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W.G.C. Cadillac Championship. Reed Resplendent.

dragon logo darkWGC-Cadillac Championship

Patrick Reed was resplendent in winning the WGC. Cadillac Championship at Doral, on the Blue Monster.

Wrap-up: Reed earns third TOUR title

Patrick Reed / GettyImages

Patrick has proved what he has always believed, that he belongs among the best in the world. He has won the WGC Cadillac Championship trophy, his third Tour win in seven months, shooting a final round of even par 72, to post -4 under par.

When asked on live TV what he thought about his achievement Patrick proudly answered;

“I just don’t see a lot of guys that have done that, besides Tiger Woods, of course, and all of the other legends of the game. I believe in myself. Especially after how hard I’ve worked, that I’m one of the top five players in the world. To come out of a field like this and to hold on wire to wire like that, I feel like I’ve proven myself.”

Tied in second place at -3 under par were Bubba Watson and Jamie Donaldson. Bubba had a fine last round of -4 under par, and then admitted that this course scares him;

“I’m where I want to be, my ball striking I wish was a little bit better. But certain golf courses just scare me half to death and around here scared me a lot but I played it really well this week.”

Jamie said he has always been a late developer, but he is happy with where he is right now;

“I’ve always been pretty much a late developer in most things, really. I left school before I could develop any there!  So I had to play golf, really. My career has been up and down for me.  Early on, I started off pretty good and then I had a big loss for four years after injury, and then I just had to regroup and do things that worked and work hard and keep believing. I just forced the wheel the other direction, and that’s what it’s done.  I’ve found something that was working and just kept doing it and kept getting better at doing it, and then here we are getting better, again, so I’m happy.”

Tiger Woods, who started the day in contention said the pain in his back intensified after his bunker shot on the sixth. A nasty lie leaving him with his left foot in the bunker, and the right pressing  against the lip of the bunker;

” That’s what set it off and then it was done after that. Just see if I could actually manage, keep the spasms at bay.”

He carded a final round of +6 over par 78, with a total of +5 over par, dropping him twenty-one places to T25. Tiger also failed to make a birdie in a final round for the first time in his career, and the lead up to the first Major is not going well;

“If I feel good, I can actually make a pretty decent swing, you saw it Saturday. But if I’m feeling like this, it’s a little tough.”

World Golf Championship. Calm Restored at Cadillac.

dragon logo darkWGC-Cadillac Championship

Calm was restored at the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral on day three of the contest around The Blue Monster. Patrick Reed has the lead going into the final round.

Patrick Reed could be taking home his third trophy in seven months Sunday at Doral. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

Patrick Reed /Getty Images

In much calmer conditions Patrick turned his game around in four holes Saturday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, finishing up with a -3 under par 69 and a two stroke lead at -4 under par. He said he was not bothered that Tiger was close behind;

“That’s fine, I’ve seen Tiger a lot on the driving range. Never had the opportunity to play with him and I still haven’t been able to play with him. Whenever he’s close to the lead, he’s a guy you have to watch out for. But at the same time, I have to go and just play my own game.”

“If you have a 54-hole lead, that means you’re playing the best golf of the group through three rounds. Tomorrow is Sunday, but at the same time, it’s another round of golf. We’ve won twice since August, we’ve played great. And if I continue doing what I’m supposed to be doing, come Sunday afternoon, hopefully we’re holding the trophy.”

Jason Dufner and Hunter Mahan are tied in second place at -2 under par for this tournament, Hunter thinks it will go down to the wire;

“The tournament will not be over until the last putt drops on eighteen. That always happens, but it seems like you just can’t coast in here. You can’t have a big enough lead going into eighteen this week. So I don’t think anyone is going to be too bothered if someone gets out to a three, or four-shot lead, because there’s so much golf out there. And there’s so much that can happen, good and bad.”

Tied in fourth place are Jamie Donaldson and Tiger Woods, both at -1 under par. Tiger did what he wanted to do, get back into the tournament. A third round of -6 under par 66 certainly did that;

“It was nice to get back in the tournament again Now it’s playing more like a normal course. I held it together yesterday, a long day, tough day, and that gave me a chance today.I figured, hey, I’m only six back. That’s definitely doable, especially with the conditions and how difficult this golf course is playing. If I just get back to even par for the tournament, I’ll be right there. And I did one better.”

Dustin Johnson,  Miguel Angel Jimenez and Zach Johnson share sixth place at even par for the three rounds. The weather conditions still hold the key around here, if it starts to blow again anything could happen. Another calm day and the winner will come from the top five.

