Sony Open. A Walk in the Park for Walker.

dragon logo dark

It was a walk in the park for Jimmy Walker as he won the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

Walker's run continues

Jimmy Walker / Getty Images

Jimmy fired an amazing last round of -7 under par 63, to lift the trophy at the Sony Open on Hawaii with a -17 under par total. Added to that sweet success is the fact that although  it’s still only the middle of January, he is also No. 1 in the FedExCup standings and Ryder Cup standings.

Jimmy said it took him a while to get there, but he played some real cool golf;

“It took me a long time to do it, I felt very calm and controlled. That’s what you’ve got to feel and do when it’s time to win. It’s easy to say, hard to do, but today was awesome, really cool golf. I’ve always felt like I belonged, and you need affirmation every now and then. The other win was like, `Yeah, OK, I can do it.’ I did it, and I was supposed to be able to do it. Everybody told me I was supposed to do it, and I finally did it. And then it’s, `Well, are you going to be the guy that won that you never hear from again?’ It’s nice to get it done and do it again today.”

Chris Kirk finished in second place at -16 under par, his last round -4 under par 66 not good enough to win the trophy. He felt he had played well enough to win;

“I feel like I hit the ball well enough to win this week, but it doesn’t always work out that way.”

Jerry Kelly finished alone in third place, at -15 under par, with Harris English on his own in fourth at -14 under par.

Jerry finishing strongly with a -5 under par 65, but Harris was not so good again carding another round of -3 under par 67, to slip out of contention.

World number two Adam Scott completed his tournament in -10 under par, and is now taking a six-week break, to work on his game which was lacking a little something here in Hawaii;

“I was liking my position there, I was making today a lot of fun, but I didn’t play very well on the next nine. I just was in the rough too much, unfortunately. It’s just such a hard course to get it going around here. I’ll work on my game a lot, I think there’s plenty of work on after the last couple weeks.”

Sony Open. Chris Kirk is the King.

dragon logo dark

 

Chris Kirk is the King at the end of the third round at the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in  Honolulu.

Riding high

Chris Kirk / Getty Images

 Chris took control of the Sony Open on Saturday as he  fired a -5 under par third round  65 to take a one stroke lead going into the final day, with his -12 under par tournament total.

Chris spoke about how tight this competition is;

“When it’s so close like that, everybody is going to be making some birdies here and there, so I probably won’t look at leaderboards as much as I normally would. A lot of courses I think lend themselves to you need to know what your position is going into any given hole, but out here, I don’t think that’s really the case. They’re just so volatile with guys making birdies and bogeys. I’ll just probably try to keep my head down and make as many birdies as I can.”

Second place is being shared by Will Wilcox and Harris English, both at -11 under par. Will, said he does not know what to expect, but is delighted to be in the mix;

“I didn’t know what was going to happen this week, making the cut was a dream come true. Playing good on Saturday was a dream come true. Getting to have a decent shot tomorrow is ridiculous. I saw I was beating James Hahn by two or three. He was like 51st and I was in 13th or something, you’ve just got to play tight and make a couple of clutch putts, which I did today. I don’t know. We’ll see.”

Harris mentioned how tough it is, and he is happy to be in with a shot at  the title;

“It was just kind of `Grind it til you find it.’ this course is tough. It’s hard to hit the fairways, and you’ve just got to be a wizard around the greens, and that’s kind of how I approached today. I didn’t have my best golf, but I scraped it around at three under par and I’m still in this golf tournament.”

Next in line at -10 under par are Jerry Kelly and Jimmy Walker.

Robert Allenby made only five cuts in 24 tournaments last year and had to use an exemption from career money (top 25) to get his card. Robert is currently tied in sixth place, at -9 under par, with six other players. He said the turn around for him came with playing his local club with the old boy’s, who will not give him an inch;

“I’ve been playing the guys at Admiral’s Cove, all the 60-year-olds, and they make me putt out because they’re like waiting for me to miss. I keep shooting 7, 8, 9 under and stuff with them. They’ve put me in a good mental state for out here on tour.”

There are eleven players within three shots of the lead here at the Waialae Country Club, so the Sony Open title is still very much in the balance. Someone is going to have a very good round tomorrow.

 

Sony Open. Brian Blazes Trail,

dragon logo dark

 

 

Brian Stuard blazes a trail at the top of the leaderboard at the Sony Open  at the wonderful Waialae Country Club course in Hawaii.

