Arnold Palmer Invitational. Subdued Scott Still Leads.

dragon logo darkArnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard Logo Adam Scott had a very subdued third round, but still leads the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

Adam Scott had four bogeys Saturday but remains three ahead at Bay Hill. (Cohen/Getty Images)

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Adam Scott carded a very subdued -1 under par 71 in the third round at Bay Hill, and saw his seven shot lead shrink to three strokes going into the final round. He now has a total of -15 under par, and seeing the guys catch up a little knows he is in a tournament and will have to buckle down and find a good round to win;

” I think I’ve got to go out and try to win the golf tournament, I’m not trying to win the No. 1 ranking. I’ve got a bunch of guys breathing down my neck who all have had nice rounds today and are feeling pretty good about the way they’re playing going into tomorrow. So I’m going to have to play a pretty sharp round of golf and not open the door at all. When you’ve got the lead, you have to work for it, I’m still in good shape.”

“When you don’t start birdie-birdie today, then you know the other guys have got nothing to lose and they’re going for it. They’ve got to close the gap. It doesn’t surprise me at all. You think seven is a lot, but it’s not really, especially over 36 holes. If I was seven back at any other tournament, I would think I could still win.”

Keegan Bradley birdied his last three holes for a third round -6 under par 66 to claim second place alone at -12 under par for the tournament. he likes being the under-dog and thinks tomorrow will be a fun day;

” I just kind of like that under-dog role, I like knowing that I’ve got to go out there and play well. It really gets me excited. And playing in the final group with one of the best players in the world at Arnold Palmer’s tournament is what we all dream to do. Tomorrow is going to be a really fun day. I’m really striking the ball well and finally seeing putts go in.”

Two players are tied in third position at -11 under par, they are, Matt Every, who also signed for -6  under par 66 and Jason Kokrak who carded a -5 under par 67 today.

Matt is adjusting to not having a full-time coach,

“Last year I had a full-time coach, he was awesome, and I learned a ton. But I kind of got lazy and started relying a little too much on other people to help me. If I was hitting it bad, I would go, ‘I’ll wait until next week when he comes back and I’ll straighten it out.’ That’s terrible.”

“This year, I’m trying to do everything by myself, just be committed to everything, and trust, just trust in myself, and my caddie, too.”

“I think I’ve been too aggressive on Sundays. You can hit good shots out here on Sundays, and it might not turn out great. It’s not nerves, it’s really not. It just, you know, it just hasn’t happened. But eventually, I’m pretty sure it will.”

Well yesterday I said the engraver could do his work and go home, and although Adam’s lead has been severely trimmed I still believe he will win.

AT&T National. Bill Haas Beats Them All.

Bill Haas beats them all at Congressional Country Club, actually by three shots to claim the AT&T National trophy.

Congressional Bill

Bill Haas / Getty Images

Bill shot a final round -5 under par 66, for a tournament total of -12 under par, to win the trophy by three shots from his nearest rival, Roberto Castro. Bill said he did not do anything crazy out there;

” I just kept the ball in front of me, nothing too crazy. it helped that Roberto played so well. As many times as I’ve choked and hit bad shots and I’ve been nervous and it hasn’t worked out. I was feeling all those things today, and to hit good, quality golf shots down the stretch is such a good feeling. I wish I could explain it, it’s amazing.”

Roberto finished the tournament with a last round of -2 under par 69, for his -9 under par total.

D.H. Lee made nine birdies to match a tournament-best 64 and tied for third place with Jason Kokrak.

Tiger Woods, who was on hand to present the AT&T National Trophy, said Bill had played well;

” He played beautifully today, he handled his business through the tougher stretch of holes and pulled away.”

Kenny Perry won the  Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, a Major win on the Champions Tour, after completing a final round of 64 for a -19 under par total. Kenny said the condition of the golf course helped him;

” The golf course allowed us to do it, ball in hand, wet fairways, wet greens. It was set up for a classic shootout. I wasn’t going to put any pressure on myself to win the golf tournament because I had so much heartache and so many losses on the regular tour, I lost the Masters and PGA Championship in playoffs. I was just thinking, you know what, I’m tired of worrying about it. I really was.I remember Phil’s quote about all the U.S. Open second places, All I feel is heartbreak. I said I feel your pain Phil. I relaxed. I was actually more relaxed out there today, and more comfortable.”

 Colin Montgomerie, in his Champions Tour debut  shot -8 under par for the tournament, and was pleased with his effort;

” I’ve really enjoyed it, I’ve been very welcomed, which has been lovely to sense the warmth.I’m delighted with a top 10 to start. I’ve obviously a lot of work to do because the standard is very, very high. I knew that before coming out. It’s just a matter of witnessing it firsthand. I know there are some great golfers here and I’ve got to cut out the mistakes to compete on that level.”

