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Waste Management Phoenix Open. Bubba Blunders, Stadler Soars.

dragon logo dark Kevin Stadler soared to his 1st professional win on the PGA Tour at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, as Bubba Watson makes a huge blunder.

Chance not wasted

Kevin Stadler / Getty Images

 Kevin got his first career win on Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, at TPC Scottsdale, joining his father Craig as a winner on the PGA TOUR. Kevin shot a final round -3 under par 68 for his winning total of -16 under par.

Kevin and Craig are the ninth father-son combination to win on TOUR, and the thought had crossed Kevin’s mind.  He now has an invitation to the Masters, where he will get to play alongside Craig, who won the tournament in 1982.;

“That was in the forefront of my mind when I was out there.”

Craig added;

 “He’s obviously getting on in his career.”

Kevin joked that it was nearly too late, and it was a tough haul to get there;

“He probably would have liked it better if I had gotten there five years ago so he could call it quits then. He’s been telling me for a couple of years I need to hurry up and get there before he calls it quits. It wasn’t pretty, I was walking all over the shop. I hit a lot of good shots and a lot of kind of ugly shots but thankfully it all worked out. It feels fantastic, obviously I would have liked to make that putt there on 18 and win that way but it’s been a long time coming, so I’ll take it any way I can get it.”

Bubba eventually faltered, sending his approach shot on the final hole off the back of the green en route to a bogey and a final round of even par 71 and a tournament total of -15 under par, sharing second place with Graeme DeLaet;

He admitted his mistakes;

“Misclubbed on sixteen, we thought it was downwind but obviously it wasn’t. Should have hit one more club. I thought I hit a good putt but obviously I misread that too. I have to work on a couple things.”

Graeme said his practice has been paying off, a tied second place here at -15 under par proves it;

“I have been playing well for the last few months, it seems. I really feel like I worked super hard in the offseason, and it’s nice to see it paying off.”

The only thing Phil Mickelson got right this week-end was the Super-Bowl prediction;

“I like the Seahawks, I think that good defense usually beats good offense, and I think that the man-to-man coverage that the Seahawks provide is going to make it difficult for that quick release of Manning.”

The hot favorites around the World let it slip this week-end, Lydia Ko second in New Zealand, Rory McIlroy failing in Dubai, and now Bubba Watson wasting ( no pun intended) an opportunity here in Scottsdale. Golf is truly a funny game.

 

Waste Management Phoenix Open. It’s Bubba By Two.

dragon logo dark  Bubba Watson leads the Waste Management Phoenix Open by two shots on the TPC Scottsdale course going into the final day.

Escape artist

Bubba blasting from the desert / Getty Images

Bubba found only two fairways on his back nine but still carded a third round -3 under par 68, to lead the tournament at -15 under par. His drive on the par five thirteenth went into a desert bush and settled next to a burrowing animal hole, that would have interfered with his swing, giving Bubba a free drop;

“Right next to my ball was a burrowing animal hole and my club was going to hit it at impact. It was a big hole and the club would get caught on it, so, I got a free drop and could easily wedge it out. I was looking at a twenty or thirty yard shot. I held it together, stayed focused on what I was trying to do. Made a nice up-and-down on seventeen for birdie. Tough lie on eighteen and somehow two-putted to have a little lead. Luckily, nobody went crazy on me.”

Bubba is worried about slow play, he wants to watch the Super-Bowl;

“The back nine just got real slow and sluggish and I just kind of lost focus a little bit on my tee shots. We need to be under five hours tomorrow. I want to watch the Super Bowl.”

Kevin Stadler, a Scottsdale resident,{ lucky boy, I love the place} is in second place at -13 under par, following his third round of -4 under par 67.

“It was packed out there, it’s something you only experience once a year.”

Ryan Moore carded a -7 under par 64 to join Harris English and Hideki Matsuyama at -12 under Par.  Brendan Steele who roared round in -9 under par 62, the best round of the week, Matt Jones, and 2010 winner Hunter Mahan are tied at -11 under par.

