Levin & Stanley lead 1st round at Torrey Pines

Spencer Levin and Kyle Stanley lead the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Both American players shot 62 for rounds of -10 under par on the easier North course. The best score of the day on the tougher South course was from Marc Turnesa with a 66 for a total -6 under par for the tournament.

Fijian Vijay Singh and Aussie Greg Chalmers shot 64 and 65 respectively, on the North course, to finish the day comfortably in touch with the leaders. Left hander Chalmers had an eagle three at the par five 18th, with a putt of 48 feet, which really gave a lift to his opening round and a nice way to celebrate Australia Day.

Phil Mickelson had a tough day on the South course shooting a +5 over par round of 77, and seemed really out of touch, and will need an exceptionally low round tomorrow when he tees it up for the easier North course.

He was asked about his driving performance, and what driver was he using today, this is his reply;

“I am using our new Razr Hawk driver. I didn’t use it the first round last week, and it was a mistake. I don’t know what I was thinking, I worked with it. I felt good with it, I just didn’t want to make any changes from the previous season.”

He also spoke about his putting woes;

” There is no shortcut in putting, that no matter what method you use. You still have to see the line and you still have to match it up to the proper speed. And I think that for me I was looking for a shortcut with the belly putter. I found what was best for me was to go back to how I was putting as a kid, growing up with a blade style putter. And an aggressiveness that I had at a younger age.”

Mickelson full interview at Farmers Insurance Open

Humana Challenge – Mark Wilson Wins

Mark Wilson won the 2012 Humana Challenge at La Quinta by two shots from Johnson Wagner, John Mallinger and Robert Garragus. Mark’s last round 69 gave him a total of -24 for the tournament. He and Robert Garragus vied for the lead during the round, something that Mark touched on during his after tournament interview ;

Wilson interview after winning Humana Challenge

“It feels good obviously here with the trophy. The day went not as planned really, but I guess it never does, but last time I came out here I shot sixty two. So of course had those images in mind. Made a bad swing on the third hole, and just kinda hit a lot of good shots. The pins were in tough spots, to get close to, so I was really patient, and then birdying number eleven. I played that hole very smart, and then holed the bunker shot on twelve, really gave me momentum to go in the right direction. And I felt like Robert and I really had a good time, and Zach for that matter. But Robert and I kinda going back and forth. We enjoyed that, both making the putts on sixteen, and the it just came down to eighteen. And I didn’t want to give him a chance to make that putt and to tie me. So thankfully I rolled mine in and got it done.

Phil Mickelson finished with a round of 69, but never really recovered from the first round 74, which left him way off the pace. He is still hopeful of competing successfully during the West Coast swing.

Kiwi Danny Lee finished tied for 66th place after a poor last round of 74 and will be aiming to improve his challenge over four really competitive rounds next time out.

Highest placed  Englishman was Gary Christian who had a great last round of 64, tied 14th at -17. But he was unable to mount a serious challenge after his third round collapse of 73, too much of a mountain to climb.

 

Kiwi Lydia Ko wins Australian Amateur at 14

World amateur No 1 Lydia Ko has won the Australian amateur title and sent the record keepers to scan their books. She is believed to be the youngest winner in the 118 year history of the event, Golf Australia records do not have an indication of the ages of the champions of the early years of the Australian women’s amateur.

Lydia Ko tees off. Photo / Getty Images

 Photo / Getty Image

Lydia  defeated Victorian Breanna Elliott 4 and 3 at the Woodlands Golf Club in Melbourne today. In doing so she becomes the youngest winner of the trophy that dates back to 1894 and she follows in the footsteps of Kiwi golfers Guy Williams (1920), Oliver Kay (1933, 1936) and Jan Higgins (1989). Ko was beaming after her win;

“I am really proud of myself, I won the Australian stroke play title last year and finished second in qualifying, but this is so much better. There has been a lot of pressure all week and I have been really happy with how I have played, and to come through to the end and win is amazing.”

“To win another national title is a really amazing feeling.”

