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Humana Golf Challenge. Patrick Prevails, Just.

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Patrick Reed prevails at the Humana Challenge with a lack luster final round at PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course, eventually winning by two shots.

Finishing what he started

Patrick Reed / Getty Images

Patrick suddenly lost his putting touch for a few hours in the final round, but then found it again just when things were getting interesting. He followed his three rounds of -9 under par with a last round -1 under par 71, for a tournament total of -28 under par;

“It was tough out there, I started toward the end playing for par, just because I knew pars weren’t going to hurt me. I knew someone was going to have to do something spectacular to catch me. To come out and not have my full game and to have that much of a cushion to be able to just coast in, that’s a good feeling. But Sundays are always a little harder, as everyone knows, and also the flags are a little tougher. I just tried to stick to the game plan, tried to post a decent number.”

Ryan Palmer was the man closest to him, shooting a last round of -9 under par 63, finishing up with a -26 under par total.

Ryan was amazed at how well Patrick played this week;

“What can you do with what Patrick did this week, it’s ridiculous what he did. Amazing how good he played. We’ll come up a couple short, but it was a win in my game because I was playing for second today. 

Zach Johnson and Justin Leonard finished in a tie for third place at -25 under par. Zach birdied the final five holes for a magnificent -10 under par 62, the best round of the week. Justin parred his last two holes for a -7 under par 65.

Zach was very  happy with his last round effort, and also spoke about him taking a four-week break. He’ll return for the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona;

“I got red-hot at the end, I played really good early, missed a couple putts, but I made a bunch at the end. I know it’s a necessity, I know it’s good for me, it’s good for my family, but I’m also hesitant because I’m playing well. Hopefully, I can maintain where I’m at. Maintain my posture and my fundamentals, and that sort of thing, and come back out here in Tucson ready to go.”

Justin said he was just having a fun time, with his cut backed schedule;

“It’s a great week, would love to have made a few more putts today, but it’s such a fun journey. I’m cutting my schedule back this year and all this does is kind of free me up to do that.”

There will not be too many times when you can win after seeing your lead cut by five shots, but credit must go to Patrick for the three -9 under par rounds he put together.

Humana Challenge. Reed Rampant -9 Again

 

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Patrick Reed was in rampant form again at the Humana Challenge, shooting -9 under par again. This time on the Nicklaus Course, he has now amassed an amazing -27 under par for the three rounds played, and a 7 shot lead in the tournament. Patrick’s -27 under par 189 total set a PGA TOUR record for lowest 54-hole score in relation to par, and it is also a record to post three consecutive rounds of 63, especially on three different courses.

Humana Challenge, Round 3

Patrick Reed, lining up another birdie putt / Getty Images

Patrick said it felt like deja vu, and his putter is still working well;

“It kind of seemed like deja vu all over again. When I played today, I felt just as confident as I did the last two days and the putter is still working. I’m just going to treat tomorrow as if it’s a Monday qualifier, 18-hole shootout, everybody’s tied at even par and hopefully I can go out and do the same thing I’ve done in the past three days.”

Brendon Todd and former Humana champion Charley Hoffman are tied in second place, a whopping seven shots adrift of the leader.

Charley shot a respectable -6 under par 66 at the Palmer Course while Brendon had a -4 under par 68 on La Quinta.

This tournament is a wrap, the only thing we need to know now is how many will Patrick win by, another -9 to-morrow would take him to -36 under par, or it could even be more, he carded a bogey today !!

 

Humana Challenge. Patrick Pounds La Quinta.

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Patrick Reed  pounds La Quinta Golf Course, a day after he did the same to the Palmer Course at the Humana Challenge tournament in California.    

                                                    Seeing red

Patrick Reed / Getty Images        

Patrick eased his way round the tree-lined La Quinta Course carding -9 under par 63 in the second round of the Humana Challenge, it copied his score from the first round, giving him a tournament total of -18 under par, and a two shot lead.

