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Category: Golf

Humana Challenge: Third round over; Phil Mickelson makes cut

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The wind-delayed third round of the Humana Challenge is now complete in La Quinta with Mark Wilson holding a three-shot lead over Brandt Snedeker, Zach Johnson, Ben Crane and Robbert Garrigus.

Wilson is at 21 under par entering the final round, which began at 10:10 a.m. Garrigus shot a third-round 61 to move into contention while Snedeker birdied his last six third-round holes, including the five he played Sunday.

And while two-time champion Phil Mickelson probably can't make up 14 shots, he did birdie his final hole Sunday morning to get to seven under and make the cut, which came at six under and leaves 75 players to try to finish the final round today.

Groups are going off in threesomes from both the first and 10th tees at the PGA West Palmer Private Course.

The final group of Wilson, Johnson and Garrigus will go off the first tee at 12:10 p.m. Crane, Snedeker and Long Beach's John Mallinger are in the second-to-last group.

Golf Channel will offer extended coverage Sunday, coming on the air at noon Pacific time and running until play concludes. If the tournament doesn't finish Sunday, Golf Channel would also have coverage Monday.

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Wind delays third round of Humana Challenge

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-- Diane Pucin, reporting from La Quinta

Photo: Mark Wilson hits his tee shot on the ninth hole during the wind-delayed third round of the Humana Challenge on Sunday morning. Credit: Chris Carlson / Associated Press

Humana Challenge: Mark Wilson aiming at a record

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Mark Wilson has six birdies, an eagle and no bogeys so far and is eight under par through 12 holes on the PGA West Palmer Private course.

Besides moving into second place, two shots behind Ben Crane, Wilson could have a chance at the course record of 59 that David Duval shot in 1999.

Wilson, 38, has a tie for 33rd here as his best finish in three previous appearances at this tournament. He started fast last year on the PGA Tour, winning at the Sony Open in Hawaii and the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Crane shot a nine-under 63 on the Palmer Private course and is leading the tournament with a two-day total of 16-under 128.

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-- Diane Pucin in La Quinta

Photo: Mark Wilson watches an approach shot at No. 17 during the first round of the Sony Open last week. Credit: Sam Greenwood / Getty Images

Humana Challenge: Dustin Johnson withdraws

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Dustin Johnson, the world's eighth-ranked golfer, withdrew Friday after nine holes of his second round at the Humana Challenge golf tournament in La Quinta.

Johnson, who was playing in this event for the third time, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in  November; until he shot a first-round 72 Thursday on the PGA West Palmer Private course, he had not walked a full 18 holes since the operation.

The 27-year-old, who ranked fifth on the 2011 money-winner list with one win and six top-10 finishes, was four-over par through nine holes Friday at the La Quinta Country Club course when he decided to withdraw.

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-- Diane Pucin in  La Quinta

Photo: Dustin Johnson watches his approach shot on the first hole during the first round of the Humana Challenge on Thursday. Credit: Scott Halleran / Getty Images

Humana Challenge: Phil Mickelson unlikely to make cut

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Phil Mickelson, a two-time winner of the Humana Challenge golf tournament in La Quinta, formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic, has a double bogey, a bogey, three birdies and four pars on the first nine holes of his second round Friday.

Mickelson is playing the PGA West Nicklaus course, and his tournament total of two-over-par leaves him, so far, tied for 135th and not looking good to make the cut after Saturday's third round, much less to win his opening tournament of 2012.

Ben Crane, who has finished in the top 10 here only once in eight appearances, has the hot round of the day so far. He's six-under through 13 holes on the PGA West Palmer course and is 13-under for the tournament, two shots ahead of David Toms, who was a co-leader with Camilo Villegas after the first round. Villegas is one-under so far and is now three shots out of the lead at 10-under for the tournament.

Harris English, a PGA Tour rookie who earned his card by finishing tied for 13th at the tour qualifying tournament, is also working on a round of six-under. He's through nine holes on the PGA West Nicklaus course and is tied for eighth overall.

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-- Diane Pucin in La Quinta

Photo: Phil Mickelson. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images.

Humana Challenge: Double heart transplant recipient on leaderboard

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Erik Compton, the 32-year-old who has had two heart transplants, is playing his first full season on the PGA Tour. Compton, from Miami, finished tied for 67th at the Sony Open in Hawaii last week. The tournament had two cuts and Compton was in danger of missing both.

