French Open. Stadler Stretches His Lead

dragon logo dark

Kevin Stadler stretches his lead in the Alstom Open de France (French Open) to four shots.

Kevin Stadler   (Getty Images)

Kevin Stadler / Getty Images

Kevin could only put together a +1 over par 72 today, but his total of -9 under par was still way ahead of the field. Only three players in the entire field managed to break 70 today. Kevin had problems with a re-occurring back problem;

“It’s a little tight, it’s been a little out of whack all week. Luckily didn’t give me a whole lot of trouble the first couple of days, but it today it turned up a bit. I’m still able to swing so should be fine.”

“I got about what I deserved out of my game today. I didn’t play that great, made a whole lot of pars and did not have nearly as many looks as I had the last couple days, but you can’t expect to play that well for four days in a row.”

“I knew I really didn’t have to do anything crazy today. A couple less would have been nice, but overall I’m happy the way it went.”

Tied in second place at -5 under par are Thongchai Jaidee and Frenchman Victor Riu, Victor returned a third round score of +2 over par, while Thongchai made up some ground with -2 under par 68.

US Open Champion Martin Kaymer is six shots off the lead after an even par third round of 70. He still hopes to go low tomorrow and try to put some pressure on the leader;

“I think since the first day he’s running away a little bit, so I guess he likes the golf course as much as I do. So I think it will be difficult to catch him.”

“If the weather stays like this, I just need to shoot a very, very low score tomorrow. If you get within two or three shots of him, he might get some nerves the last three or four holes because it’s a tough finish.”

“But the way he plays golf and the way I know him, he’s a very laid-back guy so it will be difficult to catch him. I can only try to shoot as low as I can to be happy with myself.”

Defending Champion Graeme McDowell struggled, carding a +3 over par 73, and is now eight shots off the pace. He too is looking to go low tomorrow;

“It was tough to find a rhythm, it was playing pretty difficult. It was nice to string a few birdies together and get myself back into it and as I made the turn I was feeling good about myself, my swing and my position in the tournament.”

“My swing off the 10th and 13th tee has been haunting me a bit, I’m just not committing to those shots and missing them all left. I’m disappointed with that back nine  because I really felt like I swung the club decently today.

“All I can do is try to shoot a 66 or 67 and there’s a 75 or 76 waiting for anyone on this golf course.”

HP Byron Nelson Championship. Todd Leads by Two

dragon logo dark    HP Byron Nelson Championship Logo

Brendon Todd leads t he HP Byron Nelson Championship by two shots at the mid-way point of  the competition at TPC Four Seasons Resort.

Brendon Todd  / Getty Images

 Shooting a -6 under par 64 in Friday’s second round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship has put Brendon in command of this event after two rounds. His -8 under par total has put a two shot gap between him and second place, which is being shared between no less than eight players. So far this season the Web.com Tour graduate Brendon has struggled to put more than two good rounds together in a tournament, tomorrow will be a stern test for him.

“It’s nice to put two under-par rounds together before the cut, that’s been a challenge for me this year. I feel like my game was good enough to play well this week all four days. In the past, I’ve always had a hiccup before the cut, so my goal is, if the red numbers are out there, let’s do it. Excited to be in the last group on the weekend.”

Among those eight in the following group at -6 under par is last weeks winner Martin Kaymer, who shot a another -3 under par 67 to remain in contention here. Paul Casey is another who is sharing that spot, Paul put together a magnificent second round of -7 under par 63, his back-nine score of 27 tying for second-lowest back nine in PGA TOUR history.

Paul said that he did not keep track of what he was doing on that back nine;

“I had no concept of what I was doing, the seal was broken when I got to ten, it just spiraled from there. I like to think I would be pretty good at shooting low rounds of golf through the past, but certainly nothing like that.”

paul-casey-scorecard-575Getty imagesHP Byron Nelson Championship - Round One

 Just take a good look at his card.

Martin Kaymer reported that he was feeling relaxed, and was taking his good form with him, warning that he may have emptied his tank from last week, but tomorrow it will be full again;

“I think if you had a good week, obviously you can take a lot into the next week, you play a little bit more free, a little bit more relaxed. Tomorrow morning, it will be full again.”

martin-kaymer

 

 

Martin Kaymer/ Getty Images

 

As you can tell the leaderboard is very compacted, so anything could happen on moving day, someone is bound to go low.

