Hero World Challenge. Jordan Tops, Tiger Flops.

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Jordan Spieth tops the Hero World Challenge, while Tiger Woods flops, in the first round at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Florida.

Hero World Challenge

Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Jordan brought his good form from Australia to the PGA Tour, shooting a first round -6 under par 66, to sit on top of the Hero World Challenge leaderboard. He won by six shots in Australia last week, and carded five straight birdies starting at #6 here in Florida;

“I’m excited about how last week went and I’m kind of riding the momentum, I’m going to give it my all these last few days.”

“I was 100 percent today, should stay that way the rest of the week.”

Just one shot back of the leader are four guys; Henrik Stenson, Steve Stricker, Rickie Fowler and Zach Johnson, all at -5 under par for the tournament.

Zach, when asked, told reporters why he plays so well at the World Challenge;

“There’s something to be said for lowered expectations.”

“I’d have to research that because I really don’t have a good answer for you.”

 

Orlando resident Graeme McDowell is in the group at -4 under par and he has some very good memories of this tournament;

“This event has been very good to me.”

While Jordan is in first place, Tiger Woods finished in last place, returning a +5 over par 77, he was not a happy camper;

“It is surprising that I could hit chips that poorly, I haven’t said that in a long time.”

“One of those days where nothing went my way,”

“It’s very exciting to step up there and hit the drives I hit, especially on the back nine, and start launching it and feel nothing.”

“Today was weird, I didn’t feel like I hit it that bad. My short game was awful. Didn’t make anything.”

“Bad chips, bad putts and a couple of missed shots on the front nine on the wrong side compounded the problem.”

Australian Open. Super Spieth Wins.

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Super Jordan Spieth wins the Australian Open at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

Australian Open

Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Jordan had a bogey free final round of -8 under par 63, to blow away all competition in the Emirates Australian Open, with a total of -13 under par. a six shot margin of victory. He said it was probably the best round of golf he had ever played;

“That was definitely the best round I’ve ever played.”

“At the start I didn’t think such a round was out there, but the putts kept going in. It was an awesome experience.”

“I’m for sure going to be coming back to Australia.”

Jordan will join some of golf’s all-time greats including Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman to have his name etched on the Stonehaven Cup.

In second place, at -7 under par was veteran Rod Pampling, he carded a last round -3 under par 68.

Another Aussie Brett Rumford claimed third position at -6 under par for the tournament, his final effort of -1 under par 70 just not good enough.

World number three Adam Scott shot a final round of even par 71 and finished fifth place, and full nine strokes behind the leader.

There was no magical recovery from defending champion, and World number one  Rory McIlroy, he finished way down the field at T 15, at +1 over par. He was also non-committal about returning next year;

“It’s been tough all weekend, I was trying to get something going, but with the pin positions and the wind, it was just very hard to get the ball close to the hole. It just wasn’t meant to be this year.”

“Depends all on the schedule and where it’s going, but I love playing in Australia. I had a wonderful time this year, so hopefully it works again.”

The gusting northeasterly breezes wreaked havoc on scores all week, and only eight players managed to finished the tournament with under par totals.

Australian Open. Three way tie at the top. Rory Wrecks it.

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There is a three way tie at the top of the Australian Open, as Rory McIlroy wrecks his round.

Brett Rumford, Jordan Spieth and Greg Chalmers share the lead after the third round of the Australian Open, at -5 under par, on the tough Australian Golf Club Sydney course.

Tied is second place at -4 under par are local duo Adam Scott and Rod Pampling. who both carded third rounds of -2 under par 69.

Adam spoke about the tough conditions;

“It really came up around the turn and blew hard on the back nine.”

“It’s really tough with the way it’s blowing; you are trying to stay as stable as you can. It’s certainly presented a pretty tough challenge this week.”

Rory McIlroy had a train-wreck of a third round, carding a triple-bogey on the ninth hole and a double-bogey on 10, he finished with a  +5 over par  76, and six strokes from the lead, tied for 14th place. There is really no hope hope of a miraculous come back for Rory, this season is probably one tournament to many in what has been a great year for him.

Australian Open

The beginning of the end for Rory / Getty Images

Rory has almost conceded defeat;

“It was a tough day obviously, the wind was up. I was doing okay, steady enough, until I got to the ninth.”

“I hit a wayward tee-shot into what I thought was a decent enough lie that I could advance the ball. But I didn’t realise what I was standing on is not like dirt or earth. It was more like carpet.”

“So the ball went underneath the carpet. Had it been a normal surface it would have been alright, but down there it was impossible.”

Australian Open

Where is it ? / Getty Images

“So that added up to a seven. Then I did what I did last week in Dubai (when he double-bogied two holes in succession during the third round of the DP World Tour Championship) and compounded that error with another just about as bad. I got a huge flier with a wedge.”

