The Open. Rory Racks Up 3 Rounds in a Row.

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Rory McIlroy racks up three rounds in a row at the top of the leaderboard in The Open.

Twin eagles power Rory to big 54-hole Open lead

A jubilant Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory carded two Eagles in a third round of -4 under par 68, which sent him soaring over the field at -16 under par for The Open championship at Royal Liverpool. It also gives him a six shot lead going into the final round tomorrow, and he spoke about the Grand Slam of Major titles;

“Not a lot of people have achieved the career grand slam and if everything goes the right way tomorrow, to get three-quarters of the way there is some achievement by the age of 25. It would mean a lot of hype going into Augusta next year.”

“I’d be in pretty illustrious company so it would mean an awful lot. I never thought that I’d be able to be in this position. I didn’t think that I’d even have the chance at 25 to go for three legs of the grand slam so I’m going to try to put all of that out of my head”.

“It would be way too much to think about and way too much to ponder. First things first. Just play a good solid round of golf tomorrow and if that means that I’m going to Augusta next year with a bit of hype, then so be it.”

“It was a day of patience for me, I didn’t get off to the best of starts. I knew that there were some good chances coming up. Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 9 were playing more difficult than Friday. I knew on the back nine we could make up some ground. This is where the golf course plays into my hands.”

Nearest competitor is Rickie Fowler, a third round effort of -4 under 68 put him alone in second place at -10 under par. Rickie is hoping to be able to put some pressure on Rory;

“He always has that firepower to make things happen, you just never know when it’s coming.”

“Maybe I can put a little pressure on him, unfortunately I did make those rough swings coming in. But I’ve been swinging great. I’m definitely looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and see if I can put the same start on Rory as I did today.”

“It was just a matter of time before the two of us found a way to sneak into a final group together. We both want to beat up on each other as bad as possible.”

Tied in third place are Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson, both at -9 under par for the tournament.

Sergio admits the difficulty of the task ahead of him if he is to catch the leader;

“I was trying to shoot as low as possible, Rory obviously had a great back nine and finished really, really well. We’ll give it a shot. If he plays like he’s been playing, it’s going to be difficult.”

Justin Rose made some headway today, a -3 under par 69 moving him to -5 under par for the competition, but not good enough to challenge for the honors.

The Defending champion Phil Mickelson shot a -1 under par  71 on Saturday and is now -1 under par for the tournament, a long way from the top of the board. Tiger Woods shot another over par round, and is sits at +3 over par for the championship.

The Open. Rory on Route 66.

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Rory McIlroy produced another magical Thursday first round, this time a flawless route 66 at The Open, in glorious weather at Royal Liverpool.

Rory McIlroy is looking for the third leg of the career Grand Slam. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

 

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory carded a -6 under par 66 at Hoylake to sit proudly on top of the leaderboard of The Open Championship. He reported that he was more relaxed on a Thursday, we will see tomorrow if he can hold it all together;

“Any time you shoot 66 at The Open Championship, you’re going to be pleased. We had perfect scoring conditions out there this morning. There wasn’t much wind early on and there were plenty of opportunities to make birdies and I was able to take a few of them.”

“It’s another great start and, yeah, looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow. Whenever I go out and play on Thursdays there are not really many expectations. You’re going out there and you’re trying to find a rhythm and you’re just trying to play your way into the round.”

“When you go back out on Friday after a good score you know what you can do, so you’re going out with some expectations compared to Thursday. I think I’ve just got to approach it like that, start off trying to hit solid shots the first few holes and play my way into the round, just like I did today.”

In second place on the leaderboard is Italian Matteo Manassero, who is just one shot behind after his opening round of -5 under par 67. Matteo likes this course, which bodes well for his first Major success;

“I like the course, it’s fair, flat, where you hit your shot it’s going to roll on that line. If I ever win an Open, I don’t think I’ll win it on a golf course that I don’t like. So the fact that I like it, it’s already a good thing.”

“The main preparation for The Open, I’ve done it in Aberdeen and it was just the best preparation I could’ve had. We had strong wind, little wind, calm wind, different directions of wind and the course was firm. It was really linksy. I put myself in a very links frame of mind.”

There is bunch of seven players tied in third spot, including another two Italians, Francesco and Edoardo Molinari. All of this chasing pack are on -3 under par.

Tiger Woods recorded a -3 under par 69 and is tied in tenth position at the end of day one, and said it was a positive start;

“I knew I could do it. That’s why it was so important for me to play at Congressional. At Congressional I made some terrible mistakes mentally. My decisions weren’t very crisp and I wasn’t decisive enough. Today was totally different and consequently I shot a better score.”

