RBC Heritage. Magic Matt Kuchar Wins

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A magic final round from Matt Kuchar saw him win the RBC Heritage title at Harbour Town Gold Links.

Having a blast: Kuchar's hole-out leads to victory

Matt Kuchar / Getty Images

 

Matt managed to compile a final round of -7 under par 64, for his winning total of -11 under par.

Before the hole out from the bunker on the last for a winning birdie, Matt spoke to his caddie;

“I said to Lance, ‘I‘m about due to make one of these.  It was so cool to see that thing disappear at the end. I wasn’t too disappointed to end up in that front greenside bunker on eighteen.I knew it was a pretty easy up and down.” 

 

 

Luke Donald, who started the day with a two shot lead, finished in second place at -10 under par, Matt had quite a wait watching to see if Luke could catch him and force a play-off. It did not happen, and thankfully broke Matt’s Sunday slumps. Luke shot himself in the foot when he drove his ball way left out of bounds on the sixth hole, and carded a double bogey 6. He then found water again on 10, resulting in a bogey. He was happy with the way he is progressing;

“I hit a lot of solid shots, a lot to build off and I’m excited about some of the changes I’ve been making.”

John Huh and Ben Martin tied for third place at -9 under par for the tournament.

RBC Heritage. Luke Leaps to the Top.

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Luke Donald leaps to the top of the RBC Heritage leaderboard at Harbour Town Golf Links.

Donald surges to top with 66

Luke Donald / Getty Images

Luke posted another round of -6 under par 66, low round of the day, to sit comfortably on top of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage at -8 under par, and a two shot lead. He spoke about the weather conditions;

“I’ve always liked this golf course, and the conditions were pretty manageable, for the front nine at least. I think we’re in for a very windy day tomorrow, so I’ll need to control the ball even better.”

John Huh is in second place, a third round of -3 under par 68, and a -6 under par total, would have been better if he had not three putted the last hole. John said his tee shot was OK, it would be difficult to miss the eighteenth fairway, it is the widest on the course, but the second put him in a bad spot;

“I hit a good drive, had about 200 yards and hit my rescue over, put myself in the wrong spot. Believe it or not, I’ve been playing really good, but I just wasn’t able to put everything together. I think this is the week that I’ve put pretty much everything together.”

Nicolas Thompson is in a four-way tie for third place, at -5 under par. Joining him on that score are Jim Furyk, Charl Schwartzel and Ben Martin.

Nicolas was upset at his putting performance today;

“The only thing that was really off was my speed control, I might have had a missed read or two here or there, but that happens. I don’t think I hit one putt too short today. This golf course is the ultimate patience test. You have to be so patient out here, because how many golf shots are you going to hit in the perfect spot off the tee, so you think, and not have an exact shot on the pin?”

Charl thinks he will have a chance if he just continues with the good ball striking;

“I think if I can continue the ball striking and giving myself chances I can make a few birdies tomorrow and give it a shot.”

First-round co-leader Matt Kuchar bounced back from Friday afternoon’s rough start, to finish in a tie for seventh place at -4 under par. He was happy with that result after a long day, he had played 29 holes;

“It helps to be in contention, it helps to really have an incentive to go out and play some good golf.”

RBC Heritage. Rain Stops Play. K.J. Choi Leads

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Rain stopped play in the second round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.  K.J. Choi was the clubhouse leader at the cessation of play.

K.J. Choi shot a 4-under 67 on Friday. (Maddie Meyers/Getty Images)

K.J. Choi / Getty Images

K.J. benefited from an early tee time at Harbour Town and took full advantage, recording a second round -4 under par 67, to sit atop the leaderboard at the end of play with a total score of -5 under par for the tournament. He was aware that this course might suit his game and decided to play this year instead of taking his usual trip home at this time of year;

“If you just hit it beneath the trees, it’s a good course to play. It has very small targets and this course is working well.”

Robert Allenby is in second place at -4 under par, and has only completed five holes of his second round, he was pleased to get off the golf course;

“It’s not fun when it’s blowing 20 miles an hour every different direction and it’s raining at the same time. So it was nice get out of there.”

Scott Langley dropped back, with second round +2 over par 73, which left him tied in third place at -3 under par.

Luke Donald is one of those players tied in third, following his completed second round of -2 under par 69. Luke likes this course, and his results prove that;

“It’s a good course for me and my results have certainly showed that in the last few years. If I’d got hot with the putter it could have been really special but, still, a very solid round, and glad I’m done.”

“You’ve got to keep it in play and plot your way around this course, that’s why I’ve had some success here. It’s not a course you can overpower and you need to be proficient around the greens. I hit 15 greens and, with these small greens, it’s a job well done.”

Five-time RBC Heritage champion Davis Love III certainly won’t be around for the final two rounds of this competition, after following a strong -1 under par 70 on Thursday with an horrible 80 in the second round, his highest score ever in 93 career rounds at Harbour Town.

 Matt Kuchar is also in trouble +4 over par in six second round holes, yesterday he shot a -5 under par 66, and will need to regain some of that form if he is to make the cut. His bad start didn’t seem to bother him too much, he told reporters that he was having fun with his kids;
“Chasing my youngest around the beach, so had some fun this morning. It’s going to be lots of games and some movies maybe the next couple of days.”

It is going to be a long day tomorrow for some of these players, having to complete round two, and then set off again for round three.

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.