Mahan loses his cushion but keeps lead at Doral

By Doug FergusonMarch 12, 2011, 4:31 am

WGC-Cadillac ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. – Martin Kaymer is the new No. 1 in golf and getting the same kind of respect another No. 1 once did.

Never mind that Hunter Mahan had a one-shot lead going into the weekend of the Cadillac Championship after stumbling with a pair of bogeys in the final hour of his second round Friday for a 1-under 71.

It was the guy right behind him who made some players take notice.

Kaymer opened his season with an eight-shot win in Abu Dhabi. He went to the top of the ranking by reaching the final of the Match Play Championship. And in his first start as No. 1., he eased his way to a bogey-free 70 to get within one shot of the lead halfway through this World Golf Championship.

“That’s why he’s world No. 1,” Rory McIlroy said.

McIlroy had a 69, and was two shots out of the lead. That’s not what concerned him.

“Even though Hunter is a couple of shots ahead of me, to give Martin a stroke lead is going to be pretty tough to sort of keep up with him,” McIlroy said.

The 26-year-old “Germanator” is starting to establish a presence on the leaderboard, much like Tiger Woods did for so many years.

For now, Woods is having to settle for middle of the pack.

Mahan, who has played beautifully for two days on the Blue Monster and was at 9-under 135, had a four-shot lead on the back nine until his long three-putt bogey on the 14th and a poor tee shot that led to bogey on the 16th. That cost him a cushion, but not the lead.

He will be in the final group with Kaymer. Francesco Molinari, going for his second World Golf Championship, had a 68 and joined Kaymer at 8 under.

“I hit a lot of good shots, just didn’t finish as strong as I would have hoped,” Mahan said. “But I’m pretty happy with where I am.”

Mahan’s finish brought so many others into the mix.

McIlroy, Matt Kuchar (69) and Nick Watney (70) were among those two shots behind, while Dustin Johnson (69) and Adam Scott (70) were another stroke back.

Woods, a three-time winner at Doral, was not among them. Neither was Phil Mickelson.

Woods again struggled with his putter, missing four birdie putts inside 10 feet and looking bad at the end. A pair of 6-foot birdie attempts at the 16th and 18th holes never had much of a chance and he wound up with a 74, nine shots behind.

Even so, the lasting image of Woods will be a pair of tee shots.

He hit a smother hook with the driver on the second hole, which traveled only 122 yards—about the same distance he typically hits a sand wedge. Then came a pop-up on the 14th hole and a 188-yard drive.

“It’s pretty tough not to giggle,” U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell said about Woods’ tee shot on No. 2. “We all hit bad shots. Hit a couple of those in my time. The guy is working on his golf swing, and every now and again, you have a few weird ones in there.”

When someone suggested he didn’t appear to be having fun, Woods didn’t look like he was having fun answering the question.

“You’re not going to have a lot of fun when you’re nine back,” he said. “I don’t know if a lot of people are very happy with that.”

Mickelson dropped three shots when he returned to finish the storm-delayed first round, including two shots in the water on the par-5 eighth for a double bogey that led to 73. He was slightly better in the second round with a 71.

McDowell called a penalty on himself when he noticed the ball move during his putting stroke on the ninth. That gave him a 73

Woods and Mickelson will be paired Saturday, the first time they have ever been in the same group for three straight rounds. They could be just a warmup act, however, being so far out of contention.

Mahan had a chance to beat Kaymer at the Match Play until losing a late lead.

“It’s quite impressive, his run,” Mahan said. “He seems mentally tough and I think that’s what separates him. And he’s a great putter. But he’s playing great. He’s actually winning, and that’s what sets the good players and great players apart.”

A dozen players were separated by four shots going into the weekend, including defending champion Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington.

Kaymer had to play eight holes in surprisingly cold weather – so cold that Mahan donned a ski cap in Miami – and shot 66. He was steady in the afternoon, never a serious threat to chase down Mahan, just hanging around.

It was the work of a No. 1 player, and one that doesn’t figure to relinquish it any time soon.

“Especially after the PGA Championship, a lot of people thought that this may be the end of my career, especially in Germany,” he said. “For me, it was very important that I keep winning. Of course, I’m happy and I’m very satisfied. But it’s not the final satisfaction.”

It was tough for Ryo Ishikawa, Yuta Ikeda or Hiroyuki Fujita to take much satisfaction out of whatever they did. The three Japanese players in the field struggled with news of the devastating earthquake at home.

Ishikawa at least was able to contact his family just northwest of Tokyo before resuming his first round in the morning, and he shot a 65 to trail Mahan by one. The afternoon was a struggle, mostly because of the wind, and Ishikawa shot 76.

“I received a communication from my father, and the message was, ‘Focus on your golf, we are fine, do what you need to do,”’ Ishikawa said. For the second round, he said, “It was simply that the Blue Monster decided to be what it’s known to be.”

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Koepka: Second-place finishes becoming 'annoying'

By Al TaysMay 28, 2018, 12:02 am

Brooks Koepka didn't go down without a fight.

