CIMB Classic. Rikard Karlberg Leads

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Swede Rikard Karlberg leads the CIMB Classic after the first round at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club in Malaysia.

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Rikard shot a first round -7 under par 65 at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, to take a two shot lead into the second round.

Returning from an injury Rikard said he just relaxed, and had some fun, but the lingering viral infection has affected his season;

It gets you a little bit stressed out, I just stopped almost enjoying the game. I was a little bit frustrated before the two last tournaments coming into this week.”

“Just enjoy it and have fun out there made a big difference to me, so I haven’t really thought about it as a big event.”

Tied in second place are Billy Hurley III, Brian Stuard and Angelo Que, all with opening rounds of -5 under par 67.

Top ranked player in the field is Sergio Garcia, he opened the competition with a -3 under par 69. He unfortunately is still suffering from putting problems, which I think is entirely down to that claw grip that he uses;

“It was one of those day where instead of lipping in, they seemed to lip out, and I probably had at least four or five putts that looked like they were going to go in and didn’t.”

Davis Love 111 is another player who had a good start, posting a -4 under par 68 first round, to sit in a tie for fifth place, he said he was taking it easy;

“I was a little tentative on some shots and not real sure what to do, I made some bad swings, but all in all you take 4 under if you haven’t ever seen the course before, so I’m pretty happy with it.”

“I don’t feel real good about a couple of those tee shots I hit. Physically, mentally I’m great. I’m relaxed now. The pressure is off of last week and all the excitement. Somebody else is cleaning up the mess, and I can go play.”

 

 

Tour Championship. Billy and Chris Show the Way.

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Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk, the in form people, are leading the Tour Championship together, tied at the top of the East Lake Golf Club leaderboard.

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Billy and Chris both recorded opening rounds at The TOUR Championship of -4 under par 66 at East Lake Golf Club. Although Billy’s wife Brittany is expecting a baby any time soon, she told him to keep playing golf;

My wife is totally on board, she’s a golfer. She understands what this victory and FedExCup Playoffs and what it all means. I’ve probably got the greatest wife out here.”

“There wasn’t much discussion. I brought up the question. She said you’re staying.” 

“I won’t find out on the course, because my focus may be taken away from the task at hand. But after the round’s over with, I will be flying home, spend a few hours and then flying back later that day or the next morning before the round of golf.”

“Having a chance to win $10 million and our first child on the way, it’s pretty amazing, especially the time of year that it’s happening.”

“Listen, Hunter Mahan did a great thing last year pulling out, but I would think if he was in my position with winning, having a chance to win, roughly $10 million more, if you had the TOUR Championship winner’s check and everything, I think it would be maybe a no brainer to stay put and keep playing and go home in between rounds.” 

Chris mentioned the solid rounds they both played today, and how good it was to go round with Billy;

“We both had a solid day, Billy’s obviously been playing some pretty incredible golf with winning last week and finishing second the week before.  And I’ve been doing all right myself.”

“So it was a comfortable pairing for both of us, I think, and the golf course played really, really well. It was tough, but very fair. And we both had it going pretty nice.”

There are four players tied in third place, Jim Furyk, Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed, all on -3 under par for the tournament.

Patrick is in the unenviable position of choosing which caddy to use, wife Justine, who has recently given birth to their son, or  her brother Kessler, who him helped win two tournaments when Justine was not available;

“Depends on how Justine feels, what her comfort level is and what she feels like doing.” 

“I mean, whether she’s caddying or whether Kessler’s caddying, I know I can play well. I’ve won with both of them, played some great golf with both of them.”      

“Obviously it’s more of a family decision on what we feel is most comfortable not only for us but also for little Windsor Wells.”

The gathered media could only ask Bubba who was longest off the tee, him or Rory, great answer from Bubba;

“Who cares. Ask Rory. He could care less, too. Listen, all we want to do is win. We’re trying to win golf tournaments. Jim Furyk’s record, Corey Pavin’s record’s a lot better than Bubba Watson. So I wish I hit it like them, I guess.”

Rory had a slow start to this tournament, currently at -1 under par, along with Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Ryan Palmer.

BMW Championship. Billy Lifts BMW Championship Trophy.

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Billy Horschel lifts the BMW Championship Trophy at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver.

BMW Championship

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Billy held it all together while those around him faltered, his final round -1 under par enough to give him the BMW Championship with a -14 under par tournament total.

Last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship he was tied second, a win this week, what is his prediction for the The TOUR Championship next week ?;

“I’m not going to go ahead and guarantee a victory right now, but I will say that I’m probably going to play very well and I will have a chance to win on Sunday.”