He said it was just a birdie-fest out there;

“For sure it’s a birdie-fest, this tournament is. It’s pretty easy to get in that Monday-qualifying mindset, due to the fact that you’re playing three different courses. So, the first day, it’s like, `All right, well, let’s see how we do against the guys in my course there, and the same thing every day.”       

” It’s great to have that feeling that you can go out and shoot 63, and to actually do it two times in a row shows that what we have done during the off-season and what we’re doing now is working.”         

” That tee shot on five is not easy, you have to hit a perfect high cut around that tree and if it goes straight, you’re actually through the fairway. You have to hit a hook around those trees. And when I hit a perfect drive like that, had a perfect number for a five iron to the left flag. When I hit something three-quarters or 85 percent, it’s normally a little draw, so I just aimed it in the middle of the green and hit it up there to 4 feet. That was kind of just perfect for me.”               

Brendon Todd is in second place at -16 under par, he also shot a second round -9 under par 63, on the Palmer Course, and is the only player in the competition to remain bogey free.

Brendon thinks bogey free is great;

“Obviously, both days were really solid, bogey-free was huge. Before I knew it, I was at 7- or 8-under with a few to play, feeling like I should birdie every hole. The weather’s been so good, I’m not surprised to see what Patrick did.”        

 Ryan Palmer is in third place, three strokes back from the leader at 15-under par for the tournament, after a -7 under par 65 round at La Quinta.        

Ryan said he was hanging in there;

 “Overall, it was another great day, another great finish, hanging in there, staying strong.”           

Keegan Bradley had a hole-in-one in his round of -6 under par 66 that left him at -9 under pat, in his first start of the year. His 176 yard shot on the third hole landed about 10 feet short of the pin and rolled in.

Keegan described the shot thus;

“A little baby 7-iron.”

 We are only half way through this tournament and if the elements stay the same, the temperature  in the 80s, with no wind it makes golf kind of easy. It was so calm today the ponds looked like glass, the water was as still as the plastic swans PGA West uses to scare away geese. They need something to put a scare into the players, they are running rings around these venues.                

Humana Challenge. Reed Romps Ahead.

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Patrick Reed romps ahead in the first round of the Humana Challenge at the PGA West (Palmer)  course in California, in this three course event.

Patrick Reed lines up a putt on the ninth hole

Patrick Reed / Getty

Patrick shot a bogey free -9 under par 63 in the opening round of the Humana Challenge, saying the Palmer Course is in perfect shape  and the putts just kept rolling in;

” The course is in perfect shape, the rough isn’t very high, the fairways are perfect and the greens are rolling very true. I started out a little struggling with the driver, had some lefts in it, but luckily I missed it in the right spots. I was really confident with my irons, kept hitting greens and all of a sudden, 10-, 12-, 15-, 20-foot putts started going in. I felt like there were some things I could have improved on, but at the same time whenever you tap in for par on the last hole and shoot 63, you’re pretty happy,” 

Four players shot rounds of -8 under par 64, they were, Ryan Palmer  on the Palmer Course, Justin Hicks and Daniel Summerhays on the Nicklaus Course, with Charley Hoffman matching their scores on the La Quinta Country Club course.

Ryan admitted he was hitting it pretty close, not making a lot of long putts;

“I wasn’t making a whole lot of long putts, just hitting it close.”

Justin said he was just trying to give himself as many opportunities as he could;

“Just trying to give myself as many opportunities as I can.” 

Daniel was just having fun;

“It’s fun to make birdies, that’s one of the fun things about this tournament is that the courses are a little easier. They’re in perfect shape, which makes them almost even easier.”

Charley just loves the La Quinta course;

“I love this golf course, I think this is probably one of the better tracks we play all year when it’s said and done.”

