US Bent On Major Comeback
South Africa's Tim Clark and Rory Sabbatini finished alone in third at 28-under-par 188. The top-seeded American team of Phil Mickelson and David Toms were one shot further back after a sizzling 15-under 57 at Vista Vallarta Golf Club's Nicklaus Course.
'We were quite a ways back heading into today, and we needed to have a good day to make up some ground,' said Mickelson, who took advantage of Saturday's better ball format. 'I think we made up half or so of the seven shots we were after.'
Mickelson and Toms jumped out of the gate with birdies on each of the first four holes. They added back-to-back birdies starting at the seventh and reached 20-under after Mickelson drained a 25-foot eagle putt at the par-5 10th.
'We even talked about it right after he made it because there was a scoreboard right there,' said Toms. 'Kind of like, hey, we are here, hopefully those guys started trying harder to make birdies and maybe they wouldn't make so many coming in.'
That eagle started another run by the Americans and they cruised with four consecutive birdies starting at the 11th. They added a birdie at the 16th and Mickelson dropped his tee shot inside eight feet for a birdie at the par-3 17th.
At the par-4 18th, Mickelson hit his approach to 10 feet and made the putt to complete the phenomenal round.
'It was fun. It was a great day,' said Toms. 'We got off to a good start. I think that was the difference from the first couple of days. We got off to a roaring start and we just kind of maintained that throughout the day.'
Mickelson and Toms, who played together at the Ryder Cup, have put themselves in position to bring home a 24th World Cup title for the United States.
'If we can post a score tomorrow, put something up there, at least get it going where those guys know that we are going to be there in the end, I see no reason why we can't come back and win this thing,' said Toms.
Maruyama and Izawa moved into contention with six birdies on the front side to make the turn at 22-under. They birdied 11 and 12 and took the outright lead at the following hole.
With a clear view of the green at the par-four 13th, Izawa holed out from the fairway for an eagle. Izawa then hit his second shot to 12 feet for birdie at the 14th and Maruyama carried the momentum onto the following hole with a birdie of his own to move to minus-29.
'We had a very good first nine holes, with six birdies, and then the turning point was probably the 13th hole, when Izawa made eagle,' said Maruyama. 'That was the shot of the day. Afterward, my play was getting better and so overall, it was a very enjoyable round.'
Izawa hit his approach within 14 feet at the last but his partner did him one better. Maruyama knocked his second shot to four feet and ran home the putt to grant Japan the 54-hole lead.
'We are not really surprised with the score, with the conditions and everything,' said Maruyama. 'We discussed this, and maybe it's not an every day score, but to play the golf, we are aiming for a good score.'
Overnight leaders Singh and Chand birdied six of the first 10 holes and picked up back-to-back birdies starting at the 12th to move to 27-under. They birdied 16 and Chand recovered from an errant drive with a birdie at the last to put his team alone in second place.
'Tomorrow is a very difficult format,' Singh said of the final-round foursomes. 'Anything is possible tomorrow, and even guys way back, five or six shots, can come up and win. So we just have to play our own game and not worry about the rest.'
England's Justin Rose and Paul Casey had five birdies and an eagle on the front nine to make the turn at 23-under. They collected three more birdies on the back side to finish four strokes off the lead at 26-under-par 190. They were joined the Canadian tandem of Mike Weir and Ian Leggatt and Scotland's Paul Lawrie and Alastair Forsyth in a tie for fifth.
The Australian duo of Adam Scott and Craig Parry shot a 7-under 65 to finish two shots further back at 24-under-par 192 along with Korea's K.J. Choi and S.K. Ho.
More from the WGC-EMC World Cup:
Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'
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.
“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.
Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger
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.
Starting to wonder how many Tiggy is going to win by here........... #isheback— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) July 22, 2018
Tiger is leading the open pic.twitter.com/MbGnJIt1Jj— Tyrrell Hatton (@TyrrellHatton) July 22, 2018
That FW bunker shot by Tiger tho... pic.twitter.com/Fi3GY6AegO— Scott Langley (@Scott_Langley) July 22, 2018
Tiger back doing Tiger stuff.......— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) July 22, 2018
I love you https://t.co/JovVz2clm2— Braden Thornberry (@tberrygolf) July 22, 2018
Omg lesgo @TigerWoods— Willy Wilcox (@willwilcoxgolf) July 22, 2018
Right now, Tiger is like everyone’s ex who we’ve given way too many 2nd chances to, and he has the opportunity to rip your heart right out of your chest but we’re all ok with it because we tend to only remember the good times— max homa (@maxhoma23) July 22, 2018
Woods shares emotional embrace with his kids
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods missed a birdie putt on the last hole that would’ve vaulted him into a tie for second place at The Open. It was a difficult way to end an otherwise successful week for the 14-time major champion, who is just happy to playing majors again.
Then he walked off the 18th, saw his two children, daughter Sam and son Charlie, and they all took a moment for a long embrace. Turns out, that was the perfect way to end the week.
“I told them I tried and I said, 'Hopefully you’re proud of your pops for trying as hard as I did,'” Woods said Sunday after putting the finishing touches on an even-par 71 to end at 5 under for the week.
“It’s pretty emotional because they gave me some pretty significant hugs there and squeezed. I know that they know how much this championship means to me and how much it feels good to be back playing again.”
In 2008, when Woods won his last major, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Sam was a year old and Charlie was not yet born. They don’t know how much their father used to dominate this game, especially majors. The last time Woods won a PGA Tour event was five full years ago. Woods has joked in the past that they only know him as a YouTube sensation.
“So, for them to understand what I was doing early in my career,” he said. “The only thing they’ve seen is my struggles and the pain I was going through. Now they just want to go play soccer with me. Man, it’s just such a great feeling.”
TT postscript: Not a win, but an amazing week
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods had a chance to win his 15th major Sunday at The Open at Carnousite:
• Tiger shot 71-71-66-71 to finish at 5 under par and tie for sixth place.
• When Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele both bogeyed the fifth hole Tiger was in the solo lead. Amazing to think that only last September he said he never knew if he’d ever play golf again. Here he was, nine months later with a chance to win a fourth claret jug. Amazing.
• For 10 holes, Tiger was the calmest, coolest, most composed player on the golf course. Birdies at Nos. 4 and 6 looked easy, while most everyone else was struggling to make par.
• To me, the biggest mistake of the week, and certainly of the final round, was Tiger’s decision to get cute and hit a flop shot up and over a bunker into the 11th hole. It checked up and rolled back down and off the green. He failed to get up and down and made double bogey. If he’d have pitched the ball 12-15 past the hole he’d had have a chance to save par and would’ve made no worse than bogey.
• The double bogey felt worse when Tiger made bogey on the 12th hole. This two-hole stretch cost him three shots and he finished three shots off the lead.
• Tiger moved to 50th in the Official World Golf Ranking, which qualifies him for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he has won eight times.
• One of the best moments of the week came after Tiger’s round when he gave his kids, daughter Sam and son Charlie, long hugs. Tiger said it was especially emotional because both kids knew how much this week meant to their old man. They had only seen Tiger struggle; it was great for them to see his success.
• Tiger: “Today I did everything the way I thought I needed to do it to win the championship. This entire week, I felt like I needed to keep building my way into this championship. It's one of those where, as I said earlier in the week, it's going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win it on Sunday because we're all driving the same areas. Kind of turned out that way. There are a bunch of guys packed, a bunch of guys with a chance to win, and I was one of them.”
• Overall, an amazing week. Truly tremendous to watch.