Notes Mickelsons Masters preparations

By Associated PressMarch 11, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. ' Phil Mickelson is getting a head-start on preparing for the Masters.
The 2004 and 2006 Masters champion played 27 holes at Augusta National on Tuesday, checking out some minor changes to the course that hes played 62 competitive rounds upon over the years.
That doesnt mean the thrill is gone. Not even close.
Theres just one or two courses in the world I get excited to play, whether its in a tournament or not, and Augusta National is one of those, Mickelson said. I was giddy the night before. I was out putting in the dark. I was so excited once I got there.
Temperatures got into the 80s on Tuesday at Augusta, but could fall into the 50s this weekend ' a common swing for springtime in Georgia.
But even with the swinging weather, Mickelson gave high marks to the condition of the course.
I thought the golf course was in incredible shape, as always, Mickelson said. A lot of coverage, a lot of grass. The greens were perfect.

FEELS LIKE HOME: Given his history, its easy to see why Camilo Villegas enjoys South Florida so much.
First, the obvious: Hes Colombian and theres a huge South American population in the greater Miami area. If past years are a proper indicator, theyll turn out in droves to watch Villegas in the CA Championship beginning Thursday at Doral, where he tied for second behind Tiger Woods in 2006.
But theres also plenty of other reasons, namely that one of his big breaks came in the region a decade ago.
Villegas won the Junior Orange Bowl championship as a 17-year-old in 1999, perhaps the most significant of the many early steps he took toward golf stardom. From there, he got a scholarship to play at Florida, turned pro in 2004 and finally got his first two wins on the PGA Tour last season.
Now the 10th-ranked player in the world, a World Golf Championships win would make another great Miami memory for Villegas.
I have great memories about the tournament, Villegas said. And when that happens, you look forward to going to those places again and again.
Villegas has such popularity in Miami, he was the focus of some pre-tournament TV ads put together by organizers at Doral. The spots appeared in both English and Spanish, playing to the dynamic of the South Florida population.
Villegas is hardly alone in feeling at home at Doral: Spains Sergio Garcia, who could overtake Woods for the worlds No. 1 ranking this week, said he also gets warm welcomes when playing in Miami.
I enjoy the course. I enjoy the city. Its a great city, Garcia said. Theres a lot of Spanish speakers here, and it just makes it a little bit more special to come back here, being Spanish and everything.

RELIEVED LOVE: Davis Love III got into the CA Championship by 0.0009 points in the World Golf Rankings, the extremely thin margin he held over Anders Hansen of Denmark when the latest numbers came out Monday morning.
The skin of my teeth, Love said.
And thats not exactly what hes striving for.
Above all else ' getting into the Masters next month (he has a good shot, but its not yet guaranteed), winning for the 21st time on the PGA Tour and qualifying for more major championships'Love says hes striving to get off the top-50 bubble.
In other words, he thinks hes got plenty of great golf left to play.
The ultimate goal is not to be 50 by .0009. Its to be in the top five, where I got used to being for a long time, Love said. Just got to keep working at it. Obviously, this is a great boost if I play well this week, to move up some. And whatever happens in the next two weeks, Ill try to play well and get in Augusta.
Love didnt play the Masters last year, saying he only caught bits and pieces of Sundays final round.
I went turkey huntin, he said.

HERE AND THERE: Defending CA Championship winner Geoff Ogilvy is an avid reader, and his latest book is From Lance to Landis, a story of various doping scandals and controversies at the Tour de France. If you like cycling, its probably best not to read it, Ogilvy said. Tiger Woods will play the first two rounds with Mike Weir and Robert Karlsson. Woods and Weir played a practice round Wednesday.
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    Crenshaw pleased with reaction to Trinity Forest

    By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 12:02 am

    DALLAS – Despite the tournament debut of Trinity Forest Golf Club coming to a soggy conclusion, course co-designer Ben Crenshaw is pleased with how his handiwork stood up against the field at this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

    Crenshaw was on property for much of the week, including Sunday when tee times were delayed by four hours as a line of storms passed through the area. While the tournament’s field lacked some star power outside of headliner Jordan Spieth, Crenshaw liked what he saw even though Mother Nature didn’t exactly cooperate.

    “We’re pleased. It’s off to a nice, quiet start, let’s say,” Crenshaw said. “The week started off very quiet with the wind. This course, we envision that you play it with a breeze. It sort of lends itself to a links style, playing firm and fast, and as you saw yesterday, when the wind got up the scores went up commensurately.”

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    That assessment was shared by Spieth, a Trinity Forest member who has become the tournament’s de facto host and spent much of his week surveying his fellow players for opinions about a layout that stands out among typical Tour stops.

    “A lot of guys said, ‘It’s grown on me day to day, I really enjoyed it as a change of pace, I had a lot of fun playing this golf course.’ Those were lines guys were using this week, and it shouldn’t be reported any differently,” Spieth said. “It was an overwhelmingly positive outlook from the players that played.”

