Valspar Championship. Garrigus Gets Ahead.

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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.

 

 

Accenture Match-Play. Rose & Rory Out. Magic McDowell Survives Again.

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Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy crashed out of the Accenture Match-Play tournament at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Course on Dove Mountain. Graeme McDowell survived another match where he looked like losing, once again.

Graeme McDowell  (Getty Images)

Survivor G-Mac / Getty Images

Justin went down to Ernie Els, 1 up, while Rory lost to Harris English, on the 19th hole. G-Mac went three down after six holes against  Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan. He then birdied the seventh and eighth to get within one hole, only to then lose the 14th to be two down with four holes to play. Graeme won the 15th and the 17th, and rounding off with  a ten foot putt on the final green to seal a one up win.

He joked afterwards;

“Why do it the easy way when the hard way will do. I just got off to a slow start again, probably less so today. I was quite proud of myself when I got a half on three, so I was only two down after three, as opposed to three down. I tried to go out there today and execute my game plan and try not to give him any room, try not to make any mistakes, try not to give him anything, and he kind of played the same kind of golf back. He played very, very well. 

“I made big putts on 15 and 16. The 16th especially was a massive putt to give me the opportunity.I feel very fortunate again today. I’ve certainly expended all my energy and emotions the last couple of days, but thankfully it’s early in the season and I’ve plenty left in the tank.”

Louis Oosthuizen dumped out Henrik Stenson 4-3, and Webb Simpson dispatched Brandt Snedeker by the same score.

George Coetzee is still doing fine, winning the 21 hole battle with Patrick Reed. Jason Day took even longer to overcome Billy Horschel, 22 holes.

Sergio Garcia is going along smoothly, a 3-1 victory over Bill Haas, while Jason Dufner eliminated Matteo Manassero by 2-1. 

Sergio said he had fun out there today;

“It was good fun, we both played hard. We both tried to play as well as we could to beat our opponent and I was fortunate to be just a little bit better than him today.”

A resurgent Rickie Fowler beat Jimmy Walker 1 up, Matt Kuchar beat Ryan Moore by the same score. Jim Furyk took care of Charl Schwartzel 3-2, and Jordan Spieth was too strong for Thomas Bjorn, beating him 5-4.

Victor Dubuisson continued to impress on his World Golf Championships debut as he overcame Peter Hanson 3 -1 to progress to face former Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson, who saw off Jonas Blixt at the 17th hole when Jonas lost his ball under a bush. ( would have been ironic if Jonas had got a free drop, wouldn’t it)

Some good match ups tomorrow and any of the remaining players could win, as Graeme McDowell said yesterday, this is a brutal format.

Euro Tour. 70° Open d’Italia Lindt. Three-Way Tie At The Top

There is a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the European Tour, 70° Open d’Italia Lindt at the Golf Club Torino in Italy.

Nicolas Colsaerts  (Getty Images)

One if the three Nicolas Colsaerts / Getty Images

Nicolas said he had some rest at home, on his mum’s couch, before coming to Italy, and it had really helped him to re-energize his batteries. A -7 under par 65 opening round at the Italian Open to get in a tie at the top;

“Nothing beats being back home with your mum looking after you, I was sitting at home on the couch watching the golf from Holland and was quite happy to be looked after by my mum on the couch. It was the best place to be for me. Apart from the bogey at the tenth, my first hole of the day, I got off to an amazing start and was kind of flying on my front nine. Then I didn’t make birdie on the first which is an easy par five and then there were a few occasions where I had wedge in hand and didn’t give myself the chances for birdies that I probably should have. It was nice to finish with a birdie though and get a good round in. It should have really have been eight or nine under after the start I made but I kind of got a bit sloppy on the inward nine. I was just a bit too far away from those flags to make the birdies and get to a really low number.”

Sharing top place after the first round with Nicolas are Ricardo Gonzales and Maximillian Kieffer, both with -7 under 65’s first rounds themselves. Ricardo said he hit it well and is looking forward to the next three days;

“I hit it perfect, I only missed two shots from the tee, then I hit fairways, hit greens, made some good putts and that’s why I shot 65. I tried to relax the last two or three weeks but I played with little tension. On Tuesday’s practice I said ‘come on, relax’ and it worked. I’m feeling very good and we’ll see what happens over the next three days.”

