Northern Trust Open. William McGirt the New Leader.

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William McGirt is the new leader of the Northern Trust Open at he end of day 3 at the Riviera Country Club, in Pacific Palisades, California.

William McGirt / Getty Images

 William  accumulated 8 birdies in 13 holes at Riviera County Club on moving day, to sign for a third round -6 under par 65, giving him a tournament total of -12 under par.

He said he really appreciated playing on the TOUR;

“When you’re around mini-tours for eight years and go through a bunch of heartaches at Q-school, once you finally get here, you really have to appreciate it. I’ve just got to go play my game tomorrow and hope that it’s good enough.”

In second place at -10 under par are Charlie Beljan and George McNeill,  George had a -5 under par third round of 66, while Charlie carded -3 under par 68.

Tied in fourth spot are Jason Allred and Brian Harman, both at -9 under par.

Jason is another player who is soaking up the atmosphere playing on the Tour, especially the reaction he got when sinking a ten foot putt on the last hole to card a -4 under par 67. He also spoke about his expectations;

” Making the putt on eighteen is probably the most excitement I felt from the crowd ever in my career.I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be able to be at a place in my life. I just have so much to be thankful for with my amazing family. It just feels great to be out here and soak it up.”

“I need to be honest, it’s totally blown them out of the water, but also to be honest, even when I go out to practice, whether it’s to prepare for a gate way tournament or this week, I still have that belief in me that I have it in me to win big golf tournaments. At times, even I have a hard time believing that over the years, but it sure is fun to be out here and be able to have a chance.”

There is a bunch of formidable players sitting on -8 under par, Jordan Spieth (67), Dustin Johnson (69) and Jimmy Walker (67), who is going for his fourth win of the season after winning last week in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am. Also in that group are a pair of Masters champions, Bubba Watson (64) and Charl Schwartzel (68).

Bubba had the round of the day, -7 under par 64, the boys at the top had better not look back over their shoulders, the sight of one of these top players coming after you is likely to give you a case of the colly-wobbles.

The chasing top class players with William in the middle / Getty Images

Northern Trust Open, John Merrick With Play-Off Dream Win

Merrick wins Northern Trust Open in playoff  (Source: Reuters)

John Merrick / Reuters

John Merrick won the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, with a final tournament total of – 11 under par. He beat fellow American Charlie Beljan with a par at the second playoff hole, the drive-able par four 10th.

John said of his dream win;

” Growing up here in LA, I just wanted to come to this tournament. Now to win it, this is a dream come true. You dream, when you’re alone sometimes, you think about different scenarios of winning tournaments. It was fun. We would always play here at UCLA and have great games out here. To be able to play the tournament was a dream of mine. But to win? I can’t describe it. It’s so much fun.”

Charlie did not think too much of hole ten as a play-off hole;

“I think you could play here 10,000 times and still not know how to play No. 10. Eighteen is a great golf hole. I just find it tough that we go to No. 10 to play a playoff hole. I think it’s a great hole, don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking it. But it’s just a tough hole to have a playoff on. We might as well go and put a windmill out there and hit some putts. I made every clutch putt that you would ever ask to make, and then to make that putt on 18 and hear the roar was really special. Obviously, not the way I wanted to end it, but you know what? You win some, you lose some, and that’s how it goes.”

Freddie Jacobson was one of three players who tied for third place, he missed a four-foot par putt on the last green that would have put him into the play-off, he bristled with indignation when asked about that missed chance;

“You want me to touch that one, only that one? I cannot speak about something else? The last putt wasn’t very good.”

Freddie was tied with the defending champion Bill Haas and Charl Schwartzel, all at -10 under par for the tournament.

Bill unfortunately let a three shot lead at the start of play on the last day slip away;

” Positives to be taken, but overall, you don’t get this many opportunities. A three-shot lead at one of the best tournaments of the year is a great opportunity that I squandered.”

 

PGA Tour Parts Company with Mickey and Minnie, and The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.