He finished with a birdie-eagle to make the first cut then made a 10-foot birdie putt on Saturday to make a final cut that allowed him to play the fourth round.

Compton is tied for ninth through 11 holes at the first round of the Humana Challenge Thursday. Compton is playing on the Nicklaus Private PGA West Course in La Quinta. Here is a Times story from last year on Compton and his relentless ability to fulfill his golf desires even in the face of difficult physical challenges.

Camilo Villegas, a 30-year-old from Colombia, so far holds a two-shot lead over the field with his seven-under through 12 holes. He's also playing the Nicklaus Private Course.

Two-time winner Phil Mickelson, making his first appearance here in five years, is tied for 25th and two-under through 11 holes at La Quinta Country Club.

-- Diane Pucin in La Quinta

Photo: Erik. Compton. Credit: Marco Garcia / Associated Press.

Tony Romo, not Tim Tebow, to play Pebble Beach with Tiger Woods

Tony Romo, Tiger Woods

Tony Romo will be Tiger Woods' partner at next month's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, according to multiple reports -- which means the dream pairing of Woods and NFL phenom Tim Tebow will have to wait until another day.

Romo, who has played Pebble Beach with John Daly the last two years, has been expected to get the nod as Woods' partner ever since the former world No. 1 golfer announced last week he would return to the event for the first time in 10 years.

Woods and the Dallas Cowboys quarterback have played together before -- at the AT&T National at Congressional near Washington, D.C., in 2009 -- and were seen together at a U2 concert at Cowboys Stadium.

But somewhere along the line, the Tebow speculation started. It definitely would have been an intriguing pair-- the devout Christian quarterback of the Denver Broncos playing with a golfer who hasn't exactly been a saint over the years, one player quietly taking a knee in prayer while the other pumps his fist in celebration.

Last week, tournament official Ollie Nutt confirmed that a spot was being held for Tebow, who grew up playing golf in Florida and has played in pro-ams before, if he were interested in taking part in the event. But Nutt also said that a pairing with Woods was not likely.

So Tuesday's reports were really no surprise. And maybe it's better this way. Romo may not grab as many headlines as Tebow does these days, but the last thing Woods needs at this point is more of a media circus. Woods is looking to return to the top of the golfing world after two disappointing years on the course and has momentum going into 2012.

So Tebow Time will have to wait for another time. At least for Woods.

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-- Chuck Schilken

Left photo: Tony Romo. Credit: Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images

Right photo: Tiger Woods. Credit: Mark Nolan / Getty Images

Dustin Johnson joins Mickelson, Norman at Humana Challenge

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Big-hitting Dustin Johnson, a two-time winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am who tied for second at the British Open last year, will play next week at the Humana Challenge.

The tournament, held on three courses in La Quinta, has already announced that Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman will be in the field.

Johnson, currently ranked eighth in the world, will make his 2012 season debut at the Humana Challenge. Johnson had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in November. This will be his third appearance at the event. He tied for 12th in 2008 and tied for 66th in 2009.

Even with his knee troubles, Johnson ended his fourth full PGA season last fall with a fourth-place finish at the FedEx Cup. Also last year Johnson won his fifth PGA Tour event at the Barclays tournament, a FedEx Cup event that was shortened to 54 holes because of Hurricane Irene.

He also finished third last year at the Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines.

The Humana Challenge begins Thursday.

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-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Dustin Johnson reacts after sinking a par putt to halve the 18th hole and finish tied in a Presidents Cup match in November. Credit: Scott Halleran / Getty Images

Tiger Woods to open PGA Tour season at Pebble Beach

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Tiger Woods is returning to the spot of some of his most memorable golfing moments.

He announced Monday on his website that he will open his PGA Tour season with the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which takes place Feb. 9-12. It will be the first time he's played the event in 10 years.

"I'm looking forward to playing in this event," Woods said. "I haven't been to this tournament lately, but I have a lot of good memories at Pebble. It will be fun going back."

Woods won the event back in 2000 after trailing by seven shots with seven holes to play. Back at Pebble Beach later that summer, he turned in what is arguably his best performance by running away with the U.S. Open by 15 shots.

But his fortunes dipped at Pebble Beach after that. He finished 13th at the National Pro-Am in 2001 and tied for 12th in 2002, the last time he played the event.

The last time Woods played at Pebble Beach was the 2010 U.S. Open, where he tied for fourth place.

After a rough couple of years, Woods has momentum entering 2012. He ended a two-year drought by winning the Chevron World Challenge, a non-PGA event, last month after a solid performance at the Presidents Cup in November.

