Arnold Palmer Invitational. Matt Every Makes It His.

dragon logo darkArnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard Logo

Matt Every won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

Matt Every, 30, received the traditional winner's handshake from Arnold Palmer on Sunday. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

Arnold Palmer with winner Matt Every / Getty Images

As a kid growing up in nearby Daytona Beach Matt Every watched Arnold Palmer Invitational, now he was won the event. He could not believe that he had won, a last round of -2 under par 70 gave him a total -13 under par.

“It’s hard, I can’t believe I won, it’s tough man. You just never know if it’s going to happen. You get there so many times. It’s nice to get it done. Being close to winning out here, I mean it can be kind of discouraging because if you don’t win you just wonder if it’s ever going to happen. I don’t see how it could get much better than this, being so close to where I grew up and all the fans out there that were cheering me on. It was awesome.”

Second place went to Keegan Bradley, his final round of even par 72 was good enough to secure the spot with a total of -12 under par. Keegan had a putt on the final hole to force a play-off, he remembered Tiger putting from around the same spot in 2008 to win the tournament;

“I remember watching his breaking in there really hard, it looked about the same. I hit an absolutely perfect putt, perfect speed. Just didn’t break in.”

Adam Scott, who started the day with a three shot lead, completely went to pieces in the final round, finishing the tournament at -11 under par, after a disastrous +4 over par 76. It left him in third place alone, he said he was annoyed at the way he played, I bet Stevie Williams was pulling his hair out too. Bad putting was the major culprit;

“Sometimes you’ve got to be hard on yourself; sometimes you don’t. And I think I was getting into a really good spot and had an opportunity here to run away with an event and really take a lot of confidence. I’m annoyed that I didn’t do better today.”

“Today was a bit shaky, it was just a little out of sorts for whatever reason. And my short game just wasn’t there. So that needs to be tightened up and probably shows that I need to do a bit more work on it to hold up under the pressure.  If nothing else, it’s a good reminder on how much putting practice I need to do for going to the Masters and just how important it is. And if I think back to last year, I made every putt that you expect to in that last round and ultimately that’s, I guess, maybe what gave me the chance to win.”

I just wonder if having the chance of being World Number One was in his mind, increasing the pressure.

Arnold Palmer Invitational. Subdued Scott Still Leads.

dragon logo darkArnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard Logo Adam Scott had a very subdued third round, but still leads the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

Adam Scott had four bogeys Saturday but remains three ahead at Bay Hill. (Cohen/Getty Images)

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Adam Scott carded a very subdued -1 under par 71 in the third round at Bay Hill, and saw his seven shot lead shrink to three strokes going into the final round. He now has a total of -15 under par, and seeing the guys catch up a little knows he is in a tournament and will have to buckle down and find a good round to win;

” I think I’ve got to go out and try to win the golf tournament, I’m not trying to win the No. 1 ranking. I’ve got a bunch of guys breathing down my neck who all have had nice rounds today and are feeling pretty good about the way they’re playing going into tomorrow. So I’m going to have to play a pretty sharp round of golf and not open the door at all. When you’ve got the lead, you have to work for it, I’m still in good shape.”

“When you don’t start birdie-birdie today, then you know the other guys have got nothing to lose and they’re going for it. They’ve got to close the gap. It doesn’t surprise me at all. You think seven is a lot, but it’s not really, especially over 36 holes. If I was seven back at any other tournament, I would think I could still win.”

Keegan Bradley birdied his last three holes for a third round -6 under par 66 to claim second place alone at -12 under par for the tournament. he likes being the under-dog and thinks tomorrow will be a fun day;

” I just kind of like that under-dog role, I like knowing that I’ve got to go out there and play well. It really gets me excited. And playing in the final group with one of the best players in the world at Arnold Palmer’s tournament is what we all dream to do. Tomorrow is going to be a really fun day. I’m really striking the ball well and finally seeing putts go in.”

Two players are tied in third position at -11 under par, they are, Matt Every, who also signed for -6  under par 66 and Jason Kokrak who carded a -5 under par 67 today.

Matt is adjusting to not having a full-time coach,

“Last year I had a full-time coach, he was awesome, and I learned a ton. But I kind of got lazy and started relying a little too much on other people to help me. If I was hitting it bad, I would go, ‘I’ll wait until next week when he comes back and I’ll straighten it out.’ That’s terrible.”

“This year, I’m trying to do everything by myself, just be committed to everything, and trust, just trust in myself, and my caddie, too.”

“I think I’ve been too aggressive on Sundays. You can hit good shots out here on Sundays, and it might not turn out great. It’s not nerves, it’s really not. It just, you know, it just hasn’t happened. But eventually, I’m pretty sure it will.”

