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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.

 

The McGladrey Classic, Tommy Gainey shoots last round 60, to Win

Tommy-Gainey

 Tommy Gainey/Sam Greenwood Source: AFP

Tommy Gainey shot a last round of -10 under par, 60, to win his first PGA Tour event,  the McGladrey Classic, at  Sea Island’s Seaside Course in Georgia. Had Tommy made a birdie on the last hole  made he would have become just the sixth player in PGA Tour history to record a round of 59 strokes, his winning tournament total was -16 under par.

Tommy is known throughout golf for his unconventional swing and wearing two gloves, but he is very proud to be the Champion  here;

“I get bashed all the time about my swing, the only thing that matters is right before impact on the downswing.  Oh, man, I tell you, you’re out here on the PGA Tour. you’re playing with the best players in the world. Ninety-nine percent of these guys have already won, and won majors, big tournaments. The only show I can say I’ve won is the ‘Big Break.’ Now I can sit here and say I’ve won the McGladrey Classic here at Sea Island, and I’m very proud to be in this tournament and very proud to win. And wow, it’s been a whirlwind day. I didn’t know having 24 putts and shooting 60 would be like this, so I’m pretty stoked about it. You got future Hall of Famer’s chasing me; chasing me now. I’m Tommy Gainey, I’m `Two Gloves.’ I shot 60 today and you got Jim Furyk, Davis Love III and David Toms chasing me. I mean, I was nervous. I was paying attention, and you know, it just worked out for me. I wasn’t thinking about 59, see, all I did all day was just try to make birdies,  and a lot of birdies, because when you’re seven shots back, your chances of winning a PGA Tour tournament with the leaders, Davis Love III and Jim Furyk,  it don’t bide in your favor, man. I’m in this position, and man, it feels like I’m in a dream. I’m just waiting for somebody to slap me upside the head or pinch me or something to wake me up.”

I did say yesterday that Jim Furyk and Davis Love 111 could spend the day watching each other, and not notice an outsider coming up on the rails, well done Tommy.

David Toms was in second place, coming home with a last round -7 under par, 63,and -15 under par for the tournament, while Jim Furyk was another shot further back at -14 under par total, and another dismal finish to a tournament this year.

David Toms got ahead of himself when driving off the last tee, he drove it into a bunker and admitted he was thinking about what kind of putt he would have to make birdie, and tie Tommy;

 

“I was thinking about what kind of putt I was going to have before I ever hit the fairway, you get ahead of yourself and that’s what happens.”

Jim Furyk came up short again, in third spot at -14 under par;

“You know, I’m disappointed, I did battle. I think at times it’s probably a little harder, you see the first guy to post, it’s harder to chase that score when it’s already in when we’re on the sixth hole.”

Davis Love’s hopes of winning in front of his home crowd ; he has lived at Sea Island since he was 14 , ended with a tee shot into the water for double bogey on the 16th. He was trying to become the first Ryder Cup Captain since Tom Watson in 1996 to win on the PGA Tour. Davis last had a win at Disney in 2008, when he didn’t look at a leaderboard until the 18th hole and saw Tommy Gainey making a run, that time he held on with pars to record his win. This time he saw Tommy’s name appear out of nowhere, and couldn’t do anything about it. He closed with a 71 and tied for fourth on -12 under par along, with Brendon de Jonge and D.J. Trahan.

Australian Open, Tom Watson will be there

Eight-time major winner and Champions Tour regular Tom Watson will play in the Australian Open in December 2012.

Tom Watson/Getty Images

 Tom Watson, the  eight-time Major champion will contest the Australian Open this year, along with Adam Scott, defending champ Greg Chalmers and 2006 US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy .

It will be contested at  The Lakes, Golf Australia, and  chief executive Stephen Pitt has vowed to make more announcements ahead of the December 6-9 tournament, Stephan said;

” It’s fantastic to welcome back these four past winners of the Stonehaven Cup to the Emirates Australian Open. Tom is one of the household names in world golf and we can’t wait to have he, Adam, Geoff and defending champion Greg back in action at  The Lakes. It’s the pinnacle week in Australian golf and things are continuing to shape up really well for the Championship.”

