Woods Moves On Mickelson Left Out

By Associated PressFebruary 21, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureTUCSON, Arizona -- Tiger Woods barely broke a sweat. Steve Stricker went into overtime for the second straight day. They had only one thing in common Thursday in the Accenture Match Play Championship, which ultimately was all that mattered.
 
Both are still playing.
 
One day after a stunning comeback to survive the opening round, Woods built a quick lead against Arron Oberholser and never gave him much hope in a 3-and-2 victory.
 
The thrills belonged to Steve Stricker, who made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 19th hole to extend the match, then beat Presidents Cup teammate Hunter Mahan with a birdie putt just inside 50 feet. It was the second straight day Stricker won in 20 holes.
 
Im getting my moneys worth out of this event, Stricker said.
 
It was the second straight year that Phil Mickelson was given a long weekend off.
 
Fresh of a victory at Riviera, he couldnt make enough birdies to keep up with Stuart Appleby, who couldnt miss. Applebys ninth birdie came on the 17th hole, and it was enough to send Lefty packing with a 2-and-1 loss.
 
It was a good match, but unfortunately, I just didnt shoot low enough, said Mickelson, who has never made it past the quarterfinals in this tournament. I wanted a chance on 18, but unfortunately, I didnt get it.
 
David Toms didnt have any chance at all.
 
His back flared up late in his first-round victory over Masters champion Zach Johnson, and the pain was such that he had to withdraw before facing Aaron Baddeley, giving the Australian a day off.
 
Next up for Baddeley is a third-round date with Woods.
 
Woods had to play his final five holes in 5-under par to rally against J.B. Holmes in the first round. He had so such worries against Oberholser, playing in his first tournament of the year because of a shoulder injury. He hit his second shot into the desert to lose the opening hole, and didnt win a hole until a birdie at the 12th.
 
Match play is an animal thats all about the moment, Woods said. Its not about building toward Sunday. If you dont play well, youre going home. Youd better get organized quick and get off to a quick start and never give holes away. Thats one of the things that I did today versus yesterday. I never gave Arron a hole. He had to earn holes.
 
Match play delivered some key moments on a sunny day amid saguaros and sagebrush.
 
' K.J. Choi was even par through 19 holes and advanced. Hunter Mahan was 7 under over 20 holes and lost.
 
' Sergio Garcia was cruising against Boo Weekley, going 2 up with an eagle on the 10th, then his putter started acting up, he bogeyed three of the next four holes and was headed home.
 
' Adam Scott missed three putts inside 10 feet over his last four holes and lost to Woody Austin, the seventh straight year that Scott was beaten in the Match Play by an American.
 
The most bizarre match was the final one of the second round. Defending champion Henrik Stenson was 4 up through eight holes against Trevor Immelman, but it took him 17 more holes to win'and only after it appeared that he had lost.
 
Immelman, who lost in the semifinals to Stenson last year, drove the 314-yard seventh green and 20 feet for eagle, while Stenson hit into a bunker. Stenson blasted out to 3 feet, and Immelmans eagle putt slid 6 feet by the cup. He missed it for par, and Stenson calmly knocked in his birdie for the win.
 
Stenson has played 43 holes in two rounds. Jonathan Byrd has played only 27 after dispatching of Andres Romero, 6 and 4.
 
The victories came in all shapes and sizes, but when the dust settled in the high desert, 16 players remaining were starting from scratch.
 
I dont need to savor the victory, Appleby said of beating the No. 2 player in the world. Does it mean any more? No. It just means Im advancing. I dont get a bonus for beating him. Yes, I have to get through one of the best players to move on, so thats been done.
 
Appleby has not reached the third round since 2001 in Australia.
 
Colin Montgomerie has not been this far since 2004, and it could not have come at a better time. He is No. 62 in the world and needs all the ranking points he can get to reach the Masters.
 
After building a 2-up lead over Charles Howell III, the match turned in the Americans favor when Howell birdied five of the next six holes to take the lead. Monty put on his Ryder Cup cap, birdied three of the next four and held on for a 1-up victory.
 
Justin Leonard also survived an exciting run by Lee Westwood, who birdied four straight holes around the turn. Leonard answered with two of his own to stay tied, and he closed him out on the 17th.
 
Stensons match was the longest. Strickers was the most riveting.
 
Stricker has never trailed in 40 holes, although Mahan made him sweat. Mahan holed an 8-foot birdie on the 17th to square the match, and after Stricker hit his approach to 2 feet on the 18th, Mahan made birdie from 15 feet to go extra holes.
 
Then came the 20th hole, the par-4 fourth, with both players some 50 feet away.
 
Strickers putt banged off the back of the cup and dropped, and he stretched out his fist to celebrate.
 
