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RBC Heritage. Magic Matt Kuchar Wins

dragon logo darkRBC Heritage

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. Rain Stops Play. K.J. Choi Leads

dragon logo darkRBC Heritage Logo

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.

RBC Heritage. Three-Way Tie at the Top.

dragon logo darkRBC Heritage

There is a three-way tie at the top of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.

Matt Kuchar carded his 19th round in the 60s this season. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

One of the three, Matt Kuchar / Getty Images

Matt Kuchar, Scott Langley and William McGirt all posted rounds of -5 under par 66 to share the first round lead at the RBC Heritage.

Matt  birdied both the par five holes on the front nine before finishing with a birdie on his final hole, the ninth. He thinks a lot of the players coming from the Masters will play well here;

” It was some awfully steady golf. You’re going to see a lot of guys, if they’re not too run down from a major championship, come out and play some pretty good golf the week following.”

Scott was inspired by the performance of Jordan Spieth at the Masters;

“Seeing Jordan do so well, almost win the Masters, inspired me a little bit.”

William McGirt was catching the good vibes from Scott;

“Scott and I were both making birdies left and right, it was easy to feed off each other.”

Harris English is alone in fourth spot at -3 under par, just two shots off the lead. There are a whole host of players at -2 under par, 15 of them in total. Fresh from his exploits at the Masters was Jordan Spieth, he was among those guys on -2 under par for the day, and was paired with the U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain, Tom Watson and 2012 Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III.Both of these guys have been winners here, and Tom wanted to take a close look at the way the young man played, so Jordan could find his name on the team sheet;

“It was unbelievable just to be playing with them. I was anxious to get back out and play another competitive round, so today was going to be kind of therapy, in a sense, from last week.”

If Nick Faldo does not pull his socks up he will find himself back in the TV booth pretty quickly. Nick stuttered to an opening round of +6 over par 77. This the course where Nick won his first ever U.S. PGA Tour title, in 1984.

The Masters. Bubba Backs Up. Jordan Jumps Into Share of the Lead.

dragon logo darkMasters Flag   Bubba Watson backs up in The Masters on Saturday as Jordan Spieth jumps into a    share of the lead at Augusta National.

 

 

 

 Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Bubba Watson could only move backwards on moving day at The Masters, shooting a third round +2 over par 72. Jordan Spieth carded a -2 under par 70 to join Bubba at the top of the leaderboard on -5 under par for the tournament.

While Bubba seemed to lose concentration, Jordan just stayed focused, as the 20 year-old, vying to become the youngest ever Masters champion explained;

“You can’t let your focus go astray for one moment. It was about being patient, knowing that bogeys were going to come, and take advantage of the par fives. I’m able to take a lot of confidence out of today, a lot of positives. I wanted to get into contention, not just as a goal to get into contention, but to see how I can perform on a Sunday.”

“Today was a day to stay patient and try and get myself a later tee time even than today, and that goal was accomplished. And tomorrow is about seeing how I can control my game and emotions out on the golf course against guys that have even won here recently. So they have been in the position I haven’t. Doesn’t necessarily mean, I don’t think, that they have an advantage in any way. I think that I’m very confident in the way things are going, and really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Matt Kuchar and Jonas Blixt are tied in third place, just one shot back at -4  under par. Matt put together a -4 under par 68 third round. Jonas with a more conservative -1 under par 71.

 

 Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 50 year-old, who is known as “The Mechanic” aims to put a spanner in the works and try to win the tournament, just before he plays his first Champions League event;

“If you are fifty doesn’t mean that you cannot play well, I’m still moving, I’m still flexible. I love the place, it’s a beautiful place, a beautiful golf course, always manicured and I feel great here.The main thing is enjoy yourself, enjoy what you are doing and smile. Not enough people smile on the golf course. I love what I’m doing, and I hope I’m still in the same conditions for another 25 years. I’m not going to get bored of myself.”

