The McGladrey Classic. Captain Kirk, Beam Me Up Scotty.

Chris Kirk won the McGladery Classic at Sea Island, his local knowledge proved to be the deciding factor.

Triumphant return

Chris Kirk / Getty Images

Chris was tied  for the lead with Briny Baird in The McGladrey Classic coming down the 18th fairway. Briny was in a fairway bunker, while Chris was on the opposite side of the fairway, lining up a shot to the green and a possible birdie chance to win the tournament.

As he watched, Briny topped his 4 iron escape shot, the ball then rolled into a hazard. Chris then changed his plan and played for par, closing out his competition with a 4-under par 66, a tournament total of -14 under par and a one-shot victory. He is also the first player from Sea Island to win The McGladrey Classic.

The victory for Chris also means that he has a place in The Masters, for the first time;

“To come here to Sea Island, which is a place that I love and cherish so much, and Davis’s tournament, it just an unbelievable thing. Davis was kind of my guy when I was 12 and 13, really starting to play golf. He was my favorite player, and he’s turned from being my idol to sort of a mentor and good friend. So I’m a very lucky person to be in that situation, and to win his tournament really means a lot to me.”

Briny, who finished tied in second place with Tim Clark at -13 under par spoke of the hurt, and said he did not feel comfortable on the 18th;

” You mix that with nerves, and it’s a recipe for disaster. It hurt to do what I did on the last hole. It’s not all about winning, I’ve said that, but this hurts. This really does. This is very disappointing.”

This was the sixth time in his career Briny has been runner-up. He has gone the longest without winning, among players who have their PGA TOUR cards, sadly he is now 0-for-365 tournaments. Maybe its something to do with that hat.

Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Catch Kuchar, If You Can.

It’s catch Kuchar if you can as Matt takes a one shot lead into the final round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club.

Try to catch Kuchar

Matt Kuchar / Heathcote / Getty Images

Matt Kuchar had a third round of -1 under under par for a total of -11 under, which kept him at the top of the leaderboard in the Crowne Plaza Invitational, by just one shot.

Matt’s third round  finally ended more than 12 hours after he woke up;

” This morning feels like a day ago. It would’ve been nice to extend my lead, tomorrow will be an exciting day.”

Just one shot back at -10 under par are  Boo Weekley, Graham DeLaet, Matt Every and Chris Stroud. Boo said it will be a shoot-out tomorrow;

“It’s going to be a shootout.”

Zach Johnson, the defending Champion is at -8 under par, three shots off the pace, but still in contention.

Jordan Spieth had a share of the lead early on, but some costly mistakes dropped him down the leaderboard. Afterwards he did not want to focus too much on what happened to him today;

“I can’t focus too much on today, I’m really happy with the way I putted. I just made some mental errors, just rookie mistakes that cost me about four shots. Otherwise, I’d be tied for the lead. Just got fooled big-time by the wind on four or five holes. I just guessed incorrectly twice in a row, it was a decision that obviously looks bad afterward. I’m happy to close with a birdie and carry it into tomorrow only four back.”

Tim Clark and Martin Flores shot the low rounds of the day, both with rounds of -5 under par 65.

Tim was happy with the way he played today;

” Yesterday was really bad, luckily I kind of got it figured out and today the swing felt good. I’ve been in this position a lot, so again, it’s about for me staying aggressive on this golf course, when you try to play it safe, it can come back and get you. So I just need to stay aggressive. For a guy who doesn’t hit it very far, this is a very good golf course to come in and do some shot-making.”

 

Northern Trust Open, Two Tied at the Top

 

Fredrick Jacobson & Sang-Moon Bae

The second round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club proved to be very interesting as two new players emerged to be tied at the top of the leaderboard, they are South Korean Sang-Moon Bae and Swede Fredrick Jacobson. Both players have a tournament score of -9 under par,  with a second round scores of  -6 under par 65.

