Mickelson figures out Pebble moves into 2nd - COPIED

By Doug FergusonJune 19, 2010, 7:44 am

2010 U.S. Open

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – With each birdie, Phil Mickelson put some life into an overcast day at Pebble Beach and gave himself another chance to finally take something more than silver home from a U.S. Open.

One day after he didn’t make a single birdie, Mickelson made six of them Friday. It wasn’t enough to catch Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who set the early pace with a 3-under 68 to take a two-shot lead into the weekend, but all that mattered to Mickelson was getting back to even par.

He did that one better.

With five birdies in a seven-hole stretch early in his round, Mickelson shot a tournament-best 66 and joined a shrinking group of five players who have beaten par over two days at Pebble Beach.
Phil Mickelson
Mickelson offset his lone bogey with six birdies to climb 64 spots Friday at Pebble Beach. (Getty Images)

McDowell was at 3-under 139, and he made even more friends with a bogey on the final hole that assured 60-year-old Tom Watson of two more rounds in what likely will be his final U.S. Open.

Mickelson was joined at 1-under 141 by two-time U.S. Open champion Ernie Els (68), 18-year-old Ryo Ishikawa (71) and Dustin Johnson (70), who has won the last two times in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and looks right at home in much firmer conditions.

The names weren’t important to Mickelson. Only the numbers.

“I’m in a good spot,” said Mickelson, whose five runner-up finishes is a U.S. Open record. “I don’t look at the leaderboard. I don’t look at other players. I look at par. If you can stay around par, you’re going to be in the tournament Sunday. That was kind of the goal.”

The Masters champion opened with a 75 Thursday, after missing a half-dozen birdie putts inside 12 feet. On Friday, he hardly missed anything.

It began with an approach into about 4 feet on the tough par-4 second hole, and Mickelson was relentless on the front nine until hitting into the cavernous bunker short of the ninth green and making his only bogey.

By then, he was back in the game.

Tiger Woods believes he’s still in the mix, too, although a pedestrian round of 1-over 72 left him seven shots behind. Woods has never won a major when trailing by more than six shots going into the weekend.

Asked if he liked his positions, Woods replied, “Absolutely.”

“I’m right there in the championship,” Woods said. “I just need to make a few more birdies, a few more putts on the weekend, and I’ll be right there.”

It starts with McDowell, a 30-year-old with five European Tour victories and a pair of 18-hole leads in the majors.

He was among the early starters, when the greens were in the best shape and the air was cool and calm. McDowell holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the 14th –  the par 5 that chewed up so many other players throughout the day – and pulled ahead with smart shots into the fourth hole and the par-5 sixth to build his lead.

“I’m really trying to put no expectations on myself this weekend because I know there’s a lot of great players out here … and this golf course is extremely difficult,” McDowell said.

It just didn’t look that way Friday.

It was a gentle start to the second round, with the calm of Stillwater Cove broken only by a pair of dolphins searching for breakfast. Over the next 12 hours, conditions didn’t change much except for a freshening breeze late in the day.

McDowell’s round ended with a three-putt bogey on the ninth hole, but it was significant. By dropping to 3-under, he assured that everyone within 10 shots, 7-over or better, would make the cut to play on the weekend – Watson, Steve Stricker and Sergio Garcia included.

Watson, who won his only U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 1982, made par on the last hole to follow his 78 with a 71. He was pleased with his 71, though not overly surprised given the conditions.

“When you have some wind, that’s when it’s hard to get on these greens, to get the right shot in there, to get the right distance,” Watson said “Today, the course is going to play as easy as it’s going to play for four rounds. I can guarantee you that.”

Mickelson made him look like a prophet.

Woods did not.

The world’s No. 1 player made his first birdie of the tournament by chipping in from about 20 yards short of the green on his second hole at No. 11. But he made only two more birdies, and they were not enough to offset the tee shot that caromed off a tree into grass so deep he took a penalty drop, or the plugged lie in the corner of the bunker on the 12th, or his failure to birdie the easiest par 5s.

Mickelson knew he would have to take advantage on the first seven holes, and he did just that.

