The Honda Classic. Michael Thompson Comes Up Trumps.

A bear of a win

Michael Thompson / Franklin / Getty Images

Michael Thompson came up trumps in The Honda Classic at PGA National Champion Course, Palm Beach Florida. Young gun Michael cruised to a two shot win over the more experienced Geoff Ogilvy, with a last round of -1 under par and a tournament total of -9 under par. The win gets Michael into his first World Golf Championship next week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral, and qualifies for two more WGCs this year at the Bridgestone Invitational and at the HSBC Champions. He is also now  in the PGA Championship, gets to start next year in Hawaii and earned a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.

Michael said in interview that the whole week had been magical, something he had been dreaming about for a long time;

“This week was magical, just had a groove and kept feeling it. This is everything, this is a childhood dream come true. I’ve dreamed of playing out here since I was 7 years old and to win, it’s just unbelievable. I just can’t put it into words, the whole day was awesome.”

He particularly enjoyed walking up the eighteenth fairway after his second shot on the par five landed in the greenside bunker, giving him the opportunity of an up and down birdie, and he did just that;

“That for me kind of sealed the deal, it allowed me to walk up the fairway and enjoy the experience, see the crowd and just finish strong.”

Geoff Ogilvy will also be at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral, thanks to putting together four good rounds of golf, for his total of  -7 under par.

Geoff admitted that he had already given himself next week off;

“I kind of penciled in a week off, so it’s nice, and it gets me back in the mix for the Masters.”

Geoff was also full of admiration for Michael, and the way he played this golf course;

You don’t have to do much wrong to be making a bogey out there, so it’s pretty impressive, it’s a great effort really. As you see by the rest of the scores, it’s a very hard golf course and it seems to get progressively harder in some ways. There’s a disaster waiting everywhere. There’s a lot of golf courses on tour that it might be easy to close out a golf tournament, or easier, but this is not one of them.”

Luke Guthrie, Michael’s sparring partner at the top of the leaderboard for most of this event fell back during the last round, carding a miserable +3 over par 73, and a tournament total of -5 under par, but it still left him alone in third place.

 

The Honda Classic. Young Guns Luke & Michael Hold On.

Seeking a breakthrough

Michael Thompson & Luke Guthrie / Ehrmann/ Getty Images

The Honda Classic has two tied at the top of the leaderboard going into the Final round on Sunday. Michael Thompson and Luke Guthrie are locked together at -8 under par for the tournament, but their sluggish third rounds of par for Michael and +1 over par for Luke has let the more experienced players close the gap. Perhaps the chilly, windy conditions slowed these two down, Lee Westwood and Geoff Ogilvy are poised nicely just two shots adrift of the young guns, and will be certain to push hard tomorrow to see if the youngsters break under the pressure.

Lee Westwood likes his chances;

” I like my chances regardless of the conditions, I’m playing nicely. Just got a couple of mistakes I made today, but other than that, I’m playing solidly. I have to start making a few putts. I had a lot of chances to make putts that just grazed the hole. I like being out late on a Sunday and having a chance.”

Geoff Ogilvy felt that even par for the day was always going to be good enough to keep in touch with the leaders;

“Even par for the day was never going to go backward, it was only going to go forward, and I did that.”

There are eleven players separated by just four shots who are contesting the final round, a group that includes Rickie Fowler, Charles Howell III, Keegan Bradley and Justin Rose.

Rickie Fowler, is finally in the mix on a Sunday, he is looking forward to still being in contention on the back nine;

“The biggest thing is being within a few shots going into the back nine tomorrow, that’s where the tournament really starts.”

The big name  missing from the mix was Tiger Woods, who started well with a 32 on the front nine, and then faltered on the back nine, finally folding to a double bogey on the par-3 17th, when his tee shot plugged into the bank short of the green and he never found the ball. Tiger finished with a round of 70, pretty much the same as everyone else, when what he needed was a low score.

It will interesting tomorrow to see if the young guns can keep their heads and gain a first Tour victory, or will the experience of the likes of Lee Westwood, Geoff Ogilvy, or even Rickie Fowler step up to the plate.

 

 

The Honda Classic, Luke Guthrie Leads by One.

Guthrie stands alone

Luke Guthrie / Getty Images

The Honda Classic second round was dominated by Luke Guthrie, shooting -7 under par, 63 to lead by one shot on the              PGA National Champion Course at Palm Beach. His tournament total of -9 under par is just one shot ahead of Michael Thompson, alone in second spot, who had a -5 under par second round of 65.

Luke said he had no idea about Rory’s situation;

” I had no clue, I was just kind of going about my business out there.”

Tied in third place at -7 under par are Boo Weekley and Graham DeLaet, Boo with a second round of -3 under par 67, and Graham with a  -2 under par round of 70.

There are six players tied in fifth place at -6 under par, they are; Lee Westwood, Geoff Ogilvy, Doug LaBelle 111, Justin Rose, Sean O’Hair and Chucky Three-Sticks.

