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

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.

Memorial Tournament, Casey Leads, Rory; 63 to 78 ?

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Paul Casey leads the Memorial Tournament as Rory McIlroy goes from 63 to 78.

Casey leads at Memorial

Paul Casey / Getty Images

Paul opened up a gap at the top of the Memorial Tournament leaderboard as he recorded another -6 under par round of 66, giving him a three stroke lead over the field at -12 under par. He was definitely over the moon with his excellent round;

“I was ecstatic with the way I played, there was a couple of mistakes in there but that’s Muirfield Village. It’s a tricky golf course and you don’t need to do a lot wrong to make a mistake.”

“All I focused on was just trying to hit fairways and give myself great birdie opportunities, and just take my chances where I could and pay respect to the golf course where I had to and see what happened.”

Bubba Watson is three shots back, occupying second place on his own at -9 under par, following an erratic round of -3 under par 69. He managed to compile 5 bogey’s, 6 birdies and 1 Eagle in a topsy-turvy round, even playing one shot off the tarmac path. He said it is all a learning curve;

“It’s a learning process of how to be a Masters champion, how to deal with the pressures of that and also the pressures of being a dad for the first time. Right now I’m handling it, and I understand what it takes to be a dad and husband.”

Third place belongs to Chris Kirk, at -8 under par, after his -2 under par round of 70. Martin Flores and Hideki Matsuyama are tied for fourth at -7 under par.

Rory McIlroy totally collapsed, signing for a second round of 78, he thinks it is not too disastrous;

Rory McIlroy

Rory / Getty Images

” I missed fairways; that was the big thing, I didn’t realize how thick the rough was until I got in it today, it’s thick. I hit a decent drive on 10, was just in the rough, couldn’t get to the green, made bogey there. And then I just kept missing fairways and making it tough for myself. And obviously that little three-hole stretch — 13, 14, 15 — didn’t help. Take those three holes out of it, then it wouldn’t actually have been that bad a day.”

“These little runs I’m getting on where it gets away from me, I was able to avoid that last week. Not so much this week. It’s not disastrous, even though I had such a bad day, I’m still in with a chance, depending on what the guys do this afternoon. So going into the weekend, not exactly where I want to be. But could be worse.”

Phil Mickelson carded a -2 under par 70 today, to at least make the cut, but his poor form really continues;

“I’ve had a little rough go, although my game feels good, I still have some challenges mentally and finishing the round yesterday, that’s a great example there. If I finish that round off, I’m up there top two or three. So it’s little things like that, that are making the big difference between where I’m at, 30th, and top 5.”

My game is feeling good, it actually is feeling good. I just have some challenges, and I’m glad I’m playing this weekend. It will give me two more rounds on a good golf course to see if I can have something to build on.”

Memorial Tournament. Rory Roars Ahead.

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 Rory McIlroy roars ahead in the first round of the Memorial Tournament, topping the leaderboard by three shots.

McIlroy magical at Muirfield

Magical Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rampant Rory carded a first round -9 under par 63 at Muirfield Village, taking a  three shot lead into the second round of the Jack Nicklaus hosted event. That score included a double bogey as well, which denied Rory a chance of setting a new course record. The flight over from England, fresh from his win at Wentworth, did not bother him one little bit. Even a tweak in his left knee on the 7th hole did not deter him either;

“Monday seemed like a long day and it just sort of felt like when I got here it was just a different tour. You’re getting ready for the U.S. Open. It’s a big tournament, the Memorial in itself.

“And I prepared well. I came here early Tuesday morning, practiced, did a good session on the range yesterday after the pro-am in the afternoon, so I’ve been putting a lot of work in, and it seems to be paying off.”

“I wear spikes, so sometimes your foot can get stuck in the ground and you can torque your knee a little too much. I think that’s what I did, I tweaked it. The inside of it is sore, it’s a little swollen. Go see the physio and get some treatment and get ice on it, and hopefully it will be OK for tomorrow.”

Rory needed only 22 putts during this first round and said that this sort of form had been in the pipeline for sometime;

“This has been coming, it’s been coming. My performances have been really good, been shooting really good scores.  There’s just been runs of holes in tournaments where I haven’t played so well and I’ve shot it 4 or 5 over in the space of nine holes, and that’s really just derailed my tournament.”