Zach Johnson is one of seven players carding -7 under par first rounds of 65. Zach was on the La Quinta course, and said it was his good wedge play that helped him reach his target, and the greens are just perfect;

 ” My wedges are clean, I’ve worked on it a lot. I’ve worked on it in a number of different ways, but the main way is really just trying to dial in yardages and trajectories. The greens over there are, I don’t even know how to explain them, it’s like carpet. I mean, they’re just so good. I don’t know what they do over there, but they look artificial. They’re like this every year, but they’re as good as I’ve ever seen.”

This is just round one and with three courses being played it will some time before we get a clear picture of what is really going on. Being a putter manufacture I hope good putting will be the key to winning this week.

Humana Challenge, Brian Gay Wins, Scott Did Stall.

 

Drive to succeed

Brian Gay / Getty Images

The Humana Challenge was won by 41-year-old Brian Gay, at  the PGA West Palmer Course, La Quinta, California on Sunday. Brian won in a play-off against Chucky Three Sticks and David Lingmerth, with a birdie on the second play-off hole, the tenth. With this win Brian also moves to number one in the Fed Ex Cup standings.

A shocked Brian said;

“I’m still in a little bit of shock, it kind of happened so fast there at the end the way things went down. Last year was a struggle, it was a long year, a lot of work. I just wanted to come out this year kind of refocused, recharged, and believing in myself. My whole game’s been about accuracy and short game. I’ve always been a short hitter on the TOUR and I felt like as I was getting older I’m only going to get shorter and shorter. The thoughts were, just be aggressive, shoot as low as you can. It was tough last year trying to play making those changes.”

Charles Howell 111 tied for second a week after opening the season with a third-place tie in Hawaii in the Sony Open, his last TOUR title was in 2007. Chucky Three Stick admits it is a mentally tough task competing on the TOUR;

“Anybody that says that golf is fun or whatever, has really not done it for a living, I would never characterize this as fun. It’s different than that. It’s awfully challenging mentally. Quite honestly, going into the day, I didn’t really think that anybody had a chance apart from Scott, he’s won before, he hits it long enough to take advantage of the par fives. At 22 under, I figured if he shoots 6, or 7 under, he’s really not catchable. So, then to have a chance there in regulation, that’s where I really would like that one back, that three-putt there.”

David Lingmerth tied for second with Chucky, he was ,making only his second career appearance on the PGA TOUR, he also got into the play-off  but duffed his approach into the water, a bad lie costing him dearly;

“I didn’t feel that comfortable over it, obviously, I just hit a bad shot.”

Scott obviously Stalled, he needed a birdie at the last to win, and a par to get into the play-off, he unfortunately he wobbled at the wrong moment;

“You’re going to have your good days and your bad days, but if you live and die with every shot out there, your career is not going to last very long out there.”

Phil Mickelson finished way down the list at -17 under par for the tournament, he put it down to being rusty;

“I was rusty starting the year, I had a great four days here where I can work on my game with perfect weather and wonderful golf courses, where I could build some momentum. Heading into San Diego, I feel a lot more confident.”

 

 

Humana Challenge, Scott is Not Stalling

Healthy cushion

Scott Stallings / Getty Images

Scott Stallings took a stranglehold on the Humana Challenge with his third round -9 under par, 63, which now gives him a five shot cushion over the field.

There are five players tied in second place at -17 under par, they are, Roberto Castro, Stewart Cink, Chucky three Sticks, John Rollings and the blond bombshell Charley Hoffman. There are a further eight contestants another shot back at -16 under par, but barring a calamity this title belongs to Scott Stallings.

Scott spoke about his aggressive approach to this tournament;

“I stayed aggressive, playing with John Rollins was a huge help. He’s a good guy and he was an easy guy to club off of. We made a lot of birdies the last couple days, and so we kind of fed off each other. I guess you can say it’s conservatively aggressive, like No. 8.  I hit a really good drive and had 8-iron. But just because I had 8-iron to a par 5, I fired it in the middle of the green, had a 20-footer and was happy to make it. I’ve been smart when I got out of position.”

Roberto had shared the lead after each of the first two rounds, but felt he was a little out of rhythm today;

” I got a little out of rhythm on the back, but still hit enough good shots to feel good about it.”