It was going fast, but it looked good the whole way, Stricker said.
 
He advanced to play Angel Cabrera, who overpowered Luke Donald in a 2-and-1 victory.
 
Im still playing, Stricker said. Thats the key to this event.
 
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    Murray fixes swing flaw, recovers momentum

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 2:24 am

    SAN ANTONIO - Grayson Murray fixed a flaw in his swing and hit the ball well enough that blustery conditions weren't an issue for him Thursday in the Valero Texas Open.

    Coming off a missed cut at Hilton Head last week, Murray made seven birdies for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot lead. His only mistake was a double bogey from a greenside bunker on the par-3 seventh hole.

    ''Just the fact I did give myself enough opportunities today for birdie, it took a lot of pressure off,'' Murray said.

    Of the five players at 68, only Chesson Hadley played in the morning side of the draw, and he called it among his best rounds of the year because of gusts. The wind died in the afternoon and scoring improved slightly on the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio. Keegan Bradley, Ryan Moore, Billy Horschel and Matt Atkins each posted 68. Horschel and Moore played bogey-free.

    ''Struck the ball really well, something that we've been working hard on,'' Horschel said. ''Could have been better, yeah. I didn't really make anything out there today. But I'm happy with it.''

    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the course, played the Texas Open for the first time since 2010 and shot a 74. Adam Scott failed to make a birdie in his round of 75. Scott is at No. 59 in the world and needs to stay in the top 60 by May 21 to be exempt for the U.S. Open.

    Harris English was in the group at 69, while two-time Texas Open champion Zach Johnson, Nick Watney and Brandt Snedeker were among those at 70. Johnson saved his round by going 5 under over his final five holes, starting with a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 14th hole. He birdied the last three.


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Murray was coming off a pair of top 15s at Bay Hill and the Houston Open when his game got away from him last week in the RBC Heritage, and he shot 74-70 to miss the cut. He got that sorted out in the five days between teeing it up in San Antonio.

    He said he was coming down too steep, which meant he would flip his hands and hit a sharp draw or pull out of it and hit it short and right.

    ''I was hitting each club 10 yards shorter than I normally do, and you can't play like that because your caddie is trying to give you a number and a club, and you keep hitting these bad shots or keep coming up short,'' Murray said. ''I got back to the basics with the setup and the takeaway, got my club in a better position at the top, which kind of frees my downswing. Then I can start going at it.''

    Even so, Murray thought he wasted his good start - three birdies in his first six holes - when his bunker shot at No. 7 came out with no spin and rolled off the green into a deep swale. He hit his third short to about 7 feet, but missed the putt and took double bogey.

    ''I would have loved to limit that to a bogey because bogeys don't really kill you - doubles are the ones that now you've got to have an eagle or two birdies to come back with, and out here it's kind of tough to make birdies,'' Murray said. ''But I kept my head. My caddie keeps me very positive out there, that's why I think we could finish 4 under the last nine holes.''

    Only 34 players in the 156-man field managed to break par.

    Horschel missed four birdie chances inside 18 feet on the back nine. What pleased him the most was the way he struck the ball, particularly after his tie for fifth last week at the RBC Heritage. Horschel was one shot behind going into the last round and closed with a 72.

    But he's all about momentum, and he can only hope this is the start of one of his runs. Horschel won the FedEx Cup in 2014 when he finished second and won the final two playoff events.

    ''I'm a big momentum player. I've got to get the train moving forward,'' he said. ''I've always been a guy who gets on a little roll, get that train moving and jump in that winner's circle.''

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    LPGA back in L.A.: Inbee Park leads by 1

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 1:53 am

    LOS ANGELES - Inbee Park's flirtation with retirement is in the rear-view mirror.

    Backed by a large contingent of South Korean fans, Park shot a 5-under 66 for a one-shot lead Thursday in the opening round of the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open in the LPGA's return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

    Showers ended shortly before Park's threesome, including second-ranked Lexi Thompson, teed off at windy Wilshire Country Club just south of Hollywood.

    Using a new putter, Park birdied four consecutive holes on the back nine before a bogey on the par-4 17th. She quickly recovered and rolled in birdie putts on the second and fifth holes to finish off her round.

    ''I never played a tournament outside Korea having this much Korean supporters out,'' Park said. ''I almost feel like I'm playing back home. It's almost like a little Korea.''

    That applies to the food, too, with nearby Koreatown's restaurants beckoning.

    ''Too many,'' Park said.

    The third-ranked Park banished the blade-style putter she used in her Founders Cup victory last month in Phoenix, a playoff loss in the ANA Inspiration and a tie for third last week in Hawaii. She went back to one that feels more comfortable and has brought her success in the past.

