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Wells Fargo Championship. Holmes Hits the High Spot.

dragon logo darkWells Fargo Championship Logo

J.B. Holmes hits the high spots as he wins the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

Winner: JB Holmes poses with the trophy after securing victory in the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship

Wells Fargo Champion J.B. Holmes 

At his lowest point J.B. had undergone more than enough surgeries, now at his high point he has won the Wells Fargo Championship. Hanging on to his one shot victory with a last round -1 under par 71 and -14 under par total. He spoke of his huge achievement;

”It’s been a long journey for me, I’ve had some ups and downs. It’s a great feeling to be out there and to get one done. This is a big win for me. It’s been since 2008 since I’ve won, and since then I had two brain surgeries and broke my ankle and had arm surgery, the list goes on. So it’s a huge win and to get in the top 20 in the FedEx Cup, that’s huge, and just to win in a venue like this with such a good field and the golf course is always so well-manicured, it’s just great. I’m just ecstatic.”

” Nobody is comfortable on those last three holes.”

Jim Furyk came racing up the leaderboard with a final round -7 under par, and to sit in the clubhouse to see if anyone could get better than his -13 under par total. Jim had to wait until the very last putt before he knew there would be no play-off, and second was the best he could do. Jim was aware of the pressure J.B. was under on that last putt;

“I know he was probably dying a million deaths out there but he sucked it up and made a good two-putt. He made that last putt with authority and knocked it right in the middle.”

 

Martin Flores claimed third place at -12 under par, a very disappointing last round effort of even par 70 left him to count the cost.

Jason Bohn was in fourth, at -11 under par while the reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose was a further shot back at -10 under par.

Justin was surprised that his world ranking is still in good shape, he said all the top people have had some strange results;

“I’ve been surprised how my world ranking has maintained itself because the top guys have also been struggling. The guys haven’t stretched out. No. 1 in the world is even more for the taking than it has been for a lot of players. Probably for 20 guys, if they get on a hot run, can challenge.”

“It has been slow for the top players, it’s been a weird year, 54-hole leaders haven’t done very well. A lot of young names. The Americans have done a lot better this year. And yet it doesn’t surprise me because the depth out here is so great. Before you always had that separation. Now in part you’ve got the top players not playing so great and in part the rest catching up.”

What about Phil Mickelson T 11 and Rory McIlroy T7 I hear you ask, I think it is best not to comment.

 

Wells Fargo Championship, J.B. Holmes Leads. Mickelson & McIlroy Move on Moving Day

dragon logo darkWells Fargo Championship Logo

J.B. Holmes leads the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, while Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy move on up on moving day.

Big-hitting Holmes in front

J.B. Holmes / Getty Images

J.Bwho retained status for the rest of the season last week on his major medical extension, carded a third-round 66 to grab the 54-hole lead at -13 under par in the Wells Fargo Championship on Saturday. He said retaining his status relieved the pressure on him;

” It was nice more than anything just to solidify my schedule a little but, it was nice to get that off my back. I’m happy to be out here and go out tomorrow and do the best I can, and if I win, that’s great. If it ends up not being my day, then I’m just thankful to be out here, and happy to have the opportunity that I have.”

He also thinks the enforced elbow surgery was t he best thing to happen to him;

“I thought it might be the best thing that could have happened to me. Gave me a year off from golf. I got to spend time with family and friends and did a lot of rehab, so it wasn’t all vacation, but it was nice to get away from it a little bit.”

 

Martin Flores / Getty

Martin Flores is still in the hunt, shooting a third round -3 under par 69 and a -12 under par tournament total. Martin had avoided looking at a scoreboard all day long;

“I didn’t look at a leaderboard all day. I just thought that was irrelevant, because there are so many good players out here, that if you’re not attacking and trying to move forward, you can get passed. So I didn’t even know where I was. I knew I was playing well. But, you know, I just didn’t think the leaderboard was important.”

 

In contention after 63

Phil Mickelson / Getty

Phil Mickelson is in third place after a making a big move on moving day, he posted a marvelous -9 under par bogey free 63. He carded seven birdies and an Eagle to attain his total of -11 under par. He said he put it all together today, a bit of an under statement;

“I was able to put everything together, I played well from tee to green. I hit the ball well, put it in play, I hit good iron shots and was able to capitalize on those shots with some good putts, and it feels good because I hadn’t really been able to put it all together this year.  It felt close, hasn’t felt far away, and to put it together today, it’s nice.”

“Historically here, the winner has not come from the last group, but from a few groups before. When you know that you’re out in front of the leaders, and you have a chance to kind of light up the board first, that’s an opportunity, and guys have typically done that here and won. It’s been tougher to follow suit, seeing those guys in front make birdies.”

