Phil Mickelson was atop the leaderboard for the ninth consecutive round in stroke play, and no one was terribly surprised – least of all, the guy chasing him Friday in the Ford Championship at Doral in Miami.
Mickelson showed up at Doral nearly five hours before his tee time to fine-tune a game that appears to need no work, then played the Blue Monster without a bogey for a 6-under 66 that gave him a two-shot lead over Billy Andrade.
Mickelson, the winner this year in Phoenix and Pebble Beach, had a 14-under 130 total – one short of the 36-hole record at Doral.
“I don’t know what the big hoopla about him is,” Andrade said after a 66. “He’s one of the best players in the world. He has been one of the best players in the world since he was 12. When you get guys that are that talented and you get on rolls, they’re obviously tough to beat.”
Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal had a 69 and was at 11-under 133, while Billy Mayfair birdied three of the last four holes for a 67 and was another shot back.
Tiger Woods went eight consecutive holes without a par – that included three straight bogeys for the second time this year – for a 2-under 70 that put him in a pack of players at 9-under 135 that included No. 1 Vijay Singh (67), David Toms (66) and defending champion Craig Parry (66).
There were so many players jockeying for position that when Sergio Garcia missed a par putt on the 18th hole, he dropped 10 spots on the leaderboard, down to 8-under 136 with the likes of Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk.
European PGA Tour
Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead over South Africa’s Ernie Els in the Dubai (United Arab Emirates) Desert Classic.
Jimenez had a 12-under 132 total. Els, the 1994 and 2002 winner, shot a 68.
Defending champion Mark O’Meara missed the cut by a stroke with rounds of 73 and 72.
Annika Sorenstam shot a 2-under 70 in her first competitive round of the year, leaving her four strokes behind leader Hee-Won Han in the MasterCard Classic at Huixquilucan, Mexico, the first LPGA Tour event in Mexico since 1975.
Han, from South Korea, had seven birdies in a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over compatriot Young Jo. Moira Dunn was two strokes back after a 68, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, Brandie Burton, Giulia Sergas and Gloria Park opened with 69s, and Cristie Kerr and Carin Koch were in a group at 70 along with Sorenstam.
Mexican star Lorena Ochoa opened with a 71.
Wendy Ward, from Edwall, Wash., shot a 1-over-par 73.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.