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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.”

 

 

Accenture Match-Play. Who Lost on Day 1

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The Accenture Match-Play tournament was most noted for who lost on day 1 of the competition, at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

Day 1 recaps: Accenture

Ricky Fowler / Getty

It was a great victory for Ricky Fowler, defeating legendary matchplay exponent Ian Poulter 2-1. Even Ricky thought Poults was on a winner;

“I was definitely an underdog coming in. Heck, if I was filling out a bracket, I would have picked Poulter, too.  It feels like a big win after those missed cuts, it was nice to be the underdog. I had nothing to lose.”

Another Englishman on the wrong side of the leaderboard was Lee Westwood, he was defeated by Harris English 5-3.

George Coetzee, fresh from his win in South Africa, defeated Steve Stricker, an unlikely result at the start of play.

Zach Johnson, coming back from a layoff, lost to Richard Sterne 5-4. Everyone must now wonder if the unenforced rest period was a disaster, as Zach was playing really well beforehand. Another loser on day 1 was Keegan Bradley, falling to Jonas Blixt 2-1. Luke Donald also packed his bags, losing 5-4 to Matteo Manassero.

G-Mac only just made it,  he was four down through seven holes, and still three holes behind with three to play, when he staged an improbable rally against Florida neighbor Gary Woodland

Daily Wrap-up

Graeme McDowell / Getty

Graeme said he was surprised to get through;

“I’m sure he’s extremely disappointed right now, and I’m extremely elated. I’m surprised to be sitting here, having won. Yeah, I hit a couple of quality shots down the last couple of holes, but he had mistakes, as well. It’s a brutal format. I thought it was over, you’re not coming back from 3 down against a guy that’s playing as well as him. Yeah, I’m still going to try to hit my shots. But it required a mistake from him to give me half a sniff, even. It feels like a Sunday afternoon on Wednesday.”

The big names that made it safely through include, Henrik Stenson, the number one seed here, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, albeit after 22 holes, Jimmy Walker, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson.

     

Waste Management Phoenix Open.

 

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Bubba Watson and Matt Jones share the lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open going into the week-end at TPC Scottsdale.

On a roll

Bubba Watson / Getty Images

Bubba  dressed in  lime green shoes and an otherwise all-black outfit, played in the morning, getting the best side of the draw, he birdied his first hole. Playing early in the cooler temperature does not suit him, back is a little stiff, but he said he is exactly where he wanted to be. Happily at the top of the leaderboard after his second round of -5 under par 66, for his -12 under par total;

“Back is not as loose as you want it to be, weather is not as warm as you want it to be. But I hit a good tee shot, and then I hit my wedge in there close and I made the putt, that got me going. It’s right where I want to be going into the weekend. I had two sloppy bogeys coming down the stretch, but I will take it.” 

Matt also played a morning round, and was thankful for the opportunity to be able to shoot his second consecutive -6 under par 65 for his -12 under par;

 ” We definitely got the good side of the draw. The golf course is so different tournament week than it is when you play out here regularly. It’s a lot harder, a lot faster. The greens are a lot quicker. The pins are a lot more tucked out here. So, it’s like a new golf course when you come here for a tournament.”

Two players are tied in third place, Greg Chalmers and Harris English are at -10 under par.

Brandt Snedeker shot the low round of the day, he also started in the morning, before the wind got up. His second round score of -7 under par 64 moving up the leaderboard to be at -8 under par. Brandt put his special round down to good putting, something I love to hear;

” My putting, plain and simple. I hit the ball extra good yesterday and had some of the worst putting I had all year. Today, I kind of did the opposite.”

Phil Mickelson, the Defending Champion, recovered with a bogey free  -4 under par 67, but he is still a long way from the leaders. Phil declared he is still in the race for this title;

” I’m not totally out of it, obviously heading into the weekend, I’d like to be closer, but as we have seen in the past, there is that minus eight, nine ten, and in some cases eleven-under par round out there. My back feels great, like I said, it was a simple fix. I just don’t want to overdo it.”

Among those missing the cut here are, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, Retief Goosen, Ian Poulter and Keegan Bradley.

DP World Tour Championship. Sweet Success For Stenson.

DP World Tour Championship proved to be a sweet success for Henrik Stenson, becoming the first man to win The Race to Dubai on the European Tour and FedExCup on the US PGA Tour

Sweet success for Stenson

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik with new Rolex watch / Getty Images

Henrik won the DP World Tour Championship by six shots, carding a flawless final round -8 under par 64, and in doing so also won The Race to Dubai at the Jumeirah Golf Estates Earth Course. His winning total score was -25 under par;

“It has been an incredible summer for me, the autumn in America was great and now this. I played so well this week. I knew the guys would try to catch me, especially Ian who never gives up. I wanted to stay ahead of him and I managed to do that. I don’t know how I am going to be able to top this next year but I am going to give my best in the Majors and that becoming the first male Swedish player to win one would be the icing on the cake.”