    Crenshaw didn’t bristle as tournament leaders Aaron Wise and Marc Leishman eclipsed the mark of 20 under par, noting that he and co-designer Bill Coore simply hoped to offer a “different experience” from the usual layouts players face. With one edition in the books, he hopes that a largely positive reaction from those who made the journey will help bolster the field in 2019 and beyond.

    “To me, the guys who played here this week will go over to Fort Worth, and hopefully the field at Colonial that wasn’t here would ask questions of the people who were here,” Crenshaw said. “You hope that some good word spreads.”

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    A. Jutanugarn wins Kingsmill playoff for 8th title

    By Associated PressMay 20, 2018, 11:32 pm

    WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Ariya Jutanugarn birdied the second hole of a playoff Sunday to win the Kingsmill Championship for the second time in three years.

    Jutanugarn closed with a 5-under 66 to match Nasa Hataoka (67) and In Gee Chun (68) at 14-under 199.

    Jutanugarn and Hataoka both birdied the first extra hole, with Chun dropping out. Hataoka putted first on the second extra hole and missed badly before Jutanugarn rolled in a 15-footer for her eighth career victory. The 22-year-old Thai star's older sister, Moriya, won the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in Los Angeles in April for her first LPGA Tour victory

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    Jutanugarn started the day two shots behind Chun and had a two-shot lead before making bogey at the par-5 15th. Hataoka, playing with Chun in the final threesome, birdied No. 15 to join Jutanugarn at 14 under, and Chun made a long birdie putt on the par-3 17th to also get to 14 under.

    The tournament was cut from 72 holes to 54 when rain washed out play Saturday.

    Brooke Henderson closed with a 65 to finish a shot back. Megan Khang was fifth after her third straight 67.

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    Jimenez wins first Champions major at Tradition

    By Associated PressMay 20, 2018, 9:32 pm

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Miguel Angel Jimenez finally got to light up a victory cigar after winning a senior major championship.

    Jimenez won the Regions Tradition on Sunday for his first PGA Tour Champions major title, closing with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory. He celebrated with a big embrace from fellow Spaniard and two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal, who hoisted him in the air.

    After a round of photos and speeches from local dignitaries, Jimenez finally got to break out the celebratory cigar.

    ''It's time to have a medal in my pocket and it's nice to be on the first major of the year,'' he said.

    Jimenez held or shared the lead after every round, taking a three-shot edge into the final round at Greystone Golf & Country Club. The Spaniard finished at 19-under 269 for his fifth PGA Tour Champions victory.

    ''It's been a wonderful week,'' he said. ''My game was amazing, really.''

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    Steve Stricker, Joe Durant and Gene Sauers tied for second.

    It was the third time Jimenez had entered the final round of a senior major with at least a share of the lead but the first one he has pulled out. He tied for third at the 2016 Senior British Open and for second at the 2016 U.S. Senior Open.

    Durant and Sauers finished with matching 69s, and Stricker shot 70.

    Jimenez birdied two of the final three holes including a closing putt for good measure.

    Jimenez entered the day at 17 under to tie Gil Morgan's 21-year-old Tradition record through 54 holes. He got off to a rough start with an errant tee shot into a tree-lined area on his way to a bogey, but he never lost his grip on the lead.

    Jimenez had three bogeys after making just one over the first three rounds, but easily held off his challengers late.

    His approach on No. 18 landed right in the center of the green after Stricker's shot sailed well right into the gallery. He had rebuilt a two-stroke lead with a nice birdie putt on No. 16 while Durant and Stricker each had a bogey among the final three holes to leave Jimenez with a more comfortable cushion.

    Stricker and Durant both had par on the final hole while Sauers also birdied to tie them. Durant had produced two eagles on No. 18 already in the tournament but couldn't put pressure on Jimenez with a third.

    Stricker's assessment of his own performance, including a bogey on No. 17, was that he ''made quite a few mistakes.''

    ''Just didn't take care of my ball, really,'' he said. ''I put it in some bad spots, didn't get it up and down when I had to a few times, missed a few putts. Yeah, just didn't have it really, didn't play that good, but still had a chance coming down to the end.''

    Jeff Maggert finished with a 64 and was joined at 15 under by Scott McCarron (67) and Duffy Waldorf (66).

    Jimenez made a birdie putt on No. 16 one hole after falling into a tie with Stricker with a bogey. Durant faltered, too, with a bogey on No. 16.

    ''When (Stricker) made birdie and I make a bogey on the 15th, everything's going up again very tight,'' Jimenez said. ''It's time to hole a putt on 16, for me that makes all the difference.''

    Stricker had two wins in his first four senior tour events this year and remains second on the money list. He has finished in the top five in each of his events.

    Bernhard Langer finished five strokes off the lead in his bid to become the first to win the Tradition three straight years. He shot 66-67 over the final two rounds after a slow start.