Notes: Mickelson makes FedEx Cup jump after PGA

By Doug FergusonAugust 13, 2014, 1:35 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Phil Mickelson left the PGA Championship as a runner-up in a major for the ninth time in his career, though this one at least kept alive one streak involving the Ryder Cup and another involving the FedEx Cup.

Mickelson qualified for his 10th straight Ryder Cup team, extending his American record.

He picked up enough FedEx Cup points to move from No. 84 to No. 42, giving him the best opportunity of three players who have never missed the Tour Championship. Only the top 30 after the BMW Championship get into the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake.

The others who have never missed the Tour Championship are Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker.

Stricker, playing a part-time schedule for the second year, was on the bubble for The Barclays until he tied for seventh at Valhalla. That moved him up to No. 99. The next question is how much he plays over the next month, more by choice than by qualification. He has an elk hunting trip planned for September.

Mahan is having his worst year since 2006. He had four top 10s through Doral until tweaking his back on the eve of the final round at Bay Hill. Mahan did not have another top 10 all year until a 65-67 weekend at Valhalla to tie for seventh.

He only moved up to No. 59. Mahan will have to play well at either The Barclays or the Deutsche Bank Championship to sew up a spot in Denver for the third playoff event. Also at stake the next two weeks is auditioning for Tom Watson as a Ryder Cup pick.

Five players have never missed the FedEx Cup playoffs since the series began in 2007. All of them - J.J. Henry, Brian Gay, John Merrick, Charlie Wi and John Rollins - are in Greensboro, N.C., for the Wyndham Championship, the final event of the regular season. Henry is at No. 130 and would only need something around 20th place to get into The Barclays. Rollins is at No. 164 would need to finish third.

It's also a big week for Robert Allenby at No. 122. He used a one-time exemption as top 25 on the tour's career money list to keep his card this year.

STICKING WITH WHAT HE HAS: Tiger Woods has won 14 majors with three swings - the original swing he brought to tour under Butch Harmon, the overhaul with Harmon that produced seven majors in 11 starts, and a new swing with Hank Haney that brought six majors and made him the only player in history to win multiple majors in back-to-back seasons.

Don't expect Rory McIlroy to go down that road.

''If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's my motto,'' McIlroy said after winning the PGA Championship. ''I've always been that way. I feel like the work that I've put into my golf swing from the age of 15 to 20 is going to see me throughout my career.''

McIlroy hasn't really changed his swing since he was a kid. Nor has he ever changed his coach.

''There's no reason why I should look to try and swing the club differently,'' he said. ''Whether it's to try and get even better or for a new challenge or whatever it is. I've worked with Michael Bannon my whole life, and I'll continue to do so and it works well at the minute. And there's no reason for me to change.''

MAJOR CUTS: For the third year in a row, Adam Scott was on the short list of players who made the cut in every major.

Scott has not missed the cut in a major since the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional.

Also making the cut in all four majors: Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Stadler, Jimmy Walker, Jim Furyk, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day, Bill Haas, Louis Oosthuizen, Brandt Snedeker and Francesco Molinari.

Scott, Day, Snedeker and Stenson all made the cut in all four majors last year.

On the flip side was Roberto Castro, eligible for all four majors for the first time in his career. Castro never made it to the weekend in any of them.

WELCOME TO THE '60s: Rory McIlroy became the first player since Tiger Woods at Medinah to win the PGA Championship with all four rounds in the 60s.

And he had plenty of company.

Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Mikko Ilonen and Steve Stricker each broke 70 every day. The five players with every round in the 60s matched a PGA Championship record set at Riviera in 1995.

It also was the fourth time in PGA Championship history that three leading players were in the 60s all four rounds. The other times were at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2001 (David Toms, Mickelson, Steve Lowery); Riviera (Steve Elkington, Colin Montgomerie, Bob Estes); and Inverness in 1993 (Paul Azinger, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo).

McIlroy became the sixth PGA champion with all four rounds in the 60s. That has happened only three times at the British Open and three times at the U.S. Open. It has never happened at the Masters.

And it's a short list of players to win two majors with all four rounds in the 60s - McIlroy (2011 U.S. Open, 2014 PGA), Woods (2000 British Open, 2006 PGA) and Lee Trevino (1968 U.S. Open, 1984 PGA).

MAJOR FIELDS: Bernd Wiesberger tumbled down the leaderboard with a 74 on Sunday, though the Austrian at least stayed in the top 15 at Valhalla. That assures him a return to the PGA Championship next year as being among the top 15 and ties.