Rory McIlroy also made a move today, a -7 under par round of 65, to move him up to -6 under par for the tournament and tied eleventh. In 2010 Rory also made the cut on the number,+1 over par, then proceeded to shoot a 62 in the final round to win. He is hoping that history will repeat itself, at least he has good memories;

“It does bring back memories, in 2010, I bogeyed the 18th hole on Saturday to shoot 66, so I had a putt on 18 to go one better. So that’s why I gave a first pump. I was sort of thinking of that. At least I’ve given myself a chance.”

Shell Houston Open. Two at the Top.

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo There are two players tied at the top of the leaderboard in the Shell Houston Open  at  Golf Club of Houston (formerly known as Redstone Golf Club)

 

Bill Haas is currently 33rd in the FedExCup standings, but is poised for a big jump. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Bill Hass / Getty Images

Bill Hass and Charley Hoffman top the leaderboard at the Shell Houston Open after completing first rounds of -7 under par 65′s, Charley was bogey free.

Bill made six birdies, one eagle and a single bogey, and thinks he is playing OK;

” I feel like I’m hanging around, playing okay, I certainly haven’t knocked on the door on Sunday quite yet. But I feel like I’m doing a lot of good things. It’s not like I’m just lost out there. I feel like I’m close. I think you just have to stay positive, and hopefully one week it all clicks and you find yourself in the mix on Sunday and then try to take advantage of that.”

” The greens are absolutely perfect, I think the scores are reflective on that. They were a little slower, but part of that, too, is the weather. It was like a little dewy mist out there all day, which played a part in the speed of the greens.”

There are five players tied in third place, all at -6 under par, they are, Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Eric Compton and Jim Renner.

This field is really bunched up, with ten players recording rounds of  -5 under par, 67.

Phil Mickleson is in the hunt, finishing his opening round at -4 under par 68.

Phil’s  bogey-free performance was a world away from last week when he was forced to withdraw during the third round in San Antonio, after pulling a muscle in his right side;

“I’m surprised because I was worried about the Masters. I was certainly worried about Houston, but it healed a lot quicker. I felt great today; didn’t feel any pain or discomfort and didn’t even think about it.”

” One of the things I really worked on hard today was staying focused on each shot.  I needed to play here this week and really challenge myself in that regard to give myself the best chance for next week.”

 Two-time major winner Rory McIlroy settled for an opening round of -2 under par 70, which he said was a solid round;

 “Solid, if unspectacular start here in Houston. Really happy with my form from tee to green. Hole a few more putts and I’ll be right there.”

“The greens weren’t quite as fast as we’re used to here, so I struggled getting the ball to the hole. I just need to work on my speed a little bit, but I’m very encouraged with how I hit the ball. I just didn’t score particularly well.”

Arnold Palmer Invitational. Scott Sailing to Victory.

dragon logo darkArnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard Logo Adam Scott is sailing to victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

Scores: Scott still cruising

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Adam put together a second round of -4 under par 68, to increase his lead at the top of the Arnold Palmer Invitational to seven shots. Arnold might just as well start engraving the trophy right now, Adam disagrees;

“We’re only halfway, seven shots over two days is not enough. I don’t think you can ever be leading by enough. The challenge might be just to start again and try and play a great 36 holes, start fresh, and try to be the leader after the next 36.”

“It feels very much like I was playing toward the end of last year in Australia, where I kind of picked golf courses apart by just hitting fairways and hitting greens, and just waiting for that right number to hit one close. I’d like to kind of keep that going for the next couple of days and I feel like I’ll be in good shape.”

There are three players who are seven shots adrift, and realistically have no chance of catching Adam. They are; J.B. Holmes, Francesco Molinari and Chesson Hadley.

Chesson Hadley  posted a bogey-free -4 under par 68, and is eying a spot in the field at the Masters.

“That just was so classy, and it really meant a lot to me, I came into this week just so appreciative to be here. It gives me something to work for, I know a win gets me in both ways,  Augusta is a thought, but it’s about winning more than getting to Augusta. It’s still hard to believe. We’re just playing with house money.”

J.B. is just happy to be healthy;

 “This is the first time in three years I’ve really been healthy. It’s a different feeling, that’s for sure. I’ve been really close, I feel like. I just haven’t really put it all together. I’ve just been waiting for it to click in. Hopefully this will be the week.”

 After a 7-under 65 on Thursday, Ryo Ishikawa began the second round in a tie for second, before he unraveled on his second nine. He had bogeys on Nos. 2 and 9 compounded by a double bogey at the third, en route to a +2 over par 74. He dropped eight spots on the leaderboard and into a tie for 10th, nine shots back of 36-hole leader Adam.