 

It was a sad day Monday when the PGA Tour released a portion of its 2013-14 schedule, with one glaring omission. The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic is not part of the new lineup. Tournament spokesperson Tony Morreale announced;

 “It was a mutual decision between us and the Tour.”

The Disney event has  been a permanent fixture on the Tour since 1971, when Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural Walt Disney World Open Invitational, and in recent years it has enjoyed being the final event on the circuit’s schedule. For sometime now speculation had been building  that with the Tour’s transition to a split-calendar schedule beginning next season, and the loss of its title sponsor, November’s event, which was last won by Charlie Beljan, would be the end of the Miracles for the Children.

Ryan Palmer the 2004 Disney champion, said;

” I honestly think it would have gotten a better field as part of the FedEx Cup. It will be sad to see an event like this go away. Disappointed to see it leave.”

The Frys.com Open will start the 2013-14 schedule beginning Oct. 20-13 followed by the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (Oct. 17-20) in Las Vegas. Then following two events in Asia, CIMB Classic (Oct. 24-27) and World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (Oct. 31-3) – the circuit returns to North America for The McGladrey Classic in Georgia and the OHL Classic at Mayakoba (Mexico) in November. After November there will be a break of one and a half months before the Tour resumes it’s season with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions Friday Jan 4 – Monday Jan 7, 2013, at the Plantation Course at Kapalua · Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.

The Greenbrier Classic, 54 hole leader, Webb Simpson

Unfinished business

Webb Simpson/Martin/Getty Images

Webb Simpson has a two shot lead at The Greenbrier Classic after a beautifully crafted third round of -5 under par 65 and a total of -14 under par, at The Old White TPC, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The tournament he could and probably should have won last year. Two strokes adrift is Troy Kelly, who enjoyed a magnificent round of -8 under par, 62 for a tournament total of -12 under par, and a further shot back are three players on -11 under par. Those players are, Ken Duke, J.B. Holmes and Charlie Beljan.

After being congratulated on a good round, Webb replied;

” It was a similar round to yesterday. I just had to be patient there early, I couldn’t get anything to drop on the first six holes. But, you know, this golf course will give you some birdies. If you kind of keep plotting and putting the ball in the fairway, you’ll have plenty of wedge opportunities. That’s what I did, and fortunately for me I took advantage of those holes coming in. I wasn’t greedy, I would have taken two or three, but I got five so it’s a great feeling to play another bogey-free round and I’m in great position for tomorrow. “

He admitted that not having Tiger Woods in the mix was comforting;

“When he’s not lurking around on Saturdays and Sundays, it makes it a little easier I think for other guy’s. I’ve almost got to imagine that these guys are all going to shoot 4, 5 under. I’ve got to stay aggressive.”

Troy Kelly said he had fun out there;

” You know, I played good. I got off to a good start. I made about an eight-footer on the 1st hole and I made about, gosh, probably about a 20-footer on 2. So that got my round going at least, got me comfortable for the day. It was just nice to see some putts go in. I haven’t made a lot of putts the last, I mean, pretty much the whole year. I mean, if you look at my statistics, my ranking’s not very good in the putting category, so it’s just good to see some putts go in. And I had fun today, it was a fun round. I haven’t made a lot of putts pretty much the whole year. It’s just good to see some putts go in. I had fun today.”

Troy Kelly underwent hip-replacement surgery in September 2010 after being diagnosed with arthritis, he is happy just to be playing;

“For me to just play this game at a high level, I had to go get it done.”

43-year-old Ken Duke commented on how hot it was out on the course, but he also had some fun;

” Very hot day, but it was a good solid round. Didn’t get off to a very good start, but made a couple of birdies on 5 and 6, kind of got the round going. Hit some really good shots in that little stretch right there, and got 10, 11 and 12, so it kind of got the day going and having fun out there and that’s what it’s all about.”

J.B. Holmes had part of his skull removed in September 2011, four months after he started having vertigo symptoms. He only returned to the Tour in January. He believes his swing and yardage assessment has become better since his return;

“I feel like I’ve improved a whole lot and really narrowing it down and getting back to where I was.”