 “Doesn’t matter how you play, you feel good, because everything is prepared for us the way it is. If you don’t hit good, you don’t want to be there. You need to hit good and you need to be patient, and you need to be into your own zone. I like it and that’s my style of game and what I love, what I love to do.”

 Miguel is tied in fifth place with Rickie Fowler at -3 under par.

 Lee Westwood is a shot further back at -2 under par, and  he has not finished lower than 11th in his last three appearances at Augusta National;

“Augusta is one of those places where I feel like I can get around, and I felt like I know how to get around here, even if I’m maybe not on my game. But I’ve hit the ball well this week and that’s why I’m in contention.” 

” The par fives are no gimmes around here, but if you’re going to shoot a low score then you’ve got to play them a couple under. There’s little birdie chances out there and I used all of them the first two days. And today played solidly and had a lot of chances out there. I was a bit unlucky at times on the greens. I had a lot of good putts that didn’t go in.”  

I guess that anyone in red figures now, has a chance to don the Green Jacket tomorrow, and that’s basically what Lee Westwood is thinking;

 “Anywhere within five, even six shots of the lead going into the final round of the Masters is given a good chance, especially with the way the golf course is playing out here. Even a good shot can drop you shots out there. Kind of on the knife edges of the greens.”

 

 

Shell Houston Open, Matt Jones Wins In Play-Off

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo     Matt Jones beat Matt Kuchar in a play-off for the Shell Houston Open title, in Texas.

Matt Jones

Matt Jones / Getty Images

Matt Jones was tied with Matt Kuchar at the end of regular play, both returning scores of -15 under par for the Shell Houston Open.

Matt Jones carded a final round -6 under par 66, while Matt Kuchar got bogged down and could only achieve an even par last round 72, which sent the pair of them into the play-off. Jonesy chipped in for a birdie at the first extra hole, and that was it;

“I walked up there and told my caddie I was going to chip it in, my chipping has been pretty good for a while. When I know what I have to do, I seem to be able to pull it off moreso. Especially playing golf with my friends, if I have to birdie to beat them, somehow I do it. It was nice to be able to do it on this stage.”

” Going to Augusta is amazing, the win means everything to me right now because that’s what we play for is to win. To have Augusta as a reward for that win is amazing.”

Matt Kuchar stood in the Golf Club of Houston’s 18th fairway, then unbelievably pulled his 214-yard approach shot into water, left of the green.  He got up-and-down from 64 yards to save bogey and force a playoff;

 “I didn’t want to bail out right, and I figured I’d try to hit a good shot. I just hit it a little too far left, unfortunately. It’s smarter to bail out and give yourself a chance, but I was looking to try and make four and win the tournament.”

“I’m hoping to keep improving, I’m hoping to keep the train going. Certainly fantastic stuff (by Matt Jones) to birdie 18 twice. That’s probably the hardest hole on the golf course, and for him to put two 3s is pretty impressive stuff.”

Sergio Garcia finished in third place at -13 under par, while Cameron Tringale settled for  fourth position at -12 under par.

Rory McIlroy equaled the low round of the week in the final round, a -7 under par 65. If he plays like that at Augusta he will be a real contender for the Green Jacket;

“It was a good way to end the week, I wanted to shoot something in the 60s at least today to give me some positive vibes going into Augusta. I played really well, played really solid from tee-to-green again.”

Rory finished in seventh place, and is now looking forward to the Major next week at Augusta.

Shell Houston Open. Matt Makes A Move.

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo Matt Kuchar makes a move in the Shell Houston Open, opening up a four shot lead.

Matt Kuchar's last victory came at last season's Memorial Tournament. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Matt Kuchar / Getty Images

Matt Kuchar was in cruise control as he eased his way through the third round with a -4 under par 68, to top the leaderboard in the Shell Houston Open at -15 under par.

