Valspar Championship. Garrigus Gallop Cut Short.

dragon logo darkValspar Championship Logo The gallop of Robert Garrigus at the Valspar Championship was cut short on Saturday at Innisbrook. 

A pair of short misses brought Garrigus back to the field a bit on Saturday. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

Robert Garrigus / Getty Images

Robert expensively missed two short putts on his back nine and had to settle for a -1 under par third round of 70 on the Copperhead Course. That reduced his advantage at the top of the leaderboard to a one-shot lead in the Valspar Championship, as he posted -8 under par in the competition.

Robert still managed to enjoy himself out there;

” I had fun, I’m in a good position. If I play a good round tomorrow, if I shoot under par, they’re going to have to come get me.”

Kevin Na had a third round -3 under par 68, for his total of -7 under par for the tournament and holds second place alone. He still suffers from the slow play tag that follows him around;

“I know how to play, I don’t know what people have said, but I don’t think I should be criticized. It’s not fair to me, I already have that stamp on me.”

One of the low rounds today came from third placed John Senden, his third round of -7 under par 64 catapulted him into third spot on his own at -6 under par. John took his putting stroke from the practice green onto the course

“I just was trying to be free, trying to putt like I do on the practice putting green, I took it straight to the golf course today. Very happy to do that. There’s a lot of grain on these greens and ball seems to turn a lot when you’re putting. You’ve really got to take note of way the grain reads.”

” I’ll get out there tomorrow and try to do it again. I can’t control what any other player does, but I can go out there and do the best I can do. Hopefully I can be at the top of the leaderboard round about the end of the day.”

Justin Rose, -2 under par on the day occupies fourth place on his own at -5 under par. Retief Goosen equalled John Senden’s low round of -7 under par and is in the group at -4 under par.

 Luke Donald is at -3 under par, and definitely in position to capitalize on any mistakes the leaders make and perhaps steal a victory. Luke played like his game of old;

“ Kind of a Luke Donald round, that’s kind of what you need around this place. I never thought I was very far off, but around a course like this you need to hit fairways and greens and kind of make it easier on yourself because it’s tricky.”

“I’ve played here enough times, and seeing the scores over the last couple days, I knew a good round would shoot me up the board. So just try to play my own game and post something low-ish to get me back into contention.”

Waste Management Phoenix Open.

 

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Bubba Watson and Matt Jones share the lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open going into the week-end at TPC Scottsdale.

On a roll

Bubba Watson / Getty Images

Bubba  dressed in  lime green shoes and an otherwise all-black outfit, played in the morning, getting the best side of the draw, he birdied his first hole. Playing early in the cooler temperature does not suit him, back is a little stiff, but he said he is exactly where he wanted to be. Happily at the top of the leaderboard after his second round of -5 under par 66, for his -12 under par total;

“Back is not as loose as you want it to be, weather is not as warm as you want it to be. But I hit a good tee shot, and then I hit my wedge in there close and I made the putt, that got me going. It’s right where I want to be going into the weekend. I had two sloppy bogeys coming down the stretch, but I will take it.” 

Matt also played a morning round, and was thankful for the opportunity to be able to shoot his second consecutive -6 under par 65 for his -12 under par;

 ” We definitely got the good side of the draw. The golf course is so different tournament week than it is when you play out here regularly. It’s a lot harder, a lot faster. The greens are a lot quicker. The pins are a lot more tucked out here. So, it’s like a new golf course when you come here for a tournament.”

Two players are tied in third place, Greg Chalmers and Harris English are at -10 under par.

Brandt Snedeker shot the low round of the day, he also started in the morning, before the wind got up. His second round score of -7 under par 64 moving up the leaderboard to be at -8 under par. Brandt put his special round down to good putting, something I love to hear;

” My putting, plain and simple. I hit the ball extra good yesterday and had some of the worst putting I had all year. Today, I kind of did the opposite.”

Phil Mickelson, the Defending Champion, recovered with a bogey free  -4 under par 67, but he is still a long way from the leaders. Phil declared he is still in the race for this title;

” I’m not totally out of it, obviously heading into the weekend, I’d like to be closer, but as we have seen in the past, there is that minus eight, nine ten, and in some cases eleven-under par round out there. My back feels great, like I said, it was a simple fix. I just don’t want to overdo it.”

