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Mickelson, Stricker Among 11 Tied for Second Behind Seamus Power

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Both Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker shot 4-under 66 on Thursday in the St. Jude Classic and have vaulted into an 11-player tie for second place behind Seamus Power of Ireland.

“Oh, it was a great start for me,” Mickelson said (h/t ESPN). “I ended up finishing off the round. I had a nice little stretch there in the middle where I went birdie, eagle, and I was able to finish it off with some pars after some poor tee shots.

“It’s a good start. It’s not like you’re trying to win the tournament on Thursday. But it’s nice not to put myself too far behind so I’m playing catch-up. So another good round tomorrow will put me right in it for the weekend.”

“I still feel like I should play out here. I belong out here. I’m trying to stick with that,” said Stricker.

“If you don’t make any, you don’t lose too much ground and you can make it up quick,” Mickelson said.

“It’s just a course that’s hard to go really low on. That’s something I’ve picked up on this golf course over the years. There’s a lot more big numbers on this course than you think. Water comes into play. There’s just some challenges. So I ended up eliminating the big numbers and fortunate enough to salvage par on No. 9 and 12 in today’s round.”

 

Golf

Francesco Molinari Wins The Open

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Francesco Molinari has won The Open for his 1st career major championship and becomes the first Italian golfer to ever win a major championship.

Molinari holed a 5-foot birdie putt at No. 18 to complete a bogey-free round at 2-under-par 69, and finished with an overall score of 8-under par, two shots ahead of Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

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Tiger Woods Likely To Make Cut

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Tiger Woods is likely to make the cut after a second straight 71 gave him consecutive scores of par or better to open a major championship for the first time in five years.

Woods is currently outside of the top 25 and was six strokes back of the clubhouse lead when he finished.

“Most of the good scores yesterday were in the morning, and they had no wind ,and they have very little wind this afternoon with a softer golf course,” Woods said (h/t ESPN). “But we certainly had a chance to get the ball down a little bit further and control it on the ground a little bit better.

“The ball wasn’t rolling 80, 90 yards like it was yesterday. It was a little bit easier in that regard.”

Woods played in the toughest conditions yet, but says that the rain actually helped soften the course a bit and helped the greens.

“I played a little bit yesterday,” Woods said. “Today wasn’t quite as good, but I finally birdied a par-5 (a two-putt at the par-5 16th), so that’s a positive.”

Despite his likelihood to make the cut, Woods knows he needs to clean up his game if he wants to make progress on the leaderboard.

“I could have cleaned up the round a little bit,” he said. “And I did not get off to exactly the best start, being 2 over through three.”

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Jordan Spieth Blames ‘Brain Fart’ For Falling Back

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Jordan Spieth is blaming a “brain fart” for his nightmare first round finish at The Open, also citing reverting back to the type of golf he is working to move away from.

Spieth, who carded a 72, is confident that be improving his execution, he can successfully defend his title.

“I felt like I was really going well,” Spieth said (h/t ESPN). “I had a nice par save after driving it in the bunker at 6. Other than that, it was very stress-free. I was putting the ball where I needed to, having maybe no more than four feet for par on every hole. It was just a clean round of golf. I’ve done a bit of that this year, just the decision making that’s cost me.

“But the misses toward the end were the exact misses that I’ve been having and I’m working away from. My swing just didn’t quite hold up to the end of my round. Those long irons really hurt me today.”

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