Mickelson's 'bad' day not so bad after all

By June 16, 2011, 11:31 pm

BETHESDA, Md. – It sounds like a scene out of a movie. Just as Phil Mickelson was finishing his opening round of the U.S. Open on Thursday, the clouds opened up over Congressional. Perhaps it seemed fitting considering Mickelson celebrated his 41st birthday by shooting 3-over 74 – nine shots back of playing partner and tournament leader Rory McIlroy.

As Mickelson would tell the story, though, he would emphasize what happened next. A small crowd showered Mickelson with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” – slightly less boisterous than the ’02 crowd crooning at Bethpage – and then he walked into the clubhouse, saw his wife Amy and hugged her with a smile.

Mickelson may have shot 74, but he is happy that was the score he turned in after a day of spraying it all over Congressional.

“This actually turned out to be a great day because I played horrific,” Mickelson said. “I started out hitting a good shot into the water to make double (at the par-3 10th hole). And to hit it where I did today and still end up only 3 over, I’m still in it.”

Against his assessment of the form he had during the round, Mickelson’s 74 was almost as good of a score as McIlroy’s 65.

“This easily could have been a day that could easily be in the 80s but I was able to get myself around and be only 3 over,” he said.

After opening with a double bogey, Mickelson went on to make three bogeys. He salvaged two birdies to keep within eyesight of the pace as he took a walking tour of the many awkward escapes Congressional can require of a player who is well off their normal game.

The five-time U.S. Open runner-up and four-time major champion feels as though he will improve significantly on Friday.

“I know it’s not far off because I’ve been hitting it well coming in, but today it sure looked far off,” he said. “A little change here and there, I’ll come out tomorrow playing a little freer, a little more aggressive. It happens for me when I take a week off before a major. I swing tight, play tentative.”

Mickelson knows the numbers were out there on Thursday, but is not creating a sense of urgency. With his record in this championship it is clear Mickelson has the right temperament.

“Good scores are out there, there were a lot of rounds under par and a lot of over par rounds, too. Although mine was high, it could’ve been a lot higher,” he said.

In his five U.S. Open second-place finishes, Mickelson was not without an abnormal round. Mickelson acknowledged it, saying, “I don’t normally play four days perfectly, so this was my bad round, and hopefully I’ll get it turned around tomorrow.”

In all but one of those close calls, he has a round of 73 or higher. Five years ago, Mickelson even had a 74 – unfortunately, it came in the final round at Winged Foot.

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Stricker wins Sanford for third Champions title of season

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 9:55 pm

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Steve Stricker won the inaugural Sanford International on Sunday for his third PGA Tour Champions title of the year, closing with a 3-under 67 for a four-stroke victory.

The 51-year-old Stricker birdied three of the first four holes and offset bogeys on 13 and 18 with birdies on 15 and 16. He shared the lead after each of the first two rounds, shooting 63-67 at Minnehaha Country Club.

Stricker also won in Arizona and Mississippi in consecutive starts in May for his first senior victories. Next week in France, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants.

Stricker finished at 13-under 197, and match Paul Broadhurst for the tour victory lead.

Tim Petrovic (65) and Jerry Smith (70) tied for second.

Brandt Jobe, tied for the second-round lead with Stricker, had a 72 to drop into a tie for fourth with Kevin Sutherland (67) at 8 under.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 9:30 pm

Tiger Woods began the final round of the Tour Championship with a three-shot lead, and he's cruising at East Lake. We're tracking him.

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Lewis wins Portugal Masters for second time

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 6:19 pm

VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters for a second time after shooting a 5-under 66 in Sunday's final round.

Lewis finished three strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell (67) and Australia's Lucas Herbert (71).

Sergio Garcia prepared for the Ryder Cup next weekend with a 65 to finish seven strokes behind Lewis.

Lewis made six birdies along with a single bogey on No. 10 to finish the tournament at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course on 22-under 262.

Herbert led through the first three rounds only to struggle on the final day. He hit a double bogey on the final hole to finish the round on par.

Lewis had trailed Herbert by nine shots after the first round.

''It's been a rough ride but this week I played hard,'' Lewis said. ''I obviously got off to a bad start, to finish the way I've been finishing has been brilliant.''

Lewis first won the tournament in 2011.

''I think this one means more,'' Lewis said, ''it means a lot to come and win this again.''

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

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“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.