“You want to keep saying negative things to me, that just adds fuel to my fire, I’m going to stick it to you every time. If I was a betting man, I would put some money on me.”

Billy was not too impressed with his -1 under par final round effort;

“I didn’t have my great stuff, I had been holding it for way too many holes. I just felt like, you know, I can sort of relax now.”

Bubba Watson had to settle for second place, a last round -4 under par 66 not good enough to make a challenge, finishing two shots behind at -12 under par, he laid the blame on poor putting;

” You’re going to have weeks like that, and I’ll take it. It’s one of those things where I had a shot, second place is a start in the right direction.”

“10 million bucks worth of putts wouldn’t be too bad.”

Morgan Hoffman took third place, a superb last round of -7 under par 63 and -11 under par total, it was also good enough to get him into the top 30 for The TOUR Championship next week, his first ever appearance. He will also get to play the Majors, with friend Rickie Fowler;

“It means the world to me.”

“It’s going to be really exciting to play in the majors with him next year, it’s always been a dream of mine to play in the Masters.”

“I didn’t really hit it much better on the weekend than the first two days.”

 

Sergio was cruising along and seemed almost certain to catch Billy, or at least bring some pressure to bear, unfortunately he failed miserably when he carded an eight at the par 5, 17th, some very poor chip shots costing him dearly, and he was only 89 yards from the green.

He tweeted;

“Shame about the 17th today but still very happy with the week. Looking forward to the @playofffinale!”

“It’s what happens when you’re not just mentally sharp.”

Ryan Palmer had it going, until the 12th, which he bogeyed, then followed that with a double on 13th and two more bogey’s at the end, on 15 and 18.

He finished with a +1 over par 71 and -9 under par total, a rare shank started the rot;

“It wasn’t very good, obviously, it came out straight right.”

“You know, it’s a fickle game.”

Rory McIlroy tweeted that just in case you missed his four-putt yesterday, he did it again today.

This is how the top five line up for next weeks TOUR Championship

1. Chris Kirk 2. Billy Horschel 3. Bubba Watson 4. Rory McIlroy 5. Hunter Mahan

The strange thing is Dustin Johnson is in 30th place, the last qualifying spot, and he can not play, so why can they not call up the next man in line. Stuart Appleby ?

 

BMW Championship. Sergio Soars.

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Sergio Garcia soars to the top of the BMW Championship leaderboard at Cherry Hills Country Club.

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Sergio sunk a clutch putt on the 18th green to put some distance between him and the chasing pack of players at the BMW Championship. A superb second round -6 under par 64 gave Sergio his breathing space at the half-way stage of the tournament at Cherry Hills Country Club, posting a tournament total of -8  under par. A pulled second shot into the par five 17th, which ended in the lake, was rescued with a one putt par.

He was bothered by a strange medical condition with his left ear, but it clearly didn’t affect his golf;

“It’s happened before, but usually I kind of blow it and it gets back, but for some reason, it just didn’t feel quite the same. And it still doesn’t, but it’s definitely better. It shouldn’t be too big of a deal.”

“Obviously, it helped, because then I made 2 on the next hole.”

“It’s only Friday, so we still have two days to go, but it definitely helped my frame of mind going into the 18th tee, which today was playing quite hard. So it was nice to be able to get that up-and-down and then play 18 really well.”

“After a couple weeks where I didn’t play my best, and I didn’t feel quite that comfortable, it’s nice to at least put two solid rounds together here. I’m looking forward to playing well on the weekend, too. And then, obviously, get ready for the Ryder Cup.”

Ryan Palmer is alone in second spot, just one shot behind at -7 under par, a late run of birdies, on 13, 14 and 17, 18 helped him to his -6 under par 64. He thought the rains had made the greens softer, and more accessible and he was right;

“It was a great way to finish, I was glad I was one of the ones that shot low.”

Rory McIlroy and Billy Horschel are tied in third place at -6 under par. Rory was not too happy with his round overall, but was happy to birdie three of the last four holes;

“I feel much better coming off the golf course because I birdied three of the last four holes. I sort of struggled to get anything going today. It was a little cooler, so the ball wasn’t going quite as far, a little bit of wind, even though the course was softer, it still played pretty tough.”

Phil Mickelson is probably playing his last PGA TOUR event of the season, he needs to finish about fourth to qualify for the TOUR Championship but is 14 shots behind and in a tie for 63rd in the 68-man field.

