Mickelson tied with Haas Tiger falters

By Doug FergusonJanuary 30, 2011, 4:16 am
Farmers Insurance OpenSAN DIEGO – Phil Mickelson found the trick to playing the revamped South Course at Torrey Pines and left himself one round away from winning on a course that once felt like home.

Going against his nature, Mickelson played it safe again Saturday and wound up with a 4-under 68 to share the lead with Bill Haas going into the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open. Haas missed a 4-foot putt par putt on the last hole for a 71.

It has been 10 years since Mickelson won his third title at Torrey Pines, a public course he grew up playing in San Diego.

“I love playing well in this tournament, and I’ve missed it,” Mickelson said.

Tiger Woods, who has not lost a tournament at Torrey Pines since 2004, shot himself out of the tournament with careless mistakes. Woods had a 2-over 74, ending his streak of 21 rounds at par or better on the South Course in PGA Tour events. He was eight shots behind, his largest 54-hole deficit at Torrey since 2004.

Even with his longtime nemesis out of the way, Mickelson doesn’t see an easy path to winning.

Haas is coming off a two-win season in 2010, and lost in a playoff a week ago at the Bob Hope Classic. He kept making enough birdies to keep in front of Mickelson, including a 25-foot putt on the 15th, the toughest on the course.

They were at 12-under 204.

Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson each made eagle on the par-5 18th to shoot 69 and were one shot behind. Another shot back was Anthony Kim, showing signs of turning his game. Kim escaped with only a bogey on the 15th after an adventure through the eucalyptus trees, and birdied the 18th for a 71.

John Daly, who pulled within one shot of the lead early in the third round, fell apart with a string of bogeys and shot 76.

Mickelson has taken every opportunity to criticize the South Course since Rees Jones redesigned it ahead of the 2008 U.S. Open. Lefty has yet to finish higher than fourth since then.

This time, Mickelson decided not to go for broke.

“I’m not taking on the risk. I’m just playing it much more conservative because the reward isn’t there,” he said. “This course doesn’t reward you for taking on any challenge. And my more conservative approach into the greens, albeit boring, has led me to be on top of the leaderboard.”

Only eight players managed to break 70 on “college day” at the tournament, when players were encouraged to wear their college colors or their team logos. Mickelson, who didn’t have any Arizona State garb on, matched D.A. Points for the low round.

Haas didn’t make too many mistakes, and pulled ahead with two good birdies. With the tee back in U.S. Open territory on the 13th, making it play over 600 yards, Haas nearly got home with a 3-wood that set up and easy up-and-down birdie. All that kept him out of the lead was a wedge that bounced over the firm 18th green into the rough.

Woods started the third round only five shots behind, and that was as close as he got.

It what has become a troublesome theme for Woods this week, the wedge is what held him back. From just over 100 yards in the fairway, he dumped a wedge into a bunker and left himself no shot, blasting out to 20 feet for bogey. That was followed by a three-putt bogey, and a bunker-to-bunker bogey on the fifth hole.

He picked up birdies on the par 5s on the front nine, and played 1 over the rest of the way. When he was in the fairway with a short iron or a wedge, he never gave himself many looks at birdie.

“I did not play well at all today,” Woods said. “It was a struggle all day, and I finally found something at 16, but 15 holes already had bone by. So that was pretty frustrating.”

A new season might bring an end to yet another streak for Woods. He has never finished out of the top 10 in his 12 tournaments as a pro, and ended Saturday in a tie for 24th.

The star of his group was Jhonattan Vegas, the Venezuela rookie coming off a playoff win at the Hope. He made his first meeting with Woods seem like an ordinary round. With some good par saves and a two-putt birdie at the end, he wound up beating Woods by five shots and still has a chance to win the tournament.

Vegas was at 9-under 207, only three shot out of the lead.

“I felt comfortable playing with him,” Vegas said. “And the crowd was crazy, but it was fun. I enjoyed it.”