Bae apologized for his English, but said he was happy with the way he played;

” I can’t speak English very well, please understand. I feel like I played very well today. I hit a bunch of good shots. I made many good putts, but I missed a couple short putts on hole five and seven, but it was not a big problem. I think I did my best today. You know, these greens are a little tricky and soft and a little bumpy, so playing is not easy. I don’t know pairing for tomorrow, but you know, many good players on the PGA TOUR, so it’s very competitive. Just I will play my game.”

Freddie loved being back in contention;

“Obviously take a lot out of that, just being in contention again. I’ve had some good practice sessions before, but to bring it on the course and play under pressure, that’s what it’s about. And the sooner I can get back and put myself in this position where I can get some pressure, that’s the best practice you can get.”

Tied in third place, just one shot off the lrad at -8 under par are John Merrick and John Rollings.

 

Luke Donald is another shot back at -7 under par, and it must be a worry for those guys at the top to see him climbing the leaderboard. Luke said his game was very sharp, and he was excited to be in the mix again, after his long lay-off;

“You never know with how you’re going to deal with being back in competition again but certainly a big improvement today, ball-striking wise and my short game has been very sharp. I’ve been excited about that, it’s been a big key to my score so far, and yeah, excited to be in the mix again.”

Lee Westwood is making steady progress and is lurking at -6 under par, three shots behind the leading pair, Lee said the scoring was bunched, because it is difficult to putt in the afternoon;

” The scoring is very bunched, that’s probably due to the greens.  It’s difficult to hole putts in the afternoon. You’ll find most guys make a good score in the morning and the guys in the afternoon are happy, well I’m delighted with 3 under.”

Notables missing the cut this week are;

Graeme McDowell, Dustin Johnson, Nicolas Colsaerts, Tim Clark, Zach Johnson, Geoff Ogilvy, Padraig Harrington and Bubba Watson.

Sony Open, Rookie Russell Rips Up the Record Books.

Smashing debut

Winning Rookie Russell Henley / Petersen/Getty Images

The Sony Open was won by rookie Russell Henley on his Tour debut, and doing so he ripped up the standing records for just about everything.

Russell  finished at -24 under par and a total score of 256, breaking by four shots the Sony Open in Hawaii scoring record, last set by Brad Faxon in 2001. Russell relegated Tim Clark into second place by three shots, Tim was himself on fire, he birdied seven of his last eleven holes and actually only made up one shot on Russell, the rookie from the University of Georgia.

Russell is now tied at the top the FedEx Cup standings in the company of Dustin Johnson on 500 points. The win was the second-lowest score for a 72-hole tournament in PGA TOUR history, two shots behind Tommy Armour III in 2003 at the Valero Texas Open. He also  set tournament records for the low 36-hole score after his 63-63 start, he shared the 54-hole record with Scott Langley and also set another tournament record with the lowest final round by a Champion.

Add to that he became the first PGA TOUR rookie to win his debut since Garrett Willis did at Tucson in 2001, and he will be going to the Masters in April, a local tournament for the boy from Macon, Georgia.

He said of his record breaking day that he had never been so nervous, you would not have imagined that watching him coming down the stretch on Sunday. He played the last nine holes superbly.

“I don’t really know what happened, honestly, this is the most nervous I’ve ever been. That’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s been my goal to make it to the Masters my whole life. I’m kind of speechless right now.”

With the results  of his Web.com Tour season last year and this win Russell Henley has already made it into the world rankings inside the top fifty.  That ranking will get him into the Accenture-Match Play Championship for the top 64 in the world, the qualifying date is only a month away, and he should also be in line for the other WGC at the Cadillac Championship, and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, not forgetting the PGA Championship. All in all quite a PGA TOUR debut, I look forward to watching Russell this season, it will be interesting to see how far he can go, he obviously has the talent.