Ryan casually mentioned his putting, a man after my own heart;

“Made a couple bonus putts.”

Hunter didn’t make a par on the back nine until the 18th hole, birdies or bogey’s up until then.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson is way down the score board, his third round +1 over par 72. Phil amazingly made a double bogey on the par three sixteenth, when he half-shanked his tee shot left on the 128-yard hole. He followed that with a weak flop shot into the bunker, blasted to eight feet and two-putted for a double bogey five.

Phil summed it up thus;

“It was a gap wedge. It was pathetic, I don’t even know what to say. I don’t remember ever hitting a shot like that even in practice.”

Looks like Lefty will be handing the trophy over to another left-hander.

Waste Management Phoenix Open.

 

Logo Imagedragon logo dark

Bubba Watson and Matt Jones share the lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open going into the week-end at TPC Scottsdale.

On a roll

Bubba Watson / Getty Images

Bubba  dressed in  lime green shoes and an otherwise all-black outfit, played in the morning, getting the best side of the draw, he birdied his first hole. Playing early in the cooler temperature does not suit him, back is a little stiff, but he said he is exactly where he wanted to be. Happily at the top of the leaderboard after his second round of -5 under par 66, for his -12 under par total;

“Back is not as loose as you want it to be, weather is not as warm as you want it to be. But I hit a good tee shot, and then I hit my wedge in there close and I made the putt, that got me going. It’s right where I want to be going into the weekend. I had two sloppy bogeys coming down the stretch, but I will take it.” 

Matt also played a morning round, and was thankful for the opportunity to be able to shoot his second consecutive -6 under par 65 for his -12 under par;

 ” We definitely got the good side of the draw. The golf course is so different tournament week than it is when you play out here regularly. It’s a lot harder, a lot faster. The greens are a lot quicker. The pins are a lot more tucked out here. So, it’s like a new golf course when you come here for a tournament.”

Two players are tied in third place, Greg Chalmers and Harris English are at -10 under par.

Brandt Snedeker shot the low round of the day, he also started in the morning, before the wind got up. His second round score of -7 under par 64 moving up the leaderboard to be at -8 under par. Brandt put his special round down to good putting, something I love to hear;

” My putting, plain and simple. I hit the ball extra good yesterday and had some of the worst putting I had all year. Today, I kind of did the opposite.”

Phil Mickelson, the Defending Champion, recovered with a bogey free  -4 under par 67, but he is still a long way from the leaders. Phil declared he is still in the race for this title;

” I’m not totally out of it, obviously heading into the weekend, I’d like to be closer, but as we have seen in the past, there is that minus eight, nine ten, and in some cases eleven-under par round out there. My back feels great, like I said, it was a simple fix. I just don’t want to overdo it.”

Among those missing the cut here are, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, Retief Goosen, Ian Poulter and Keegan Bradley.

Waste Management Phoenix Open. Y.E. and Bubba Share Lead.

dragon logo darkLogo Image

Y.E. Yang and Bubba Watson share the first round lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, at TPC Scottsdale. I like this course.

Superb in Scottsdale

Y.E. Yang and Bubba Watson / Getty Images

Bubba said right now he is in a good spot, not too nervous, after shooting an opening round of -7 under 64;

“If you look at my career, from junior golf, to college golf, to mini tours to now the Web.com Tour, to the PGA TOUR, I got to a level and I got out of my comfort zone. I get comfortable, and then I step up a new level and I get nervous again. Hopefully I’m at a stepping-stone where I’ve learned, now if I win a few more, I get nervous again. Right now I’m in a good spot.”

“This golf course, if your ball-striking is good, you can shoot some good numbers here. Hit a lot of greens, didn’t make too many mistakes, didn’t miss too many fairways. Just played solid.”

