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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.

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.

Nedbank Golf Challenge. Brilliant Björn Valiant.

Valiant Thomas Björn triumphed in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa.

Thomas Bjorn  (Getty Images)

Thomas Björn / Getty Images

Thomas carded a super -7 under par 65 to overcome a similar super score from Sergio Garcia in the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City. The difference was two shots as Thomas finished on -20 under par and Sergio tied on -18 under par in second place with Jamie Donaldson. Jamie could only manage a -2 under par final round.

Thomas spoke about his special day, and the two Eagles on the back nine;

“This is right up there with the best days of my career. You never forget your first victory, and then my win against Tiger in Dubai when I went toe-to-toe with him for four days and came out top was special, but winning here in the way that I did against a field of this quality is up there. I knew I had to shoot something low and then see what Jamie was doing. It turned out that it was Sergio and every time I saw a leaderboard he was making birdies. I am very proud of the way I played today,  it’s a very special day in my career.Obviously having two eagles on the back nine on a Sunday doesn’t happen very often. The shot into 14 was a bit fortunate but that’s what happens when you win golf tournaments, I guess.”

Sergio finally succumbed to a bogey on the 16th hole;

“I tried to be aggressive all day and drove the ball well, I had just one bad swing on 16. But Thomas played unbelievably and I needed to keep birdieing if I was to have a chance.”

Poor old Jamie Donaldson must have wondered what hit him, he started the day with a three shot lead, and then lost by two.

Henrik Stenson was in fourth place at -16 under par, shooting a -5 under par 67, on a day that was full of low scores.

 

 

Nedbank Golf Challenge. Donaldson Dominates.

Jamie Donaldson dominates at the Nedbank Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa.

Jamie Donaldson  (Getty Images)

Jamie Donaldson / Getty Images

Jamie carded a -5 under par 67 in round three of the Nedbank Golf Challenge to lead the tournament at -16 under par, a three shot advantage going into the final round. It would have been a shot more had he not bogeyed the 17th hole, he said he was between clubs;

“I was in between clubs and it put me in trouble but in the end I came out with a good five. I’m still in a strong position and I’ve got to go out there tomorrow and play really good golf.  It’s a tough field, a lead of three doesn’t mean much among these guys.”

Thomas Björn and Ryan Moore are tied in second place at -13 under par, Thomas thinks he still has a chance tomorrow in the final round, if he can go low;

“I got off to a good start and played solid golf. That’s what you need to do on this course. If I can shoot 66 or 67 tomorrow, I’ll give myself a chance. But you have to play sensible golf, not try and chase down the leader.”

Ryan, a recent winner on the US PGA Tour, carded a -3 under par 33 front nine, before picking up two further shots on the back to complete a -5 under par 67 third round.

Five shots off the lead at -11 under par for the tournament are Thongchai Jaidee, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson.

Henrik will be ruing his compounded error, twice finding the water en route to a double bogey seven at the par four ninth hole.

Sergio produced one of the shots of the day, to chip in for an Eagle 3 at the par five 14th hole, and followed that with birdies at 16 and 17. While Thongchai went bogey free in his round of -6 under par 66.

Nedbank Golf Challenge. Like Lights Up His Dull Year.

Luke Donald lights up his dull year, leading the Nedbank Golf Challenge event at Gary Player Country Club, in a suspended first round in South Africa.

Cool hand Luke off to a flier in stormy Sun City

Luke Donald / Getty Images

Luke was at -5 under par through eleven holes, starting birdie, Eagle, before the violent  thunderstorms brought a premature end to day one at Gary Player Country Club.

Luke said he was feeling good about his game, and is playing with confidence;

“It doesn’t get much better than a three-three start around here, birdie-eagle and all of a sudden you are three under par through two holes. I played solid for those first eleven holes and hit a couple of very nice shots in that time that I was able to take advantage of. I feel good over the ball right now and I am playing with confidence. I took a lot of confidence from winning in Japan. It is a place that I love to go back and a course that I love to play so it was very satisfying to be able to go back there and defend. I had seen good signs in Dubai the week before that and did some good work on my long game with Chuck Cook before I left for Dubai and I really felt the benefit of that. I also have to say that the putting came back in Dubai and Japan. That had been a little off for most of the year so it was very encouraging to get that back and I am feeling good about my game right now.”

Tied in second place at -3 under par are,  Denmark’s Thomas Björn, Welshman Jamie Donaldson, and Zimbabwean Brandon de Jonge. Brandon holed out for an eagle on the ninth hole which catapulted him up the leaderboard just before the suspension of play for the day.

The defending champion, Martin Kaymer is at -2 under par, having completed six holes, while The Race to Dubai champion Henrik Stenson is at -1 under par after seven holes.

