Taylor takes 1-shot lead over Mickelson at Pebble Beach

Phil Mickelson chips the ball on to the 14th green for a birdie during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament on Saturday. (AP)
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Updated 09 February 2020

Taylor takes 1-shot lead over Mickelson at Pebble Beach

  • Mickelson made the impossible look easy from a bunker behind the par-3 seventh green at Pebble Beach

PEBBLE BEACH, California: Phil Mickelson and his sublime short game delivered more entertainment than all the athletes and celebrities for the Saturday show at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Mickelson made the impossible look easy from a bunker behind the par-3 seventh green at Pebble Beach. He holed out from a bunker for birdie on the 13th, and chipped in from 90 feet for birdie on the next hole.

When he rapped in one last birdie, Mickelson had a 5-under 67 and trailed Nick Taylor of Canada by one shot going into the final round. Mickelson will be going for a record sixth title at Pebble Beach, and his first PGA Tour victory since he won this tournament last year.

Taylor had a cold and relatively quiet day, away from all the hits and giggles around the celebrity rotation at Pebble. He teed off at tough Spyglass Hill with a beanie and hand warmers because of the heavy marine layer, warmed up as the sun broke through and made a 25-foot eagle putt late in his round for a 69.

Taylor was at 17-under 198 as he goes for his second PGA Tour victory, and first since he won the Sanderson Farms Championship in his fourth start as a tour rookie.

Mickelson hit a flop shot over the bunker on the par-5 18th — how did that one not go in? — to pull within one shot. They will be in the final group, along with their amateur partners. Mickelson has former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young, while Taylor has Golf Digest editor-in-chief Jerry Tarde.

Taylor and Mickelson have never played together.

“It's going to be a new experience for that reason, if I am playing with him,” Taylor said. “Obviously, if he makes a putt or great shot, the crowd's going to go wild. I've just got to do my own thing, try to block all that out. Easier said than done, without having to do it before, but I'll do the best I can.”

This is a two-man show; however, Jason Day posted a 70 at Spyglass Hill and was only three shots behind at 14-under 201.

For others, it was a waste opportunity.

Pebble Beach had more wind than earlier in the week, but still gentle enough that low scores were available. Dustin Johnson, a two-time winner at Pebble, was in striking range and could manage only a 72, leaving him eight shots back. Patrick Cantlay, at No. 8 in the world, played the final six holes in 2 over for a 72 and was nine shots back.

Mickelson started with a pair of birdies. He took a share of the lead with a birdie on the par-5 sixth.

And then the fun began.

His wedge on the 110-yard seventh hole that drops down into the Pacific went long and plugged in the back bunker, impossible because of the back pin and a fast green that slopes toward the front. He splashed out so perfectly that it took a few hops in the rough before reaching the green, slow enough to stop 2 feet away for a tap-in par.

Even for Mickelson, it rates among his best.

Then, his 50-foot bunker shot on the tough eighth rolled inches from the cup on No. 8. More trouble supposedly awaited on the 13th when his approach peeled into the left bunker. He raised both arms when that dropped. And on the par-5 14th, he made a mistake by not hitting his punch wedge hard enough. It rolled down the slope, off the green and back into the fairway. Mickelson's long chip from 90 feet banged into the pin and dropped for birdie.

Mickelson missed two birdie putts from inside 10 feet. And while he hit only nine greens in regulation, he usually had a reasonable angle to the pin to save par — or make birdie, as was the case twice for him.

That leaves a Sunday with plenty at stake for the leading three players.


Treble-chasing Bayern to hunt their 2nd title this season on Saturday

Updated 04 July 2020

Treble-chasing Bayern to hunt their 2nd title this season on Saturday

  • Due to COVID-19 pandemic, only 700 fans will be allowed into the stadium for the final game

BERLIN: Treble-chasing Bayern Munich are hunting their second title this season in Saturday’s German Cup final, a behind-closed-doors showdown that should have been an “absolute highlight” for success-starved Bayer Leverkusen fans.

Normally, the end-of-season showpiece final at Berlin’s iconic Olympic Stadium would be a festive affair in front of a packed house of 75,000 supporters.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic just 700 will be allowed into the enormous stadium for this year’s final, including both teams, their backroom staff and officials.

Germany head coach Joachim Loew is one of the few invited guests.

After the final whistle, when German FA president Fritz Keller hands over the trophy, only the cheers of the winning team will echo around the cavernous stadium.

Former Bayern president Uli Hoeness finds it “a pity” that no fans will be present for the Berlin spectacle, while Leverkusen sports director Rudi Voeller feels the same before his club’s first cup final since 2009.

“For our fans, this would have been an absolute highlight after many years,” said former Germany midfielder Voeller.  “To play in this giant cauldron in front of just a few spectators is quite sad.”

Nevertheless, holders Bayern are determined to defend the cup, even if head coach Hansi Flick admits that without traveling support, their fans will be “very, very absent.”

Having lifted the Bundesliga trophy last Saturday for the eighth straight year, Bayern are targeting the next piece of silverware in their treble bid before tackling the Champions League in August.

“The boys are up for it and want to win the next title, we will do everything we can to achieve that,” said Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic.

“We are very optimistic that we will come out as winners.”

 

Sane joins Bayern

Separately, Leroy Sane has targeted Champions League glory with Bayern Munich after joining the Bundesliga giants from Manchester City for a fee of around €50 million ($56 million) on Friday.

The Germany winger has returned to his home country on a 5-year contract after receiving the blessing of City coach Pep Guardiola.

“Bayern is a very big club and has big goals — these goals suit me as well,” said the 24-year-old Sane.

“I want to win as many titles as possible with Bayern, and the Champions League is at the top.”

The Bundesliga champions did not give the transfer fee, but Sky Sports and the BBC have reported that Bayern and City agreed a fee of €60.8 million. 

 

 

German daily Bild claim the fee is around
€50 million.

BERLIN: