Woods, Mickelson, two others tied in Doral
By Doug Ferguson
By Doug Ferguson
MIAMI — Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have been leaving their footprints on the Blue Monster for two days, their paths only running parallel on the few holes at Doral where the front nine meets the back.
That won't be the case today.
Mickelson birdied two of his last three holes yesterday for a 6-under 66, while Woods parred his final four holes for a 5-under 67. It left them in a four-way tie for the lead at 13-under 131 with Scott Verplank and Camilo Villegas in the Ford Championship at Doral, and in the final pairing for today's third round.
Two former PGA champions — Davis Toms (66) and Rich Beem (67) — were one shot behind, along with Mark Wilson (67), while Daniel Chopra (67) was at 133 .
Castle High alum Dean Wilson shot a 68 and was in a group of five at 10-under 134.
This isn't eyeball-to-eyeball golf as it was last year at Doral, even if there will be thousands of eyeballs on Woods and Mickelson. It isn't the final round, for one thing, and there are nine players within three shots of the lead.
"There are guys that are right there that are going to go out and make a lot of birdies, and it will be easy for them. They will have no pressure on them," Mickelson said. "It won't be ... anything like Sunday last year, where we're watching what each other is doing and trying to beat each other."
Not everyone cares about Woods and Mickelson in the final pairing, least of all Verplank, who joined them by playing a vastly different game. Verplank has moderate length off the tee, but it's usually in the fairway. He is crisp with his irons and sure with his putter.
But after he nearly holed a chip with his 5-wood from behind the 18th green that would have given him the outright lead, a television reporter mentioned that he had crashed the party.
"Why do you say that?" Verplank said, knowing full well what he meant.
"I lost in a playoff a couple of years ago," Verplank said, toying with the reporter. "I know my way around this course pretty good. I beg to differ. We'll see what happens."
It should be quite a show, with a large cast of characters.
Villegas, the big-hitting rookie in pink pants from Colombia, nearly made eagle on the par-5 eighth and joined the leaders with an 18-foot birdie putt on his final hole for a 66.
Even so, the spotlight will shine on two of the biggest names in golf, especially after last year.
Woods and Mickelson provided great theater on the Blue Monster playing in the final group Sunday, when Woods rallied from two shots behind, Mickelson made birdies to regain a share of the lead, and Woods won with a 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole.
Woods has said he enjoys such head-to-head battles, and Mickelson thinks he knows why.
"His record is a little better than mine," Mickelson said. "Of course he enjoys it."
Indonesia Open: Thongchai Jaidee and Simon Dyson shot 4-under 68s yesterday and were tied for the lead in the partially completed second round of the Indonesia Open at Jakarta.
Thongchai of Thailand and Dyson of England finished with a two-day total of 10-under 134 at the Emeralda Golf and Country Club before darkness forced the suspension of play with 51 players unable to complete their rounds. They will finish their rounds this morning.