The Open. Wire to Wire Win for the Wizard of Hoylake, Rory.

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Rory McIlroy was the wire to wire wizard of The Open at Hoylake, winning the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

Rory McIlroy - 2014 Open Champion  (Getty Images)

Kissing the Claret Jug, Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory McIlroy wins his third Major championship, and all before the age of 25, equaling the achievements of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods before him.

Rory carded a final round of -1 under par 71, for his winning total of -17 under par, a two shot victory. The other guys did not make it easy for him, there were some great sores out on the course today;

“It feels incredible, today wasn’t easy. There were a lot of guys making runs at me and I just needed to stay focused, keep in the present and concentrate on what I was doing out there.”

“To be three legs towards the career grand slam at the age of 25 is a pretty good achievement. It’s not going to sink in for a while. I knew I had some holes where I could make birdie and 16 was the real hole for me which I think settled the championship.”

 “Well done for putting up such a fight. Rickie, no doubt with the way your Major record is this year your time will come, and Sergio too, two of the best players in the world.”

“It’s pretty hard to describe right now, to be honest, I feel like I’ve come a long way in the last 18 months. A lot has happened to me on and off the golf course. My determination and hard work has really paid off.”

“This is the first Major my mum has been to that I’ve won, so mum, this one’s for you. I just can’t wait to get back and defend this thing at St Andrews next year.”

Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler tied for second place at -15 under par. Sergio charged at Rory, carding a -6 under par 66, and Rickie, who was playing alongside Rory threw in a final round -5 under par 65.

If Sergio really wants to win a Major, he will have to address the problem of that fragile putting grip.

Jim Furyk had a -7 under par 65 and finished alone in fourth spot at -13 under par for the championship. Tiger Woods ended his tournament returning a final total +6 over par. Defending Champion Phil Mickelson returned a final total of -5 under par.

The Open. Rory Racks Up 3 Rounds in a Row.

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Rory McIlroy racks up three rounds in a row at the top of the leaderboard in The Open.

Twin eagles power Rory to big 54-hole Open lead

A jubilant Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory carded two Eagles in a third round of -4 under par 68, which sent him soaring over the field at -16 under par for The Open championship at Royal Liverpool. It also gives him a six shot lead going into the final round tomorrow, and he spoke about the Grand Slam of Major titles;

“Not a lot of people have achieved the career grand slam and if everything goes the right way tomorrow, to get three-quarters of the way there is some achievement by the age of 25. It would mean a lot of hype going into Augusta next year.”

“I’d be in pretty illustrious company so it would mean an awful lot. I never thought that I’d be able to be in this position. I didn’t think that I’d even have the chance at 25 to go for three legs of the grand slam so I’m going to try to put all of that out of my head”.

“It would be way too much to think about and way too much to ponder. First things first. Just play a good solid round of golf tomorrow and if that means that I’m going to Augusta next year with a bit of hype, then so be it.”

“It was a day of patience for me, I didn’t get off to the best of starts. I knew that there were some good chances coming up. Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 9 were playing more difficult than Friday. I knew on the back nine we could make up some ground. This is where the golf course plays into my hands.”

Nearest competitor is Rickie Fowler, a third round effort of -4 under 68 put him alone in second place at -10 under par. Rickie is hoping to be able to put some pressure on Rory;

“He always has that firepower to make things happen, you just never know when it’s coming.”

“Maybe I can put a little pressure on him, unfortunately I did make those rough swings coming in. But I’ve been swinging great. I’m definitely looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and see if I can put the same start on Rory as I did today.”

“It was just a matter of time before the two of us found a way to sneak into a final group together. We both want to beat up on each other as bad as possible.”

Tied in third place are Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson, both at -9 under par for the tournament.

Sergio admits the difficulty of the task ahead of him if he is to catch the leader;

“I was trying to shoot as low as possible, Rory obviously had a great back nine and finished really, really well. We’ll give it a shot. If he plays like he’s been playing, it’s going to be difficult.”

Justin Rose made some headway today, a -3 under par 69 moving him to -5 under par for the competition, but not good enough to challenge for the honors.