Among those missing the cut here are, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, Retief Goosen, Ian Poulter and Keegan Bradley.

Sony Open. Sang-Moon Bae has 1st Round Lead

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Sang-Moon Bae carded a -7 under par 63 to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

 

Sang-Moon Bae / Getty Images

Sang-Moon Bae leads the way at the Sony Open in Hawaii with opening round of 63, giving him a one-shot lead over Chris Kirk. The pair were together all Thursday morning, playing in the same group and taking the top two spots on the leaderboard. Chris taking second spot alone with his -6 under par 64.

Chris admired Sang-Moon’s lightening start, but was happy to catch up on the back nine;

“He was off to a great start, at one point he was four under and I was still two over. It took some catching up for me on the back nine. But it’s always nice to see putts falling.”

Sang-Moon said he had played well the week before, but had trouble reading the greens, but practice makes perfect, he arrived here early and worked hard;

“I think I played well last week, but really tough greens, very hard to read. I couldn’t read any right-to-left putts, any putts,  so I missed a lot of puts last week. But this course is more shorter than last week, so easy read, and I can make good speed, too. I practiced a little bit and I had fun, go to beach, go swim, everything. I like it here.”

Sharing third place at -5 under par are Brian Stuard and Ryan Palmer, but the leaderboard is tightly packed so anything could happen. It is exciting to be able to watch it all unfold. The next group all at -4 under, seven of them, includes Retief Goosen and Big John Daly.

Big John, who has recovered from elbow surgery commented;

“The arm feels good, the greatest thing is, I can hit three-quarter shots again, I haven’t done that in six years. That was my bread and butter; that was my game. I need a little more practice. I’m rusty,”

There are then twelve players recording -3 under par.

The defending champion Russell Henley played Wednesday in the Pro-Am, but food poisoning stopped him in his tracks on the 11th hole. Two trips to the hospital for IV fluids and medicine helped Russell make  his opening round 12:20 p.m. tee time. His +3 over  par 73 opening round didn’t come close to the 63 he fired off in last year’s final round.

Russell said he was still not feeling good;

“I’m not operating at 100 percent, I’m feeling a lot better than yesterday, but I made two bad swings, two really bad holes. Other than that, I played a pretty decent round, a couple putts didn’t fall. I think I’ll be feeling good tomorrow and hopefully will play well.”

Would love to know what Sea Food Restaurant he was at, and I bet they are praying that he does not mention them.

BMW Championship, Wentworth 2nd round, Morrison leads, Donald lurking with intent.

James Morrison leads the BMW Championship at Wentworth after a sparkling second round of -8 under par and 64. He leads by four shots from two players, yesterdays leader David Drysdale who had a second round score of -2 under par, 70, and the man seeking to retake the #1 spot in the world golf rankings, Luke Donald. Luke repeated yesterdays score with a -4 under par, 68, and with Rory McIlroy missing the cut in this years event, he must surely have his eyes set on the #1 ranking.

Luke Donald  (Getty Images)

Luke Donald (Getty Images)

The  current World Number Two is looking to regain top spot from Rory McIlroy at the venue where he dethroned Lee Westwood 12 months ago, Luke had three bogeys on his card, but two of them were followed by birdies and he eagled the twelfth  after dropping a shot at the eleventh. Luke said after his round;

Obviously I’m very pleased with that round,” he said. “This is a tricky course, and the scores are reasonably good. Obviously James Morrison had a great round – there are scores out there because the greens are holding.

“When I made bogey on 15, to finish with a couple of birdies on 16, 17, really will make me feel a lot better going into the weekend. I’m feeling very strong on the greens. I feel like something that has been not as consistent for me over the last couple of months, but felt very comfortable on the greens the last two days. Every time I’ve had opportunities, I’m seeing the line, and got the speed down and making some good putts.”

Asked if he was focusing on a top eight finish to give him the coveted #1 spot, Luke replied;

 ” To be honest, the focus is always to try and win the tournament.”

David Drysdale said he is desperate to win a tournament;

“I expect a lot, but if I shoot 80 or 65 I’ll take what I can from it. I desperately, desperately, desperately want to keep going forward and that’s my problem sometimes, I’m too eager, too keen, too determined I guess. I’ve been playing great, but been getting in the way of myself. I’m going to do my best and that’s all I can do.”

Along with Rory McIlroy, other notables missing the cut were; Graeme McDowell, Nicolas Colsaerts, Robert Karlsson and Retief Goosen.

I am anticipating a really good finish from Luke Donald, it will be interesting to see if James Morrison can live with the pressure of life at the top of the leaderboard.

Volvo World Match Play Championship, Poulter out

Defending champion Ian Poulter has been knocked out of the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship by Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, with what looks like an easy win at 4-3. Another Englishman,Justin Rose is also out, beaten by Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium by the same 4-3 score. In fact there are no Englishmen competing on day four of the tournament. Tom Lewis went down to Sergio Garcia, Richard Finch to Graeme McDowell and Robert Rock  fell to Retief Goosen.

In the quarter finals G-Mac eased out local boy Sergio Garcia, and Paul Lawrie had an easy time of it despatching Retief Goosen 6 and 5. Brandt Snedeker and his borrowed clubs finally fell to Nicolas Colsaerts, while Alvaro Quiros lost to countryman Rafael Cabrera-Bello 3 and 1.

Paul Lawrie will now face Nicolas Colsaerts, and Rafael Cabrera-Bellow will play Graeme McDowell in the semi finals.

Rafael said of his match against Alvaro Quiros;

“I got to play with a friend in Alvaro. I’m very happy for me but I feel sorry for him, and he’s such a good guy. We had a good match today. I feel like I’m playing really good.  This morning I recovered in a tough game, being two down with five to play, and now this afternoon, three down after nine and being able to win, I feel really proud of that. I have to play G Mac, and he has a lot of experience and is a Ryder Cup hero, so he’s obviously going to be a very, very tough guy to beat.  I’m going to try my best and I’m playing good. Hopefully I can start as good as I did on my first two matches and if I don’t, I know I can come from behind and make it through. So we’ll just see what happens.”

Graeme thought he was pretty lucky to get past Sergio Garcia;

“It wasn’t exactly El Classico and I feel like I dodged a bullet there. I kind of resigned myself to the fact that I was going home, but sometimes you have to win ugly and sometimes to win you need what just happened to me. I count myself lucky.”

Sergio was disappointed but said he was not quite playing well enough;

I’m playing so badly this could happen at any moment.  Making it to the quarter finals having played so badly means it was a good tournament. I had no good quality shots.  He gave me some chances that I could not take and I have been saying it from the first day that I have not felt comfortable and I am not happy with my game.”

 

The Volvo World Match Play Championship

 

 

Poulter sees off Lewis to top group

Ian Poulter (Getty Images)

Defending Champion  Ian Poulter recorded his second win in the Volvo Match Play Championship in Spain, but 21 year old Tom Lewis, the man he beat, is also through to the last 16. Ian won it  comfortably at 4 and 3 after they had made the turn at all square.The champion  Poulter now faces Alvaro Quiros, while Tom Lewis is also up against Spanish opposition in Sergio Garcia.

Alvaro Quiros will be a tough task according to Ian;

“I don’t think either of us were 100 per cent switched on. I guess it was hard to get that adrenaline rush you normally get in match play.
It’s always nice to play well over the first couple of days, and I’ll be going into the weekend with that mind set and rather than obviously playing okay. Sergio, or Alvaro, are both two tough matches. It’s in Spain, they feel at home, they are going to have a lot of support and are both good players. Either one is going to be a tough match. I’ve driven the ball nicely and holed key putts at the right time, and that’s obviously what I did last year throughout the weekend. I holed nice putts and hit good shots but I definitely holed putts at the right time, and that’s obviously the key to playing well in match play.”

