RBC Heritage. Three-Way Tie at the Top.

dragon logo darkRBC Heritage

There is a three-way tie at the top of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.

Matt Kuchar carded his 19th round in the 60s this season. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

One of the three, Matt Kuchar / Getty Images

Matt Kuchar, Scott Langley and William McGirt all posted rounds of -5 under par 66 to share the first round lead at the RBC Heritage.

Matt  birdied both the par five holes on the front nine before finishing with a birdie on his final hole, the ninth. He thinks a lot of the players coming from the Masters will play well here;

” It was some awfully steady golf. You’re going to see a lot of guys, if they’re not too run down from a major championship, come out and play some pretty good golf the week following.”

Scott was inspired by the performance of Jordan Spieth at the Masters;

“Seeing Jordan do so well, almost win the Masters, inspired me a little bit.”

William McGirt was catching the good vibes from Scott;

“Scott and I were both making birdies left and right, it was easy to feed off each other.”

Harris English is alone in fourth spot at -3 under par, just two shots off the lead. There are a whole host of players at -2 under par, 15 of them in total. Fresh from his exploits at the Masters was Jordan Spieth, he was among those guys on -2 under par for the day, and was paired with the U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain, Tom Watson and 2012 Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III.Both of these guys have been winners here, and Tom wanted to take a close look at the way the young man played, so Jordan could find his name on the team sheet;

“It was unbelievable just to be playing with them. I was anxious to get back out and play another competitive round, so today was going to be kind of therapy, in a sense, from last week.”

If Nick Faldo does not pull his socks up he will find himself back in the TV booth pretty quickly. Nick stuttered to an opening round of +6 over par 77. This the course where Nick won his first ever U.S. PGA Tour title, in 1984.

The Senior British Open. Langer and Wiebe Tied.

After two rounds of The Senior British Open Bernhard Langer and Mark Wiebe are tied at the top of the leaderboard at Royal Birkdale.

Mark Wiebe / Getty Images

Mark managed to bogey the sixth hole for the second time in as many days, but still carded a second round – 5 under par 65, to share the lead with Bernhard Langer, on the par 70 Royal Birkdale layout.

Mark said he was tickled to shoot a low round, and be where he is;

“I really got my irons zoned in on the back nine, I know there’s a long way to go, but I’m tickled to be where I am. It was unbelievable and great to shoot the low round.”

 Bernhardthe 2010 champion at Carnoustie, shot a second round  -3 under par 67, for his total of -5 under par, which included a two stroke penalty for double hitting the ball. Apart from that misdemeanor Bernhard said he had played great golf;

“The ball was sitting up in the long grass and I caught it high on the club face and again on the follow through, but that was my only blemish. Most of it was impressive and good, and I putted a little better today.”

David Frost , repeated his first round score of -2 under par 68, and is just a stroke back in third place. He said it was his putter that saved a shaky round;

“It was a bit of a shaky round, I didn’t feel comfortable with the club in my hand. I hit some wayward shots, but managed to hit good irons into the greens and the putter was my savior.”

Tom Watson, only got going after a very indifferent front nine, which  featured two birdies, two bogeys and a sad double-bogey. Tom then converted long putts at Nos. 11, 12 and 13 and sunk another birdie putt at the 15th hole. He unfortunately bogeyed the last two holes of the day to finish in a group on +4 over par.

The overnight tournament leader Gene Sauers could manage an even par round fo 70 today, which left him sharing fourth place at -3 under par. He admitted he did not play so well in the second round, but was pretty happy with where he was at this stage of the tournament;

“I’m happy with where I am. I didn’t hit the ball as well as I did yesterday and I didn’t putt as well either.”

 

 

 

The Greenbrier Classic. Jonas Jubilant.

A jubilant Jonas Blixt won the Greenbrier Classic at The Old White TPC by two shots in a rain delayed final round.

Late-night delivery

Jonas Blixt / Getty Images

Jonas shot a -3 under par 67 to win the Greenbrier Classic by two shots, in a final round which was  halted for three hours due to thunderstorms in the area. Jonas overcame a four-shot deficit at the start of the final round and finished at 13-under par for the tournament. It was a dream come true after he picked up his second PGA Tour trophy;

“Just so many dreams come true, just one week and the whole year kind of turns around.”

Four players tied for second place, including Johnson Wagner who fell to a +3 over par 73 and finished at -11 under par for the tournament. Joining him on that score were, Steven Bowditch, Matt Jones and Jimmy Walker.

I guess the three-hour rain delay really unhinged Johnson Wagner, he had a commanding lead at the start of play but saw it all fall away.

Tom Watson, the 63-year-old, carded a creditable final-round of -3 under par 67 and tied for 38th at The Greenbrier Classic.

 

HP Byron Nelson Championship. Keegan Crumbles, Korean Bae Wins.

Korean Sang-Moon Bae won the HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Texas, with a last round of -1 under par, 69,  for a total of -13 under par. Keegan Bradley crumbled under the pressure and could only manage a last round of par, finishing two strokes behind the leader at -11 under par.

Sang-Moon rising

Sang-Moon Bae with his first PGA Tour Trophy/ Pennington / Getty Images

Sang-Moon said winning a PGA Tournament was something he had always dreamed of;

“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of, winning on the PGA TOUR. It was surreal to have Mrs. Nelson there and with all the history, I was in awe, actually, so almost I didn’t know how to react.”