Matt said it was nice to be in a position to have a shot at winning once again;

“It’s a nice position to have played well last week, to have been in the last group with a chance to win, and to come back this week, completely different course, and have another shot to win. It’s a bummer to three-putt the last one, my speed got a little off there, but all in all putted well. I’m not at all disappointed with the way I putted or the way I played. I’m pretty pleased.”

” Having a four-shot lead is a great position to be in,  I think I’ll just go out and try to turn the four-shot lead into a five-shot lead and see if I can keep going. ‘I’ve been playing some steady golf for a couple of years now and feel like my chances of playing well tomorrow are pretty good.”

Second place is shared between Cameron Tringale and Sergio Garcia, at -11 under par for the tournament.  Sergio, the 36-hole leader could only manage a +1 over par on Saturday. Cameron recorded a very respectable -3 under par 69.

With an 80% chance of rain forecast for Sunday, Sergio is worried about a Monday finish, leading up to the masters. Of course he first has to make up the four shots he is behind;

“I don’t think it’d be the best thing, for sure, it wouldn’t be very good. You’d have to squeeze everything together, get no rest.”

Cameron is working towards his first PGA TOUR victory, but has strangely booked a vacation in Hawaii with his family next week. If he wins here, his invite to the Masters would change all that;

“Hopefully I’ll have a good round tomorrow and maybe ‘ixnay’ those plans.”

Matt Jones had a third round -1 under par 71, he is now in fourth place on his own. Rickie Fowler shared the low round of the day, carding a -4 under par 68, he is T5 with Ben Curtis, both will need exceptional rounds tomorrow to contest this title.

Phil Mickelson will start the final round  in sixth place, nine shots off the lead. A third round  of even-par 72 put a huge dent into any plans he may have harbored about winning here;

“I feel like I putted really well, I felt really good with the putter. The ball-striking that was there the first two days kind of fell out and I had a tougher time putting them all together. I don’t know if I’ll have a good round tomorrow or not, but it’s close, a lot closer than it’s been.”

Rory McIlroy will start the final round way down the scoreboard, a third round +2 over par 74 kind of saw to that;

” Another uneventful day, I just haven’t really been able to get anything going this week. I feel like I’m playing well, like it’s all pretty much there, just something needs to get going. I’m driving the ball well, iron play feels good, short game feels pretty good. I putted much better today than I did the previous two days. I need a little spark to get me going.

“It’s nice that, just to get a week of competitive play, if there’s any sort of rust or if there’s anything you feel like you need to work on going into next week, it’s good to get it all out of the system this week.”

Shell Houston Open. Sergio Surges Ahead.

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo The Shell Houston Open  was brought to life when Sergio Garcia surged into the lead in round two.

Sergio Garcia's score of 12-under 132 matches the 36-hole low at the Golf Club of Houston. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia / Getty Images

Sergio surged into the lead early on in the second round of the Shell Houston Open, shooting a -7 under par 65 that took him one shot clear of the field at -12 under par for the tournament. He said he feels like he is play nicely, he needed only 25 putts today;

“I do feel like I’m playing nicely, I feel very comfortable with my equipment. I feel comfortable with myself in and outside the golf course.”

Matt Kuchar is just one shot back of the leader, a second round -5 under par 67 saw him climb up the leaderboard, finishing the day at -11 under par.

Matt and Sergio have a history of rivalry that goes all the way back to their amateur days. The two battled it out in the quarterfinals of the 1998 U.S. Amateur as the reigning British and U.S. Amateur champions. Sergio won that time around, and Matt is still quite taken with the way Sergio is playing, even tho he will likely be a Ryder Cup foe later this year;

“He’s fun to watch swing a golf club, he’s been putting it really well for a couple years now, he’s switched over to the claw grip and really rolls it nicely.”

Matt Jones is one of four players tied in third spot, at -8 under par for the tournament, sharing that place with him are, Cameron Tringale, Shawn Stefani and Jimmy Walker.