 

HP Byron Nelson Championship.

dragon logo darkHP Byron Nelson Championship Logo

Peter Hanson leads the HP Byron Nelson Championship at the TPC Four Seasons Resort.

Peter Hanson shot a 5-under 65 to take the lead at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Peter Hanson / Getty Images

Peter has a one shot advantage after his opening round of -5 under par 65, at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. He joined the PGA Tour last year and is looking for his first win, he was suffering from travelling and a sore back;

“Always nice to get off to a fast start. I still have quite a bit of pain, but I really wanted to play this week. “Heading over to Europe the next two weeks. We have a big tournament, Wentworth, and then my national open back in Sweden the week after that. This is a bit of a test.”

David Duval is in the group of three players at -4 under par, although he very nearly did not play due to an injury problem, his right elbow making it hard to swing;

“I’m just glad I chose to tee off today because I was seriously considering not to, can’t use my right arm. I’m tickled pink it feels as good as it does right now. I’m not getting to play a whole lot right now and it would have been a hard thing to swallow not to be able to tee off.”

“A little disadvantage when you don’t get to play consistently, but I have the utmost confidence in what I’m trying to do right now, and I feel like I can succeed even with that sporadic schedule.”

Marc Lieshman and Tim Wilkinson are the two players tied with David at -4 under par.

Last weeks winner Martin Kaymer is a whole bunch of players at -3 under par, while last weeks adversary Jordan Spieth could only manage an opening round of even par 70.

Jordan was upset at his performance;

“I kept myself in it, it was a difficult day. I was upset today, I get upset out here when things aren’t going my way because I want them to so bad. Michael did a great job of calming me down, putting things in perspective, and we got a couple birdies to finish to get back in it.”

“I’m really happy with the way I’m keeping myself in it around the greens, I feel very confident and comfortable around the greens. Once I hit a few fairways, my iron play will be there and hopefully get back on track and make a run.”

There is a lot of golf still to play here, and I am sure that Martin Kaymer, given his current form, will be in contention come Sunday.

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. Martin Caught By Jordan.

dragon logo darkTHE PLAYERS Championship

Martin Kaymer has been caught at the top of The Players leaderboard by Jordan Spieth at TPC Sawgrass.

Martin Kaymer (left) and Jordan Spieth will lead the chase at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday. (Kevin Cox/Getty Images)

Martin And Jordan / Getty Images

Jordan Spieth and Martin Kaymer will be in the final group for Sunday’s final round of  THE PLAYERS Championship, tied for the lead at -12 under par for the tournament, three shots clear of the field.

Jordan carded a third round -1 under par 71, and is still bogey free through 54 holes, the only man in the field to be bogey free for the tournament. Martin scored an even round 72,  with a bogey at the last hole dropping him into a tie with Jordan.

Both players found trouble at the par-4 18th off the tee, but Jordan recovered to roll in his par-saving putt from just inside 13 feet from off the fringe, while Martin missed his par putt from 9 feet.

Jordan, who tied for second place at last month’s Masters is pretty happy with his game right now, and even mentioned how Martin told him to have fun;

” I’m very excited about where my game’s at, it was a putt I didn’t necessarily expect to go in, putting through that fringe. “You want to hit it with the right speed and if it bounces, it bounces, if it rolls true, it rolls true. And, fortunately, that one rolled true. It was nice to see one go in and it meant a lot to me before I hit it, so that’s good news going into tomorrow.”

“ He was out there truly having fun, he came up to me after I missed the putt on 10 and we were walking down the fairway at 11, he’s like, ‘Just don’t worry about it, just have some fun. This is where you want to be,’ which was really cool for him to come up and say that at the time.”

Martin suffered at the hands of the hostile crowd, who even booed him and then cheered when he had made a mistake. Jordan spoke of the incident;

 “He handled it gracefully, just a class act, took his hat off, smiled.”

Martin is looking forward to the battle tomorrow;

“I look forward to tomorrow, Jordan is playing very good golf. At the end of the day, it comes down to if you really play with your heart and with a passion and really want to win, it comes down to the person who really, really wants it.”

Sergio Garcia and John Senden are tied in third place at -9 under par, Sergio with a -3 under par 69 and John -4 under par 68.