“The ball pitched at 160-yards into the wind which is ridiculous. Over the last few holes I was just trying to hang on really.”

“I need a fast start tomorrow to have a chance, it depends too on what the guys ahead of me do. I need some help.”

“But the greens have been firmer every day. So a low score is higher than it was. I still feel like I can shoot a good one. I just don’t know if that will be enough.”

“I’ll be trying my best. It’s the last round of the season so it would be nice to make it a good one.

On a tough Australian Golf Club course and its swirling, unpredictable winds, only eight players managed the third round with under par scores.

Australian Open. Jordan Spieth Leads.

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Jordan Spieth leads the Australian Open by one stroke at the conclusion of the first day’s play with -4 under-par 67, opening round.

Tied in second place are Aron Price and Scott Gardiner, both carded rounds of -3 under par 68.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy is two shots behind, with first round -2 under par 69.

Australian Open

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory took a few holes to find his form in the tricky conditions;

“It took me a little while to get going, I gave myself a lot of chances early on in the round and didn’t really take them.

“The conditions were pretty tricky. It was tough to get the ball close to the pins with the wind and these greens being quite firm as well.”

“It was cold, windy and a little bit of rain here and there, when I think of playing golf in Australia, it’s not the kind of day I expected.”

“The wind was up early on, then it died, then got up again.”

“I thought anything under par today was a decent score and it was nice to birdie the last and shoot something in the 60s. It puts me right there going into tomorrow.”

“Golf tournaments are long, all you want to do is give yourself a chance going into Sunday, I definitely feel like there’s a better score out there.”

Rory’s top rival for this title, Adam Scott did not do so well, shooting an opening round +3 over par 74. Before he teed off today Adam reported that he had not played on this course very much;

“I haven’t played here that much in the past. Obviously there’s been a lot of work done and they’ve presented a beautiful golf course for us this week.”

“My feeling is it’s certainly going to favour the longer hitters this week. There’s no rough out there.”

“It seems like it just hasn’t grown in for them yet but hopefully with some pretty long straight driving, I’ll be able to take advantage of a few holes.”

“The wind is the definitive this week. With no rough, so that’s not going to penalise any stray shots as much as it normally would, but the winds still will.”

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik Successfully Defends Title.

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Henrik Stenson successfully defended his DP World Tour Championship title on the Earth Course in Dubai.

DP World Championship

Henrik Stenson and Trophy / Getty Images

Henrik won the DP World Championship, and defending his title for the first time in his career. A final round -2 under par 70 gave him the winning total of -16 under par, and a two shot victory.

He said how good it felt to get his first win of the year, the win also took him to number 2 in the World, but he would have liked to have been number 1;

“It feels great.”

“I’m exhausted to say the least. It was hot out there and tricky on the back nine. I did not play my best and had a shocking hole on eleven.”

“I walked up to the tee with too much club in my hand and instead of changing I tried to cut a two-iron but hit a push, slice, shank straight into the buildings.”

“That knocked me back but I did not give up. I just had to dig in there and wait for something to happen. I had a couple of close calls this year to get my win and it was not to be. It’s been close but eventually you get something if you stick around and I surely did that.”

“It would be nice to have been ranked the world’s best at some point, but if I had the choice I would go for a Major Championship so I am going to try and be in good shape for them next year.”

World Number One Rory McIlroy, with Ryder Cup team-mates Justin Rose and Victor Dubuisson tied in second place at -14 under par. Rory made a challenge in the final round, shooting -4 under par 68, but it was not enough to upset Henrik. But he was very happy to have won the Race to Dubai;

The Race to Dubai

Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy

“It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve played the best golf throughout the season of any of the guys for the second time in three years, it’s really nice.”

“I never expected 14 under to have a remote chance of winning this golf tournament.”

“It just seemed like no one really took the tournament by the scruff of the neck and went with it. The two guys, Rafa and Henrik, were on 16 for quite a while, and sort of stayed there.”

“I saw Rafa went back to 15 under as I birdied 15 to get to 14 under and I thought if I could post 16, I might have a chance. 16 would have been good enough for a play-off in the end.”

“I just didn’t play well enough to win this week, and if I had of won by playing like that, it would have been a bit of a surprise.”

“A lot of positives heading into 2015 and something I’m really pleased about this year is that consistency that I’ve shown in my golf. I haven’t finished outside the top 25. My last few results have been very consistent, very good, and a lot of good stuff going into next year.”

“I feel like, as you said, this year has been full of up-and-downs, mainly ups, which is a great thing.I learned a lot from it and I feel like I came through this year stronger and wiser, and I can go into 2015 in a much better place.” 

