Valspar Championship. Garrigus Gets Ahead.

dragon logo dark

Valspar Championship Logo

 

Robert Garrigus gets ahead in the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook on day 2 taking a three shot lead into the week-end.

Garrigus leads at Valspar

Robert Garrigus / Getty Images

Robert can not remember a better performance going into the week-end than the one he put together on day 2 at the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead course. He shot a second round -5 under par 66, to finish the day three shots ahead on -7 under par for the tournament;

“It’s the fishing, I think that puts me in a good frame of mind because I’m clear and not thinking about anything, just going out and having some fun. I probably hit one of the top-five shots of my life there on sixteen, out of the trees. Hit a low, cut 5-iron, then rose it up over the pine tree and cut it 40 yards and hit to ten feet. That’s just one of those shots that when you’re playing good and everything is rolling, you kind of expect it. It was a lot of fun to try it, and to pull it off was even better. I’ve spent half my life in the trees. I’ve had a lot of practice.”

Kevin Na is in second place, a second round -3 under par 68 gave him a total of -4 under par for the tournament. That was good enough for second spot alone.

Highest-ranked player in the field, Justin Rose shot a second round -3 under par, and joins Matt Every, Pat Perez and Matteo Manassero, all tied in third place at -3 under par.

Justin finally got some momentum going;

“I got some momentum going today, I worked my way into the tournament early. To finish strong with my round yesterday I think helped give me some momentum into day. It’s exactly how I needed to flow into the tournament.”

During the round today Pat Perez  was the first player to reach -5 under par for the tournament, until he missed two drives well to the left. The first was in the trees at No. 6, and then another wayward drive went out of bounds on No. 7. Both of them led to double bogeys, though Pat shrugged off the disappointment;

“Just move on and keep going.”

Danny Lee went from first to worst. He was tied for the lead Thursday, and then shot +8 over par for 79, and miss the cut. The cut was at +3  over par,  and because 84 players advanced, there will be a 54-hole cut to top 70 and ties on Saturday.

The list of players missing the cut was pretty impressive, they include;

Ernie Els, Mike Weir,  Camilo Villegas, Webb Simpson, Geoff Ogilvey, D.A. Points, VJ Singh, Angel Cabrera, Kyle Stanley and the wild man himself, John Daly, who propped up the whole field.

 

 

Sony Open. Sang-Moon Bae has 1st Round Lead

dragon logo darkLogo Image

Sang-Moon Bae carded a -7 under par 63 to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

 

Sang-Moon Bae / Getty Images

Sang-Moon Bae leads the way at the Sony Open in Hawaii with opening round of 63, giving him a one-shot lead over Chris Kirk. The pair were together all Thursday morning, playing in the same group and taking the top two spots on the leaderboard. Chris taking second spot alone with his -6 under par 64.

Chris admired Sang-Moon’s lightening start, but was happy to catch up on the back nine;

“He was off to a great start, at one point he was four under and I was still two over. It took some catching up for me on the back nine. But it’s always nice to see putts falling.”

Sang-Moon said he had played well the week before, but had trouble reading the greens, but practice makes perfect, he arrived here early and worked hard;

“I think I played well last week, but really tough greens, very hard to read. I couldn’t read any right-to-left putts, any putts,  so I missed a lot of puts last week. But this course is more shorter than last week, so easy read, and I can make good speed, too. I practiced a little bit and I had fun, go to beach, go swim, everything. I like it here.”

Sharing third place at -5 under par are Brian Stuard and Ryan Palmer, but the leaderboard is tightly packed so anything could happen. It is exciting to be able to watch it all unfold. The next group all at -4 under, seven of them, includes Retief Goosen and Big John Daly.

Big John, who has recovered from elbow surgery commented;

“The arm feels good, the greatest thing is, I can hit three-quarter shots again, I haven’t done that in six years. That was my bread and butter; that was my game. I need a little more practice. I’m rusty,”

There are then twelve players recording -3 under par.

The defending champion Russell Henley played Wednesday in the Pro-Am, but food poisoning stopped him in his tracks on the 11th hole. Two trips to the hospital for IV fluids and medicine helped Russell make  his opening round 12:20 p.m. tee time. His +3 over  par 73 opening round didn’t come close to the 63 he fired off in last year’s final round.

Russell said he was still not feeling good;

“I’m not operating at 100 percent, I’m feeling a lot better than yesterday, but I made two bad swings, two really bad holes. Other than that, I played a pretty decent round, a couple putts didn’t fall. I think I’ll be feeling good tomorrow and hopefully will play well.”

Would love to know what Sea Food Restaurant he was at, and I bet they are praying that he does not mention them.

BMW Masters. Luke Guthrie Leads, Big John Daly Right Behind.

Luke Guthrie leads the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China, but Big John Daly is right behind him.

Luke Guthrie   (Getty Images)

Luke Guthrie / Getty Images

Luke required just 19 putts in his opening round -7 under par 65 at the  BMW Masters presented by SRE Group as the Final Series began in Shanghai. The 23-year-old American, who only turned professional last year and is playing his first regular European Tour event, carded five birdies and an Eagle, a chip in on the par five 15th hole.