Well yesterday I said the engraver could do his work and go home, and although Adam’s lead has been severely trimmed I still believe he will win.

Valspar Championship. Garrigus Gets Ahead.

dragon logo dark

Valspar Championship Logo

 

Robert Garrigus gets ahead in the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook on day 2 taking a three shot lead into the week-end.

Garrigus leads at Valspar

Robert Garrigus / Getty Images

Robert can not remember a better performance going into the week-end than the one he put together on day 2 at the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead course. He shot a second round -5 under par 66, to finish the day three shots ahead on -7 under par for the tournament;

“It’s the fishing, I think that puts me in a good frame of mind because I’m clear and not thinking about anything, just going out and having some fun. I probably hit one of the top-five shots of my life there on sixteen, out of the trees. Hit a low, cut 5-iron, then rose it up over the pine tree and cut it 40 yards and hit to ten feet. That’s just one of those shots that when you’re playing good and everything is rolling, you kind of expect it. It was a lot of fun to try it, and to pull it off was even better. I’ve spent half my life in the trees. I’ve had a lot of practice.”

Kevin Na is in second place, a second round -3 under par 68 gave him a total of -4 under par for the tournament. That was good enough for second spot alone.

Highest-ranked player in the field, Justin Rose shot a second round -3 under par, and joins Matt Every, Pat Perez and Matteo Manassero, all tied in third place at -3 under par.

Justin finally got some momentum going;

“I got some momentum going today, I worked my way into the tournament early. To finish strong with my round yesterday I think helped give me some momentum into day. It’s exactly how I needed to flow into the tournament.”

During the round today Pat Perez  was the first player to reach -5 under par for the tournament, until he missed two drives well to the left. The first was in the trees at No. 6, and then another wayward drive went out of bounds on No. 7. Both of them led to double bogeys, though Pat shrugged off the disappointment;

“Just move on and keep going.”

Danny Lee went from first to worst. He was tied for the lead Thursday, and then shot +8 over par for 79, and miss the cut. The cut was at +3  over par,  and because 84 players advanced, there will be a 54-hole cut to top 70 and ties on Saturday.

The list of players missing the cut was pretty impressive, they include;

Ernie Els, Mike Weir,  Camilo Villegas, Webb Simpson, Geoff Ogilvey, D.A. Points, VJ Singh, Angel Cabrera, Kyle Stanley and the wild man himself, John Daly, who propped up the whole field.

 

 

Valspar Championship, A Windy Day 1and a Four-Way Tie.

dragon logo darkHabitat for Humanity/Valspar Logo with Neighborhoods Matter tagline

Matt Every, Danny Lee, Pat Perez and Greg Chalmers  share the first round lead at a very windy Innisbrook in the Valspar Championship.

Matt Every is one of four players tied for the lead after Round 1. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

Matt Every, one of the four. / Getty images

With early morning temperatures hovering in the mid 50′s Matt Every carded an opening round of -3 under par in the challenging conditions. He ended the day sharing that score with Danny, Pat and Greg who played in the warmer afternoon, to share top spot on the leaderboard, the highest first round total in the 14 year history of this event.

Matt admitted the conditions were so bad he would have settled for +2 over par round at the start of play;

” I would have been satisfied with 2 over today, it was tough. This morning you couldn’t feel your hands. The wind was brutal. I’ve played enough to know the first round doesn’t matter that much. This place is just going to be about not making doubles and taking yourself out of the tournament.”  

 There were only three players who broke 70 in the morning round, with the average score nearly three shots over par. Eight players broke 70 in the afternoon, and the average for the day turned out to be 72.6, only 25 players managed to break par.

Danny has gained some confidence, especially with his good finish last week, but was shocked at  the cold temps here in Florida;

“I gained a lot of confidence after last week playing with the finish in Puerto Rico. It really helped me a lot with that confidence stuff, and I’m hitting it really well right now. My ball striking is the best it’s ever been, especially with the putting. I got the new claw grip,  still working great, which is fantastic.”

“I was shocked how hard it was, without the wind and the cold weather , even we’re playing in nice weather it’s a very tough golf course.”

This going to be a very tough tournament, with more cold weather predicted for Friday morning, before the temperatures begin to rise for the week-end.

The Greenbrier Classic. Matt Makes A Move.

Logo Image

Matt Every makes a move on the leaderboard at The Greenbrier Classic, his second round of -8 under par 62 propelled him to the summit, at -9 under par. The Old White TPC course has surrendered another 62, this could be a record breaking winning score here this weekend.

The Greenbrier Classic

Matt Every / Getty Images

Matt’s bogey-free round gave him sole possession of the top of the leaderboard at -9 under par, he said making some putts really helped him;

” I played really well tee-to-green, finally made some putts. I haven’t made anything all year and it  just finally happened today. Been waiting for it.”

