Day 2 Featured Group Woods Mickelson McDowell

By Randall MellMarch 11, 2011, 8:05 pm

WGC-Cadillac ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. – senior writer Randall Mell is at Doral for the second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He is providing a running blog for the featured grouping of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell. Follow him on Twitter (@RandallMell) for more updates, or for full-field scoring, click here.




(8:29 p.m. ET) Chance at redemption: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will tee it up again together Saturday in a two-ball pairing off of the 1st tee at 10:20 a.m. ET.

(6:44 p.m. ET) Tiger Woods hit two drives that made him look like a high handicapper in Friday’s second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

He hit a nosediving hacker’s hook that barely traveled 100 yards at the second tee, and he hit a pop-up tee shot at the 14th that could have invoked the infield fly rule.

Still, Woods’ putter may be the largest reason he’s not in the hunt this week after a 2-over-par 74 left him at even par and nine shots off the lead.

The flatstick, once his most reliable weapon, has to be a growing concern. Woods ranks T64 in overall putting average through two rounds at Doral. Only Alvaro Quiros ranks lower.

“Certainly was not one of my better putting rounds,” Woods said. “I had a hard time with the grain.”

Woods took 32 putts, but he failed to capitalize on so many chances. He missed seven putts of 9 feet or less.

“I feel great over the putts,” Woods said. “I just can't hit the putts hard enough. My feel on the pace was for the practice rounds. When the rain came in, it totally changed what I saw and what I felt. I’ve had a hard time making the adjustment.”

It was a tough day for the entire threesome. Phil Mickelson shot 71 and is also nine shots back. Graeme McDowell shot 73 with a one-stroke penalty added before he signed his scorecard because his ball moved after he addressed it at the ninth green. He’s eight shots back.

“We dragged each other down a little bit today,” McDowell said. “We started off with a beautiful crowd. I’m not surprised to see it dwindled on the back nine. I think they got a little bored.”

(4:53 p.m. ET) Woods could not hold it in any longer.

Simmering frustration finally came out at the 14th tee.

That is where Woods popped up a lousy rain-making tee shot that fell to earth a good 100 yards behind Mickelson's and McDowell's tee shots. Woods thumped his first club of the day hard into the tee box. 

It was his second really bad tee shot, ranking slightly better than the diving duck hook at the 2nd hole.

(3:58 p.m. ET) After pushing his tee shot wide right at the 10th tee, Woods ambled away from everyone to a pond left of the tee box and put his head down.

He stayed there for a long time, even after Mickelson and McDowell left. He looked off into the horizon, almost meditatively. Surely, he is frustrated, but he showed no anger. He showed nothing but maybe a sliver of discomfort, arching his lower back briefly before heading down the fairway to join his group.

(3:28 p.m. ET)
Mickelson and Woods should be paying attention to McDowell's smooth putting stroke. Perhaps they can absorb something.

McDowell poured in a 20-foot putt to save par at No. 7 with Woods missing a 5-foot birdie chance at the 8th.

Though McDowell is hitting it all over Doral, he is hanging in there at 1 under through nine holes, thanks to his ultra smooth putting stroke saving so many pars.

Woods is also at 1 under, with Mickelson 1 over.

(2:35 p.m. ET) A Tiger Woods fan waited at the back of the fifth green. He wore a vibrant red shirt with the words:
Tiger Woods
PGA wins
Enough Said

But the fan's timing was bad. Woods walked by him after missing a 4-foot putt for par. That's back-to-back bogeys for Woods.

Woods has yet to make a par today. He's started birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey.

McDowell is struggling to hit fairways. He just missed the sixth fairway by 25 yards left. Mickelson has yet to make a move.

It's McDowell 2 under, Woods 1 under, Mickelson even.
(2:02 p.m. ET)
After no words in a long wait on the third tee, Woods and Mickelson were unusually chatty on a long walk together down the third fairway.

You can't help wondering what they were talking about. The Japan earthquake? The stock market? Bounceback birdies?

They both bounced back with birdies at No. 3.

Woods, by the way, rebounded beautifully from his duck hook at No. 2 with his third tee shot, carving a gorgeous 3-wood fade into the wind. Woods followed with a superb short iron to 3 feet.

McDowell caught a flier and could not get up and down from the back of the green.

It is now McDowell and Woods at 2 under, Mickelson even.
(1:24 p.m. ET) After a nice birdie to start the second round, Tiger Woods hit a high-handcapper duck hook off the second tee that barely traveled 100 yards.

Woods took a large divot with his driver.

There was lots of murmuring and groans through the gallery.

Woods' tee shot nosedived in the left rough before reaching the women's tees. Couldn't have been good for the confidence.

Mickelson and McDowell also started with birdies.
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Wise wins first Tour title at AT&T Byron Nelson

By Nick MentaMay 21, 2018, 1:22 am

On the strength of a final-round 65, 21-year-old Aaron Wise broke through for his first PGA Tour victory Sunday, taking the AT&T Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest. Here's how Wise beat the field and darkness following a lengthy rain delay:

Leaderboard: Wise (-23), Leishman (-20), Branden Grace (-19), J.J. Spaun (-19), Keith Mitchell (-19)

What it means: This Wise’s first PGA Tour win in just his 18th start as a member. Tied with Leishman to start the final round, Wise raced ahead with six birdies in a seven-hole stretch from Nos. 4-10 and never looked back. He'd make eight straight pars on his way into the clubhouse and the winner's circle. The 2016 NCAA Division I individual champion just locked up Tour status through 2019-20 season and guaranteed himself a spot in the PGA Championship.

Best of the rest: Leishman reached 20 under par but just couldn’t keep pace with Wise. This is his second runner-up of the season, following a solo second in the CJ Cup in October.