The Defending champion Phil Mickelson shot a -1 under par  71 on Saturday and is now -1 under par for the tournament, a long way from the top of the board. Tiger Woods shot another over par round, and is sits at +3 over par for the championship.

The Open. McIlroy Marches On, No Hoylake Horrors.

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Rory McIlroy marches on at The Open, having banished the Friday Failures, there were no Hoylake horrors.

Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory exorcised the Friday fall-out at Royal Liverpool by firing a second successive round of -6 under par 66, at The Open, to post a midway tournament total of -12 under par at Hoylake, and a four shot lead. He is where he wants to be, in control and did not even think about the Friday failures;

“You’re battling yourself, you’re batting your emotions, your mind. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself, you don’t want to look at what anyone else is doing. You want to control what you can control.”

“It was just another solid round of golf, I didn’t have that in my head at all. Going out there, I just wanted to play another solid round of golf, stick to my game plan, stick to doing what I do well, which is take advantage of the par 5s, maybe take advantage of some of the other holes that are downwind. That’s all I was thinking about.”

Dustin Johnson is in second place on his own, he carded the days best round, a -7 under par 65, giving him a -8 under par total.

There are six players tied in third position, all at -6 under par for the tournament, they are; Francesco Molinari, Ryan Moore, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen.

Justin Rose had a -2 under par round today, leaving him on that score for the competition, ten shots adrift of the leader Rory, and not much chance of catching him. Phil Mickelson is at level par, while Tiger Woods shot +5 over par 77 to be at +2 for the Championship, both of these players will not be challenging to top of the board, but they did make the cut.

Tiger had been battling a wayward driver;

“I didn’t hit the driver very good today, I was trying to be a bit more aggressive and do that. With the wind the way it was, I could take some of the bunkers out of play and get it down where I could hit sand wedge into the green.”

“I figured today would be a chance to go out there and be aggressive and do that, and just didn’t drive it well.”

Tom Watson also made the cut on the same +2 over par total, and is looking forward to the week-end, the weather is supposed to change dramatically;

“I came over here with a purpose to play my best golf and play on the weekend, let’s see what happens on the weekend. See if the old guy can maybe get it rolling a little bit.”

The Open. Rory on Route 66.

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Rory McIlroy produced another magical Thursday first round, this time a flawless route 66 at The Open, in glorious weather at Royal Liverpool.

Rory McIlroy is looking for the third leg of the career Grand Slam. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

 

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory carded a -6 under par 66 at Hoylake to sit proudly on top of the leaderboard of The Open Championship. He reported that he was more relaxed on a Thursday, we will see tomorrow if he can hold it all together;

“Any time you shoot 66 at The Open Championship, you’re going to be pleased. We had perfect scoring conditions out there this morning. There wasn’t much wind early on and there were plenty of opportunities to make birdies and I was able to take a few of them.”

“It’s another great start and, yeah, looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow. Whenever I go out and play on Thursdays there are not really many expectations. You’re going out there and you’re trying to find a rhythm and you’re just trying to play your way into the round.”

“When you go back out on Friday after a good score you know what you can do, so you’re going out with some expectations compared to Thursday. I think I’ve just got to approach it like that, start off trying to hit solid shots the first few holes and play my way into the round, just like I did today.”

In second place on the leaderboard is Italian Matteo Manassero, who is just one shot behind after his opening round of -5 under par 67. Matteo likes this course, which bodes well for his first Major success;

“I like the course, it’s fair, flat, where you hit your shot it’s going to roll on that line. If I ever win an Open, I don’t think I’ll win it on a golf course that I don’t like. So the fact that I like it, it’s already a good thing.”

“The main preparation for The Open, I’ve done it in Aberdeen and it was just the best preparation I could’ve had. We had strong wind, little wind, calm wind, different directions of wind and the course was firm. It was really linksy. I put myself in a very links frame of mind.”

There is bunch of seven players tied in third spot, including another two Italians, Francesco and Edoardo Molinari. All of this chasing pack are on -3 under par.

Tiger Woods recorded a -3 under par 69 and is tied in tenth position at the end of day one, and said it was a positive start;

“I knew I could do it. That’s why it was so important for me to play at Congressional. At Congressional I made some terrible mistakes mentally. My decisions weren’t very crisp and I wasn’t decisive enough. Today was totally different and consequently I shot a better score.”

