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Shell Houston Open, Matt Jones Wins In Play-Off

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo     Matt Jones beat Matt Kuchar in a play-off for the Shell Houston Open title, in Texas.

Matt Jones

Matt Jones / Getty Images

Matt Jones was tied with Matt Kuchar at the end of regular play, both returning scores of -15 under par for the Shell Houston Open.

Matt Jones carded a final round -6 under par 66, while Matt Kuchar got bogged down and could only achieve an even par last round 72, which sent the pair of them into the play-off. Jonesy chipped in for a birdie at the first extra hole, and that was it;

“I walked up there and told my caddie I was going to chip it in, my chipping has been pretty good for a while. When I know what I have to do, I seem to be able to pull it off moreso. Especially playing golf with my friends, if I have to birdie to beat them, somehow I do it. It was nice to be able to do it on this stage.”

” Going to Augusta is amazing, the win means everything to me right now because that’s what we play for is to win. To have Augusta as a reward for that win is amazing.”

Matt Kuchar stood in the Golf Club of Houston’s 18th fairway, then unbelievably pulled his 214-yard approach shot into water, left of the green.  He got up-and-down from 64 yards to save bogey and force a playoff;

 “I didn’t want to bail out right, and I figured I’d try to hit a good shot. I just hit it a little too far left, unfortunately. It’s smarter to bail out and give yourself a chance, but I was looking to try and make four and win the tournament.”

“I’m hoping to keep improving, I’m hoping to keep the train going. Certainly fantastic stuff (by Matt Jones) to birdie 18 twice. That’s probably the hardest hole on the golf course, and for him to put two 3s is pretty impressive stuff.”

Sergio Garcia finished in third place at -13 under par, while Cameron Tringale settled for  fourth position at -12 under par.

Rory McIlroy equaled the low round of the week in the final round, a -7 under par 65. If he plays like that at Augusta he will be a real contender for the Green Jacket;

“It was a good way to end the week, I wanted to shoot something in the 60s at least today to give me some positive vibes going into Augusta. I played really well, played really solid from tee-to-green again.”

Rory finished in seventh place, and is now looking forward to the Major next week at Augusta.

Shell Houston Open. Matt Makes A Move.

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo Matt Kuchar makes a move in the Shell Houston Open, opening up a four shot lead.

Matt Kuchar's last victory came at last season's Memorial Tournament. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Matt Kuchar / Getty Images

Matt Kuchar was in cruise control as he eased his way through the third round with a -4 under par 68, to top the leaderboard in the Shell Houston Open at -15 under par.

Matt said it was nice to be in a position to have a shot at winning once again;

“It’s a nice position to have played well last week, to have been in the last group with a chance to win, and to come back this week, completely different course, and have another shot to win. It’s a bummer to three-putt the last one, my speed got a little off there, but all in all putted well. I’m not at all disappointed with the way I putted or the way I played. I’m pretty pleased.”

” Having a four-shot lead is a great position to be in,  I think I’ll just go out and try to turn the four-shot lead into a five-shot lead and see if I can keep going. ‘I’ve been playing some steady golf for a couple of years now and feel like my chances of playing well tomorrow are pretty good.”

Second place is shared between Cameron Tringale and Sergio Garcia, at -11 under par for the tournament.  Sergio, the 36-hole leader could only manage a +1 over par on Saturday. Cameron recorded a very respectable -3 under par 69.

With an 80% chance of rain forecast for Sunday, Sergio is worried about a Monday finish, leading up to the masters. Of course he first has to make up the four shots he is behind;

“I don’t think it’d be the best thing, for sure, it wouldn’t be very good. You’d have to squeeze everything together, get no rest.”

Cameron is working towards his first PGA TOUR victory, but has strangely booked a vacation in Hawaii with his family next week. If he wins here, his invite to the Masters would change all that;

“Hopefully I’ll have a good round tomorrow and maybe ‘ixnay’ those plans.”

Matt Jones had a third round -1 under par 71, he is now in fourth place on his own. Rickie Fowler shared the low round of the day, carding a -4 under par 68, he is T5 with Ben Curtis, both will need exceptional rounds tomorrow to contest this title.

Phil Mickelson will start the final round  in sixth place, nine shots off the lead. A third round  of even-par 72 put a huge dent into any plans he may have harbored about winning here;

“I feel like I putted really well, I felt really good with the putter. The ball-striking that was there the first two days kind of fell out and I had a tougher time putting them all together. I don’t know if I’ll have a good round tomorrow or not, but it’s close, a lot closer than it’s been.”