“I’m getting stronger, I’m getting faster, I’m getting more explosive. The ball is starting to travel again and those are all positive things.”

Last weeks winner Justin Rose settled for an opening round of even par, while defending Champion Phil Mickelson returned a first round +2 over par 74.

 

Scottish Open. Rose Romps Home.

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Justin Rose romps home in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, winning the trophy at Royal Aberdeen.

Justin Rose  (Getty Images)

Scottish Open Champion Justin Rose / Getty Images

Justin completed the Scottish Open with a final bogey free round -6 under par 65 to lift the trophy with a -16 under par total, a two shot victory. As you can imagine he was absolutely over the moon with his first ever win in Scotland, not to mention three wins in a row;

“This is my first professional win in Scotland so it means a lot. This a great tournament, there’s definitely something special about playing golf up here and the golfing crowd are so knowledgeable and I’ve really got to love this golf course.”

“It was exactly the start I was looking for, and sixteen was the key. I looked at the leaderboard and I was only two ahead and felt I was bound to make bogey there. Getting it up-and-down was the key to the win.” 

“I couldn’t have scripted it better, I’ve never won two in a row and I’ve certainly never won three in a row so I’m in unchartered territory.”  

In second place was Kristoffer Broberg, his last round -5 under par 66 gave him a -14 under par total, he said he was very happy to be in second place;

“I’m just happy to be runner-up to Justin Rose, he played really well this week. I’m just happy.”

Scotsman Marc Warren who started the day on equal terms with Justin could only card a final round of -1 under par and a finishing total of -11 under par, and third place on his own. He reported that  it was his putter that went cold;

“On the front nine today my ball-striking was up there with what it’s been all week. Unfortunately the putter went cold on me and I just wasn’t quite seeing the lines to be honest.”

“Justin was the opposite. He seemed to be putting from outside me most of the time and holing them. Once he was out in front, he was tough to catch.”

Rory McIlroy had a final round -4 under par 67 which left him on -7 under par, the score he had been on Thursday evening . Defending Champion Phil Mickelson was  one shot ahead of Rory at -8 under par for the tournament, with a last round -6 under par 65.

 

Scottish Open. McIlroy Makes a Mess of It.

 

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Rory McIlroy makes a huge mess of it in the second round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, recording +7 over par 78, which takes him all the way back to even par for the competition.

On the other hand Ricardo Gonzalez is still flying high, sharing top spot with Marc Warren and Kristoffer Broberg.

Ricardo Gonzalez  (Getty Images)

Ricardo Gonzalez / Getty Images

In brutal afternoon conditions Ricardo and Kristoffer put together second rounds of even par, to stay at -6 under par for the tournament. Marc recorded a second round -2 under par, a good effort in those conditions, which left him on that -6 under par total for the competition.

Ricardo was not happy with a double bogey on the last hole, but was pleased with his overall performance;

“I was unlucky on 18 because I didn’t have a good lie and tried to reach the green in two, but it was a mistake. I’m happy because I played good 17 holes.”

“I need to sometimes stay patient and play safe. Of course, that didn’t happen on 18. I’m very happy because I hit it good and made a good score.”

Marc, was on course to win his National Open two years ago but unfortunately let slip a three shot lead, with only four to play in 2012 at Castle Stuart, he wants to make amends;

“It’s a massive week and anyone would love to win, but being Scottish it would be that much more special. What happened two years ago was tough to take at the time but it was good experience and hopefully it will stand me in good stead.”

“The course is tough enough anyway, never mind playing the back nine into this wind. After bogeys on the 14th and 15th I said to my caddie let’s try to have a strong finish but to finish three-three-three was beyond my wildest dreams.”

Justin Rose played his way into contention, a second round -3 under par 68 has him sitting in fourth place on his own at -5 under par;

“I came here on Wednesday and felt absolutely horrendous. It was like I had lost my game somewhere over the Atlantic. But the last couple of days I have been finding my feet again and that’s part of the reason for playing this week ahead of Hoylake.”

“It was great to see the course in a completely opposite wind. The par fives are playing very easy on the front nine and there are some tough par fours on the back nine. I did well to hang on to my score on the back nine and made a few good six or seven-footers coming in.”

Rory / Getty

Another Friday failure;

“I’ve struggled to grind. It’s been the case all year. I’ve got off to great starts and fell away but I am still in the tournament and I can go out in the morning and try to get some of those shots back.”

