Woods (76) continues to struggle on major weekends

By Jay CoffinJune 16, 2013, 12:13 am

ARDMORE, Pa. – The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Remember last year, when Tiger Woods had his weekend woes at major championships? Remember that he would play well for two days then falter over the final 36 holes while in contention?

Well, that happened Saturday at the U.S. Open. Woods entered the day at Merion tied for 13th place, only four shots behind leaders Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel and essentially threw away all chances at winning major No. 15.

The third round began with such promise when Woods made birdie on the opening hole – as did playing partner Rory McIlroy – sending the Philadelphia fanatics into an instant tizzy. But he never made another birdie and collected seven bogeys (including one at the last hole) to shoot 6-over 76 and slide into a tie for 31st place.

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“It certainly is frustrating,” Woods said. “At Augusta I was pretty close and I had the lead at one point and I hit that flag and ended up in the water.

“I'm playing well enough to do it and unfortunately just haven't gotten it done.”

Last year Woods averaged 70 over the first 36 holes of majors and 72.875 over the final 36 holes. He’s now failed to break 70 over the weekend of any major since the 2012 Masters.

This year was supposed to be different. At least most everyone thought so.

Woods won four times on the PGA Tour before June 1 for the first time in his illustrious career. He’s a different player now than he was 52 weeks ago. He’s dominant, he’s winning, he’s intimidating. He’s back. The only thing missing is a major championship victory for the first time since the 2008 U.S. Open.

It’s difficult to pinpoint precisely what went awry for Woods Saturday – so we’ll begin with everything. Everything was a touch off.

Woods’ wedge play and distance control were off all day. On short holes like Nos. 8 and 10 he couldn’t get a pitching-wedge approach anywhere near the hole. In fact, Woods missed a 5-footer for par on the 10th, which played a mere 280 yards. Many of the leaders attempted to drive the green, Woods laid up and made bogey.

Putting was not good either. Woods struggled to read greens for the third consecutive day and never looked comfortable – especially over the aforementioned 5-footer. Woods missed a 2-footer on the 16th hole. Yes, 2 feet.

So, in honor of Woods’ putting woes this week, let’s play a little game. Find the common thread among places Woods has played poorly this year.

'We had four different green speeds out there and I couldn't believe how slow they were the first two days. Yesterday, I couldn't believe how fast they were. And then today, it was another different speed again,' Woods said at the Masters.

'This week I obviously didn't putt well. I had bad speed all week. I thought the greens didn't look that fast, but they were putting fast. I could never get the speed of them,” Woods said at the Memorial where he finished 65th.

'The green speeds are a little faster than they were Wednesday [during the Pro-Am], but it's an adjustment I need to make,” Woods said at the Honda Classic.

Here Saturday at the U.S. Open, Woods said: “I didn't make anything today. I just couldn't get a feel for them, some putts were slow, some were fast and I had a tough time getting my speed right.”

Woods’ longtime rival Mickelson figured out Merion’s nuances and will take the lead heading into the final round. So have other world-class players like Luke Donald, Charl Schwartzel, Justin Rose and Steve Stricker, who all are inside the top-three of the leaderboard.

Meanwhile, Woods shot the high score in his group. McIlroy shot a mediocre 75 and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who Woods has played with four times this year, shot a solid 72 on a tough day.

No doubt, the day was tough. That’s why many here in suburban Philly expected the game’s most mentally tough player to make some noise. He didn’t. Until he does, many will continue to wonder if he ever will.

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Mullinax fires course-record 62 at Valero

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 9:01 pm

Trey Mullinax surged into contention during the third round of the Valero Texas Open, shooting a 10-under 62 that set a new course record on the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.

Mullinax started the day seven shots off the pace, but by the time he completed his round he had taken a one-shot lead with the overnight leaders still on the course. The former Alabama standout caught fire on the back nine, shooting a 7-under 29 despite a bogey after chip-ins for eagle on No. 14 and birdie on No. 16 to go along with an eagle on the home hole.

"It's probably one of the best rounds I've ever had," Mullinax told reporters. "To go out there and shoot 62 on a hard golf course is really good."

Mullinax appeared headed for a missed cut after a 74 in the opening round, but he bounced back with a second-round 68 to earn a weekend tee time and his third-round score broke the previous course record of 63 held by multiple players.

The 25-year-old finished 137th in FedExCup points last season, leaving him with only conditional status this season. His lone top-10 finish of the year came at the Valspar Championship, where he survived a Monday qualifier and went on to tie for eighth, and this marks only his third start since the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

"Obviously I would like to play a little more, but the tournaments I get in, I'm really excited about playing golf," Mullinax said. "I've loved every start I've gotten, and I'm very thankful to be in the position I'm in."

Mullinax holed a putt to clinch a national title for the Crimson Tide in 2014, and he finished T-9 at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills. But success has been fleeting among the professional ranks, meaning Sunday's opportunity to notch a career-best finish or breakthrough victory is nothing short of enticing.

"I'm sure you'll be nervous," Mullinax said. "To have a chance to win or just go play good golf is what I came here for, so that's what I'm going to do."

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Quiros maintains one-shot lead through 54 in Morocco

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 7:46 pm

RABAT, Morocco - A birdie on the last hole gave Alvaro Quiros a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Trophee Hassan II.

Quiros' birdie on No. 18 allowed the Spanish golfer to sign for an even-par 72 on Saturday to stay at 7-under par overall and clear of four players in second place.

South African pair Erik van Rooyen and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, France's Alexander Levy, and Finland's Mikko Ilonen were just a shot behind at 6 under heading into the final day at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat.

Quiros is a seven-time winner on the European Tour, but went six years without a victory until last year with his triumph at the Rocco Forte Open in Italy.

Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II

He's seeking a wire-to-wire victory in Morocco after sharing the first-round lead with Bradley Dredge before taking it outright on Day 2.

Quiros had an on-off day in the third round - he said it was ''suddenly great shot, suddenly not so good'' - and carded four birdies and four bogeys to come out even and still hold on to his lead.

Van Rooyen shot 71, Bezuidenhout 68, Levy a 69, and Ilonen the best round of the week so far with his 6-under 66.

Ilonen had seven birdies and just a single bogey - on his first hole - to leap 23 places up the leaderboard and into contention for a first tour title since 2014 when he won the World Match Play Championship.

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M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

Marina Alex was second after a 68.

Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.