Rory McIlroy will start the final round way down the scoreboard, a third round +2 over par 74 kind of saw to that;

” Another uneventful day, I just haven’t really been able to get anything going this week. I feel like I’m playing well, like it’s all pretty much there, just something needs to get going. I’m driving the ball well, iron play feels good, short game feels pretty good. I putted much better today than I did the previous two days. I need a little spark to get me going.

“It’s nice that, just to get a week of competitive play, if there’s any sort of rust or if there’s anything you feel like you need to work on going into next week, it’s good to get it all out of the system this week.”

Shell Houston Open. Sergio Surges Ahead.

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo The Shell Houston Open  was brought to life when Sergio Garcia surged into the lead in round two.

Sergio Garcia's score of 12-under 132 matches the 36-hole low at the Golf Club of Houston. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia / Getty Images

Sergio surged into the lead early on in the second round of the Shell Houston Open, shooting a -7 under par 65 that took him one shot clear of the field at -12 under par for the tournament. He said he feels like he is play nicely, he needed only 25 putts today;

“I do feel like I’m playing nicely, I feel very comfortable with my equipment. I feel comfortable with myself in and outside the golf course.”

Matt Kuchar is just one shot back of the leader, a second round -5 under par 67 saw him climb up the leaderboard, finishing the day at -11 under par.

Matt and Sergio have a history of rivalry that goes all the way back to their amateur days. The two battled it out in the quarterfinals of the 1998 U.S. Amateur as the reigning British and U.S. Amateur champions. Sergio won that time around, and Matt is still quite taken with the way Sergio is playing, even tho he will likely be a Ryder Cup foe later this year;

“He’s fun to watch swing a golf club, he’s been putting it really well for a couple years now, he’s switched over to the claw grip and really rolls it nicely.”

Matt Jones is one of four players tied in third spot, at -8 under par for the tournament, sharing that place with him are, Cameron Tringale, Shawn Stefani and Jimmy Walker.

Matt needs a victory here to qualify him for his first Masters, he missed a chance at the BMW;

“I had a chance on the last hole at BMW Championship, from 6 feet, and I hit a great putt that I thought was in, and it lipped out, and that was the difference between me finishing top 30 and not. But I had a good year, I can’t complain at all.”

The FedExCup points leader, Jimmy Walker, is happy that the putts are dropping in again;

“I feel like I’m hitting it good and my putts are going back in, so I’m looking forward to the weekend and seeing what happens.I think when you’re really playing well, you make a lot of putts. I just kind of went through a stretch where I wasn’t making a ton. I think that plays a lot into it.”

 Local boy Shawn Stefani said it was nice to be playing golf in his home town;

“It’s just nice to come out here and play well at home.”

Phil Mickelson is excited to be in the mix for the week-end;

“I’m excited about the weekend because first of all I haven’t had many opportunities this year. I haven’t been in contention and I can feel my game start to get sharp.”

 Padraig Harrington is one of the notables who are missing the cut, he was disappointed, but will watch on TV;

The Masters is a great tournament. It’s worth watching. I’ll enjoy watching it. It’s disappointing to miss out.”

Padraig is joined in the going home crowd by, Charles Howell IIIJordan SpiethLouis OosthuizenTrevor Immelman and Defending Champion D.A. Points.

Shell Houston Open. D.A. Points the Way

D.A. Points leads after the first round of the Shell Houston Open at the Redstone Golf  Course, Tournament Course, in Humble  Texas.

Points made

D.A. Points / Getty Images

Darren Andrew Points fired in a first round of -8 under par 64, to lead the Shell Houston Open after the first round today in Texas, and has a one-shot lead over Cameron Tringale and John Rollins.

Darren was using a Ping Anser he first borrowed from his mother during his junior years, he thinks he should have been using all the time;

” Maybe I’m an idiot for not having used this putter the whole time, it worked well today. It’s one of those things, I holed some nice par putts yesterday in my pro-am. I didn’t hit it great, but I made a few good putts and the ball was going in the hole with nice pace and rolling real tight. And I thought, `All right, this might be the key that kind of gets me going.”

John Rollins managed a -7 under par 65 in the windier conditions in the afternoon, John said he gave himself a lot of opportunities in the tougher weather;

“I knew the conditions were going to be tough out there, knew the greens were fast, so that makes it tough as well. I just kept the ball in front of me and gave myself a lot of opportunities and got a solid round out of it.”

