PGA Championship. Rory Rolls On, Westwood Wilts.

White Dragon GolfPGA Championship Rory McIlroy rolls on towards victory at the PGA Championship at Valhalla, while Lee Westwood wilted under the pressure.

PGA Championship Valhalla

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory carded a second round -4 under par 67 to top the leaderboard on -9 under par at the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club. He will take a one shot lead heading into the third round, moving day on Saturday, and said he was comfortable at being in front;

“I think I’ve had to learn to be a good front-runner, I maybe wasn’t quite comfortable in that position at the start of my career, especially 2011 in the Masters. I was four ahead and I wasn’t quite comfortable in that position.”

“It’s taken me a couple of years to grow into that and my mindset has stayed the same since that day at Augusta. If I’m two ahead going into the weekend here, I’m going to try to get three ahead, and if I’m three ahead, I’m going to try to get four ahead.”

“I’m just going to try to keep the pedal down and get as many ahead as possible. I went into protection mode once in my career and that did not work out very well so I said would never do it again.”

“I think it has happened to me for the better. I’ve put a little bit more time into my golf and refocused in a way. It’s the only thing I have, I’ve got my family and my friends, but I just immersed myself in my game.”

“I’ve practised hard and I’ve done all the right things and I’m reaping the rewards. Golf is the number one priority to me and while I’m on this run of form I want to try and keep it going as long as possible.”

“I’m going to keep working hard and try and get even better. Hopefully I can do that over the next few years and hopefully you’ll see golf like this more often from me.”

Tied in second place are Jason Day and Jim Furyk, both on -8 under par for the competition. Jason carded the best round of the day, a -6 under par 65, while Jim had a more modest -3 under par 68.

Lee Westwood wilted under pressure, carding +1 over par 72, dropping to -5 under par.

Phil Mickelson had a good day, -4 under par 67 and is currently tied in 7th position at -6 under par. He hopes to make the Ryder Cup Team on merit;

“I’ll be honest, there’s not too many people out of the mix. There’s still time now, and there’s still time between now and September 2 to show. There’s three tournaments between now and September 2. I don’t know how many tournaments these guys are going to play, but there’s still time. “

” It’s anybody’s guess who is going to make the team after Sunday this week, too. I’m going to make the team, Tom. I’m going to make the team. I don’t want you to have to use a pick to pick me.”

Tiger Woods missed the cut, whoever advised him to return to golf so soon after surgery needs their head examining. Tom Watson will be under enormous pressure to pick Tiger for the Ryder Cup Team, because if he excludes him Tom will become the most hated man in America. Tiger needs to withdraw himself from selection, and make life easier for Tom.

W.G.C. Bridgestone Invitational. Sergio Survives Soggy Saturday

White Dragon GolfWorld Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational Logo

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

Sergio on soggy Saturday / Getty Images

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.

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.

 

Quicken Loans National. Still Four at the Top Day 2.

 

dragon logo darkQuicken Loans NationalThere are still four players tied at the top of the Quicken Loans National.

Oliver Goss is bombing it at Congressional, averaging 323.1 yards per drive during the first two rounds. (Jeff Haynes/Getty Images)

One of the four, Aussie Oliver Goss / Getty Images

Oliver shot a second round -5 under par 66 to share top spot on the Quicken Loans National leaderboard with a -6 under par total at Congressional.

He is joined on that score by, Marc Leishman, Ricky Barnes and Patrick Reed. Yesterday’s leader Greg Chalmers crashed down the leaderboard, recording a second round of +7 over par 78, to finish the day at +2 over par, just one shot inside the cut-off mark.

Oliver was lucky to be in the tournament, an over zealous security guard had refused to let him in the locker room;

“The security guy was like,’Hey, where’s your credential. I said, ‘I don’t have a credential, but I’m a player and I’ve got an exemption.’ He said, ‘Well, I can’t let you in.’ I was like, ‘I’m a player, though.’

