Bill Haas out lasted Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley to win the Northern Trust Open, at the Riviera Cllub in the wonderfully named area of Pacific Palisades, California. The win came via a play-off between the three after they all finished on -7 under par. Disappointingly for Phil and Keegan, that was the score they started the day on, both shooting an even par round of 71, and Bill just crept on past them. He said;
“A part of me was saying, ‘I’ve done this once, let’s do it again. Another part of me was saying, don’t screw this up. I never expected to make a 40-footer, especially in that situation. A little luck was involved. I guess it was meant to be.”
Best round of the day came from the newly recharged Sergio Garcia who fired in a -7 under par 64 to tie for fourth place, a poor second round 76 kept him out of contention.
No Luke Donald in the top ten, a last round 78 is a worrying factor for the Worlds number one, compatriot Justin Rose fared a little better finishing tied for 13th place on -2 under par for the tournament.
But the day belonged to Bill Haas, and that 40 foot putt, congratulations Bill.
Phil Mickleson is still at the top of the leader board in Riviera at the Northern Trust Open at t he end of play on the third day. He is joined at the top by Keegan Bradley who fired a 66, compared to Phil’s round of 70. Phil said of his wobbly round:
“Usually when I win I’ll have two good rounds and I’ll have two rounds that aren’t so great that I’ve got to keep somewhere in it to give myself a chance. Yesterday and today I didn’t play the best. I wasn’t far off. I hit some good shots at times that didn’t quite turn out, but I was playing very defensive all day just trying to make pars. I’ll go hit some balls and get it turned around for tomorrow because today was a big day. If I didn’t fight hard and make pars from some of the places I was at, then I’d be trying to play catch-up to a lot of guys.”
Keegan was really happy with his position and is looking forward to the final group pairing battle with Phil, a man he admires greatly.
“I can promise you I do want to beat Phil, and he wants to beat me. I just look forward to the challenge of going out there and being in the hunt with him. Like I said, you never know what Phil is going to shoot. He could shoot a really low one or not, so you’ve got to try not to focus on him as much. But the thing that I do have is I have played with him a bunch, I’ve hung out with him, and I feel more comfortable this year than I would last year playing in the final group. I’ve got that going for me. I love Phil. Everything he’s done for me is great, and if I didn’t win tomorrow, I would hope he would.”
Jonathan Byrd, Pat Perez and Bryce Molder are only one shot behind the leaders and plenty of good golfers still in contention, which makes for an exciting finish to this tournament tomorrow.
Phil Mickelson still leads the Northern Trust Masters at the Riviera club after the second round today in not so windy conditions. He leads by one shot from Pat Perez and two over Jimmy Walker, both men big movers up the leader board today. One of the really big movers on the day was Aussie Jarrod Lyle whose round of -6 under par 65, lifted him 50 places up the leader board.
Phil said post round;
” So I probably didn’t play the greatest today, but I was able to kind of salvage a good round and had a good break on 8 where I holed out from the fairway. That was kind of a nice little bonus. I left myself uphill par putts on 7 and 9, and that’s really not a good thing to do here. If you’re going to make four , five , six footers you really have to have them uphill where you can hit them aggressive enough to hold the line and they just kind of wobbled off, so I ended up missing those. I made some good par putts today, though, early in the round especially. I got a lot out of the round today, even though I let a couple there slide, but I got a lot out of the round because I really didn’t give myself too many great opportunities for birdie.
Phil was leaving Riviera and flying home after the interview session, it’s not too far away;
“An hour 15, door to door, it’s a four acre short game facility I have. I’ll spend a little bit more time with some of my distance control, short irons, as well as I’ve got some poa annua greens in my yard that I’ll practice on, as well. I’ll just get a little bit more dialed in with the putter.”
Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
Phil Mickelson leads at the Riviera in the first round of at the Northern Trust Open, but unfortunately some 30 players were still out on the course when play was suspended in fading light and they will complete the first round on Friday morning. Phil hot from his win last week at Pebble Beach, and aslo champion here in 2008 and 2009, recorded six birdies and a lone bogey to continue his new found good form. At the post round interview Phil was very pleased with the score, and especially to end his round with a 35-foot chip-in from just off the back of the green at the par-four 18th;
“It wasn’t one I was really trying to make,i t was quick, it was downhill and I had to play about four or five feet of break. I was trying to get good speed and try to let it feed with the break. I got fortunate obviously that it went in. I left one or two shots out on 16 and 17, and you hate to have such a good round and let a few slide late. To make that shot unexpectedly on 18 felt like I got one of those back.”
After the conclusion of the first round, World number one Luke Donald was tied ninth, with fellow Englishman Justin Rose at one-under on the par-71 course. Luke said of his round, and the tough conditions;
“This morning it was freezing, and it was not easy but I’m excited about my ball-striking, the way I’m controlling the flight. This course is tough so I’m pretty pleased with what I did.”