Sergio also wins his group, besides admitting he did not play his best;

 “I wasn’t hitting the best of shots, but somehow I found a way of getting the ball in play and hitting a couple decent iron shots, gave myself good birdie chances on 11 and 12 and 15, and rolled a good putt in to get things going.  I obviously got a little bit fortunate because neither of my playing partners played great the first two days. I got on a good run today after starting poorly the first seven holes. Overall I think it was a mix of hitting a couple of good shots at the right times, and getting a little bit lucky. Throughout my career, I’ve been fairly good at match play. As a professional, maybe not as good but as an amateur I was usually pretty good. It’s nice to get a couple of wins and hopefully we’ll play well tomorrow and have a chance of winning again.”

Afternoon results;

PLAYER ENG Ian POULTER 4&3 Tom LEWIS ENG
McCORMACK USA Brandt SNEDEKER 4&3 Branden GRACE RSA
NORMAN SWE Peter HANSON 6&4 Camilo VILLEGAS COL
WOOSNAM ESP Sergio GARCIA 4&2 Tetsuji HIRATSUKA JPN
LARSON NIR Graeme MCDOWELL 4&3 Jbe KRUGER RSA
PALMER RSA Charl SCHWARTZEL 4&3 Retief GOOSEN RSA
GABRIELSSON ENG Justin ROSE 6&4 Darren CLARKE NIR
BALLESTEROS GER Martin KAYMER 1 Hole Richard FINCH ENG
A/S S Garcia 06:45 T Lewis A/S
A/S G McDowell 06:55 R Finch A/S
A/S P Lawrie 07:05 T Bjorn A/S
A/S R Goosen 07:15 R Rock A/S
A/S B Snedeker 07:25 C Villegas A/S
A/S J Rose 07:35 N Colsaerts A/S
A/S I Poulter 07:45 A Quiros A/S
A/S R Cabrera Bello 07:55 R Karlsson A

Last 16 matches are above.

Wells Fargo Championship @ Quail Hollow

                                                                            

Wells Fargo, Round 2

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Nick Watney leads after the 2nd round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow after shooting a marvelous round of -8 under par 64. He leads by just one shot from Webb Simpson who had a -4 under par round of 68. There are a few players who are another shot back at -10 under par for the tournament, they are;

Stewart Cink, Ben Crane, D.A. Points and Australian John Senden.

Among those who scraped through on the cut line of -1 under par were Phil Mickleson, who had an even round today, and Lee Westwood who also had an even round. Lee seems to make it a habit of starting slowly and finishing strongly, but both he and Phil have a long road ahead of them if they intend to contest the Championship on Sunday afternoon.

Notables missing the cut at even par include;

Angel Cabrera, Henrik Stenson, Mike Weir, Trevor Immelman,  Biggest name of all is that of Tiger Woods.

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 Lecka/Getty Images

  Tiger is struggling to make Sean Foley’s swing work and  is still attempting to erase the muscle memory of the one he cultivated with Hank Haney. I personally think the major problem is that he is missing the camaraderie and unquestionably great advice and reading of the game of Steve Williams. Sadly for Tiger and his legions of supporters that will never return, Tiger has to find another way of getting the job done. Tiger said after his unexpected exit;

“It all has to do with my setup. If I get over the golf ball and I feel uncomfortable, I hit it great. It’s just that I get out there and I want to get comfortable, and I follow my old stuff, and I hit it awful. All the shots I got uncomfortable on, I just said, ‘I’m going to get really uncomfortable and make it feel as bad as it possibly could,’ I striped it. I know what I need to do, it’s just I need more reps doing it.”

Tiger also rued missing out on the par 5’s;

“You just can’t do that, especially when all of them are reachable with irons. I didn’t take care of the par 5s, missed a couple other little short ones for birdie, and consequently got no momentum during the round.”

Playing partner today,Geoff Ogilvy commented

“He wouldn’t be out of the tournament if he’d made putts. If he holed putts, he’d be in contention ‘

Tiger’s day could have been even worse than it was, he benefited from some help from the gallery, the report goes like this,

“One gentleman specifically, an older gentleman, told me, I saw the ball hit right here, I saw it bounce, it didn’t look like it was going far, and then I saw several people come around and get around the ball where it was going, and the ball was vanished. Listen, I’m thinking all the time, if you can’t find the ball, the ball is lost. But based on the evidence we had, somebody must have picked the ball up the way I see it.”

