Open de España. Eddie Pepperell Pops Up.

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Eddie Pepperell, from England, pops up to lead the Open de España from a tightly packed leaderboard to claim the outright lead after the first round.

 Eddie Pepperell   (Getty Images)

Eddie Pepperell / Getyy Images

Eddie carded an opening round -4 under par under 68 at PGA Catalunya Resort to finish a shot ahead of a group of eight players. He said it looks like he has come out of nowhere, but his recent results have been good;

“Seemingly it’s come out of nowhere looking at my results but it’s very similar to last year. This time last year I started working with Mike Walker, and he made a big difference instantly. Then I went and did a couple of my own things, which was a bit silly and cost me a bit of time this year but I feel like I am back on the straight and narrow.”

“I back my ability and I know when I am playing well I can shoot good scores. I’m just not at the stage in my career yet when I am playing well enough consistently enough, but hopefully I will get there and today is a good sign. It was really tricky when it was flat calm and when I got on the tenth tee all of a sudden the wind came up out of nowhere and was blowing for the whole of the back nine.”

In the group of eight players who are just one shot off the lead at -3 under par are the Spanish contingent of Sergio Garcia, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

World Number Seven Sergio carded three birdies, an eagle and two bogeys, although suffering from jet-lag;

“I’m happy with my round, I didn’t have the greatest night last night and only slept for about four hours with the jet lag.”

“I didn’t feel extremely well with my swing but I managed to put it in play and give myself some good chances at birdies. The course is tough and the fairways are some of the tightest we have played all year. With the grass they have in this rough as soon as you miss the fairway it’s a guessing game.”

Tied with Spain’s finest at -3 under par are; Jose-Filipe Lima, Peter Uihlein, Thomas Pieters, Richie Ramsay and Robert-Jan Derksen.

Robert benefited from a hole in one on the par three 5th  to thank for his opening round of 69, he holed out with a five iron from 211 yards. 

Pablo Larrazabal had asked players, caddies and spectators to wear black as a mark of respect for caddie Iain McGregor, who died on Sunday while working for Alastair Forsyth in the Madeira Islands Open.

This is a very tightly packed leaderboard, and could change dramatically tomorrow.

The Players. Marvelous Martin Kaymer Leads

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THE PLAYERS Championship

Marvelous Martin Kaymer is leading The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

Martin opened his account at TPC Sawgrass with a record tying  -9 under par 63, which gave him a two shot lead in the tournament. He spoke about the soft conditions;

” You can be a little bit more aggressive because the greens are softer than the last few years, but it’s not an easy golf course. You have to hit a lot of fairways.  If you hit the fairways then you can go for some flags, but once you’re in the rough, especially with that grass and the Bermuda grass from the rough, it’s very difficult to judge the distances.  Then it’s a very tricky golf course.  But I hit a lot of fairways today, and therefore I could go for some flags.”

Russell Henley is in second place, two shots adrift after his first round -7  under par 65. He said playing more conservatively actually helped him with his round, along with feeling comfortable with the putter;

“Playing some of the holes a little less aggressive has helped me to stay in there and make some pars. I knew I was playing well and felt really comfortable on the greens. As long as I keep feeling comfortable with the putter, I think I can putt well on these greens.”

Third position belongs to Sang-moon Bae, a -6 under par round to kick off his tournament in fine style.  There some eight players all tied for fourth spot at -5 under par, including Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood.

Sergio won in Qatar earlier this year, and he has a good history at TPC Sawgrass;

You go through ups and downs in your life, in your career, and I’ve had really, really good times; really, really happy times. And then I’ve had times that were a little bit more down. I think it happens to all of us. You’ve got to try to enjoy those good times as much as possible and learn from the tough ones and hopefully make them as short as possible. I think at the end of the day, that’s all you can really do.”

After day 1 all the talk is really about those who will be struggling to make the cut. there some very familiar names in this bracket;  Phil Mickelson (75), Webb Simpson (75), Brandt Snedeker (75), Jimmy Walker (75), Louis Oosthuizen (77) and Adam Scott (77).

Phil got off to the slowest start of his PGA Tour career, and then had to make a 6-foot par putt on his last hole to card his 75. Phil does not know what is happening. he needed 33 putts on his round today. He did say he would come out tomorrow and play hard;

“I don’t know. I don’t know,I don’t feel like any parts of the game are bad, I just have a hard time seeing the ball go in the hole and getting it to go in the hole. It’s soft, there’s just a lot of birdies out there. Yeah, it’s a little disappointing and frustrating. I was playing well and hit a lot of greens, but it was frustrating because I was over par. I don’t know if it’s just the greens or what, but I’m not really sure what it is yet.”