Brian Stuard / Getty Images

Brian  finished off his second round with an Eagle, using a hybrid 3-iron into 2 feet on the par-5 ninth hole for a -5 under par 65. Back to back 65’s have given Brian a -10 under par tournament total, a one shot lead going into the week-end.

Brian said he feels comfortable on the greens;

“I think it’s something to do with the greens, I feel comfortable on the greens. I feel like I read them pretty well and I’m able to make putts.”

Second place belongs to Aussie Marc Leishman and Japanese Hideto Tanihara, both players one shot adrift of the lead at -9 under par. Marc with a smooth second round -6 under par 64, and Hideto carded a -5 under par 65.

Marc also had an Eagle on the ninth hole, and said it has out him right into the mix;

 “They’re the sort of things that really turn an average round into a good one, or a good one into a great one. It was nice to shoot six under and get myself right in it.”

Harris English, at -8 under par for the tournament is alone in fourth position, while Jason Kokrak is one of the six players at -7 under par.

Jason admitted he had done little practice, but was pleased with how it is going

“I’m keeping the ball in play, keeping the ball in front of me, I’m pleased with where I’m at right now. I’m going to have to make a few more putts. I didn’t do a whole lot of practicing this offseason, so I’m just kind of playing my way into some good play this week.”

Keeping Jason company on -7 under par are, Adam Scott, Jimmy Walker, Chris Kirk, Sang-Moon Bae and Chris Stroud.

Surprisingly missing the cut is Jordan Spieth, he was on the verge of getting to -2-under par at the turn, until carelessly missing a four foot birdie putt. He followed that mistake with a tee shot out of bounds on the next hole, and never recovered.

Apart from all that Jordan said he putted well;

“The funny thing is, I putted better this week than last week.”

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

dragon logo darkLogo Image

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.

Two Tournaments in Two Weeks in Hawaii; Seem Like Heaven to You ?

dragon logo dark

Logo ImageDoes two tournaments in two weeks in Hawaii seem like heaven to you ? Well it apparently does not suit everyone.Twelve of the thirty players who teed it up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course have opted to miss next weeks Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, a short island hop away.

2012 SOIH winner Russell Henley

Russel Henley, last years winner / Stan Bedz PGA

Last years winner Russel Henley carded  26 birdies against only two bogeys during the tournament, the only real defense the Waialae Country Club has is the wind. If it doesn’t blow then low scores are the order of the day.

Weather conditions this year are predicted to be similar to last years event, sunshine periodically shrouded by passing clouds and the occasional rain shower are expected, as are manageable trade winds and seasonable highs right around the 80 degree mark.

Excuses are the usual, Jonas Blixt ho has missed the cut and finished T-54 in his two tries at Waialae Country Club commented;

 “It just doesn’t fit me. I just don’t hit enough fairways to compete there. I’m just not very good at it. Honestly, we want to play, if I could play every tournament, I would, but you just can’t play them all.”

This from Martin Laird;

“It doesn’t set up well for me, if you don’t hit right-to-left you’re at a disadvantage. My high fade is not the ideal shot there.”

Apart from Jonas and MartinDustin Johnson has also pulled the plug. along with nine others who have chosen to play the Hyundai, but not the Sony. The missing in action list is pretty impressive;

Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Ryan Moore, John Merrick, Kevin Streelman, Patrick Reed, and Billy Horschel.

Seems like John Merrick just likes to play on the mainland;

“I just really love the West Coast events, I’ll play Humana (the week after the Sony), San Diego, Phoenix, Pebble Beach, and LA. You just have to pick your spots.”

Ryan Moore also prefers to go home;

 “For me, it’s 100 percent a scheduling matter.”

Billy Horschel has a corporate commitment to CVS;

 “Six months ago we gave them some days for an outing at TPC Sawgrass for a military event, and we came up with next Friday.”

Patrick Reed just feels knackered;

“I feel like we’ve walked over Mount Everest this week, it’s just very hilly. Besides, the Humana (and Palm Springs) area is one of our favorite places, I’ve had success at Torrey and I want to be well-rested going into those.”

So, who is going to play the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in lovely Honolulu, take a look at this bunch;

Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner, and Jordan Spieth, these guys alone are worth the entrance money.

To tell you the truth I could easily live in Hawaii, visited there four times and loved every minute.

Humana Challenge, Brian Gay Wins, Scott Did Stall.