“I’m happy with the success that I’ve had, and I feel like there’s been a lot that I’ve learned this year, as well, and that’s a great thing going into the future.”

 

 

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik & Rafa Pull Clear.

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Henrik Stenson and Rafa Cabrera- Bello pull clear of the field in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course in Dubai.

DP World Tour Championship

Rafa Cabrera-Bello / Getty Images

Rafa shot a great third round -7 under par 65, to share the DP World Tour Championship lead with Henrik at -14 under par, the pair of them now have a three shot advantage going into the final round tomorrow.

Rafa said it had been a very special day for him;

“Obviously it’s been a very special round for me today,” he said. “I’m really, really pleased with the score, and obviously with the good finish.”

“The short game and putting has been unbelievable, probably the best day of my life for short game.”

“I think that that’s what helped me hang in there on the front nine and I did play better on the back nine. I was playing more aggressive going for it, hitting good shots, and giving myself a lot of chances and I did make some of them.”

Henrik did nothing wrong today, a bogey free -4 under par 68, and reported he had recovered from hitting the wall yesterday, he put it down to old age. He has never successfully defended a title, and wants to win here;

“I felt a little stronger today but I wasn’t exactly jumping out of bed this morning, but what do you expect at 38 years old? I’m a little low on energy but when the mind wants something you can pull through.”

“It would be great to win. It’s a great championship and it would mean a lot to defend a title and get the win. It’s been a good year but when you assess it you always look at the trophies and there hasn’t been one yet.”

“All in all it was a good day and we’re still at the races so I am pretty pleased.”

Justin Rose scored a -4 under par 68 today to move himself into third place alone, at -11 under par. He played alongside Rafa and could only admire what he saw;

“I watched an incredible round of golf today, Rafa was unbelievable. He really struggled with his game the first few holes, up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down, and then got some flow going.”

“He had 15 one-putts today. His short game was Seve-like. It was awesome.”

“He was chipping it to a foot and it was awesome. Chipping around this golf course is difficult, very grainy, very tough, very sandy underneath the ball. It was a masterclass.”

Tied in fourth place at -10 under par are; Rory McIlroyVictor Dubuisson, Tyrrell Hatton and Thorbjørn Olesen.

Rory had another off day, -2 under par 70,with a couple of double bogey’s thrown in, and is now four shots off the lead;

“It makes life a little more difficult for me tomorrow. I need to be aggressive, I need to go at pins, hit it close and make some putts.”

“I felt a little better out there today than yesterday so knew if I stayed patient the birdies would come. I got on a nice run with three birdies in a row from the fifth and another one at ten, but unfortunately the back nine was not quite as good as the front.”

“It was annoying to follow one double bogey with another. I was a little frustrated but it was nice to get a couple back and at least keep myself in touch.”

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik Has Half-Way Lead.

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Henrik Stenson has the half-way lead in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course in Dubai.

 DP World Tour Championship

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik posted a second round -6 under par 66 to lead the DP World Tour Championship at the half-way point by two shots on -10 under par.

He reported that he felt like he was running on empty, after a long season;

“Around the 12th hole I felt like I was running out of steam. It was difficult mentally from there on. I had to really focus hard and drag myself over the finish line.”

“It’s hot and sticky and even though I’m drinking well and getting plenty of energy, I just felt like I hit the wall on 12.”

“If it’s one or two holes left, you normally feel like, ‘okay, I can hang on’. But it was a bit of an uphill struggle from there. I managed to finish in good style anyway so I’m pleased with that.”

“There’s still a lot of golf to play and I’m really happy with how I closed this round.”

Rory McIlroy is just two shots behind at -8 under par, sharing second place with Richie Ramsay and Danny Willett.

Rory said he will try to close the gap on the leader tomorrow;

“I’m in a good position and there is a lot of golf left, I’ve definitely been in worse positions after two rounds and still won.”

“It could have been worse but it probably could have been a little better. I definitely didn’t have it like I did yesterday. I had to dig in a little bit so hopefully that’s the bad one out of the way and I have 36 holes now to make some ground up on Henrik.”

“Henrik’s very comfortable on this golf course obviously. I can’t let him get too far ahead tomorrow. I have to get off to a fast start and try and put a bit of pressure on him. Hopefully I can do that.”

Shane Lowry, aided by a hole-in-one on the 13th, and former US Open Champion Justin Rose are among the five-strong group of players another stroke back at -7 under par.

Shane spoke about his first ever Ace in tournament play, on the 204 yard par three 13th, and how good it felt;

“It was a beautiful shot, a perfect number for my six iron.”

“It’s my first in tournament play and only my second ever so it was pretty exciting. It was hard to go on and play the next hole after that.”

“I am still in the tournament and I suppose if you had given me that on Thursday I would have taken it.”