“I thought something in the 60s was out there and would get me into contention,” Mickelson said. “I knew I needed to get off to a quick start because the birdie holes are the first seven.”

Make that eight.

Mickelson hit 5-iron off the tee on the dramatic eighth hole, with breeze and bounce taking it through the fairway and on the edge of a 60-foot cliff that drops into the ocean. It left him only a wedge that he hit into 15 feet for a birdie.

As he finished out the ocean holes, a small crowd walking the beach wrote in the sand, “GO PHIL.”

He made birdie on the 11th and finished with seven strong pars, giving himself four good looks at birdie but no complaints when they didn’t fall. Mickelson was nine shots better than his opening round.

“This is so much fun, and I don’t want the weekend to end,” Mickelson said.

It’s just beginning. His family was due in from San Diego on Friday night, stirring memories of his Masters victory in April. Once he took the lead, his wife, Amy, came out to the golf course for the first time since being diagnosed with breast cancer more than a year ago.

But this U.S. Open is only halfway over.

McDowell has not faced weekend pressure in a major, and he conceded that it was hard not to think about that shiny trophy.

Ishikawa, who has a chance to become the youngest U.S. Open champion, is used to the bright lights. Even though he only graduated high school in March, he is treated in Japan the way Woods is around the world. And it helped to play two rounds with Watson, who is revered in these parts.

Els, already a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year, also knows how to win a U.S. Open, even though his last title came in 1997.

“I needed something in red figures to get me back in the tournament,” the Big Easy said.

Paul Casey took an 8 on the par-5 14th when a chip rolled back toward his feet – stopping near a divot he had smoothed over during the time it took the ball to roll up and down the slope. He was not penalized because it was deemed not his intention to improve his lie. Casey shot a 73 and was at even-par 142, along with Brendon De Jonge (73), Alex Cejka (72) and Jerry Kelly (70).

Two dozen players were separated by six shots, a group that included Lee Westwood, the No. 3 player in the world who played with Els and Woods and has done well to stay in the game.

Westwood scrambled for a 71 on a day he thought would be the easiest of the week.

“I don’t think anybody’s going to run away with this,” Westwood said.
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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."

Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

Golden: Dull rude, caddie 'inebriated' at Florida Mid-Am

By Ryan LavnerMay 25, 2018, 1:03 am

Jeff Golden has offered more detail on what transpired at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, writing in a long statement on Twitter that Marc Dull’s caddie was “inebriated” before he allegedly sucker-punched Golden in the face.

In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Charlotte County Police responded to a call May 13 after Golden claimed that he’d been assaulted by his opponent’s caddie in the parking lot of Coral Creek Club, where he was competing in the Mid-Am finals. Golden told police that the caddie, Brandon Hibbs, struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

Golden posted a 910-word statement on the alleged incident on his Twitter account on Thursday night. He said that he wanted to provide more detail because “others have posed some valid questions about the series of events that led to me withdrawing” from what was an all-square match with two holes to play.

Golden wrote that both Dull and Hibbs were rude and disruptive during the match, and that “alcohol appeared to be influencing [Hibbs’] behavior.”

Dull, who caddies at Streamsong Resort in Florida, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’ve never seen an opposing caddie engage in so much conversation with a competitor,” Golden wrote. “On the eighth hole I had become extremely frustrated when my opponent and caddie were talking and moving. I expressed my disappointment with their etiquette to the rules official in our group.”

On the ninth hole, Golden informed the official that he believed Hibbs had broken the rules by offering advice on his putt. Golden won the hole by concession to move 2 up at the turn, and Hibbs removed himself from the match and returned to the clubhouse.

Golden wrote that after the penalty, the match “turned even nastier, with more negative comments from my opponent on the 10th tee.” He added that he conceded Dull’s 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 because he was “sick of the abuse from my opponent, and I wanted the match to resemble what you would expect of a FSGA final.”

Though there were no witnesses to the alleged attack and police found little evidence, save for “some redness on the inside of {Golden’s] lip,” Golden wrote that the inside of his mouth was bleeding, his face was “throbbing” and his hand was also injured from bracing his fall. X-rays and CT scans over the past week all came back negative, he said.