Not surprisingly Luke said it was a great day;

“It was a great day, I had 19 putts, and that was definitely the key to my round. I had about five weeks off before I played the last two weeks over on the PGA Tour, and I’ve been playing solid, hitting it a lot better and just been getting a lot out of my rounds again, which is nice.

“I love Shanghai. This is my first time over in China and Asia, and I just wanted to challenge myself to come travel abroad and get used to this, and just keep gaining experiences and get better at becoming a global player. I was really looking forward to this tournament on my schedule and I just can’t be more happy to be here.”

Big John Daly  had been recovering on the sidelines for four months, following elbow surgery, and the 47-year-old was delighted with his return. A round of -4 under par 68 announced his return to golf;

“When you don’t play competitive for a while, especially against all these guys out here, as good as they are, you want to execute and hit solid shots. Luckily I got a lot of shots that came out right today.”

“My elbow has been ailing me for probably six years, and the last four have been really just brutal and finally to get the surgery done, it’s nice to be able to pinch chips, which I haven’t been able to do in a long time, so that’s encouraging.”

Completing an American top three is Peter Uihlein, an opening round of -3 under par is another good start to his first European Tour season. Peter has been in contention all season long , and has a win in Madeira and finished runner-up to at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Peter said it had been really tough out there today, and was amazed at the effort of Luke;

“That was tough today, that was really hard, that was some round by Luke. I don’t know what course he played, but that was really difficult today. I got off to a bad start and I was able to grind it out and finish well, so it was nice.”

In the contest to be European Number One, Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson carded a level par 72, while his nearest challenger Graeme McDowell shot a -2 under par 70, helped by an Eagle from around 100 feet on the par five 13th hole.

RBC Heritage. Three Tied at the Top, in Storm Hit Harbour Town.

Play has been suspended for the day with three players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage on the Harbour Town Golf Links, at the rain affected end of the day. Kevin Streelman, Charley Hoffman and Steve LeBrun are at -6 under par for the competition.

Trio at the top

Steve LeBrun, Kevin Streelman and Charley Hoffman / Lecka / Getty Images

In the wet, windy and difficult conditions Kevin and Charley both had second rounds of -1 under par, 70 for their totals, with Steve LeBrun shooting a second round -3 under par 68.

Luke Donald also had second round of -3 under par, and shares T4 with Bill Haas, who came home in -2 under par for the day, both of them at -5 under par.

The next group of players, seven in all, are at -4 under par, they are all handily placed to go forward in this competition tomorrow. They are; Johnson Wagner, Rory Sabbatini, Graeme McDowell, D.H. Lee, Pat Perez, and two Aussies, Stuart Appleby and Marc Leishman. All these players are in the clubhouse, but the cut line has still to be determined  with 17 players still to complete their second rounds. The current cut line is at +1 over par, but could easily move to +2.

Pat Perez said his trying to stay calm;

” I’m trying to stay level, which is always, for me, trying to stay on a high, I’ve really worked hard on it this year. I don’t have the ups and downs. It’s hard, especially for me, because I’ve done it my whole life. But to say, that’s not going to bring me down, let’s try to make 5 instead of 6. And the next hole it’s basically done. I didn’t think I’d make a lot of birdies, but I seem to be hitting it closer than I ever have out here.”

One of those players teetering on the current cut line at +1 over par is Jesper Parnevik, and he is on the 18th hole with an agonising five foot putt left for his par. If he misses that tomorrow, he would drop to +2 over and that would move the cut to that number as well.

Obviously there are other players on the course who could make a birdie and change things back again, it will be a very interesting early start tomorrow.

Of those who have definitely missed the cut are; Vijay Singh +4, Ernie Els +4, John Daly +10, those are just a couple of the higher profile guys who have struggled in this competition.

Could Miguel still win an Open ? Big John Has To Open His Cheque Book

Miguel Angel Jimenez  (Getty Images)

Miguel Angel Jiménez/ Getty Images

Three time winner of the UBS Hong Kong Open Miguel Angel  Jiménez, could still win a Major, especially The Open, that is according  to Des Smyth. Miguel took away the title of oldest player to win on the European Tour from Des at Fanling, Hong Kong on Sunday. Des himself was neither upset or surprised to watch  the 48 year-old  Miguel beat his record, he believes that the Olive Oil and Rioja wine are keeping Miguel fit and flexible.

Not quite sure where the cigar smoking fits into those categories; Miguel Angel Jimenez Cigar Man Miguel/getty images

Des was full of praise for the Spanish veteran;

” He’s a top quality player, naturally, the clock is ticking but Miguel clearly still can compete, especially on courses that suit him. I think he could even win an Open at this stage. Miguel has that type of game, he’s very controlling and straight-hitting. It’s a great boost to your confidence to know you can still go out there and beat the talented young guns on tour.”