 

Sony Open, Rookies Rule The Roost, Tied at the Top

 

Russell Henley of the U.S. (L) practices his putt swing as Scott Langley waits to putt on the 18th green during the third round of the Sony Open golf tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry

 Russell Henley and Scott Langley / Hugh Gentry Reuters

The two first year rookies, Russell Henley and Scott Langley are tied at the top of the leaderboard of the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, at the conclusion of the third round on Saturday. They share the lead at -17 under par, a three shot lead over Tim Clark who is alone in third place, at -14 under par.

Russell  fired a three-under-par 67 third round, while Scott carded a 65, to level the scores for the tournament for these two friends.

Apart from leading the tournament the pair now share the course lowest 54 hole record, at 193. Russell is still amazed at the experience he and Scott are enjoying;

“A month ago I was at orientation, and Scott just done with Q-School, and I gave him a ride to the airport. We had lunch and I was telling him how awesome it was I was on the PGA Tour. This is kind like a dream, it’s weird. It’s like I’m not awake, very weird. Whatever happens tomorrow, I’m going to learn from it. I’ve played great golf and I feel like I can compete out here. Win this tournament or not, it’s already been a very successful week.”

Scott was calculating the odds on him winning, and is happy the pair will together again tomorrow for the final round;

” The Vegas odds on me winning were probably not very good, I hope somebody bet on me and I make him a lot of money. I never imagined that, it’s certainly odd, but you know, if there was a guy in the field that I would love to do it with, it would be Russell because we play pretty similar games, and we’re kind of the same guy on the course. We play pretty quickly and pretty easy going, kind of feel our way around, not too technical. So there are a lot of guys that I enjoy playing with, but Russell is definitely one of them.”

A victory for either player on Sunday would emulate the achievement of fellow American Garrett Willis, who was the most recent rookie to win on his debut as a PGA Tour member, at the 2001 Tucson Open.

Tim Clark is happy with his golfing progress since coming back from injury, he would love to win this tournament, but is sure neither of the rookies will be worried about leading;

“I’m sure they won’t be too intimidated, that’s going to be fun to see them play. There’s all these young guys coming out these days, and they’re ready to go right from the start. So it’s going to be a fun battle.”

There are two players tied in fourth place at -13 under par, Scott Gardiner and Charles Howell 111, or Chucky three sticks, as he is known as on the Tour. At four shots back these guys must still feel they are in with a shout.

At -12 under par are a host of players, most notably for us in New Zealand, one of them is Danny Lee. It is good to see the Kiwi contesting on the final day. But as I said yesterday, if  Russell and Scott are paired together for the last round, one of them will be the winner.

Sony Open, Hawaii, Rookie Scott Langley Leads

SONY OPEN

on the left is Scott Langley/ Getty Images

The Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club.had a surprising first round leader in Scott Langley, in his first start as a rookie on Tour. Scott fired in a first round 62, -8 under par, with some wonderful stroke play and nerveless putting. Scott said he was excited about the coming days of this tournament;

“I’m a young guy, but I’m old enough to know that we have a lot of golf left. We’ve barely started, and I’m excited about the next few days.”

Just one shot behind the leader in second place is another rookie, Russell Henley, with his opening effort of -7 under par 63. Russell was pleased he got friends Scott and Luke Guthrie as his playing partners in the first round;

“I think there was a lot of nerves for me the first few holes and I think playing with Scotty and Luke was huge for me, and watching them play well kind of gave me a goal to try to keep up with them, so it was definitely fun feeding off them.”

Unfortunately Luke Guthrie did not fare so well, finishing at +1 over par, tied in 88th place.

A year ago Scott and Russell two were playing in a Hooters Tour event in Florida, Russell missing the cut and Scott just making it to proceed, walking up sixteen today the pair reminisced, Scott said;

“We were on the range trying to help each other find it. We were just walking up 16, you could see the ocean behind, PGA TOUR signs everywhere. We looked at each other and realized this is pretty cool. To look back one year ago and to know that we weren’t here, we were in a far different place.”