Matt needs a victory here to qualify him for his first Masters, he missed a chance at the BMW;

“I had a chance on the last hole at BMW Championship, from 6 feet, and I hit a great putt that I thought was in, and it lipped out, and that was the difference between me finishing top 30 and not. But I had a good year, I can’t complain at all.”

The FedExCup points leader, Jimmy Walker, is happy that the putts are dropping in again;

“I feel like I’m hitting it good and my putts are going back in, so I’m looking forward to the weekend and seeing what happens.I think when you’re really playing well, you make a lot of putts. I just kind of went through a stretch where I wasn’t making a ton. I think that plays a lot into it.”

 Local boy Shawn Stefani said it was nice to be playing golf in his home town;

“It’s just nice to come out here and play well at home.”

Phil Mickelson is excited to be in the mix for the week-end;

“I’m excited about the weekend because first of all I haven’t had many opportunities this year. I haven’t been in contention and I can feel my game start to get sharp.”

 Padraig Harrington is one of the notables who are missing the cut, he was disappointed, but will watch on TV;

The Masters is a great tournament. It’s worth watching. I’ll enjoy watching it. It’s disappointing to miss out.”

Padraig is joined in the going home crowd by, Charles Howell IIIJordan SpiethLouis OosthuizenTrevor Immelman and Defending Champion D.A. Points.

Shell Houston Open. Two at the Top.

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo There are two players tied at the top of the leaderboard in the Shell Houston Open  at  Golf Club of Houston (formerly known as Redstone Golf Club)

 

Bill Haas is currently 33rd in the FedExCup standings, but is poised for a big jump. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Bill Hass / Getty Images

Bill Hass and Charley Hoffman top the leaderboard at the Shell Houston Open after completing first rounds of -7 under par 65’s, Charley was bogey free.

Bill made six birdies, one eagle and a single bogey, and thinks he is playing OK;

” I feel like I’m hanging around, playing okay, I certainly haven’t knocked on the door on Sunday quite yet. But I feel like I’m doing a lot of good things. It’s not like I’m just lost out there. I feel like I’m close. I think you just have to stay positive, and hopefully one week it all clicks and you find yourself in the mix on Sunday and then try to take advantage of that.”

” The greens are absolutely perfect, I think the scores are reflective on that. They were a little slower, but part of that, too, is the weather. It was like a little dewy mist out there all day, which played a part in the speed of the greens.”

There are five players tied in third place, all at -6 under par, they are, Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Eric Compton and Jim Renner.

This field is really bunched up, with ten players recording rounds of  -5 under par, 67.

Phil Mickleson is in the hunt, finishing his opening round at -4 under par 68.

Phil’s  bogey-free performance was a world away from last week when he was forced to withdraw during the third round in San Antonio, after pulling a muscle in his right side;

“I’m surprised because I was worried about the Masters. I was certainly worried about Houston, but it healed a lot quicker. I felt great today; didn’t feel any pain or discomfort and didn’t even think about it.”

” One of the things I really worked on hard today was staying focused on each shot.  I needed to play here this week and really challenge myself in that regard to give myself the best chance for next week.”

 Two-time major winner Rory McIlroy settled for an opening round of -2 under par 70, which he said was a solid round;

 “Solid, if unspectacular start here in Houston. Really happy with my form from tee to green. Hole a few more putts and I’ll be right there.”

“The greens weren’t quite as fast as we’re used to here, so I struggled getting the ball to the hole. I just need to work on my speed a little bit, but I’m very encouraged with how I hit the ball. I just didn’t score particularly well.”

Valero Texas Open. Steve Bowditch Wins First PGA Tour Title

dragon logo darkValero Texas Open LogoSteve Bowditch won his first PGA TOUR title at the Valero Texas Open on the TPC San Antonio golf course

.Bowditch holds on for first win

Steve Bowditch and his first Trophy / Getty Images

Steve carded a final round of +4 over par 76, but his -8 under par total was still enough to lift the trophy. His  final-round score was the highest by a winner since Vijay Singh at the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. The field today averaged a very mediocre  73.8 on a windy day at TPC San Antonio.

