AT ABOUT 11 a.m.
Eastern on Sunday, Phil Mickelson led the Scottish Open through 12 holes at
13�under, a charging Ernie Els was a stroke back, and even Sergio Garc�a,
debuting a new belly putter, lurked in the top 10 at nine under. Had things
stayed that way, the pretournament hype going into Carnoustie would have
reached a fever pitch, with three of Tiger Woods's top rivals throwing down the
proverbial gauntlet. Alas, Els and Garc�a made quick bogeys to fall out of
contention (Els finished third, Garc�a 19th), while Mickelson alternated four
birdies with three bogeys over the last seven holes, allowing himself to be
caught by Gregory Havret of France, who won on the first playoff hole. It
wasn't all bad news for Phil. Earlier in the week Mickelson protected his
injured left wrist by taking a drop rather than attempting to hit out of a
buried lie in a bunker. On the playoff hole, the 18th at Loch Lomond, Mickelson
hit his drive into thigh-high grass but this time showed no caution, making a
full swing from the thick stuff, and seemed to suffer no ill effects. He's not
a winner, but he's healthy.
DON'T WORRY that
Alexis Thompson (right) will lose her confidence or never learn how to win.
After shooting 76-82 and missing the cut as the youngest qualifier to play in
the U.S. Women's Open, the 12-year-old from Coral Gables, Fla., took her game
back to the teen circuit last week and won the Junior PGA Championship.
Shooting a one-under 283 (75-73-66-69), Thompson defeated reigning U.S. Women's
Amateur champion Kimberly Kim, 15, by a shot and became the youngest winner in
the event's 32-year history. Take that, Michelle.
AT THE start of
2007 Chris Riley was clinging to the PGA Tour by his past-champion status.
Since then he's won the Nationwide's Rochester Area Showdown, putting him at
34th on the money list and within easy striking distance of the top 25--and an
automatic PGA Tour exemption for '08. And he's made five of nine cuts
(including his last two) on the PGA Tour to climb to 174th on the FedEx Cup
points list. Should he play PGA Tour events, hoping to get into the top 144 and
the FedEx Cup playoffs, or focus on the Nationwide? It looks as if he'll do a
little of both. As of Monday he was the second alternate for this week's U.S.
Bank Championship (he's likely to get in) and is signed up for the Nationwide's
Cox Classic the week after that.
week's U.S. Public Links was a mixed blessing for Colt Knost. The 22-year-old
from Dallas, a recent SMU grad, had planned to turn pro after the U.S. Amateur
(Aug.�20-26) with the proviso that he'd wait until after the Walker Cup
(Sept.�8-9) if he made the team. Now, going pro would mean giving up an
exemption to the '08 Masters. Tough call. . . . Se Ri Pak won the Jamie Farr
Owens Corning Classic, making her, with Mickey Wright and Annika Sorenstam, one
of three LPGA pros to win one event five times.
Fly on the Ball appears at GOLF.com.