Trailing Justin Rose by four shots going into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational, Koepka shot his second 7-under 63 of the week - and made up precisely one shot. He finished solo second at 17 under par, three shots behind Rose.

He could only marvel at the Englishman's performance in closing with a 6-under 64.

"It was pretty impressive," he said. "Justin played well. Hat's off to him. Any time you can come into a lead with four shots and play the way he did today, that's impressive."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Although Koepka was pleased with his own play - especially his putting - he said it felt "annoying" to come in second. Again.

"I feel like we've had so many second-place finishes," he said. "Always seem to run into a buzz saw, whatever it is."

Since May of 2016, Koepka has five solo second-place finishes and one T-2. But he also has a U.S. Open title, won last year at Erin Hills. He'll attempt to defend that title June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. "It's nice to finally be playing well and get going into the season," he said. "Kind of peaking right where I need to be."

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Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee's task was simple: A birdie on No. 18 would win her the tournament. It was a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round.

After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.

''I almost clipped the tree,'' Lee said. ''I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.''

Lee's shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship on Sunday. Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian's fourth career victory.

Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


''The tee was up,'' she said. ''I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.''

Lee made her winning putt from about 3 feet. She finished at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

''I kind of knew that 16 was the number and I mean, I give my best,'' Kim said. ''I make some good shots and birdies.''

Moriya Jutanugarn (65) finished third at 14 under.

Lee took a two-stroke lead into the final round, and that was her margin over playing partner Stacy Lewis before Lewis (71) bogeyed No. 7 and 8. Kim emerged as the biggest threat to Lee when she birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine. Lewis is playing four months' pregnant with her first child.

Kim and Lee were briefly tied at 15 under, but then Lee made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 14th, while Kim bogeyed 15. Lee saved par on 15 despite a wayward drive into a bunker.

''I wasn't sure where I was score-wise then. That par 5 is reachable in two, so I think a lot of people would have made birdie there,'' Lee said. ''The next tee shot I just pulled into the bunker. ... I think that was really important for me to hole that par putt just to keep the momentum going.''

Lee had gone 38 consecutive holes without a bogey before making one on the par-4 17th. That, combined with Kim's birdie on 18, left the two golfers tied, but Lee still had the 18th to come.

Su Oh (68) and Lindy Duncan (69) finished at 13 under, and Megan Khang (67) was another stroke back. Lewis finished at 11 under along with Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and Danielle Kang (70).

Lewis birdied three of the first six holes, but Lee did as well.

''It's hard to get close when somebody does that,'' Lewis said. ''She played great all day and played solid. When she needed to make a par putt, she did, and didn't make any mistakes.''

Lee lost this event by one stroke last year. Shanshan Feng, the 2017 winner , finished tied for 21st this time.

The LPGA has had a different winner in each of its 13 tournaments this year. The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Shoal Creek.

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Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

"It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

"So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

"I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

"So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

"So I know it's right around the corner."

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Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst wishes he had played this well in his 23 years on the European Tour.

''I know a lot more about my swing now and I guess you get that with age and experience,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said after shooting an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

Broadhurst finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round co-leaders Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and moved to the top of the money list. He won six times on the European Tour, was a 1991 Ryder Cup player for Europe and has three European Senior Tour victories.

''It was really a special week,'' he said. ''It got a little bit tense out there. I knew I was playing well but I didn't seem to making any progress against Tim Petrovic. He was side-by-side on the back nine it seemed.''

He learned his lead was three strokes standing on the 18th tee when his caddie asked a television announcer.

''So we put my driver away and reached for the rescue club,'' he said. ''If I made a 5 there that would be fine.''

Broadhurst started the round two strokes behind Petrovic and McCarron, birdied the first hole and was tied with Petrovic for the lead by the turn. He took his first lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, led by two after 16 and birdied the final two holes, including a dramatic 40-foot putt for birdie at the 18th hole.

''I guess it would have been a bit of anti-climax if I would have three-putted the last green, but that would have given Tim a chance of holing his second shot,'' he said. ''I actually spoke to my caddie about that going down the last - we don't want to three-putt and five him the opportunity because stranger things have happened in golf. To see it go in the middle of the hole was just a special feeling.''

Petrovic said missed birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8 were costly, but it might not have mattered with the way Broadhurst was playing.

''In hindsight it was all for naught,'' he said. ''He was so far ahead of us. Hat's off the guy. It was a great week - we just got beat. When he made the putt on 18 ahead of us I almost started clapping in the fairway and waving a white towel. It was well-deserved. That was great playing. He won the championship for sure.''

Broadhurst shot 72 in the first round, started rolling in putts with a 66 in the second round and was 15 under on the weekend. In addition to the leading 26 birdies, he topped the putts per greens in regulations numbers for the tournament as well with a 1.574 average.

''I wasn't aware I made that many birdies,'' he said. ''That's pretty impressive around this course.''

He said his game has long been unpredictable.

''I'm not blessed with a consistent swing like Bernhard Langer, but when it's on, it works,'' he said. ''If I'm putting well, then anything can happen, really.''