 Keegan Bradley carded the low round of the day -5 under par, 67  that included six birdies, nine one-putts and a total of just 25  putts on the round, to be T5.

“I played the exact same just no putts. The putter was the difference, went to talk to Dr. Bob last night and my buddy, John, and just talked about getting less into making putts and more into just having fun and looking forward to making them. Played so good all year, not much to show for it. I feel like I’ve got some good mojo going into the weekend.”

Amateur Nathan Smith was disqualified for playing a shot from an out of bounds area, what was his caddie thinking. Nathan took his disqualification like a true sportsman, accepting the decision with grace.

Northern Trust Open. Dustin Johnson 1st Round Leader.

 

dragon logo dark (2)

 

 

 Dustin Johnson is the 1st round leader at the Northern Trust Open  at the Riviera Country Club at                                              Pacific Palisades in California.

Going the distance

Dustin Johnson /Getty Images

Dustin made six birdies on a warm, sunny day at Riviera Country Club for an opening round of  -5 under par 66, giving him a one-shot lead in the Northern Trust Open, but the first round has been suspended due to darkness.

Dustin compared the round to Pebble Beach last week, where it was cold and windy;

“It was cold, windy and wet at Pebble on Sunday. Here, it’s not a lot of wind and perfect conditions. It’s sunny and a really nice temperature, it’s still golf, though. You’ve still got to adjust no matter what you’re doing. This time, I stayed with it, I worked hard at home. It was tough at Pebble because of the weather, and it was hard to keep your concentration.”

There are eleven players tied in second place at -4 under par, all indications are this is going to be a tight contest. Last weeks winner at Pebble Beach, Jimmy Walker is among those who are just one shot back at -4 under, he birdied his last three holes for his 67.

Jimmy is full of confidence and just wants to get into it;

” It’s four more days of golf, you can ride the momentum of really good play. But everyone started at even and you just have to be like, `Let’s go get it again. I don’t know what it’s like for some of those guys that are winning 40 times and they have done this a ton, but right now, enjoy it. It’s fun. It’s a good place to be.”

Tomorrow is another day, a one shot lead is a slender lead to take into the second round, so lets just wait and see what transpires out on the golf course. anything could happen, and usually does.

The only player yet to finish his first round, and could alter the first round standings is J.B. Holmes. J.B. has completed sixteen holes and is on -4 under par. Seventeen is a par five, so he could easily equal the leading score at -5 under par.

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.”

FedEx St Jude Classic, McIlroy Leads after 36 holes.

 

MEMPHIS, TN - JUNE 08:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the par 3 8th hole during the second round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind on June 8, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee.

 Rory McIlroy, Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy put his recent troubles behind him as he shot a second round -5 under par 65 to lead by one stroke after 36 holes, at the FedEx St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee. Rory’s tournament total is -7 under par, hot on his heels at -6 under par are three players; J.B. Holmes, who had the best round of the day, a -6 under par 64, Jeff Maggert, one of the first round leaders. Joining them at that mark is Kevin Stadler, who matched Rory’s round of 65 for the day. Rory was full of confidence after his days work;

“You know, it was a really, really good round of golf out there today. I saw a lot of positive signs with my ball-striking. Hit a lot of good iron shots and drivers. So that was something that I was really working on the last couple of weeks and feels like it’s coming together for me. So excited to be in this position going into the week. Could have been even better, could have made eagle on 16, but, you know, to finish strong the way I did was great and it gives me momentum going into tomorrow. It’s nice to see my name on that part of the leaderboard. It’s not nice when you’re struggling to make the cut on a Friday afternoon. It was great. It’s nice to be through to the weekend, obviously. It’s obviously even nicer to be leading and have a great chance.”

J.B. Holmes was pleased with the way he had played;

“I just kind of hit everything. I wasn’t knocking pins down, but I hit them in there pretty close. Made a couple 6-footers, but I putted well. I was hitting it 15, 20 feet and making some putts.”

The other first round leader John Merrick, is now two shots off the lead after his second round score of -1 under par, 69, for a two round total of -5 under par.

There are a host of players at -4 under par for two rounds, including Rory’s playing partner Padraig Harrington who scored another -2 under par round of 68.

Notables missing the cut are, last years champion Harrison Frazar with a two round score of +11 over par.Graeme McDowell, who had another horrendous round to finish with a +8 over par total. David Duval and Jhonattan Vegas both finished with +6 to miss the cut.

Zach Johnson also missed the cut with a two round total of +4 over par, a poor effort by his high standards. Colombian Camillo Villegas at +3, and Robert Karlsson at +4.

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