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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.

Valspar Championship. Senden Squeezes In for a Win.

dragon logo darkValspar Championship Logo Ozzie John Senden squeezes in to win the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook.

John Senden / Getty Images

John squeezed in with two birdies at the death, on the 17th and 18th holes to complete his final round at -1 under par and a winning total of -7 under par. On a wild and windy day at Innisbrook the tournament was always in the balance until John broke through with those two decisive birdies.

 This one-shot victory was John’s first on the PGA TOUR in more than seven years and sends the 42-year-old Australian to the Masters next month. He spoke about the wild conditions;

“I just love the way the course blows, the scoring always stays under double figures here, and I felt if I could just stay in the moment that I was swinging well enough to go out there and give it a shake. I got a little bit busy in the mind going up the last hole. But I managed to hit a nice second shot and the putt was really the icing on the cake when it went down to around two inches.”

Kevin Na, who started the day one shot off the lead, finished in the same place, at -6 under par, and in second place following a disappointing final round of +1 over par 72.

Scott Langley was in third place finishing at -5 under par, a final round -1 under par 70 kept him above the group who were at -4 under par.

That group included Luke Donald, Will MacKenzie and Robert Garrigus, who had led going into Sunday but suffered a nightmare front nine, going out in 41 shots. He eventually ended up with a score of  + 4 over par 75.

Justin Rose carded a +3 over par 74 including a hat-trick of bogeys from the 11th onwards as he completed his tournament on -2 under par, in a tie for 8th place.

Valspar Championship. Garrigus Gallop Cut Short.

dragon logo darkValspar Championship Logo The gallop of Robert Garrigus at the Valspar Championship was cut short on Saturday at Innisbrook. 

A pair of short misses brought Garrigus back to the field a bit on Saturday. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

Robert Garrigus / Getty Images

Robert expensively missed two short putts on his back nine and had to settle for a -1 under par third round of 70 on the Copperhead Course. That reduced his advantage at the top of the leaderboard to a one-shot lead in the Valspar Championship, as he posted -8 under par in the competition.

Robert still managed to enjoy himself out there;

” I had fun, I’m in a good position. If I play a good round tomorrow, if I shoot under par, they’re going to have to come get me.”

Kevin Na had a third round -3 under par 68, for his total of -7 under par for the tournament and holds second place alone. He still suffers from the slow play tag that follows him around;

“I know how to play, I don’t know what people have said, but I don’t think I should be criticized. It’s not fair to me, I already have that stamp on me.”

One of the low rounds today came from third placed John Senden, his third round of -7 under par 64 catapulted him into third spot on his own at -6 under par. John took his putting stroke from the practice green onto the course

“I just was trying to be free, trying to putt like I do on the practice putting green, I took it straight to the golf course today. Very happy to do that. There’s a lot of grain on these greens and ball seems to turn a lot when you’re putting. You’ve really got to take note of way the grain reads.”

” I’ll get out there tomorrow and try to do it again. I can’t control what any other player does, but I can go out there and do the best I can do. Hopefully I can be at the top of the leaderboard round about the end of the day.”

Justin Rose, -2 under par on the day occupies fourth place on his own at -5 under par. Retief Goosen equalled John Senden’s low round of -7 under par and is in the group at -4 under par.

 Luke Donald is at -3 under par, and definitely in position to capitalize on any mistakes the leaders make and perhaps steal a victory. Luke played like his game of old;

“ Kind of a Luke Donald round, that’s kind of what you need around this place. I never thought I was very far off, but around a course like this you need to hit fairways and greens and kind of make it easier on yourself because it’s tricky.”

“I’ve played here enough times, and seeing the scores over the last couple days, I knew a good round would shoot me up the board. So just try to play my own game and post something low-ish to get me back into contention.”

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.

     

Nedbank Golf Challenge. Jaime Donaldson Leads.

Jaime Donaldson leads the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa.

Jaime Donaldson / Getty Images

Jaimeshot a second round -6 under par 66 at the Gary Player Country Club to lead the tournament at -11 under par, and by three shots from his nearest rival. He said he had nicely but it had been a long day;

“I’ve played very nicely for the first two rounds and hit a lot of good shots so I am happy with the way I am playing. We had to play six holes of the first round and then back out after a 45-minute break for the second, so it’s been a long day.”

He carded one bogey, in a strange way when his shot from a fairway bunker at the par-5 10th hole unfortunately struck the lip of the bunker. and then his club, to cause a penalty. Jaime laid up with his fourth shot, and then managed to get up and down from 150 yards;

“These bizarre things happen and you just have to get on with it, in the end it was a good six!”

Tied in second place are Ryan Moore and Henrik Stenson, both on -8 under par at the half-way stage of the competition.

Defending champion Martin Kaymer and Denmark’s Thomas Björn are a shot further back, at -7 under par, while the eventual first round leader, after the resumption of play, Sergio Garcia slipped back in the second round with a +1 over par 73.  He shares ninth place with Luke Donald and a host of other players at -5 under par.

Before the start of play there was a moments silence for Nelson Mandela. The European Tour and Sunshine Tour announced plans to move up next week’s Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban, to a Wednesday-Saturday schedule in order to play four rounds before the state funeral Sunday, December. 15th.

Nedbank Golf Challenge. Like Lights Up His Dull Year.

Luke Donald lights up his dull year, leading the Nedbank Golf Challenge event at Gary Player Country Club, in a suspended first round in South Africa.

Cool hand Luke off to a flier in stormy Sun City

Luke Donald / Getty Images

Luke was at -5 under par through eleven holes, starting birdie, Eagle, before the violent  thunderstorms brought a premature end to day one at Gary Player Country Club.

Luke said he was feeling good about his game, and is playing with confidence;

“It doesn’t get much better than a three-three start around here, birdie-eagle and all of a sudden you are three under par through two holes. I played solid for those first eleven holes and hit a couple of very nice shots in that time that I was able to take advantage of. I feel good over the ball right now and I am playing with confidence. I took a lot of confidence from winning in Japan. It is a place that I love to go back and a course that I love to play so it was very satisfying to be able to go back there and defend. I had seen good signs in Dubai the week before that and did some good work on my long game with Chuck Cook before I left for Dubai and I really felt the benefit of that. I also have to say that the putting came back in Dubai and Japan. That had been a little off for most of the year so it was very encouraging to get that back and I am feeling good about my game right now.”

Tied in second place at -3 under par are,  Denmark’s Thomas Björn, Welshman Jamie Donaldson, and Zimbabwean Brandon de Jonge. Brandon holed out for an eagle on the ninth hole which catapulted him up the leaderboard just before the suspension of play for the day.

The defending champion, Martin Kaymer is at -2 under par, having completed six holes, while The Race to Dubai champion Henrik Stenson is at -1 under par after seven holes.

Round one play will resume at 07:30 local time on Friday morning, with round two expected to tee off from 10:10.

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.

 

WGC Bridgestone Invitational.Nothing Can Stop Tiger.

Nothing can stop Tiger Woods winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.

All business

Tiger Woods / Getty Images

Tiger had a modest third round of -2 under par 68, giving him a tournament total of -15 under par, and still a seven shot lead over the rest. Tiger admitted that he did not quite have it today but will go out tomorrow to execute his game plan;

I’ll just go out there and execute my game-plan, it all starts with what the weather is doing, and then I build it from there. We’ll see what I do tomorrow. You know, today was a day that I didn’t quite have it, but I scored. And that’s the name of the game, posting a number, and I did today. I grinded my way around that golf course. Any time you can go into a major tournament or any tournament with a win under your belt, it’s nice. It validates what you’re working on and you have some nice momentum going in there.”

Henrik Stenson is alone in second place at -8 under par, he had a -3 under par 67 third round score and has a battle on his hands to keep that second prize.

Jason Dufner, in third place, is a mighty eight strokes back at -7 under par total after his third round -3 under par, 67, but he can still play for second, after acknowledging Tiger’s record here at Firestone;

“Yeah, he has a pretty good track record here, there’s quite a few events out here that he does really well. Torrey Pines comes to mind, Bay Hill comes to mind, the Memorial. So he obviously feels comfortable on those courses, and it’s our job to try and chase him down if we can.”

 Luke Donald, Bill Haas, and Chris Wood, are all at -6 under par for the tournament and the tussle between them and Henrik and Jason for second and third will be worth watching.

 

 

 

WGC Bridgestone Invitational. Lucky Tiger Leads.

Tiger Woods leads the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, partly due to a generous ruling which enabled him to get a free drop from a poor lie.