Jason Day had to retire on the ninth hole, citing a back injury, but hopes to be ready for the TOUR Championship.

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

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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 Survives Soggy Saturday

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Sergio Garcia survived a soggy Saturday at the Firestone Country Club in the third round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, maintaining his position at the top of the leaderboard. The round included a three-hour delay due to thunderstorms.

 

WGC Bridgestone Invitational

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Sergio cared a -3 under par 67 to keep his place at the top of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational with a -14 under par tournament total, a three shot lead going into the final round tomorrow. That lead is over Rory McIlroy, who Sergio tried to chase down last at Royal Liverpool. This time it will be Rory doing the chasing, and Sergio is looking forward to the challenge, he also spoke about the good par he made on 18 today;

“Obviously, Rory is playing great, and we get along nicely as of right now, I think we’re both excited about it. We’re definitely going to play hard. It will be nice to see if I can do the same thing he did to me a couple of weeks ago. So we’ll see.”

“The one on 18 is the one that felt the best, because it was probably the toughest to make par. Where I hit it, I couldn’t really do much more than that and hope to make a good two-putt.”

Rory birdied the final two holes today to reduce the arrears, with a -11 under par total;

” My goal today was to try and get in the final group, Sergio didn’t quite have that luxury of seeing what I was doing on the last. It will be nice to play alongside him tomorrow and at least keep an eye on what’s going on. “

“Try to apply a bit of pressure when I can, but just really looking forward to getting in there and having another chance to win a tournament so soon after what happened at Hoylake.”

It would be wrong to assume this is just a two-horse race, Marc Leishman posted a -2 under par a 68 and was five shots behind at -9 under, in third spot alone.

Adam Scott returned from the three-hour rain delay carrying only his long putter, the only weapon he needed to convert one last birdie for a -5 under par 65 that at least left him with a slim chance. He is six shots behind the leader, sharing fourth place with Keegan Bradley and Justin Rose all at -8 under par.

Defending champion Tiger Woods made only one birdie on Saturday, and he also failed to birdie a par 5 for the second straight day, shooting +2 over par 72, 15 shots behind.

W.G.C. Bridgestone Invitational. Leishman Leads at Firestone.

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Bridgestone Invitational

Marc Leishman / Getty Images

 

Aussie Marc Leishman leads at the W.G.C. Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Ohio.

 

Marc shot -6 under par 64 , at Firestone Country Club to lead the WGC Bridgestone Invitational by just one shot, reporting that he played well and kept the ball  in the fairway;

“I drove the ball well. It makes this course a lot easier when you’re on the fairway. It’s pretty tough when you’re playing from the rough. Then, I hit my irons really well and was rolling the ball awesome. So it’s a pretty good combination for a tough golf course like this, something I can hopefully keep going.”

Three players are tied in second place, just that one shot behind, at -5 under par following their opening rounds of 65. Ryan Moore, Charl Schwartzel and Justin Rose are the guys right behind the leader.

Sergio and Tiger are at -2 under par, Rory at -1 under while an ailing Phil Mickelson could only manage +1 over par 71. Phil arrived late and is still in recovery mode from Strep Throat.

Rory is playing for the World Number One spot;

“There’s still so much to play for, No. 1 spot is up for grabs. Trying to get myself as far up the FedExCup points as possible. I haven’t won a World Golf Championship before.”

“Got another major coming up next week. It hasn’t been that hard for me to refocus and get back to work.”

Tiger feels he is making some progress;

“I hit a lot of good shots, I dropped shots at three holes out there today, got it right back on the very next hole.”

” I feel like I made some progress, as I said, this is only my seventh round back, so it’s just going to take a little time. I’m starting to get in the flow of things. If you look at my iron shots into the holes today, a majority of them were pin-high. So I’m starting to get the feel back in my hands and get my trajectory under control.”

Sergio is excited, and loves Firestone Country Club;

“I love the golf course. I think this is definitely one of the best golf courses we play all year.”

“We’ve always enjoyed it. I think the people always come and support it. It’s great to see nice big crowds here, and the golf course is really one of the best we play.”

“Obviously, it all depends a little bit on how the course plays. If it doesn’t rain, this course can play quite tough. Some of the holes are very, very difficult to hit. But it’s like any other week, obviously if I’m on, if I feel comfortable, if I feel confident, I think I can do well. I’ve done fairly well before.”

“But if you’re a little bit off, it’s the kind of golf course that’s asking you to hit a lot of different shots. Mainly off the tee, it’s asking you a lot. You have to be very patient and realise that it’s probably not going to be the easiest week that you have all year.”