Others who earned a spot in the field next year at Whistling Straits were Marc Warren of Scotland and Brooks Koepka.

The Masters is more concerned with keeping its field under 100 players. Augusta National invites the top four from the other three majors. Because of ties, five players earned spots from the U.S. Open. And because of pedigree, the top four from the PGA Championship already were in the Masters.

DIVOTS: U.S. Women's Amateur champion Kristen Gillman and Curtis Cup players Emma Talley and Alison Lee have been selected to the U.S. team for the Women's World Amateur Team Championship on Sept. 3-6 in Japan. ... Bridgestone will be the title sponsor of the inaugural America's Golf Cup, a team format featuring members of the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Latinoamerica. Tiger Woods is expected to play for the U.S. team on Oct. 23-26. ... Rory McIlroy has shot par or better in his last 14 rounds dating to Friday in the Scottish Open. ... The 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine will be Sept. 30-Oct. 2. ... Rory McIlroy has had at least a share of the lead in 17 rounds (including the final round) in the majors since his first one as a pro in 2009. No one else has more than five rounds with at least a share of the lead.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Rory McIlroy became only the fourth player to win a major as No. 1 in the world since the ranking began, and the first since Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S. Open. Woods won 11 of his 14 majors as No. 1.

FINAL WORD: ''You never know what you're going to get with Phil. But you know one thing - it's going to be exciting, and many times it's going to be spectacular.'' - Tom Watson on Phil Mickelson, whose first top 10 of the year was a runner-up finish at the PGA Championship.

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Ko part of 5-way tie for Mediheal lead

By Associated PressApril 27, 2018, 3:20 am

DALY CITY, Calif. - Lydia Ko was back on top at Lake Merced.

Ko shot a 4-under 68 on a chilly Thursday morning at the LPGA Mediheal Championship for a share of the first-round lead. Jessica Korda, Caroline Hedwall, In-Kyung Kim and Su Oh joined Ko atop the leaderboard in the LPGA's return to Lake Merced after a year away.

''This is a golf course where you need to drive the ball well and putt well,'' said Ko, the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic winner at the course in 2014 and 2015.

Ko eagled the par-5 fifth and had four birdies and a bogey. The New Zealander has 14 LPGA wins, the last in July 2016.

''It's nice to come back to a place where you feel super-welcomed,'' Ko said. ''It just brings back a lot of great memories. ... My family and friends are here this week, so I'm hoping that I'm going to continue the solid play.''

She turned 21 on Tuesday.

''I don't think I feel a huge difference, but I know turning 21 is a huge thing in the U.S.,'' Ko said, ''So, I'm legal and I can do some fun things now.''

Korda, playing alongside Kim a group ahead of Ko, also eagled the fifth and had four birdies and a bogey. Korda won in Thailand in February in her return from reconstructive jaw surgery.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship


''The score says one thing and my hands say another,'' Korda said. ''It was really cold out there today, so it was good that I stuck to kind of my process. ... Actually, this is still some of the nicer conditions that we've played in compared to the past. I'll take the cold as long as there's no rain.''

Hedwall and Kim each had five birdies and a bogey.

''I just love the city. It's really nice,'' said Hedwall, from Sweden. ''It's sort of a European-style city with all the shopping going on downtown and stuff. I love it here. I even like this weather, suits me really well, too.''

Oh had a bogey-free round. The Australian was the only one of the five players tied for the lead to play in the afternoon.

''It was cold and pretty windy out there and, because it's got a lot of elevation, it kind of swirls in the middle like in the low areas, so it was tough,'' Oh said. ''I hit the ball really solid today. Then the ones I missed, I made really good up-and-downs.''

Lexi Thompson, Sei Young Kim, Charley Hull and Celine Herbin shot 69.

''This course is very challenging, especially when the wind picks up,'' the third-ranked Thompson said. ''It's chilly, so it's a little longer of a course. Some of the par 5s are reachable, so you try to take advantage of that, but pars were good and just take the birdie chances as you can get them.''

Moriya Jutanugarn, the winner Sunday in Los Angeles for her first LPGA title, had a 71 playing with former Stanford student Michelle Wie and ANA Inspiration winner Pernilla Lindberg. Wie had a 74, and Lindberg shot 79. Ariya Jutanugarn matched her sister with a 71, playing in the group with Ko.

Top-ranked Inbee Park matched playing partner Brooke Henderson with a 72. The third member of the afternoon group, second-ranked Shanshan Feng, shot 73.

Juli Inkster shot 72. The 57-year-old Hall of Famer grew up in Santz Cruz, starred at San Jose State and lives in Los Altos. She won the last of her 31 LPGA titles in 2006.

