Woods, Mickelson paired in final round at Pebble

By Jason SobelFebruary 12, 2012, 1:21 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – They’ve been classified as rivals, but it’s a conflict that has never fully developed. They’ve been called enemies, but have been known to sneak a laugh together during rare carefree occasions.

Then again, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will never be confused for each other, either. Their personalities couldn’t be any more dissimilar; their accomplishments hardly mirror one another.

Woods is a steely-eyed, no-nonsense competitor attempting to re-ignite a career that was once presumed to result in breaking every major record. Mickelson is an ebullient, risk-taking daredevil trying to prove his relevance in  game skewing younger every day.

They are two men on divergent paths, two men whose journeys will converge at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Sunday, as the one-named stars known worldwide as simply Tiger and Phil will compete together against the backdrop of one of golf’s greatest stages.

Entering the final round, Woods is four strokes behind leader Charlie Wi and Mickelson is one shot further back.

Despite their numerous differences, each player finds himself in a precarious and unfamiliar position. With 110 career PGA Tour wins between them – 71 for Woods; 39 for Mickelson – there has perhaps never been a time when both men needed a victory as much as they do right now. Tiger is suffering through the longest winless streak of his professional life at 22 straight, while Phil is just 1-for-37 since the 2010 Masters, his lone victory coming at last year’s Shell Houston Open.

It’s been well chronicled that Woods hasn’t won an official title since the Australian Masters in November 2009, though he did claim the unofficial Chevron World Challenge two months ago. His career may not be at a crossroads, but it has undoubtedly just made the turn and is heading off the back nine.

With third-place finishes at the Australian Open and Abu Dhabi Golf Championship sandwiching that unofficial win, he’s shown his game is back to respectability, but that only leads to a more imposing question: Does he still have what it takes to prevail when he gets into contention?

“A win is a win,” he said after posting a third-round 67. “I've won my share of events and it feels good. That's the ultimate goal and that's what we set out to do at the beginning of every event is to win it. That's the goal tomorrow, as well.”

Ironically, if there is one player who best understands the internal pressure to succeed that Woods currently feels, it’s his Sunday playing partner.

At 41, Mickelson has already started hearing the doubts as to whether he will ever win again. For so many years, he played second fiddle to Woods atop the game’s upper crust of elite players, but that’s so often been viewed as a negative rather than a positive.

Therein lies the fact that the importance of this final round is twofold for the mercurial lefthander. Not only is it important for him to prove that he remains one of the game’s most talented players, but there has to be a little extra desire knowing that he could leapfrog his longtime nemesis in search of his 40th career title.

“It feels great,” he exclaimed. “ Now, I know that I'm quite a few shots back … but I also know that this golf course, you can come out and get a quick start, make some birdies and when that happens, it's tough to follow suit a few groups behind. So I'm in a nice situation where if I can get a hot hand early, I can make a run on the leaderboard.”

This will hardly be the first time they have squared off head-to-head. Woods and Mickelson have faced each other on 28 previous official occasions, with Tiger posting the lower score 13 times, Phil besting him 11 times and four ties. (Mickelson also outplayed his opponent at the unofficial WGC-HSBC Champions in 2009.) If that number seems too skewed toward the median, consider that in their eight career final-round matchups, Mickelson owns a 4-3-1 scoring advantage.

Other occasions have held more importance, of course. The third round of the 1999 U.S. Open, when each positioned himself for Sunday contention. The final round of the 2001 Masters, when Woods edged Mickelson by two strokes to claim the green jacket and the so-called Tiger Slam. Again at the Masters eight years laster, when each grabbed a share of the lead at one point, only to falter down the stretch.

Never before, though, has each one needed to taste victory like he does now. Both have made a career out of flashing a wide grin while clutching a shiny trophy as the cameras roll, but such situations haven’t occurred recently for either.

On Sunday, they will each have a chance to win again. It’s only fitting that they will make that journey together.