“Come out and try to play as hard as I can and see how low I can shoot, but I’m not real worried about it, it’s just not quite clicking right now.”

The Masters. Amazing Bubba Blitz at Augusta.

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An amazing blitz from Bubba Watson sees him top the leaderboard in The Masters at Augusta National

 

Bubba Watson stood out among the crowd after shooting a 68 on Friday at the Masters. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Bubba playing to the crowd / Getty Images

Bubba shot a second round -4 under par 68 to top the leaderboard at Augusta by three shots. He said he was trying not to get too excited, and stay focused, he remembered the hang-over he suffered after his Green Jacket win;

“Just keep my head down, not try to focus on the crowds cheering for me and stuff. Trying to stay level, not too energized, not too excited. Never been drunk before, but had a hangover from the green jacket, if you had one, you would celebrate it for a year or two.”

“It’s not science here, it’s try to hit the greens. And if you’re hitting the greens, that means you’re obviously hitting your tee shots well. So that’s all I’m trying to do is just hit the greens, maybe throw in a birdie here or there. That’s what I’ve done the last two days and it’s worked out so far.”

Bubba’s  putt on the 14th hole easily traveled around 50 feet after it turned almost 90 degrees to the left and rolled into the cup. It was just his luck that Sergio had a chip shot that rolled over the very spot where Bubba had marked his putt. The Sergio chip showed him the way.

“Without Sergio’s chip, I probably would have three-putted it.”

John Senden is in second pace at -4 under par, after he had completed his second round of -4 under par 68, the same as Bubba. He is playing with a smile on his face;

If I keep believing in myself and enjoying it, that’s the difference, it’s about keeping a smile on your face when you’re under pressure. I’ve been here five times now and learned where to go and where not to go. You just have to accept where the ball ends up and play the best shot you can.”

” The secret of this course is keeping the big numbers off the card. They kind of put you straight out of contention and if you can do that well you have a chance. There are plenty of ups and downs on this golf course. I just want to go out there and do my best and hope that’s good enough.”

There are four players tied in third place at -3 under par, Thomas Bjorn, Jonas Blixt, Jordan Spieth and defending champion Adam Scott, who carded an even par 72 second round.

Adam reported that it was all too easy to drop shots out on the course today;

“It was very difficult out there today. It’s starting to get pretty easy to drop shots out there, tomorrow is a big day for everyone. Anything even par or better at a major is normally a good score, especially today, I would say. It kept me in the tournament.”

“It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but given everything, I’m absolutely satisfied with that. It just means tomorrow’s round’s extremely important for me. It’s going to have to be maybe the best round of the week.”

The patrons favorite, fabulous Freddie Couples, not only made the cut, but is in contention following a spirited second round -1 under par 71, to be tied in seventh place at -2 under par. Not bad for a 53 year-old.

Among those missing the cut were the big names of Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson, Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner.

Shell Houston Open, Matt Jones Wins In Play-Off

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo     Matt Jones beat Matt Kuchar in a play-off for the Shell Houston Open title, in Texas.

Matt Jones

Matt Jones / Getty Images

Matt Jones was tied with Matt Kuchar at the end of regular play, both returning scores of -15 under par for the Shell Houston Open.

Matt Jones carded a final round -6 under par 66, while Matt Kuchar got bogged down and could only achieve an even par last round 72, which sent the pair of them into the play-off. Jonesy chipped in for a birdie at the first extra hole, and that was it;

“I walked up there and told my caddie I was going to chip it in, my chipping has been pretty good for a while. When I know what I have to do, I seem to be able to pull it off moreso. Especially playing golf with my friends, if I have to birdie to beat them, somehow I do it. It was nice to be able to do it on this stage.”

” Going to Augusta is amazing, the win means everything to me right now because that’s what we play for is to win. To have Augusta as a reward for that win is amazing.”

Matt Kuchar stood in the Golf Club of Houston’s 18th fairway, then unbelievably pulled his 214-yard approach shot into water, left of the green.  He got up-and-down from 64 yards to save bogey and force a playoff;

 “I didn’t want to bail out right, and I figured I’d try to hit a good shot. I just hit it a little too far left, unfortunately. It’s smarter to bail out and give yourself a chance, but I was looking to try and make four and win the tournament.”

“I’m hoping to keep improving, I’m hoping to keep the train going. Certainly fantastic stuff (by Matt Jones) to birdie 18 twice. That’s probably the hardest hole on the golf course, and for him to put two 3s is pretty impressive stuff.”