Maximillian had been suffering from a cold in the build up to this tournament;

” I’m very happy, 65 is a very good score. I didn’t feel so good coming here because I wasn’t hitting it that well the last few weeks and I’ve had a cold. I wasn’t really expecting a lot and I just took it shot for shot. Mentally it’s nice to shoot a good score, you always feel better when you’re playing well and have a good score so hopefully I’ll have another three good rounds.”

Marcus Fraser is alone in fourth place at -6 under par, just one shot adrift of the leaders. Local favorites Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero both made good starts, Francesco with a -4 under par 68, while Matteo opened with a -2  under par 70.

Euro Tour. Nordea Masters. Mikko Makes It His Trophy

Mikko Ilonen made the European Tour Nordea Masters his trophy with a last round -3 under par 69 for a total score of -21 under par.

Mikko Ilonen  (Getty Images)

Mikko Ilonen / Getty Images

Mikko, from Finland, claimed his first win for six years at the Nordea Masters on the Bros Hof Slott Golf Course in Sweden. He actually won this event in 2007, and said it was special to it again, apart from the bogey at the 12th hole;

“It’s pretty special, I could feel a lot of support from Finland, especially today. I just got ahead of myself with the first putt. I’ve said for weeks now it doesn’t really bother me if I make a bogey because I know I can make it up and it was the first time I went for the 13th in two. To bounce back this soon is really good, it’s really satisfying, but the show I saw in China. I didn’t lose the tournament, Brett won it, so hats off to him.Obviously I’ve been waiting for this moment for a few weeks now. People have been expecting me to win but most of all I’ve been expecting myself to win, so to pull it off here after those second places is very satisfying. It’s been a long time since I won but I haven’t forgotten how it felt. In life there are ups and downs and I’ve found a better balance now. Life is good, my family is good and golf is alright, so I can’t complain.”

Local boy Jonas Blixt. who plays most of his golf on the US PGA Tour where he won last year,  took second place. He was three shots back at -18 under par, a last round effort of -4 under par, 68, just not quite enough for him to get first place for Sweden;

“I’m pretty happy about the way I played this week, I didn’t win but I made a good run at it so that’s what I’m happy about. It’s been fantastic and I’m never going to forget this. It’s been nothing but amazing this week, it is cool to come home and have people screaming and cheering, and I don’t really get that in the States so much, it’s awesome.”

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger was in third place alone on -17 under par for the tournament. Italian Matteo Manassero finished in a tie for fourth place at -16 under par. He shared that score with Dane Thomas Björn and Swede, Rikard Karlberg.

 

Euro Tour. Nordea Masters. Mikko Makes A Move.

Mikko Ilonen, from Finland has made a move, on moving day, Saturday, to lead the European Tour Nordea Masters by two shots at the Bro Hof Slott Golf Course in Sweden.

Mikko Ilonen   (Getty Images)

Mikko Ilonen / Getty

Mikko shot a third round of -7 under par 65 to move to the top of the Nordea Masters leaderboard at -18 under par. He now has the chance to end his six-year wait for another Tour win, and is fully aware of the challenge in front of him. He also spoke about the luck he had with his Eagle at the 15th hole;

 It was a bit of a funny yardage for me, it was raining and I just tried to squeeze it in there and got lucky with it a bit. I need to shoot another low score and I can do it, but we’ve got eighteen holes to go and lots of other guys are still hunting me.”

Alexander Noren, a home favorite, is in second place after shooting a marvelous third round of -8 under par, 64 and is now just two shots back at -16 under par.

Alex was amazed by his putting prowess;

” I got lucky, I hit a lot of good putts and I holed a lot of them. I don’t know where it came from, amazing putting. I’ve played here a lot, I’m from an hour away, it’s the best course in Sweden and it is a beautiful place.”

A countryman of Alex, Jonas Blixt, and Italian Matteo Manassero, who had a quiet day, are tied in third place at -14 under par for the tournament.

