Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Seung-Yul Steps Up for First Win

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 Seung-Yul Noh steps up to take his first PGA Tour title, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.

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Seung-Yul stayed calm to post a final round -1 under par 71, and take the Zurich Classic victory with a tournament total of -19 under par, and a two shot margin. The final round was played in some very hostile windy conditions, making it hard to control the ball, driving or putting.

Seung-Yul’s caddie Scott Sajtinac summed it up;

” People knew he was gonna be good, and to finally get a win under your belt will send him in the right direction. He’s just steely, these young guys that are winning right now, they’re just rock-solid under the pump. It’s hard to do, being in control of everything. He was unflappable, he just stays the same. You look at the guys who are contending week-in, week-out on the PGA Tour, they’re unflappable.”

“He’s wise beyond his years for a 22-year-old, it was hard out there. You had to mind your Ps and Qs, and he did it the whole way around essentially. The kid is gonna be good.”

Two other guys who have yet to win on the PGA Tour, finished tied second. Andrew Svoboda carded a -3 under par 69  to finish on -17 under par. and Robert Streb joined him on that score after his last round -2 under par 70.

Jeff Overton settled for fourth place on his own at -16 under par, his closing round of -2 under par 70 helping to ease him up the leaderboard as some of those around him seemed to struggle.

One such struggler was Keegan Bradley, he started the day in the final group, with Seung-Yul but had a very disappointing day, especially with the putter. The ball lipped out at least half a dozen times, it was agonizing to watch. He ended the tournament T8 at -13 under par, after starting with such high hopes of victory, signing for a last round +3 over par 75. He still said he will take the positives from this contest, especially how he rebounded from the triple;

“I took it pretty well, I played really well after that, just a couple of three-putts and a couple of really bad lip-outs, but I take a lot away from being in contention.”

Low round of the day went to Robert Garrigus, who only just made the cut on Friday, posting the best score on Sunday with a -8 under par 64. The round included a 374-yard drive with a tail wind on 18, which he birdied to finish T5 with a  -14 under par score.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Seung-Yul Soars, Ben Backs Up.

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Seung-Yul Noh soars at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans while Ben Martin backs up on the TPC Louisiana course.

No bogeys for Noh at Zurich

Seung-Yul Noh / Getty Images

Seung-Yul shot a -7 under par 65 in the third round of the Zurich Classic, sending him to the top of the leaderboard with his tournament score of -18 under par. He has now completed 54 tournament holes without incurring a bogey, and will enjoy a two shot lead at the beginning of play in the final round tomorrow. Great Golf. With stats like these, eight of his approach shots were hit to 10 feet or closer, and he  made seven birdies in posting his second round of 65 this week.

“That’s just this week, that’s why I’ve played three good bogey-free rounds. I was very disappointed in the whole season last year. I learned from that time. I’m very ready for tomorrow.”

His turnaround has come since he hired Scott Sajtinac  to coach him. Scott had some good things to say about his new employer;

“We know the kid’s good. He’s the real deal, it’s just coming together this week. To be able to have that calmness that it takes to win, it comes with age. It’s hard to win out here, let alone without a lot of experience.”

” His iron play is off the charts right now. There are a lot of cross breezes , slightly in, slightly helping, you’ve really got to control the flight of your ball. He’s doing it.”

Keegan Bradley matched that -7 under par third round score of 65, which elevated him up into second place on his own at -16 under par. Just two shots behind the leader, and with them both playing confident golf, tomorrow’s pairing will be a joy to behold.

On Friday Keegan woke up with food poisoning symptoms, it did not stop him from scoring a 66. He said he woke up OK for Saturday, and proved it by carding a third round -7 under par 65.

“ Saturday I woke up, thankfully, a hundred percent, but I felt very, very sick yesterday. I felt so great today, from the first tee to the range to the last hole. I’m most proud this week of where I’ve been mentally on the golf course and how calm I’ve felt.”

Of his coaching with Chuck Cook, Keegan thinks they have it all sorted now;

“We’re done doing much, it’s all just maintenance now. When I’m not in contention, it’s no fun, I love waking up and feeling that energy, getting to the first tee and the bigger crowds.”