Sergio Garcia finished in third place at -13 under par, while Cameron Tringale settled for  fourth position at -12 under par.

Rory McIlroy equaled the low round of the week in the final round, a -7 under par 65. If he plays like that at Augusta he will be a real contender for the Green Jacket;

“It was a good way to end the week, I wanted to shoot something in the 60s at least today to give me some positive vibes going into Augusta. I played really well, played really solid from tee-to-green again.”

Rory finished in seventh place, and is now looking forward to the Major next week at Augusta.

Shell Houston Open. Matt Makes A Move.

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo Matt Kuchar makes a move in the Shell Houston Open, opening up a four shot lead.

Matt Kuchar's last victory came at last season's Memorial Tournament. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Matt Kuchar / Getty Images

Matt Kuchar was in cruise control as he eased his way through the third round with a -4 under par 68, to top the leaderboard in the Shell Houston Open at -15 under par.

Matt said it was nice to be in a position to have a shot at winning once again;

“It’s a nice position to have played well last week, to have been in the last group with a chance to win, and to come back this week, completely different course, and have another shot to win. It’s a bummer to three-putt the last one, my speed got a little off there, but all in all putted well. I’m not at all disappointed with the way I putted or the way I played. I’m pretty pleased.”

” Having a four-shot lead is a great position to be in,  I think I’ll just go out and try to turn the four-shot lead into a five-shot lead and see if I can keep going. ‘I’ve been playing some steady golf for a couple of years now and feel like my chances of playing well tomorrow are pretty good.”

Second place is shared between Cameron Tringale and Sergio Garcia, at -11 under par for the tournament.  Sergio, the 36-hole leader could only manage a +1 over par on Saturday. Cameron recorded a very respectable -3 under par 69.

With an 80% chance of rain forecast for Sunday, Sergio is worried about a Monday finish, leading up to the masters. Of course he first has to make up the four shots he is behind;

“I don’t think it’d be the best thing, for sure, it wouldn’t be very good. You’d have to squeeze everything together, get no rest.”

Cameron is working towards his first PGA TOUR victory, but has strangely booked a vacation in Hawaii with his family next week. If he wins here, his invite to the Masters would change all that;

“Hopefully I’ll have a good round tomorrow and maybe ‘ixnay’ those plans.”

Matt Jones had a third round -1 under par 71, he is now in fourth place on his own. Rickie Fowler shared the low round of the day, carding a -4 under par 68, he is T5 with Ben Curtis, both will need exceptional rounds tomorrow to contest this title.

Phil Mickelson will start the final round  in sixth place, nine shots off the lead. A third round  of even-par 72 put a huge dent into any plans he may have harbored about winning here;

“I feel like I putted really well, I felt really good with the putter. The ball-striking that was there the first two days kind of fell out and I had a tougher time putting them all together. I don’t know if I’ll have a good round tomorrow or not, but it’s close, a lot closer than it’s been.”

Rory McIlroy will start the final round way down the scoreboard, a third round +2 over par 74 kind of saw to that;

” Another uneventful day, I just haven’t really been able to get anything going this week. I feel like I’m playing well, like it’s all pretty much there, just something needs to get going. I’m driving the ball well, iron play feels good, short game feels pretty good. I putted much better today than I did the previous two days. I need a little spark to get me going.

“It’s nice that, just to get a week of competitive play, if there’s any sort of rust or if there’s anything you feel like you need to work on going into next week, it’s good to get it all out of the system this week.”

Shell Houston Open. Sergio Surges Ahead.

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo The Shell Houston Open  was brought to life when Sergio Garcia surged into the lead in round two.

Sergio Garcia's score of 12-under 132 matches the 36-hole low at the Golf Club of Houston. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia / Getty Images

Sergio surged into the lead early on in the second round of the Shell Houston Open, shooting a -7 under par 65 that took him one shot clear of the field at -12 under par for the tournament. He said he feels like he is play nicely, he needed only 25 putts today;

“I do feel like I’m playing nicely, I feel very comfortable with my equipment. I feel comfortable with myself in and outside the golf course.”

Matt Kuchar is just one shot back of the leader, a second round -5 under par 67 saw him climb up the leaderboard, finishing the day at -11 under par.

Matt and Sergio have a history of rivalry that goes all the way back to their amateur days. The two battled it out in the quarterfinals of the 1998 U.S. Amateur as the reigning British and U.S. Amateur champions. Sergio won that time around, and Matt is still quite taken with the way Sergio is playing, even tho he will likely be a Ryder Cup foe later this year;

“He’s fun to watch swing a golf club, he’s been putting it really well for a couple years now, he’s switched over to the claw grip and really rolls it nicely.”