“Still wasn’t good enough for him, which shows just how good the security is around here !! I got a credential now so I’m all set.”

“The main difference is you’re playing against the best in the world, the depth is just crazy. Obviously, you’re playing for a purse, and honestly, I really don’t feel that much different out there.” 

“You’re still playing the game of golf, and that’s all I’m really feeling at the moment.”

Actually the other Aussie Marc Leishman does not know Oliver;

“I haven’t had a whole lot to do with him, I spoke to him a little bit last week, actually, at the Travelers. We have a practice round lined up next week at the Greenbrier so I get to spend a bit more time with him there.” 

“But who knows, we might have a tee time on the weekend.”

Patrick Reed has had his mind on other things recently, the birth of his baby daughter, and is looking forward to having wife Justine back on his bag;

“After our last win, we’ve been itching for our little girl to come see us, and now she’s finally here, so it’s been great. It’s been better for me probably than golf-wise, that’s for sure.”

“She’s going to come back, just whenever she feels more comfortable and whenever we feel like it’s the right time with the baby and everything.”

Justin Rose is at -3 under par for the tournament, shooting a second round -6 under par 65. He is sharpening up his game to take a tilt at another Major, The Open, at Royal Liverpool. The Claret Jug has been on display at Congressional Country Club this week;

“When you walk past a major championship trophy, you dream about what it would be like, and I’ve been lucky enough to feel it once. And your home open, for example, you see it, and it does sort of give you goosebumps. As a kid you dream about it so much, but now walking past it, you know it’s somewhat of a reality and you do have a chance to pick that thing up.”

“Obviously here to play good this week and that’s on the mind for sure. Today was obviously a great round of golf.”

Biggest news of the day was that Tiger Woods failed to make the cut, he followed his first round 74 with second round of 75, to finished at +7 over par for the tournament. He looked to be swinging well, I suppose he is just a little out of touch after that long lay-off.

 

Quicken Loans National. Greg Chalmers Leads on Day 1.

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Greg Chalmers leads the Quicken Loans National on the 1st day at Congressional.

Greg Chalmers’ putter was red-hot during his opening round, netting a strokes gained-putting figure of 3.308. (Justin Heiman/Getty Images)

Greg Chalmers / Getty Images

Greg Chalmers shot a first round -5 under par 66 on the par 71 Congressional layout, where only 26 players from the starting 120 broke par.

Greg said it was definitely not an easy course;

“I didn’t think it was easy at all, I played really well, and I think anybody who plays really well can shoot a low score. You just have to be coming out of the fairway, and I did that the majority of the time today.”

Ricky Barnes and Freddie Jacobson are tied in second place at -4 under par after their opening rounds of 67. Patrick Reid, Eric Compton, defending Champion Bill Haas and Tyrone Van Aswegen are all sharing fourth spot at -3 under par.

Of course the big news of the day is really about those who did not do so well, and in particular Tiger Woods. Tiger made his long awaited comeback since surgery. Apart from a few who have spent the last few days saying how well Tiger is swinging, the reality is he is just like the rest of us, he needs time to get back to his best. Today he shot a +3 over par 74, of which he was pretty proud saying he and the other celebrity players fought hard;

We were all kind of looking to break 80, it was a bit of a fight today for all of us, but we all hung in there. I made so many little mistakes, so I played a lot better than the score indicated.”

“The back’s great, I had no issues at all, no twinges, no nothing. It felt fantastic. That’s one of the reasons why I let go on those tee shots. I hit it pretty hard out there.”

Tiger played alongside Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, and that trio of top-10 players combined for six bogeys in two holes.

Jordan also shot a +3 over par 74, the same as his hero Tiger;

“It was cool playing the first one back. I love playing alongside Jason, as well. We are all rooting for each other, and that’s a good feeling. It was hard to root for each other because it just looked like the lid was closed on the hole. But once we all started hitting a couple fairways, it got better at the end.”