 

Drive to succeed

Brian Gay / Getty Images

The Humana Challenge was won by 41-year-old Brian Gay, at  the PGA West Palmer Course, La Quinta, California on Sunday. Brian won in a play-off against Chucky Three Sticks and David Lingmerth, with a birdie on the second play-off hole, the tenth. With this win Brian also moves to number one in the Fed Ex Cup standings.

A shocked Brian said;

“I’m still in a little bit of shock, it kind of happened so fast there at the end the way things went down. Last year was a struggle, it was a long year, a lot of work. I just wanted to come out this year kind of refocused, recharged, and believing in myself. My whole game’s been about accuracy and short game. I’ve always been a short hitter on the TOUR and I felt like as I was getting older I’m only going to get shorter and shorter. The thoughts were, just be aggressive, shoot as low as you can. It was tough last year trying to play making those changes.”

Charles Howell 111 tied for second a week after opening the season with a third-place tie in Hawaii in the Sony Open, his last TOUR title was in 2007. Chucky Three Stick admits it is a mentally tough task competing on the TOUR;

“Anybody that says that golf is fun or whatever, has really not done it for a living, I would never characterize this as fun. It’s different than that. It’s awfully challenging mentally. Quite honestly, going into the day, I didn’t really think that anybody had a chance apart from Scott, he’s won before, he hits it long enough to take advantage of the par fives. At 22 under, I figured if he shoots 6, or 7 under, he’s really not catchable. So, then to have a chance there in regulation, that’s where I really would like that one back, that three-putt there.”

David Lingmerth tied for second with Chucky, he was ,making only his second career appearance on the PGA TOUR, he also got into the play-off  but duffed his approach into the water, a bad lie costing him dearly;

“I didn’t feel that comfortable over it, obviously, I just hit a bad shot.”

Scott obviously Stalled, he needed a birdie at the last to win, and a par to get into the play-off, he unfortunately he wobbled at the wrong moment;

“You’re going to have your good days and your bad days, but if you live and die with every shot out there, your career is not going to last very long out there.”

Phil Mickelson finished way down the list at -17 under par for the tournament, he put it down to being rusty;

“I was rusty starting the year, I had a great four days here where I can work on my game with perfect weather and wonderful golf courses, where I could build some momentum. Heading into San Diego, I feel a lot more confident.”

 

 

Humana Challenge, Three Tied at the Top

Logo Image

There are three players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the Humana Challenge event at PGA West ,  La Quinta California, the event that was formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic.

Jason Kokrak, Roberto Castro and James Hahn share the top of the leaderboard at -9 under par with rounds of 63.

Jason said he was concentrating on getting the ball in the fairway;

“I just tried to put it in the right spots, put it in the fairways, out there, that’s key. They’re tighter fairways and if you can be in the fairway, you’ll have a good opportunity for birdie.”

Roberto Castro had nine birdies at PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus Private Course, and James Hahn had nine birdies on PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course. 

James said he was happy with his day, especially the two chip-ins;

” It was a great day, chipped two in. Hadn’t done that since I was 9.”

Russell Henley, who won the Sony Open in Hawaii last Sunday, shot a round of -8 under par, 64 on the Nicklaus Course, he said it was a perfect day;

” It was a perfect day, the weather is perfect, the greens were true. So, it’s just trying to stay patient and let the birdies come to me.”

Phil Mickelson made his first tournament start since tying for second in early November in the HSBC Champions in China, the only event he played in after the Ryder Cup, he finished at even par, after a miracle shot at the par three twelfth. His tee shot flew to the left, leaving him behind a  tall tree blocking his path to the green.  A full blooded swing flop shot climbed miraculously nearly straight up and over the 25-foot tree and stopped 2 feet from the hole. It helped him salvage his par on the hole and eventually his round. Phil spoke later about that shot;

“That was one of my better wedges, but, as I was telling my partner, `You hit it there as much as I do, eventually you’re going to learn how to hit those shots.'”

Referring to the tee shot that lead up to it, Phil just said;

” It was just very bad timing, quick from the top, lower body fast, just a bad swing. I did the same thing on the next par 3 with the same club. Only it went the other way. I made par both times, though.”

I just wish I could get away with a bad shot and make par, my bad shots are usually terminal.

Mike Weir,  opened with a -5 under par round of 67, the 2003 Champion has unfortunately missed 16 consecutive cuts,he was pleased to get of to a good start here;

“I drove it well and putted well and everything was pretty good. It was a nice solid round to get off to a good start.”