In second place, and losing his bet, was Ian Poulter, a good final round of -6 under par 66 was not good enough to catch Henrik, but was a commendable effort. Ian finished with a -19 under par tournament total. He said of Henrik’s score;

 “I have to take my hat off to him, unbelievable. I tried to run him down as hard as I could but even with a sore wrist he has pressed on and I just could not get close enough. Henrik has not made a mistake all week and I just had to make sure of second place and some valuable Ryder Cup points. I have thrown a lot at him and given him so much stick, but he is the best player on the planet right now.”

Victor Dubuisson picked up third place, playing alongside Henrik today he could only manage a -1 under par round of 71. He looked shell-shocked out on the course as Henrik constantly bombed drives off the tee with a three wood, still out distancing his efforts with a driver. Victor was alone in third spot at -17 under par.

 Joost Luiten was in fourth place at -16 under par, and a trio of former World Number Ones,  Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, shared fifth spot on -15 under par. It was a welcome return to form for these three as they have not had good results this year.

 

BMW Masters. Guthrie Gathers Speed.

Luke Guthrie gathers speed as he extended his lead at the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren in Shanghai, China.

Luke Guthrie in action on day two of the BMW Masters in Shanghai

Luke Guthrie / Getty Images

After a second round of -1 under par 71 Luke was able to push his lead over the field out to four shots, with a tournament total of -8 under par.

Luke said it had been another tough day on the course, an under par score was a good effort;

“It was another difficult day out there, anything in the red was another good number and I was able to manage one under. I made a few more mistakes out there, made a few bogeys, which was a little disappointing. It’s never fun to bogey the last hole, but it’s playing tough. I hit a lot of good shots, a lot of things to build on. I made two great swings on 17 and 18 with irons to finish, and build on that going into tomorrow. I was in good form coming here; got a tie for fifth over in Las Vegas on the PGA Tour, and been hitting it really well.” 

His nearest rivals are at -4 under par, all six of them: Simon Dyson following his first two rounds of -2 under par 70, Thongchai Jaidee, Paul Casey, Craig Lee, Scott Jamieson and Ricardo Gonzales.

Craig Lee holed out from 188 yards on the 16th for an Eagle in his round of -2 under par 70, he did not know the ball was in the hole, he had already pulled his putter from the bag;

“Just when I was starting to get a bit frustrated about not moving forward, then bang! I hole a four iron straight into the wind from 188 yards.  Always helps the scorecard, especially from a birdie on the hole before, so it was great.” 

Former World Number Ones Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy are seven shots off the lead on -1 under par, with Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson +2 over par after a 74.

BMW Championship. Zach Attack Wins It.

Zach Johnson attacked the Conway Farms Golf Course to win the BMW Championship by two shots.

In complete control

Zach & Trophy / Getty Images

Zach Johnson shot a bogey free final round -6 under par 65 to finish the tournament with a -16 under par total. He now has a chance to win the FedExCup next week at East lake in the Tour Championship, he is now in fourth place in the standings. This is Zach’s tenth win in his ten years on Tour, he tried to explain what it all meant;

It’s extremely difficult, I’m not sure I fully grasp it. The parity on the TOUR and in the world is second to none. I’m just thankful it has been 10 years, and hopefully many more.”

Nick Watney finished in second place at -14 under par, his last round of -7 under par 64 being the best round of the day.

Poor old Jim Furyk ended up in third place, a final round of even par 71 condemning him to add another 54 hole lead into a defeat, the count is now six times in his career. He finished with a total of -13 under par.

Nick Watney’s  64 and Luke Donald’s 66 helped both men to play their way into the Tour Championship, thus eliminating Lee Westwood and Harris English.

The Top 30 for The Tour Championship:

1 2 Tiger Woods 315 4352 4037
2 1 Henrik Stenson 178 4229 4051
3 3 Adam Scott 205 4122 3917
4 23  27 Zach Johnson 2500 3843 1343
5 4 Matt Kuchar 228 3330 3103
6 8 Steve Stricker 563 3180 2617
7 5 Graham DeLaet 205 3011 2806
8 6 Phil Mickelson 178 2939 2762
9 7 Justin Rose 178 2842 2664
10 9 Brandt Snedeker 400 2726 2326
11 15 Jim Furyk 1000 2718 1718
12 22  34 Nick Watney 1500 2693 1193
13 10 Jordan Spieth 273 2519 2246
14 12 Jason Day 563 2347 1785
15 18 Hunter Mahan 563 2164 1601
16 11 Keegan Bradley 273 2138 1866
17 14 Gary Woodland 255 2026 1771
18 17 Bill Haas 205 1923 1718
19 16 Kevin Streelman 178 1895 1718
20 13 Jason Dufner 80 1861 1781
21 20 Webb Simpson 228 1758 1531
22 22 Billy Horschel 255 1746 1491
23 29 Charl Schwartzel 400 1719 1319
24 25 Roberto Castro 280 1678 1398
25 24 Sergio Garcia 255 1664 1409
26 19 Boo Weekley 80 1640 1560
27 26 Brendon de Jonge 255 1634 1379
28 21 D.A. Points 68 1564 1496
29 25  54 Luke Donald 563 1555 992
30 23 Dustin Johnson 40 1468 1428

There is no Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, or Ian Poulter.

PGA Championship. Furyk and Fluff In Front.

Jim Furyk and his caddie Fluff Cowans are in front of the field after the third round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in New York.

Furyk moves in front

Jim Furyk / Getty Images

Jim had a third round of -2 under par 68, which moved him to the top of the PGA Championship, and a one stroke advantage going into the final round tomorrow. Jim wobbled a bit on the last hole, with a poor tee shot, he counselled Fluff and the outcome was a having par saving putt, which he made;

” It was big, the birdie at 17 was great, to hit two good shots in there and make the putt, and on 18 I made a bad swing, but this week I have not let too much bother me. I was able to wedge it on and make par and it was a nice way to finish the day.”

Fluff Cowans is an ex Woods caddie, who has all the experience needed for a Major challenge. Another ex Woods caddie is Steve Williams, currently partnering Adam Scott, who is in tied fifth spot at -5 under par, just four shots off the lead. Wonder what Tiger would give to have either of these guys on his bag right now. Strangely Tiger does not like his caddies to become famous, in fact at the moment you get the feeling that he wants to do all the thinking for himself, just uses a caddie to carry the bag.

In second place at -8 under par is tobacco chewing and spitting Jason Dufner, even the TV commentators apologized for inadvertently screening a shot of Jason spitting out a wad. A +1 over par round for Jason was not what he was looking for today, but he did manage to recover from a poor start, suffering a double bogey six on the par 4 fifth hole. A bogey on eight saw him complete the front nine in 37, two over the card.

In third place is Swede Henrik Stenson, a -1 under par third round gave him a total of -7 under par, with a very good chance of winning tomorrow, and become the first Swede to win a Major;

“It would be lovely, but we’re still a long ways away from that. There’s no point thinking about tomorrow and thinking ahead of things. It’s all about going out and doing the same things. It’s going to be a big challenge again tomorrow to keep the mind in the right place, and if I can do that, I hope I can have a chance on the back nine. It’s a pretty packed leaderboard and there’s going to be a few guys with a good chance, so there’s no point thinking about the future. It’s about thinking about the shots I’m going to play and how to play them.” 

The defending Champion Rory McIlroy is at -3 under par, alongside Lee Westwood, both will need to go low tomorrow for a realistic chance of victory at the 95th PGA Championship. No chance at all for Tiger Woods (+4) or The Open Champion Phil Mickelson (+10). Phil will need to pull his socks up to avoid finishing last, at the moment only Gary Woodland is below him.

 

PGA Championship, Oak Hill. Scott and Furyk Lead

Jim Furyk and Adam Scott lead the PGA Championship after the first round at Oak Hill Country Club in New York, both players were just one shot shy of the course record of 64, shared by Curtis Strange and Ben Hogan. 

Back into the fire

Jim Furyk and Adam Scott / Getty Images

Both Jim and Adam had opening rounds of -5 under par 65 on the par 70 Oak Hill lay-out. Adam carded five straight birdies early in his round, and said that was probably some of the best golf he has ever played;

” Probably the best run I’ve ever had, I just hit really nice shots and didn’t leave myself too much work. You have to take advantage of that if you’re feeling that. It was a dream start after kind of a nervous first couple of holes .Just got on a bit of a roll and hit a few shots close. I didn’t have too much putting to do. You’ve got to take advantage when it happens, because it doesn’t happen too much in the majors. Nothing to complain about in 65. I felt good out there today, I felt like I could swing freely and I was hitting all the shots that I wanted to hit. When you get something going for you in a major, sometimes you have got to be not afraid to get out of your own way and let go. I did that at Lytham, and I did that here for 10 or 11 holes. I put a lot into my game the last two years with a focus on the big tournaments, everyone around me has had the same focus, as well. We come here to do business.”

Jim was not too happy with his bogey on the last, but was pleased with the overall result of the day;

” Usually disappointed with ending the day on a bogey, but you know, 65, PGA, is not so bad.”