Robert Streb is alone in third place at -15 under par, he carded a third round -4 under par 68.

Ben Martin had raced to the lead shooting a course-record -10 under par 62 in his first round, then followed that with his 36-hole score of 129 also a course record. He started the day badly carding a bogey 6 on the second hole, and never really recovered as the others moved away from him. He finished the day recording a +1 over par 73 and backing up into a tie for fourth place with Jeff Overton and Andrew Svoboda.

Paul Casey arrived here on Tuesday morning, he had to travel to Los Angeles to square away his green card first. By the time he arrived in New Orleans on Wednesday afternoon, he was too tired to get out and walk the course. On top of that he had a 7 a.m. tee time in Round 1. He carded a third round -8 under par 64, and explained it like this;

“I’m really just winging it completely blind, but it’s paid off. I’m trying not to learn the course, I’m trying to stay kind of, ‘Ignorance is bliss’ out there. I know his courses and I know how he thinks and I feel very, very comfortable around them. I’m not sure I’ll continue the trend of skipping practice rounds, but it’s fared well so far this week.”

“I know how to win a golf tournament, I feel very much over all the injuries and the struggles that I’ve had. So tomorrow is just a really exciting day for me.”

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Magic 62 to Start for Ben Martin.

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Ben Martin shot a course record, a magic 62 in the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.

Ben Martin, 26, will attempt to become just the fifth first-round leader to win this season on TOUR. (Chris Greythan/Getty Images)

A happy Ben Martin / Getty Images

Ben has shot a 62 before, but that was on his home course, Greenwood Country Club, this one was in the big league;

” I think back, and that round and this round were two of the best rounds I’ve ever played, It was everything, the shots were going where I was looking and the putts were going in just like I was seeing them.”

The wind really picked up during the day, but Ben seemed oblivious to the conditions;

 ” I hate the cliché, one shot at a time, but when it gets windy like that, that’s really what you have to focus on. We played in the wind every day last week, so I was probably a little bit used to it. Really, everything was working well, I had a pretty good start and just kept it rolling. It was just one of those days, just like you draw it up.”

Something else that is going his way is history, six of the past nine winners of the Zurich Classic have been first-time PGA TOUR winners. Ben has no idea why that should be, but said he does play well on Pete Dye designed courses;

“I don’t know what causes that, I know that for myself, I like most Pete Dye courses. We played one last week and I was successful there. I guess whatever he does kind of fits my eye.”

Andrew Svoboda is in second place, wonderful round of -8 under par 64, and he is still two shots behind the leader.

Peter Hanson and Seung-Yul Noh are tied in third place, both recording opening rounds of -7 under par 65. Peter thinks he tries to over think what he is trying to achieve;

” We want to do this so exact and be so precise, I over-read putts and over analyze the shots, trying to figure this game out. I think sometimes you have to let the score come to you instead of you going after it.”

Eric Compton, Chad Collins and Michael Thompson are tied in fifth place at -6 under par, following their tidy rounds of 66.

Eric, a two-time heart transplant recipient, took part  in a junior golf clinic earlier in the week, with youngsters who also have heart problems. He said he enjoyed meeting with the kids and it always gives him a lift;

“It seems to really relax me and really puts things in perspective. I seem to play better during the weeks where I have hospital visits.”

” This is a course that I feel very comfortable on, you have to hit a lot of long iron shots and drive it well here, and those are some of the strengths of my game.”

Michael used to live in the area, but decided to move away to help jump start his career;

“I haven’t played here much, but I’m starting to get more comfortable playing this course. At first, I thought it was a really long, big course and I felt like I had to overpower everything, but I’m starting to play more within myself and when I do that, I have rounds like today.”

“I loved New Orleans, being in the city and always having a lot to do. But I’ve always told everybody that if I would have stayed at Tulane, I probably wouldn’t have developed into the golfer that I am today as quickly. Transferring to Alabama was great for me.”

AT&T Pebble Beach. Russell Knox and Hunter Mahan Lead.

