Wedge wizard Mickelson maintains lead at Riviera

By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2012, 12:59 am

LOS ANGELES – Phil Mickelson was waving his magic wand again Friday at the Northern Trust Open.

Other players call it a wedge.

Whatever you want to call it, there must be something mystical in the scoring club’s composite materials with Mickelson able to make his ball look like it’s defying gravity at Riviera this week.

That’s exactly what Mickelson’s hole-out looked like at No. 8 near the end of the second round. The shot fueled his bid to win back-to-back PGA Tour events, to win wire to wire this week.

From 110 yards out, Mickelson put some clever action on his L-wedge, getting his ball to spin sideways into the hole for eagle.

“He looked at me yesterday and said, `I’m OK with a wedge,’” Kyle Stanley said.

The quip made Stanley laugh. It was like hearing Itzhak Perlman say he’s OK with a violin.

“Phil is playing as good as I’ve seen him in awhile,” said Brandt Snedeker, who also played alongside Mickelson. “He’s driving the ball well. He’s not hitting any crazy ones, and his short game is phenomenal.”

With a 1-under-par 70, Mickelson used some sleight of hand to keep himself atop the leaderboard.

There’s no other way to explain how Mickelson holed that shot at the eighth.

“I’ve been struggling [with Riviera’s greens],” Mickelson said. “When I expect the greens to release, they are stopping. When I expect them to stop, they are releasing. I was afraid if I went at that pin, I could easily go long and all the way down that hill. Rather than take a chance, what I tried to do was sling-hook an L-wedge, and try to side-spin it towards the hole. It kind of side-spun right in the hole.”

Mickelson also chipped in from 20 feet at the 16th green. A day earlier, he chipped in from behind the 18th hole.

“You put a wedge in his hand, and he has a pretty good chance of making it,” Snedeker said. “I don’t think his confidence is ever really an issue. He thinks he can hit every shot at all times.”

Mickelson’s magic included getting away with some misses, thanks to his wedge and short game. He left Riviera after a morning round to fly his jet back to his home in Rancho Sante Fe, just 75 minutes away. He wanted to be back to work in the four-acre short-game practice facility he has in his backyard. He said he wanted to work on his putting. He missed a 4-footer for par at the 18th, a 5-footer for par at the ninth in his final hole.

“I wanted to score low,” Mickelson said. “I played well enough, but I didn’t give myself chances to really go much lower. I ended up probably getting a pretty good score the way I played.”

Mickelson is hard to beat with the lead. He has won the last four times he has held a 36-hole lead in a PGA Tour event, six of the last seven times.

“I put myself in contention heading into the weekend, which is what my initial goal was,” Mickelson said. “I’m right in the thick of it. I’ve got to go out and shoot some low scores, because they’re out there.”

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McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”

McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.

“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.

Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.

“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.

“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”

McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.

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Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.

His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.

Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.