Matt Jones is one of four players tied in third spot, at -8 under par for the tournament, sharing that place with him are, Cameron Tringale, Shawn Stefani and Jimmy Walker.

Matt needs a victory here to qualify him for his first Masters, he missed a chance at the BMW;

“I had a chance on the last hole at BMW Championship, from 6 feet, and I hit a great putt that I thought was in, and it lipped out, and that was the difference between me finishing top 30 and not. But I had a good year, I can’t complain at all.”

The FedExCup points leader, Jimmy Walker, is happy that the putts are dropping in again;

“I feel like I’m hitting it good and my putts are going back in, so I’m looking forward to the weekend and seeing what happens.I think when you’re really playing well, you make a lot of putts. I just kind of went through a stretch where I wasn’t making a ton. I think that plays a lot into it.”

 Local boy Shawn Stefani said it was nice to be playing golf in his home town;

“It’s just nice to come out here and play well at home.”

Phil Mickelson is excited to be in the mix for the week-end;

“I’m excited about the weekend because first of all I haven’t had many opportunities this year. I haven’t been in contention and I can feel my game start to get sharp.”

 Padraig Harrington is one of the notables who are missing the cut, he was disappointed, but will watch on TV;

The Masters is a great tournament. It’s worth watching. I’ll enjoy watching it. It’s disappointing to miss out.”

Padraig is joined in the going home crowd by, Charles Howell IIIJordan SpiethLouis OosthuizenTrevor Immelman and Defending Champion D.A. Points.

Honda Classic. Rory Mac Still on Track.

dragon logo darkThe Honda Classic LogoRory McIlroy is still on track to win The Honda Classic, leading the competition on  the PGA National course at Palm Beach Gardens.

In driver's seat at Honda

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory shot a -4 under par 66 to maintain his momentum at the top of the leaderboard at The Honda Classic, with a -11 under par total. He spoke about his implosion last year and thinks maturity has helped him overcome those difficulties;

“It’s a different end of the spectrum I guess, I wasn’t quite comfortable with my golf swing. I was still tinkering with equipment. I just wasn’t feeling in control of, you know, what I needed to be in control of. This year is obviously a lot different. I think it’s just a sign of a little more maturity, not really trying to force the issue or press. I knew that with the way I’m playing and the confidence in my ability, I would be able to get those shots back. I didn’t panic.”

“When you’re not quite in control of your swing, your confidence can sort of go in peaks and troughs. When you hit a few good shots, your confidence can go up quite quickly but then you hit one bad one, it can sort of go down again and that’s where I was sort of most of last year. Now I feel I’m happy with where my swing is, and even if I do hit a loose shot, I can get over it much quicker and much easier because I have the confidence in what I’m doing. I’m playing well and I’m comfortable.”

Brendon de Jong is in second place after his super second round -6 under par 64, which elevated him to -10 under par overall. Brendon, who has never won on the PGA TOUR,  will be in the last group Saturday, alongside Rory. He mentioned the wind picking up in the afternoon;

“I think I might have got a little bit of switch in the wind. I feel very comfortable, I’ve been out here long enough now. I’ve played quite a bit with Rory. I know obviously what a great player he is. I feel very comfortable. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

In third place at -8 under par is Russell Henley, who carded a second round -2 under par 70, to stay in touch with the leaders.

Among those making the cut on the number, at even par were some dignitaries; Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, V.J. Singh and Paul Casey.

Tiger reported;

“I hit it good enough to shoot probably at least three or four lower than I did. I had so many looks where I just missed, and I just need to read them a little bit better than I did today.”

Sergio is struggling;

“It’s just been a little bit of a struggle, it’s just one of those weeks where you just don’t feel it. I wish I could put my hand on what it is. I just didn’t feel comfortable starting out, but I have to be happy with the finish and hope for a decent weekend.”

There were also a couple of big names on the missed cut column, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson. Phil was +1 over par and Henrik was +9 over par for the first two rounds.

Accenture Match-Play. Garcia’s Gentlemanly Conduct. G-Mac King of Comebacks

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 Sergio Garcia was guilty of serious gentlemanly conduct in his loss to Rickie Fowler, conceding a seventeen foot putt. G-Mac came back from the dead once again, a resurrection indeed.

No regrets: Garcia concedes 17-footer in loss to Fowler

Sergio & Rickie / Getty Images

 Rickie Fowler defeated Sergio Garcia, 1 up, Friday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship , but that included the conceded putt of seventeen feet. The incident took place took place at Dove Mountain’s seventh hole, Sergio felt that he  had taken too much time to take a drop at No. 6, and conceded the halving par putt to Rickie. Sergio’s 7-foot par was conceded in return.