Rory McIlroy was forced to withdraw due to pain in his wisdom tooth, there are some conflicting stories around about why he actually quit, he was -7 over par through eight holes of his second round at the time. The pain in the tooth statement came form Rory’s management company, make what you want with that. With Tiger Woods just making the cut on the number it represents another poor start to a tournament for the stars of Nike. It was Rory’s third missed cut in a row. Tiger felt he just did not hit the ball very well today;

” Well, I didn’t hit it anywhere near as good as I did Thursday, I didn’t have it today. I had it going early and then I would lose it.”

 

Overnight leader Camilo Villegas  shot a second round -7 over par, 77 a mighty difference of 13 strokes from his opening round of 64,  to miss the cut by a shot.

Other notables missing the cut were, Major winners Louis Oosthuizen and David Duval, followed by Mike Weir, Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey.

Northern Trust Open, Two Tied at the Top

 

Fredrick Jacobson & Sang-Moon Bae

The second round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club proved to be very interesting as two new players emerged to be tied at the top of the leaderboard, they are South Korean Sang-Moon Bae and Swede Fredrick Jacobson. Both players have a tournament score of -9 under par,  with a second round scores of  -6 under par 65.

Bae apologized for his English, but said he was happy with the way he played;

” I can’t speak English very well, please understand. I feel like I played very well today. I hit a bunch of good shots. I made many good putts, but I missed a couple short putts on hole five and seven, but it was not a big problem. I think I did my best today. You know, these greens are a little tricky and soft and a little bumpy, so playing is not easy. I don’t know pairing for tomorrow, but you know, many good players on the PGA TOUR, so it’s very competitive. Just I will play my game.”

Freddie loved being back in contention;

“Obviously take a lot out of that, just being in contention again. I’ve had some good practice sessions before, but to bring it on the course and play under pressure, that’s what it’s about. And the sooner I can get back and put myself in this position where I can get some pressure, that’s the best practice you can get.”

Tied in third place, just one shot off the lrad at -8 under par are John Merrick and John Rollings.

 

Luke Donald is another shot back at -7 under par, and it must be a worry for those guys at the top to see him climbing the leaderboard. Luke said his game was very sharp, and he was excited to be in the mix again, after his long lay-off;

“You never know with how you’re going to deal with being back in competition again but certainly a big improvement today, ball-striking wise and my short game has been very sharp. I’ve been excited about that, it’s been a big key to my score so far, and yeah, excited to be in the mix again.”

Lee Westwood is making steady progress and is lurking at -6 under par, three shots behind the leading pair, Lee said the scoring was bunched, because it is difficult to putt in the afternoon;

” The scoring is very bunched, that’s probably due to the greens.  It’s difficult to hole putts in the afternoon. You’ll find most guys make a good score in the morning and the guys in the afternoon are happy, well I’m delighted with 3 under.”

Notables missing the cut this week are;

Graeme McDowell, Dustin Johnson, Nicolas Colsaerts, Tim Clark, Zach Johnson, Geoff Ogilvy, Padraig Harrington and Bubba Watson.

Australian PGA Championship, Popovic Prevails.

Daniel Popovic / pga.org,au

Daniel Popovic prevailed at the Australian PGA Championship on Sunday at the Palmer Coolum Resort golf course, to win by four shots after beginning the last round with a two shot advantage. Daniel  kept his emotions in check to par the last hole for a closing 69 to finish the tournament at 16-under par and claim his first professional victory. A delighted Daniel said;

“I can’t believe this has happened. I really just can’t believe it”

Anthony Brown finished in a tie for second on -12 under par along with Rod Pampling. Tied in fourth place was Geoff Ogilvy and Brad Kennedy at -11 under par. Big talking Peter Senior failed to match his arrogant rhetoric before the final round, falling to a +5 over par round of 77. No big winds to give him an advantage this week, with his broomstick putter. That should give the R&A and the U.S.G.A  something to ponder over before announcing their anchoring decision.

Congratulations to Daniel, I hope this win will be the first of many more.

Poulter stalls as Ogilvy flys at JBWere Australian Masters

Ian Poulter stalls in the third round of the JBWere Australian Masters shooting -2 69 for a total score of -11, two shots adrift of the leader Geoff Ogilvy. Geoff fired in a course record -8  under the card 63, to finish with a total of -13, and was a very happy man at the end.

Ian on the other hand was concerned that he and his caddy could not figure out which way the wind was coming from, which was responsible for him firing a couple of approach shots through the green. Geoff with his local knowledge of the course did not seem to be affected at all, and shooting a brilliant course record. The last day is set up for an exciting finish as Ian and Geoff will be in the last group each vying for the coveted gold jacket, Ian stating that the said jacket would fit in well with some of the other items in his wardrobe.

Luke Donald still struggled with the course, finishing at a modest -5 for the tournament, eight shots adrift of leader Ogilvy, even a course record tomorrow would not help him to win, but I would still bet that he finishes in the top ten, something he has done all year. That is the consistency that has enabled him to remain world number one and to top the money charts on both sides of the Atlantic.