Darness Descends at Doral, WGC Championship.

dragon logo darkWGC-Cadillac Championship

Darkness descends on The WGA Championship at the Blue Monster course at Doral, suspending the first round.

Harris English had the lowest round of the few who completed Round 1 on Thursday. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

Harris English / Getty Images

Harris English was one of just six players to finish the opening round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship after inclement weather delayed play at Trump National Doral. When the horn blew there were five players tied at the top the leaderboard on -3 under par. The only completed round was Harris English, the other four still to finish the opening round are; Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan, Francesco Molinari and Patrick Reed

Harris explained how important it was to finish today, and not to come back in the morning to finish the round, and then continue with the second;

“It was getting really dark, very quickly, but I wanted to finish the hole, it really changes the way you approach the day, waking up and playing one hole at 8 in the morning and then waiting around for three or four hours for your tee time is tough to do. That way in the morning, we can have a normal day.”

Tiger Woods was +2 over par through ten holes, but said he was feeling a lot better, but he will have to play 26 holes tomorrow;

“Felt a lot better today, should be a long day for all of us. Hopefully I can get back out there in the morning, play well and work back to even par by the end of the first round, then shoot a low one in the afternoon.” 

Rory McIlroy was at -1 under par through fourteen holes, but there is a long way to go in this tournament and as usual anything could happen.

Honda Classic. Rory Rolls On.

dragon logo darkThe Honda Classic Logo

Rory McIlroy rolls on at the Honda Classic taking a two shot lead into the final round at PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, in Florida.

Rory McIlroy will take a two-shot lead into the final round at PGA National. (Smith/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory carded a third round -1 under par 69 to keep his nose in front of the chasing pack, posting a total of -12 under par. The 2012 winner at PGA National, is looking to go wire to wire here. Rory spoke about not making mistakes;

” It’s all about not making mistakes, it’s about limiting the damage. You’re going to make a few bogeys out there. If you limit those, hit fairways and greens, that’s what I’m going to try to do tomorrow. There’s still eighteen holes to go, but I’m feeling comfortable with where I am.”

Russell Henley is in second place at -10 under par, his third round -2 under par 68 contained an Eagle 2 at the par four 14th hole. He is trying to ignore what Rory is doing;

” I’m trying not to pay attention to what Rory is doing, obviously, he’s playing great and he’s been in this situation a little bit more than me. But I still have a lot of confidence and I’m just going to try to play my game and not worry about what he’s doing too much.”

Russell Knox carded a third round -2 under par 68, for -9 under par total, and he is the only player among the top eight who has never won on the PGA TOUR.

Tiger Woods put together his best round for a while, a -5 under par 65, that shot him up the leaderboard to T17. He declared he is still in the hunt, even though he is seven shots off the pace of Rory;

“Today was a positive day, hit the ball well and made some putts and got myself back in the hunt.”

Brendon de Jong fell away badly while playing alongside Rory, he collapsed with a third round +6 over par 76, taking him out of contention. He is now T24, a drop of 22 places on the day;

“It was just unfortunately one of those bad days, it’s going to happen if you play this game for long enough. I just hit too many bad shots, I was putting for too many pars on this golf course.”

Honda Classic. Rory Mac Still on Track.

dragon logo darkThe Honda Classic LogoRory McIlroy is still on track to win The Honda Classic, leading the competition on  the PGA National course at Palm Beach Gardens.

In driver's seat at Honda

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory shot a -4 under par 66 to maintain his momentum at the top of the leaderboard at The Honda Classic, with a -11 under par total. He spoke about his implosion last year and thinks maturity has helped him overcome those difficulties;

“It’s a different end of the spectrum I guess, I wasn’t quite comfortable with my golf swing. I was still tinkering with equipment. I just wasn’t feeling in control of, you know, what I needed to be in control of. This year is obviously a lot different. I think it’s just a sign of a little more maturity, not really trying to force the issue or press. I knew that with the way I’m playing and the confidence in my ability, I would be able to get those shots back. I didn’t panic.”

“When you’re not quite in control of your swing, your confidence can sort of go in peaks and troughs. When you hit a few good shots, your confidence can go up quite quickly but then you hit one bad one, it can sort of go down again and that’s where I was sort of most of last year. Now I feel I’m happy with where my swing is, and even if I do hit a loose shot, I can get over it much quicker and much easier because I have the confidence in what I’m doing. I’m playing well and I’m comfortable.”