    ''Last week was just an awkward week where I missed a lot of short ones and I just wasn't really comfortable with the putter,'' Park said, ''so I just wanted to have a different look.''

    The 29-year-old Hall of Famer recently said she was 50-50 about retiring before returning to the tour in early March after a six-month break. Momentum has been going her way ever since.

    Marina Alex was second. Thompson was one of seven players at 68 in partly sunny and unseasonable temperatures in the low 60s.


    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


    Alex tied Park with a birdie on No. 11. The American dropped a stroke with a bogey on the par-5 13th before rallying with a birdie on No. 14 to share the lead.

    Alex found trouble on the par-4 17th. Her ball crossed over a winding creek, bounced and then rolled into the water, leaving Alex looking for it. Eventually, she salvaged a bogey to drop a shot behind Park. After a bad tee shot on 18, Alex managed a par to close at 67.

    ''I made a lot of the putts that I shouldn't, I wouldn't have expected to make,'' she said. ''I made two great saves on 17 and 18. Kind of got away with some not-so-solid golf shots in the beginning, and I capitalized on some great putts.''

    Thompson returned from a two-week break after finishing tied for 20th at the ANA Inspiration, the year's first major.

    She bogeyed her second hole, the par-4, 401-yard 11th, before settling down and birdieing four of the next eight holes, including the 14th, 15th and 16th.

    ''I changed a little thing that slipped my mind that I was working on earlier in the year,'' said Thompson, declining to share the change in her putting technique. ''I don't want to jinx it.''

    ANA winner Pernilla Lundberg was among those in the logjam after a 68.

    Natalie Gulbis was among five players tied for 10th at 69. Playing sparingly the last two years, Gulbis put together a round that included four birdies and two bogeys.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng struggled to a 74 with five bogeys and two birdies.

    The venerable course with views of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory wasn't any kinder to eighth-ranked Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie.

    Both had up-and-down rounds that included three bogeys and a double-bogey on No. 10 for Kerr and five bogeys, including three in a row, for Wie. Wie, ranked 14th, had a few putts that lipped out.

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    Horschel (68) builds on momentum at Valero

    By Will GrayApril 20, 2018, 12:32 am

    Billy Horschel only ever needs to see a faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

    While some players require a slow ascent from missed cuts to contending on the weekend, Horschel's switches between the two can often be drastic. Last year he missed three straight cuts before defeating Jason Day in a playoff to win the AT&T Byron Nelson, a turnaround that Horschel said "still shocks me to this day."

    The veteran is at it again, having missed five of six cuts prior to last week's RBC Heritage. But a few tweaks quickly produced results, as Horschel tied for fifth at Harbour Town. He wasted no time in building on that momentum with a bogey-free, 4-under 68 to open the Valero Texas Open that left him one shot behind Grayson Murray.

    "I'm a big momentum player. I've got to get the train moving forward," Horschel told reporters Thursday. "I've always been a guy who gets on a little roll, get that train moving and jump into the winner's circle. So yeah, it would have been great to win last week, but it was just nice to play four really good rounds of golf."


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Many big names tend to skip this week's stop at TPC San Antonio, but Horschel has managed to thrive on the difficult layout in recent years. He finished third in both 2013 and 2015, and tied for fourth in 2016.

    With a return next week to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans where he notched his first career win in 2013 and a title defense in Dallas on the horizon, Horschel believes he's turning things around at just the right time.

    "Gets the momentum going, carry it into this week, next week, which I've had a lot of success at," Horschel said. "Really the rest of the year, from here on in I have a lot of really good events I've played well in."

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    Three years later, PXG launches new iron

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 19, 2018, 11:22 pm

    Three years is a long time between launches of club lines, but Bob Parsons, founder and CEO of PXG, says his company had a very good reason for waiting that long to introduce its second-generation irons.

    “Three years ago, when we introduced our first generation 0311 iron, we made a commitment that we would not release a product unless it was significantly better than our existing product,” Parsons said. “:Our GEN2 irons are better than our GEN1 irons in every respect. We believe it’s the best iron ever made, and the second-best iron ever made is our GEN1 iron.”

    PXG’s 0311 GEN2 irons, which officially went on sale today, feature what the company says is the world’s thinnest clubface. They have a forged 8620 soft carbon steel body and PXG’s signature weighting technology. The hollow clubheads are filled with a new polymer material that PXG says not only dampens vibration, but also produces higher ball speeds and thus more distance.

    The irons come in four “collections” – Tour Performance, Players, Xtreme Forgiveness and Super Game Improvement.

    Cost is $400 per iron, or $500 for PXG’s “Extreme Dark” finish. Price includes custom fitting. For more information, visit www.pxg.com.