The Barclays. Two at the Top, Rory Recovers.

Best golf putter by white dragon golfThe Barclays

There are two players tied at the top of  The Barclays leaderboard, Adam Scott and Cameron Tringale riding high, while Rory McIlroy recovers to comfortably make the make cut.

The Barclays

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Adam followed his first-round 69 with a second round -6  under par 65 for a -8 under par total, which he said could, and should have been better;

“I played the par fives in one over today, so I could find four there for you, and missed so many 10‑footers it felt like. It felt like it could have been a whole lot better. I hit it so close to the hole all day and it felt like I missed most of my putts. I’ve got to take the positives but hopefully a few more go in over the weekend.”

 Cameron made a slow start and was 3 over par on his first three holes Friday, but made six birdies and no bogeys to complete the round to post a total -8 under par;

” I kind of got behind the 8‑ball early and just kind of kept my head up and kept playing. I knew I was swinging well and if I gave myself some chances, I could make birdies. That’s pretty much what I did. “

Three players are sharing third spot, all on -7  under par for the competition, Kevin Chappell, Brendon Todd and the evergreen Jim Furyk.

Jim explained that he thinks it is just experience which helps him to keep contesting tournaments;

“There’s an argument, probably experience and pacing yourself probably comes into play.”

 ” I just keep seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that, hey, I’ve got all this time off coming up and I’ve been playing well, let’s try to keep it going, and I’ll be cooking breakfast and taking the kids to school here for a couple months.”

“I look forward to that and it makes it easy for me to play these last four events, because I want to play well, it’s an exciting time of the year and I know that you’re going to have a bunch of time off come the fall.”

Rory shot a -6 under par 65 today, to move to -3 under par for the tournament, and is now only five shots off the leaders. He reported that it was just practice that got him comfortable with his swing again;

“I went to the range yesterday afternoon, worked on a couple of things and just got comfortable with my swing again.”

“After not really touching a club before this week I felt a little bit rusty out there yesterday. It didn’t take long, maybe an hour on the range to sort of get things back on track, and I’m glad I did it because i played really well today.

“I’m going to have to get off to a fast start tomorrow to try and catch those guys before they go out on the golf course.” 

Phil Mickelson was one of twelve players who made the cut at +1 over par, on a strange day where he missed a very short putt, and played a shot from the hospitality area, which unfortunately led to a bogey;

“My drop was going to be in hay, I had a clear lie on nice ground there and played it. It wasn’t hard to make contact, it was hard to hit it on that skinny little green and get it to stop. That was it.”

Phil Mickelson thrills fans with shot from hospitality area at Barclays

 

The Barclays. Bo Bounces to the Top, McIlroy Makes a Mess.

Best golf putter by white dragon golfThe Barclays

Bo Van Pelt bounces to the top of The Barclays leaderboard, while Rory McIlroy makes a mess of his first round.

The Barclays

Bo Van Pelt / Getty Images

 

Bo opened The Barclays tournament with a -6 under par 65, which included an Eagle at the 594 yard par five 17th, the easiest hole on the course. He actually reported that he got off to a bad start to the year;

“Got off to a horrible start to the year but my game got better as the year went on.”

In a tightly compacted leaderboard there are eight players tied in second place, all carded first round scores of -5 under par 66. One of those guys, Englishman, Paul Casey, did his chances of a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup a power of good.

Rory made the understatement of the day after his +3 over par 73 first round at Ridgewood Country Club;

“I just wasn’t very good. It’s very important here, if you are going to miss greens, miss it in the right spots, because I missed it in the wrong spot a couple of times today and it’s really tough to get it up-and-down.”

“I think it’s more to do with just not putting the adequate time into my game over the past week for obvious reasons. Fatigue isn’t playing a part, it’s I think just not putting the time in that I probably should have over the past week and I think I allowed myself that and deserved that. But this is the sort of consequence of it and I need to work hard on it this afternoon and go out Friday and shoot a good number.”

“A score like this would be tougher to take if I had not just come off the weeks that I had. But at the same time, I want to play well and I want to give myself chances to win tournaments. There are chances on this golf course to make birdies.  I feel like I can do that.”

Phil Mickelson also struggled during the opening round, shooting an even par 71;

“The golf course is just in great shape but the rough is very thick, and I missed a few too many fairways today, but had an okay start. Even par isn’t what I wanted but it was still a nice day on the golf course. I can’t get over what great shape the greens are in. They are just spectacular.”

