Plenty of international flavor so far at Doral

By Associated PressMarch 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. ' Jeev Milkha Singh is from India. Retief Goosen, South Africa. Prayad Marksaeng, Thailand. And Phil Mickelson, of course, hails from the United States.
Maybe thats why they call this a World Golf Championship.
Those four players from three continents ' four, really, since Singhs home base now is London ' shared the lead after Thursdays first round of the CA Championship, all shooting 7-under 65s on Dorals famed Blue Monster. Singh and Goosen got rolling with three straight birdies after the turn, Marksaeng closed his day with three in a row, and Mickelson joined the party by chipping in on his final two holes.
Oh, and Tiger Woods is looming in his first stroke-play event since last years stirring U.S. Open victory.
A tournament that touts itself as having one of the very best fields in golf is living up to that billing so far.
Its nice to see everyone here, said South Africas Louis Oosthuizen, who shot 67.
Just about everyone still has a shot, too.
Singh, who has never finished better than a tie for ninth on the PGA Tour, had eight birdies and a bogey. Goosen made just one real mistake all day, a bogey at the par-4 18th, his ninth hole of the opening round. Marksaeng met the same fate at 18, with that hole the lone blemish on his card.
And Mickelson vaulted up the leaderboard, making seven birdies in his last 10 holes. He made double-bogey at the par-4 third, hit into the water at the par-3 fourth hole before chipping in there, then chipped in again on 17 and 18 to cap his day.
I felt going into this tournament that I was playing as well as I ever have as far as I can remember, Mickelson said. From 50 yards in, my short game has never been this good and Ive never driven the ball this long and this straight without the fear of a big miss. My iron play is better than it has been in quite some time. And I expect that to improve as the week goes on.
Someone else who expects to improve as the week goes on?
Woods, of course.
His surgically repaired knee wasnt a problem, he said. The same wasnt the case for his putter.
Woods missed 10 of 11 putts from outside of 10 feet, saying at least three of them lipped out. The end result was a 71, putting him six shots back on a course where hes prevailed in three of his previous four visits.
Its just one of those things that we all know playing the game of golf, you are going to have days like today, Woods said. I would be obviously a little bit more disappointed, a little more frustrated if I had not played well. I felt like I hit the ball well, hit putts well, but they just didnt go in. Those putts go in (Friday) and the score will be a little different.
There was a group of four players one shot off the lead, including British Open and PGA champion Padraig Harrington, who didnt feel as though he did much of anything right and had his best score of the year.
I think I hit two fairways with my driver today. So its not like I played good golf or anything like that, Harrington said. It was all about the score.
Sean OHair began his round with consecutive eagles and was among the group at 67, as was Camilo Villegas, the Colombian whos always a fan-favorite in South Florida. Henrik Stenson (69) played a shot from the mucky water on the third hole after taking off everything but his boxer shorts and his golf glove.
For the love of the game, Stenson said.
Mickelson shot 3-3-3 on his final three holes, all of them thanks to his chipping. His short game is generally considered one of the best ' if not the very best ' in the game, and it was on full display Thursday.
After trying to drive the 355-yard 16th hole, he pitched up to 3 feet for birdie. Then he chipped in from short of the green on the 17th, and made it three straight birdies by chipping in from about 25 feet on the 18th.
It was just nice to see the ball go in the hole, Mickelson said.
Woods wished he could say the same.
When he returned to competition after his eight-month hiatus from knee surgery, he only had to worry about beating one player at a time in the Accenture Match Play Championship. Stroke play is about posting a score and maneuvering his way up the leaderboard.
But outside of a pair of birdie tap-ins Thursday, he didnt have much to maneuver with.
I was trying to figure it out, how to get the ball in the hole a little bit faster than what I was doing, Woods said.
Theres still plenty of time'but with nearly half the field already ahead of him after 18 holes, Woods would obviously prefer to turn things around quickly.
I just need to be a touch sharper, Woods said.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-CA Championship
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Elvis returns, whiffs golf shot at Tiger Jam

    By Grill Room TeamMay 21, 2018, 12:18 am
    Getty Images

    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.”

    Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

    AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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

    Full-field scores from the Kingsmill Championship

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.''

    Full-field scores from the Regions Tradition

    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.