Few people are having more fun than Mickelson, who hopes to have discovered how to win at Torrey Pines, and is relishing in having his wife, Amy, mingling in the crowd at a golf tournament for the first time since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2009. She showed up at the 18th green at the Masters when Mickelson won last year, and spent much of her time in a golf cart at the soggy Ryder Cup in Wales.

Mickelson now faces a familiar name. He has spent far more time playing with Jay Haas than his 28-year-old son, although he has seen enough of Bill Haas to know Sunday will require a lot of patience and a few putts.

There is nothing fancy about Haas except the fact he won twice last year and has another good chance Sunday.

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:50 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Tuesday
11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals 
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals (Click here to watch live)

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals

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Davis: USGA learned from setup errors at Shinnecock

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 4:51 pm

With the U.S. Open set to return to Shinnecock Hills for the first time in 14 years, USGA executive director Mike Davis insists that his organization has learned from the setup mistakes that marred the event the last time it was played on the Southampton, N.Y., layout.

Retief Goosen held off Phil Mickelson to win his second U.S. Open back in 2004, but the lasting image from the tournament may have been tournament officials spraying down the seventh green by hand during the final round after the putting surface had become nearly unplayable. With the course pushed to the brink over the first three days, stiff winds sucked out any remaining moisture and players struggled to stay on the greens with 30-foot putts, let alone approach shots.

Speaking to repoters at U.S. Open media day, Davis offered candid reflections about the missteps that led to the course overshadowing the play during that infamous final round.

"I would just say that it was 14 years ago. It was a different time, it was different people, and we as an organzation, we learned from it," Davis said. "When you set up a U.S. Open, it is golf's ultimate test. It's probably set up closer to the edge than any other event in golf, and I think that the difference then versus now is we have a lot more technology, a lot more data in our hands.

"And frankly, ladies and gentlemen, what really happened then was just a lack of water."

Davis pointed to enhancements like firmness and moisture readings for the greens that weren't available in 2004, and he noted that meterological data has evolved in the years since. With another chance to get his hands on one of the USGA's favorite venues, he remains confident that tournament officials will be able to better navigate the thin line between demanding and impossible this time around.

"There are parts that I think we learned from, and so I think we're happy that we have a mulligan this time," Davis said. "It was certainly a bogey last time. In fact maybe even a double bogey, and equitable stroke control perhaps kicked in."

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UCLA junior Vu named WGCA Player of the Year

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 3:23 pm

UCLA junior Lilia Vu was named Player of the Year on Tuesday by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).

Vu recorded the lowest full-season scoring average (70.37) in UCLA history. Her four tournament wins tied the school record for most victories in a single season.

Vu was also named to the WGCA All-America first team. Here's a look at the other players who joined her on the prestigious list:

WGCA First Team All-Americans

  • Maria Fassi, Junior, University of Arkansas
  • Kristen Gillman, Sophomore, University of Alabama
  • Jillian Hollis, Junior, University of Georgia
  • Cheyenne Knight, Junior, University of Alabama
  • Jennifer Kupcho, Junior, Wake Forest University
  • Andrea Lee, Sophomore, Stanford University
  • Leona Maguire, Senior, Duke University
  • Sophia Schubert, Senior, University of Texas
  • Lauren Stephenson, Junior, University of Alabama
  • Maddie Szeryk, Senior, Texas A&M University
  • Patty Tavatanakit, Freshman, UCLA
  • Lilia Vu, Junior, UCLA
Chris Stroud and caddie Casey Clendenon Getty Images

Stroud's caddie wins annual PGA Tour caddie tournament

By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2018, 3:15 pm

Casey Clendenon, who caddies for Chris Stroud, won the gross division of the annual PGA Tour caddie tournament on Monday, shooting a 5-under 66 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, site of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

Scott Tway (65), who caddies for Brian Harman, won the net division by two strokes over Wayne Birch, Troy Merritt’s caddie.

Kyle Bradley, Jonathan Byrd’s caddie, took second place with a 71 in the gross division.

The tournament was organized by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, and proceeds from the event went to two charities. The APTC donated $20,000 to Greg Chalmers’ charity, MAXimumChances.org, which aids families living with autism. The association also donated $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.