“I’m getting stronger, I’m getting faster, I’m getting more explosive. The ball is starting to travel again and those are all positive things.”

Last weeks winner Justin Rose settled for an opening round of even par, while defending Champion Phil Mickelson returned a first round +2 over par 74.

 

The Open. Magical Mickelson Makes It His.

A magical final round from Phil Mickelson at The Open was good enough to make the trophy his.

Phil Mickelson - 2013 Open Champion  (Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson and The Open trophy / Getty Images

 

Phil Mickelson won The 142nd Open Championship at Muirfield with a magical final round of -5 under par 66, and a tournament total of -3 under par. Phil was the only player to finish the tournament in red figures, quite an achievement, and thinks this win was probably his greatest;

It’s probably the greatest and most difficult win of my career. It is great to be part of any Open Championship and to win at Muirfield feels amazing. The range of emotions I feel are as far apart as possible in the last month after such a tough loss. You have to be resilient in this game and take losses and use them as motivation to work harder and come back stronger.”

Henrik Stenson was in second place, his final round of -1 under par for a tournament score of par.

Tied in third place at +1 over par were Ian Poulter, Adam Scott and Lee Westwood.

Lee started the day three shots clear but collapsed in the final round with a +4 over par catastrophe which stopped him winning his first Major trophy;

“Phil must have played really well. Five under was a good round of golf this afternoon. You birdie four of the last six round here any day is good going, but to do it today in the last round of a major is an even better finish.”

Ian enjoyed the atmosphere;

” The excitement, the atmosphere and the fans out there were certainly giving me a lot of electricity and pumping me up. It’s nice to be in front of a home crowd holing 15-foot putts for eagles and birdies and running up the leaderboard. I’m a leaderboard watcher, I always like to see what’s going on. Obviously I realize when you can get out in front and post a number, sometimes it’s a good position to be in. I’m pleased but I can certainly look back at a couple of putts that slipped by which might be what’s required to put my hands on the trophy”

But the day belonged to Phil and his caddie Bones.

Dem Bones: Phil Mickelson hugs his caddie Jim Mackay after his final round of The Open

Phil and Bones / AP

The Open. Wonderful Westwood Two Clear.

A wonderful third round performance from Lee Westwood in The Open has seen him pull two shots clear of the field at Muirfield.

Westwood pulls two clear

Lee Westwood / Getty Images

Lee Westwood will take a two shot lead into the final round of The Open tomorrow at Muirfield, thanks to a third round of -1 under par, and a -3 under total as he chases his first Major victory.

Lee said he is aware for what it will take to win tomorrow;

“I know what to expect tomorrow, I know what to do, I know what it takes. My emotions were pretty calm all day although when something exciting happened like that eagle I allowed that to pump myself up. You don’t really expect to make those but I could see the line easily breaking in off the hill.It’s just a case of believing you are good enough to win. When you analyse it, you don’t want to say it, but tomorrow is just another 18 holes. I’m playing well and putting well and there’s no reason why I can’t carry on.”

Hot in pursuit will be Americans Tiger Woods and Hunter Mahan, both players starting their final rounds at -1 under par. Hunter had a fine -3 under par round of 68 today, while Tiger fell back with a +1 over par round of 72.

In fourth place is Adam Scott, he had a third round of -1 under par 70 and will stand on the first tee tomorrow at even par.

Defending Champion Ernie Els has not given hope of retaining The Open title, but he has a monster job on his hands. Ernie had a -1 under par third round of 70, and will start the last round at +5 over par, and thinks he could still make it;

” If I’m within six or seven shots of the lead you never know. It happened last year, I’m not saying it’s going to happen every day but anything can happen in The Open. You’re hoping not to be too far off going into the final round and then you’re hoping for that quick start. Somebody can get hot and from where I am, if the leaders don’t get hot, you’re in the ball game, that’s what I’m hoping for. Get that birdie at the start and then to try to get the guys to see your name, and then hopefully that makes a difference.I’m a competitor, I’m not going to lie down until the 72nd hole, that’s just the nature of what’s going on out there. It’s such a great Championship but obviously I’m trying to play better than where I am.”