AT&T have a mission to stage the world’s premier PGA TOUR pro-am that brings the community together with global leaders in sports, entertainment and industry to raise Charitable funds which create opportunities for success. Some of the professionals and stars who are competing this week;

Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan, David Duval, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir and celebrities and sports stars: Wayne Gretzky, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Cain, Justin Verlander, Carson Daly, Josh Duhamel, Andy Garcia, Billy Murray, Chris O’Donnell, Ray Romano, Tony Romo, Andy Roddick.

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Hunter Mahan / Getty Images

Hunter Mahan and Russell Knox lead the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with first round scores of -6 under par. Hunter on the Pebble Beach course with a round of 64, and Russell with a 66 at the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula.

Hunter really enjoyed his day, especially when the forecast mid-day rain did not appear;

” I had a good time with my partner, the pace was great, the weather was good.I think the most interesting thing was we had perfect weather when it was supposed to rain at noon. We were all expecting rain. The bag probably weighs 100 pounds right now.”

Russell said he is full of confidence, and playing well, but is limited in his appearances because he finished outside of the top 125 on his rookie year;

“I came in here with a lot of confidence because I feel like I’ve been playing very well. Just haven’t had the chance to play. It was nice to get off to a good start.”

Seung-Yul Noh, playing at Spy Glass Hill carded a  -5 under par round of 67, which could have been even better without the two bogey’s on the last two holes. He was still pleased with his overall score;

“Still a good score. I’m really happy with that.”

Also at 5 under were Scott Langley a 65 at Monterey Peninsula, he is the first graduate of The First Tee program to make it to the PGA TOUR.  Matt Every is also at -5 under par, he sadly had a bogey on his final hole at Pebble Beach for a 67.

This is a complicated tournament, with its three courses and mixed with Professional players and Celebrity amateurs, so anything can happen, especially when you have the caliber of Phil Mickleson and Lee Westwood in the field,

AT&T National at Congressional, third round disrupted by violent storm.

Tiger making a move

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Brendon de Jonge leads the AT&T National after a disrupted and delayed third round at Congressional Country Club. The delay was caused by a violent electrical storm overnight, with winds gusting at 70 mph, breaking ancient trees in half and destroying plant life over the whole course. The public and volunteers were asked to stay away for the day while the grounds people attempted to clear away the debris. The playing area itself was not really affected and after a five-hour delay the tournament third round commenced behind closed doors. A very strange atmosphere for all the competitors, very similar to just playing a practice round, only it was for real.

Brendon spoke about his quiet round, with hardly any spectators;

” There was just no buzz, and it was hard to get the adrenaline going. Kind of felt like you were playing a Tuesday practice round or a qualifier. But I obviously understand why they had to do it. I think we had three today, maybe four for a couple of holes, but then he left us.”

Brendon had a -2 under par round of 69, for a tournament total of -7 under par. Following close behind is Tiger Woods and Bo Van Pelt, who both shot rounds of -4 under par to be  at -6 under par, just one shot adrift of the leader. Joining them at tied for second spot is the young South Korean player, Seung-Yul Noh who had a third round score of -2 under par and equal with Tiger and Bo at -6 under par for the tournament. Best round of the day went to Billy Hurley 111 with his -5 under par, 66, which moved him back up the leaderboard in a tie for fifth place, with a score of  -6 under par, a good recovery from yesterday’s average round.

Tiger also commented on the lack of people, although he drew the largest crowd, about 100 fans;

“I’ve played in front of people like this, but not generally for an 18-hole competitive round. Whether we have thousands of people or we have a small handful of people out there, it doesn’t change the execution of the shot. What does change is when I hole a shot like I did on 6, it’s not going to be as loud today as it normally is. The gallery wasn’t something I was thinking about, I was just trying to play. This was a Saturday round. It was a chance to play myself into a tournament.”

Bo Van Pelt had a message for Tiger;

“I told Tiger that was a Bo Van Pelt crowd, so I was used to that. I was very comfortable with 10 or 15 people watching me play golf.”