Mickelson misses cut at Royal Lytham

By Jason SobelJuly 20, 2012, 6:02 pm

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – “I don’t know. I just don’t know what to tell you.”

Those were the words of Phil Mickelson after a second-round 8-over 78 at the Open Championship that left him 11 over through two rounds, easily on the wrong side of the cutline and well behind such little-known competitors as Nicholas Cullen, Koumei Oda and Steven O’Hara.

Should it come as a surprise? Well, it depends which Mickelson you expected to see.

There’s the Mickelson who is clearly struggling with his game. The one who has now failed to break par in 11 of his last 13 rounds. The one who shot 73 on Thursday and punctuated it by saying, “I putted poorly today and I drove it horrific and the chipping was below average. … I hit it terribly.”

This is the same guy who has clearly never taken to links golf, based on his hapless record in this tournament. The one who owns just a pair of top-10s in 18 previous starts. The one who has never claimed a claret jug amongst his four major titles.

For this Mickelson, the answer is clear. No, we shouldn’t be surprised by his early departure.

Then there’s the Mickelson who is amongst the most elite players to ever play the game, already a World Golf Hall of Fame member at 42. The one whose age also matches his career professional victory total. The one who sounded optimistic after that aforementioned 73, saying, “If you get the ball in the fairway off the tee you can shoot a low score here. If I can get it in play off the tee, I can get a low round going tomorrow.”

This is the same player who appeared to turn a corner last year at Royal St. Georges, finishing in a share of second place. The one whose record of four majors also includes 33 total top-10 results in these events. The one who recently explained he was “looking forward to links golf,” exuding justified enthusiasm for this tournament.

For this Mickelson, the answer is also clear. Yes, we should always allow for some level of surprise when a player of his caliber fails to reach the weekend at a major championship.

But this is less about what we think of the lefthander’s performance – or lack thereof – and more about what he thought of it.

Following the round, he seemed not only frustrated, but perplexed. The reaction was less about the result and more about the process that took place in getting to this point.

“The scores are just so far off,” he said, his voice trailing off. “I thought that I was going to have a little bit better round than I did. It certainly got away from me there the last five holes.

“I hit the ball more solid. I hit it in the middle of the face all day, but I just didn’t quite hit it where I wanted and I hit it in a lot of bad spots.”

That’s been a familiar refrain for Mickelson as of late, with just a lone top-10 finish in his last eight worldwide starts.

If there’s cause for optimism, it’s that directly after walking off the course, he was already looking ahead to when and how he can right the ship.

“I feel like I have some direction for the next week, but I feel like I have a ways to go,” he explained. “I’ll work with [instructor] Butch [Harmon] the next two weeks and see if I can get some direction and I’ll see if I can get a bit better frame of mind these next two months, because we have some big tournaments. I’ve got a lot of work to do these next 10 days to get ready.”

The other reason for positivity is simply because he’s Phil Mickelson.

No player in the current era – or perhaps ever – has more frequently and notoriously shifted from looking awful to awesome on a week-to-week basis. Or vice versa.

We need only look at this season’s results as Exhibit A for this behavioral pattern. In his first three starts, Mickelson failed to record a top-25 result, later claiming that he was worried about the state of his game.

In his next two starts, he won convincingly at Pebble Beach and lost in a playoff at Riviera. Next two after that? A 43rd place and a 24th. The two after that? A fourth and a third. After those? A 26th and 25th.

Rinse and repeat.

And so if any world-class player should hit a stumbling block, perhaps the one we should least worry about scrambling back to his feet is Mickelson, who has displayed a propensity for doing just that time and time again.

That doesn’t mean Mickelson himself isn’t worried right now. At a loss to decipher his recent struggles after missing the cut, he continually went back to the same confession.

“I just don’t know what to tell you...”

Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise, maybe it should. But it certainly comes as a disappointment to a player who had little explanation for it.

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Salas (62) leads LPGA's Indy Women in Tech

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 12:50 am

INDIANAPOLIS - Lizette Salas matched the Brickyard Crossing record with a 10-under 62 on Thursday in the Indy Women in Tech Championship, making birdie on the final three holes for a two-stroke lead over fast-starting Angel Yin and Japan's Nasa Hataoka.

Yin birdied eight of the first nine holes in her morning round for a front-nine 8-under 28 - one short of the LPGA Tour's nine-hole record. It matched the third-lowest nine-hole score in relation to par in tour history.

Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship

Salas eagled the par-5 second in the afternoon and added three straight birdies on Nos. 4-6. She birdied Nos. 12 and 14 before reeling off three more in a row to close, waiting out a late 77-minute suspension for an approaching storm.

Salas matched the course record set by Mike McCullough in the PGA Tour Champions' 1999 Comfort Classic.

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Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2018, 11:23 pm

GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Clement Sordet opened with four straight birdies to shoot 8-under 62 and take the first-round lead of the Nordea Masters on Thursday.

Sordet says ''I wasn't really focusing on the score, I was just enjoying it.''

The Frenchman, who shot his lowest European Tour round, has a two-stroke lead over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Lee Slattery of England.

Hunter Stewart is the highest-placed American after a 5-under 65 left him on a four-way tie for fourth with Christofer Blomstrand, Tapio Pulkkanen and Richard Green.

Defending champion Renato Paratore's hopes of becoming the first player to successfully retain the title look in doubt after the Italian shot 9-over 79 at Hills Golf Club.

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Peterson confirms plans to play Web.com Finals

By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 9:17 pm

After flirting with retirement for much of the summer, John Peterson confirmed that he will give it one more shot in the upcoming Web.com Tour Finals.

Peterson, 29, had planned to walk away from the game and begin a career in real estate in his native Texas if he failed to secure PGA Tour status before his medical extension expired. His T-13 finish last month at The Greenbrier appeared to be enough to net the former NCAA champ at least conditional status, but a closer look at the numbers revealed he missed out by 0.58 points in his last available start.

Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

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But Peterson was buoyed by the support he received from his peers at The Greenbrier, and when he got into the Barbasol Championship as a late alternate he decided to make the trip to the tournament. He tied for 21st that week in Kentucky, clinching enough non-member FedExCup points to grant him a spot in the four-event Finals.

Last month Peterson hinted that he would consider playing in the Finals, where 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season will be up for grabs, and Thursday he confirmed in an Instagram post that he will give his pro career "one last push."

The Finals kick off next week in Ohio with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship and will conclude Sept. 20-23 with the Web.com Tour Championship. Peterson will be looking to rekindle his results from 2013, when he finished T-5 or better at each of the four Finals events while earning fully-exempt status as the top money earner.

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Lyle honored with sand sculpture at Wyndham

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 16, 2018, 9:00 pm

Jarrod Lyle passed away last week at the age of 36 after losing his third battle with cancer.

And after a PGA Championship filled with tributes to the Australian, the Wyndham Championship found its own way to keep his legacy alive at the North Carolina Tour stop.

Next to the Wyndham Championship and PGA Tour logos carved into the sand on site at Sedgefield Country Club is Lyle's name and the "Leuk the Duck" mascot. The duck has become synonymous with Challenge, an organization that supports kids with cancer.

Fellow Aussie Stuart Appleby posted the display on social media:

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(Pic update) Brighter is better

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Lyle was also remembered in a more traditional manner on the first tee, where his bag and trademark yellow bucket hat were prominently displayed.