Round of the day: Grace carded a 62 – where have I heard that before? – with eight birdies, an eagle and a bogey to end up tied for third, his best finish of the season on Tour.

Biggest disappointment: Adam Scott looked as though he had done enough to qualify for the U.S. Open via the Official World Golf Ranking when he walked off the golf course. Unfortunately, minutes later, he’d drop from a four-way tie for sixth into a three-way tie for ninth, narrowly missing out on this week's OWGR cutoff.

Break of the day: Wise could very well have found the hazard off the tee at No. 9 if not for a well-placed sprinkler head. Rather than a drop, he took advantage of his good fortune and poured in another birdie putt to extend his lead.

Quote of the day: "It's a dream come true to win this one." - Wise

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Otaegui wins Belgian Knockout by two

By Associated PressMay 21, 2018, 1:20 am

ANTWERP, Belgium – Adrian Otaegui beat Benjamin Hebert by two shots in the final of the Belgian Knockout to win his second European Tour title.

The hybrid format opened with two rounds of stroke play on Thursday and Friday, before the leading 64 players competed in nine-hole knockout stroke play matches.

Otaegui and Hebert both finished three shots off the lead at 5 under after the first two days and worked their way through five matches on the weekend to set up Sunday's final at the Rinkven International Golf Club.

Full-field scores from the Belgian Knockout

''I'm very happy, very relaxed now after the last nine holes against Ben that were very tight,'' Otaegui said. ''I'm just very proud about my week.

''I just tried to play against myself. Obviously your opponent is just next to you but I just tried to focus on my game.''

Scotland's David Drysdale beat James Heath of England by one shot in the playoff for third spot.

Herbet said he was ''just a little short this week.''

''Adrian is a very good player, especially in this kind of format,'' he said. ''He's already won one tournament in match play last year. This format is fun, it puts you under pressure almost every hole because everything can happen. I think it's a great idea.''

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Spieth looking forward to Colonial after T-21

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 1:10 am

DALLAS – Jordan Spieth finally got a few putts to drop at the AT&T Byron Nelson, but after a frustrating week he’s looking forward to heading across town.

Spieth shot a 4-under 67 amid soggy conditions at Trinity Forest Golf Club, his lowest score of the week but one that still left him in a tie for 21st at 11 under par. His frustrations had a common theme throughout the week, as he ranked seventh among the field in strokes gained: tee to green but 72nd in strokes gained: putting.

“Felt like I played better than I scored,” Spieth said. “Just burned the edges or barely missed, and I misread a lot of putts, too. Overall just struggled a little bit matching line and speed and kind of getting it all together out here.”

Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos

Spieth remains in search of his first win since The Open in July, but his results in the interim haven’t exactly been a struggle. This marks his seventh top-25 finish in his last nine starts as an individual.

Spieth is in the midst of a busy part of his schedule, and will play his third of four events in a row next week at the Fort Worth Invitational. With runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2017 sandwiched around a victory there two years ago, Spieth did little to contain his excitement for a return to venerable Colonial Country Club.

“It’s one of those courses where whether I have my A game or not, I seem to find my way into contention, which is really cool,” Spieth said. “It’s one of four or five places I go into, no matter where the game is at, I’m excited to get started and feel like I have a chance to win.”

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Razorbacks, Fassi scrambling to recover in NCAAs

By Ryan LavnerMay 21, 2018, 12:56 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – We’re not even halfway through this NCAA Championship, and the top women’s player in the country is already worn out.

Indeed, it’s been three rounds of hard work for Maria Fassi as she tries to claw herself and second-ranked Arkansas back into contention at Karsten Creek.

“I haven’t been able to create momentum of any kind,” she said after a third-round 73 left her at 16-over 232, 23 shots off the individual lead and outside the top 90. “I’ve been fighting every single hole. It’s just been exhausting.”

It’s been that way for her teammates, too.

Arkansas entered nationals as one of the pre-tournament favorites. The Razorbacks won the SEC Championship for the first time. They won seven events, including a regional title in which they shot 26 under par on the University of Texas’ home course. They were comfortable knowing that they not only had Fassi, the top-ranked player and a six-time winner this season, but also a strong supporting cast that includes Baylor transfer Dylan Kim and Alana Uriell.

And then the first two rounds happened. The Razorbacks had shot a team score in the 300s just once all season, but they posted two in a row here at Karsten Creek (308-300).

Fassi’s play has been even more of a mystery. In the opening round she shot 81 – with two birdies. She followed it up with a second-round 78, then birdied her last two holes just to shoot 73 on Sunday. She thought she had a smart game plan – taking fewer drivers, putting the ball in play on arguably the most difficult college course in the country – and it just hasn’t worked out.

“I just need to stay really patient, be true to myself and keep fighting,” she said. “I know what I’m capable of doing, and if I play my game it’s going to be plenty good.”

So what’s been the conversation among teammates the past two nights?

“It involved a lot of cuss words,” Fassi said. “We know this is not Arkansas golf. We know this is not the game that we play.”

The top-15 cut line should have been an afterthought for a team as talented as the Razorbacks, and yet they needed a 1-over 289 just to play Monday’s fourth round of stroke-play qualifying.

“Backs against the wall, they had to go get it done and they did an awesome job,” said Arkansas coach Shauna Taylor. “In our locker room we call it ‘Do the Possible.’ It’s doing what you’re capable of doing.”

And now the Razorbacks sit in 11th place, just six shots off the top-8 cut after their two worst rounds all season. They still have a chance to advance.

“You can’t panic,” Taylor said. “We’ve played great golf all year. We’ve put ourselves in a hole and it was time to go to work and dig yourselves out of it.”