Stacy Lewis had a 74 after announcing that she is pregnant with a due date of Nov. 3. She plans to play through the Marathon Classic in July and return for a full season next year.

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Glover, Reavie share Zurich lead with Chinese pair

By Associated PressApril 27, 2018, 3:04 am

AVONDALE, La. - Chez Reavie had quite a few good moments at TPC Louisiana on Thursday. So did teammate Lucas Glover.

In best-ball format, the most important thing was those moments came on different holes.

Reavie and Glover teamed to shoot a 12-under 60 for a share of the Zurich Classic lead with China's Zhang Xinjun and Dou Zecheng.

''Chez started well and I picked it up in the middle of the back nine,'' Glover said. ''He closed it off and then we both played really well on the front. Just kind of ham and egged it, I guess, as they would say.''

Reavie and Glover each had six birdies in the best-ball format, pushing through soggy weather early in the round before conditions cleared at TPC Louisiana. Six teams are two shots back in a tie for third after shooting 62.

''We were just rolling,'' Reavie said. ''I think we're comfortable. We like to laugh and have a good time when we're playing golf, and it definitely helps.''

Zhang and Dou birdied four of their final five holes. Dou made a 31-foot putt on No. 9 to cap the impressive rally and jump into the lead with Reavie and Glover.


Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


Tony Finau-Daniel Summerhays, Chris Paisley-Tommy Fleetwood, J.J. Henry-Tom Hoge, Michael Kim-Andrew Putnam, Kevin Kisner-Scott Brown and Troy Merritt-Brendon de Jonge shot 62. Jason Day and Ryan Ruffels shot 64.

It's the first time since last year's Tour Championship that the reigning champs of all four majors have been in the same field. None of them were among the leaders after the first round.

Masters champion Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay had a 65, and British Open winner Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer were at 66.

''I didn't feel like there was really any rust,'' Reed said. ''I felt like I hit the ball all right today. I felt I hit some good quality putts. A couple of them went in, a couple of them didn't.''

This is the second year that two-player teams have competed at the Zurich Classic. The unusual tournament features best-ball play in the first and third rounds and alternate shot in the second and final rounds.

U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka and Marc Turnesa shot a 67. PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and Bud Cauley shot a 70.

There are 80 teams in the tournament and the top 35, along with ties, will make the cut after Friday's second round.

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Lewis says she's expecting first child in November

By Randall MellApril 27, 2018, 2:18 am

Stacy Lewis is pregnant.

The 12-time LPGA winner confirmed after Thursday’s first round of the Mediheal Championship that she and her husband, University of Houston women’s golf coach Gerrod Chadwell, are expecting their first child on Nov. 3.

Lewis learned she was pregnant after returning home to Houston in late February following her withdrawal from the HSBC Women’s World Championship with a strained oblique muscle.

“We're obviously really excited,” Lewis said. “It wasn't nice I was hurt, but it was nice that I was home when I found out with [Gerrod]. We're just really excited to start a family.”

Lewis is the third big-name LPGA player preparing this year to become a mother for the first time. Suzann Pettersen announced last month that she’s pregnant, due in the fall. Gerina Piller is due any day.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship


Piller’s husband, PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, withdrew from the Zurich Classic on Thursday to be with her. Piller and Lewis have been U.S. Solheim Cup partners the last two times the event has been played.

“It's going to be fun raising kids together,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, they're best friends and they hang out. But just excited about the next few months and what it's going to bring.”

Lewis, a former Rolex world No. 1 and two-time major championship winner, plans to play through the middle of July, with the Marathon Classic her last event of the year. She will be looking to return for the start of the 2019 season. The LPGA’s maternity leave policy allows her to come back next year with her status intact.

“This year, the golf might not be great, but I've got better things coming in my life than a golf score.” Lewis said. “I plan on coming back and traveling on the road with the baby, and we'll figure it out as we go.”

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Coach scores in NFL Draft and on golf course

By Grill Room TeamApril 27, 2018, 1:47 am

To say that Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had a good day Thursday would be an understatement. Not only did his team snag one of the top defensive players in the NFL Draft - Georgia outside linebacker Roquan Smith, who the Bears took with the eighth pick of the first round - but earlier in the day Fangio, 59, made a hole-in-one, sinking a 9-iron shot from 125 yards at The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis.

Perhaps the ace isn't so surprising, though. In late May 2017, Fangio made another hole-in-one, according to a tweet from the Bears. The only information supplied on that one was the distance - 116 yards.