Farmers Insurance Open. Gary Grabs the Spotlight.

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Gary Woodland grabbed the spotlight at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, using his power to push him to the top of the leaderboard.

Passing the test

Gary Woodland / Getty Images

Gary carded a -2 under par third round at Torrey Pines difficult South Course, which gave him a tournament total of -8 under par. He said if he does make the fairways it makes it a lot easier for him, he also remarked on the departure of Tiger Woods from this tournament following Tigers +7 over par 79 third round;

“If I drive the ball in play, I’m playing a little different golf course than most guys are playing. You get going south on this golf course, you can definitely put up some numbers in a hurry, I don’t think he’s too concerned about it.”

Marc Leishman and Jordan Spieth are only one shot adrift on -7 under par for the tournament. Marc completed his third round in par 72;

“If you let bogeys worry you on that golf course, it’s going to be a pretty long day. You don’t have to do a whole lot wrong to have a bogey.”

Jordan was happy to be one shot back, especially as he struggled today but made some good saves;

” Only one shot back and a bunched leaderboard, it’s going to take a good score tomorrow.  I’m excited about tomorrow. I had some great saves down the stretch today, so take that momentum.”

San Diego native Pat Perez is tied in fourth spot with Morgan Hoffman, both on -6 under par, and very much in this contest.

Pat mentioned how far Gary can hit the ball;

“When you play with Gary, who hits it 40 yards farther than I do, it doesn’t look that hard. Where he hits it is unbelievable. But it was a lot harder today.”

Back to Tiger, who recorded  back-to-back double bogeys, the first time since the 2011 PGA Championship. It meant he was on his way home early, because more than 78 players advanced to the weekend, there was a 54-hole cut for top 70 and ties. Only one other player, club pro Michael Block, had a worse score than Tiger.  Sadly it is now official that he went seven straight holes making bogey or worse !!!

Two Tournaments in Two Weeks in Hawaii; Seem Like Heaven to You ?

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Logo ImageDoes two tournaments in two weeks in Hawaii seem like heaven to you ? Well it apparently does not suit everyone.Twelve of the thirty players who teed it up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course have opted to miss next weeks Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, a short island hop away.

2012 SOIH winner Russell Henley

Russel Henley, last years winner / Stan Bedz PGA

Last years winner Russel Henley carded  26 birdies against only two bogeys during the tournament, the only real defense the Waialae Country Club has is the wind. If it doesn’t blow then low scores are the order of the day.

Weather conditions this year are predicted to be similar to last years event, sunshine periodically shrouded by passing clouds and the occasional rain shower are expected, as are manageable trade winds and seasonable highs right around the 80 degree mark.

Excuses are the usual, Jonas Blixt ho has missed the cut and finished T-54 in his two tries at Waialae Country Club commented;

 “It just doesn’t fit me. I just don’t hit enough fairways to compete there. I’m just not very good at it. Honestly, we want to play, if I could play every tournament, I would, but you just can’t play them all.”

This from Martin Laird;

“It doesn’t set up well for me, if you don’t hit right-to-left you’re at a disadvantage. My high fade is not the ideal shot there.”

Apart from Jonas and MartinDustin Johnson has also pulled the plug. along with nine others who have chosen to play the Hyundai, but not the Sony. The missing in action list is pretty impressive;

Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Ryan Moore, John Merrick, Kevin Streelman, Patrick Reed, and Billy Horschel.

Seems like John Merrick just likes to play on the mainland;

“I just really love the West Coast events, I’ll play Humana (the week after the Sony), San Diego, Phoenix, Pebble Beach, and LA. You just have to pick your spots.”

Ryan Moore also prefers to go home;

 “For me, it’s 100 percent a scheduling matter.”

Billy Horschel has a corporate commitment to CVS;

 “Six months ago we gave them some days for an outing at TPC Sawgrass for a military event, and we came up with next Friday.”

Patrick Reed just feels knackered;

“I feel like we’ve walked over Mount Everest this week, it’s just very hilly. Besides, the Humana (and Palm Springs) area is one of our favorite places, I’ve had success at Torrey and I want to be well-rested going into those.”

So, who is going to play the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in lovely Honolulu, take a look at this bunch;

Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner, and Jordan Spieth, these guys alone are worth the entrance money.

To tell you the truth I could easily live in Hawaii, visited there four times and loved every minute.

CIMB Classic. Its Moore On Monday.

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Ryan Moore won the inaugural FedEx Cup event in Asia, the  CIMB Classic, on Monday morning in a play-off at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and County Club.

Worth the wake up

Ryan Moore / Getty Images

Ryan had to fight hard just to get into the play-off with Gary Woodland, hitting his fourth shot to within a couple of feet from 60 yards in Sundays floodlight finish. Gary was on the green in three, with a birdie putt of about eight feet, it slipped agonizingly passed, and Ryan made his par putt.