On an extremely tightly packed leaderboard there are five players tied in second place, all at -8 under par for the tournament. it reads like this; Daniel Summerhays, Bill Lunde, Steven Bowditch, Russell Henley and one of the first round leaders Johnson Wagner.

Johnson fell back with his disappointing second round effort of even par 70, a long way from yesterday’s 62. The other first round leader Tommy Gainey fared even worse, with a second round +1 over par 71, leaving him in the next group of players at -7 under par for the tournament.

In a strange statement Tommy said the course played really tough today. The stats prove something different, it played easier on Friday than it did in the first round with a scoring average of 69.668 to 70.096. I guess Tommy never saw Matt at the top of the board with his 62;

“You have to give credit to the golf course. The golf course, it gave up some low scores yesterday, but what’s the lowest score it gave up today?  I mean really, in any other tournament besides the majors, everybody’s shooting 7, 8, 9 under on the first or second rounds. The golf course hung up pretty good today, it played tough.”

In amongst those who will not play at the weekend is Phil Mickelson, who got his first sub-par round at The Old White TPC but missed the cut at The Greenbrier Classic for the third straight year, a first in the World Golf Hall of Famer’s career. Joining Phil on the early bus ride home are  2010 Greenbrier Classic champion Stuart Appleby; Roberto Castro, who finished second at last week’s AT&T National; Charles Howell III, Brian Gay and former major champions Lucas Glover, Mike Weir, Trevor Immelman and Vijay Singh.

Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Catch Kuchar, If You Can.

It’s catch Kuchar if you can as Matt takes a one shot lead into the final round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club.

Try to catch Kuchar

Matt Kuchar / Heathcote / Getty Images

Matt Kuchar had a third round of -1 under under par for a total of -11 under, which kept him at the top of the leaderboard in the Crowne Plaza Invitational, by just one shot.

Matt’s third round  finally ended more than 12 hours after he woke up;

” This morning feels like a day ago. It would’ve been nice to extend my lead, tomorrow will be an exciting day.”

Just one shot back at -10 under par are  Boo Weekley, Graham DeLaet, Matt Every and Chris Stroud. Boo said it will be a shoot-out tomorrow;

“It’s going to be a shootout.”

Zach Johnson, the defending Champion is at -8 under par, three shots off the pace, but still in contention.

Jordan Spieth had a share of the lead early on, but some costly mistakes dropped him down the leaderboard. Afterwards he did not want to focus too much on what happened to him today;

“I can’t focus too much on today, I’m really happy with the way I putted. I just made some mental errors, just rookie mistakes that cost me about four shots. Otherwise, I’d be tied for the lead. Just got fooled big-time by the wind on four or five holes. I just guessed incorrectly twice in a row, it was a decision that obviously looks bad afterward. I’m happy to close with a birdie and carry it into tomorrow only four back.”

Tim Clark and Martin Flores shot the low rounds of the day, both with rounds of -5 under par 65.

Tim was happy with the way he played today;

” Yesterday was really bad, luckily I kind of got it figured out and today the swing felt good. I’ve been in this position a lot, so again, it’s about for me staying aggressive on this golf course, when you try to play it safe, it can come back and get you. So I just need to stay aggressive. For a guy who doesn’t hit it very far, this is a very good golf course to come in and do some shot-making.”

 

Wyndham Championship, Round 3, Sergio Garcia Leads

                                                                                                                       

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia/Gerry Broome / Associated Press

After three rounds of the Wyndham Championship Sergio Garcia is in control of his Ryder Cup destiny. Sergio had a third round of       -4 under par 66 on the par 70 Sedgefield Country Club lay-out, to lead by one shot from Tim Clark and Bud Cauley, who are on -13 under par. The FedEx Playoffs are just one week away, and Sergio Garcia is rounding into form at the right time. The going will  not be easy, apart from Bud Cauley and Tim Clark by one,  Jason Dufner, Harris English and Carl Pettersson are lurking with serious intent. Sergio is acutely aware of the competition looming behind him for the final round;

” Obviously I would love to be two, three shots better but, you know, we’re in a good situation, it’s going to be a tough day. There’s no doubt about it. A lot of very good players behind me trying to achieve the same thing I’m trying to achieve. So, you know, hopefully I’ll go out there tomorrow, play well again and give ourselves a good shot at winning and see if we can finish in the same position that I was today. Eighteen pars are not going to win it, you have to make some birdies out there. I don’t have a number, I’m not going to say I need to shoot 4 under, 5 under, or whatever. Someone might go out and shoot 9 under, and 5 under’s not good enough.”

