Memorial Tournament. Matsuyama Makes It, Bubba Blows it.

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the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance Logo

Hideki Matsuyama makes it his title in a play-off, while Bubba Watson blows his chance of victory at the Memorial Tournament.

                                           Hideki and Jack / Getty Images

On a day when everyone was making mistakes, Hideki just made less to get himself into a play-off with Kevin Na. Both players had finished the Memorial Tournament at -13 under par, with Kevin shooting the low round of the day, an amazing -8 under par 64, to set the clubhouse lead at -13 under par.

Hideki stumbled to the finish line, a last round -3 under par 69 was littered with mistakes, Bogey on the 5th followed by 14 and 17, with a double bogey five at the par three 16th sandwiched in-between.

” Right from the 15th hole, I had a lot of missed shots, the double bogey at 16, bogey at 17, not a real good tee shot, I thought, at 18. But when I saw the ball on the fairway on the 18th hole there, that’s when I was able to think I still have a chance.”

“To win my first PGA TOUR event is enough, but to win it here at Mr. Nicklaus’ course, it really gives me a lot of confidence now going on. And hopefully, I’ll be able to use this week as a stepping stone to further my career.”

Jack Nicklaus is a fan of Hideki;

“I just think you’ve just seen the start of what’s going to be truly one of your world’s great players over the next 10 to 15 years.”

“I think we have a great winner. This young man’s going to win a lot of golf tournaments. I know that the Presidents Cup was here last year that he played in was a big help to him this week, and he got to learn the golf course, got to learn a lot about it. But 22 years old, that’s how old I was when I won my first tournament.”

Bubba finished third at -12 under par, the Masters champion had a one-shot lead with five holes to play. He was +3 over par the rest of the way;

” It’s tough, I made one bad decision, if I hit the 4-wood off the tee instead of the driver, we make 5 and win by one. But I made double, so we lost by one.  No the swing was good. Everything was good. I was excited about the game of golf.”

Tied in fourth spot was World Number one Adam Scott, at -10 under par. He was tied for the lead until playing the last seven holes in +4 over par, it seems like Adam has done that before;

“The fact is I didn’t hit enough good shots on the back nine today. The whole thing is frustrating as I stand here right now, but everyone is going to feel like that. We all could have done something different. If we all did, who knows what the result would be?”

 

Memorial Tournament. Bubba Blasts His Way to the Top.

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Bubba Watson blasts his way to the top of the Memorial Tournament leaderboard. Bubba pulls ahead by 1

Bubba Watson / Getty Images

Bubba fired a -3 under par 69 to blast his way to the top of the Memorial Tournament leaderboard at -12 under par. He reported that he wants to shoot the same score tomorrow;

“ I have a shot, I would like the same score tomorrow and let the boys beat me if they can. The more rest I have, the more I can get to a tournament and be excited about it. I’m full of energy and ready to go.  My emotions aren’t as up and down as much as when I play a long stretch.”

Scott Langley holds second place, just one shot behind at -11 under par following his marvelous third round of -5 under par 67. It will be a lefty / lefty pairing for the last round, a very rare feat indeed. Scott has so far been having a tough time on Tour;

“I would say last year was tougher than this year for me. I rode the ups and downs a little bit more last year than I guess I have this year. I just tried to approach the game and my career with a little more even‑keel attitude.” “Any time you shoot in the 60s here, pretty happy about it, tough place.”

Third place belongs to Hideki Matsuyama, he carded a third round -3 under par to accumulate his -10 under par tournament total.

These guys can not be too comfortable, with World number one Adam Scott sitting in fourth spot at -9 under par. Adam scored a -4 under par 68 third round, and is looking to consolidate his position as the worlds number one.

Adam says he is confident;

“I’m playing with a lot of confidence, it’s funny how quickly it can build because I went to the Crowne Plaza having not swung the club very well and not 100 percent sure and then it really falls into place on Sunday.” ‘It’s going to be tough, he’s playing great this year, and I just have to post a number. I’m in a good position where I can possibly post a number, and that makes life a little harder for the leader.”