Round one play will resume at 07:30 local time on Friday morning, with round two expected to tee off from 10:10.

ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf. Jason Day Rules.

Jason Day rules as the King of Royal Melbourne Golf Course, taking the singles honors in the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf.

Day rules the World

Jason Day / Getty Images

Home hero Jason Day secured an emotional victory in the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf, shooting a final round -1 under par 70 to lift the trophy. His victory and the support of fellow Aussie Adam Scott, who finished in third place at -7 under par, gave Australia the team event title. Adam had a final round -5 under par 66.

Jason has been through a lot recently, with his family being torn apart in the typhoon back home, but he wanted to come here and play;

“The biggest thing right now is to know that I just didn’t give up. It would have been the easiest thing for me to just go ahead and pull out of the tournament with what has been going on over the last week,  just to be up there with my mum and support her. But I really wanted to come down here and play with Adam  and really try to win the World Cup and we achieved that which was great.” 

Adam admitted it was his fault that they were behind at the beginning;

“That was my fault that we were behind for the first round, but I got my act together.”

Second place went to Thomas Bjorn at -8 under par for the tournament, Thomas had some chances but admitted he did not play well today, a final round of even par 71;

Obviously a fraction disappointed, but I didn’t play that great today to be honest. I made a couple of mistakes here and there and not as good as I played the other two days. Six and seven was a big turning point in the round, obviously Jason holing his second shot on six. As a whole it’s been a great week. It’s been a great pleasure to play on this golf course the way it has played this week and I couldn’t be happier for Jason winning. He has gone through a rough time of late and for him to even be here is a big thing and then to go and win a golf tournament and for them to win the team event as well, that’s what you want to see. There’s nothing that is better for small populated countries than when their sports people do really well and these two are fantastic. Obviously when you’re in it you want to win it, but you have got to take that and I didn’t play well enough today I didn’t think, but I still had a chance coming down the stretch.”

The team standings were;

Australia -17 under par, Jason Day and Adam Scott

U.S.A. -7 under par, Matt Kuchar and Kevin Streelman

Denmark -5 under par, Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen

Japan -5 under par, Ryo Ishikawa and Hideto Tanihara

 

ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf. Thomas Tops the leaderboard, Day 2

Thomas Bjorn tops the leaderboard at the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, at the end of day 2.

Thomas Bjorn   (Getty Images)

Thomas Bjorn / Getty Images

Thomas carded a second round -3 under par 68, to take sole possession of the top of the leaderboard at Royal Melbourne Golf Club on day two of the tournament at -8 under par. He said he was unhappy with parts of his game, especially the putting;

“There were a couple of things that happened on the golf course today that really tested me, I three-putted the first. I got caught a little bit there. I thought the greens were a lot firmer than they were early on and just got caught a bit there and then I patiently worked my way into the round and played solid.  Maybe not quite as good as yesterday on the front nine but on the back nine I played awesome and just three-putted the green on 15, missed a very short putt there and then obviously the last. If you had asked me when the ball was in the air on the last I would have said you couldn’t have hit a better golf shot, so you have got to take that.  You know, bounces go your way, and bounces go against you on this golf course, and maybe I was a bit unfortunate on the last.” 

“That was obviously disappointing but I played some really, really good stuff on that back nine and I have got to take that with me. I set out this week saying that this is a 72-hole golf tournament and I’m not really wondering about what score I am shooting. When you step on a golf course likes this you have just got to be in awe of playing them because it just goes to show that all these big long golf courses that are being built today, it’s not really needed. This is as tricky as it comes and it’s a fairly short golf course so it’s a pleasure to play and, as I said, it’s fantastic and you are just in awe of it really. I love this place.”

Kevin Streelman is in second place at -7 under par after his second round of -2 under par 69, he parred his last three holes to put  a three shot gap back to Australia’s Jason Day and Portugal’s Ricardo Santos in third at -4 under par.

In the team event Matt Kuchar’s -3 under par 68 took him and Kevin Streelman to -10 under par for the tournament, and puts them on course to retain the title he won in 2011 with Gary Woodland.

Thomas Björn and Thorbjørn Olesen, looking to give Denmark a first World Cup victory, are three back after the latter shot a +1 over par 72, and a further four shots back are Australia and Japan.

 

ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf. Kevin Streelman and Thomas Bjorn Lead. Day 1

 

Kevin Streelman and Thomas Bjorn  both shot rounds of 5-under-par 66 Thursday to share the lead after the first day of the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf.