Tied in third spot at -6 under par are Scott Piercy and Tim Clark, Scott Piercy had a 64 in the morning, with Tim Clark matching that score in the afternoon session. Tim spent most of last year suffering from a mystery elbow injury, and came into this tournament with fairly low expectations;

“It’s going to be an exciting year for me because I do feel like I’m healthy again and can play a full schedule. I’m obviously doing a lot better than I was last year.”

Scott Piercy, the RBC Canadian Open champion, was among 20 players in the field who started their season last week on Maui, at the weather wrecked Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course, he recalled the terrible putting performance he endured;

” Seven three-putts and a four-putt last week. The wind wasn’t even blowing today compared to last week. I just played solid today, hit it in a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, made two fairly key putts and took care of the par fives.”

Seventy players in the 144-man field broke par, they included a pair from the Champions Tour. Russ Cochran, who won the Senior British Open in 2011, he had a first round of 68 and Fred Funk who shot an even par round of 70.

Wyndham Championship, Sergio Garcia Wins

 

    FedExCup_150.jpg

Wyndham wallop

Sergio Garcia/Martin/Getty Images

I am pleased to report that Sergio Garcia won the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club on Monday morning. This victory was Sergio’s  first on the PGA Tour since the 2008 Players Championship. His winning score was – 18 under par after shooting a final-round 66, beating  Tim Clark by two shots and Bud Cauley by three. Sergio now excitedly goes to Bethpage Black for The Barclays with momentum, he ranked 33rd in the FedExCup, a big jump of 69 spots. The Barclays, which begins Thursday, is the first of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs that will decided the season-long champion and winner of the $10 million bonus.

“I am proud of the way I played coming in, hopefully this will secure my spot in the Ryder Cup. We’ll see when the team comes out, but I think my chances are a little better now.”

With this win, Sergio appears to have forced himself  into the automatic qualifiers for the European team with just one week remaining. The matches will be held at Medinah Country Club where a then 19-year-old Garcia finished second to Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship. Go Sergio !!!

Tim Clark finished in second spot after his last round 67 and a tournament total of -16 under par. Tim also moved up the points list, to 54th, this amazing position after not even being in the Playoff picture a few weeks ago. Tim knew it was going to be hard to reel in Sergio on the day;

“It was going to be tough to catch Garcia, the way he finished.”

Bud Cauley claimed third place with a final round of -2 under par, 68 and a tournament total of -15 under par. Local boy Carl Pettersson finished in a three-way tie for fourth spot, with Jimmy Walker and Chad Campbell.

Lets go to the Play-offs.

Wyndham Championship, Final Round Suspended. Weather Delay

  

Inclement weather caused the suspension of play in the final round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club on Sunday. The final round will commence on Monday morning with Sergio Garcia still leading, he is -1 under par after four holes and is currently at -15 under par for the tournament. Jason Dufner, Bud Cauley and Tim Clark are just one shot adrift, with all of them just beginning their rounds when play was halted.

American Ryder Cup Captain, Davis Love 111, is still on -11 under par after seven holes of his final round, and could still close the gap at the resumption of play tomorrow. Local boy Carl Pettersson is +2 over par during his first six holes of the final round and looks less than convincing in his bid for the title.

I am looking forward to tomorrows play, it should be a great tussle to the end.

Wyndham Championship, Round 3, Sergio Garcia Leads

                                                                                                                       

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia/Gerry Broome / Associated Press

After three rounds of the Wyndham Championship Sergio Garcia is in control of his Ryder Cup destiny. Sergio had a third round of       -4 under par 66 on the par 70 Sedgefield Country Club lay-out, to lead by one shot from Tim Clark and Bud Cauley, who are on -13 under par. The FedEx Playoffs are just one week away, and Sergio Garcia is rounding into form at the right time. The going will  not be easy, apart from Bud Cauley and Tim Clark by one,  Jason Dufner, Harris English and Carl Pettersson are lurking with serious intent. Sergio is acutely aware of the competition looming behind him for the final round;

