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.

Valspar Championship. Garrigus Gets Ahead.

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Valspar Championship Logo

 

Robert Garrigus gets ahead in the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook on day 2 taking a three shot lead into the week-end.

Garrigus leads at Valspar

Robert Garrigus / Getty Images

Robert can not remember a better performance going into the week-end than the one he put together on day 2 at the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead course. He shot a second round -5 under par 66, to finish the day three shots ahead on -7 under par for the tournament;

“It’s the fishing, I think that puts me in a good frame of mind because I’m clear and not thinking about anything, just going out and having some fun. I probably hit one of the top-five shots of my life there on sixteen, out of the trees. Hit a low, cut 5-iron, then rose it up over the pine tree and cut it 40 yards and hit to ten feet. That’s just one of those shots that when you’re playing good and everything is rolling, you kind of expect it. It was a lot of fun to try it, and to pull it off was even better. I’ve spent half my life in the trees. I’ve had a lot of practice.”

Kevin Na is in second place, a second round -3 under par 68 gave him a total of -4 under par for the tournament. That was good enough for second spot alone.

Highest-ranked player in the field, Justin Rose shot a second round -3 under par, and joins Matt Every, Pat Perez and Matteo Manassero, all tied in third place at -3 under par.

Justin finally got some momentum going;

“I got some momentum going today, I worked my way into the tournament early. To finish strong with my round yesterday I think helped give me some momentum into day. It’s exactly how I needed to flow into the tournament.”

During the round today Pat Perez  was the first player to reach -5 under par for the tournament, until he missed two drives well to the left. The first was in the trees at No. 6, and then another wayward drive went out of bounds on No. 7. Both of them led to double bogeys, though Pat shrugged off the disappointment;

“Just move on and keep going.”

Danny Lee went from first to worst. He was tied for the lead Thursday, and then shot +8 over par for 79, and miss the cut. The cut was at +3  over par,  and because 84 players advanced, there will be a 54-hole cut to top 70 and ties on Saturday.

The list of players missing the cut was pretty impressive, they include;

Ernie Els, Mike Weir,  Camilo Villegas, Webb Simpson, Geoff Ogilvey, D.A. Points, VJ Singh, Angel Cabrera, Kyle Stanley and the wild man himself, John Daly, who propped up the whole field.

 

 

AT&T. Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Walker is Walking It.

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Jimmy Walker is easily walking all over the opposition at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Amazing place

A determined Jimmy Walker / Getty Images

Jimmy has notched up a six shot lead at the AT&T completing a -4 under par 67 on the Monterey Peninsular course to secure the lead at -13 under par. That was before play was suspended due to darkness, with others still to complete their rounds.

Play was suspended by darkness at 8:43 p.m. ET  after a delay of two hours and 20 minutes when wind gusts of up to 36 mph began to actually blow balls around on several greens. The third round will now resume at 10:30 a.m. ET tomorrow. I don’t expect anyone to catch Jimmy from the remaining players.

Jimmy said he had no idea what the weather was going to be like tomorrow;

“Who knows what the weather’s going to do. I know Pebble Beach is a tough golf course, especially with the winds. I’m excited to be here, to be in this position. This is why you play golf and work hard to be in this position.” 

Tim Wilkinson and Hunter Mahan also played Monterey Peninsular and are tied for second place at -7 under par after rounds of 69 and 72, respectively. Richard Lee is alone in fourth at -6 under par while Phil Mickelson, Blake Adams, Kevin Na, Ryan Palmer and Pat Perez are tied, another stroke behind.

D.A. Points  had been disqualified from the pro tournament for in inadvertently using a practice aid on the 18th tee in violation of Rule 14-3. A clever spectator videoed D.A. as he waited on the 18th tee, keeping warm by putting a soft green sponge ball under his arm while he swung a club. Disqualified, go figure.  D.A. did have the option of playing Spyglass on Saturday with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, his partner in the pro-am.

D.A. said he was happy to continue with his playing partner in the Pro-Am competition;

“It’s not every day that you get to play 18 holes at Spyglass, let alone 18 holes at Spyglass with Secretary Rice. She’s such a sweet, just warm hearted woman and she loves golf and she’s wanting to get better. I signed up to play at the  Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It’s not just about me and the golf tournament, it’s about playing with our amateurs and making sure they have a good time. And who knows, if we could have come out today and lit the scoreboard up, lit the place on fire, maybe she would have got to see tomorrow. And my intent was to come out and help her have a good time and give her an opportunity to keep playing.”

