The Masters. Brilliant Bubba at his Best.

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Bubba Watson was at  his brilliant best as he won his second Green Jacket winning The Masters at Augusta National.

Bubba Watson held off 20-year-old Jordan Spieth to become the 17th player with multiple Masters wins. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Bubba Watson receiving his jacket from Adam Scott / Getty Images

 

Bubba confidently cruised around Augusta National to card a final round -3 under par 69 and slipping on the Green Jacket once again. Apparently green is Bubba’s color;

“This one is a lot different, it’s almost like I lucked into it in 2012, and this one was a lot of hard work and dedication. After giving away that jacket last year, I wanted to get it back, I told Adam we should just kind of switch back and forth.  I never loved green so much.”

Jordan Spieth had to settle for a tie in second place with Jonas Blixt, both of them three shots adrift at -5 under par for the tournament.

Jordan said is was fun to be in the final group, but losing hurts;

” That was fun, but at the same time, it hurts right now, I wanted to get in contention on the back nine Sunday, but didn’t come out on top.”

After starting level with Bubba at the start of play on the final round, Jordan let it all slip away with some casual putting, carding a last round of level par 72. It was still an amazing tournament for the 20 year-old, and hopefully he will have learned a lot from this experience.

Jonas also enjoys playing in the Majors

“I think they are a lot of fun to play, it’s really tough. You beat your head in a little bit but you can’t beat yourself up too bad. The atmosphere, there are so many people here, the excitement of being here, it just adds to the experience. I love majors. I love when it’s tough. The harder the better.”

 

A very honorable mention must go to Miguel Angel Jimenez, next week this man will make his Champions Tour debut. He shot a final round of -1 under par 71 Sunday which gave him a creditable  fourth place on his own. He really wants a place on the next European Ryder Cup team;

I’m going to play only next week. I plan to focus myself for the Ryder Cup and then I need to play in the European Tour for that. If you don’t play over there you won’t have as good of chances. I would like to play on the Ryder Cup and I would like to help Europe defend the Ryder Cup. I would love to do that.”

This has been another very good golfing contest, both with the high standard of play, and the exquisite lay-out of the Augusta National course.

 

The Masters. Bubba Backs Up. Jordan Jumps Into Share of the Lead.

dragon logo darkMasters Flag   Bubba Watson backs up in The Masters on Saturday as Jordan Spieth jumps into a    share of the lead at Augusta National.

 

 

 

 Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Bubba Watson could only move backwards on moving day at The Masters, shooting a third round +2 over par 72. Jordan Spieth carded a -2 under par 70 to join Bubba at the top of the leaderboard on -5 under par for the tournament.

While Bubba seemed to lose concentration, Jordan just stayed focused, as the 20 year-old, vying to become the youngest ever Masters champion explained;

“You can’t let your focus go astray for one moment. It was about being patient, knowing that bogeys were going to come, and take advantage of the par fives. I’m able to take a lot of confidence out of today, a lot of positives. I wanted to get into contention, not just as a goal to get into contention, but to see how I can perform on a Sunday.”

“Today was a day to stay patient and try and get myself a later tee time even than today, and that goal was accomplished. And tomorrow is about seeing how I can control my game and emotions out on the golf course against guys that have even won here recently. So they have been in the position I haven’t. Doesn’t necessarily mean, I don’t think, that they have an advantage in any way. I think that I’m very confident in the way things are going, and really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Matt Kuchar and Jonas Blixt are tied in third place, just one shot back at -4  under par. Matt put together a -4 under par 68 third round. Jonas with a more conservative -1 under par 71.

 

 Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 50 year-old, who is known as “The Mechanic” aims to put a spanner in the works and try to win the tournament, just before he plays his first Champions League event;

“If you are fifty doesn’t mean that you cannot play well, I’m still moving, I’m still flexible. I love the place, it’s a beautiful place, a beautiful golf course, always manicured and I feel great here.The main thing is enjoy yourself, enjoy what you are doing and smile. Not enough people smile on the golf course. I love what I’m doing, and I hope I’m still in the same conditions for another 25 years. I’m not going to get bored of myself.”