Sang-Moon’s  previous best finish on the PGA TOUR was a playoff loss to Luke Donald at the 2012 Tampa Bay Championship. He said he was happy that he played the back nine better;

” When my iron play came back in the latter part of the round, I had confidence. On that shot on 17, I knew it was short, and the wind pushed it over to the right, and I was happy and relieved that it turned out OK.”

Despite struggling all day Keegan was uplifted by a birdie putt on 15, and thought he could then go on and be the first player since Tom Watson in 1980 to win this competition wire to wire;

“I’m pretty disappointed but Moon played very well. I just didn’t play great today, but I hung in there. I chipped away. When I made that putt on 15, I was pretty confident that I was going to win.”

South African Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters Champ, shot a last round of -2 under par, 68, to finish in third place on his own third at -10 under par.

 

 

 

Toshiba Classic. Frosty Freezes Freddie with Five Shot Win

Toshiba Classic

David Frost froze out all of his foes in the Toshiba Classic, winning by five shots at Newport Beach Country Club.

David Frost of South Africa celebrates his birdie on the 17th green

David Frost / Getty Images

David Frost triumphed over Fred Couples by five shots at the Toshiba Classic, equaling the record of 19-under par, set by Jay Haas in 2007. Fred chased the wire to wire winning all the way, but there was really nothing that he could do to prevent the South African picking up the title. He could only stand and watch as things unfolded in front of him, like the 50ft birdie putt David sank on the 17th green.

David said afterwards that he had enjoyed the tussle with Freddie;

” I felt as good as I did the first two days, I really enjoyed the tussle with Freddie Couples out there. ‘I’ve been playing really, really consistently and haven’t had any of those ups and downs. I know they will come, but right now I am playing well. ‘Freddie was the one they were rooting for, fortunately, my putter was a little hotter than his was. There was too much work for him. I wasn’t really hitting bad shots.”

Freddie said he became really stiff out on the course;

” I was feeling good, but then I got really, really stiff, I hit a lot of bad wedges. I hit a bad wedge on 6 and 7 and 16. I was kind of flinching at it. They weren’t very good swings, either.”

In real terms -14 under par is a pretty good score, so Freddie cab take good heart by that performance.

Jay Haas and Peter Senior finished tied for third at 11 under par for the tournament. Tom Watson finished fifth another stroke back at -10 under par, and the Champions Tour rookies Rocco Mediate and Esteban Toledo tied for sixth at -9 under par.

Emirates Australian Open, Marcus Fraser Leads with a Hole in One

Marcus Fraser

Marcus Fraser / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Aussie Marcus Fraser leads the Emirates Australian Open at the conclusion of the second round at The Lakes golf course in Sydney, with another -3 under par, 69 round, and a tournament total of -6 under par. Marcus, who played in the mornings calm conditions has a one shot advantage over John Senden and Brendan Jones. Marcus aced the par 3 fifteenth hole to cap off a remarkable seven weeks playing golf in seven different countries. Next week he will travel to Malaysia to see if he can win the Asian Tour money title. Marcus spoke of his ace, and his grueling schedule;

” To have one go in like that, it turned the round and the tournament around from where I was. I’ve been playing so much I feel like I’m going with the flow a little bit, playing week-in, week-out you’re going through the same routine every day and it feels like another golf tournament. At the same time it is the Aussie Open. Definitely it’s the pick of the bunch of the eight weeks for me.”

Take a look at the late season schedule of Marcus, starting  September in Malaysia, then China WGC-HSBC Champions, the Barclays Singapore Open, the UBS Hong Kong Open, the European Tour’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, then a failed attempt to secure a 2013 PGA Tour card in California last week, and back to Malaysia next week.

John Senden played in the windy afternoon conditions and could only manage a +1 over par round, falling back to -5 under par for the tournament and tied in second place with Brendan Jones, who carded a -1 under par second round, for his -5 under par total.

On his own in fourth place is another Aussie, Nick Cullen, he had a second round of  -2 under par and a total of -4 under for the tournament.

World number four, Justin Rose started well, with four birdies on the front nine to move into the lead at -7 under par, but unusually fell behind with four bogeys in six holes in the windy afternoon conditions, leaving him with a +1 over par 73, tied in fifth position at -3 under par. Adam Scott managed a -1 under par second round and is five shots off the pace.

Story of the day was made by 63 year-old Tom Watson, who fired in a second round -4 under par 68, to make the cut by one shot after his terrible start to the tournament sinking to a first round total of 78. Tom expressed his desire to succeed;

” I hate missing cuts, I really do, that means you’ve failed.”

Tom”s playing partner, Greg Chalmers also just made the cut by one shot, and was not happy with his performance in the easier morning conditions;

” Three par fives on the back nine and I bogeyed two of them. That’s not going to work if you want to have a good score out here. I guess I’m going to get to play on the weekend so I get to go out and shoot a low score, but certainly I’m probably going to start a long way back.”

It certainly looks like the winner of this tournament will be the player who can master the windier afternoon conditions for the next two days.

 

 

Adam Scott to Banish his Broomstick

Adam Scott

Adam Scott and his Broomstick/ Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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