I have been wondering and writing about the poor form of Phil Mickelson of late. The reason for his distraction has become apparent as FBI agents are investigating him for insider trading. Phil made a jovial reference to the investigation in a conversation with fellow golfer, Robert Garrigus.

Phil Mickleson / Getty Images

Phil at Memorial“It’s been an interesting evening, I don’t have much to say about it. It’s not going to change the way I carry myself. Honestly, I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not going to walk around any other way.”

Glad to hear that Phil, now get back to playing good golf.

Crowne Invitational, Scott Wears the Crown at Colonial.

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World number one Adam Scott wears the crown at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, by winning a three hole sudden death play-off against Jason Dufner.

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Both Adam and Jason completed the Crowne Plaza Invitational with totals of -9 under par at Colonial. A three hole sudden death play-off ensued, Adam winning when Jason hit a poor shot into the third play-off hole and Adam responded with a very good approach, calmly sinking the birdie putt;

“It’s so satisfying in so many ways to get it done, It’s a good feeling, and maybe some validation. Maybe added a little pressure for myself, trying to play like a No. 1. But I think the important thing was I realized that didn’t mean playing perfect, and I certainly didn’t play perfect all week. But the way you come back and get it done, and I felt like I certainly played like one of the best players in the world out there on the back nine.”

“I didn’t want to let this one slip, as always, a bit of luck involved. And to come out on top is a really satisfying feeling, and hopefully keep No. 1 for at least another week.”

 Jason fought hard, even had a chance on the 17th, the second play-off hole when his approach shot finished really close to the hole. Adam was around twelve feet away, but still rolled in the putt. Jason’s next approach shot left him too much to do, and Adam sunk his birdie putt.

Jason admitted that Adam was tough to beat;

“It’s tough to beat him. He’s a great player. It’s tough to concentrate, he’s so good looking, too. I thought maybe I could sneak one in there on 17, but he topped me.”

Nicholas Thompson and Freddie Jacobson tied for third place with -8 under par totals.

It was a day when most people were rooting for old man David Toms, to come through and win. Sadly David unraveled on his back nine and his lead vanished, along with hopes of winning again.

Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Brice Breaks Through.

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Rookie Brice Garnett breaks through to lead the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

 

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Brice Garnett / Getty Images

Brice shot a second round -4 under par 66,  giving him a tournament total of -7 under par, and a one-stroke lead heading into Saturday’s third round. He joked about why he seems to play well in the Lone Star State, referring to the lack of tax imposed;

“They don’t take money from you. For some reason, it’s just I’ve kind of adapted to Texas golf. Growing up back home in the spring and fall, it gets pretty windy as well. I kind of relish whenever the wind blows and kind of got to control your ball.”

“This is pretty cool to walk these fairways that everybody else historically through the game has. You can just kind of feel an aura about the whole place.”

“I’m just keeping my head down and trying to make as many birdies as possible. I’m going to try to embrace it this weekend and have fun, and we’ll see where we stand come Sunday.”

Tied in second place is Chris Stroud, shooting a -6 under par 64 to soar up the tournament leaderboard. Chris agrees with White Dragon Golf that having lines on the putter face is a waste of time. He is now using a normal putter face;

” It has no lines on it, I’ve been using another, but it had a bunch of lines on it. I simplified my putting. Get over it, line up and try to bring the putter back square and back to the ball square at impact. I’ve just been rolling it beautifully.”

My driver has been bad, I’ve hit it terrible the last two days. Really, really bad. But putted awesome, so I don’t have to worry about the greens. I just need to get the ball on the greens. Usually it’s the opposite. I usually hit the ball really well and struggle to get the ball in the hole.”

Sharing that second place is Robert Streb, also at -6 under par, he carded a second round -2 under par to reach that total, avoiding the trees;

 “Guess I didn’t get behind too many trees, hopefully, I’ll hit a few more fairways.”

World Number One Adam Scott rallied to make the cut, he  made birdie on three of his last seven holes for a -2 under par round of 68, to get to -1 under par. He just needed to keep playing;

” I’ve been in that situation a million times, you’ve just got to keep playing golf.  Hopefully it’s a sign of what’s to come on the weekend, it would be nice to play 18 holes with a little momentum rather than just nine like the last couple of days.”

 ” It’s not the worse position, but tomorrow for me is the important day here this week. For me to have a chance, I’m going to have to put it into gear and try to get within three or four shots to have a chance going into Sunday.”

 

 

The Players. Martin Kaymer Maintains His Lead.

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Martin Kaymer maintained his lead at the top of the leaderboard at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Martin Kaymer has hit 18 of 28 fairways through two rounds at THE PLAYERS Championship. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

 Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

Martin returned a second round score of -3 under par 69 on Friday to hold a one-stroke lead at THE PLAYERS Championship going into the weekend with a total of -12 under par. He even birdied the fearsome 17th par three island hole, and said everything is going nicely;

“Everything is coming together nicely,even though I shot 9-under par yesterday. If people want to talk negative about it, I then shot six shots worse. But you can always go in the negative. I see very positive things that I backed up that 9-under par with another decent round.”

Jordan Spieth charged after the leader, shooting a second round -6 under par 66, giving him his -11 under par total, just one shot off the lead. He struck a superb 6-iron from 184 yards on the par for 14th to within 3 feet, converting another birdie;

“It was a nice break to land and roll to pin-high, because it was a very tricky pin with quite a bit of slope around the hole.”

Someone had the temerity to ask Jordan if he got bored being in contention all the time, staying calm he replied;

“No, because I haven’t won one. You should probably have to win every time in order for it to get boring, but not even Tiger gets bored.”

 “I’d like to have a round like that the next two days, very stress‑free.”

Russell Henley is in third position, a -1 under par 71 second round leaving him on his own at -8 under par.

Of the six players I mentioned yesterday that would struggle to make the cut, three of them did, and three did not. Missing the cut were Webb Simpson, Louis Oosthuizen and Phil Mickelson.

Mickelson

Phil / Getty Images

Phil stated that he had gone soft;

“I don’t feel bad about the game, but mentally, I’m just really soft right now. I don’t know what to say, I don’t feel bad about the way I’m hitting it. I don’t feel like the misses are bad. I haven’t driven the ball this well ever, for how I feel anyway, but getting the ball to the hole, getting the shots close, getting the putts to go. I just haven’t been able to do it. So I feel like it’s more of a mental issue and I’ll go home and see if I can work on it.”

Adam Scott and Brandt Snedeker both made the cut on the number, even par, with Jimmy Walker going one better and getting in at -1 under par. Rory McIlroy also made the cut on the number, even though he shot 42 on the front nine and appeared headed home early until making birdie on the 18th hole to salvage a 74 to make the cut.

Rory said he is struggling to get a score;

“I have struggled to grind, the last couple of weeks I’ve been able to do well. It’s not the position I want to be in, battling back to make the cut, but at least I’m in for the weekend.”

Adam needs to finish in the top 16 to have a chance to move past Tiger Woods to No. 1 in the world, and said he would be working hard to achieve that;

“Two rounds like today over the weekend could go a very long way. You never know what conditions will be like and what this course can do. Usually a low weekend around quality golf courses like this go a long, long way, so I’ll be grinding very hard.”

There is indeed a lot that could happen to alter the course of this tournament, not least having to play the dreaded 17th hole twice over the week-end.

The Players. Marvelous Martin Kaymer Leads

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THE PLAYERS Championship

Marvelous Martin Kaymer is leading The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

Martin opened his account at TPC Sawgrass with a record tying  -9 under par 63, which gave him a two shot lead in the tournament. He spoke about the soft conditions;

” You can be a little bit more aggressive because the greens are softer than the last few years, but it’s not an easy golf course. You have to hit a lot of fairways.  If you hit the fairways then you can go for some flags, but once you’re in the rough, especially with that grass and the Bermuda grass from the rough, it’s very difficult to judge the distances.  Then it’s a very tricky golf course.  But I hit a lot of fairways today, and therefore I could go for some flags.”

Russell Henley is in second place, two shots adrift after his first round -7  under par 65. He said playing more conservatively actually helped him with his round, along with feeling comfortable with the putter;

“Playing some of the holes a little less aggressive has helped me to stay in there and make some pars. I knew I was playing well and felt really comfortable on the greens. As long as I keep feeling comfortable with the putter, I think I can putt well on these greens.”

Third position belongs to Sang-moon Bae, a -6 under par round to kick off his tournament in fine style.  There some eight players all tied for fourth spot at -5 under par, including Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood.

Sergio won in Qatar earlier this year, and he has a good history at TPC Sawgrass;

You go through ups and downs in your life, in your career, and I’ve had really, really good times; really, really happy times. And then I’ve had times that were a little bit more down. I think it happens to all of us. You’ve got to try to enjoy those good times as much as possible and learn from the tough ones and hopefully make them as short as possible. I think at the end of the day, that’s all you can really do.”

After day 1 all the talk is really about those who will be struggling to make the cut. there some very familiar names in this bracket;  Phil Mickelson (75), Webb Simpson (75), Brandt Snedeker (75), Jimmy Walker (75), Louis Oosthuizen (77) and Adam Scott (77).

Phil got off to the slowest start of his PGA Tour career, and then had to make a 6-foot par putt on his last hole to card his 75. Phil does not know what is happening. he needed 33 putts on his round today. He did say he would come out tomorrow and play hard;

“I don’t know. I don’t know,I don’t feel like any parts of the game are bad, I just have a hard time seeing the ball go in the hole and getting it to go in the hole. It’s soft, there’s just a lot of birdies out there. Yeah, it’s a little disappointing and frustrating. I was playing well and hit a lot of greens, but it was frustrating because I was over par. I don’t know if it’s just the greens or what, but I’m not really sure what it is yet.”

“Come out and try to play as hard as I can and see how low I can shoot, but I’m not real worried about it, it’s just not quite clicking right now.”

The Masters. Brilliant Bubba at his Best.

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Bubba Watson was at  his brilliant best as he won his second Green Jacket winning The Masters at Augusta National.

Bubba Watson held off 20-year-old Jordan Spieth to become the 17th player with multiple Masters wins. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Bubba Watson receiving his jacket from Adam Scott / Getty Images

 

Bubba confidently cruised around Augusta National to card a final round -3 under par 69 and slipping on the Green Jacket once again. Apparently green is Bubba’s color;

“This one is a lot different, it’s almost like I lucked into it in 2012, and this one was a lot of hard work and dedication. After giving away that jacket last year, I wanted to get it back, I told Adam we should just kind of switch back and forth.  I never loved green so much.”

Jordan Spieth had to settle for a tie in second place with Jonas Blixt, both of them three shots adrift at -5 under par for the tournament.

Jordan said is was fun to be in the final group, but losing hurts;

” That was fun, but at the same time, it hurts right now, I wanted to get in contention on the back nine Sunday, but didn’t come out on top.”

After starting level with Bubba at the start of play on the final round, Jordan let it all slip away with some casual putting, carding a last round of level par 72. It was still an amazing tournament for the 20 year-old, and hopefully he will have learned a lot from this experience.

Jonas also enjoys playing in the Majors

“I think they are a lot of fun to play, it’s really tough. You beat your head in a little bit but you can’t beat yourself up too bad. The atmosphere, there are so many people here, the excitement of being here, it just adds to the experience. I love majors. I love when it’s tough. The harder the better.”

 

A very honorable mention must go to Miguel Angel Jimenez, next week this man will make his Champions Tour debut. He shot a final round of -1 under par 71 Sunday which gave him a creditable  fourth place on his own. He really wants a place on the next European Ryder Cup team;

I’m going to play only next week. I plan to focus myself for the Ryder Cup and then I need to play in the European Tour for that. If you don’t play over there you won’t have as good of chances. I would like to play on the Ryder Cup and I would like to help Europe defend the Ryder Cup. I would love to do that.”

This has been another very good golfing contest, both with the high standard of play, and the exquisite lay-out of the Augusta National course.

 

The Masters. Amazing Bubba Blitz at Augusta.

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An amazing blitz from Bubba Watson sees him top the leaderboard in The Masters at Augusta National

 

Bubba Watson stood out among the crowd after shooting a 68 on Friday at the Masters. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Bubba playing to the crowd / Getty Images

Bubba shot a second round -4 under par 68 to top the leaderboard at Augusta by three shots. He said he was trying not to get too excited, and stay focused, he remembered the hang-over he suffered after his Green Jacket win;

“Just keep my head down, not try to focus on the crowds cheering for me and stuff. Trying to stay level, not too energized, not too excited. Never been drunk before, but had a hangover from the green jacket, if you had one, you would celebrate it for a year or two.”

“It’s not science here, it’s try to hit the greens. And if you’re hitting the greens, that means you’re obviously hitting your tee shots well. So that’s all I’m trying to do is just hit the greens, maybe throw in a birdie here or there. That’s what I’ve done the last two days and it’s worked out so far.”

Bubba’s  putt on the 14th hole easily traveled around 50 feet after it turned almost 90 degrees to the left and rolled into the cup. It was just his luck that Sergio had a chip shot that rolled over the very spot where Bubba had marked his putt. The Sergio chip showed him the way.

“Without Sergio’s chip, I probably would have three-putted it.”

John Senden is in second pace at -4 under par, after he had completed his second round of -4 under par 68, the same as Bubba. He is playing with a smile on his face;

If I keep believing in myself and enjoying it, that’s the difference, it’s about keeping a smile on your face when you’re under pressure. I’ve been here five times now and learned where to go and where not to go. You just have to accept where the ball ends up and play the best shot you can.”

” The secret of this course is keeping the big numbers off the card. They kind of put you straight out of contention and if you can do that well you have a chance. There are plenty of ups and downs on this golf course. I just want to go out there and do my best and hope that’s good enough.”

There are four players tied in third place at -3 under par, Thomas Bjorn, Jonas Blixt, Jordan Spieth and defending champion Adam Scott, who carded an even par 72 second round.

Adam reported that it was all too easy to drop shots out on the course today;

“It was very difficult out there today. It’s starting to get pretty easy to drop shots out there, tomorrow is a big day for everyone. Anything even par or better at a major is normally a good score, especially today, I would say. It kept me in the tournament.”

“It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but given everything, I’m absolutely satisfied with that. It just means tomorrow’s round’s extremely important for me. It’s going to have to be maybe the best round of the week.”

The patrons favorite, fabulous Freddie Couples, not only made the cut, but is in contention following a spirited second round -1 under par 71, to be tied in seventh place at -2 under par. Not bad for a 53 year-old.

Among those missing the cut were the big names of Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson, Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner.

The Masters. Haas Heads the Field.

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Bill Hass heads the field following the conclusion of the first round of The Masters at Augusta National.

Bill Haas / Getty

Bill opened his account at Augusta with a -4 under par 68 round that took him to the top of the Masters leaderboard. He admitted it could easily have been worse, his putter saved him over the first five holes;

“I easily could have still been 1 over, the putter kind of saved me and settled me down. I know there’s tons of golf left, and maybe understanding that, I know that I can’t expect too much. You’ve just got to go out there and keep playing golf, try to hit that fairway on No. 1 tomorrow.”

The defending champion Adam Scott is sitting comfortably, tied in second place at -3 under par after his first round of 69, and spoke about nerves;

“The first few holes of the Masters is the most nervous I ever get on a golf course. I certainly feel like I prepared very well for this event and I was comfortable with my game anyway.”

Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen are tied with Adam at -3 under par after they also carded opening efforts of 69. Bubba  was the only player to go bogey-free, and it put him within one shot of the lead.

