Its Watney at the Wyndham.

White Dragon GolfWyndham Championship

It’s Nick Watney who will take the lead into the final round of The Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club.

Wyndham Championship

Nick Watney / Getty Images

Nick made birdie on the final hole to take a one shot lead going into the final round of The Wyndham Championship on Saturday. He carded -5 under par 65 to post a 54 hole total of -14 under par, and said he had been trying to keep it simple, adding that the birdie on 18 was a bonus;

“I’ve been trying to keep it pretty simple, a lot of fairways and greens, and I’ve been able to do that so far. I’m super excited about going into tomorrow with the lead.”

“I’m looking forward to everything that comes with it, all the emotions and wanting to do well and whatnot. Learning how to handle that is a big thing, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

“It’s a hard hole as it is, and they put the pin on that back right little knob, it’s a bonus and I’m very happy with it.”

“I assume that when I tee off, I probably won’t be in the lead or tied for the lead, so it’s not like I’m protecting anything tomorrow. Just more of the same.”

Brad Fritsch also scored a -5 under par 65 third round, which gave him second place on his own at -13 under par. Canadian Brad jokingly asked the officials on the first tee to introduce him as a North Carolinian, hoping to get more support from the crowd;

“Just so people would know and get a little focus off Webb and a little onto me.”

“Staying patient and not freaking out over a bogey, not freaking out over a missed fairway and not getting too aggressive, I think just that, really.”

Freddie Jacobson and Heath Slocum share the third position, both at -12 under par, Freddie with -4 under par 66, and Heath with -2 under par 68.

Best round of the day went to Andres Romero, who carded a -6 under par 64, and in the Aces department Kevin Foley and David Toms each had holes-in-one. Kevin on the par-3, 12th and David achieved the same result on the par-3 seventh.

This tournament is wide open, with no less than nine players within three strokes of the lead, a low round tomorrow will win this trophy.

One of the nine is Brandt Snedeker, currently on -11 under par, who said he will be going for it;

“You know what you’re going to have to do. You have to go out there and shoot good tomorrow. The great mentality, go out there and be aggressive and don’t hold back. Give it everything you’ve got.”

PGA Championship. Magnificent Rory McIlroy Makes It His.

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In one of the best finishes to a Major tournament, in gathering gloom at Valhalla in the PGA Championship, Rory McIlroy came through to make it his and picked up the Wanamaker Trophy.

US PGA Championship

Rory & Wanamaker Trophy / Getty Images

Rory carded a final round of -3 under par 68, to win by one shot at -16 under par, holding off a great challenge from a resurgent Phil Mickelson.

In a strange twist the final two groups played together down the final hole, because of the darkness closing in. There was some discussion about this turn of events, the TV pundits saying it would have to be the players decision to do this, but it appears that it was the officials who forced them to go ahead. Not all of the players agreed with this ruling.

Rory just wanted to get it done before nightfall;

” I wanted to win this thing and get out of here, I never dreamed I’d have a summer like this.”

Phil had a fine last round -5 under par 66, and so nearly made it, posting -15 under par, a remarkable effort from the other generation.

Henrik Stenson and Rickie Fowler tied for third position at -14 under par.

Apart from the muddled final hole everyone was in agreement about the quality of this competition.

Unforgettable” and “riveting ” said TV anchorman  Jim Nantz. His commentating partner for the day, Nick Faldo enthused, “There’s plenty of color, plenty of characters. It’s fantastic, electrifying.”

Another TV pundit Peter Oosterhuis replied to that comment “And plenty of talent” 

From Brandel Chamblee on Twitter, “One of the best majors I’ve ever seen.”

There will be plenty more comments about this tournament, quotes from players, but for now I just want to get this story out there.

 

 

PGA Championship. Rory Hangs On.

White Dragon GolfRory hangs on to the lead at the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

PGA Championship at Valhalla

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory McIlroy hangs on to the lead at the PGA Championship after a late charge at Valhalla Golf Club saw him post a third round -4 under par 67  for a one shot advantage at -13 under for the tournament. Three late birdies at 15, 16 and 18 has given him that one shot lead to take into the final round tomorrow. Rory admitted that the chasing pack closed up on him today, and was thankful for those late birdies;

“The guys got pretty close to me at The Open and today and I was able to respond on the back nine. It’s not the biggest lead I’ve ever had but I am still in control of this tournament and it’s still a good position to be in.”

“I just knew I needed to make a couple of birdies coming down the back nine to keep the lead or at least be tied. The two birdies on 15 and 16 were huge.”

“It’s where I want to be, it’s the best place to be in a tournament. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

The surprise package in second place is Bernd Wiesberger, who shot one of the low rounds of the day, a -6 under par 65 and hold second on his own at -12 under par. Playing alongside one of his hero’s, Phil Mickelson, inspired him today;

“It was a dream come true really, going out there with Phil, one of my heroes. I played beautifully today, I didn’t miss a lot of shots, set up a few nice opportunities on the last few holes especially. I’m very proud of myself the way I played.”

“It’s a completely new situation for me, only my second cut in a Major in six attempts, so I am quite a rookie in this particular situation. I have driven it really nicely this week and if I can do it again it will settle down the nerves and I am going to have fun tomorrow.”

Third spot belongs to Rickie Fowler, at -11 under par, Rickie carded a -4 under par  third round.

Tied in fourth is Phil Mickelson and Jason Day, both at -10 under par, and by no  means out of contention.

Jason made an incredible par from a swamp area on the 500 yard par 4 2nd hole, hitting with his shoes off;

“I was too lazy to actually get my shoes thrown over the creek. I either hit it in my bare feet or put my shoes on and have to take my shoes off. I was like, ‘We’re going to be behind, way behind. So I may as well hit it with no shoes on.’ It was a great four there, a lucky four.”

PGA Championship

Jason in the Jungle / Getty Image

Phil is suddenly enjoying his golf;

It’s so fun for me to be back in the thick of it, have a chance, being in contention heading into Sunday and not having to get up at 6 o’clock in the morning to tee off, if I get to tee off. So it’s been a nice change.”

” I need to play aggressive and make some confident swings early on and make some birdies. I’m going to be trying to make up ground on some guys that are playing really good golf and will be making birdies tomorrow. So I’ll have to make a lot of them.”

PGA Championship. Rory Rolls On, Westwood Wilts.

White Dragon GolfPGA Championship Rory McIlroy rolls on towards victory at the PGA Championship at Valhalla, while Lee Westwood wilted under the pressure.

PGA Championship Valhalla

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory carded a second round -4 under par 67 to top the leaderboard on -9 under par at the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club. He will take a one shot lead heading into the third round, moving day on Saturday, and said he was comfortable at being in front;

“I think I’ve had to learn to be a good front-runner, I maybe wasn’t quite comfortable in that position at the start of my career, especially 2011 in the Masters. I was four ahead and I wasn’t quite comfortable in that position.”

“It’s taken me a couple of years to grow into that and my mindset has stayed the same since that day at Augusta. If I’m two ahead going into the weekend here, I’m going to try to get three ahead, and if I’m three ahead, I’m going to try to get four ahead.”

“I’m just going to try to keep the pedal down and get as many ahead as possible. I went into protection mode once in my career and that did not work out very well so I said would never do it again.”

“I think it has happened to me for the better. I’ve put a little bit more time into my golf and refocused in a way. It’s the only thing I have, I’ve got my family and my friends, but I just immersed myself in my game.”

“I’ve practised hard and I’ve done all the right things and I’m reaping the rewards. Golf is the number one priority to me and while I’m on this run of form I want to try and keep it going as long as possible.”

“I’m going to keep working hard and try and get even better. Hopefully I can do that over the next few years and hopefully you’ll see golf like this more often from me.”

Tied in second place are Jason Day and Jim Furyk, both on -8 under par for the competition. Jason carded the best round of the day, a -6 under par 65, while Jim had a more modest -3 under par 68.

Lee Westwood wilted under pressure, carding +1 over par 72, dropping to -5 under par.

Phil Mickelson had a good day, -4 under par 67 and is currently tied in 7th position at -6 under par. He hopes to make the Ryder Cup Team on merit;

“I’ll be honest, there’s not too many people out of the mix. There’s still time now, and there’s still time between now and September 2 to show. There’s three tournaments between now and September 2. I don’t know how many tournaments these guys are going to play, but there’s still time. “

” It’s anybody’s guess who is going to make the team after Sunday this week, too. I’m going to make the team, Tom. I’m going to make the team. I don’t want you to have to use a pick to pick me.”

Tiger Woods missed the cut, whoever advised him to return to golf so soon after surgery needs their head examining. Tom Watson will be under enormous pressure to pick Tiger for the Ryder Cup Team, because if he excludes him Tom will become the most hated man in America. Tiger needs to withdraw himself from selection, and make life easier for Tom.

Meijer LPGA Classic. Sandra Stands on Top.

White Dragon GolfSandra Gall stands on top of the Meijer LPGA Classic leaderboard after the first round.

Meijer LPGA Classic

Sandra Gall / Getty Images

Sandra has a one shot lead following her opening round -6 under par 65 at the Meijer LPGA Classic at Blythefield Country Club , Grand Rapids, Michigan. Playing the course backwards Sandra carded a string of six consecutive birdies from hole 3 through 8 to post her low round of the year. She said she was in the zone, maybe a vacation trip back to Germany did the trick;

“I was in a zone, I was really relaxed. I was talking a lot to my caddie and to my playing partners, just kind of letting it happen instead of forcing it, which every so often that’s what we golfers do.”

“I took a little vacation back to Germany and laid my clubs aside so I feel refreshed and then last week I went back to Orlando to get ready for this four-week stretch.”

 “I was surprised how many people were out here on a Thursday morning. It’s great to see , it just shows that our Tour is growing in popularity and we have this amazing fan support that we are very proud of.”

Inbee Park is in second place, just one shot back of the leader at -5 under par, she said she does not think too much about regaining the number one spot, just concentrates on winning tournaments;

“I don’t play for that every week obviously.  I just kind of think about it, but that would be my goal for later, later in the year and stuff like when I have an opportunity.  But there is that kind of thinking in my mind somewhere but that’s not just my only ‑‑ that’s not just my only goal.  I play to win golf tournaments and just try to bring that trophy home every week.  That’s probably going to get me back to the No. 1 spot sometime.”

“I think this is going to be a big confidence boost going into next week.  I think I picked this week because it’s kind of similar to probably next week’s setup with tree‑lined golf courses and some dogleg holes and roughs.  I think it’s going to be very good practice and very good confidence booster for next week, so that will be good.”

Third place belongs to Katherine Kirk, she on her own at -4 under par for the tournament.

Michelle Wie had to withdraw from the contest, citing a sore wrist;

“I don’t know what happened.  It just kind of started hurting last week and just started getting worse and got to the point where I couldn’t really hold a club today.  So I’m just going to try to get an MRI right now and see what my next steps are.  Hopefully I can play next week, so we’ll see.”

PGA Championship. It’s Tight at the Top

White Dragon GolfPGA Championship

It is tight at the top of the PGA Championship at Valhalla with three players tied at the end of play on the first day.

Lee Westwood at PGA Championship

Lee Westwood / Getty Images

Lee Westwood found some much-needed form to share the top of the PGA Championship leaderboard with Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer. All three players carded a first round of -6 under par 65 at Valhalla Golf Course.

Lee spoke about the return to form, which started with a good showing last week, but his round here did include two bogey’s;

“Last week was a big week for me, I felt like I had turned the corner and I was starting to swing it a lot better but that’s no good unless you start converting it into low rounds. The first three rounds were frustrating because I played a lot better than three over.”

“Then obviously I got it going the final day, shot 63. I tried to keep it low-key in the practice rounds here, just playing nine holes each day, and carry that momentum through to the first round, which I’ve managed to do.”

 Kevin is another player who has suddenly clicked, with his bogey free opening round;

“I guess I was in a good rhythm out there. Drove the ball well, hit a lot of greens and gave myself some opportunities and I was able to take advantage of it, something that hasn’t happened a lot for me this year”

Ryan has also been out of the spotlight recently, but said he is playing well, just been waiting for a low round to come along;

 “After Colonial I felt like I was playing good golf, just couldn’t get a round in there. I missed a U.S. Open cut, but made the cut at the Scottish and British Open. Played decent in D.C., but couldn’t get that low round in there.”

 “So I knew my game was in good shape, it was just a matter of getting the result. It was nice to finally get a result out of it. It’s great knowing that I can come out tomorrow and keep moving forward and try to build on where I’m at. It’s hard to come out when you are struggling Thursday and you come out Friday knowing you got to shoot low to make the cut.”

The man everyone is talking about, Rory McIlroy has made a good start to this competition, he is one of five players who are just one shot off the lead at -5 under par. Rory’s round included a double bogey 7 on the  par 5 10th and followed that with a bogey at the very next hole, the par 3 11th. He responded well to those mishaps;

“I was really annoyed, the second shot on ten was actually a bit of a shock, it’s the worst shot I have hit the last few weeks. It came out of the blue and knocked me off track but to come back the way I did was great. I really needed that. It could have been a couple better but if those last few putts had dropped but 66 is a solid start.”

The others joining Rory on that -5 under par total are;  Jim Furyk, Chris Wood, Henrik Stenson and Edoardo Molinari.

The other player in the news is Tiger Woods, with his sore back, he did not play too well today, scoring a first round +3 over par 74, to be T109. He summed it all up thus;

“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, and I didn’t get a putt to the hole. That’s not a good combo.”

W.G.C. Bridgestone Invitational. Rory Resplendent.

White Dragon GolfWorld Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational Logo

Rory McIlroy was resplendent in winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, overcoming a three shot deficit to win by two shots, and in doing so became World Number One again.

WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Rory and Trophy / Getty Images

Rory returned a final round of -4 under par 66 to post a winning total -15 under par to win the WGC Bridgestone Invitational by two shots, again, over Sergio Garcia. At the post match interview Rory stressed the importance of his well-behaved driver;

“If you’re hitting arguably the hardest club in your bag that well, then the other stuff should sort of fall in line. Whenever I drive the ball well, I always put myself in positions where I can attack flags and try and make birdies, but when I’m swinging it well with a driver that sort of funnels through the rest of my game.”

The big thing for me is if you let it affect you mentally, it makes it more difficult, if you can stay strong mentally when you’re going through the struggles you always seem to come out the other side OK. It’s when it affects you mentally you can start to lose confidence, then you’re losing confidence in your swing. It can spiral out of control, kind of like I did last summer.”

“It’s the most comfortable I’ve ever felt trying to close out a golf tournament out there today. I felt normal. I felt like it was the first round or the second round. It didn’t feel like a fourth round. What I am really proud of this week is following on from The Open with a performance like this.”

“I said straight after I did not want any let down, I wanted to keep going and performing until the end of the season. It’s great to come to one of my favourite tournaments of the year and to perform like this I am pretty satisfied.”

Sergio’s putting problems resurfaced, he carded a +1 over par 71, for his -13 under par total;

“I didn’t feel comfortable on the greens at all, with the spin of the greens changing quite dramatically after the rain, they got a little bit;  they were quite slow for the last three days.”

“I started kind of second-guessing myself every single putt, and because of that, I didn’t; the good putt I hit, I misread, and the bad ones, obviously, weren’t going the right direction either.”

Marc Leishman finished in third position on his own at -13 under par, another steady round of -3 under par 67, keeping him near the top of the leaderboard, where he has been all week.

Adam Scott missed his chance to stay at World Number One, shooting a last round +1 over par 71, to finish in a tie for 8th, he bogeyed three of his final five holes;

“I was pretty scratchy every round this week, so I was scrambling a bit, and that was good. But just lost my rhythm a little bit on a couple of holes on the back nine. Couldn’t scramble hard enough.”

” It’s all good, it’s been a lot of fun. Obviously, Rory’s in incredible form at the moment. He’ll be the man to beat next week, by the looks of things, and I’ll be gunning for him for sure.”

Phil suddenly found some real form with a final round -8 under par 62, and a T15 place, so he could be a contender next week at the PGA;

“This was a big day for me heading into next week because I feel like I’m not trying to search and find it on Thursday. I feel like my game is right there. I feel like I found what I’m looking for. I just have to keep it going and build on today’s round and put together four good, solid rounds.”

“I don’t know what will happen next week, but if I play well, I’ll look back to today’s round as being the key point.”

Tiger had to withdraw from the tournament, citing back problems, it is unlikely that he will appear next week.

 

W.G.C. Bridgestone Invitational. Sergio Survives Soggy Saturday

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Sergio Garcia survived a soggy Saturday at the Firestone Country Club in the third round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, maintaining his position at the top of the leaderboard. The round included a three-hour delay due to thunderstorms.

 

WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Sergio on soggy Saturday / Getty Images

Sergio cared a -3 under par 67 to keep his place at the top of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational with a -14 under par tournament total, a three shot lead going into the final round tomorrow. That lead is over Rory McIlroy, who Sergio tried to chase down last at Royal Liverpool. This time it will be Rory doing the chasing, and Sergio is looking forward to the challenge, he also spoke about the good par he made on 18 today;

“Obviously, Rory is playing great, and we get along nicely as of right now, I think we’re both excited about it. We’re definitely going to play hard. It will be nice to see if I can do the same thing he did to me a couple of weeks ago. So we’ll see.”

“The one on 18 is the one that felt the best, because it was probably the toughest to make par. Where I hit it, I couldn’t really do much more than that and hope to make a good two-putt.”

Rory birdied the final two holes today to reduce the arrears, with a -11 under par total;

” My goal today was to try and get in the final group, Sergio didn’t quite have that luxury of seeing what I was doing on the last. It will be nice to play alongside him tomorrow and at least keep an eye on what’s going on. “

“Try to apply a bit of pressure when I can, but just really looking forward to getting in there and having another chance to win a tournament so soon after what happened at Hoylake.”

It would be wrong to assume this is just a two-horse race, Marc Leishman posted a -2 under par a 68 and was five shots behind at -9 under, in third spot alone.

Adam Scott returned from the three-hour rain delay carrying only his long putter, the only weapon he needed to convert one last birdie for a -5 under par 65 that at least left him with a slim chance. He is six shots behind the leader, sharing fourth place with Keegan Bradley and Justin Rose all at -8 under par.

Defending champion Tiger Woods made only one birdie on Saturday, and he also failed to birdie a par 5 for the second straight day, shooting +2 over par 72, 15 shots behind.

W.G.C. Bridgestone Invitational. Sergio Streaks Seven birdies in a Row.

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Sergio Garcia streaks seven birdies in a row at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.

WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Sergio Garcia / Getty Images

Sergio scored seven birdies in a row on the back nine to post a second round -9 under par 61, requiring only 27 strokes on that last nine holes at Firestone Country Club. The amazing effort equaled the course record, and in doing so gave Sergio a three shot lead at the top of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational leaderboard with a -11 under par mid way total.

He said it was a magical moment, and he did not want it to end;

“Just one of those moments that you love and you enjoy and you wish there were no end. It was a combination of getting good numbers, hitting good shots. Then when I wasn’t too close from the hole, I rolled a couple of nice putts in.”

“It was definitely a dream back nine. I felt like I started well and hit some good shots early on, but still missed a couple of good birdie chances.”

“Then I obviously got a little bit lucky on the front nine. I hit three bad tee shots on four, eight and nine, and I was able to have a shot at the green and made a couple of good up and downs.”

“Then the back nine was, I don’t know, I just started hitting good shots, rolling the putts in, and everything seemed to happen. I was just enjoying it as much as I could.”

“It obviously feels great to be able to shoot the course record or equal the record on a course like this, which is not; even playing soft; that easy a course.”

“You have to drive the ball very, very well. You have to put the ball on the greens on the right spots because you can get some really, really fast putts. So to be able to do it and obviously being in a group with Tiger and Jose Maria, but still, to be able to be in that group, it feels really good.”

Justin Rose is in second place at -8 under par, he had a good second round of -3 under par 67 and said he was happy about the way he has started this tournament;

“I am really happy with the way I turned the long game around, and to hit 16 greens out there is pretty solid, but for the most part I just hit it close to the hole as well.”

“Early in the round, the putts kept sliding by. I wasn’t seeing the line all that well and I think 18 was the first putt I made. From there I felt pretty comfortable with the putts and I had a couple of good looks coming in. All in all, it’s a good start to the tournament.”

Third position is tied between Rory McIlroy and Marc Leishman, both posting half-way totals of -7 under par. Rory could reclaim top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings if he collects the trophy at Firestone and Adam Scott fails to make the top five. He said he knew Sergio was playing well in front of him, he could hear the crowd cheering;

“He obviously played in front of us, and he seemed like he was playing well. Every time I looked back, he was putting a ball in the hole, and the crowd was cheering. I knew that he was making a few birdies, and I knew I had to make a few birdies just to try and stay in touch. It was nice just to make a few coming in.” 

“I’m still four back going into the weekend, but I feel like that could have been a lot more. So it’s a good finish. I do have a good relationship with Sergio, and it’s just great to see him play like this again.” 

“I grew up idolising the guy. He’s obviously really happy with everything that’s going on. He seems in a really good place, and it’s good to see him play like this.”

Phil’s miserable malaise continues, even hitting a marshal with his ball today. A wayward tee shot on the fourth hole in today’s second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational struck the official. Phil being Phil, he went on to par the hole, but it did not improve his second round score of +3 over par for +4 over total.

RBC Canadian Open. Two tied at the Top

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There are two players tied at the top of the  at the top of the RBC Canadian Open, Michael Putnam and Tim Petrovic.

RBC Canadian Open Michael Puttnam

Michael Puttnam / Getty Images

 

Michael carded a bogey free first round -6 under par 64 to lead the RBC Canadian Open at Royal Montreal Golf Club.

Michael said after his round that he felt comfortable on the  somewhat easy course;

“Obviously it was playing easy. The course is very similar to the courses I play back home, same grasses, same kind of terrain, so I feel pretty comfortable.” 

“I hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens. Obviously it got windy there this afternoon and it was tough ball-striking, but somehow I was able to keep it in the fairway.”

“It was tough ball-striking, but somehow I was able to keep it in the fairway and take advantage of the soft greens to hit a couple of shots close.”

Michael was the leading money winner on the Web.com Tour last year, and was also voted the Web.com Tour Player of the Year, and that experience has helped him on the PGA TOUR;

“It was huge, I think I was in contention in half the events I played last year, so I got used to doing a lot of media interviews, seeing cameras behind me while I swing. So I feel very comfortable.”

RBC Canadian Open Tim Petrovic

Tim Petrovic /Getty Images

Tim was also bogey free in his -6 under par 64 even though he did not get a chance to play a practice round at Royal Montreal GC, finding his way into the field after Benjamin Alvarado had to  withdraw on Tuesday. He said he was concentrating on hitting fairways and green in regulation;

“I was just trying to hit fairways and greens, trying to see the golf course and see if I could make a few putts. I drove the ball pretty good overall.”

Canadian amateur, Taylor Pendrith, is happily just a stroke off the lead after a -5 under par 67, carding seven birdies and two bogey’s in his first PGA Tour start. He is also the leading Canadian player, with David Hearn the next at -3  under par.

Taylor did not expect to be so high up the leaderboard;

“I never expected that, I was playing good golf coming in here, so I just played golf. Five under is pretty nice. Everybody has some nerves. If you didn’t have nerves on the first tee something would be wrong with you. But after I played the first hole, I felt calm and felt I should be here.”

“I made a lot of birdies and hit it in some good spots off the tee. I just played golf and did my own thing. It was a fun day.”

“I’ve played in some big tournaments, but none as big as this'”

Kyle Stanley shares third place with Taylor at -5 under par.

It has been a while since a Canadian won this tournament, but they have a first here,  Dianne Barabe is the first-ever female rules official, to work the RBC Canadian Open. Last Canadian winner was Pat Fletcher in 1954.