 “Doesn’t matter how you play, you feel good, because everything is prepared for us the way it is. If you don’t hit good, you don’t want to be there. You need to hit good and you need to be patient, and you need to be into your own zone. I like it and that’s my style of game and what I love, what I love to do.”

 Miguel is tied in fifth place with Rickie Fowler at -3 under par.

 Lee Westwood is a shot further back at -2 under par, and  he has not finished lower than 11th in his last three appearances at Augusta National;

“Augusta is one of those places where I feel like I can get around, and I felt like I know how to get around here, even if I’m maybe not on my game. But I’ve hit the ball well this week and that’s why I’m in contention.” 

” The par fives are no gimmes around here, but if you’re going to shoot a low score then you’ve got to play them a couple under. There’s little birdie chances out there and I used all of them the first two days. And today played solidly and had a lot of chances out there. I was a bit unlucky at times on the greens. I had a lot of good putts that didn’t go in.”  

I guess that anyone in red figures now, has a chance to don the Green Jacket tomorrow, and that’s basically what Lee Westwood is thinking;

 “Anywhere within five, even six shots of the lead going into the final round of the Masters is given a good chance, especially with the way the golf course is playing out here. Even a good shot can drop you shots out there. Kind of on the knife edges of the greens.”

 

 

The Masters. Amazing Bubba Blitz at Augusta.

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An amazing blitz from Bubba Watson sees him top the leaderboard in The Masters at Augusta National

 

Bubba Watson stood out among the crowd after shooting a 68 on Friday at the Masters. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Bubba playing to the crowd / Getty Images

Bubba shot a second round -4 under par 68 to top the leaderboard at Augusta by three shots. He said he was trying not to get too excited, and stay focused, he remembered the hang-over he suffered after his Green Jacket win;

“Just keep my head down, not try to focus on the crowds cheering for me and stuff. Trying to stay level, not too energized, not too excited. Never been drunk before, but had a hangover from the green jacket, if you had one, you would celebrate it for a year or two.”

“It’s not science here, it’s try to hit the greens. And if you’re hitting the greens, that means you’re obviously hitting your tee shots well. So that’s all I’m trying to do is just hit the greens, maybe throw in a birdie here or there. That’s what I’ve done the last two days and it’s worked out so far.”

Bubba’s  putt on the 14th hole easily traveled around 50 feet after it turned almost 90 degrees to the left and rolled into the cup. It was just his luck that Sergio had a chip shot that rolled over the very spot where Bubba had marked his putt. The Sergio chip showed him the way.

“Without Sergio’s chip, I probably would have three-putted it.”

John Senden is in second pace at -4 under par, after he had completed his second round of -4 under par 68, the same as Bubba. He is playing with a smile on his face;

If I keep believing in myself and enjoying it, that’s the difference, it’s about keeping a smile on your face when you’re under pressure. I’ve been here five times now and learned where to go and where not to go. You just have to accept where the ball ends up and play the best shot you can.”

” The secret of this course is keeping the big numbers off the card. They kind of put you straight out of contention and if you can do that well you have a chance. There are plenty of ups and downs on this golf course. I just want to go out there and do my best and hope that’s good enough.”

There are four players tied in third place at -3 under par, Thomas Bjorn, Jonas Blixt, Jordan Spieth and defending champion Adam Scott, who carded an even par 72 second round.

Adam reported that it was all too easy to drop shots out on the course today;

“It was very difficult out there today. It’s starting to get pretty easy to drop shots out there, tomorrow is a big day for everyone. Anything even par or better at a major is normally a good score, especially today, I would say. It kept me in the tournament.”

“It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but given everything, I’m absolutely satisfied with that. It just means tomorrow’s round’s extremely important for me. It’s going to have to be maybe the best round of the week.”

The patrons favorite, fabulous Freddie Couples, not only made the cut, but is in contention following a spirited second round -1 under par 71, to be tied in seventh place at -2 under par. Not bad for a 53 year-old.

