Sunday, April 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Mickelson’s back better than game in Phoenix Open; Watson, Yang lead

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Phil Mickelson’s back was better than his game Thursday in the Phoenix Open.

Returning to play after withdrawing from Torrey Pines last Friday night because of back pain, Mickelson opened his title defense with an even-par 71 at TPC Scottsdale. That left him seven strokes behind leaders Bubba Watson and Y.E. Yang.

“My back is fine. My game was a little rusty,” Mickelson said. “I got off to a poor start, played a couple over, and finished poorly. In the middle of the round, though, I hit a lot of good shots and had a good little run, but it just wasn’t quite sharp. I wasn’t quite focused on every shot the way I need to be and let way too many shots slide.”

Mickelson first felt soreness in his back two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, and pulled out of his hometown event in San Diego after making the 36-hole cut. He flew to Georgia to see back specialist Tom Boers and was told his facet joints locked up.

“It’s fine. Honestly, it’s no big deal,” Mickelson said. “It was a five-minute fix. I just have to be careful for a week or two as it heals up. It’s fine. Mobility is back. It’s just not a big deal. … It happens every now and then. Last time was about four years ago.”

Mickelson had a double bogey on the par-3 12th — his third hole of the morning round — after hitting into the left-side water. He made 20-foot birdie putts on the next two holes, but three-putted for par on the par-5 15th after hitting a hybrid pin-high from 245 yards.

“Fifteen really stung,” Mickelson said. “It was only a 12- or 15-footer, and I am thinking eagle. I roll it 6 feet by and I miss it coming back. That was costly.

Lefty got to 3 under with birdies on Nos. 17, 1 and 4, then bogeyed three of his last five holes. He three-putted the par-4 fifth — missing from 5½ and 3½ feet — and failed to get-up-down for par after finding greenside bunkers on Nos. 7 and 9.

“I threw away a lot of shots,” Mickelson said. “I made some careless swings. Hitting it in the water on 12 was just pathetic. Playing the last five holes at 3 over, when I had the round going, was really bad.”

He hit five of 14 fairways, 11 greens in regulation and had 30 putts.

“I wasn’t as sharp as I need to be, for sure,” Mickelson said.

In his victory last year, he opened with a 60 — lipping out a birdie putt on the final hole — and matched the tournament record at 28-under 256. The 43-year-old former Arizona State star is making his 25th appearance in the event that he also won in 1996 and 2005.

“It’s fun to be back here,” Mickelson said. “I love playing here.”

Watson and Yang shot 64.

Watson birdied four of the final six holes. The 2012 Masters champion had eight birdies and a bogey in the afternoon session.

“This golf course, if your ball-striking is good, you can shoot some good numbers here,” Watson said after hitting 17 greens in regulation. “Hit a lot of greens, didn’t make too many mistakes, didn’t miss too many fairways. Just played solid.”

Yang birdied the final two holes. The 2009 PGA winner also had eight birdies and a bogey, playing the back nine in 6-under 30 in his morning round.

“I think you have to be aggressive,” the South Korean player said through a translator. “At the same time, you can’t be too aggressive. … You have to really balance it out, but you still have to be a little bit more aggressive than other tournaments.”

Scottsdale residents Pat Perez, Kevin Stadler and Matt Jones were a stroke back at 65 along with Harris English, William McGirt, Greg Chalmers and Chris Kirk.

Perez had five straight birdies and seven in a nine-hole stretch. The former Arizona State player tied for second Sunday at Torrey Pines in his hometown event.

“I knew I was going to hit it good,” Perez said. “I hit it great on the range.”

English birdied Nos. 12-15 to top the leaderboard at 8 under, but bogeyed the par-3 16th — the rowdy stadium hole — and the par-4 18th.

He hit an 8-iron over the green on the 178-yard 16th.

“I guess I was a little juiced up on that tee,” English said. “I left myself with an impossible up-and-down.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Supervisor candidates vary on Plan Bay Area

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Fairfield author to speak at women’s expo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Piano scholarship competition set in Vallejo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Armijo graduate completes basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: C4

 
Fairfield police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Counties tell Brown they need money for his law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Exhibit recreates Warhol’s 1964 World’s Fair mural

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Documents detail another delayed GM recall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
At barricades, Ukraine insurgents await Easter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Official: 3 bodies retrieved from inside ferry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Costa Rican a celebrity after certified miracle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Neighborhood speeders don’t get it

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Why would a person do this?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Question of the week: Will Flight 370 be found?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Book details lives of cloistered nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Bill Nye says he underestimated debate’s impact

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

.

Entertainment

Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Tartt, Goodwin finalists for Carnegie medals

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

New book on fracking illuminates pros, cons

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

.

Sports

A’s score 3 in 9th, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stults, Padres hand Giants third straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors beat Clippers 109-105 in playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Kings, Sharks look to put Game 1 in past

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Durant leads Thunder past Grizzlies 100-86

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hawks take 1-0 lead by rolling past Pacers 101-93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raptors GM Ujiri uses profanity about Brooklyn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Williams scores 24 as Nets beat Raptors 94-87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Federer beats injured Djokovic to reach final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Rapids, Earthquakes play to scoreless tie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Indians set two new school records for track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Travis Bowl Highlights

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Jimenez leads Langer by 1 shot in Greater Gwinnett

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Wie shoots 67, wins LPGA LOTTE Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Stars Recreation bowling results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Donald shoots 66, takes lead at RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Big names among prospective Buffalo Bills buyers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Award-winning archery champ shoots with his teeth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Survivors keep busy as Boston Marathon approaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Business

US delays review of contentious Keystone pipeline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Subscription sample boxes shake up beauty routines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Girls from modest families get lift in technology

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Haunted house part of San Antonio apartment lofts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

 
Recalls this week: lanterns, exercise devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

Review: Siri-like Cortana fills Windows phone gap

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Obituaries

Ramon Isidro

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics