Mickelson 1 off Pebble Beach lead

By Doug FergusonFebruary 13, 2016, 12:19 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. - Sunghoon Kang didn't know anything about his amateur partner until he went on the Internet and looked up actor Ray Romano. He didn't realize the par at Monterey Peninsula was 71 until he scrambled for par on his final hole and realized while signing his card Friday that he set the course record with a career-low 60.

It added to a memorable day at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where Kang and Hiroshi Iwata of Japan wound up tied for the lead.

''I feel like I'm living a dream right now,'' Kang said.

Kang and Phil Mickelson each brought the possibility of 59 into the conversation - one early in his round, the other late.

Mickelson took only 11 putts on the front nine at Monterey Peninsula. When he made a 40-foot eagle putt on the 10th hole, he was 7 under for the round and had a pair of par 5s remaining over his last eight holes.

He made bogey on one of the par 5s, hooking his fairway metal into shrubs and having to reach into the thick plants with a hybrid to punch out the ball and make sure it only went about 6 feet so that it wouldn't go up the slope and roll back into the bushes. Lefty usually doesn't hit great shots that go 6 feet unless he has a putter.


AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Articles, photos and videos


Then, he nearly lost his tee shot on the final hole and made another bogey for a 65, leaving him one shot behind.

''I thought I was going to shoot a lot lower than I did,'' Mickelson said. ''I didn't expect to play 1 over coming in. But I'm not going to complain because I made a lot of good putts on the front.''

He goes to Pebble Beach on Saturday as he goes after a record-tying fifth win in this event.

Kang and Iwata were at 11-under 132.

Iwata, who tied a major championship record with a 63 at the PGA Championship last year at Whistling Straits, had a 66 at Pebble Beach.

Mickelson, Freddie Jacobson (69 at Spyglass Hill) and Chez Reavie (70 at Pebble Beach) were one shot to par behind at 10 under, while Justin Rose had a 68 at Monterey Peninsula and was at 9 under.

Jordan Spieth failed to birdie any of the par 5s at Monterey Peninsula - he is 1 under on the par 5s this week even though he could reach all of them in two shots - and his round of two birdies and 16 pars put him at 3-under 140 and eight shots out of the lead.

''I'm 1 under on the par 5s, and from where I've been, they have pretty much all been par 4s for me,'' Spieth said. ''So it almost feels like I'm playing them 7 over.''

Rose thought Monterey Peninsula was difficult because the greens are not as pure as the other courses. Then he was told that Kang was at 11 under and playing his final hole and Rose smiled and said, ''The greens are obviously perfect.''

Kang couldn't agree more. He lost track of the number of birdie putts he made in the 15-foot range, saying they were ''too many to count.'' Some of them he read on his own. Other times he brought in the experience of his caddie, Mike ''Fluff'' Cowan, who is working for Kang while Jim Furyk recovers from wrist surgery.

And the 28-year-old South Korean had an actor at his side cheering him along.

Romano, who has become a regular at this event, wasn't sure the name of his partner earlier in the week. No offense taken. Kang didn't know him, either.

''One of my buddies came up and said, 'Oh, you're with Ray. He's very famous,''' Kang said. ''I did some research on it. I Googled Ray and he was like on a really famous TV show for six or seven years. He gets like almost a third more earnings from TV drama show.''

Asked if Romano knew him, Kang smiled and said, ''I think he'll remember me after today.''

Kang had three birdies and an eagle on the back nine to start his round, picked up a pair of birdies early on the front nine and then poured it on with three straight birdies that brought him to 11 under with only the par-3 ninth remaining.

''I still thought the par was 72,'' he said.

He hit what he called his worst shot of the day, a big cut that came up short and in the rough. He chipped to 15 feet and saved par.

''It was just going in every single time,'' he said.

Jason Day had a 66 at Monterey Peninsula to get within five shots of the lead. Patrick Reed, playing alongside Mickelson, had six birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the back nine and also was at 6 under.

DIVOTS: Monterey Peninsula was the only course that played under par on Friday, just barely. Pebble Beach again played the toughest by a small margin over Spyglass Hill. ... Ryan Palmer made a hole-in-one on the third hole at Spyglass Hill.

Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”