In the play-off Ryan hit an eight iron third shot to the 18th par five green to about five feet, setting up a birdie attempt, which he duly converted. He said that he had been out practicing that exact shot out on the range before play;

 “I had a great opportunity there on 18 with my third shot and it was just an absolute perfect number. It was coincidentally the exact shot I was working on on the range. I’ve always enjoyed playing in the fall. I’m not sure why, it’s actually kind of funny, I won a week before my son was born last year; I won a week after his birthday this year. Now that it counts, now that it’s a full FedExCup event and counts as a win on the PGA TOUR, it does so much for you. To get a win this early in the season, it’s just incredible, to be able to get some FedExCup points racked up,” 

Gary was still talking about the missed opportunity on Sunday, saying in the daylight today he could see the extra break in the putt that he missed in the gloom;

“Obviously I’d like to make that putt, I hit it where I wanted to, it just broke more. I can see it now, it was a little lighter out right now, I can see it broke a little more, but it is what it is. I put a lot of hard work in, it’s been a process with the changes I’ve made, switching to Butch and his son, and it’s finally starting to come together, which is nice. I put a lot of work in on the short game, a lot of work on the middle game, and we’re starting to put it together now.”

CIMB Classic. Gary and Ryan In A Play-Off, Tomorrow.

Gary Woodland and Ryan Moore finished the CIMB Classic tied at the top of the leaderboard at -14 under par in a seriously rain affected tournament in Kuala Lumpur.

CIMB Classic, final round

Ryan and Gary / Getty

Both players came up a floodlight 18th fairway, very surreal, probably never happened before on the PGA Tour. Street lamps on a golf course, being used to try and complete the round. Neither of them could break the deadlock, and they were not about to go back and come down that floodlight fairway again, so its over till tomorrow.

Gary thought he had made the last putt, which would have given him the title;

“I thought I made it when I looked up and it just broke too much at the end there, but it was a tough day and obviously to come down to the last putt, obviously I’d like to have made it. Obviously we’re both playing really well, we’re going to come out and you’re going to try to have to make birdies because Ryan is going to do that and I’m going to try to do the same. Changing a flight is not the end of the world to come back and have a playoff tomorrow.”

Ryan pushed his last tee shot into the semi rough, he could only get it back out onto the fairway, leaving a long approach. He managed to rescue a par five, and force the play-off;

” I was scrambling there on the last hole just to somehow make a par and kind of see what happens at that point, and fortunately, I still get another shot at it”

Sharing third place at -13 under par were Chris Stroud and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Kiradech admitted he let the nerves get to him;

“The front nine, I played good golf, just concentrate on the greens, didn’t look for the results, just tried to play my best golf. When the back nine came, I have the chance to win. Every time I look at a scoreboard, they put a lot of pressure on me.”

Phil Mickelson, the world number three had another disappointing round, +2 over par 74, to finish tied 29th, but reported his swing is getting better;

“Today despite the score was the best I hit it and the best the swing felt so I actually feel like I have some direction heading into next week’s HSBC Champions in Shanghai.”

 

The Barclays. Gary and Kooch Tied At The Top

Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland are tied at the top of The Barclays leaderboard at the conclusion of the third round at Liberty National Golf Course.

Promising Sunday

Gary Woodland & Matt Kuchar / Getty Images

Gary said he had played beautifully for his -3 under par round of 68 sharing the -12 under par score with Matt;

“I’ve really let my game take over, I’m playing beautifully.”

Matt was impressed with Kevin Chappell shooting a -9 under par 62;

” Darned good golf, no matter how tough the conditions are, somebody finds a way to play good golf.”

Kevin had nine birdies and no bogey’s in his record breaking 62 third round, which gave him  third place on his own at – 11 under par. He said he did not think such a score was possible on the day because of the high winds;

” In the wind, if you would have told me someone was going to shoot 62 today, I would probably have laughed at you,”

Tiger Woods, a wounded soldier with a bad back,  for which he has received treatment for after every round this week, is four shots off the lead, at -8 under par. As they say, beware the wounded animal, Tiger is still thinking of winning;

” It starts off great every day, and then it progressively deteriorates as the day goes on, Hopefully Sunday it will be one of those days again and fight through it and see if I can win a tournament.”

Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth are all within five strokes of the leaders, all at -7 under par for the tournament.

Rickie thinks the conditions will be tough tomorrow, for the final round;

” It’s definitely starting to play tougher out there. The back nine, there was a few spike marks and the greens were starting to get a little crusty. With the breeze drying them out, it could play pretty tough Sunday afternoon.”

Looks like everything is set up nicely for a real competitive joust, it will be a great days golf tomorrow.

Reno-Tahoe Open. Gary Woodland Wins

Gary Woodland won the Reno-Tahoe Open at Montreux Golf and Country Club in Nevada.