Matteo looked to have overcome his slow start to the round when he had a hat-trick of birdies on the back nine. All that good work was undone on the 18th, going from rough to water and carding a double bogey six on the last.

Jonas fired in a bogey free round of -6 under par , 66 to give himself a chance of victory here. The crowd will be hoping one of the home boys will lift the trophy.

 

Euro Tour. Nordea Masters. Manassero Marches On.

Matteo Manassero marches on in the Nordea Masters at the Bro Hof Slott course in Sweden, leading the field by two shots at the conclusion of the second round.

Matteo Manassero   (Getty Images)

Matteo Manassero / Getty Images

Matteo shot a second round of  -7 under par 65, for a tournament total of -13 under par, and to lead the field by two shots. He carded five birdies on the back nine, just 31 shots. Matteo likes the back nine;

It was nice after the start to be able to come back and shoot another great score, so I’m glad the way the day has gone. I like that nine,  they are holes where you can gain or lose many shots, and if you can gain it’s a big gap. The conditions are absolutely perfect.”

In second place at -11 under par is Mikko Ilonen. Mikko was one of two players who completed the second in -9 under par, 63. The other golfer with a magical second round was Peter Whiteford, and his effort elevated him into third place alone with a total of -10 under par.

Peter said he had been playing well;

” I have been swinging pretty well over the past month but today was special. It was near perfect conditions and the golf course is in great shape.”

A piece of European Tour History was created when Australian Andrew Dodt became the first player ever  to have two holes-in-one in a single round. His reward, he just made the cut, on the number, and received a box of champagne from the tournament sponsors Nordea.

Andrew spoke of his achievement”

” The shot at the 11th, my second, kick-started things. I made a few more birdies in between, then a couple of bogeys and I was heading the wrong way when I got to the seventh, our 16th hole. It was an eight iron, felt a little bit heavy at the start, but right on line and it went in. I can’t get my head around it, I’m pretty proud to be the first one to do it. I had seven before today. The 11th I was pretty still and it was the perfect club for a six iron, little draw, and it was slam dunk straight in the hole. I didn’t putt very well today so I’m glad I was able to hole with a long club.”

I think it will take another magical round from someone to wrest this title from Matteo’s grip.

 

 

Euro Tour. Nordea Masters, Magical Manassero Tied For 1st Round Lead

 

Magical Matteo Manassero is in a tie for the first round lead at the European Tour, Nordea Masters, just a week after his win at Wentworth.

Matteo Manassero   (Getty Images)

Matteo Manassero / Getty Images

Matteo shot a first round of -6 under par 66 at the Nordea Masters on the Bro Hof Slott Golf Course in Sweden. He is tied at the top of the leaderboard with  Pablo Larrazábal.

Matteo said he was impressed with his unusual fast start, not showing any signs of tiredness after weeks effort:

” I’ve never started that well, it was a great start, I was making putts and to start like that was strange because I’m not used to it. I’ve been tired but I woke up and I felt good. It’s a tough course when the wind picks up so I think every afternoon is going to be hard.”

Pablo sunk a 40 foot birdie on his way to a 66;

” I played great, I was five under after ten. I made birdies on the par fives and held my score  it wasn’t easy. The golf course is playing okay this morning but you can make a double or triple bogey. I played safe when I had to and more aggressive when I could.”

The best of the scores all came from the morning session, before the wind got up. Jamie Donaldson completed a flawless 67 to sit alongside one of the home favorites, Fredrik Andersson Hed.  Chris Lloyd and Simon Wakefield matched that score and they are all in the clubhouse T3  at -5 under par.

The afternoons best score came from another home favorite, Alex Noren, the 2011 winner of this tournament. He also had a -5 under par, 67 to join the morning players at T3.

Alex stated that it was a tough front nine:

” It was a tough front nine, I hit the driver good but didn’t hit the greens I wanted. Then I made birdie on 11 and mentally it was a very nice birdie so it gave me a very nice rhythm. To the eye it looks like you can go for everything and what I’ve learned from this course is if you play a bit more conservatively on the par fives, if you’re on the green you will probably make a birdie.”

So it appears that the afternoon winds, and who manages them the best will have a good opportunity to win here in Sweden.