Tiger was philosophical about the incident;

“A gentleman saw the ball land and roll, and another gentleman verified he saw the same thing. There were about five or six people that ran over to the ball, and the next thing you know we get down there and there’s hundreds of people and no ball. You saw an area there, there’s really nothing there. We looked around for a while, and then Mark came over there and analyzed the situation and what was going on. We gave him all the information. The two gentlemen participated in the conversation, and we dropped it as close as we could to where they thought it was picked up. So that was it.”

Others missing the cut were, Danny Lee at +2 over par, a disappointment for all Kiwi’s who thought after his first round he would make the cut here. Vijay Singh at +1 and Reteif Goosen with a sad second round of 75, leaving him out of the tournament at +3 over par. Keegan Bradley also missed due to a second round 76.

Zurich Classic at New Orleans, TPC Louisiana

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Jason Duffer sits atop the leader board at The Zurich Classic of New Orleans after the second round at TPC Louisiana. Jason had a -7 under par round of 65 to lead by one shot at -12 under par for the tournament. Just one shot back, after a magnificent round of – 8 under par, 64, for a tournament score of -11 under par is Russell Knox, from Scotland. Ken Duke and John Rollins are also at -11 after the second round, Ken continuing his good form.

Jason was really happy with round, including the eagle at 18;

Round 2, Zurich ClassicStan Badz/PGA TOUR

 “Really nice start on the front-9, I had a couple putts, I had a couple of easy birdies. I don’t think I missed a fairway or a green. Just had some tough reads. The greens are kind of tough to read. Sometimes you get competing grains, competing slopes, so you get a putt that might break to the right but the grain is going left. That can be kind of difficult to judge. And then 18 I had just a really good number for my 5-wood to get somewhere on that green and had a putt that was down-grain and breaking to the left with the grain so that was a nice way to finish the day.

AVONDALE, LA - APRIL 27:  Ernie Els of South Africa hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on April 27, 2012 in Avondale, Louisiana. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Among the group at -10 under par, is Ernie Els who had a second round score of -4 under par which leaves him just two shots off the lead. Luke Donald was another player to have a -7 under par second round and at -6 for the tournament could manage to compete over the final holes come Sunday, assuming he has another good round tomorrow and stay in touch with the leaders.

Bubba Watson, the defending champion, had another 71 for his second round, leaving him just on the cut line, and he will be there to contest the final two rounds. A sigh of relief from the Watson fans, and I expect the sponsors.

Notables missing the cut were; Retief Goosen,73 and 71 at even and John Daly, 80 and 73 to finish at +9, a dismal tournament for John.

Valero Texas Open, Ben Curtis wins at TPC San Antonio

We've got a shootout

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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.

Team Lake Nona Wins Tavistock Cup

Team Lake Nona won the Tavistock Cup after the singles stoke play on the second day. The Payne Stewart Salver Award was shared by five players, all finishing with a total -5 under par. They were Ernie Els, Team Albany; Robert Allenby, Team Isleworth; Retief Goosen and Ross Fisher,Team Lake Nona and Thomas Bjorn from Team Queenwood. Lake Nona’s total team score was -41 under par, Team Isleworth chased them hard but finished two shots adrift on -39. Team Queenwood improved to third place at -31, leaving Team Albany to pick up the wooden spoon. Team Albany were unfortunately hampered by an unwell Ian Poulter who struggled through the day, finishing at +4 over par for the singles. Tiger Woods was also unable to assist the team Albany effort with a final round of even. Tiger Woods is swinging well but the final product is still not quite there, yet.

Closest to the pin competitions were won by; Sean O’Hair on hole 4 with 9 feet 9 inches; Ernie Els on hole 6 at 7 feet 7 inches; Thomas Bjorn on hole 13 with 2 feet 3 inches and on hole 17 Soren Kjeldsen with 4 feet 6 inches.

Ernie Els is playing very well in his quest to make The Masters, if he does not qualify Iwould suggest that he would be a great pick for an invitation to the tournament.

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 20:  Ernie Els of South Africa on the 1st hole during the second day of the 2012 Tavistock Cup at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club on March 20, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. David Cannon/Getty Image