Anyone who wants to take this title has to out play Scott Stallings, and he is in no mood to let things slip from this healthy position.

Humana Challenge, Two Tied at the Top

Anyone's game

Roberto Castro and James Hahn / Getty Images

Roberto Castro and James Hahn are tied at the top of the leaderboard on -14 under par, at the Humana Challenge at the conclusion of the second round at La Quinta, California.

Roberto had a second round of -5 under par 67, to go with his opening round of 63. James equalled him with the same score in both rounds.

Roberto had the lead alone at 16 under par , but sadly managed to bogeyed two of his last three holes,amazingly three-putting the par 4 ninth hole. He admitted he let it slip;

A couple slipped away there at the end, but yesterday I made a 50-footer on the last. Today, I felt like I hit a good putt and three-putted. So, that’s stuff over 72 holes that’s going to even out. I learned a lot last year, one of the best things that happened to me was making a lot of the cuts early in the year. I didn’t have any big finishes, but I got to play four days and I got to learn pretty quickly. I got to play with some good players and watch what they do.”

James spoke about his Eagle at the par 5 fifth hole, after his drive went 310 yards;

” It was a long-drive stat hole, so I kind of came out of my shoes a little bit. I didn’t want to really overpower a 4-iron, I had a lot of adrenaline. Just hit it too good, hit the center of the green, landed it 220, rolled to the back. I could have hit it with a 6-iron and probably hit it within 2 feet. I read the break perfectly, broke about 2 feet straight down the hill”

The chip rolled in for Eagle, then he birdied the par 5 sixth;

“Any time you have back-to-back par 5s that are reachable, it’s definitely something to look forward to, especially if the round’s not going well. I’m just soaking it in, having a good time, any time that I play a good round, it feels good and makes me cherish the momentum a little bit more, because I know they’re few and far between.”

There are three players tied in third spot at -13 under par, Darron Stiles, Scott Stallings and Richard H Lee. Phil Mickelson, the tournament winner in 2002 and 2004, had a second round -5 under par 67, but is nine shots behind the leaders, but really wants to make an impact on the West Coast;

“The last two holes were the first time that I actually hit solid shots and my rhythm felt good and I made good swings. “I’ve been quick from the top, my rhythm has been off and I’ve hit a bunch of squirrelly shots. I made a lot of rusty mistakes. I really want to build some momentum here on the West Coast.”

Matt Kuchar, who was paired with Phil, had a second round -8 under par 64, matching the best round of the day,  to get to 10 under par for the tournament. He’s playing for the third straight week;

“It certainly helps playing the last couple of weeks. My first week out at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions there was definitely some rust and lack of scoring. Even if you have been practicing, which I was, tournament play is just a little bit different.”

There is still a long way to go in this tournament, don’t be surprised is Phil Mickelson does something special and really gets into contention.

 

 

Humana Challenge, Three Tied at the Top

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There are three players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the Humana Challenge event at PGA West ,  La Quinta California, the event that was formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic.

Jason Kokrak, Roberto Castro and James Hahn share the top of the leaderboard at -9 under par with rounds of 63.

Jason said he was concentrating on getting the ball in the fairway;

“I just tried to put it in the right spots, put it in the fairways, out there, that’s key. They’re tighter fairways and if you can be in the fairway, you’ll have a good opportunity for birdie.”

Roberto Castro had nine birdies at PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus Private Course, and James Hahn had nine birdies on PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course. 

James said he was happy with his day, especially the two chip-ins;

” It was a great day, chipped two in. Hadn’t done that since I was 9.”

Russell Henley, who won the Sony Open in Hawaii last Sunday, shot a round of -8 under par, 64 on the Nicklaus Course, he said it was a perfect day;

” It was a perfect day, the weather is perfect, the greens were true. So, it’s just trying to stay patient and let the birdies come to me.”