Steve said he knew early on that is was going to be a tough day at the office;

“I was able to stay pretty positive, to be honest. After a period of time out there, with the way I was playing, I kind of just accepted the fact that I was going to be playing from cactus, moving rocks, missing putts and just had to deal with it every time. It happened so frequently that it never really surprised me. I was just lucky enough that the wind was up enough today that no one else could squeeze in there and shoot a good score.”

Steve swapped his  putter after the first round, but said that is something he does on an almost weekly basis;

“After I played well on Thursday, with my ball-striking, I thought, ‘Hang on a moment, I might be able to get in contention this week with the way I was hitting the ball.’ I just wanted to go back to a putter that I was completely comfortable with.”

Will Mackenzie and Daniel Summerhayes tied for second place at -7 under par, Will with a final round -2 under par 70, and Daniel a -1 under par 71.

Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe shared fourth place at -6 under par, both of them carding  last rounds of +3 over par 75.

 

Valero Texas Open. Bowditch Bowls Along, While Phil Withdraws.

dragon logo darkValero Texas Open LogoSteve Bowditch bowls happily along in the Valero Texas Open, opening up a three shot lead at TPC San Antonio. Poor Phil pulled a muscle and has had to with-draw.

Steven Bowditch made a late birdie to extend his margin in Texas. (Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

Steve Bowditch / Getty Images

Steve, seeking his first PGA TOUR title, shot a – 4 under par 68 third round to reach -12 under par tournament total at the Valero Texas Open. His score was helped by his good short game, he chipped in on his first two holes, for birdie and then Eagle, which got him off to a great start. He has never slept on a lead before;

‘I’ve won four or five times in between Australia and Web.com. I’ve got a little experience, but not a great deal, especially at this level. I’ve never slept on a lead, so we’ll see how we go.”

” The chip on the first hole calmed my nerves a little bit, it was as easy a chip as you’re going to have out here.”

Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe are tied in second place at -9 under par, while Pat Perez is next in line at -8 under par. These guys must be wondering if Steve is going to continue with his excellent play.

Matt was surprised with his score today, the best round of the week so far at -7 under par 65;

Still surprised to be at 7 under today. It’s not a score I would have thought was out there with these sort of windy conditions.”

Someone said that watching Andrew prepare to hit the ball is like getting teeth pulled.

Phil Mickleson tweaked a muscle in his back and was forced to withdraw from the tournament, he explained what happened;

” My back’s feeling great, my body’s feeling great. I felt as good as I have all year. My speed is back, I was hitting the ball hard, driving it great.I pulled a muscle on my downswing trying to hit it hard, It just killed me and it wouldn’t subside for ten or twelve seconds. I’m going back to San Diego for a couple of days and have a doctor look at it, but there’s really not much you can do for a pulled muscle. I hope I’ll be OK to play the Shell in Houston, but I just don’t know.”

Phil’s caddie Jim Bones Mackay thinks it will not stop Phil from playing in the Shell Houston Open next week;

”It’s definitely not his back, it’s his right side. The thing he had been talking about is how good his back had been feeling here. He’ll definitely play Houston, if he can.”

” As you might imagine, he’s trying to get ready for Augusta, he’s hitting a lot of drivers, hitting them harder. He hit one off the first tee, his 10th hole today and just felt a little pain in his side. It continued on for a few minutes and he just decided that he didn’t want to take anything to chance relative to what’s going on the next couple weeks.”

“In a perfect world, he’d love to play Houston. He loves the tournament, loves the city and it’s great preparation for Augusta. Obviously, he’s going to make the right decision relative to what his body’s telling him.”

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