 

 

The Open. 2nd Round. Experience Tells As Angel Ascends.

Miguel Angel Jiménez  showed composure and his experience to ascend to the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the second round of The Open at Muirfield.

Miguel Angel Jimenez  (Getty Images)

Miguel Angel Jiménez / Getty Images

Miguel is already the oldest winner in European Tour history, and now has chances of becoming the oldest Major Champion as well in The 142nd Open Championship. He had a second round of par. 71, for a tournament score of -3 under par.

Miguel spoke of the pressure;

“Of course I feel pressure, anything that is important to you makes you feel pressure, but as long as I can handle it there is no problem. I have been playing golf for 25 years and sometimes you think maybe it’s too many, but it’s okay.”

One shot behind Miguel at -2 under par is a posse of four players who have some pedigree of their own; Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson.

Lee loves playing The Open;

” It’s a Major and I love playing The Open Championship. “It’s the biggest event of the year for me. Why not enjoy it out there? It’s tough for everybody so smile your way through it. I thought one over would be right in contention so to be two under is a real bonus. The greens were a little softer this morning. I repaired a pitch mark on the second and third but that was about it as far as that was concerned. They started to firm up pretty quickly. I was pleased to be six under through 12. I was playing some great stuff and it was just getting harder as the holes progressed. The golf course got really difficult and the finish is tough as 16, 17 and 18 are playing hard. I’ll kick back this afternoon on the couch and watch some struggles and the cricket.”

Tiger was happy with his position and said had had chances to win more Majors;

” I’m in a good spot, I’ve just got to continue plodding along, continue just being patient, putting the ball in the right spots. We’re not going to get a lot of opportunities out there but when I have I’ve been able to capitalize and hopefully I can continue doing that. I’ve been right there, I give myself chances. I’ve had chances on the back nine of many of those Sundays. Just one of those things where I haven’t gotten it done. I’m not going to win every Major I play in, but certainly I can try and put myself there. If I give myself enough opportunities, I’ll get my share, and I think I have so far in my career.”

Yesterday’s leader Zach Johnson slipped back to -1 under par, in a tie for sixth place.

Among those missing the cut were; Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Ricky Fowler, and two old timers in Tom Watson and Nick Faldo.

The Open. Zach Zips In As 1st Round Leader.

The Open, the 142nd Championship, being played at Muirfield, where Zach Johnson is the 1st round leader as he zipped around the course in -5 under par 66.

Zach Johnson  (Getty Images)

Zach Johnson / Getty Images

Zach was still smarting from being beaten in a play-off last week by 19-year-old Jordan Spieth at the John Deere Classic.

Zach said that win or lose he has been playing great golf;

 “I think this game demands resilience. It demands resilience on the golf course, each round, each hole, and day to day. But it also demands it week to week, and that just comes with experience. That certainly comes with embracing what’s happened and then also throwing it behind you and plodding along to the future. If anything from last week, what I’ve embraced is the fact that I’m playing great and I can put that into play, and I’m certainly somewhat confident in what I’m doing, confident in my routines.”

Tied in second spot on -4 under par after their rounds of 67 are Rafael Cabrera-Bello and veteran Mark O’Meara,  56 year-old Mark was the 1998 Open Champion and is an experienced links player.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Tom Lehman and Shiv Kapour are all in fourth place at -3 under par.

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are both handily placed at -2 under par, tied in ninth place with a host of players.

Those who look like they will miss the cut include, Rory McIlroy +8 over par, Luke Donald +9, ( I tipped him to win this week) and Nick Faldo, who dusted off his clubs to come out and play, he is at +8 over par.

Tomorrow will sort out those who will go on and try to win this most famous of trophies, on a course that is playing really tough, in good weather conditions. If the wind blows, just about anything could happen, and probably will.

 

Kiwi Mark Brown Wins a Place in The Open

Mark Brown

Mark Brown / getty

Kiwi Mark Brown shot a course-record 62 on Wednesday to win the Australasian regional qualifying tournament for The Open at Muirfield in July this year.