 

Another vet in the news is Big John DalyJohn Daly  John/getty image

Big John was playing in last week’s UBS Hong Kong Open, and was reported for throwing his putter into the trees during the second round, after being annoyed by fans using cellphones and cameras. Clearly upset, John went on to miss the cut after rounds of 72 and 75.  The  European Tour confirmed that it would fine John Daly, 46, an undisclosed amount. The Tournament director Mickael Ericsson gave a statement to reporters, he agreed crowd behavior was a problem, but that is no excuse for bad manners;

“Yes, the circumstances regarding crowd manners and behavior will be considered, but when it all boils down there is still no excuse for throwing his putter.”

Last year at the Australian Open John, a two-time Major Champion, threw his most  infamous meltdown of all time, when he proceeded to hit six balls in the water on one hole, and then stormed off the course. That prompted the then tournament director to remark;

” I would say this is the last time we will see John Daly.”

When questioned later about the incident John simply said he had run out of balls, and could not continue. In 2010, a PGA Tour personnel file revealed that John Daly had been cited 11 times for “conduct unbecoming of a professional” and another 21 times for “failure to give best effort.” Over the years, his fines have totaled more than $100,000, a piffling amount compared to Big  John’s earning potential.

 

 

 

European Tour Money Title for Rory ?

Rory McIlroy /thesidelinesagenda.com

Rory McIlroy can wrap up the European money title this week if he puts in a good performance at the Singapore Open. All his closest rivals will not be competing, and he already leads the race going into the tournament. Rory has already claimed the U.S. PGA Tour money list, and would love to repeat Luke Donald’s 2011 win on both sides of the Atlantic. Rory said he would like to have a strong finish to the season;

“I’m in the lead at the moment and it would be nice to increase that,” McIlroy said Wednesday, a day before the tournament. “There’s still a lot to play for in the next three weeks and I want to finish off the season as strong as possible.”

His nearest rivals, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, who won last week at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, and Branden Grace, have strangely decided not to compete this week. The field is still going to be a strong one, with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomery, John Daly and Miguel Angel Jimenez all teeing it up for the tournament at the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club.

The winners prize cheque this week is $1 million, and Rory will also be playing next week at  the Hong Kong Open, while most of his rivals again will not be competing. Rory did not play at the WGC event last week, because he watched his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, play in a tennis tournament. A poor decision which bought him world-wide criticism, and especially by the golf tournament sponsor. Rory has admitted that the criticism against him was fairly laid.

“I think the criticism is fair. Shenzhen is a World Golf Championship event, one of the big ones. It was a tough one to miss. But I can’t play every week.”

He then went on to say;

”  If I had I would have played five in a row finishing the season and after playing Turkey and Ryder Cup and all the FedEx Cup stuff, it’s just too much. You have to say no and you have to be selfish sometimes and look after yourself, ; it doesn’t make you a bad person. You have got to put yourself first and foremost, and try to fit in the things you want to do. I’m in the fortunate position where I can dictate where I want to play, what I want to do, where I want to go.”

Seems that is what all the youngsters say these days; I do want I want, when I want to do it.

 

Justin Timberlakes Shriners Tournament, Blixt & Moore Tied at the Top

 

Jonas Blixt of Sweden is tied at the top of the leaderboard after two rounds  at Justin Timberlakes, Shriners Hospitals for Children Open,  at TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada. Jonas has produced two very steady rounds of -7 under par 64 and a tournament total of -14 under par. He shares the lead with Brendon de Jong from Zimbabwe, Brendon followed his opening round of -9 under par 62, with second round -5 and 66 for his -14 under par total.

Jonas thinks that having his family and some overseas friends with him this week, has helped him to relax and not think too much about playing golf;

“I think it’s a lot of things that make me play well this week. I got my family in town, my brother and my sister, a couple friends from overseas, which makes it really relaxed. We’re renting a house together and just having a good time. I don’t think about golf at all coming off the golf course. Just hang out with them. It’s easy to think about something else when you’re in Las Vegas, right. I’ve been working a lot on my ball-striking the last few weeks when I’ve been off, it’s not really there yet, but I got a hot putter and it’s been helping me out a lot the last two days.”

Just one shot behind them is first round leader Ryan Moore who had an amazing first round of -10 under par, 61. Ryan followed that with a modest -3 under pa, 68, for his -13 under par total. Ryan is very happy with his position after two days;

“It was a good, solid round, I definitely would have liked to have seen a few more of those putts drop. But I hit good putts all day. They were just burning the edges, lipping out. All in all, I like my position going into the weekend.”

The combination of desert air and altitude in Las Vegas helps the ball fly through the air more easily, there are 82 players that have averaged 300 or more yards per drive. That sort of distance off the tee for these professionals makes TPC Summerlin a breeze for quality players, the top scores are testament to that.

Major winner John Daly had eight birdies, an eagle and two bogeys to match the best round of the day, John said of his round today;

“Today, I hit the ball really well and I putted good the last two days, which is good for me. The greens are rolling really good, so it gives you an opportunity. If you hit it decent, you can make some putts. But on any tour it’s just putting. If you make some putts you can play really well. This course gives you a lot more opportunities than most courses.”