Golf: Phil Mickelson has figured out the secret to the greens at Quail Hollow. Or maybe he’s just had a lot of good bounces for two days.
Mickelson opened with a pair of 15-foot birdie putts, dropped in a 40-foot putt at the turn and made back-to-back birdies late in his round Friday. He finished with a 5-under 67 for a two-shot lead going into the weekend at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C.
Quail Hollow, renowned for pristine conditions, had everything go wrong with spring and wound up with putting surfaces that are mostly choppy with brown patches where the grass has died. Two greens were entirely replaced by sod last week. Despite that, Mickelson has taken only 50 putts in two rounds. And the most staggering statistic of all? He hasn’t missed from inside 10 feet.
Nick Watney played with Mickelson the opening two rounds and looks efficient, going bogey-free on the back nine. He had a 70 and was at 7-under 137, along with George McNeill (68) and Scott Gardiner, the 37-year-old tour rookie who had missed eight straight cuts coming into Quail Hollow. Gardiner, the first Aboriginal Australian to become a pro golfer, ran off four straight birdies at the turn and had a 67.
Rory McIlroy struggled with the speed of the greens – he felt they were much faster than Thursday – but rallied on the front nine with three birdies for a 71. Lee Westwood twice hit into the water on the par-5 seventh and still escaped with a bogey by making a 25-foot putt. He had a 68. They were in a group at 6-under 138 that included Rod Pampling, the ninth alternate and last man in the field.
• Teen holds LPGA lead through second round: Thai teen Ariya Jutanugarn followed her opening 7-under 64 with an even-par 71 in windy conditions to hold onto the lead in the LPGA Tour’s Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va.
The 17-year-old Jutanugarn bounced back from three early bogeys with three birdies to finish at 7 under, a shot ahead of second-ranked Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford on the windswept River Course.
Lewis and Stanford both had their second consecutive 68s, the best rounds of the day. They played in the morning and experienced wind gusts that reached 22 mph.
Sandra Gal, 2007 winner Suzann Pettersen and two-time winner Cristie Kerr were two shots back.
Wendy Ward, from Edwall, Wash., shot 77.
• Goodes breezes to 69: Mike Goodes shot a 3-under 69 in wind that gusted to 30 mph to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Champions Tour’s Insperity Championship at The Woodlands, Texas.
Only seven players in the 81-man field broke par on an unseasonably cold and blustery day. A gust blew down one scoreboard at The Woodlands Country Club.
Gene Sauers had the lead at 4 under par going into the par 4 17th, but hit a 9-iron into the water for a double bogey and finished at 70. Brian Henninger, Mark Brooks, Hal Sutton, Michael Allen and Mark Bucek were two strokes back at 71.
Moses Lake native Kirk Triplett struggled to a 76.
Switzerland upsets Sweden in worlds
Hockey world championship: Martin Gerber made 29 saves, and Matthias Bieber and Nino Niederreiter scored second-period goals to help Switzerland beat Sweden 3-2 in Stockholm.
Ryan Gardner added an empty-net goal in the third period for Switzerland.
Simon Hjalmarsson and Johan Fransson scored for Sweden.
The United States and Canada open play today. The Americans will face Austria in Helsinki, and Canada will meet Denmark in Stockholm.
Oil Kings roll over Portland in opener
WHL championship: Henrik Samuelsson scored twice and Laurent Brossoit made 35 saves as the defending champion Edmonton Oil Kings opened with a 4-1 win over the Portland Winterhawks at Portland.
Edmonton defeated Portland in seven games last season.
Dylan Wruck and Curtis Lazar also scored, and Stephane Legault added three assists for the Oil Kings, who have scored 75 goals in 17 playoff games.
Taylor Leier scored for the Winterhawks, who outshot Edmonton 36-29 but had trouble solving Brossoit, who leads the playoffs with a 1.54 goals-against average.
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