Among those missing the cut were the big names of Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson, Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner.

Accenture Match-Play. Rose & Rory Out. Magic McDowell Survives Again.

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Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy crashed out of the Accenture Match-Play tournament at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Course on Dove Mountain. Graeme McDowell survived another match where he looked like losing, once again.

Graeme McDowell  (Getty Images)

Survivor G-Mac / Getty Images

Justin went down to Ernie Els, 1 up, while Rory lost to Harris English, on the 19th hole. G-Mac went three down after six holes against  Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan. He then birdied the seventh and eighth to get within one hole, only to then lose the 14th to be two down with four holes to play. Graeme won the 15th and the 17th, and rounding off with  a ten foot putt on the final green to seal a one up win.

He joked afterwards;

“Why do it the easy way when the hard way will do. I just got off to a slow start again, probably less so today. I was quite proud of myself when I got a half on three, so I was only two down after three, as opposed to three down. I tried to go out there today and execute my game plan and try not to give him any room, try not to make any mistakes, try not to give him anything, and he kind of played the same kind of golf back. He played very, very well. 

“I made big putts on 15 and 16. The 16th especially was a massive putt to give me the opportunity.I feel very fortunate again today. I’ve certainly expended all my energy and emotions the last couple of days, but thankfully it’s early in the season and I’ve plenty left in the tank.”

Louis Oosthuizen dumped out Henrik Stenson 4-3, and Webb Simpson dispatched Brandt Snedeker by the same score.

George Coetzee is still doing fine, winning the 21 hole battle with Patrick Reed. Jason Day took even longer to overcome Billy Horschel, 22 holes.

Sergio Garcia is going along smoothly, a 3-1 victory over Bill Haas, while Jason Dufner eliminated Matteo Manassero by 2-1. 

Sergio said he had fun out there today;

“It was good fun, we both played hard. We both tried to play as well as we could to beat our opponent and I was fortunate to be just a little bit better than him today.”

A resurgent Rickie Fowler beat Jimmy Walker 1 up, Matt Kuchar beat Ryan Moore by the same score. Jim Furyk took care of Charl Schwartzel 3-2, and Jordan Spieth was too strong for Thomas Bjorn, beating him 5-4.

Victor Dubuisson continued to impress on his World Golf Championships debut as he overcame Peter Hanson 3 -1 to progress to face former Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson, who saw off Jonas Blixt at the 17th hole when Jonas lost his ball under a bush. ( would have been ironic if Jonas had got a free drop, wouldn’t it)

Some good match ups tomorrow and any of the remaining players could win, as Graeme McDowell said yesterday, this is a brutal format.

The Greenbrier Classic. Jonas Jubilant.

A jubilant Jonas Blixt won the Greenbrier Classic at The Old White TPC by two shots in a rain delayed final round.

Late-night delivery

Jonas Blixt / Getty Images

Jonas shot a -3 under par 67 to win the Greenbrier Classic by two shots, in a final round which was  halted for three hours due to thunderstorms in the area. Jonas overcame a four-shot deficit at the start of the final round and finished at 13-under par for the tournament. It was a dream come true after he picked up his second PGA Tour trophy;

“Just so many dreams come true, just one week and the whole year kind of turns around.”

Four players tied for second place, including Johnson Wagner who fell to a +3 over par 73 and finished at -11 under par for the tournament. Joining him on that score were, Steven Bowditch, Matt Jones and Jimmy Walker.

I guess the three-hour rain delay really unhinged Johnson Wagner, he had a commanding lead at the start of play but saw it all fall away.

Tom Watson, the 63-year-old, carded a creditable final-round of -3 under par 67 and tied for 38th at The Greenbrier Classic.

 

The Greenbrier Classic. Johnson Jumps Into Lead

Johnson Wagner jumps into the lead at The Greenbrier Classic at The Old White TPC , with a third round of -6 under par 64 and a total of -14 under par tournament score.

Wagner pulls ahead

Johnson Wagner / Getty Images

Johnson who played here several times a year as a student at Virginia Tech, already has his game plan laid out. He ranks 21st in fairways hit, sixth in greens in regulation and 10th in putting through 36 holes.

