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was the Cowboys first lead since
« on: July 17, 2014, 02:27:00 AM »
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- From the moment Phil Mickelson set foot at TPC Scottsdale early Thursday morning, it was clear that the back pain that sidelined him last weekend was gone. It also was quickly evident that his game was a little off. "My back is fine. My game was a little rusty," Mickelson said after opening his Phoenix Open title defence with an even-par 71. After effortlessly hitting his opening drive 300 yards down the middle on the par-4 10th, Mickelson dumped a 90-yard wedge shot into the left greenside bunker. He blasted 10 feet past the hole and sighed in relief when his par putt slid in. A few minutes later on the par-3 12th, Mickelson found the water hazard along the right side of the green. His chip from the fringe stopped about 15 feet short and he two-putted for a double bogey. He three-putted twice, once for par and another for bogey. "I threw away a lot of shots," Mickelson said. "I made some careless swings. Hitting it in the water on 12 was just pathetic." He was seven strokes behind leaders Bubba Watson and Y.E. Yang. "I got off to a poor start, played a couple over, and finished poorly," Mickelson said. "In the middle of the round, though, I hit a lot of good shots and had a good little run, but it just wasnt quite sharp. I wasnt quite focused on every shot the way I need to be and let way too many shots slide." Mickelson first felt soreness in his back two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, and pulled out of his hometown event in San Diego after making the 36-hole cut at Torrey Pines. He flew to Georgia to see back specialist Tom Boers and was told his facet joints locked up. "Its fine. Honestly, its no big deal," Mickelson said. "It was a five-minute fix. I just have to be careful for a week or two as it heals up. Its fine. Mobility is back. Its just not a big deal. ... It happens every now and then. Last time was about four years ago." After the double bogey on 12, he rebounded with 20-foot birdie putts on the next two holes, but three-putted for par on the par-5 15th after hitting a hybrid pin-high from 245 yards. "Fifteen really stung," Mickelson said. "It was only a 12- or 15-footer, and I am thinking eagle. I roll it 6 feet by and I miss it coming back. That was costly. Mickelson got to 3 under with birdies on Nos. 17, 1 and 4, then bogeyed three of his last five holes. He three-putted the par-4 fifth -- missing from 5 1/2 and 3 1/2 feet -- and failed to get-up-down for par after finding greenside bunkers on Nos. 7 and 9. "Playing the last five holes at 3 over ... that was really bad," Mickelson said. He hit five of 14 fairways, 11 greens in regulation and had 30 putts. "I wasnt as sharp as I need to be, for sure," Mickelson said. In his victory last year, he opened with a 60 -- lipping out a birdie putt on the final hole -- and matched the tournament record at 28-under 256. The 43-year-old former Arizona State star is making his 25th appearance in the event that he also won in 1996 and 2005. "Its fun to be back here," Mickelson said. "I love playing here." Watson and Yang shot 64. Watson birdied four of the final six holes. The 2012 Masters champion had eight birdies and a bogey in the afternoon session. "This golf course, if your ball-striking is good, you can shoot some good numbers here," Watson said after hitting 17 greens in regulation. "Hit a lot of greens, didnt make too many mistakes, didnt miss too many fairways. Just played solid." Yang birdied the final two holes. The 2009 PGA winner also had eight birdies and a bogey, playing the back nine in 6-under 30 in his morning round. "I think you have to be aggressive," the South Korean player said through a translator. "At the same time, you cant be too aggressive. ... You have to really balance it out, but you still have to be a little bit more aggressive than other tournaments." Scottsdale residents Pat Perez, Kevin Stadler and Matt Jones were a stroke back at 65 along with Harris English, William McGirt, Greg Chalmers and Chris Kirk. English birdied Nos. 12-15 to top the leaderboard at 8 under, but bogeyed the par-3 16th -- the rowdy stadium hole -- and the par-4 18th. He hit an 8-iron over the green on the 178-yard 16th. "I guess I was a little juiced up on that tee," English said. "I left myself with an impossible up-and-down." Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., fired a 4-under 67. David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., is another shot back at 68. Amateur Ki Taek Lee of Vancouver shot a 2-over 74. Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., carded a 75, and Calgarys Stephen Ames had a 76.. The crowd was estimated at 88,113, a record for the first round. Mariano Andujar Soccer Jersey . Ryder suffered a lower-body injury in Wednesdays 4-3 shootout victory over the Ottawa Senators. He missed part of the second period and played sparingly in the third. Mariano Andujar Jersey . The smooth-talking, slick-fielding shortstop has spent nearly half his life with the same organization, so he turned down more money from the Milwaukee Brewers to stay in Philadelphia. Now they have signed the free agent right-hander to a one-year contract in their search for depth in a rotation dealing with injury concerns. Marcos Rojo Argentina Jersey . Craig Smith scored at 4:43 of overtime to give the Predators a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night. Angel di Maria World Cup Jersey . Amanda Rodrigues says she helped check her husband into a rehabilitation facility in Florida in December 2007. She says the boxer was abusing alcohol and painkillers. KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Canadas Andrew Wiggins scored 30 points, Wayne Selden Jr. had 14 and No. 10 Kansas pulled away in the final seconds of overtime for a 77-70 victory over Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament. Naadir Tharpe made four foul shots in the extra session to seal the victory for the top-seeded Jayhawks (24-8), who will face fourth-seeded Iowa State in Friday nights semifinals. The No. 16 Cyclones, behind a big game from Melvin Ejim, beat No. 5 seed Kansas State 91-85. Phil Forte briefly gave the Cowboys a 70-68 lead with a 3-pointer a minute into overtime, but the Jayhawks scored the final seven points, all but two of them coming at the foul line. LeBryan Nash scored 19 points to lead the Cowboys (21-12). Forte added 16 points and Marcus Smart finished with 14, though he missed all three of his shots in the extra session. Both teams had chances to earn the win in regulation. Wiggins, from Vaughan, Ont., hit a baseline jumper with a minute left to knot it 67, but Cowboys coach Travis Ford decided against going 2-for-1 on possessions, and Smart missed a 3 with 32 seconds left. The Jayhawks got the rebound and called timeout with 16 seconds left to set up a play for Wiggins, and he missed a tightly guarded 3 with a few ticks left on the lock. Tarik Black gathered in the rebound and stuck it back, but the basket came after time had expired. Black got extended minutes in place of Joel Embiid, the Jayhawks 7-foot freshman centre, who has been ruled out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his back. The senior transfer finished with seven ppoints and 12 rebounds, including a couple with the game in the balance.dddddddddddd The Cowboys, who had to play a matinee after dispatching Texas Tech on Wednesday night, didnt look as if they were weary in the first half. They actually pulled out to an early lead, silencing a heavily pro-Kansas crowd that had packed inside the Sprint Center. Kansas responded by taking a 32-23 lead into halftime, and then maintained its advantage early in the second half. But once Black and fellow forward Perry Ellis picked up their fourth fouls, the Cowboys started shredding the Kansas defence by driving the lane. Smart proved to be the most adept at it, picking up fouls when he wasnt hammered on the way to the rim. But just about everyone wearing black and orange got into the act, and Oklahoma State methodically trimmed the lead to 55-49 with about 8 minutes to go. Thats when Cowboys coach Travis Ford changed things up by slapping on a full-court press. It produced two quick turnovers and helped Oklahoma State take a 60-59 lead with 4 minutes left. It was the Cowboys first lead since the 12-minute mark in the first half. The two teams, who each won on their home floor during the regular season, traded blows down the stretch. Selden made a couple free throws for Kansas, Forte answered with two from the foul line for Oklahoma State. Black and Wiggins threw down alley-oop dunks for the Jayhawks, and Murphy hit a pair of free throws and Markel Brown hit a rainbow 3 to give the Cowboys the lead. It just made sense that such a nip-and-tuck game would be decided in overtime. ' ' '


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