Condoleezza and her caddy, with D.A. Points / Getty Images

Congratulations D.A. you are a golfing gentleman.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Billy’s Birdie Blitz Wins It.

Billy Horschel’s six consecutive birdie blitz set up his first US PGA Tour victory at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, played on the TPC Louisiana golf course.

Finally the one

Billy Horschel / Graythen / Getty Images

Billy Horschel won the Zurich Classic with a final round of -8 under par 64, and tournament total of -20 under par. Billy needed to make a birdie on the 18th to win, but was a long way from the cup. D.A. Points had a five foot putt left for his birdie and that would have tied the scores. Pulling  on his powers of positive thinking, Billy told himself if he wanted to win here and now this 27 ft putt had to go in;

“I hadn’t made a long one all week and I said, I’m due. I was like, If it’s my time, this putt needs to go in.”

It did, and the celebrations began;

“I know it was pretty intense, there was a lot going on. It’s celebration time now.”

There were two weather delays during the final round, the second delay, for lightning, happened just before Billy could take his second shot on the 18th hole. That gave him the all important 52 minutes to reflect on what was at stake. As history now tells us, it did not alter Billy’s commitment one little bit;

‘ For some reason it puts me at ease a little bit. You don’t know how long your delay is going to be so you’ve just got to go with it and just wait it out. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as hard as it could have been.”

D.A. Points had to settle for second place with his -19 under par total, his last round of -7 under par 65 just not quite enough to get him back into the winners circle. Darren won the Shell Houston Open last month, beating Billy and Henrik Stenson. He was full of praise for Billy and the way he played;

” When a player goes out and shoots eight under and birdies the last hole to win, hats off to Billy. He’s played great all year. He was one shot shy of me at Houston and I’m a shot shy of him here. It’s just the way it goes.”

Kyle Stanley shot a solid -5 under par, 67 to finish in third position, with his total score of -17 under par.

The  14-year-old Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang finished in 71st spot, after making his second cut in two PGA TOUR events, the first coming at the Masters Tournament.

Lucas Glover, the overnight leader, seemed to suffer from the two weather delays, coming back from the first delay of 2 hours and 54 minutes, Lucas two putted for par and then never recovered his composure. He finished tied in fourth place at -15 under par, with Bobby Gates, five shots off the lead of Billy Horschel.

You can assume that Lucas had his mind on other important things going on, like the impending birth of his child, and the well-being of his wife.

 

 

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Lucas Still Leads

Lucas Glover still leads the Zurich Classic of New Orleans after the third round at TPC Louisiana, firing a -2 under par round for a -14 under par total.

Blast from the past

Lucas Glover / Graythen / Getty Images

Lucas is in control of the Zurich Classic, taking a two shot lead into the final day, that is unless he gets a call from his expectant wife. Lucas has said he would immediately leave the event if his wife went into labor. Today Lucas survived the blustery conditions, and also extended his lead at the top.

“Some windier conditions than expected, but started up one, now I’m up two, so can’t be too upset. The good stuff is still there.It’s always nice to close with a birdie, I would have liked to have had one better but that was a pretty average putt.”

Trailing by two shots are; Kyle Stanley, Jimmy Walker, Billy Horschel and D.A. Points are all tied for second place. Kyle said he did not encounter the windier conditions, due to an early tee time, more than two hours ahead of the tournament leaders;

” Not much going on out there, not a lot of wind, so you could pretty much take dead aim and hit a lot of pins.”

Guan Tianlang, the young Chinese amateur player  shot a 77 to drop to +2 over par,  last among the 71 players who made the cut. He admitted it was not a very good round;

“I didn’t do pretty good, it was not a very good round.”

Boo Weekley, who just one shot behind Lucas at the start of play, finished four strokes adrift at the end of play. Boo said his game had been a little off today;

“I was a little off, I had some good looks early in the round and just kind of got down on myself with the putter.”

Barring a call from the hospital, Lucas should be able to wrap up his first tournament win in two years tomorrow, good luck Lucas, with the trophy challenge and the baby challenge.

 

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Lucas Leads.