Eyes on the prize

Tiger Woods / Getty

Tiger Woods was on his way to posting a 59, when on the last hole he hit a wayward tee shot, leaving him behind some tall tree’s. He attempted to go over the tree’s but did not get enough height, the ball rebounding off the tree and then the hospitality tent, coming to rest on a bare lie. A generous official gave him a free drop off the bare lie, he subsequently made the green and sunk a 25 ft putt to save par, for a round of -9 under par 61. He is now seven shots clear of the field at -13 under par, and with that sort of lead even Cheyenne Woods, daughter of Tiger’s half-brother, Earl Dennison Woods Jr, could defend that total.

When asked if he was miffed at not carding a 59 Tiger responded with;

” Disappointed, absolutely not, a 61′s pretty good. I’m not bummed. How about just pleased, I’m very happy I was able to post that. I just kept thinking, whatever lead I had, `Let’s just keep increasing it.’ It’s at seven now, I believe. So that’s not too bad after two days.”

It seemed like every fan on the course was cheering Tiger towards the magic 59, and he said he heard their excitement;

“Oh, they were excited, you could hear it more than feel it. You definitely could hear it, they were into it. It’s nice to be playing in front of people who are excited like that, especially people who aren’t yelling just because your ball gets in the air. You know, we are pros. I had opportunities to make putts there at 15 and 17. 

Keegan Bradley and Chris Wood are tied in a distant second place, at -6 under par, they face competition to finish in second place from Bill Hass and Henrik Stenson who are on -5 under par.  Jim Furyk, Luke Donald, Jason Duffner and Bubba Watson are all at -4 under par.

Keegan was top of the leaderboard when he finished his second round, and watched Tiger birdie the first two holes, he hoped the birdie fest would not continue, he was wrong;

Tiger, those first couple holes out there are definitely birdie holes, so I’d expect him to do that. You know, I hope he doesn’t go too low.”

This tournament is all over bar the engraving of the Trophy, actually they could even do that right now.

Canadian Open. Mahan Makes A Move, On Moving Day.

On moving day Hunter Mahan makes a move in the RBC Canadian Open at Glenn Abbey G.C. in Ontario, Canada.

Mahan makes move

Hunter Mahan / Greenwood / Getty Images

Hunter had a second round -8 under par 64, to lead the RBC Canadian Open by two shots at -13 under par for the tournament. Last week he finished in ninth position at The Open, and said he built on that solid performance;

“I kind of built off last week, I got some good things I’m doing with my swing and everything, and feel good about that. I’m just going out there and really trying to trust my game. Just allow things to happen and not get in the way of myself and be as present as I can and keep my head up and keep moving forward and just kind of letting my abilities and everything that I’m doing in my game, let it try to come out. The course is in great shape, tee to green it’s fantastic. The greens are rolling pretty true. If you hit it well out here, par fives, you can attack the par fives. It’s a fun golf course to play. I think they did a good job with the setup here because they could have grown the rough up and made it really difficult, and it’s tough to come back from a major and play the next week, especially when it’s a hard golf course. It’s really a mental grind. But I think the golf course setup is fantastic because it’s still playable but it’s still difficult and still challenging.”

John Merrick is in second place after he equalled the course record of 62, a -10 under par extravaganza, for a total score of -11  under par. John explained it like this;

“It was a great day, I got off to a good start, hit it over the green on two and chipped in for eagle, and that kind of calmed me down. I hit it well and made a lot of putts. I’ve had stretches of good play, you know, it’s tough out here, it’s competitive. You’ve got to be on for four days, and I’ve had some good rounds here and there a couple days, and you just need to put four rounds together out here. My game has been feeling pretty good. Everything kind of clicked today.”

Bubba Watson is in third place alone at -9 under par, his second round -5 under par 67 had a couple of bogey’s, but most strangely he could only make par on the two par fives at the end of the round;

“I haven’t been in too much trouble, when I hit it in the rough I have a decent lie or miss it in the right spot so I can hit the green in regulation. I missed three greens in two days, so I’m just hitting my irons well, playing smart golf, and then I made a few putts.”

Mike Weir,  the great Canadian hope, followed his opening round 73 with a second round of -5 under par 67, to move into a tie for 26th at -4 under par. Mike was happy to have given the home crowd something to cheer about;

” It was a great day, it was one of those rounds that could have been really anything. I could have been 10 under pretty easily, I think. But played great, and it was exciting to do that for the fans. Yesterday was so dull, one birdie and nothing happening at all, so it was great to feel that kind of support out there and give them something to cheer about.”

Notables missing the cut included; Luke Donald, one of Canada’s best Graeme DeLaet, Stephen Ames, and  Robert Karlsson.

 

 

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