John has not given himself much of a chance tomorrow, saying;

“I believe that it’s up to those two guys to almost fight it out tomorrow.” 

Matt Jones, George McNeill and Gary Woodland are in the group at -8 under par, while. Lee Westwood, David Hearn and Francesco Molinari are at -7 under par. 

Justin Rose should have been on that number but after officials reviewed video of a ball moving at address at the 18th hole they generously awarded him a two shot penalty.

 An initial review of the incident in the scoring area, watched by Justin and Tour officials confirmed they saw no movement, but before he could sign his scorecard David Probyn, a European Tour official who was watching the third round from the United Kingdom, called PGA Tour officials to inform them he saw the ball move.

A third review on an ultra-magnified version of the tape revealed that the ball rocked by “a hair” Justin said.

Gentleman Justin took it well;

“It has to be the right result. Because if the ball moves, whether it moves an inch, if the ball moves a hair, the ball moved. I’m happy now, my conscience is clear, I’ll sleep better tonight, knowing that, eventually, the right decision was made.”

A very different decision was made earlier in the week when a payer brushed his ball with his putter while taking a practice swing, the ball moved, but the player was not penalized. You could see the ball move as it happened, it took space agency type equipment to see anything with Justin’s incident.

The Players. Martin Kaymer Maintains His Lead.

dragon logo dark THE PLAYERS Championship

Martin Kaymer maintained his lead at the top of the leaderboard at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Martin Kaymer has hit 18 of 28 fairways through two rounds at THE PLAYERS Championship. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

 Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

Martin returned a second round score of -3 under par 69 on Friday to hold a one-stroke lead at THE PLAYERS Championship going into the weekend with a total of -12 under par. He even birdied the fearsome 17th par three island hole, and said everything is going nicely;

“Everything is coming together nicely,even though I shot 9-under par yesterday. If people want to talk negative about it, I then shot six shots worse. But you can always go in the negative. I see very positive things that I backed up that 9-under par with another decent round.”

Jordan Spieth charged after the leader, shooting a second round -6 under par 66, giving him his -11 under par total, just one shot off the lead. He struck a superb 6-iron from 184 yards on the par for 14th to within 3 feet, converting another birdie;

“It was a nice break to land and roll to pin-high, because it was a very tricky pin with quite a bit of slope around the hole.”

Someone had the temerity to ask Jordan if he got bored being in contention all the time, staying calm he replied;

“No, because I haven’t won one. You should probably have to win every time in order for it to get boring, but not even Tiger gets bored.”

 “I’d like to have a round like that the next two days, very stress‑free.”

Russell Henley is in third position, a -1 under par 71 second round leaving him on his own at -8 under par.

Of the six players I mentioned yesterday that would struggle to make the cut, three of them did, and three did not. Missing the cut were Webb Simpson, Louis Oosthuizen and Phil Mickelson.

Mickelson

Phil / Getty Images

Phil stated that he had gone soft;

“I don’t feel bad about the game, but mentally, I’m just really soft right now. I don’t know what to say, I don’t feel bad about the way I’m hitting it. I don’t feel like the misses are bad. I haven’t driven the ball this well ever, for how I feel anyway, but getting the ball to the hole, getting the shots close, getting the putts to go. I just haven’t been able to do it. So I feel like it’s more of a mental issue and I’ll go home and see if I can work on it.”

Adam Scott and Brandt Snedeker both made the cut on the number, even par, with Jimmy Walker going one better and getting in at -1 under par. Rory McIlroy also made the cut on the number, even though he shot 42 on the front nine and appeared headed home early until making birdie on the 18th hole to salvage a 74 to make the cut.

Rory said he is struggling to get a score;

“I have struggled to grind, the last couple of weeks I’ve been able to do well. It’s not the position I want to be in, battling back to make the cut, but at least I’m in for the weekend.”

Adam needs to finish in the top 16 to have a chance to move past Tiger Woods to No. 1 in the world, and said he would be working hard to achieve that;

“Two rounds like today over the weekend could go a very long way. You never know what conditions will be like and what this course can do. Usually a low weekend around quality golf courses like this go a long, long way, so I’ll be grinding very hard.”

There is indeed a lot that could happen to alter the course of this tournament, not least having to play the dreaded 17th hole twice over the week-end.

The Players. Marvelous Martin Kaymer Leads

dragon logo dark

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.”