Mickelson, Bradley find their groove in foursome matches

By Randall MellOctober 5, 2013, 12:20 am

DUBLIN, Ohio – Phil Mickelson summoned the kind of roar you hear only at major championships.

When he buried a 15-foot putt for eagle at the fifth hole in the leadoff foursome match Friday at the Presidents Cup, a small quake rolled across Muirfield Village Golf Club. If it were any deeper into October, the roar might have emptied the trees here of all their leaves.

This may not be the Ryder Cup, but for one wild moment, it sounded as if it were.

Mickelson and teammate Keegan Bradley played like it was.

The duo found their mojo again in a big way. After going 3-0 as partners at the Ryder Cup last year, Mickelson/Bradley were dealt their first loss as a team in Thursday’s fourballs at the Presidents Cup. They bounced back Friday with a fury, though, drumming Jason Day and Graham DeLaet, 4 and 3.

Presidents Cup: Articles, videos and photos

“It reminded me of the Ryder Cup, getting excited, hitting a lot of great shots, feeding off each other and never allowing them to get a hole,” Bradley said. “If they were to beat us, they were going to have to make birdie or better.”

Mickelson and Bradley claimed the first American point in Friday’s rain-suspended session after a front-nine blitz.

Bradley set up the run at the fifth hole, as only he can do, with his idiosyncratic prelude of multiple club twirls and false starts before drilling a majestic hybrid some 270 yards, just past the flag, leaving Mickelson 15 feet for the eagle. After Mickelson’s putt fell, bringing down all that noise, Bradley slapped his partner on the butt.

“It was 248 or 250 yards to carry the water there,” Mickelson said. “I’d be really worried about carrying the water with a hybrid, but it wasn’t even a consideration for Keegan. He hit the most beautiful hybrid, dead straight. It couldn’t have been an easier 15-foot putt downhill. It felt great to make that putt and take advantage of the great shot he just hit. It was a big momentum boost.”

Day hit a wedge to a foot there to set up an easy birdie.

“They ended up losing a hole with a birdie,” Mickelson said. “That’s always tough to take.”

Mickelson and Bradley were 1 down going to the fifth, but they found the spark they needed there. They went eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie to take a 3-up lead going to the ninth hole. They had a chance at another birdie there after Bradley carved a wedge to 8 feet. Mickelson, with an opportunity to close out a front-nine 29, couldn’t convert. Still, they made the turn 3 up.

The front-nine 30 they posted is ridiculously good in alternate shot, the most difficult format in team golf.

“I just think when Phil and I get going in alternate shot, we really complement each other,” Bradley said. “I think we both really enjoy showing off in front of each other.”

Even Friday’s 2-hour 36-minute rain delay couldn’t slow Mickelson and Bradley. They came out after the skies cleared to resume action at the 10th hole. They promptly won the first three holes of the back nine to take a commanding 6-up lead.

Though they lost the 13th and 14th holes, Mickelson and Bradley closed out the match in unusual fashion at the 15th. They conceded a 20-foot birdie putt to Day and DeLaet, then Bradley sank a 4-footer for birdie for the win.

“No matter what, I needed to make that putt,” Bradley said.

Back at last year’s Ryder Cup, Mickelson and Bradley teamed to defeat the foursome juggernaut of Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, who were a combined 14-0-1 in the format. They also took down the formidable Northern Ireland pairing of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell that same week.

This is Bradley’s second international team competition as a pro. He has yet to team with anyone other than Mickelson as a partner. They’re now 4-1 as partners, 3-0 in foursomes.

They were both highly motivated after losing Thursday’s foursome match to Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

“After losing, the first match we’ve lost together, we were both pretty devastated,” Bradley said. “It felt horrible. We were ready to go out and win this match.”

Mickelson, 43, took Bradley, 27, under his wing a few years back. They’ve forged a bond in Mickelson’s weekly money matches in practice rounds at PGA Tour events. They seem to relish exchanging good-natured barbs.

At last year’s Ryder Cup, Mickelson acknowledged Bradley’s effect on him.

“I felt young, and it felt great,” Mickelson said after they took down Donald and Garcia.

The talents match up pretty well.

“I know wherever I hit it, Phil can get it up and down,” Bradley said earlier this week. “So that's lucky for me. If Phil hits it in the woods and I've got to chip out, that's totally fine. If I do it to him, I know he's going to do the same. There's no 'I'm sorry’s, none of that nonsense.”

It was a no-nonsense day of shot-making for the American duo.

Getty Images

Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

Getty Images

Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

Getty Images

Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

Getty Images

Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”