Brendon de Jong is in second place after his super second round -6 under par 64, which elevated him to -10 under par overall. Brendon, who has never won on the PGA TOUR,  will be in the last group Saturday, alongside Rory. He mentioned the wind picking up in the afternoon;

“I think I might have got a little bit of switch in the wind. I feel very comfortable, I’ve been out here long enough now. I’ve played quite a bit with Rory. I know obviously what a great player he is. I feel very comfortable. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

In third place at -8 under par is Russell Henley, who carded a second round -2 under par 70, to stay in touch with the leaders.

Among those making the cut on the number, at even par were some dignitaries; Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, V.J. Singh and Paul Casey.

Tiger reported;

“I hit it good enough to shoot probably at least three or four lower than I did. I had so many looks where I just missed, and I just need to read them a little bit better than I did today.”

Sergio is struggling;

“It’s just been a little bit of a struggle, it’s just one of those weeks where you just don’t feel it. I wish I could put my hand on what it is. I just didn’t feel comfortable starting out, but I have to be happy with the finish and hope for a decent weekend.”

There were also a couple of big names on the missed cut column, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson. Phil was +1 over par and Henrik was +9 over par for the first two rounds.

N.Z. Open. Four-Way Tie after 1st Round.

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PGA Oz

There is a four-way tie at the top of  the New Zealand Open after the first rounds, being played on two courses, Millbrook and The Hills, on the South Island in New Zealand.

Andrew Boult, Terry Pilkadaris, Jake Stirling and Scott Strange all shot -6 under par 66, for their first rounds of the tournament. All four of these players were on the Millbrook course, the best score on The Hills course was Andrew Martin at -5 under par. Andrew shares second place with four other players.

Andrew Dodt, Australia, rigt and his caddy talk tactics. Photo / Dianne Mason.

Andrew Boult / Dianne Mason

Andrew said he was excited;

“Yeah, I am. I’m not really excited about the weather, though, and what’s to come. To get off to a good start, you feel like you’re in front of the field a bit. If the weather is pretty ordinary, a good round today makes up for that. I played four years in Europe so hopefully I go alright.”

To be honest with you I am not a fan of these competitions which play on multiple courses for the opening rounds. A change in the weather, or in New Zealand a change in the wind direction, could easily alter the way a course plays, favoring one group or another.

The best course for the New Zealand Open has always been Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, a links course which has hosted 12  N.Z. Open’s in the past. The last competition there attracted no less a player than World Number One Tiger Woods. As always money does the talking, the result was a partnership agreement between Michael Hill Tournaments Limited and the Japanese Golf Tour Organisation.

An aside;

Sir  Bob Charles, who won the event in 1954, as an 18-year-old amateur, he also won again in 1966, 1971 and 1973 and became the only New Zealander to win a major championship in the 20th century,  at the British Open. Sir Bob also  became the first left-handed golfer to win a major championship.

A few facts about Sir Bob;

• Champions Tour money leader, 1988-90
• Champions Tour scoring leader, 1988-89, 1993
• Recipient, Order of the British Empire, 1972
• Recipient, Commander of the British Empire, 1992
• Recipient, Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, 1999
• Recipient, European Seniors Tour Lifetime Achievement Award, 2002

He also knows nothing about Facebook, offering this comment when asked if they could take his picture;

“Do you mind if we take your picture for Facebook, Sir Bob?”

“Sure… what’s that?” 

VOLVIK RACV Ladies Masters. Cheyenne Woods Wins.

dragon logo darkCheyenne Woods won her first tour tournament at  the VOLVIK RACV Ladies Masters at the RACV Royal Pines Resort in Australia.

Winner Cheyenne Woods / Getty Images

Cheyenne scored a final round of -4 under par 69 to win her first professional tour title at -16 under par, a two shot victory, Uncle Tiger would be proud. She said she had just played steady golf;

“I played really steady, I didn’t panic. I’m just really excited for whatever this leads me to. It just feels really great knowing my game is there, and I can play four solid rounds. This is a huge accomplishment for me.”

 

“The Ladies European Tour has been great to be able to play this last year, I’ve been able to see all of these great players, play with Solheim Cup members, so I’ve learned so much from all of these girls and to be able to come out here and actually compete with them and come out on top was huge for me.”

“All off season I was just getting ready with my coach back home and he told me he thinks that this is my year, my time to finally get a win and to have it this early in the season is exciting, especially with European Tour and then here in Australia. I’m just really proud with how I played this week and followed through all four days and finished strong.”