Jason Dufner had the best round of the day, a -7 under par 63, and playing like that he could easily be in contention coming down the stretch on Sunday afternoon. Jason trails Sergio by two shots and is trying to win for the third time during this breakout season. Amazingly he would replace Tiger Woods as No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings if he did, now that would be a talking point.

There are sixteen players within four shots of the lead, so in reality tomorrow is going to be a shoot-out, and may the best man win.

The American Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love 111 is still in contention in this tournament, and a win for him here would be a momentous occasion. And don’t forget Carl Pettersson, the Sedgefield Country Club member, he knows this course well, and that factor could give him the edge. Of course Carl will not be playing for Ryder Cup selection, as he does not qualify to play for either the U.S. or the European Team. I think some rule changes need to be made here, but you know how long it takes the authorities to come to any conclusions on rule changes, long putters have been around for twenty years.

Here is how the top of the leaderboard currently looks.

1. Sergio Garcia -14                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                T2. Bud Cauley -13                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           T2. Tim Clark -13                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            T4. Jason Dufner -12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    T4. Harris English -12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  T4. Carl Pettersson -12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       T7. Davis Love III -11                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       T7. Matt Every -11                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              T7. Jimmy Walker 11

Valero Texas Open, Ben Curtis wins at TPC San Antonio

We've got a shootout

Carroll/Getty Images

Ben Curtis cured his drought and won the Valero Texas Open, at TPC San Antonio. Ben won by two shots from Matt Every and John Huh. The winning score was -9 under par, with an even par last round of 72 for Ben, he needed to birdie the last to achieve that score,  which proved to be enough to lift the trophy.

John Huh had a last round of -3 under par for a total of -7 under par for the tournament. Matt Every could not catch Ben, he managed only a -1 under par final round as his challenge faltered. He and John shared second place with final totals of -7 under par.

Next week the Tour moves to TPC Louisiana, Avondale, Louisiana for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where Bubba Watson returns  to defend his Zurich Classic title.

Other big names in the field include, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, and Graeme McDowell. It will be interesting to see how Luke Donald performs in his pursuit of the number one ranking. Rory McIlroy will not be there this week so it is a good opportunity for Luke to regain the top spot.

Valero Texas Open, windy third day @ TPC San Antonio

One tough Saturday

Halleran/Getty Images

It was a tough and windy third day at The Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio, with Ben Curtis hanging on to the lead despite shooting a +1 over par round. Ben’s total tournament score of -6 under par is three shots batter than his nearest rival, Matt Every.   Matt also had a +1 over par 73 for his total of -6 under par and will have to play really well tomorrow if he wants to win the title.

No one played very well in the windy conditions, so although Ben Curtis stumbled they was no real pressure from behind. John Huh and Matt Kuchar had rounds of -5 under par and have moved up the leaderboard, but will need to repeat those performances if they are to figure at the back end of Sunday.

Valero Texas Open, 2nd round incomplete @ TPC San Antonio

The Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio 2nd round was suspended due to darkness leaving the round incomplete. A Rain delay in the afternoon disrupted play for two hours, and after the resumption of play, darkness fell before the round could be completed.

Little rust, big opportunityCarroll/Getty Images

Ben Curtis

Ben Curtis,  who won The Open in 2003,was top of the leaderboard at the suspension of play, with another -5 under par round 67, and a tournament total of -10 under par. He leads David Mathis by two shots, with Cameron Tringale and first round leader Matt Every another shot behind. Matt Every has still not completed his second round, he has completed 16 holes, but is finding life difficult after his first round 63. Matt is currently +2 over par for his round, and has two holes left in the 2nd round to try and reduce the deficit before his starts out on his third round.

Ben said of his second round;

“Playing obviously really well. You know, the key around here is if you can drive it straight, keep it in the fairway, give yourself a chance to get at some of these pins, you know, with the slope of the greens and stuff like that, it makes it a lot easier from the fairway. I did that. Hit a lot of good iron shots. Left them, for the most part, on the right level and made a few putts and, you know, it was a pretty easy Round 2. You hate to say that but I mean I didn’t ,even when I missed the green, there was no terribly difficult up and down. All pretty straightforward. Played well. Every part of the game was good. You know, you wish you could have something to say about it afterwards, didn’t do this or that. I missed a couple short, maybe three, four birdie putts that I should have made inside ten feet but other than that, I’m not going to complain and, you know, the course is in great shape and greens are fantastic, rolling really good and there’s a lot of slope to them. It doesn’t mean they’re bad. It just means they’re tough. We’ll see how it goes over the weekend. When you’re not playing the schedule that you want, you don’t have it all laid out in front of you before the year starts, you’re kind of playing when you can. It’s hard.”

Ben Curtis is playing TPC San Antonio for the first time, the Valero Texas Open is just his fourth PGA TOUR start because of his low status after a miserable 2011.