Sony Open Hawaii – Matt who

Matt Every has a two-shot lead at the halfway mark of the US PGA Tour event at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. Matt who, I hear you asking. Matt Every is the American who made headlines in the summer of 2010 for being arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana charge in a hotel room during the John Deere Classic. At the time he denied possessing or using marijuana and the charges were eventually dropped, though he was suspended for three months for ‘conduct unbecoming a professional’. A strange decision by the PGA but one that Matt excepted.

“I’m not mad at the tour, they did what they had to do”. “I don’t do drugs. It was a crappy deal. Wrong place, wrong time, perfect storm and I got three months out of it,”

“I still hang out with the s upame people. If one of my friends likes to smoke marijuana every now and then I’m not going to say, well, you can’t be my friend anymore”

“Honestly, I know more people who smoke marijuana than those who don’t” “I know that’s probably not the politically correct thing to say, but it’s the truth.

“I don’t do it, but I don’t frown upon it.”

Every backed up his opening round 66 with a six-under par 64 to move to 10 under for the tournament, and that has given him a two-stroke advantage over David Hearn (66) and Carl Pettersson (67) who sit at eight under.

The best placed Australians are John Senden (67) and Gavin Coles (66) who are in a tie for 17th place, five shots off the pace. John Senden opened with a birdie but then had a couple of bogies before racking up four birdies in five holes to find himself in the thick of the tournament.

Kiwi Danny Lee’s first event as a full-time PGA Tour member ended prematurely with a missed cut at +3.

Matt Every shoots off the 9th fairway during the second round of the Sony Open in Honolulu. Photo / AP

 Photo / AP

Elin Levels Tigers Mansion

Elin Nordegren has ordered the demolition of ex husband  Tiger Woods brand new 12 million dollar Florida mansion she received as part of the divorce settlement. Apparently she intends to build a new home for herself, although you have to wonder why a six-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion wasn’t good enough for Nordegren, few of us will ever understand the thought processes of those who are rich. Take a look at the picture below, I think just about anybody in the world would be more than happy to live in this brand new house. Seems to me that Elin is being manipulated by the money men and the constructors, dont you just love that old saying,

A fool and her money are soon parted.

Screenshot2012-01-05at6

http://bleacherreport.com

Tiger Woods- Breakout Player for 2012 ?

Many eminent players and pundits are tipping Tiger Woods to be their breakout player for 2012. Johnny Miller, leading analyst at  NBC states,

“I think Tiger is the breakout player of the year in 2012. I really do believe that. I think he’ll win probably at least four times.”

“I always analyze from how bad a bad shot is. Tiger’s bad shots, especially with his long clubs, were pretty bad. Now his bad shots with the long clubs are quite good. Almost in the 2000, 2001 range. His irons were never that poor, even when he was struggling, and his short game has really come along. I think he is very determined to show the naysayers that they didn’t know what they were talking about when they sort of wrote him off.”

Rickie Fowler is of the same opinion saying, “He’s starting to play well after two bad years, and if he gets the momentum rolling, look out.”

” I would love to see him get back to his best, and guys want him to get back to his best because they want to win tournaments against the best. And he’d be great for the game if he’s the Comeback Player of the Year.”

Steve Stricker, a winner of the honor himself is also in agreement, “It looks like he’s getting everything lined up,”

Other players on the Woods bandwagon are Gary Woodland and Zach Johnson, with Gary saying, “I saw it at Bay Hill before he got hurt at Augusta. He was hitting shots he wanted to. It was coming. And the way he played at the Presidents Cup and Chevron, yeah, he’s getting back into form,”

Of course there are others who do not support the Tiger comeback, “Gary Woodland will be the breakout player,” said Matt Kuchar. “He’s got the length, the power, and he has the all-around game. We’ll see a lot more from him in 2012.”

I think it is strange that no one seems to think Luke Donald will stay at number one, all the money is on Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy, personally I think Luke can stay at the top.