Sergio explained the extraordinary event like this;

I don’t regret it at all. I think that this is a gentleman’s game and lately, it hasn’t felt like it’s been like that. This is the way I was brought up by my dad. I felt like my drop on six took too much time. If I would have been in his position, I wouldn’t have enjoyed waiting so long to hit my birdie putt after the great shot that he hit. I thought that was the only thing I could do on seven to make myself feel better and not feel guilty about anything.”

The real problem was bee’s, Sergio asked for a drop away from the bee colony, saying;

 “I don’t want to hit the shot, I’ve had bad experiences with bees.”

Rickie was confused for a while;

“I had to kind of find out what he was asking or offering there, it took me a minute to figure it out.  It would be stupid not to take a half. He said, ‘You wanna halve’ I didn’t know what he meant. I thought maybe he had a sandwich”

For a the third day on the trot, Graeme McDowell came from behind to win. Claiming victory in  his quarter-final clash with Victor Dubuisson at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Graeme McDowell  (Getty Images)

G-Mac / Getty Images

Graeme was again on the ropes at two down with two to play, he rallied with two closing birdies, which saw the former US Open Champion force extra holes, and a 15 foot birdie putt at the third extra hole, after Hunter had found a greenside bunker. The victory sealed a last-eight spot for the Volvo World Match Play champion.

Graeme was amazed to still be in the tournament;

 “It’s entertaining for sure but I’d much rather have it much easier, believe me. I can’t get my head around it. I was pretty sure I was beat against Gary Woodland, yesterday I thought I had a chance and today walking off the 16th green I thought I was beat again. The par save on the second play-off hole was just ridiculous, he holed from 20 feet there. I can’t believe it really, I have just robbed three players at this tournament and I can’t believe I am still in it.”

Victor Dubuisson avoided a comeback by Bubba Watson, clinging on for a one up victory after being three up with four to play. Making his World Golf Championships debut, Victor feels he is ready to join the next Ryder Cup team;

“I’m definitely ready because I have good experience of match play as an amateur. I hope the three matches I have won will help me get into the team.”

Ernie Els came up with a brilliant approach shot to within two feet at the 18th to see off Jason Dufner 1 up, while the other South African Louis Oosthuizen dispatched Webb Simpson 5-4.

Jason Day defeated George Coetzee 3-1, and Jordan Spieth beat Matt Kuchar 2-1. Jim Furyk defeated Harris English 1 up.

So far this week I have manged to avoid using the word bracket, but thought I had better mention it just in case you thought I was not aware.

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.

Accenture Match-Play. Who Lost on Day 1

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The Accenture Match-Play tournament was most noted for who lost on day 1 of the competition, at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

Day 1 recaps: Accenture

Ricky Fowler / Getty

It was a great victory for Ricky Fowler, defeating legendary matchplay exponent Ian Poulter 2-1. Even Ricky thought Poults was on a winner;

“I was definitely an underdog coming in. Heck, if I was filling out a bracket, I would have picked Poulter, too.  It feels like a big win after those missed cuts, it was nice to be the underdog. I had nothing to lose.”

Another Englishman on the wrong side of the leaderboard was Lee Westwood, he was defeated by Harris English 5-3.

George Coetzee, fresh from his win in South Africa, defeated Steve Stricker, an unlikely result at the start of play.

Zach Johnson, coming back from a layoff, lost to Richard Sterne 5-4. Everyone must now wonder if the unenforced rest period was a disaster, as Zach was playing really well beforehand. Another loser on day 1 was Keegan Bradley, falling to Jonas Blixt 2-1. Luke Donald also packed his bags, losing 5-4 to Matteo Manassero.

G-Mac only just made it,  he was four down through seven holes, and still three holes behind with three to play, when he staged an improbable rally against Florida neighbor Gary Woodland

Daily Wrap-up

Graeme McDowell / Getty

Graeme said he was surprised to get through;

“I’m sure he’s extremely disappointed right now, and I’m extremely elated. I’m surprised to be sitting here, having won. Yeah, I hit a couple of quality shots down the last couple of holes, but he had mistakes, as well. It’s a brutal format. I thought it was over, you’re not coming back from 3 down against a guy that’s playing as well as him. Yeah, I’m still going to try to hit my shots. But it required a mistake from him to give me half a sniff, even. It feels like a Sunday afternoon on Wednesday.”

The big names that made it safely through include, Henrik Stenson, the number one seed here, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, albeit after 22 holes, Jimmy Walker, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson.