Cadillac Championship 2016
Round 4 - Adam Scott seals back to back wins
March 6, 2016
Adam Scott faced a daunting challenge, a six-shot deficit with 13 holes remaining on a course that was playing tougher than it had at any point this week.
And after overcoming that, he needed to survive two brushes with big trouble on the final hole to finish the job.
Scott won for the second straight week, shooting a final-round 69 to win the Cadillac Championship by one shot over Bubba Watson. It's the second win for Scott in a World Golf Championships event, his 13th career win on the PGA Tour and he now hasn't finished lower than second in any of his last three starts. Scott won the Honda Classic last weekend.
''Everything fell the right way for me today,'' Scott said.
Scott finished the week at 12-under 276. Watson (68) was alone in second, and Danny Willett (69) and Rory McIlroy (74) were tied for third, two shots back. Phil Mickelson (70) was alone in fifth at 9 under and Jimmy Walker shot the round of the day, a 6-under 66 to finish alone in sixth at 8 under.
With course owner Donald Trump popping in on Sunday, arriving by helicopter and greeting fans as he drove around in a cart, there was plenty of drama away from the fairways and greens.
Scott ensured there was a ton on the grass as well, after two double-bogeys in a three-hole span on the front side seemed to send his round into a tailspin. That is, until he got hot at just the right time with birdies on six of his next nine holes after the second double.
''It was such a challenge out there today,'' Scott said. ''I knew if I could just get a couple before the turn, maybe I'll have a chance.''
It's anyone's guess if Scott will get a chance to defend the title at Doral in 2017. General Motors' sponsorship agreement with the event ends this week and with no sponsor, there's no tournament.
''Our hope is that the future could allow us to stay here and continue to build the tournament,'' PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said Sunday afternoon, meeting with reporters before sitting down privately with Trump to talk about the tournament's future. ''But we'll have more to say about that after we do a full evaluation of our performance this year.''
Count Watson, who has been second or third at Doral four times in the last five years, among those who want Doral to stay on the schedule, as it has been since 1962.
''If they move it I'll be sad,'' Watson said, ''because I'm pretty good around this place.''
That he is, but Scott - despite walking a tightrope the last three holes - was a bit better.
He saved par on the par-4 16th, after his drive went over the green and nestled in a bunker. His second shot was dreadful, finding a patch of greenside rough. From there he popped a chip 8 feet past the hole, then made the putt for par.
The trouble only got worse from there.
His tee ball on 17 found a bunker while Watson, on the green ahead, made birdie to get within one. Scott eventually saved par, headed to the final hole with that one-shot lead - and put his tee shot in the right rough, a skinny palm tree impeding his path to the green. So he went left, around the tree but toward the water, and that shot somehow caught enough thick grass on a sharp slope to stop before getting wet.
''I was so lucky for it to stay up inside the hazard line,'' Scott said. ''When you're that lucky, you better get them up and down.''
That's exactly what he did. Scott chipped to 6 feet, made the par putt and moments later knew the win was his.
''I can't believe I've won back-to-back weeks,'' Scott said. ''To win a World Golf Championship is huge again.''
Watson made eagle at the par-5 8th to get into real contention Sunday, but his big mistake was a bogey on the par-4 14th. He couldn't get up-and-down from a greenside bunker, Scott made birdie on the same hole just a few minutes later, and that two-shot swing proved critical.
''I gave it a good effort,'' Watson said. ''What I'm working on in my head is working out. Right now, I've got the energy and the mind-set to play some decent golf, so very positive, very happy about the week and what took place.''
Round 3 - Rory McIlroy moves three clear
March 6, 2016
Rory McIlroy came into the Cadillac Championship insisting that everything about his game is solid right now, and that his ability to contend rested solely on his mental game.
His mind must be right, because he played a mistake-free third round at Doral on Saturday.
McIlroy made four birdies and no bogeys in the third round on the Blue Monster, his 4-under 68 getting him to 12 under for the week and three shots ahead of Adam Scott and defending champion Dustin Johnson with 18 holes left in the first World Golf Championships event of the season.
''I just played a really solid round of golf,'' McIlroy said.
If he wins Sunday, McIlroy would go over $30 million in career PGA Tour earnings, and could get handed the trophy by the course owner himself. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said he will attend Sunday's final round, though it's unclear how visible he will be or how much of the day he'll spend at Doral.
''I think it's Rory's to lose, really,'' said Danny Willett, who shot 72 and is in a group five shots off the pace. ''We're going to have to go out there and play clever and play aggressive when we can, and hopefully we can knock a few birdies off and post a good number.''
McIlroy's made nine birdies and nine bogeys or worse in two rounds last week at The Honda Classic, which is why his preparation for Doral could start two days early with a missed cut there.
At Doral, he hasn't been flawless, but close enough. McIlroy's last bogey was on the second hole in his second round.
In 34 holes since, it's been 11 birdies and 23 pars, fueling his climb atop the leaderboard. He took the lead with a birdie at the par-4 fifth, one of only eight made on that hole Saturday. And he escaped brushes with the sand on each of his last two holes, keeping his mistake-free streak intact.
''I've seen Rory play some great golf,'' Scott said. ''I think he's going to be very satisfied with that round. Looked like he was under total control.''
McIlroy's tee ball at the par-4 17th found a bunker - with the wind picking up a bit - so he simply knocked his second onto the green and two-putted from 45 feet. And his approach from the middle of the fairway on 18 landed in a greenside bunker, but he knocked in a testy 6-footer for par to cap the round.
''My first bogey-free round of the year,'' McIlroy said. ''To do it in a round like this is very pleasing.''
Johnson gave himself a chance to end his day with a great par, then missed a 4-footer. After spraying his tee shot way right, Johnson punched out and then knocked a wedge close. But he missed the par try and fell to 9 under for the tournament, 1 under for the round.
Johnson rallied from five shots back in the final round to win last year at Doral. This time, his deficit is only three.
''Anything's possible,'' Johnson said. ''With this golf course, there's trouble on just about every hole, so I just need to go out and keep playing like I'm playing. I feel like I'm playing really well. Today I missed a couple short putts and didn't really hole any putts and still shot 1 under on a tough day. So I'm pleased with that.''
Willett, Bubba Watson (71) and Phil Mickelson (70) are tied for fourth, five shots off the lead. World No. 1 Jordan Spieth struggled again, his round of 73 leaving him at 2 under for the week and tied for 17th place.
Spieth played with Justin Thomas, who followed up a 66 on Friday with a 78 on Saturday.
''A rough day for us both,'' Thomas said.
Round 2 - Adam Scott leads by two at halfway
March 5, 2016
Australian Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters winner, fired a six-under par 66 Friday to seize a two-stroke lead after the second round of the World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship at Doral.
Scott fired eight birdies, the last three of them in a row starting at the par-3 15th, to leap into the lead on 10-under 134 after 36 holes at Doral.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, dreaming of the completion of a career Grand Slam with a victory in next month's Masters, shot 65 to share second on 136 with American Dustin Johnson, the defending champion who carded a bogey-free 64.
England's Danny Willett was on 137 with two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and fellow American Charley Hoffman on 138 and England's Paul Casey was joined by Phil Mickelson on 139.
Scott opened with back-to-back birdies, took a bogey at three and had back-to-back birdies again at six and seven. He birdied the par-5 12th before another bogey at 14 only to finish with a flourish to grab the lead.
Having ended a near two-year title drought at the Honda Classic on Sunday, Scott could become the first player to win in back-to-back weeks on the US tour since Billy Horschel in 2014 at the BMW Championship and Tour Championship.
"I think overall, it was just a lot of good stuff," Scott said. "Enough quality shots and enough quality putts to negate a couple of mistakes out there. But they can easily happen on this golf course.
"So I'm glad there was enough of the good stuff to keep me up on top and kind of setting the pace after halfway."
McIlroy opened with a birdie but took his lone bogey at the second hole. He ran off four birdies in a row from the fifth through the par-5 eighth hole, then birdied the 12th, 15th and 18th to nab a share of second.
McIlroy needed just 23 putts, 10 fewer than he had on Thursday.