AT&T National. 4 Tied at the Top at Crowded Congressional.

There are four players tied at the top of the leaderboard at a crowed Congressional AT&A National, all at -7 under par for the tournament, the score exactly where it was at the beginning of the round.

Crowded Congressional

Roberto Castro, James Driscoll, Bill Haas and Andreas Romero / Getty Images

James Driscoll and Bill Hass were the guys who moved up the leaderboard on moving day with third rounds of -3 under par 68’s to join the guys at the top. Andres Romero carded a -1 under par third round while Roberto Castro stood still with an even par effort.

Bill remarked;

” The back nine, I didn’t really know where I was going. Luckily after that triple, I was able to hit three decent iron shots and then make the putt. Certainly, it could have been a 6-, 7-, 8-under day. But it also could have been a 4-, 5-, 6-over day if I hadn’t putted well. I don’t really know what to make of how I’m playing. Just got to hopefully do more good than bad tomorrow.”

James reflected that he had not played well, even though he leads the field in strokes gained-putting, picking up more than 3 shots on the field average per round at the AT&T National on the  Congressional Country Club course. 

” It’s not perfect golf, but you don’t really have to play perfect golf sometimes. If you’re just patient and putt well and have a good short game, it can go a long way, and that’s kind of what I’m doing this week This is as good a chance as I’ve had for sure, but there’s still 18 holes to go.”

Roberto described it as a wild day, he had to take a penalty drop out of a bunker;

“Wild day, saving a bogey would have been huge, making a par is just a bonus. Nothing good was going to happen if I swung at it, and I thought if I dropped, pitched out, I could make bogey or double, which is not the end of the world. I didn’t need to sit there and make 8 or something. Over four days here, every player is going to hit kind of a rough patch. I don’t see it being easy out here, so mine just came early today, and I just tried to survive it.”

Jason Kokrak is alone in fifth place at -6 under par for the tournament, while Jordan Spieth, who was tied with Roberto at the top of the leaderboard at the start of the day, isn’t out of it. Despite shooting a +3 over par 74, he is still amazingly just three off the lead.

Jordan still thinks he could be in the mix tomorrow;

” Making a double on the easiest hole on the course, and then following up with bogey on a par 5 with a lob wedge in my hand, it was very difficult at the turn for me to stay calm and hit good shots to start the back nine. Maybe lost a couple of shots with my emotions there, which is upsetting. But like I said, I shot 5 under yesterday. I could shoot 5 under tomorrow and be in great position.”

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.”

 

 

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.”

 

FRYS.COM OPEN, Jonas Blitx wins Maiden Tour Event

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Resilient rookie

Jonas Blixt/Laberge/Getty Images

Jonas Blixt won the Fry’s.Com Open, for his maiden US PGA Tour victory, with a tournament total of -16 under par.  Swede Jonas had a half-dozen fans walk the round with him wearing Swedish yellow ribbons, with “Jonas” written on white T-shirts, the support seemed to focus Jonas on the task in hand. He said his putter was a nuclear weapon, and the statistics proved the point, with him returning putting rounds of 25-28-27-25, for a tournament-best total of 105 putts. He finished first in strokes gained-putting and was ranked third in SGP coming into the week, he did not have a three-putt all week. Jonas also sported bright orange shoes, belt and shirt, very sort of  Rickie Fowler.

Jonas said he really wanted to be a hockey player;

” I was more interested in hockey, I wanted to be a hockey player, it’s the greatest sport ever, the lockout just kills me. I never really got big enough or good enough to play. Golf kind of suited me pretty well. The weird part is I’ve been working on some stuff with my swing, and I wasn’t feeling completely 100 % about my swing, I just told myself; Just give it a good hit every time and see what happens. Just focus, you can’t do anything better than your best. That’s what I did on every shot. You learn something every time, last week I didn’t play very well in the final round. I got a little too cute with some shots and wasn’t aggressive enough.”

Tim Petrovic and Jason Kokrak tied for second, with Tim posting a last round of 64, and Jason had  a 68, with both players finishing on -15 under par for the tournament.

Tim eagled the par-5 ninth hole, hitting a 2-iron to 2 1/2 feet, and making the putt to take the lead, he said;

“I think we were about 240 yards into the wind, hit into the bank and it bounced right up there. Almost went in. I played today like I was going to have to Monday qualify next week, and I played it like the Monday qualifier. That was kind of my mindset when I started today. I was going to play like a one-day shootout. Throughout my career I’ve always done well in the Monday qualifiers, I guess because I just kind of dial in, focus. I tried to have that mentality today.”

Jason also had an eagle, on the 17th hole and then closed with a par.

“It’s just nice to play well this week, it gives me confidence going into the rest of the year.”