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M. Jutanugarn finally joins sister in LPGA winner's circle

By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 1:42 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn won the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open by two shots for her first victory in six years on the LPGA Tour, joining sister Ariya as the second siblings to win on the tour.

The 23-year-old from Thailand shot a 3-under 68 for a 12-under 272 total Sunday at Wilshire Country Club in the tour's return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

Jutanugarn won in her 156th start after three career runner-up finishes, including at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February. She had 21 top-10 finishes before winning.

Seven-time winner Ariya tied for 24th after a 70. She joined the predominantly Asian crowd to follow her older sister's final holes, crying as Moriya two-putted to close out the win.

Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam were the first sisters to win on the LPGA Tour.

Hall of Famer Inbee Park shot a 68 to tie for second with Jin Young Ko (70).

Park had opportunities, but she wasn't able to put pressure on Jutanugarn playing in the final threesome. However, Park will return to No. 1 in the world when the rankings come out Monday, knocking off top-ranked Shenshen Fang, who tied for 12th.


Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


Jutanugarn began the final round with a two-shot lead and never wavered in fulfilling the potential she first displayed as the LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2013. After a birdie at the second hole, she reeled off nine consecutive pars before sinking birdie putts at 12 and 13.

She overcame a tee shot that narrowly missed going out of bounds for another birdie at 15 to lead by three.

Jutanugarn ran into trouble on the par-4 16th. Her approach landed on the green and rolled off it, stopping inches from dropping into a bunker. Her chip shot ran well past the hole and her par putt just missed catching the edge of the cup. That left her with a short putt for bogey, her first in her previous 28 holes, trimming her lead to two shots.

Ko's tee shot on 18 landed about 4 feet from the hole, giving her a chance to cut Jutanugarn's lead to one shot with the Thai facing a long birdie attempt.

But Ko missed, leaving Jutanugarn room to maneuver. Her birdie putt came up a couple feet short, but she calmly parred the hole to win. Ariya rushed onto the green and joined others in emptying water bottles on her sister before they embraced.

So Yeon Ryu (68) finished fourth at 7 under. American Emma Talley (67) and Eun-Hee Ji (71) tied for fifth at 6 under, making Ji one of four South Koreans to place in the top five.

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After Further Review: Tour players embracing new ideas

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 23, 2018, 1:26 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On players embracing new ideas on the PGA Tour ...

PGA Tour players are trying to tell commissioner Jay Monahan something: They like new.

In the second year of the two-man team format at the Zurich Classic, 10 of the top 14 players in the world have signed up, including all four reigning major champions. It’s the first time all four have been in the same field since the Tour Championship. If the laid-back event offered world-ranking points – it doesn’t, and that’s part of the appeal – the winner would have received 62 points. That’s the same as the Genesis Open.

Sure, some sponsor obligations are involved in boosting the field here, but there’s no other way to look at this: Today’s PGA Tour players are not only willing to play events that are a departure from the 72-hole, stroke-play norm. They’re encouraging it. - Ryan Lavner


On Moriya Jutanugarn's breakthrough win ...

As much love as there is between the Jutanugarn sisters, it couldn’t have been easy for Moriya, watching her baby sister, Ariya, soar past her as one of the LPGA’s dominant stars the last few years. Mo, though, never betrayed an inkling of frustration or envy.

That’s what made Mo’s breakthrough LPGA victory Sunday at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open especially meaningful for everyone who has admired Mo’s devotion to her sister. Mo was always a fixture, waiting in the wings to celebrate whenever Ariya hoisted a trophy.

So emotions were high late Sunday, with Ariya waiting in the wings this time, with Ariya sobbing in Mo’s arms after the victory was secured. It was heartwarming for more than Apple, the mother who raised these talented, loving sisters. As always, Apple was there, too, soaking both her daughters in tears of joy. – Randall Mell


On the tough scheduling decisions facing the PGA Tour ...

According to multiple sources, officials at Colonial are poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Charles Schwab Corporation on Monday.

While this is good news for the folks in Fort Worth, Texas, who were in danger of finding themselves on the wrong side of timing, there remain some tough decisions to be made in the next few weeks.

If the PGA Tour’s plan is to end its season before Labor Day beginning in 2019, something must give. Currently, the Houston Open, a staple on Tour since 1946, and The National are without sponsors. When the music stops in a few weeks and the circuit announces the ’19 schedule, there’s a good chance one, or both, of those events will be the victims of bad timing. – Rex Hoggard

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Triplett hole-out wins Legends of Golf playoff

By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 12:12 am

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Kirk Triplett holed out from a bunker for birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf to lift himself and partner Paul Broadhurst past Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman.

''Well, you're trying to make it, but you know realistically it doesn't go in very often,'' Triplett said. ''You're trying to give your partner a free run at it. You don't want to hit it up there 20 feet past or do something silly. I'm just trying to hit it the right distance and get it on the right line.''

Langer and Lehman took it in stride.

''You kind of learn to expect it,'' Lehman said. ''These guys out here are so good and Kirk Triplett is a magician around the greens. The odds of making that shot are probably not good, but you certainly expect him to hit a great shot and he did and it went in.''

Lehman and Langer missed birdie putts after Triplett holed out.

''I kind of felt like we both hit pretty good putts, misread them, both of them,'' Lehman said. ''I hit mine probably too hard and Bernhard's was too soft, but you have to hand it to the guys who hit the shot when they have to hit it.''


Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


Broadhurst and Triplett closed with a 6-under 48 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to match Langer and Lehman at 24 under. Langer and Lehman had a 47, playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

The 56-year-old Triplett won his sixth PGA Tour Champions title.

''That's a big roller-coaster - three good shots and mine, right?'' Triplett said. ''I'm feeling a little dejected walking down that fairway there, a little sheepish. To knock it in it just reminds you, this game, you know, crazy stuff.''

Broadhurst claimed his third senior victory.

''I don't get too emotional, but that was something special,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said.

Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal had a 48 to tie for third with 2017 winners Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco. Singh and Franco, the third-round leaders, shot 50.

Mark Calcavecchia-Woody Austin (48), John Daly-Michael Allen (49), Steve Stricker-Jerry Kelly (50) and David Toms-Steve Flesch (52) tied for fifth at 20 under.

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Mullinax (T-2) comes up short of maiden win

By Will GrayApril 23, 2018, 12:06 am

The Valero Texas Open saw an unheralded player break through to earn a maiden victory, but unfortunately for Trey Mullinax his day will have to wait.

Mullinax started the final round within a shot of the lead, having fired a course-record 62 during the final round. He trailed Andrew Landry by one shot for much of the final round while racking up six birdies over his first 11 holes, but a pair of late miscues meant the former Alabama standout had to settle for a share of second place, two shots behind Landry.

A final-round 69 marked a career-best finish for Mullinax, who is playing this season on conditional status and whose lone prior top-10 this season came after he Monday qualified for the Valspar Championship.

"I know my game's there, I'm playing really well," Mullinax told reporters. "Give all credit to Andrew, he played really well today, rocksteady. He was putting great, hitting great shots."


Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


Given time to reflect, the 26-year-old will likely look back on the final two holes where nerves appeared to get the best of him. Looking to put some pressure on Landry, Mullinax chunked his pitch on the short 17th hole into a greenside bunker, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on the course.

Then Mullinax was unable to convert a 9-foot birdie putt on the final green, which would have forced Landry to make his 8-foot par putt to avoid a playoff. Afforded the luxury of two putts for the win, Landry rolled in his par save to cement a two-shot win.

"Made a bad bogey on 17, but just you've got to hit some bad shots," Mullinax said. "Would have liked to have got the putt on 18 to fall to put a little bit of heat on him, but this experience that I'm gaining right now is just going to help me down the road."