Brandt Snedeker takes a penalty, but thinks the course is in perfect shape, scoring a first round -2 under par 70;

“The ball was on a spot on a hill on the side of the bunker and in the rough, it was right on the edge. I couldn’t believe it stayed where it did. I took a practice swing and the ball;  just kind of nestled over. Then it rolled an inch or something like that and I had to replace it and take a shot penalty.”

“The greens are as firm and fast as I’ve seen for a Thursday, the wind changed 15 times today. This golf course is right on the edge, it’s in perfect shape, and they got it exactly how they want it. The pin positions today were brutal. There was not one getable pin out there where you felt like you can make a birdie and get it going. You had to hit some quality golf shots to make birdies.”

I have a lot of good memories here, I have a lot of good friends here. I love the golf course, and it comes through in my play, I have a lot of fun here. I like the challenge of this place and how much pressure it puts on you on every shot.”

Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose both shot a +4 over par 76, while Rory McIlroy returned an opening scorecard of -1 under par 71 to be T12.

Rory was happy to be under par on the day;

“For the most part, I felt like I put my ball in the positions they needed to be in and it was just one of those days it was tough to get it close to the hole, the greens are firming up. The wind was all over the place. Anything under par today was a good score.”

“It’s about putting your ball in the right place and it becomes more of a mental challenge than anything else, just playing to your spots. It almost becomes like chess, where you’re just making these moves. That hasn’t been my forte in the past, but I’ll learn to love it this week.”

Looks like Phil and Justin will have to fight to make the cut.

Arnold Palmer Invitational. Subdued Scott Still Leads.

dragon logo darkArnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard Logo Adam Scott had a very subdued third round, but still leads the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

Adam Scott had four bogeys Saturday but remains three ahead at Bay Hill. (Cohen/Getty Images)

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Adam Scott carded a very subdued -1 under par 71 in the third round at Bay Hill, and saw his seven shot lead shrink to three strokes going into the final round. He now has a total of -15 under par, and seeing the guys catch up a little knows he is in a tournament and will have to buckle down and find a good round to win;

” I think I’ve got to go out and try to win the golf tournament, I’m not trying to win the No. 1 ranking. I’ve got a bunch of guys breathing down my neck who all have had nice rounds today and are feeling pretty good about the way they’re playing going into tomorrow. So I’m going to have to play a pretty sharp round of golf and not open the door at all. When you’ve got the lead, you have to work for it, I’m still in good shape.”

“When you don’t start birdie-birdie today, then you know the other guys have got nothing to lose and they’re going for it. They’ve got to close the gap. It doesn’t surprise me at all. You think seven is a lot, but it’s not really, especially over 36 holes. If I was seven back at any other tournament, I would think I could still win.”

Keegan Bradley birdied his last three holes for a third round -6 under par 66 to claim second place alone at -12 under par for the tournament. he likes being the under-dog and thinks tomorrow will be a fun day;

” I just kind of like that under-dog role, I like knowing that I’ve got to go out there and play well. It really gets me excited. And playing in the final group with one of the best players in the world at Arnold Palmer’s tournament is what we all dream to do. Tomorrow is going to be a really fun day. I’m really striking the ball well and finally seeing putts go in.”

Two players are tied in third position at -11 under par, they are, Matt Every, who also signed for -6  under par 66 and Jason Kokrak who carded a -5 under par 67 today.

Matt is adjusting to not having a full-time coach,

“Last year I had a full-time coach, he was awesome, and I learned a ton. But I kind of got lazy and started relying a little too much on other people to help me. If I was hitting it bad, I would go, ‘I’ll wait until next week when he comes back and I’ll straighten it out.’ That’s terrible.”

“This year, I’m trying to do everything by myself, just be committed to everything, and trust, just trust in myself, and my caddie, too.”

“I think I’ve been too aggressive on Sundays. You can hit good shots out here on Sundays, and it might not turn out great. It’s not nerves, it’s really not. It just, you know, it just hasn’t happened. But eventually, I’m pretty sure it will.”

Well yesterday I said the engraver could do his work and go home, and although Adam’s lead has been severely trimmed I still believe he will win.