“This is the kind of golf course that if you play tentative at all you’re going to miss fairways, and when you miss fairways out here you get some awkward angles on some of these tough TOUR pins especially on Sunday. So I think my main key for tomorrow is going to be aggressive off the tee and hit as many fairways as I can, which will set up a lot of birdie opportunities.”

Jimmy Walker is alone in second place, two shots off the pace at -12 under par tournament total. He also had a third round of -6 under par 64, and likes this course;

“I like the golf course, I’ve always liked it. The first time we came here we really enjoyed it, just the whole atmosphere. Everybody’s so nice and everybody’s so accommodating. The hotel is amazing and just really enjoyed being here and the golf course really seems to fit my eye. I like the tee shots, like the second shots, and I feel comfortable.”

Jonas Blixt is in third place at -10 under par for the tournament total, the only other player on the course to finish in double figures.

Bill Haas is in a group of players who are on -8 under par, and is bidding to win again after last week, but admits the leaders will have to help by coming back a bit;

“This week I’ve tried to do a good job of staying in the moment and telling myself that last week you did it, you never know what will happen. I’m going to need the leaders to not go crazy low but a good round tomorrow will put me in a great position. Today was kind of a mixed bag, I hit a lot of nice shots that didn’t result in birdies.Then those last four holes I played in three under and it could easily have not been that way. So I’m counting my blessings to shoot 3 under par and with that said, I’m going to go hit a few on the range and hopefully figure something out and have a decent Sunday.” 

To be honest the winner will come from the current top three, the others are realistically too far away.

Euro Tour. Nordea Masters. Mikko Makes It His Trophy

Mikko Ilonen made the European Tour Nordea Masters his trophy with a last round -3 under par 69 for a total score of -21 under par.

Mikko Ilonen  (Getty Images)

Mikko Ilonen / Getty Images

Mikko, from Finland, claimed his first win for six years at the Nordea Masters on the Bros Hof Slott Golf Course in Sweden. He actually won this event in 2007, and said it was special to it again, apart from the bogey at the 12th hole;

“It’s pretty special, I could feel a lot of support from Finland, especially today. I just got ahead of myself with the first putt. I’ve said for weeks now it doesn’t really bother me if I make a bogey because I know I can make it up and it was the first time I went for the 13th in two. To bounce back this soon is really good, it’s really satisfying, but the show I saw in China. I didn’t lose the tournament, Brett won it, so hats off to him.Obviously I’ve been waiting for this moment for a few weeks now. People have been expecting me to win but most of all I’ve been expecting myself to win, so to pull it off here after those second places is very satisfying. It’s been a long time since I won but I haven’t forgotten how it felt. In life there are ups and downs and I’ve found a better balance now. Life is good, my family is good and golf is alright, so I can’t complain.”

Local boy Jonas Blixt. who plays most of his golf on the US PGA Tour where he won last year,  took second place. He was three shots back at -18 under par, a last round effort of -4 under par, 68, just not quite enough for him to get first place for Sweden;

“I’m pretty happy about the way I played this week, I didn’t win but I made a good run at it so that’s what I’m happy about. It’s been fantastic and I’m never going to forget this. It’s been nothing but amazing this week, it is cool to come home and have people screaming and cheering, and I don’t really get that in the States so much, it’s awesome.”

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger was in third place alone on -17 under par for the tournament. Italian Matteo Manassero finished in a tie for fourth place at -16 under par. He shared that score with Dane Thomas Björn and Swede, Rikard Karlberg.

 

Euro Tour. Nordea Masters. Mikko Makes A Move.

Mikko Ilonen, from Finland has made a move, on moving day, Saturday, to lead the European Tour Nordea Masters by two shots at the Bro Hof Slott Golf Course in Sweden.