Tom,  whose career victories include five British Opens, two US Masters and a US Open, will contest the event for the first time in close to 30 years, having won it back in 1984.

Good to see you Tom, have a great event.

The Champions Tour, Dick’s Sporting Goods Open

The Champions Tour hosted the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open at at En-Joie Golf Course in Endicott, and had a wonderful tournament, which required a play-off on Sunday to determine the winner. Willie Wood from Tennessee won the trophy in the one hole play-off after he and Michael Allen were tied at the end of the final round on -13 under par.

Dick's Sporting Goods Open: Final Round

Brad Faxon high fives Willie on sinking the putt that got him into the play-off/Casey Staff / Staff Photo

The field for this event included 57 of the top 60 players on the Champions Tour, notables were,  Tom Lehman, Brad Faxon, Joey Sindelar and Tom Watson. Tom was making his first appearance at En-Joie Golf Course since the 1976 B.C. Open, he said of this tournament;

” I just enjoyed the tournament and I’ve enjoyed it again this year. It’s a lot of fun; there’s a lot of good will, good community support. It’s a wonderful experience for me. I enjoy playing in tournaments like this.”

Dick’s Open tournament director John Karedes was all smiles at the conclusion of the exciting event, which included a little rain hiccup on Friday;

” Except for Mother Nature’s little challenge on Friday afternoon, everything went great. We had Willie Wood and Michael Allen in the playoff, and just behind them on the leaderboard was a who’s who of professional golf. And to hear someone like Tom Watson say that about the tournament, we certainly value that observation. He’s been all over the world, and he’s seen good and bad, and to have him say that is great.”

 

Tiger, Tiger, burning bright, into his 50′s, and at the AT&T at Congressional in June.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods thinks his star will burn bright enough to win, even when he is competing in his 50′s. He has said he will only retire from professional golf when he feels he is past his peak.

“Absolutely, 100 percent. ”  Woods said in an interview with WJFK-FM on Monday when asked the question about still winning when into his 50′s, and probably playing on the Champions Tour.

Tiger pointed to Tom Watson’s performance when Tom  nearly won the 2009 British Open at Turnberry at age 59.

” It just has to be on the right golf course. By the time I’m at that age, it’ll be some golf courses over 8,000 yards. It’s probably not going to be at one of those. It’s probably going to be at a shorter golf course like you’d find at a British Open. It was like the perfect Open, it was howling, it was a golf course he had won on and knew how to play and it was playing very quick. You can certainly see a certain player playing into their 50s and being successful on a certain venue. You can’t do it on all venues, there’s no doubt, some ballparks are just too big.”

Tiger insists he is close to contending on a weekly basis, even if recent results suggest otherwise.

“I think I’m headed in the right direction. ” Tiger said at the Congressional Country Club,  he was there to promote the AT&T National which takes place June 28 to July 1.

“I’m going to try and continue to improve in incremental steps in every facet of my game and try to make every facet of my game more efficient. I’ve just played three events – I won a tournament, four tournaments ago, if I get more efficient at what I’m doing, then I’m going to win golf tournaments.”

Tiger won at Congressional in 2009 before the event moved, to make way for last year’s U.S. Open. Injury prevented him from participating in Rory McIlroy’s big win. Rory dominated Congressional, finishing at 16 under.

It was tough for Tiger, not being able to play;

“Unfortunately, I was in a position where I couldn’t play and it was tough because I missed out on a golf course I know, that I’ve won on and that I love. Those factors made it difficult to sit back and watch. What Rory did was extraordinary. He played some beautiful golf.”

Congressional’s Blue Course will be par 71 and at 7,535 yards, is a long haul, but Tiger is hoping for difficult conditions;

“The difficulty is that it’s a big ballpark. If you get to where there’s a little moisture in the fairways and tee shots aren’t running and aren’t chasing, this course gets really long. It’s a fantastic tee-to-green golf course. You have to drive the ball well and once you get onto the greens, there’s a lot of pitch and movement, usually back to front. Playing here this year, I would like to see it difficult, there’s no doubt.”

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