Mickelson Makes Major Move in Rd2

By Sports NetworkAugust 12, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Phil Mickelson, the 2004 Masters champion, scorched Baltusrol's back nine, his opening side, on Friday with a five-under 31, en route to a five-under 65. He stands at eight-under-par 132 and is three ahead after two rounds of the 87th PGA Championship.
 
Jerry Kelly holed out from a bunker for birdie at the ninth, his 18th hole on Friday. He matched Mickelson's 65 and is alone in second place at five-under- par 135.
 
Davis Love III, the 1997 PGA Champion, posted his second two-under 68 in as many days and is tied for second place at four-under-par 136. First-round co- leader Rory Sabbatini (69) and Lee Westwood (68) joined Love in second.
 
Tiger Woods needed help on the back nine Friday to even make the 36-hole cut. He was seven-over par for the championship thanks to a two-over 36 on the front nine, and with the projected cut at plus-four for most of the round, the two-time PGA Champion had his work to do.
 
He drained a six-foot birdie putt at the 11th and made it two in a row with a 12-footer at 12. That got him to plus-five, but he got inside the cut line with a short birdie putt at 15.
 
Woods was at four-over when he hit a massive tee shot at the 650-yard, par- five 17th. He tried to become the second player in history to reach the green in two in a competitive round, but got a horrible bounce into the back of a bunker on the left. Woods had to blast out sideways into the rough and he could not get up and down for par.
 
He was now five-over and needed a birdie at the par-five closing hole. Woods hammered another drive into the fairway and knocked a seven-iron 12 feet right of the hole. He lagged his eagle try to tap-in range and polished off a round of one-under 69.
 
Woods made the cut on the number at four-over-par 144. He has made the cut in every major he has participated in as a professional, dating back to his 1997 Masters victory.
 
'It's one of those things you've got to stay patient, stay in the moment and keep grinding,' said Woods, whose PGA Tour record of 142 consecutive cuts made was snapped at this year's Byron Nelson Championship. 'You never know what can happen and it turned out well.'
 
Woods will begin the third round 12 shots behind Mickelson.
 
The lefthander started round two on the back nine at Baltusrol and wasted little time in breaking into red figures. He hit a nine-iron to 10 feet to set up birdie at the 11th, then he added birdies at 13 and 14 despite missing the fairway at both holes. Mickelson hit a five-iron into a bunker at the par- three 16th and failed to get up and down.
 
Mickelson took advantage of Baltusrol's two par-five closing holes. He ran home a 15-foot birdie putt at the 650-yard, par-five 17th, then assumed control of the tournament with a 20-footer for eagle at No. 18.
 
The deep rough at Baltusrol caught up with Mickelson at the par-four first. He left his third shot in the tall grass near the green and could do no better than double-bogey.
 
Mickelson, who holed three birdie putts of 30 feet or longer on Thursday, drained another long birdie putt at three. He ran home a five-foot birdie putt at the fifth to once again reach eight-under par for the championship.
 
He traded a birdie and a bogey on the way into the clubhouse and a commanding position.
 
'I'm feeling confident after the first two rounds, but certainly there's a lot of golf left,' said Mickelson, who was the runner-up to David Toms in 2001. 'The thing I was most pleased with was the way I was able to let go of some bad shots and forget about it and move on.'
 
Mickelson came within five strokes of winning the single-season Grand Slam last year after his breakthrough triumph at Augusta. He has not experienced the same level of success in the majors this year with a 10th-place finish at the Masters, a tie for 33rd at the U.S. Open and share of 60th at St. Andrews.
 
'I have done the same thing that I have done in the three previous majors this year as I did the four majors last year,' said Mickelson. 'I was able to get my short game and long game pretty sharp heading into this week.'
 
Mickelson owns the 36-hole lead in a major for the fourth time in his career. He held the halfway lead in the 1996 PGA Championship, the 1999 U.S. Open and last year's U.S. Open, but failed to win any of them.
 
Kelly, who is majorless, started on No. 10 and collected his first birdie at the 15th, when he ran home a 10-footer. He missed the green with his four-iron second shot at 18, but chipped to five feet and converted the birdie putt.
 
Kelly missed the fairway at the first, but hit a six-iron to eight feet to set up the birdie putt. He sank a 20-foot downhill birdie putt at the sixth to get to four-under par for the championship.
 
At the par-three ninth, Kelly played a four-iron into the right bunker. He holed his bunker shot to break out of the logjam at minus-four, and take second place on his own.
 
'I'm just going out and playing,' said Kelly. 'I knew it's been coming. I've been close. It's just nice to put it together. I kind of made it effortless, which is what I've been looking for. I've been putting so much effort into it for the last two years really, I guess that's what it took to kind of take the pressure off.'
 
Stuart Appleby, one of the six first-round co-leaders, managed an even-par 70 and is tied for fifth place with Greg Owen (69), Jesper Parnevik (69), Shingo Katayama (66) and defending champion Vijay Singh (67). The group is knotted at three-under-par 137.
 
Singh, who also titled at the PGA in 1998, started on No. 10 and recorded four birdies in his first 14 holes. He mixed two bogeys, including one at the ninth when his tee shot missed the green, and a birdie the rest of the way to stay in the hunt.
 
Stephen Ames and Trevor Immelman, two more of the first-round co-leaders, both posted matching rounds of two-over 72 on Friday. They are part of a group tied for 15th at one-under-par 139.
 
Ben Curtis, the 2003 British Open winner and final leader from Thursday, struggled to a three-over-par 73. He is tied for 23rd at even-par 140.
 
Among the notable players who failed to make the cut were: Lee Janzen, who won the 1993 U.S. Open at Baltusrol (145), Justin Leonard (145), Chris DiMarco (146), Colin Montgomerie (148), Darren Clarke (150) and Padraig Harrington (153).
 
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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”