“You are having to talk about it,  so it’s in your mind and I am maybe putting more pressure on myself to shoot a good score. It’s another Friday out of the way, thank God, and I can go on to the weekend. I shot 68 on the Friday at the US Open so hopefully next week will be the same.”

 

Quicken Loans National. Still Four at the Top Day 2.

 

dragon logo darkQuicken Loans NationalThere are still four players tied at the top of the Quicken Loans National.

Oliver Goss is bombing it at Congressional, averaging 323.1 yards per drive during the first two rounds. (Jeff Haynes/Getty Images)

One of the four, Aussie Oliver Goss / Getty Images

Oliver shot a second round -5 under par 66 to share top spot on the Quicken Loans National leaderboard with a -6 under par total at Congressional.

He is joined on that score by, Marc Leishman, Ricky Barnes and Patrick Reed. Yesterday’s leader Greg Chalmers crashed down the leaderboard, recording a second round of +7 over par 78, to finish the day at +2 over par, just one shot inside the cut-off mark.

Oliver was lucky to be in the tournament, an over zealous security guard had refused to let him in the locker room;

“The security guy was like,’Hey, where’s your credential. I said, ‘I don’t have a credential, but I’m a player and I’ve got an exemption.’ He said, ‘Well, I can’t let you in.’ I was like, ‘I’m a player, though.’

“Still wasn’t good enough for him, which shows just how good the security is around here !! I got a credential now so I’m all set.”

“The main difference is you’re playing against the best in the world, the depth is just crazy. Obviously, you’re playing for a purse, and honestly, I really don’t feel that much different out there.” 

“You’re still playing the game of golf, and that’s all I’m really feeling at the moment.”

Actually the other Aussie Marc Leishman does not know Oliver;

“I haven’t had a whole lot to do with him, I spoke to him a little bit last week, actually, at the Travelers. We have a practice round lined up next week at the Greenbrier so I get to spend a bit more time with him there.” 

“But who knows, we might have a tee time on the weekend.”

Patrick Reed has had his mind on other things recently, the birth of his baby daughter, and is looking forward to having wife Justine back on his bag;

“After our last win, we’ve been itching for our little girl to come see us, and now she’s finally here, so it’s been great. It’s been better for me probably than golf-wise, that’s for sure.”

“She’s going to come back, just whenever she feels more comfortable and whenever we feel like it’s the right time with the baby and everything.”

Justin Rose is at -3 under par for the tournament, shooting a second round -6 under par 65. He is sharpening up his game to take a tilt at another Major, The Open, at Royal Liverpool. The Claret Jug has been on display at Congressional Country Club this week;

“When you walk past a major championship trophy, you dream about what it would be like, and I’ve been lucky enough to feel it once. And your home open, for example, you see it, and it does sort of give you goosebumps. As a kid you dream about it so much, but now walking past it, you know it’s somewhat of a reality and you do have a chance to pick that thing up.”

“Obviously here to play good this week and that’s on the mind for sure. Today was obviously a great round of golf.”

Biggest news of the day was that Tiger Woods failed to make the cut, he followed his first round 74 with second round of 75, to finished at +7 over par for the tournament. He looked to be swinging well, I suppose he is just a little out of touch after that long lay-off.

 

The Players. Martin Makes It His.

 

dragon logo darkTHE PLAYERS Championship

Martin Kaymer makes The Players Championship his at TPC Sawgrass.

Shot in the dark: Kaymer survives to win PLAYERS

Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

 Martin survived a late mini wobble recording a double bogey on the 15th hole, after a 91-minute rain delay. He carded a par on the par 5, 16th and then sunk  clutch 28-1/2 foot par putt at the iconic 17th hole;

 “It was more than big, it was a good putt with a little bit of luck. Fortunately, it happened at the right hole. Made a couple of wrong decisions on 15.”

“There was a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations, and even though I was trying to talk about it in a way that it was only the first day, only the second day, but somewhere deep down you hope that you can bring it home.”

 

Martin finished his final round at -1 under par 71, and a tournament total of -13 under par, a one shot win over second placed Jim Furyk who had been sitting in the club-house at -12 under par. Jim had carded a magnificent last round of -6 under par 66 and was watching on TV as Martin wriggled out of danger, and had to acknowledge that putt ;

“That putt was incredible. I’ve struggled at this golf course, my results haven’t been nearly as good as I would have liked. I was on a roll coming in here and I wanted to continue it, but it’s fun to play well in front of friends and family.”