Golden reiterated that he was disappointed with the FSGA’s decision to accept his concession in the final match. He had recommended that they suspend the event and resume it “at a later time.”

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Asked last week about his organization’s alcohol policy during events, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that excessive consumption is “highly discouraged, but it falls more broadly under the rules of etiquette and player behavior.”

Dull, 32, was back in the news Wednesday, after he and partner Chip Brooke reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They lost to high schoolers Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, 4 and 3.

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D. Kang, M. Jutanugarn in four-way tie at Volvik

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:50 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Amy Olson crossed paths with her coach, Ron Stockton, on her walk to the 18th tee at the Volvik Championship.

''Make it another even $20,'' Stockton said.

The coach was already prepared to give his client $35 for making seven birdies - $5 each - and wanted to take her mind off the bogey she just had at 17.

Olson closed the first round with a 6-under 66, putting her into the lead she ended up sharing later Thursday with Moriya Jutanugarn , Caroline Masson and Danielle Kang.

Do small, cash incentives really help a professional golfer?

''Absolutely,'' said Olson, who graduated from North Dakota State with an accounting degree. ''He'll tell you I'm a little bit of a hustler there.''

Olson will have to keep making birdies - and petty cash - to hold her position at Travis Pointe Country Club.

Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan, Morgan Pressel, Megan Khang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were a stroke back at 67 and six others were to shots back.

Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championship winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

The Jutanugarn sisters are Korda are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour's first two-time winner this year.

Moriya Jutanugarn won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles.

''What I feel is more relaxed now,'' she said. ''And, of course I like looking forward for my next one.''

Olson, meanwhile, is hoping to extend the LPGA Tour's streak of having a new winner in each of its 12 tournaments this year.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


She knows how to win. It just has been a while since it has happened.

Olson set an NCAA record with 20 wins, breaking the mark set by LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, but has struggled to have much success since turning pro in 2013.

She has not finished best finish was a tie for seventh and that was four years ago. She was in contention to win the ANA Inspiration two months ago, but an even-par 72 dropped her into a tie for ninth place.

If the North Dakota player wins the Volvik Championship, she will earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama. If Olson finishes second or lower in the 144-player field, she will enjoy an off week with her husband, Grant, who coaches linebackers at Indiana State.

''I'll make the best of it either way,'' she said.

Olson was at her best in the opening round on the front nine, closing it with four birdies in a six-hole stretch. Her ball rolled just enough to slowly drop in the cup for birdie on the par-3, 184-yard 13th. She had three birdies in five-hole stretch on the back, nearly making her second hole-in-one of the year at the par-3, 180-yard 16th. A short putt gave her a two-stroke lead, but it was cut to one after pulling and misreading a 6-foot putt to bogey the 17th.

Even if she doesn't hold on to win the tournament, Olson is on pace to have her best year on the LPGA Tour. She is No. 39 on the money list after finishing 97th, 119th, 81st and 80th in her first four years.

''Two years ago, I started working with Ron Stockton and whenever you make a change, it doesn't show up right away,'' Olson said. ''That first year was tough, but we've turned a corner and I've just found a lot of consistency in the last year. And, it's a lot of fun to go out there and play golf a little more stress free.''

Stockton helped her stay relaxed, walking along the ropes during her morning round.

''Maybe some people feel a little more pressure when their coach is there,'' she said. ''I'm like, 'Great. If he sees the mistake, he knows what can go wrong and we can go fix it.' So, I like having his eyes on me.''

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Club pro part of 6-way tie atop Sr. PGA

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:04 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Nevada club professional Stuart Smith shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

Smith closed his morning round with a double bogey on the par-4 18th, and Scott McCarron, Tim Petrovic, Wes Short Jr., Barry Lane and Peter Lonard matched the 66 in the afternoon.

One of 41 club pros in the field at Harbor Shores for the senior major, Smith is the director of golf at Somersett Country Club in Reno.


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


McCarron won the Senior Players Championship last year for his first senior major.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer is skipping the event to attend son Jason's high school graduation, and Steve Stricker is playing the PGA Tour event in Texas.