PGA Championship. Magnificent Rory McIlroy Makes It His.

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In one of the best finishes to a Major tournament, in gathering gloom at Valhalla in the PGA Championship, Rory McIlroy came through to make it his and picked up the Wanamaker Trophy.

US PGA Championship

Rory & Wanamaker Trophy / Getty Images

Rory carded a final round of -3 under par 68, to win by one shot at -16 under par, holding off a great challenge from a resurgent Phil Mickelson.

In a strange twist the final two groups played together down the final hole, because of the darkness closing in. There was some discussion about this turn of events, the TV pundits saying it would have to be the players decision to do this, but it appears that it was the officials who forced them to go ahead. Not all of the players agreed with this ruling.

Rory just wanted to get it done before nightfall;

” I wanted to win this thing and get out of here, I never dreamed I’d have a summer like this.”

Phil had a fine last round -5 under par 66, and so nearly made it, posting -15 under par, a remarkable effort from the other generation.

Henrik Stenson and Rickie Fowler tied for third position at -14 under par.

Apart from the muddled final hole everyone was in agreement about the quality of this competition.

Unforgettable” and “riveting ” said TV anchorman  Jim Nantz. His commentating partner for the day, Nick Faldo enthused, “There’s plenty of color, plenty of characters. It’s fantastic, electrifying.”

Another TV pundit Peter Oosterhuis replied to that comment “And plenty of talent” 

From Brandel Chamblee on Twitter, “One of the best majors I’ve ever seen.”

There will be plenty more comments about this tournament, quotes from players, but for now I just want to get this story out there.

 

 

PGA Championship. Rory Hangs On.

White Dragon GolfRory hangs on to the lead at the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

PGA Championship at Valhalla

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory McIlroy hangs on to the lead at the PGA Championship after a late charge at Valhalla Golf Club saw him post a third round -4 under par 67  for a one shot advantage at -13 under for the tournament. Three late birdies at 15, 16 and 18 has given him that one shot lead to take into the final round tomorrow. Rory admitted that the chasing pack closed up on him today, and was thankful for those late birdies;

“The guys got pretty close to me at The Open and today and I was able to respond on the back nine. It’s not the biggest lead I’ve ever had but I am still in control of this tournament and it’s still a good position to be in.”

“I just knew I needed to make a couple of birdies coming down the back nine to keep the lead or at least be tied. The two birdies on 15 and 16 were huge.”

“It’s where I want to be, it’s the best place to be in a tournament. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

The surprise package in second place is Bernd Wiesberger, who shot one of the low rounds of the day, a -6 under par 65 and hold second on his own at -12 under par. Playing alongside one of his hero’s, Phil Mickelson, inspired him today;

“It was a dream come true really, going out there with Phil, one of my heroes. I played beautifully today, I didn’t miss a lot of shots, set up a few nice opportunities on the last few holes especially. I’m very proud of myself the way I played.”

“It’s a completely new situation for me, only my second cut in a Major in six attempts, so I am quite a rookie in this particular situation. I have driven it really nicely this week and if I can do it again it will settle down the nerves and I am going to have fun tomorrow.”

Third spot belongs to Rickie Fowler, at -11 under par, Rickie carded a -4 under par  third round.

Tied in fourth is Phil Mickelson and Jason Day, both at -10 under par, and by no  means out of contention.

Jason made an incredible par from a swamp area on the 500 yard par 4 2nd hole, hitting with his shoes off;

“I was too lazy to actually get my shoes thrown over the creek. I either hit it in my bare feet or put my shoes on and have to take my shoes off. I was like, ‘We’re going to be behind, way behind. So I may as well hit it with no shoes on.’ It was a great four there, a lucky four.”

PGA Championship

Jason in the Jungle / Getty Image

Phil is suddenly enjoying his golf;

It’s so fun for me to be back in the thick of it, have a chance, being in contention heading into Sunday and not having to get up at 6 o’clock in the morning to tee off, if I get to tee off. So it’s been a nice change.”

” I need to play aggressive and make some confident swings early on and make some birdies. I’m going to be trying to make up ground on some guys that are playing really good golf and will be making birdies tomorrow. So I’ll have to make a lot of them.”

PGA Championship. Rory Rolls On, Westwood Wilts.