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Photos: Tiger Woods wins Chevron World Challenge

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-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Tiger Woods. Credit: Rob Griffith / Associated Press

Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman to play Humana Challenge

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Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman were announced Friday as being in the field for the 2012 Humana Challenge golf tournament on Jan. 19-22 in La Quinta.

Norman, a two-time British Open champion, and Mickelson ,who has won four major tournaments including three Masters titles, the most recent in 2010, join a field that will also include defending champion Jhonattan Vegas, 2011 FedExCup champion and 2010 event champion Bill Haas, 2001 PGA Championship winner David Toms and 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson.

Norman has played in the tournament previously known as the Bob Hope Classic just once, in 1986. He last played in the Coachella Valley in the 2001 Skins Game, in which he shut out Tiger Woods, Colin Montgomerie and Jesper Parnevik to take home the event’s entire $1-million purse.

Mickelson won this tournament in 2002 and 2004, both times in playoffs, and he is one of only seven players to have won it more than once.

For the third consecutive year, the $5.6-million tournament will take place entirely within La Quinta, where players will compete for a $1.008 million winner’s check at La Quinta Country Club and the Palmer and Nicklaus Private Courses at PGA West.

The purse and winner’s check are the largest in event history. The event has been shortened from 90 to 72 holes.

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-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Phil Mickelson hits out of bunker during Presidents Cup play in Australia. Credit: Quinn Rooney / Getty Images / November 20, 2011

Tiger Woods will not win the Chevron World Challenge again

Tiger Woods lines up his birdie putt on the 18th at Sherwood Country Club.

Tiger Woods broke his victory drought by winning the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks on Sunday. But it is virtually guaranteed that he won't win it again.

Chevron, which has been the sponsor of the event for the last four years, said it will not renew its title sponsorship of the tournament, which is held at Sherwood Country Club.

Tournament director Greg McLaughlin says he is confident that he will be able to find another title sponsor. The tournament has had three title sponsors since it began in 1999.

Meanwhile, Sherwood Country Club extended its contract to host the tournament through 2015.

Woods has won the tournament five times, although his victory Sunday was the first time he won when it was called the Chevron World Challenge. Woods also plays host to the tournament, with all proceeds benefiting the Tiger Woods Foundation.

After going more than two years and 26 tournaments without a win, Woods made a six-foot birdie putt on the last hole Sunday to close with a 69 and beat former Masters champion Zach Johnson by one stroke.

The win moved Woods from No. 52 to No. 21 in the world rankings. His next tournament will be in Abu Dhabi at the end of next month.

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Photo: Tiger Woods lines up his birdie putt on the 18th green Sunday. Credit: Allan Henry / US Presswire.

Tiger Woods wins first golf tournament since scandal erupted

Woods

Tiger Woods won his first golf tournament in two years Sunday when he sank a birdie putt on the 18th hole to edge Zach Johnson by one shot and capture the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks.

Woods finished at 10 under par to win his own tournament, which benefits Woods' charitable foundation, for the fifth time after he and Johnson, the 2007 Masters winner, had a see-saw match throughout the round.

Woods birdied the last two holes to secure the win, his first since the world's former No. 1 golfer was engulfed in a personal scandal that erupted Thanksgiving weekend in 2009. The Chevron World Challenge is not a PGA Tour event, though, with an 18-player invitational field.

PHOTOS: Tiger wins Chevron World Challenge

It was Woods' first victory since the Australian Masters on Nov. 15, 2009, a duration that included 26 official tournaments. Less than two weeks later, Woods crashed his car on Thanksgiving night outside his Florida home amid revelations of extramarital affairs.

After being tied at seven under through the first nine holes, Woods gained a two-shot advantage with birdies at the 10th and 11th holes.

But Woods gave one back on the par-three 12th hole when he pulled a six-iron shot into a bunker and finished with a bogey four.

Johnson pulled even with Woods again with a 10-foot birdie putt at No. 13 as Woods missed a similar putt for birdie and settled for par.

Johnson made another birdie at the 16th hole, and Woods tied him again with a birdie on the par-three 17th to set up the dramatic finish.

Paul Casey, who ballooned to a first-round 79, rebounded to finish in third place at five under after shooting 69 on Sunday.

Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan finished tied for fourth at four under.

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--Jim Peltz

Photo: Tiger Woods watches tee shot at third hole Sunday in Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks. Credit: Allan Henry/US Presswire   

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