” Obviously I would love to be two, three shots better but, you know, we’re in a good situation, it’s going to be a tough day. There’s no doubt about it. A lot of very good players behind me trying to achieve the same thing I’m trying to achieve. So, you know, hopefully I’ll go out there tomorrow, play well again and give ourselves a good shot at winning and see if we can finish in the same position that I was today. Eighteen pars are not going to win it, you have to make some birdies out there. I don’t have a number, I’m not going to say I need to shoot 4 under, 5 under, or whatever. Someone might go out and shoot 9 under, and 5 under’s not good enough.”

Jason Dufner had the best round of the day, a -7 under par 63, and playing like that he could easily be in contention coming down the stretch on Sunday afternoon. Jason trails Sergio by two shots and is trying to win for the third time during this breakout season. Amazingly he would replace Tiger Woods as No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings if he did, now that would be a talking point.

There are sixteen players within four shots of the lead, so in reality tomorrow is going to be a shoot-out, and may the best man win.

The American Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love 111 is still in contention in this tournament, and a win for him here would be a momentous occasion. And don’t forget Carl Pettersson, the Sedgefield Country Club member, he knows this course well, and that factor could give him the edge. Of course Carl will not be playing for Ryder Cup selection, as he does not qualify to play for either the U.S. or the European Team. I think some rule changes need to be made here, but you know how long it takes the authorities to come to any conclusions on rule changes, long putters have been around for twenty years.

Here is how the top of the leaderboard currently looks.

1. Sergio Garcia -14                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                T2. Bud Cauley -13                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           T2. Tim Clark -13                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            T4. Jason Dufner -12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    T4. Harris English -12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  T4. Carl Pettersson -12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       T7. Davis Love III -11                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       T7. Matt Every -11                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              T7. Jimmy Walker 11

Wyndham Championship, round 2, Jimmy Walker in Front.

  Jimmy Walker hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club.

Jimmy Walker/getty images

Jimmy Walker is in front after the second round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, North Carolina. Jimmy had a super smooth -8 under par, 62, for a tournament total of -12 under par. He now  leads the Championship by just one shot from Webb Simpson.

Jimmy  is playing well despite having suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee while making what he called a “funny step” at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in late May. He elected to have a cortisone injection the week of the U.S. Open, which took away the swelling and pain. Jimmy spoke about the discomfort he was feeling;

” For a while there I was out of my routine because I couldn’t bend down, I couldn’t read putts the way I wanted to. I couldn’t line my ball up the way I wanted to.”

He has  said he’ll probably undergo surgery in the offseason to fix the same problem he had on his right knee a couple of years ago.

Webb Simpson had a nice round of -7 under par 63, and a total of -11 under par and is alone in second spot, he is thinking about the FedEx Playoffs and also his first Ryder Cup;

“Obviously right now I’m thinking about the FedExCup Playoffs but I talked to Davis a little bit more today about the team and just kind of what to expect and how I can prepare for my first Ryder Cup and, so, I’m definitely thinking about it but, you know, I’m just trying to play good tomorrow and work for The Playoffs.”

There are four players tied in third place at -10 under par, they are, Carl Pettersson, Sergio Garcia, Harris English and Tim Clark.

Carl struggled today and admitted so;

“I’m going to drive back tonight home and get some rest and see if I can find my swing on the way back. I struggled early on didn’t have much today but I thought it was a good comeback shooting 4 under from nine onwards and 2-under par was okay today with the game that I had and hopefully I can hit the ball better on the weekend and have a chance. Overall, it was pretty good, there was some uncertainty for sure but, overall, I hit the driver pretty good, I’ll keep it in the bag for the weekend. I got to keep playing aggressive, put the ball in play and then try to make some birdies and have a low weekend, it’s nice to be up there with a chance to win.”