Steele blossoming under the Mickelson tree

By Ryan Reiterman June 3, 2016, 8:41 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio - Standing in the middle of the 18th fairway Thursday at the Memorial, Brendan Steele first thought about taking a conservative line into one of the hardest hole locations at Muirfield Village.

But then he remembered one of many lessons he’s learned from frequent practice-round partner Phil Mickelson - be more aggressive.

Steele took dead aim at the flag and holed his second shot from 154 yards for eagle and an opening 65. He came back Friday morning and added a 67 in perfect conditions to finish at 12 under and take a share of the lead with Matt Kuchar when he finished in the early afternoon.

“A lot of things are going right,” Steele said. “Obviously, conditions are really good. So kind of a lot of good scores out there. Greens are rolling perfect. They're pretty soft. If you're in good position off the tee, you can really get after it.”

Steele’s aggressive approach has paid off so far this week, and it has also helped Mickelson, who closed with a 3-under 69 Friday to finish five behind Steele and Kuchar.

Steele and Mickelson live about an hour from each other in Southern California, and they occasionally get together either at Steele’s home in Irvine or at Mickelson’s in San Diego.

They warmed up for the Memorial with two rounds over the weekend. It didn’t end well for Steele.

Day 1: Mickelson def. Steele, 2 and 1.

Day 2: Mickelson def. Steele, 5 and 4.

“He just drummed me around for a couple days,” Steele said.

“I use a little bit more flamboyant term, but that's fine,” Mickelson said with a smile.

At 45, Mickelson has embraced his role as a big brother to many younger players on the PGA Tour. Whether it’s playing practice rounds with Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson, or partnering with Keegan Bradley in the Ryder Cup, Mickelson has said he enjoys passing along his knowledge to a new generation.


Memorial Tournament: Articles, photos and videos


Steele, 33, is the latest player to gain a wealth of information from the five-time major champion.

“I've learned a ton,” he said. “I mean, he's helped me a bunch with my chipping … It's really good to pick his brain about different ways to play courses, different ways to set up your bag, different ways to – you know, he's got ideas for everything. So you can ask him any kind of question, and he's always really helpful, which is awesome. So as much as he wants to drum you, he will help you with anything you need help with.”

During another round with Mickelson, Steele learned perhaps his most valuable lesson.

“I remember this one time when we first started playing together, in 2011,” Steele recently told Golf.com. “He was drumming me - I don't even remember how bad. He missed a green and was in a bad spot, and I hit a really safe wedge. He recovered and hit it to a foot, and I three-putted. As we walked off the green, he said, ‘You know what your problem is? You think I'm going to give you a hole. Every time I hit a bad shot, you think you can play safe. You need to play like I'm never going to give you a hole, and if I do, it's a bonus.’ He was right. If you're trying to win a tournament, you can't expect guys to give you anything. You need a killer instinct—you have to step on their throats.”

Steele will have a chance to do just that this weekend at the Memorial. Rain is expected to roll in for the weekend, and that would allow the best players in the world to go into attack mode.

Steele has always been a solid driver, but his putting and mental approach have prevented him from reaching the upper rung on the PGA Tour ladder. He’s currently ranked No. 82 in the world and has only recorded one top-10 finish this season.

“The guy is one of the longest, straightest drivers out here on Tour, and he's really become a solid putter,” Mickelson said of Steele. “So when his iron play is on - and oftentimes it is - when his iron play is on, he will score like he's scoring this week.”

Steele felt he was a little off with short irons, so he called in coach Rick Smith, who is also Mickelson’s former coach, before the Memorial.

“I was swinging my long clubs pretty well when I got here, but my short irons for some reason, my divots were going left,” he said. “I was pulling them. I was really steep. And he fixed me in like five seconds.”his

With his swing in good shape, Steele’s mental game will be tested over the weekend as he tries to win his second PGA Tour title.

“I think he's realizing how good his potential is,” Mickelson said. “So when he doesn't play [to] that level of potential, it's frustrating, you know. But he's played some very solid golf the last two years, and this is a course that is suited well for him.”

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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.

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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

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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.”

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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.”