Wi turned 40 at the start of the year, and he found a certain peace about his game, and about his future. He always knew he was good enough to play on the PGA Tour, but the doubts began to creep in whenever he came close to winning.
He feels he turned the corner at Colonial last year, when he had a one-shot lead going into the final round and lost by one shot on the final hole to David Toms.
“It was the first time where I had the lead Saturday night. I really enjoyed that,” Wi said. “I wrote down in my notebook, `Being in the lead is fun.’ I think I started embracing it instead of being scared.”
Looking to the back of the room at a local television reporter, he added, “I know you asked me, `Is it an out-of-body experience?’ No. I’ve been there, and it’s better than being 30th, that’s for sure.”
The question is where he goes from there.
The main event, typical for Saturday of this event, is at Pebble Beach.
That’s where the celebrities will be, and CBS Sports is likely to spend most of its TV time on the actors and comedians. In their midst will be Mickelson and Woods, though on opposite sides of the course.
Mickelson, in the best of the sunshine Friday, stumbled his way around the Monterey Peninsula. The clouds moved in, a mist turned into a light rain, and Lefty came to life with five birdies for a 65.
“I don’t know what happened, but I started to play a lot better and make some birdies,” said Mickelson, a three-time winner at Pebble. “In the perfect conditions, I struggled. But to play these golf courses in such great condition either way has been a lot of fun.”
He was at 7-under 135, primed to change his West Coast Swing fortunes.
Woods handled the weather fine. He just couldn’t handle the greens. Woods started to make a surge with back-to-back birdies early in his round _ one of them a two-putt from 8 feet _ but he lost momentum by missing a 5-foot birdie putt on the par-3 ninth, and by pulling his approach into the gallery on the par-5 10th, leaving himself a tough up-and-down. He settled for par.
“It’s very close,” said Woods, playing this event for the first time in 10 years. “I got my ball-striking to where I feel very comfortable hitting the shots. I just need to make a couple of putts to get on a roll.”
Pebble Beach is where Woods usually plays his best. He had a 63-64 weekend in 1997, when he finished one shot behind Mark O’Meara. Woods also had a 64 in the final round of 2000 to rally from five shots behind.
He has three rounds of 64 or better on the fabled course during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.View Entire Story
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