“Last week I just didn’t do that. And that’s down to nothing more than hitting good golf shots and hitting good putts and limiting my mistakes whenever I get in trouble on the golf course.”

There are three players tied in second place at -6 under par after completing their first rounds of 66, which is a good score around this course. Paul Casey, Chris Kirk and Bubba Watson are the guys trying to chase down Rory.

Phil Mickelson was putting together a decent first round until the last three holes, dropping from -5 under par to even, in the blink of an eye. He does not like the 16th since Jack redesigned it in 2010, he made bogey there and then recorded double bogey from the middle of the fairway at the 17th. Another mess at the 18th hole where he three-putted for another double bogey. Phil spoke about that 16th hole;

“It’s a feast or famine hole for me, it doesn’t set up well for a left-handed shot dispersion. It has to be a perfectly struck shot. And I just go in the water there most of the time, because I don’t want to pull it way to the right. I was playing well, but the last three holes just threw away a good round.”

 

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. Bubba Backs Up. Jordan Jumps Into Share of the Lead.

dragon logo darkMasters Flag   Bubba Watson backs up in The Masters on Saturday as Jordan Spieth jumps into a    share of the lead at Augusta National.

 

 

 

 Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Bubba Watson could only move backwards on moving day at The Masters, shooting a third round +2 over par 72. Jordan Spieth carded a -2 under par 70 to join Bubba at the top of the leaderboard on -5 under par for the tournament.

While Bubba seemed to lose concentration, Jordan just stayed focused, as the 20 year-old, vying to become the youngest ever Masters champion explained;

“You can’t let your focus go astray for one moment. It was about being patient, knowing that bogeys were going to come, and take advantage of the par fives. I’m able to take a lot of confidence out of today, a lot of positives. I wanted to get into contention, not just as a goal to get into contention, but to see how I can perform on a Sunday.”

“Today was a day to stay patient and try and get myself a later tee time even than today, and that goal was accomplished. And tomorrow is about seeing how I can control my game and emotions out on the golf course against guys that have even won here recently. So they have been in the position I haven’t. Doesn’t necessarily mean, I don’t think, that they have an advantage in any way. I think that I’m very confident in the way things are going, and really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Matt Kuchar and Jonas Blixt are tied in third place, just one shot back at -4  under par. Matt put together a -4 under par 68 third round. Jonas with a more conservative -1 under par 71.

 

 Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 50 year-old, who is known as “The Mechanic” aims to put a spanner in the works and try to win the tournament, just before he plays his first Champions League event;

“If you are fifty doesn’t mean that you cannot play well, I’m still moving, I’m still flexible. I love the place, it’s a beautiful place, a beautiful golf course, always manicured and I feel great here.The main thing is enjoy yourself, enjoy what you are doing and smile. Not enough people smile on the golf course. I love what I’m doing, and I hope I’m still in the same conditions for another 25 years. I’m not going to get bored of myself.”

 “Doesn’t matter how you play, you feel good, because everything is prepared for us the way it is. If you don’t hit good, you don’t want to be there. You need to hit good and you need to be patient, and you need to be into your own zone. I like it and that’s my style of game and what I love, what I love to do.”

 Miguel is tied in fifth place with Rickie Fowler at -3 under par.

 Lee Westwood is a shot further back at -2 under par, and  he has not finished lower than 11th in his last three appearances at Augusta National;

“Augusta is one of those places where I feel like I can get around, and I felt like I know how to get around here, even if I’m maybe not on my game. But I’ve hit the ball well this week and that’s why I’m in contention.” 

” The par fives are no gimmes around here, but if you’re going to shoot a low score then you’ve got to play them a couple under. There’s little birdie chances out there and I used all of them the first two days. And today played solidly and had a lot of chances out there. I was a bit unlucky at times on the greens. I had a lot of good putts that didn’t go in.”  

I guess that anyone in red figures now, has a chance to don the Green Jacket tomorrow, and that’s basically what Lee Westwood is thinking;

 “Anywhere within five, even six shots of the lead going into the final round of the Masters is given a good chance, especially with the way the golf course is playing out here. Even a good shot can drop you shots out there. Kind of on the knife edges of the greens.”

 

 

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.