Mark finished the two-round International Final Qualifying tournament at Melbourne’s Kingston Heath Golf Club at -10 under par, capturing one of three qualifying places available to the 72-strong field. Australian Steven Jeffress finished at -9 under par after a second round of 67 and compatriot Stephen Dartnall shot second round 69 to both finish at -8 under par and to claim the other two qualifying spots.

An Eagle and eight birdies in Mark’s round on Wednesday helped him to beat Ian Poulter’s course record of 64 set at the 2012 Australian Masters.

Mark said he knew early on that it was a serious round;

” Yesterday I was a fair way back, so today I wasn’t really thinking about it too much,  I just went out and tried to enjoy it. I made six birdies in the first nine, then it got serious and it wasn’t so much fun anymore,  but it’s massive. I love this place and I played well here in November. I’ve got so much respect for the place, it’s quite a thrill to hold the course record. If there’s one major you want to play for me, this would be it. I hope it’s a big thrill, it’s not every major New Zealand has someone playing. I hope we get another couple in, Cambo and maybe someone else through qualifiers.”

 Steven Jeffress  at 37 years of age will tee it up in his first Major championship thanks to a composed round, Steven said he was impressed with his achievement;

“It’s pretty impressive, it probably hasn’t even sunk in yet, it’s going to be great, it’s going to be unbelievable. I had a number that I wanted to get to, 10-under. I thought if I get to that then it’s going to be competitive. I had 2-under around the front nine and then I parred through to 15 which I was pretty frustrated at. I said to my caddy that we have to do something here because only the top-3 get in and then I birdied 15 and 16.”

Stephen Dartnell had two solid rounds, and is was good enough to get him qualified;

“I started off a bit scratchy actually, I was 1-over after six then made a few birdies and just played solid from there on in. It wasn’t quite as good as yesterday but it was enough, I guess. I have never played a major before so will be a good learning experience, to go there and obviously try and play well.”

The Australasian tournament is one of a series of regional events on five continents that give players a chance to qualify for The Open Championship at Muirfield from July 18 to 21.

Adam Scott to Banish his Broomstick

Adam Scott

Adam Scott and his Broomstick/ Getty Images

Although any potential banning of anchored putters by the Royal & Ancient and USGA is unlikely to be enforced before 2016, Adam Scott is obviously keen to make the adjustment to sooner rather than later by banishing his Broomstick for a practice round with a conventional putter. Adam is practicing for the Emirates Australian Open at at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney, coincidentally with Tom Watson who is in favor of the ban on the Broomstick. Tom said he endorses the ban with mixed emotions citing this reason;

” I say that with mixed emotions, “This  broomstick stroke is not a stroke of golf. That’s not a stroke but it makes it easier to play. My son Michael, with a conventional putting stroke, he couldn’t make it from two feet half the time, but he went to a belly putter and he makes everything. The game is fun to him now, so there lies the danger: Do we take the ability for people to have fun away?  Do we go to two sets of rules, where some people can use long putters in certain competitions, but the PGA Tour maybe can’t? So there’s a dilemma there.” 

It would seem that Tom is confused himself about what this rule change could do to golf generally. I have said previously that there is going to be trouble enforcing this rule at the local level. A player is going to call his opponent for anchoring, and the accused is going to reply, no I didn’t. This can only bring discontent and bad feelings out on the course, and that is not a good or healthy scenario.

Tom went on recount what Ernie Els said after his win at The Open;

“”I thought Ernie Els said it perfectly after he won last year’s Open championship, he was asked: ‘Why did you go with the long putter Ernie?’ and he said: ‘I’m cheating like the rest of them are’. Ernie’s a great player and he knows the difference between doing it the conventional way versus trying to do it with an anchored putter. The arc of your putter doesn’t change as much. He knows that difference and he knows it’s not right.”

The thing is every player has had the option to use the long putters if they wish, if it so much easier with a long putter, why haven’t they all swapped over ?  I say lets banish the ban and get on and play golf, everyone is welcome at our golf course, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club. Make them welcome at your club, for the good of the game.

But if you are considering a new putter check out the White Dragon Putter, it is set to become a feature of putting in the near future, for more information email info@whitedragongolf.com.