David Hearn and Lee Westwood are tied in third place at -4 under par, with six players on -3 under par, including Paul Casey who has not featured too well since his snowboarding accident, breaking a collar bone;

“It’s a while since my name has been up there. You don’t realise how much you miss something until it’s gone and sitting on the sofa watching the big events of the last year and a half I have had lots of extra motivation to get back. It added another reason for getting out there and working hard and things like Justin winning the US Open is good fuel for the fire. I got a bit lucky today with a couple of monster birdie putts from 50 feet and 33 feet on the fifth and seventh, but we’re off and running. I knew I had to get something going after the turn because I had got through the tough part of the course.”

Lee was happy with his performance;

“If you don’t hit it in the fairways, then you won’t score well, these guys are good. There are a lot of good players playing in the tournament. Somebody is going to hit it straight, and somebody is going to shoot a good score.”

 

The Open. Magical Mickelson Makes It His.

A magical final round from Phil Mickelson at The Open was good enough to make the trophy his.

Phil Mickelson - 2013 Open Champion  (Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson and The Open trophy / Getty Images

 

Phil Mickelson won The 142nd Open Championship at Muirfield with a magical final round of -5 under par 66, and a tournament total of -3 under par. Phil was the only player to finish the tournament in red figures, quite an achievement, and thinks this win was probably his greatest;

It’s probably the greatest and most difficult win of my career. It is great to be part of any Open Championship and to win at Muirfield feels amazing. The range of emotions I feel are as far apart as possible in the last month after such a tough loss. You have to be resilient in this game and take losses and use them as motivation to work harder and come back stronger.”

Henrik Stenson was in second place, his final round of -1 under par for a tournament score of par.

Tied in third place at +1 over par were Ian Poulter, Adam Scott and Lee Westwood.

Lee started the day three shots clear but collapsed in the final round with a +4 over par catastrophe which stopped him winning his first Major trophy;

“Phil must have played really well. Five under was a good round of golf this afternoon. You birdie four of the last six round here any day is good going, but to do it today in the last round of a major is an even better finish.”

Ian enjoyed the atmosphere;

” The excitement, the atmosphere and the fans out there were certainly giving me a lot of electricity and pumping me up. It’s nice to be in front of a home crowd holing 15-foot putts for eagles and birdies and running up the leaderboard. I’m a leaderboard watcher, I always like to see what’s going on. Obviously I realize when you can get out in front and post a number, sometimes it’s a good position to be in. I’m pleased but I can certainly look back at a couple of putts that slipped by which might be what’s required to put my hands on the trophy”

But the day belonged to Phil and his caddie Bones.

Dem Bones: Phil Mickelson hugs his caddie Jim Mackay after his final round of The Open

Phil and Bones / AP

The Open. Wonderful Westwood Two Clear.

A wonderful third round performance from Lee Westwood in The Open has seen him pull two shots clear of the field at Muirfield.

Westwood pulls two clear

Lee Westwood / Getty Images

Lee Westwood will take a two shot lead into the final round of The Open tomorrow at Muirfield, thanks to a third round of -1 under par, and a -3 under total as he chases his first Major victory.

Lee said he is aware for what it will take to win tomorrow;

“I know what to expect tomorrow, I know what to do, I know what it takes. My emotions were pretty calm all day although when something exciting happened like that eagle I allowed that to pump myself up. You don’t really expect to make those but I could see the line easily breaking in off the hill.It’s just a case of believing you are good enough to win. When you analyse it, you don’t want to say it, but tomorrow is just another 18 holes. I’m playing well and putting well and there’s no reason why I can’t carry on.”

Hot in pursuit will be Americans Tiger Woods and Hunter Mahan, both players starting their final rounds at -1 under par. Hunter had a fine -3 under par round of 68 today, while Tiger fell back with a +1 over par round of 72.

In fourth place is Adam Scott, he had a third round of -1 under par 70 and will stand on the first tee tomorrow at even par.

Defending Champion Ernie Els has not given hope of retaining The Open title, but he has a monster job on his hands. Ernie had a -1 under par third round of 70, and will start the last round at +5 over par, and thinks he could still make it;

” If I’m within six or seven shots of the lead you never know. It happened last year, I’m not saying it’s going to happen every day but anything can happen in The Open. You’re hoping not to be too far off going into the final round and then you’re hoping for that quick start. Somebody can get hot and from where I am, if the leaders don’t get hot, you’re in the ball game, that’s what I’m hoping for. Get that birdie at the start and then to try to get the guys to see your name, and then hopefully that makes a difference.I’m a competitor, I’m not going to lie down until the 72nd hole, that’s just the nature of what’s going on out there. It’s such a great Championship but obviously I’m trying to play better than where I am.”

 

 

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