White Dragon GolfPGA Championship Rory McIlroy rolls on towards victory at the PGA Championship at Valhalla, while Lee Westwood wilted under the pressure.

PGA Championship Valhalla

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory carded a second round -4 under par 67 to top the leaderboard on -9 under par at the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club. He will take a one shot lead heading into the third round, moving day on Saturday, and said he was comfortable at being in front;

“I think I’ve had to learn to be a good front-runner, I maybe wasn’t quite comfortable in that position at the start of my career, especially 2011 in the Masters. I was four ahead and I wasn’t quite comfortable in that position.”

“It’s taken me a couple of years to grow into that and my mindset has stayed the same since that day at Augusta. If I’m two ahead going into the weekend here, I’m going to try to get three ahead, and if I’m three ahead, I’m going to try to get four ahead.”

“I’m just going to try to keep the pedal down and get as many ahead as possible. I went into protection mode once in my career and that did not work out very well so I said would never do it again.”

“I think it has happened to me for the better. I’ve put a little bit more time into my golf and refocused in a way. It’s the only thing I have, I’ve got my family and my friends, but I just immersed myself in my game.”

“I’ve practised hard and I’ve done all the right things and I’m reaping the rewards. Golf is the number one priority to me and while I’m on this run of form I want to try and keep it going as long as possible.”

“I’m going to keep working hard and try and get even better. Hopefully I can do that over the next few years and hopefully you’ll see golf like this more often from me.”

Tied in second place are Jason Day and Jim Furyk, both on -8 under par for the competition. Jason carded the best round of the day, a -6 under par 65, while Jim had a more modest -3 under par 68.

Lee Westwood wilted under pressure, carding +1 over par 72, dropping to -5 under par.

Phil Mickelson had a good day, -4 under par 67 and is currently tied in 7th position at -6 under par. He hopes to make the Ryder Cup Team on merit;

“I’ll be honest, there’s not too many people out of the mix. There’s still time now, and there’s still time between now and September 2 to show. There’s three tournaments between now and September 2. I don’t know how many tournaments these guys are going to play, but there’s still time. “

” It’s anybody’s guess who is going to make the team after Sunday this week, too. I’m going to make the team, Tom. I’m going to make the team. I don’t want you to have to use a pick to pick me.”

Tiger Woods missed the cut, whoever advised him to return to golf so soon after surgery needs their head examining. Tom Watson will be under enormous pressure to pick Tiger for the Ryder Cup Team, because if he excludes him Tom will become the most hated man in America. Tiger needs to withdraw himself from selection, and make life easier for Tom.

W.G.C. Bridgestone Invitational. Rory Resplendent.

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Rory McIlroy was resplendent in winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, overcoming a three shot deficit to win by two shots, and in doing so became World Number One again.

WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Rory and Trophy / Getty Images

Rory returned a final round of -4 under par 66 to post a winning total -15 under par to win the WGC Bridgestone Invitational by two shots, again, over Sergio Garcia. At the post match interview Rory stressed the importance of his well-behaved driver;

“If you’re hitting arguably the hardest club in your bag that well, then the other stuff should sort of fall in line. Whenever I drive the ball well, I always put myself in positions where I can attack flags and try and make birdies, but when I’m swinging it well with a driver that sort of funnels through the rest of my game.”

The big thing for me is if you let it affect you mentally, it makes it more difficult, if you can stay strong mentally when you’re going through the struggles you always seem to come out the other side OK. It’s when it affects you mentally you can start to lose confidence, then you’re losing confidence in your swing. It can spiral out of control, kind of like I did last summer.”

“It’s the most comfortable I’ve ever felt trying to close out a golf tournament out there today. I felt normal. I felt like it was the first round or the second round. It didn’t feel like a fourth round. What I am really proud of this week is following on from The Open with a performance like this.”

“I said straight after I did not want any let down, I wanted to keep going and performing until the end of the season. It’s great to come to one of my favourite tournaments of the year and to perform like this I am pretty satisfied.”

Sergio’s putting problems resurfaced, he carded a +1 over par 71, for his -13 under par total;

“I didn’t feel comfortable on the greens at all, with the spin of the greens changing quite dramatically after the rain, they got a little bit;  they were quite slow for the last three days.”

“I started kind of second-guessing myself every single putt, and because of that, I didn’t; the good putt I hit, I misread, and the bad ones, obviously, weren’t going the right direction either.”