Third place belonged to Sergio Garcia, at -11 under par, following his final round -2 under par 70, he lamented his late silly mistakes;

“Just a shame, just a couple shots on the back nine. That’s what it came down to, and that’s what it usually comes down to. Unfortunately a little slip on the pine straw on 11, mis-hit it in the water, and then a bad shot on 14. We tried as hard as we could, but unfortunately we weren’t good enough.”

“You know, it’s still another good week, we keep putting ourselves in a situation to win, just came up a little bit short, but we’ve got to keep trying.”

Have to report on the Justin Rose situation, I wrote yesterday about silly officialdom, somebody must have agreed with me because Justin had his two docked strokes reinstated;

“I didn’t know that this new recall was in place. Overnight I read an article that explained the new rule and I kind of thought it applied to my case. I’m certainly surprised it’s overturned, very rarely is that ever the case. Never, ever the case.”

An hour before Justin teed off for his final round he was informed by Tour officials that the penalty was rescinded under a new decision dealing with high-definition rulings making him the first player to essentially begin a round -2 under par.

For once golf officials have used common sense to settle an issue. For me all decisions should be made from the evidence available to officials on the course, never someone calling in from the other side of the world.

Jordan Spieth did not fare so well again in a final round, but he will soon. He recorded a +2 over par last round 74 to finish it a tie for fourth place with Justin Rose.

 

The Players. Marvelous Martin Kaymer Leads

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THE PLAYERS Championship

Marvelous Martin Kaymer is leading The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

Martin opened his account at TPC Sawgrass with a record tying  -9 under par 63, which gave him a two shot lead in the tournament. He spoke about the soft conditions;

” You can be a little bit more aggressive because the greens are softer than the last few years, but it’s not an easy golf course. You have to hit a lot of fairways.  If you hit the fairways then you can go for some flags, but once you’re in the rough, especially with that grass and the Bermuda grass from the rough, it’s very difficult to judge the distances.  Then it’s a very tricky golf course.  But I hit a lot of fairways today, and therefore I could go for some flags.”

Russell Henley is in second place, two shots adrift after his first round -7  under par 65. He said playing more conservatively actually helped him with his round, along with feeling comfortable with the putter;

“Playing some of the holes a little less aggressive has helped me to stay in there and make some pars. I knew I was playing well and felt really comfortable on the greens. As long as I keep feeling comfortable with the putter, I think I can putt well on these greens.”

Third position belongs to Sang-moon Bae, a -6 under par round to kick off his tournament in fine style.  There some eight players all tied for fourth spot at -5 under par, including Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood.

Sergio won in Qatar earlier this year, and he has a good history at TPC Sawgrass;

You go through ups and downs in your life, in your career, and I’ve had really, really good times; really, really happy times. And then I’ve had times that were a little bit more down. I think it happens to all of us. You’ve got to try to enjoy those good times as much as possible and learn from the tough ones and hopefully make them as short as possible. I think at the end of the day, that’s all you can really do.”

After day 1 all the talk is really about those who will be struggling to make the cut. there some very familiar names in this bracket;  Phil Mickelson (75), Webb Simpson (75), Brandt Snedeker (75), Jimmy Walker (75), Louis Oosthuizen (77) and Adam Scott (77).

Phil got off to the slowest start of his PGA Tour career, and then had to make a 6-foot par putt on his last hole to card his 75. Phil does not know what is happening. he needed 33 putts on his round today. He did say he would come out tomorrow and play hard;

“I don’t know. I don’t know,I don’t feel like any parts of the game are bad, I just have a hard time seeing the ball go in the hole and getting it to go in the hole. It’s soft, there’s just a lot of birdies out there. Yeah, it’s a little disappointing and frustrating. I was playing well and hit a lot of greens, but it was frustrating because I was over par. I don’t know if it’s just the greens or what, but I’m not really sure what it is yet.”

“Come out and try to play as hard as I can and see how low I can shoot, but I’m not real worried about it, it’s just not quite clicking right now.”

Wells Fargo Championship. Holmes Hits the High Spot.

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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. Marvelous Martin Leads

dragon logo darkWells Fargo Championship Logo

Martin Flores leads the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow after a marvelous second round.

 

 

Flores' even-keeled nature benefits him at Wells Fargo

A delighted Martin Flores / Getty Images

Martin holed a 56-degree wedge from 105 yards for an Eagle at the par four 11th hole on Friday, and showed no sign of emotion. He ended the day tied at the top of the leaderboard at -9 under par;

” I’ve tried to refuse to think about winning, I just try to play my best each day and be very, very patient, because a lot of times in the past I’ve tried to be too perfect and for some reason this sport doesn’t really work out that way.”