Lucas Glover leads the Zurich Classic of New Orleans after the completion of the second round at TPC Louisiana.

Round 2 highlights

Lucas Glover / Graythen / Getty Images

Lucas shot a second round of -5 under par 67, to lead the Zurich Classic tournament by just one shot at -12 under par, from Boo Weekley.

After his round Lucas emphasized the importance of good putting;

I’ve been hitting it good for a couple months and finally started making some putts. I mean I was hitting it as good as I can hit it, but at the same time, if you putt poorly!”

Boo Weekley kept in touch with the leader with a total of -11 under par, carding a second round of  -4 under par 68. Boo successfully holed out with a wedge from 105 yards for an Eagle on the par-4 10th, and that was his first hole of the round. He could not see the bottom of the flagstick, so had no idea that it had gone in;

“I couldn’t tell it went in because it’s got a little bit of an upper lip in the front of it. I saw it bounce, and then I didn’t see it no more. Then the people in the background started hollering and whooping, I was like, `Wow, that really went in.’ I didn’t believe it.”

In third place alone is D.A. Points, at -10 under par, Darren also had a second round of -4 under par 68, to stay within sight of the leaders.

Morgan Hoffman occupies fourth spot at -9 under par, with Ernie Els close behind him at -8 under par. Big Ernie was the runner-up here last year, losing out to Jason Duffner in a play-off. Jason is a little off the pace this year with a modest tournament total of -3 under par.

Ernie said he really likes the TPC Louisiana course lay-out, and is expecting to challenge again this year;

“I like the course, I obviously played well here last year and I’m just trying to set that same game plan and really wait for the course to come to me.”

Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old Chinese amateur has completed the second round with a score of -3 under par 69,to go with his even par opening round, and has made the cut once again.  Two weeks ago in the Masters he became the youngest player to ever make the cut at Augusta National, and said Thursday that he will play in a U.S. Open qualifier in two weeks in Dallas. He reported that he played well;

” I think I played a very good round today. I made a lot of birdies and a couple of good up and downs.”

The 2011 winner here, Bubba Watson recovered well from his opening round of +1 over par 73, with a second round -7 under par 65 and tournament total of -6 under par. Bubba said that yesterday he was scared of the course;

” It was good, yesterday, I played really scared. I’m trying to play good. When you do that you don’t hit quality shots and you just struggle.”

 

Shell Houston Open. Darren Points the Way and Wins

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Darren Andrew Points won the Shell Houston Open at Redstone Golf Club on Sunday.

D.A. Points at the Shell Houston Open

Darren Andrew Points / Getty Images

D.A. Points won the Shell Houston Open with a thirteen foot par saving putt on the 18th hole at Redstone, to capture his second career victory with a tournament total of -16 under par. His final round was a solid -6 under par 66, the same score as Henrik Stenson and Billy Horschel, who both tied for second place at -15 under par.

Darren, who is now going to the Masters at Augusta said he never counted himself out;

“I never count myself out, I never just chalk it up like, `Oh, this year is over with.’ I’ve never felt like that. I was just grinding, just trying to wait and try to find that one thing that like, `Boom! There it is.’ And there I go. Fortunately, it was this week and I capitalized on it. I’ve been having a really tough year, to have a putt to win, you want that starting out every week. I would have liked for it to have been closer. I never not think it’s on my radar, I want to win. I want to win more than once. I want to have the opportunity to win majors. I want to play in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cup. These are things I want to do, and I know I’m capable of doing.” 

Henrik is also going to Augusta;

” I said to my caddie walking up 18, no matter what, we’re playing for a green jacket in a couple of weeks, that will be nice.”

Rory McIlroy,  the world’s No. 2 player finished his week at the Shell Houston Open by making a 25-foot birdie putt for a 70 and a tie for 45th place. A long way from where he wanted to be, and not a good omen for Augusta National. Rory will now play the Valero Texas Open next week before heading to the Masters.

 

 

Shell Houston Open. Wheatcroft Weaves Magic

The Shell Houston Open has a qualifier, Steve Wheatcroft, at the top of the leaderboard after the second round at the Redstone Golf Club, on the Tournament Course in Texas.