Marc Leishman finished in third position on his own at -13 under par, another steady round of -3 under par 67, keeping him near the top of the leaderboard, where he has been all week.

Adam Scott missed his chance to stay at World Number One, shooting a last round +1 over par 71, to finish in a tie for 8th, he bogeyed three of his final five holes;

“I was pretty scratchy every round this week, so I was scrambling a bit, and that was good. But just lost my rhythm a little bit on a couple of holes on the back nine. Couldn’t scramble hard enough.”

” It’s all good, it’s been a lot of fun. Obviously, Rory’s in incredible form at the moment. He’ll be the man to beat next week, by the looks of things, and I’ll be gunning for him for sure.”

Phil suddenly found some real form with a final round -8 under par 62, and a T15 place, so he could be a contender next week at the PGA;

“This was a big day for me heading into next week because I feel like I’m not trying to search and find it on Thursday. I feel like my game is right there. I feel like I found what I’m looking for. I just have to keep it going and build on today’s round and put together four good, solid rounds.”

“I don’t know what will happen next week, but if I play well, I’ll look back to today’s round as being the key point.”

Tiger had to withdraw from the tournament, citing back problems, it is unlikely that he will appear next week.

 

W.G.C. Bridgestone Invitational. Sergio Streaks Seven birdies in a Row.

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Sergio Garcia streaks seven birdies in a row at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.

WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Sergio Garcia / Getty Images

Sergio scored seven birdies in a row on the back nine to post a second round -9 under par 61, requiring only 27 strokes on that last nine holes at Firestone Country Club. The amazing effort equaled the course record, and in doing so gave Sergio a three shot lead at the top of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational leaderboard with a -11 under par mid way total.

He said it was a magical moment, and he did not want it to end;

“Just one of those moments that you love and you enjoy and you wish there were no end. It was a combination of getting good numbers, hitting good shots. Then when I wasn’t too close from the hole, I rolled a couple of nice putts in.”

“It was definitely a dream back nine. I felt like I started well and hit some good shots early on, but still missed a couple of good birdie chances.”

“Then I obviously got a little bit lucky on the front nine. I hit three bad tee shots on four, eight and nine, and I was able to have a shot at the green and made a couple of good up and downs.”

“Then the back nine was, I don’t know, I just started hitting good shots, rolling the putts in, and everything seemed to happen. I was just enjoying it as much as I could.”

“It obviously feels great to be able to shoot the course record or equal the record on a course like this, which is not; even playing soft; that easy a course.”

“You have to drive the ball very, very well. You have to put the ball on the greens on the right spots because you can get some really, really fast putts. So to be able to do it and obviously being in a group with Tiger and Jose Maria, but still, to be able to be in that group, it feels really good.”

Justin Rose is in second place at -8 under par, he had a good second round of -3 under par 67 and said he was happy about the way he has started this tournament;

“I am really happy with the way I turned the long game around, and to hit 16 greens out there is pretty solid, but for the most part I just hit it close to the hole as well.”

“Early in the round, the putts kept sliding by. I wasn’t seeing the line all that well and I think 18 was the first putt I made. From there I felt pretty comfortable with the putts and I had a couple of good looks coming in. All in all, it’s a good start to the tournament.”

Third position is tied between Rory McIlroy and Marc Leishman, both posting half-way totals of -7 under par. Rory could reclaim top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings if he collects the trophy at Firestone and Adam Scott fails to make the top five. He said he knew Sergio was playing well in front of him, he could hear the crowd cheering;

“He obviously played in front of us, and he seemed like he was playing well. Every time I looked back, he was putting a ball in the hole, and the crowd was cheering. I knew that he was making a few birdies, and I knew I had to make a few birdies just to try and stay in touch. It was nice just to make a few coming in.” 

“I’m still four back going into the weekend, but I feel like that could have been a lot more. So it’s a good finish. I do have a good relationship with Sergio, and it’s just great to see him play like this again.” 

“I grew up idolising the guy. He’s obviously really happy with everything that’s going on. He seems in a really good place, and it’s good to see him play like this.”

Phil’s miserable malaise continues, even hitting a marshal with his ball today. A wayward tee shot on the fourth hole in today’s second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational struck the official. Phil being Phil, he went on to par the hole, but it did not improve his second round score of +3 over par for +4 over total.