"I just needed to play a round without as many mistakes," McIlroy said. "The birdies were there. I've been making birdies. That's not been the problem. It's eliminating these mistakes that I've been making, and to play a round with only one bogey was really nice.
"I'm probably happier about that than the eight birdies I made out there to be honest with you, because the last few rounds, it's just been great shots mixed with poor shots."
Johnson birdied the second, sixth and eighth holes on the front nine, began the back side with two more birdies and birdied the par-3 13th plus 16 and 17 to secure his share of second place without making a bogey.
"I think the golf course is fantastic. It's in great shape," Johnson said.
"The greens are perfect. But it's not an easy golf course... You can't take it easy anywhere out here."
World number one Jordan Spieth had four birdies and four bogeys in an even par 72 that left him tied for 12th at three-under.
Overnight co-leaders Marcus Fraser and Scott Piercy both signed for 77s to slip down the leaderboard.
Round 1 - Phil Mickelson on heels of leaders
March 4, 2016
Phil Mickelson's scores from Doral over the past two years clearly suggested that the redesigned Blue Monster wasn't completely to his liking.
He had to re-learn a course that he played for more than 20 years, and indicated Thursday that he finally has the new Doral figured out.
Mickelson shot a 5-under 67 on Thursday in the opening round of the Cadillac Championship, the first World Golf Championships event of the year. Seeking his first win since the British Open in 2013, Mickelson made seven birdies and finished the day one shot back of leaders Scott Piercy and Marcus Fraser.
''There is a bit of a learning curve on some of the contours and where you have to go and where you want to go and the best place to be,'' Mickelson said. ''It's not like I came in here weeks before and mapped it out like a major. You're here only the week of. But this is our third year here now and it continues to get better each year.''
Fraser had seven birdies before his lone bogey of the day, and Piercy also got to 7 under at one point before settling for his 66.
Mickelson made bogey only twice, immediately erasing each with a birdie on the following hole, and the 67 was nearly six full shots better than his average round score at Doral in his previous two visits.
His best round on the Blue Monster in 2014 was a 69, and his low score at Doral last year was 71.
''It was a good day,'' said Mickelson, who feigned disbelief when his chip on the par-5 8th - his 17th of the day - stopped inches from the hole, leaving him a tap-in birdie. ''I hit a lot of good shots, made some good putts and just drove it well, enjoyed the day. It was a good day.''
Danny Willett, Adam Scott, Jason Dufner and Charley Hoffman were all two shots back of Piercy, each carding 68s. World No. 1 Jordan Spieth was in a group another shot back, three off the pace at 3 under, and said that even on a relatively calm day by Doral weather standards, it felt like a grind.
''It always is here,'' Spieth said. ''And this would be a day that should play about as easy as it possibly can with just a 5- to 10-mile-an-hour breeze. The standard wind here I think. Still, the scores aren't extremely low.''
Spieth was in a featured group, with world No. 2 Jason Day and No. 3 Rory McIlroy with him. McIlroy shot 1 under, Day finished at even par.
''Human error, unfortunately,'' Day said. ''I wish I could hit it in the center of the golf club all the time but sometimes I'm like an amateur and I hit it in the parts where we're not supposed to. But that's how it is.''
Piercy spent eight hours on the range Monday working on a change to his backswing and saw immediate results, making seven birdies in his first 11 holes. Being atop a World Golf Championships leaderboard on Sunday is far different than on a Thursday, but it's a most positive sign for Piercy - a three-time winner on tour who shot better than 66 only once in his first 24 stroke-play rounds in WGC events.
''We all know we're trying to beat those guys week-in, week-out,'' Piercy said. ''They have proved it. I haven't proven it week-in, week-out, but when my game's there I'm pretty decent. We all know they are there. They are looking at my name today. So maybe they will do it tomorrow.''
Past winners at Doral struggled a bit. Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot an even-par 72, putting him in a tie for 28th. And 2014 winner Patrick Reed could get nothing going, his 5-over 77 beating only three other players.
Mickelson won on the previous version of the Blue Monster, a course he knew as well as anyone. And Thursday showed he's got a chance to do just fine on the redesign as well.
''I'm not going to complain,'' Mickelson said.