17 year-old Australian teenage sensation and amateur, Minjee Lee claimed second place, she also had a last round of -4 under par 69. Recording a total for the tournament of -14 under par. She said she was hoping for more good things to come

 “I haven’t really been in this situation before so I am happy with how I played today and hopefully there are many more to come.”

Minjee Lee / getty

Third place was shared between Camilla Lennarth and  Stacy Lee Bregman, both ladies finished with total score of -12 under par.

I think it is really great that new players win tournaments, it is getting harder and harder for the traditional favorites to win tournaments these days.

Congratulations Cheyenne, don’t forget to give Uncle Tiger some tips on winning next time you guys talk.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Gallacher Gate Crashes the Party.

dragon logo dark Stephen Gallacher has gate crashed the party at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club. A brilliant back nine in the third round has given the Defending Champion a two shot lead going into the final day.

Stephen Gallacher  (Getty Images)

Stephen tee’s off, watched by Tiger / Getty Images

Stephen is now in pole position to become the first man to successfully defend the Omega Dubai Desert Classic title following a brilliant round of -9 under par 63 on Saturday, to top the leaderboard at -16 under par. Stephen was actually ten under par for the last ten holes, he now has a two shot lead over Rory McIlroy, who could only manage a -3 under par 69 in his third round, he is at -14 under par.

Stephen did not know where the sudden blast of brilliance came from, he just said what an amazing game golf is;

 “I don’t really know to be honest, it was quite a struggle to start with, especially the first three holes. I was not quite right but if you stay patient and keep focused it’s amazing what this game throws up. I hit it stiff on nine and from then on just kept hitting it close, and if I hit it to 30 feet I holed it. I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could and get a lead because I found the last time it’s easier when you are leading than chasing. There’s a lot of golf left to go but I will certainly be giving it my best shot.”

Rory was not quite 100 per cent fit after a bout of food poisoning, caused by takeaway food on Thursday night. He said his round was just OK, and did not know that Stephen was ten under for his last ten holes;

“It was okay, I bogeyed the first again but birdied two and eagled three which was great. I didn’t drive the ball particularly well, I’m probably going to work on a few things on the range and I felt like I hit a lot of good putts that just didn’t go in. I felt like I left a few out there but it was a tricky day and shooting anything under 70 wasn’t a bad score. Obviously Stephen had a phenomenal round, 63 today is a really impressive effort.”

“I didn’t know that. That’s a great stretch of holes and hopefully he doesn’t continue it tomorrow! I played with him the first two days and he played very well. Obviously he was on fire today, I just need to go out there and try to hit a few more fairways, focus on a few things in my game, not really focus on what he’s doing and make a few putts and see where it puts me. It’s the second week in a row for me going into the last day with a chance to win, it’s a great position to be in.”

There are two players tied in third spot, at -12 under par, Brooks Kopeka and Thorbjørn Olesen, they had very different rounds. Brooks had held the lead midway through the back nine until Stephen’s charge, I don’t know if he was watching the scoreboard but he dropped shots at the 14th and 15th to card a -2 under par 70. Thorbjørn on the other hand  fired a flawless -7 under par 65 to move him up the leaderboard.

World Number One Tiger Woods shot -2 under par 70 to occupy a share of 37th place on -5 under par.

There are obviously low scores to had on this Emirates Golf Club course, so there is still a chance for many players to come from behind and take this title, I am looking forward to it.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Rory Has Half-Way Lead.

dragon logo dark Rory McIlroy has the half-way lead at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.

Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)

Rory in the desert / Getty Images

Rory followed his first round 63 with a more pedestrian second round of -2 under par 70, but he still maintained top position on the leaderboard at -11 under par. His round today contained three bogey’s, which prevented him from building a commanding lead in the competition. He gave a blow by blow account of his wobbly back nine, but still expects to win this tournament;

“Making a few birdies on the front nine and turning two under par was a good effort, especially as the wind started to get up. I birdied ten, played eleven and twelve okay but then missed that little one (a par putt from inside two feet) on thirteen. Had a chance on fifteen and didn’t convert and made bogey on sixteen, but it was nice to birdie the last and at least give myself a one shot lead going into tomorrow.I will just go back tonight and regroup and realise that I am still leading the tournament. I hit a couple of loose drives which I haven’t done the last couple of weeks but I still feel like I’m playing well enough to go and win the tournament.”

“I have led from the front quite well in tournaments that I have won. I feel like I am still playing well, I know the course as well as anyone else and I expect to go out there and shoot two good scores over the weekend and hopefully lift the trophy.”

