 in which he's played.


DIVOTS: For a change, Woods wasn't the most photographed player in his group. A large number of photographers, most of them on hand to detail every move made by playing partner Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, followed the twosome. ... Rickie Fowler, asked if he's flattered when he sees a lot of kids dressed like him: ''I love it. I saw it all day for 18 holes, so it's fun. Whether I'm having a good day or bad, I can look over and see the kids running around. It's an easy way to put a smile on your face.'' ... Rory McIlroy, trying to get his game untracked before defending his PGA crown at Oak Hill, shot a 70. ... Second-place Henrik Stenson got off on the right foot: birdie, eagle. He parred every other hole except for birdies at 11 and 12 in a 65.

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(Not that) Jutanugarn shares lead with (not that) Ko

By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 1:58 am

LOS ANGELES - A player eager for her first win and a rookie top the leaderboard at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open. Lurking two shots back is a Hall of Famer.

Winless Moriya Jutanugarn overcame a poor start and birdied the 18th for a hard-earned 1-under 70 to tie rookie Jin Young Ko at 9 under on Saturday at Wilshire Country Club.

Ko shot a 66 in her bid to become the year's first two-time LPGA winner. She won the Women's Australian Open in February, her first victory as an official tour member after a successful run on the Korean LPGA circuit.

''I'm ready for win or top 10, so maybe tomorrow I will really focus on shot by shot,'' said Ko, who added an exclamation point to her golf bag for each of her wins on the KLPGA. ''I won 11 times, so if I win tomorrow, maybe I change to 12. I need more, I need every time motivation.''

Jutanugarn is trying to match younger sister Ariya as a tour champion. Seven-time winner Ariya was tied for 27th after a 72 in the third round.

Usually when one of the Thai sisters is in the lead, the other will watch when her round is finished.

''If she's not too lazy, she is probably going to come out,'' Moriya said about Ariya.

Playing in an all-Korean threesome, Hall of Famer Inbee Park was two shots back in third after a 69. Her birdie putt for a share of the lead on 18 slid just by the hole. The group drew a large contingent of Korean fans.


Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


''I kind of started off a little bad. I was able to come back strong, so I'm really happy with that,'' Park said. ''I left a few putts out there. The greens around this golf course are just really tough. You just don't know what's going to happen.''

Moriya Jutanugarn's round included a double bogey on the par-4 first hole and a bogey on the par-4 sixth. She eagled the par-4 14th after holing out from the fairway 93 feet away. The ball took once bounce and went in, eliciting a stunned look from Jutanugarn before she high-fived her caddie.

''Today was kind of a pretty rough day for me with not a very good start and like trying to come back,'' Jutanugarn said. ''I just try to play my game and be patient out there I think is the key.''

Jutanugarn, the second-round leader, read the break perfectly on a long putt to make birdie on 18 and share the lead with Ko.

Playing two groups ahead of Jutanugarn, Caroline Inglis also eagled the 14th from 180 yards. She briefly jumped up and down and smiled after three bogeys and a double bogey. She shot a 69 and was four shots back in a tie for sixth with Minjee Lee.

''It was like one bounce and then it like trickled in,'' Inglis said.

Aditi Ashok eagled 14 early in the round.

Ko did some scrambling of her own. Her ball found a sandy hazard on the 17th with a scoreboard and a winding creek in between her and the green 190 yards away. Her approach landed just off the green and she made par. Her round included six birdies and a bogey on 16.

Eun-Hee Ji (70) and American Marina Alex (72) were tied for fourth at 6 under.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng shot a 70 and was in a six-way tie for 12th at 2 under.

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Defending champs Singh, Franco take senior lead

By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 12:15 am

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco took the third-round lead Saturday in the windy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Singh and Franco shot a 7-under 47 in wind gusting to 20 mph on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to get to 19-under 145, a stroke ahead of the teams of David Toms-Steve Flesch and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett.

''It was a tough day,'' Singh said. ''The wind was swirling, have to get the club right and we made some putts. Carlos played really well on the back nine and I played really well on the front nine, so we ham-and-egged it a little.''

Toms and Flesch also shot 47, and Broadhurst and Triplett had a 33 on the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course.

''We just paired well together,'' Toms said. ''I don't think either one of us played great. We picked each other up out there.''

Wind and rain is expected Sunday when the teams finish at Top of the Rock, again playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

''Make as many birdies as possible and see what happens,'' Singh said. ''That's all we can do.''

Singh and Franco are trying to become the first to successfully defend a title since Jim Colbert and Andy North in 2001. Singh won the Toshiba Classic in March for his first individual senior title.


Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


Flesch won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic last week in Georgia for his first senior victory.

Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer had a 34 at Mountain Top to join Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal at 17 under. Jimenez and Olazabal had a 33 at Mountain Top.

''It's great for me to be able to play with him as a team member,'' Olazabal said. ''We do have great memories from the Ryder Cup and other events, and it's always a great pleasure to play with a great player and a friend.''

Langer took the final-round forecast in stride.

''We've done it hundreds of times before and we'll probably do it again,'' Langer said. ''We'll make the best of it. We both have a good attitude. We're known to play in all sorts of weather and I just look forward to playing one more day with my partner here.''

Wisconsin neighbors Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly were 16 under after a 48 at Top of the Rock.