‘”I actually got made fun of because I didn’t give any reaction. I had my head down and I was thinking, that’s a nice shot, let’s go make it, and then all of the sudden I heard the cheers.” 

“I need to continue being patient and let things unfold. It’s not easy to do but when you’re playing against the best in the world, you need to be sharp for the majority of that time.”

His caddy Brian Harman had to go pick the ball out of the hole, saying;

 ” Well, I guess I’ll go pick it up out of the hole, because I didn’t do anything.”

Martin is sharing the lead at -9 under par with Angel Cabrera, who shot a second round -3 under par 69 for his -9 under par total.

Angel has only made three cuts in nine starts this season, but thinks this course suits his style of play. He said this through an interpreter;

Honestly, it’s a course that lets me hit my driver a lot and for that reason, it probably fits my game well. That’s probably why I play well here.”

Justin Rose at Quail Hollow 2014

Justin Rose / Getty

 

Justin Rose is alone in third place at -8  under par, he carded -5 under par 67 , proving that he is definitely over the tendonitis which has dogged him for a while. The improvement to his health comes just in time for him to defend the US Open title at nearby Pinehurst Number Two next month. he was quite upbeat about his superb chip in from 70 feet  at the par-five 15th;

“Obviously you can never win it on Thursday and Friday, you can only lose it, so two solid days put me in good position for the weekend. Those chip-in eagles, they get you going. I did everything well in spells today and finished with a nice putt for par at the last hole, which made the day feel incredibly positive.”

” I’ve had a lot of stop-starts this year and I just felt like I needed to get toned and sharp, and that’s beginning to show up. It would be nice to go back to the US Open with the confidence of having just won a tournament.”

 

Lee Westwood did not make the cut, quite amazing as he has just won the Malaysian Open by a massive seven shots.

 

 

The Masters. Haas Heads the Field.

dragon logo darkMasters Flag

 

 

 

Bill Hass heads the field following the conclusion of the first round of The Masters at Augusta National.

Bill Haas / Getty

Bill opened his account at Augusta with a -4 under par 68 round that took him to the top of the Masters leaderboard. He admitted it could easily have been worse, his putter saved him over the first five holes;

“I easily could have still been 1 over, the putter kind of saved me and settled me down. I know there’s tons of golf left, and maybe understanding that, I know that I can’t expect too much. You’ve just got to go out there and keep playing golf, try to hit that fairway on No. 1 tomorrow.”

The defending champion Adam Scott is sitting comfortably, tied in second place at -3 under par after his first round of 69, and spoke about nerves;

“The first few holes of the Masters is the most nervous I ever get on a golf course. I certainly feel like I prepared very well for this event and I was comfortable with my game anyway.”

Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen are tied with Adam at -3 under par after they also carded opening efforts of 69. Bubba  was the only player to go bogey-free, and it put him within one shot of the lead.

Brandt Snedeker takes a penalty, but thinks the course is in perfect shape, scoring a first round -2 under par 70;

“The ball was on a spot on a hill on the side of the bunker and in the rough, it was right on the edge. I couldn’t believe it stayed where it did. I took a practice swing and the ball;  just kind of nestled over. Then it rolled an inch or something like that and I had to replace it and take a shot penalty.”

“The greens are as firm and fast as I’ve seen for a Thursday, the wind changed 15 times today. This golf course is right on the edge, it’s in perfect shape, and they got it exactly how they want it. The pin positions today were brutal. There was not one getable pin out there where you felt like you can make a birdie and get it going. You had to hit some quality golf shots to make birdies.”

I have a lot of good memories here, I have a lot of good friends here. I love the golf course, and it comes through in my play, I have a lot of fun here. I like the challenge of this place and how much pressure it puts on you on every shot.”

Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose both shot a +4 over par 76, while Rory McIlroy returned an opening scorecard of -1 under par 71 to be T12.

Rory was happy to be under par on the day;

“For the most part, I felt like I put my ball in the positions they needed to be in and it was just one of those days it was tough to get it close to the hole, the greens are firming up. The wind was all over the place. Anything under par today was a good score.”

“It’s about putting your ball in the right place and it becomes more of a mental challenge than anything else, just playing to your spots. It almost becomes like chess, where you’re just making these moves. That hasn’t been my forte in the past, but I’ll learn to love it this week.”

Looks like Phil and Justin will have to fight to make the cut.