Steve Williams – Plonker of the Year

Top 100 golfer and blogger John Huggan has awarded Steve the winner of his annual award Plonker of the Year. I suppose I have to agree, Steve’s comments endeared him to no one. Lets hope he sets about restoring the good name of New Zealand in 2012.

Huggy has set about playing the 100 golf courses in the world, and also writes about his experiences. Nice to be able to report he likes New Zealand, and also my own course Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club. Anytime you return John, please let me know. Here is his quote for Steve and of New Zealand.

“…how could anyone get close to this intellectually challenged Kiwi?”

Quote of the Day
“It’s hard to find a greater collection of courses than Kauri Cliffs, Cape Kidnappers, Paraparaumu and Jack’s Point. I still have fresh memories of my amazing visit to Queenstown. I hope to return some day to this great country.” – Top 100 Golfer reviewing his golfing travels in 2011

Here’s the link to John Huggan and another golf blog I also read, http://www.voxy.co.nz/blogs/stan-sutherland.

41st Pakistan Open Golf Championship

The Pakistan Open Golf Championship teed off on Thursday with  Muhammad Shabbir shooting a -3 69 to lead the first round by one shot. The Islamabad based golfer, representing the Pakistan Navy, played the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Country and Golf Club starting on the 10th tee. He actually had six birdies on his card and rued the missed opportunity to lead by more.

“I could have done better. But my hitting at times was not up to the mark. I could have played six under. Playing conditions and fairways and greens are in a perfect condition. My objective on day two is to produce a far better performance than on day one,”

Just one shot behind is veteran  Muhammad Munir and he has plenty of  experience to tilt the contest his way over the 72-hole event.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk

China’s Star 11-Year-Old Golfer Ada Li

Ada Li is China youngest golfing prodigy and judging by her work ethic and her fathers backing she is really serious. Her golf equipment cost more than $3,000, also her father has purchased a 30-year golf club membership, costing thousands of dollars for each year, and on top of all that , coaching lessons that run around $50 a session. Now that is a serious financial commitment, what could a  young Kiwi talent do with that kind of backing. Perhaps it answers Philip Leishmans  questions about the lack of success in golfing NZ.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/china-golf-photos-2011-12#ixzz1hwYf9wlJ

Golf in Godzone

I have just read Stan Southerlands blog, about the state of New Zealand golf. http://www.voxy.co.nz/blogs/stan-sutherland.

He was commenting about Philip Leishman, New Zealands leading media man on golfing matters, who wrote in his blog, July 12, 2010.

“I was a bit surprised at the criticism directed at NZ Golf recently from former National coach Mal Tongue. Mal, nice guy as he is has a particular issue with NZ Golf and its administration. It was well known that he had acrimonious break up with NZ Golf and their management back in 2004 when he staged a mass walkout with other coaches on a day described by some as the blackest day for amateur golf in this country.” http://www.thegolfclub.co.nz/blogs/phillip-leishman/in-my-opinion

It concerns the bust up Mal Tounge had with NZ Golf and its administration. Mal had coached Michael Campbell in his amateur days and was unhappy at the way things were being run. Mal writes in the Pacific Golfer, 

“Helping the mind climb the mountain” he goes on to say, “The (NZ) game is not in robust good health and it is reflected in the fact Danny Lee is our only player ranked inside the world’s top 200  and no other Kiwi features in the top 450. For that to change there has to be a massive mind shift.”

Philip Leishman replies,

Seems like along time ago and I’ll have to take Mal’s word for it. “For us to go forward as a golfing nation and have players featuring among the top 100 in the world – remember, we once had five with that status…”

Five! And now we’ve got two and they are both amateur ladies; Lydia Ko at number one and Cecilia Cho at number three.

The reason that the two ladies are where they are in the golf rankings is in their mindset, and that mindset is not Kiwi, it is the work ethic of their Asian parents that has been instilled in them. Maybe Mal was right in 2004, that something at the top had to change for New Zealand golf to move forward. I have seen a lot of talent here, but somewhere along the line it does not seem to flourish.

It is the same with Governments, the players change but the old administration does not, so nothing really changes.