Mikko Ilonen   (Getty Images)

Mikko Ilonen / Getty

Mikko shot a third round of -7 under par 65 to move to the top of the Nordea Masters leaderboard at -18 under par. He now has the chance to end his six-year wait for another Tour win, and is fully aware of the challenge in front of him. He also spoke about the luck he had with his Eagle at the 15th hole;

 It was a bit of a funny yardage for me, it was raining and I just tried to squeeze it in there and got lucky with it a bit. I need to shoot another low score and I can do it, but we’ve got eighteen holes to go and lots of other guys are still hunting me.”

Alexander Noren, a home favorite, is in second place after shooting a marvelous third round of -8 under par, 64 and is now just two shots back at -16 under par.

Alex was amazed by his putting prowess;

” I got lucky, I hit a lot of good putts and I holed a lot of them. I don’t know where it came from, amazing putting. I’ve played here a lot, I’m from an hour away, it’s the best course in Sweden and it is a beautiful place.”

A countryman of Alex, Jonas Blixt, and Italian Matteo Manassero, who had a quiet day, are tied in third place at -14 under par for the tournament.

Matteo looked to have overcome his slow start to the round when he had a hat-trick of birdies on the back nine. All that good work was undone on the 18th, going from rough to water and carding a double bogey six on the last.

Jonas fired in a bogey free round of -6 under par , 66 to give himself a chance of victory here. The crowd will be hoping one of the home boys will lift the trophy.

 

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.”

 

Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Ryan Moore Wins

Moore success

Ryan Moore/Halleran/Getty Images

Ryan Moore , who lives in Las Vegas, won the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Sunday at TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada with a last round of -5 under par 66, and a tournament total -24 under par. This is Ryan’s second PGA Tour title, he finally shook of the challenge from Brendon de Jonge by grabbing a birdie on the par 5 16th hole, to take the outright lead and then finished with two pars for a -5 under par 66 and a one-stroke victory over Brendon. Ryan said the challenge from Brendon was tough;

” The last couple of days were tough, I was shot for shot with Brendon, and he was playing some great golf. I was able to make a birdie down the stretch when it mattered to hold him off at the end. He was playing great and he was hitting the ball really well, and he was making putts, I tried not to get too wrapped up into what he was doing really for the last two days. I just tried to keep my head and just keep hitting my golf shots, and playing the golf course how I wanted to play it and just give myself opportunities.”

Brendon de Jonge, from Zimbabwe had to settle for second place alone, he unfortunately managed to miss the fairway on the 560-yard par 5 16th hole. He eventually finished with a last round of -4 under par a 67 and a total of -23 under par. Brendon rued the missed fairway on 16, he said;

” Today, playing a little bit down breeze, all you’ve got to do is get one in the fairway, it’s almost a mid-iron in there, so that was definitely a turning point, you know, the bad tee shot there. I played nicely all week, hats off to Ryan. He played great, especially down the stretch. He made a couple tough shots in there on 17 and 18, and he pulled them off when he needed to.”

Jonas Blixt finished in third place alone, he had a disappointing last round of -1 under par 70, with a total score of -20 under par for the tournament.

An Acrimonious Aside

Justin Timberlake has been dropped as the Host of this tournament, it is suggested he was not visible enough for the Shriners people. Did not get involved enough with the day-to-day running and promotion of the Children’s Hospitals or the kids themselves  Although Shriners grudgingly announced that Justin did;

“Fulfill his obligations to the tournament and helped raise several million dollars. He wasn’t able to generate greater interest in the tournament, and his star power wasn’t enough to lure bigger-name players to the event on a consistent basis”.

The tournament chairman, Raoul Frevel,  was very specific about why they were not interested in continuing;

“Justin’s a wonderful person. But we tried everything we could to get him more involved with our kids and the hospitals. But it seemed that when the TV cameras weren’t on, he disappeared.

Last week Justin was unresponsive with the local media at the Ryder Cup, and this week a Charity is suggesting that his volunteer participation was found wanting.

Not sure what the real deal is here, but Justin has been the host of the Shriners Hospitals for Kids for four years, it will be interesting to see who Shriners pick next as the Host, who will bring the “bigger name players” to the tournament.