More than qualified

Steve Wheatcroft / Halleran / Getty Images

Steve Wheatcroft only just qualified for the Shell Houston Open carded another round of -5 under par 67 to lead the tournament at -10 under par. Unfortunately for Steve he has no status on the PGA Tour, and only conditional status on the Web.com Tour, so Monday qualifiers are the only way to get into tournaments, and he hates them;

” Monday qualifiers are terrible. They’re just not fun, plain and simple. I was on the PGA TOUR in ’07, played terribly. I had no status, so I had to be back to Monday qualifiers and pre-qualifiers the next year. I hate them. If I can be on top of the leaderboard at this point, I know I can keep playing well, there’s no reason to think I can’t. I’ve never won on the PGA TOUR. I’ve won on the Web.com Tour, I’ve won by 12. I know I can keep going forward. Who knows? I could shoot 61 tomorrow. I could shoot 81 tomorrow. I really don’t know. I’m not going to sit here and think about it too much. I’m going to think about the first tee ball and we’ll go from there.”

D.A. Points is still there in the mix, tied in second place with Jason Kokrak at -9 under par, Darren had a -1 under par second round, making only one birdie as his putter went suddenly cold;

“I made everything yesterday and made nothing today. To be one shot back and be right in the mix is huge.”

Jason Kokrak had a second round -3 under par 69, and said he was happy for Steve, but would like to overtake him on Sunday;

“I’m happy for him, I’m happy he’s doing well. Hopefully, I can go out there and overtake the lead. Hopefully, I overtake him late Sunday.”

Two big name players who just made the cut on the number, -1 under par, were Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson.

Rory was happy to be playing the week-end, not with any hopes of contending, he is just seeking confidence. He will now get even more rounds in before the Masters, because he feels he needs more rounds to get ready for the Masters, Rory has decided to enter the Valero Texas Open next week;

“It’s a weekend where I can have a couple more rounds and try and get confidence in what I’m doing. The game is fickle, you make a couple of birdies, a few good shots, and your confidence goes up. A few bad ones, and it goes down a bit. I hit a couple of drives, and 17 is a good example, when I let it go and it’s fine. It gets out there.”

Phil decided to play Redstone on Friday with two 3-woods in the bag, though one of them is so strong it acts like a driver, and he is still up-beat about his chances;

“If I can play like I did the back nine, I’m going to give myself a lot of birdie chances.”

 

 

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.”

Wells Fargo Championship @ Quail Hollow, Rickie Fowler Wins

       

Carolina orange

Lecka/Getty Image

Rickie Fowler won the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in a three way playoff  against  Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points. All three players had finished the final round with a tournament total of -14 under par. Webb Simpson had an opportunity to join them in the playoff  but missed his birdie attempt on the last green.

On the first extra hole Rickie played a fabulous 51-degree wedge to within four feet of the 18th green flagstick, and held his nerve to sink the winning putt.  It was his first PGA TOUR win in his 67th start as a pro, bringing him a 500-point FedEx Cup points that pushed him to No. 15 in the latest standings. He said of his amazing approach shot;

“I didn’t want to play it safe. I had a good number, and I was aiming right of the hole with the wind coming out of the right, and if I hit a perfect shot, it comes down right on the stick. I hit a perfect shot at the right time, and I was going for it. “It’s awesome. It’s a long wait, but well worth it. Told you it was coming. It’s a good feeling right now. Definitely some relief, satisfaction. I’m definitely happy. It’s not a bad thing, winning. It’s kind of fun.”

He also said he enjoyed the rivalry with Rory;

“I’m looking forward to playing with Rory for a long time.”

Rory returned to No. 1 in the world with this performance at Quail Hollow, he finished tied for second with D.A. Points. Rory was impressed with Rickie’s birdie at the 18th in the playoff;

“You wouldn’t call the 18th today a birdie hole with that pin, For Rickie to go out and play that hole the way he did, he deserved to win. I think it was just a matter of time before he won”

Webb Simpson and Ryan Moore, who started the day in the final pairing, both failed to shine. Webb did have that missed opportunity to join the playoff, but too many mistakes on the day cost the local boy his chance. Ryan fell back into a tie for fifth place with Lee Westwood. Lee suffered again from a slow start in this tournament, it seems to becoming a bad habit of his.

Nick Watney failed to capitalize on a good start to this tournament, finishing his final round with a score of  74 and at -10 under par was four shots off the leaders.