Rory McIlroy finished a disappointing round at +1 over par, he said;

“I felt like on the front nine I was a little tentative. I just tried to commit to myself a little more on the back nine and it seemed to help. If I could have got it back to even par, I would have been pretty happy, but I’m one over par and, hopefully, the conditions are a little calmer tomorrow morning. I think I learned from that over the last few weeks, I’ve got to keep my spirits up. I felt like I was doing that a bit too much at the Match Play and The Honda, and obviously we saw what happened there.”

Lets hope that Rory can make the cut, another miss would certainly set the alarm bells ringing.

Phil Mickelson was another who did not perform too well, finishing double-bogey, bogey, bogey to end up at even par. He was unhappy with today’s performance, and also spoke about not playing the week before Augusta;

“It was a disappointing finish, I feel really good with the putter, and I believe that as the tournament goes on, I’ll get better. It’s a very unusual situation for me here. I usually like to play the week before. I’m going to have to learn how to do that, now that we’re not really having tournaments conducive to getting ready for those events. This is a good opportunity for me to work on getting prepared properly in another spot outside of a tournament.”

Tampa Bay Championship. Kevin Streelman Triumphs

Logo Image

Kevin Streelman triumphed in the Tampa Bay Championship at Innisbrook Resort, Copperhead course. Kevin beat off the challenge of the more experienced players to lift his first PGA Tour trophy.

Steely resolve

Kevin Streelman / Greenwood / Getty Images

Kevin had a  two-shot triumph at the Tampa Bay Championship, presented by EverBank, his last round of  -4 under par, 67, and a tournament total of -10 under par. He said it was all about chasing your dreams;

” It just shows you what happens with determination and hard work, keep chasing your dreams and you never know what’ll happen. It wasn’t too long ago I was in a car driving myself around, dead broke. I was at peace for most of the day, we just tried to let go of the results and try to make good swings all day. To go bogey-free on this course for the weekend is something I’m pretty proud of. To get this is the culmination of a lot of a hard work, a lot of time spent late into the evening and getting up early in the morning, it’s really a dream come true.”

Back when he was a rookie,  Kevin was invited to join Whisper Rock. Some months later, he captured the club championship;

” Went from caddie to club champion at Whisper Rock, which is a pretty cool story.”

Kevin was unaware for a time that Bo Weekley was in the clubhouse at -8 under par,  it wasn’t until the middle of the back nine, that he realized Bo was on top of the leaderboard;

“I kind of saw it at number eight, but I didn’t know if he was done yet.”

Bo Weekley finished up in second place, but had been in the clubhouse  for couple of hours after his scintillating last round of -8 under par 63. He sat and watched as the field tried to chase him down, eventually Kevin did;

” My hat’s off to Streelman, he brought it to the house and played well. First victory, I’m happy for him.”

Third place went to Cameron Tringale, his last round of -5 under par, 66, for -7 under total was good enough to squeeze him past the trio of players at -6 under.

Tied for fourth at -6 under was World number three Luke Donald, left hander Greg Chalmers, and the favorite for the title for most of the day Justin Leonard.

Zurich Classic @ TPC Louisiana New Orleans

              

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana has two players leading after the first round. Both Ken Duke and Cameron Tringale had -7 under par rounds of 65, to lead the field by one shot. Following close behind are , Steve Stricker and Daniel Chopra, both firing very respectable rounds of 66,  -6 under par.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 26: Ken Duke birdies the 12th hole during the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 26, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.http://galleries.pgatour.com

The Big Easy, Ernie Els threatened to join the leaders for most of the day,until he bogeyed the par 3 17th, but then rallied to birdie the par 5 , 18th. he also finished with a round of 66 and -6 under par for the tournament.

Luke Donald continues his struggle this season with another sad round, finishing at +1, and suffered a double bogey at the par 3        17th hole, landing his tee shot into the water. He took a penalty drop, chipped onto the green then two putted for a 5. Luke will need a good day tomorrow to stick around for the weekend.

Another player not performing was Masters Champion, Bubba Watson, who had a first round 71, a -1 under par effort.

“My body is not where it wants to be. I can’t hit shots that I want to hit. I can’t hit it and make putts. I’m struggling out there. Just exhausted. Mentally exhausted.”

Zurich Classic, Round 1http://galleries.pgatour.com

 Since he’s the defending champion at TPC Louisiana, Bubba  knew he needed to show up and compete.

“I had to be here for that and I’m here but mentally I’m not here. I’m so out of it right now. Golf is a hard thing to do right now.”

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