Monday, February 19, 2018
Golf

Mickelson, Day among big names missing cut at Farmers Insurance Open

SAN DIEGO — Phil Mickelson left the course to play one of his shots at Torrey Pines, an early sign of the mass exodus Friday in the Farmers Insurance Open.

By closing with three straight bogeys on the easier North Course, Mickelson missed the cut. At least he was in good company. Jason Day, the defending champion and No. 2 player in the world, missed the cut for the first time in nearly eight months. Also leaving early was Rickie Fowler, the No. 4 player in the world, and Justin Rose (No. 7).

Gary Woodland and K.J. Choi shared the lead going into the weekend; and Dustin Johnson was one shot behind.

Woodland powered to 5-under 67 on the South Course, which he prefers because of his length and the left-to-right shape of his tee shots. Woodland reached two par 5s in two and was just off the green on two other par 5s. He made birdie on all of them and posted 9-under 135.

Choi has not won on the PGA Tour in nearly five years. The 45-year-old South Korean shot his 67 on the North Course.

Their games are different, though they shared one thought — power always helps, but accuracy is paramount on the Torrey Pines courses with thick rough.

"When I drive the ball in the fairway out here I'm having some short irons into par 4s, I'm having mid-irons into some of these par 5s," Woodland said. "Good things are happening right now."

Johnson was pounding driver on the North Course and making enough short putts to move up the leaderboard. Then came a shout of "Fore right!" and the crackle of a ball through a pine on the seventh hole. He had a tree right in front of him, no path to the green except through a V-gap in the tree about a foot wide. Johnson managed, nearly made birdie and shot 66.

The cut was 1-under 143.

Mickelson never thought that would be an issue. He opened with a 69 on the South and was prepared to take advantage of the short par 5s on the North. Instead, he sliced his second shot so badly on the par-5 18th (his ninth hole) that officials had to measure to make sure it was not out of bounds. It was in play, by little more than the dimple of a ball, under an iron fence.

Mickelson walked to the other side of the fence and punched into a bunker. He blasted out and three-putted for double bogey. Mickelson grew up in San Diego and has played Torrey Pines more than anyone. Asked if that was the first time he played from the parking lot, Mickelson replied, "Probably not."

"After that good round yesterday on the South Course, I thought, 'I'm going to go to the North Course and really light it up.' I think I tried to force the issue a little bit," Mickelson said.

Day missed the cut for the first time since the Memorial.

"You can't live and die by one week," Day said. "It's not going to be the last cut I'm going to miss."

LPGA: Megan Khang shot 5-under 68 in strong wind for a share of the lead in the season-opening Bahamas Classic at Paradise Island, her first event as an LPGA Tour member. Khang, 18, eagled the par-5 fourth hole and had four birdies and a bogey in wind gusting to 30 mph to match Charley Hull and Haru Nomura at 8-under 138. "It was such a grind," Khang said. "Can't wait for the weekend." Michelle Wie missed the cut by a stroke a day after being stung by a bee on her right hand.

SPIETH FALLS BACK: Jordan Spieth slipped five shots off the lead at the Singapore Open when an electrical storm forced second-round play to be abandoned. Spieth was one shot off the pace after his opening round. He suddenly was tied for sixth after Song Young-han of South Korea beat the arrival of the foul weather and posted 8-under 63, leading the co-sanctioned Asian and Japan Tour event at 9 under. Spieth, teeing off after lunchtime, completed just seven holes of his second round and remained at 4 under after putting struggles.

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