Coming up aces

Gary Woodland / Getty Images

 Gary managed to hole a 58-foot chip from the rough for one of his four birdies and also amazingly got up-and-down to save par five times  on his way to winning the Reno-Tahoe Open on Sunday for his second PGA TOUR victory. He finished with a total of 44 points in the Modified Stableford event. Gary said that he had tried to stay calm;

“It felt like it was meant to be this week, I tried to stay calm and really focus on what I was doing. Even though I wasn’t hitting greens I was hitting it in the right spots and gave myself opportunities to get up and down. I got lucky to find my ball on 14 there in the hazard and I kind of chopped it out. The chip that went in, I was just trying to get it on the green, let alone go in. It was one of the best shots I’ve ever hit. To follow up after Brendan Steele made the putt on 15, to answer him was huge, he had a lot of momentum and I sort of stole it all back and sort of rode it the rest of the way.”

Jonathan Byrd and Andres Romero tied for second place with 35 points, and Brendan Steele captured fourth spot on 33 points.

Jonathan birdied five of his first seven holes, and then followed that up with an Eagle on the par-5, 13th hole;

” My whole mindset was just to be a little more aggressive and give ourselves chances and just free it up. And I was able to do that today getting off to a hot start, just felt like I was off to the races.”

Played a Stableford event myself yesterday, came second on 40 points.

PGA Championship Kiawah Island

Island in the sun

Carl Petterson/Kinnaird/Getty Images

Carl Pettersson leads the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island with -6 under par round of 66. Carl  has a one shot advantage over a group of four  players who are at  -5 under par, Gary Woodland, Gonzalo Fernandez-Costano, Alex Noren and one of the favorites for the title this week,  Rory McIlroy.

Carl was determined to take advantage of the good conditions, before the wind got up;

“There really wasn’t much wind on the front nine, so I knew I had to keep going low because I figured the wind would get up. The wind started blowing a little bit on the back nine, and I carried on solid play. So it was a great day for me.”

There is a large group on -4 under par, these include Major winner John Daly, who has found some form of late, and Adam Scott, who had a great chance to win The Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes. Tiger Woods is another shot further back, and in a good position after the first round.

John Daly said he played freely;

“To just free wheel it is the only way I can get my confidence back instead of worrying about bad breaks and worrying about this and worrying about what somebody else is doing. I only need to worry about what I’m doing and go out and attack and play golf and enjoy it.” 

Tiger was really happy with his start to the tournament;

“Anything in the 60s is going to be a good start in a major championship, and I’m right there.”

Adam Scott was also very pleased with his opening effort;

“So far, so good. It would be great to put two more rounds together and be coming here Sunday with a good look at the championship. If I don’t, then I’ll really feel like I’ve let it all slip this year for me. So I’d love to use this opportunity while I’m playing well to get in there and have a sniff on Sunday.”

Phil Mickelson shot a 71 to be at -1 under par, after spending most of the day scrambling from all over the course, he said;

“I fought hard today and I kept myself right in it for the most part and should get a bit of a weather break tomorrow morning. It actually felt a little bit closer than it has in a long time. I felt good on the green. My touch was back. I started hitting some shots at some pins.”

Among those who will be struggling to make the cut, currently projected at +2,  are World number one Luke Donald, and Rickie Fowler  who both  had a miserable day at +2 over par for the first round. Luke making his customary slow start to a tournament this year. Surprisingly Webb Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open Champion is already out of the hunt, shooting a +7 over par round. Lee Westwood is another who is unlikely to make to cut this time around.

I still can not believe that the USGA have ordained that the bunkers are not hazards for this tournament. It is really strange to watch a player in a green-side bunker taking practice swings in the sand to get the feel of how the ball will come out, madness.

Bubba Watson drives General Lee to Phoenix Open

Bubba Watson arrived for the Phoenix Open in great style on Wednesday,  driving the original General Lee 01 car used in the “Dukes of Hazzard” television series. Bubba had NASCAR driver Carl Edwards riding shotgun in the famous 1969 Dodge Charger  that he had recently purchased at the Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale for $110,000.

Bubba apparently has “loved the show forever” and has a collection of Dukes of Hazzard DVDs to prove it.  Angie, his wife, knew of his admiration for the show, he said;

“At the time we met she knew that I loved that car and wanted one. We made a deal back then that if I ever won a golf tournament, she would let me get one.”

Bubba                                          Bubba's ride in TPC lot. on Twitpic

(Photo: Allan Henry/US PRESSWIRE)

 

The parking of the vehicle could have been better, but no one seemed to care too much. Ian Poulter tweeted; 
IanJamesPoulter
 Check out@bubbawatson new car in the parking lot. General Lee great machine.

Ian is also playing a practice round tomorrow with Bubba and Gary Woodland and reckons he will be hitting first into the greens, meaning his drives will be way behind the big hitting duo.