Phil Mickelson made his first tournament start since tying for second in early November in the HSBC Champions in China, the only event he played in after the Ryder Cup, he finished at even par, after a miracle shot at the par three twelfth. His tee shot flew to the left, leaving him behind a  tall tree blocking his path to the green.  A full blooded swing flop shot climbed miraculously nearly straight up and over the 25-foot tree and stopped 2 feet from the hole. It helped him salvage his par on the hole and eventually his round. Phil spoke later about that shot;

“That was one of my better wedges, but, as I was telling my partner, `You hit it there as much as I do, eventually you’re going to learn how to hit those shots.’”

Referring to the tee shot that lead up to it, Phil just said;

” It was just very bad timing, quick from the top, lower body fast, just a bad swing. I did the same thing on the next par 3 with the same club. Only it went the other way. I made par both times, though.”

I just wish I could get away with a bad shot and make par, my bad shots are usually terminal.

Mike Weir,  opened with a -5 under par round of 67, the 2003 Champion has unfortunately missed 16 consecutive cuts,he was pleased to get of to a good start here;

“I drove it well and putted well and everything was pretty good. It was a nice solid round to get off to a good start.”

 

Humana Challenge – Mark Wilson Wins

Mark Wilson won the 2012 Humana Challenge at La Quinta by two shots from Johnson Wagner, John Mallinger and Robert Garragus. Mark’s last round 69 gave him a total of -24 for the tournament. He and Robert Garragus vied for the lead during the round, something that Mark touched on during his after tournament interview ;

Wilson interview after winning Humana Challenge

“It feels good obviously here with the trophy. The day went not as planned really, but I guess it never does, but last time I came out here I shot sixty two. So of course had those images in mind. Made a bad swing on the third hole, and just kinda hit a lot of good shots. The pins were in tough spots, to get close to, so I was really patient, and then birdying number eleven. I played that hole very smart, and then holed the bunker shot on twelve, really gave me momentum to go in the right direction. And I felt like Robert and I really had a good time, and Zach for that matter. But Robert and I kinda going back and forth. We enjoyed that, both making the putts on sixteen, and the it just came down to eighteen. And I didn’t want to give him a chance to make that putt and to tie me. So thankfully I rolled mine in and got it done.

Phil Mickelson finished with a round of 69, but never really recovered from the first round 74, which left him way off the pace. He is still hopeful of competing successfully during the West Coast swing.

Kiwi Danny Lee finished tied for 66th place after a poor last round of 74 and will be aiming to improve his challenge over four really competitive rounds next time out.

Highest placed  Englishman was Gary Christian who had a great last round of 64, tied 14th at -17. But he was unable to mount a serious challenge after his third round collapse of 73, too much of a mountain to climb.

 

Humana Challenge Blown off course

The Humana Challenge suspended play midway through the third round after 35 mph winds rampaged across the Palm Springs area.  Mark Wilson was halted at -5 under through 15 holes of the third round and leading at -21 under for the tournament.  The ugly high winds really caused some damage, unbelievably on all three courses, which toppled trees, blew balls off greens, even knocking a scoreboard into a lake. The Humana Challenge will  resume third-round play at La Quinta  California on Sunday morning. Mark Wilson is holding a three-stroke lead over Ben Crane, who is -2 under through 12 holes and -18 under for the tournament. Zach Johnson is in third place, he is -6 under par through 13 holes and -17 under overall. Mark seemed pretty happy with coming off the course early, saying in his after round interview;

” When they blew the horn I wasn’t that disappointed. Regardless your gonna wake up Sunday morning with the lead. With a little bit of a lengthy day you’ve got three holes to play in round number three. Then of course you play the final round, what type of mentality do you have in that day. You’ve got to make a lot of birdies, I mean, this format with these types of courses, you’ve just got to make a lot of birdies. So, I haven’t looked at the board, I know you told me I’m in front, but I’ve got to keep making birdies to win this thing.”

Wilson interview - Round 3 of Humana Challenge

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