Björn bounces back in Melbourne

Thomas Bjorn / Getty Images

Thomas thinks the Royal Melbourne Golf Club is one of the best, despite  a poor start to his day, four-putting the fourth hole;

“I thought, well, this could be a long day, but I just kind of kept my composure and made some good birdies and kept playing solid. It is, in my eyes, probably the finest golf course you can ever play.”

ISPS HANDA World Cup, Round 2

Kevin Streelman / Getty Images

Kevin, playing in Aussie for the first time and said he putted well;

I made some good birdie putts today and some par saves as well, so pretty happy.”

Matt Kuchar  said he wasn’t disappointed with his score of even par, he bogeyed 18 again,  the hole he double-bogeyed at the Australian Masters on Sunday to give Adam Scott as two-stroke win;

“The back side today, certainly 16, 18, are really tough holes. I was not able to finish those off as well as I would like to have today, but even par is not a bad score.”

Euro Tour. Omega Masters Thomas Björn Wins Play-Off.

Thomas Björn, the 2011 Champion wins again at the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre, in Switzerland.

Thomas Bjorn  (Getty Images)

Thomas Björn / Getty Images

Thomas won the two-man play-off to win once again the Omega European Masters title, sinking a 12ft birdie putt on the first play-off hole. Thomas shot a final round of  -6 under par 65 to reach his -20 under par total. Yesterday’s 61 man Craig Lee returned a more modest -4 under par 67 final round to finish on the same total as Thomas.

Thomas said it was nice to win again;

“It was nice to do that in a playoff. I’ve had a hard time dealing with pressure situations and there is no more pressure than that. It was nice. I had a really good run through the summer and did not really get close enough. I had to grit my teeth for a while and I really wanted to get out and try to win a golf tournament again. I came in this week not playing particularly great but promised myself I’d stick to how I play this golf course. I did that and had two bogeys in 72 holes, which is good going around here. I felt good and I got over the line.”

Craig was dismayed about his final putt for birdie lipped out;

” The putter was pretty cold the first nine but nobody was running away from it. Thomas made a charge but didn’t capitalise on the two par fives. That let me back in and I dug deep and managed to birdie the two par fives myself and gave myself a chance coming down the last and just lipped out on the last. I would certainly have taken second place before the week started. Even after the first round when I was level par and on the border cut line. So I’m delighted with my performance.

Third place was captured by Victor Dubuisson of France, he finished with -19 under par total after his final round -5 under par 66.

Congratulations to Thomas, this is his first win in two years, and it moves back into the top 45 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He also joins an elite group of players who have won the Omega European Masters multiple times since it became a European Tour event in 1972.

 Seve Ballesteros (1977-78, 89), Hugh Baiocchi (1973, 79), Manuel Piñero (1976, 81), Eduardo Romero (1994, 2000) and now Thomas Björn (2011, 13).

 

 

Euro Tour. Lee Leaps Into The Lead With A Lovely 61.

Scotland’s Craig Lee leaps into the lead at the Omega European Masters tournament in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland,with a lovely third round of 61.

Craig Lee  (Getty Images)

Craig Lee / Getty Images

Craig came close to shooting the European Tours first sub sixty round, but was happy to sign his card for superb third round score of -10 under par,61. I said yesterday that someone would have to do something special to separate themselves from the log jam at the top of the leaderboard, and Craig has done just that, even with carding a bogey on the 12th hole. He now takes a two shot lead going into tomorrow’s final round, with his tournament total of -16 under par;

 ” It was comfortably my best round ever. Even as an amateur or in a bounce game, I’ve never managed to get to double figures. So this is my best round by far, you just try to focus on each shot you play though. When you hit it and it is executed properly and you see it flying down the pin, it is pretty special. For the first 12 or 13 holes that was what was happening. It was pretty surreal to see all these good golf shots coming out in the same day. I’ve been playing quite nicely for a while so it has all come together. I would like to have had a heart rate monitor on, from the first I don’t think my heart got under 100 beats per minute. There were certain crucial putts that got the heart going and I don’t think it ever slowed down. I’m still not really ready to relax.”

There is a trio of players in second place at -14 under par, including the defending Champion Thomas Bjørn, who carded a third round -4 under par 67.

Joining Thomas on the -14 under par score are Victor Dubuisson of France and Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares.

Alejandro was happy with his back nine, which saved the day for him;

” I made birdie on the 10th and from there on, everything just happened the right way. I’m very happy to finish the way I finished although there were a couple of tough putts in the end but I still managed to save the round.”

In another memorable moment on the day England’s Richard Finch scored a hole in one on the par three 13th hole, Richard played a six iron dead weight to win an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Co-Axial in red gold.

The winner of this tournament will come from one of the top four players today, everyone else is too far adrift to make a serious challenge, unless of course they shoot a sub sixty final round.

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