Mick­el­son’s reign side­tracked by rain

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

PHIL Mick­el­son holed out from a bunker to sal­vage a par at his open­ing hole be­fore rain halted play in the first round of the US PGA Tour Ge­n­e­sis Open.

The US player was among 10 groups who teed off in rainy weather at Riviera Coun­try Club be­fore of­fi­cials called a halt with vis­i­bil­ity de­te­ri­o­rat­ing and more heavy show­ers ex­pected.

His open­ing-hole ef­fort, at the 10th, won’t count, be­cause of­fi­cials de­cided scores would be re-set – a step taken “due to the fact we’ve played so lit­tle golf in the first round and not know­ing when the first round is go­ing to re­sume again,” said PGA Tour

Steve Rin­toul.

Mick­el­son, 48, a five-time ma­jor­win­ner, is try­ing to make it two wins in two weeks af­ter fin­ish­ing off a vic­tory at the Peb­ble Beach Pro-am on Mon­day, where weather was also a fac­tor.

He claimed a 44th US PGA Tour ti­tle, al­most a year af­ter end­ing a near five-year vic­tory drought at the 2018 WGC Mex­ico Cham­pi­onship.

Ge­n­e­sis Open host Tiger Woods said Mick­el­son’s resur­gence had in­spired him in his own come­back from in­jury.

“What Phil has done has been ex­tra- rules of­fi­cial or­di­nary, to be that con­sis­tent for the length of time,” said Woods.

“It’s not easy to pick up club­head speed, which he has done as he’s got­ten older,” Woods said. “That’s what’s al­lowed him to stay out here with some of these longer guys – he’s been able to hit the ball fur­ther.

“He’s made more putts than I think I’ve seen in years in the past 18 months.”

Woods ad­mit­ted Mick­el­son’s suc­cess con­tin­ued to spur him, although their ri­valry had grown friend­lier over time.

“It has al­ways re­ally pushed me,” Woods said.

SOGGY START: Phil Mick­el­son tees off on the 10th hole dur­ing the first round of the US PGA Tour Ge­n­e­sis Open.

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