Mickelson Derailed in Round 1

By Jay CoffinJune 18, 2010, 3:08 am

2010 U.S. OpenPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Phil Mickelson is golf’s ultimate roller coaster. For better or worse, he’s always spectacular, especially in major championships. With nearly every round there are ups, downs and everything in between.

Think of this year’s Masters when he smashed a 6-iron off the pine straw from 207 yards on the 13th hole to setup an eagle try that ultimately ended in a crucial birdie. Think 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot where Mickelson’s gambling, go-for-broke style down the stretch cost him a shot at winning his third consecutive major.

That’s what’s so perplexing about Mickelson’s opening round here at the 110th U.S. Open. It included none of the above. In fact, the most exciting thing to happen during Mickelson’s round didn’t even happen to him or playing partners Padraig Harrington and Y.E. Yang.

Phil Mickelson 1st round 2010 U.S. Open
Phil Mickelson failed to make a birdie in the first round. (Getty Images)
That’s right. For the first time in recent memory, Mickelson failed to produce a spectacular moment in shooting a 4-over 75. The man who wins or loses major championships by pulling off shots no one else will attempt, the man who is favored to win this week and could ascend to the No. 1 ranking with a victory, opened with a big thud here at historic Pebble Beach.

Mickelson, who turned 40 on Wednesday, began on the 10th hole and made six pars before making bogey on Nos. 16, 17 and 18. Lefty played cautiously off the tee on No. 16 but his drive was inches from finding the fairway bunker and his awkward, sidehill position forced him to hit out sideways and back into the fairway. On the picturesque par-3 17th, his tee shot found water left and he got up and down for a bogey 4. Then on the closing hole he tried to reach the green in two shots from 252 yards, but started the ball left of the green and it never hooked. The result was another water ball and a third consecutive bogey.

The final hiccup came on the fourth hole when, again, Mickelson was being cautious off the tee. Still, he found a bunker, then hit his second shot into another bunker and failed to get up and down.

Overall, Mickelson missed six putts from 10 feet or less, five of which were birdie looks. The score was the second-highest opening round for Mickelson at the U.S. Open since 1997 when he opened with 75 at Congressional. It was the first time Mickelson failed to make a birdie in a round since the first round of the Shell Houston open last year, a span of 24 events and 95 rounds.

“I usually find a way to make some birdies,” Mickelson said with his trademark sheepish grin. “But I had my opportunities. I mean I had a number of chances. There were a number of birdie holes out there and I had my opportunities, I just didn't make the putt.”

Mickelson shot the worst round of his group. Yang was 4 over at one point but scrambled to shoot 73. Harrington had difficulty finding fairways all afternoon but made two late birdies to salvage his round and shoot 73.

“I felt like scoring should’ve been a lot better,” Harrington said. “The greens weren’t firm, they were quite receptive. But I had to work. Scoring would be better if this wasn’t called the U.S. Open.”

The most interesting moment of the day came on No. 16 when Harrington was behind the green standing over a chip shot. Moments before he was to hit the shot a golf ball came flying from over the right grandstands, took a hard bounce out of the rough and onto the green, ending 6 feet from the hole. The ball came from 23-year-old, U.S. Open rookie Jon Curran, who blew his drive well left off the third tee. Curran took a drop off the front of the 16th green, hit his approach to the left fringe and got down in two shots for par.

There was a Phil moment waiting to happen on the third hole but it never developed. Mickelson blew his tee shot well left and, although it was several feet from a nasty hazard and behind a grandstand on the 17th tee, he still had an angle at the green with a wedge in his hand.

The vibe in the gallery was exciting. Collectively you could tell that people were expecting Lefty to make a birdie from the junk and get his round ignited. He delivered on the first part when he stuck his wedge shot to 10 feet as applause erupted. But, as was the case all day, the short stick cost him and he missed the birdie attempt.

“Obviously I didn't score well, but I thought I played pretty well, other than putting,” Mickelson said. “I just putted horrific. It's very frustrating for me to miss all those opportunities. I don't mind making a bad swing here, there, making a bogey here, there, it's part of the U.S. Open.

“It's just I've got to make birdies. It just was very frustrating for me.”

On a day with near perfect conditions, Mickelson was mostly conservative, hitting driver off the tee only five times on a course that isn’t long by today’s standards. But, since the round did not result in a good score you have to wonder if Lefty’s aggressive nature will get the best of him at some point. If playing conservatively didn’t work, perhaps playing more aggressively will.

“It's just frustrating because I came in here prepared,” Mickelson said. “I came in here ready. I hit a lot of good shots today. I gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities and putted terrible.”

Bad news is he shot 75, good news is that he didn’t shoot himself out of the championship. For at least one round in this U.S. Open, however, the roller coaster that is Phil Mickelson was derailed.


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Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

“The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.



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Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

She wondered if there would be resentment.

She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

“It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

He waved Lincicome over.

“He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

“The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

“I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

What are Lincicome’s expectations?

She would love to make the cut, but . . .

“Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

“I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

“The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

“She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

"It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”