Second place belongs to American Brooks Koepka, whose flawless -7 under par 65 equalled the lowest score of the day and elevated him up the leaderboard to -10 under par overall.

Brooks is looking forward to going round with Rory tomorrow;

“I’ve never played with Rory, so it’s going to be fun. I know him a little bit from seeing him around, so hopefully I’ll be able to play as well as I did today. I putted really well today. Yesterday I didn’t putt very well, but today my putter came through for me. I’m striking the ball really well, and I also chipped well today. So everything’s going well, I can’t complain.”

Three players are tied in third place, Danny Willett who also shot -7 under par 65, Damien McGrane and Julien Quesne are at -8 under par for the competition.

European Number One Henrik Stenson and defending champion Stephen Gallacher among seven players another shot back at -7 under par in total.

Henrik was happy with his putting, and is hoping to put in a good challenge here;

“I think there is still a little way to go but today was the best I have putted for a long, long time. I was threatening on every putt and kept the score together with no bogeys, which is always a good sign.”

Danny started the week by jumping out of a plane, he thinks it could have been a good idea, made the first tee shot less terrifying;

“It was a different way to start the week, but if you are standing on the first tee trying to hit a drive onto the fairway it seems a little less nerve-racking than jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet, so it might have prepared me quite well. As soon as you jump out you think ‘What are we doing?’, but after that you level out and start to feel like you are just floating down and it’s unbelievable.”

He also mentioned his 0700 local time start;

 “A half-four alarm is never great but it’s a great time to play golf in the desert. The back nine is the scoreable nine and I was really, really clinical, didn’t miss a green, hit a couple of par fives in two and it was a real easy six under. The front nine gets a little trickier with the breeze and the doglegs but all in all it’s two good days’ work.”

World Number One Tiger Woods, playing alongside Rory, could only manage a second round of +1 over par 73 to make the cut with just one shot to spare on -3 under par.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Marvelous Mac is Back.

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Marvelous Rory McIlroy is back, he leads the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.

 

Brilliant McIlroy back to his best

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory  carded seven birdies and an eagle, in his opening round of -9 under par 63 at Emirates Golf Club to lead the competition by two shots. He said it was good and that he was close to his best, and how comfortable he feels right now;

“It was good, it was really nice. I played really well from tee to green, drove the ball great again. I think I only missed a couple of fairways and only missed one green where I had to really get it up and down. I took advantage of how I am driving the ball and just need to do more of the same the next three days. It’s close, obviously, this year I’ve shot a couple of good rounds. This is a little lower than I went in Abu Dhabi and I feel very comfortable with my game.”

Sitting two behind is Italian Edoardo Molinari, who shot a first round -7 under par 65, with a bogey on the last hole, a six on the par five.

Edoardo kept telling us how well he hit the ball;

“It was a good day. I played a couple of practice rounds in the morning and in the afternoon it’s definitely more difficult, especially the back nine was quite tricky, but I hit the ball really well. I missed a couple of putts but I’m hitting the ball really well. I’ve been hitting the ball very well lately, and especially off the tee. The only blemish on the card was eighteen today, and I actually didn’t commit to the shot. But apart from that, I think I hit every fairway all day. Tomorrow I’ll be able to play in the morning with softer greens, and I think that’s going to be a big help tomorrow, because surely the greens will be firmer and firmer as the week goes by.”

There is a group of five players on -6 under par in third spot, they are; Stephen Gallacher, Richard Sterne, Julien Quesne, Damien McGrane and Matthew Baldwin, who all carded rounds of 66.

Stephen played alongside Tiger and Rory and had this to say of the Worlds number one;

” Me and Tiger had a couple of holes where we had great saves of par but it was one of those days where we took advantage of the conditions, it was quite benign. It was great to play with Tiger and Fred Couples in the Champions event on Tuesday, that eased me in and I knew what to expect.”

Tiger Woods opened with a -4 under par 68, tied in tenth place. Tiger said he played OK;

“I played all right today. I probably could have got a couple more out of it. I didn’t hit a bad putt today which was nice, it was just that sometimes the grain grabbed it pretty hard at the end.”

Rory also thinks Tiger is playing well;

“He’s a true pro, he knows there are no pictures on a scorecard. He was hitting it a lot better at the end of the round but to shoot the score he did on our front nine was a good effort.”

Lets see how well Tiger plays tomorrow, and for that matter lets see if Rory can put four great rounds together.

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