Nedbank Golf Challenge. Willett Wins.

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Danny Willett wins the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa.

Nedbank Golf Challenge

Danny Willett / Getty Images

Danny claimed his second European Tour victory here in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, shooting a final round -6 under par 66, to post a -18 under par total and a four shot win at the Gary Player Golf & Country Club. He told reporters how much he liked South Africa;

“South Africa is a place that’s suited me in the past. I’ve played good golf down here, love the place, love the people, everything about it is great. It’s been a truly fun test of golf.”

Danny follows other Englishmen, Nick Faldo and Lee Westwood in winning this event;

“It’s always nice walking up the ninth, obviously with the name engraved on the pathway up the left, you kind of realise how many great players have been here and walked over the same bridge as you have and had a great week.

“Hopefully we can come back here year after year and do it again.”

Ross Fisher secured second place with his -14 under par total, with a steady last round of -4 under par 68, he said Danny was just too good;

“I’m delighted. I felt like I played great all week. I finally started to hole a few putts today which was nice, but unfortunately for me and Luke, Danny was too good. I played some great golf.”

Luke Donald failed to make it to the winners circle once again, he struggled all day, finishing with a final round +1 over par 73. This dropped him into third spot at -12 under par, but said there were a lot of positives to take from this performance;

“There were a lot of positives. It’s nice to put myself back in position.”

“I could have played a bit better but I still would have had to shoot five under just to tie with Danny. He played really focused golf today and hats off, he’s a deserved winner.”

Sad story of the day, Alexander Levy found the ninth hole very problematic, requiring 10 shots to complete the 596 yard par five, and carding a last round +6 over par 78.

 

Nedbank Golf Challenge. Luke Looks Good.

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Luke Donald looks good for his first win in some time at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City.

Nedbank Golf Challenge

Luke Donald / Getty Images

A third round -3 under par 69, and a -13 under par total, kept Luke in position to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club course in South Africa. He is playing well enough to pick up his first trophy since 2012;

“I’m pretty pleased with the score. I could have played a little bit more solid on the back nine, but to be honest, around this course, with a lead, shooting 69, that’s kind of what the game plan was, to go out and shoot a low round and keep myself ahead and in position for tomorrow.” 

“I did that and felt pretty calm out there, and it was nice to finish with a three.”

“I’m excited to be in that position again. That’s why we work hard and that’s why we practice so much, and I’m excited for the challenge tomorrow.”

“It will be nice playing with some of my compatriots, and we’ll have some fun out there.”

Danny Willett is keeping close tabs on the leader, sitting in second place just one shot behind at -12 under par. Danny carded a third round -7 under par 65, to get into contention. He said he moved in the right direction on Saturday;

“They say Saturday’s moving day, and for once I moved in the right direction.”

“I came out well after swinging nicely on the range, and made some really good moves in the first few holes which set up some relatively simple birdies.”

“I kept pressing, didn’t hold back and I finished really strongly.” 

“I’ve been playing some good golf over the last few weeks, in Turkey, China and Dubai. I’ve been in good positions but it hasn’t quite gone my way, so it was nice to get this today.”

Ross Fisher completes the top three, an all English affair, he had a -2 under par 70 to post -10 under par for the tournament, and thinks he can win tomorrow;

“Tomorrow is going to be a big day. I just need to go out and play how I’ve been playing the first three days and how I putted on the first day.”

“If I do that, I feel like I’ve got a really good chance of winning it.” 

These three are well ahead of all the competition, the next nearest being Marcel Siem, he is at -5 under par for the tournament. Would be nice to see Luke return to the winners circle, and challenge for the world number one spot.

 

Nedbank Golf Challenge. Luke Donald Shines in Sun City

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Luke Donald shines in the second round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City on the Gary Player Country Club course.

Nedbank Golf Challenge

Luke Donald / Getty Images

Luke took control of the Nedbank Golf Challenge with a second round -9 under par 63, to lead the tournament by two shots with his -10 under par total at the half-way stage of the competition. The former World Number One last tasted triumph on the European Tour at the BMW PGA Championship in 2012 had everything in control, except a charging Baboon on the 13th;

Nedbank Challenge

Luke & Baboon

“We were walking up 13, saw one hiding in the tree, and got to my ball and suddenly Shane said, ‘Watch out!’  

“And I turned around and the thing is galloping towards me. I jumped out of the way. My facial expression I’m sure was caught on camera and probably on the internet already by now. It gave me a little bit of a fright as he strolled right by me.”

“It’s been a while since I’ve gone really low. I’ve been seeing some signs of a lot of improvement in the last few weeks and some lower rounds in the mid to high 60s but obviously nine birdies around this place is a great round and something I was very pleased with.”

“I felt very in control. It’s been a while since I felt like that. It was nice to play a solid round.”

Ross Fisher is in second place, a second round -2 under par 70 giving him a -8 under par total, two shots adrift of the leader. He said he was disappointed with his effort;

“I am a little bit disappointed to shoot two under. It’s a tough golf course. I don’t feel like I played probably as solid as yesterday. I didn’t hit it as good off the tee. I still felt like I played pretty solid.”

“I think any golf course anywhere, there’s always a low score out there. But, you’ve got to go out and do it. So hats off to Luke. He obviously played fantastically well today.”

Alexander Levy is two shots further adrift at -6 under par and in third position on his own, and is happy to be where he is, not playing his best golf;

“I’m happy because it’s not my best golf but I managed the golf course. It’s always good to play 70 on this golf course. It’s a very difficult golf course. It’s warm and it’s difficult and you have to hit like that at the end.”

Danny Willett, is five under courtesy of an immaculate second round -4 under par 68, while home town favorites Charl Schwartzel and Tim Clark are level with three other players on three under

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.