Tour Championship. Billy and Chris Show the Way.

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Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk, the in form people, are leading the Tour Championship together, tied at the top of the East Lake Golf Club leaderboard.

TOUR Championship

Billy Horschel / Getty Images

Billy and Chris both recorded opening rounds at The TOUR Championship of -4 under par 66 at East Lake Golf Club. Although Billy’s wife Brittany is expecting a baby any time soon, she told him to keep playing golf;

My wife is totally on board, she’s a golfer. She understands what this victory and FedExCup Playoffs and what it all means. I’ve probably got the greatest wife out here.”

“There wasn’t much discussion. I brought up the question. She said you’re staying.” 

“I won’t find out on the course, because my focus may be taken away from the task at hand. But after the round’s over with, I will be flying home, spend a few hours and then flying back later that day or the next morning before the round of golf.”

“Having a chance to win $10 million and our first child on the way, it’s pretty amazing, especially the time of year that it’s happening.”

“Listen, Hunter Mahan did a great thing last year pulling out, but I would think if he was in my position with winning, having a chance to win, roughly $10 million more, if you had the TOUR Championship winner’s check and everything, I think it would be maybe a no brainer to stay put and keep playing and go home in between rounds.” 

Chris mentioned the solid rounds they both played today, and how good it was to go round with Billy;

“We both had a solid day, Billy’s obviously been playing some pretty incredible golf with winning last week and finishing second the week before.  And I’ve been doing all right myself.”

“So it was a comfortable pairing for both of us, I think, and the golf course played really, really well. It was tough, but very fair. And we both had it going pretty nice.”

There are four players tied in third place, Jim Furyk, Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed, all on -3 under par for the tournament.

Patrick is in the unenviable position of choosing which caddy to use, wife Justine, who has recently given birth to their son, or  her brother Kessler, who him helped win two tournaments when Justine was not available;

“Depends on how Justine feels, what her comfort level is and what she feels like doing.” 

“I mean, whether she’s caddying or whether Kessler’s caddying, I know I can play well. I’ve won with both of them, played some great golf with both of them.”      

“Obviously it’s more of a family decision on what we feel is most comfortable not only for us but also for little Windsor Wells.”

The gathered media could only ask Bubba who was longest off the tee, him or Rory, great answer from Bubba;

“Who cares. Ask Rory. He could care less, too. Listen, all we want to do is win. We’re trying to win golf tournaments. Jim Furyk’s record, Corey Pavin’s record’s a lot better than Bubba Watson. So I wish I hit it like them, I guess.”

Rory had a slow start to this tournament, currently at -1 under par, along with Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Ryan Palmer.

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

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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.

 

Memorial Tournament. Matsuyama Makes It, Bubba Blows it.

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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

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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.

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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.