John Daly and Michael Allen, the second-round leaders after a 46 at Top of the Rock, had a 37 at Mountain Top to drop into a tie for seventh at 15 under.

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Landry shares Valero lead, eyes first career win

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 11:15 pm

After coming up just short of a breakthrough win earlier this season, Andrew Landry has another chance to earn his maiden victory at the Valero Texas Open.

Landry came within inches of winning the CareerBuilder Challenge in January, ultimately losing to Jon Rahm in a four-hole playoff. He struggled to find form in the wake of his close call, missing the cut in each of his four starts following his runner-up finish in Palm Springs.

But Landry took some time off to welcome his first child, Brooks, last month and he made it to the weekend in his first start back last week at the RBC Heritage, where he finished T-42. He made a move up the standings Saturday at TPC San Antonio with a bogey-free 67, and at 13 under shares the lead with Zach Johnson heading into the final round.

"I just did everything really good," Landry told reporters. "I was staying patient and just trying to make a bunch of pars. This golf course can come up and bite you in a heartbeat, and I had a couple bad putts that I didn't really make. I'm happy with it, it's a good 5-under round. Gets me in the final group tomorrow and we'll see what happens."


Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


Landry started the day one shot off the pace and in the final group with Johnson and Ryan Moore, and at one point he took sole possession of the lead after birdies on three of his first six holes. Now he'll have another chance in the day's final tee time where he's grouped with Johnson and Trey Mullinax, who sits one shot back after firing a course-record 62 in the third round.

For Landry, it's another opportunity to break into the winner's circle, and it's one for which he feels prepared after coming so close three months ago.

"I mean, I don't want to go too deep into it because I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but I just believe in myself. There's no other explanation for it," Landry said. "You can totally get out here and play with Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore, two top players in the world, and you can go out there and fold under pressure or you can learn a lot.

"Zach's always been a role model to me the way he plays golf, I feel like we have very similar games, and it's just going to be fun tomorrow getting to play with him again."

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Z. Johnson, Landry share 54-hole Texas Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 10:56 pm

SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson birdied the par-5 18th Saturday at the Valero Texas Open for a share of the third-round lead with Andrew Landry, a stroke ahead of record-setting Trey Mullinax.

Johnson shot a 4-under 68, holing a 10-footer on 18 to match Landry at 13-under 203 at TPC San Antonio's AT&T Oaks. Landry birdied the 16th and 17th in a 67.

Johnson won the event in 2008 and 2009, the last two times it was played at LaCantera. The 42-year-old Iowan is trying to win for the first time since the 2015 British Open.

''I've got 18 holes to get to that point,'' Johnson said. ''I've got to do exactly what I did on the back side and that was give myself opportunities on every hole. I'm putting great, I'm seeing the lines well, my caddie's reading the greens well, so it's just a matter of committing and executing down the stretch.''

The 30-year-old Landry is winless on the tour.

''I'm a good putter and I just need to give myself a lot of opportunities tomorrow like I did today,'' Landry said. ''I'll be looking forward to tomorrow.''

Mullinax had a course-record 62. He played the back nine in 7-under 29, going 6 under on the last five with eagles on the par-5 14th and 18th and birdies on 16 and 17. He also birdied Nos. 10 and 12 and bogeyed 11.

''It's probably one of the best rounds I've ever had,'' Mullinax said. ''To go out there and shoot 62 on a hard golf course is really good.''

Johnson played the front nine in even par with two birdies and two bogeys. He birdied Nos. 11, 14, 15 and 18 on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


''Different wind today early on, misjudged some numbers, misjudged some wind, made some bad swings, all of the above,'' Johnson said. ''But truthfully, my short game was actually pretty good, my putting was great. I missed some putts, but I hit some really good ones, hit some lines and I gave myself opportunities especially on the back side.''

Landry had a bogey-free round.

''I just did everything really good,'' Landry said. ''I was staying patient and just trying to make a bunch of pars. This golf course can come up and bite you in a heartbeat.''

Ryan Moore was two strokes back at 11 under after a 70. Sean O'Hair had a 65 to join 2015 champion Jimmy Walker (67), Chris Kirk (68) and 2013 winner Martin Laird (69) at 9 under.

''I just feel like I'm getting closer and closer to playing better and better golf, more solid golf, putting rounds together,'' Walker said. ''I'm excited for the opportunity tomorrow.''

Mullinax has made 42 of 44 putts from inside 10 feet this week.

''They just kind of remind me of greens from home,'' Mullinax said. ''My caddie, David (Flynn), has been reading them really well. We trusted each other on our reads and I've been hitting good putts. Been working hard on putting on the weeks off that I've had so it's good to see some results.''

The 25-year-old former Alabama player chipped in for the eagle on 14 and the birdie on the par-3 16th.

''It was just a little bit down the hill,'' he said about the 16th. ''All you had to do was just land it just past that little light grass spot. My caddie told me just read it like a putt, so I tried to just read it like a putt and it went in.''

On 18, he hit a 3-iron from 255 yards to 15 feet to set up his eagle putt. He broke the course record of 63 set by Matt Every in 201 and matched by Laird in 2013. The tournament record is 60 at LaCantera, by Bart Bryant in 2004 and Johnson in 2009.