Through an interpreter Y.E. announced he is going to be aggressive;

“I think you have to be aggressive, at the same time, you can’t be too aggressive. You have to really balance it out, but you still have to be a little bit more aggressive than other tournaments.”

There are seven players tied in third place at -6 under par, all carding first rounds of 65, they are;  Pat Perez, Kevin Stadler, Matt Jones, Harris English, William McGirt, Greg Chalmers and Chris Kirk.

Harris actually birdied Nos. 12 thru 15 to top the leaderboard at -8 under par, but then followed that with bogey’s at the par-3 16th,  the rowdy stadium hole, where he hit an 8-iron over the green on the 178-yard hole. Then the par-4 18th, he said he was a little over the top on the par 3 tee;

“I guess I was a little juiced up on that tee, I left myself with an impossible up-and-down.”

TPC Scottsdale’s favorite player, Phil Mickleson, opened with an even par round of 71, and a long way back for this favorite son.

Phil thinks the same as me, he just loves playing here;

“It’s fun to be back here, I love playing here. I wasn’t as sharp as I need to be, for sure. Playing the last five holes at three over,  that was really bad. Fifteen really stung, it was only a twelve  or fifteen footer, and I am thinking eagle. I roll it 6 feet by and I miss it coming back. That was costly. I got off to a poor start, played a couple over, and finished poorly. In the middle of the round, though, I hit a lot of good shots and had a good little run, but it just wasn’t quite sharp. I wasn’t quite focused on every shot the way I need to be and let way too many shots slide.”

Phil also reported that his troublesome back is now in fine shape;

“It’s fine, honestly, it’s no big deal, it was a five-minute fix. I just have to be careful for a week or two as it heals up. It’s fine. Mobility is back. It’s just not a big deal. It happens every now and then. Last time was about four years ago.”

Waste Management Phoenix Open, Wire to Wire Win For Phil

Never a doubt

Phil Mickleson / Martin / Getty Images

Phil Mickleson won the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale by four shots, going wire to wire for a dominating victory. Phil’s final score was -28 under par, after he rounded out his tournament with a -4 under par 67 last round. With this win Phil moved to No. 3 in the race for the FedEx Cup after earning 500 points for his victory at TPC Scottsdale. Phil said how important the win was for him;

” It’s an important one for me, because it’s been a while since I won, been a while since I’ve been in contention, I was certainly nervous heading into today. I think the thing I’m most excited about was the way I was able to regain control of my thoughts after a few shots early on that I didn’t care for. I think that sets up the tone for the rest of the year, because I really started to play well, but for me, the rest of the year took a turn on Tuesday when I got my new driver. It just changed my whole deal.”

Brandt Snedeker finished in second place with a total score of -24 under par, his last round effort of -6 under par was not quite enough to bother Phil.

Brandt said that Phil had played unbelievable golf;

Brandt Snedeker / Helen Ross PGATOUR.COM

“It was a ton of fun, to be in the last group with Phil and kind of trade birdie for birdie and make up some ground was a lot of fun. It’s what we play for. I wish I could have put some more pressure on him and got a little closer than I did today, but I think I shot 12 under par on the weekend and made one bogey. Sometimes you have to tip your hat and say Phil played unbelievable and deserved to win, and that’s kind of what this week was all about. I feel like I’m running into the Hall of Famers every week, it would be nice if they weren’t in the field and I could go ahead and go after it. It’s just tough, you know. It was fun to watch, fun to be part of, you want to win those, and hopefully I will soon.”

 

Scott Piercy finished in third place after he fired the best round of the last day, a -10 under par 61, that elevated him up the leaderboard to finish with a total of -23 under par for the tournament. Scott really liked the TPC Scottsdale greens;

“These greens were amazing, if you got it online, rolling, you made it.”

Waste Management Phoenix open, Phil the People Person.

Man of the people

Phil Mickelson / Martin / Getty Images

Phil Mickelson drew the loudest cheers from the biggest crowd in golf history on Saturday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, on the TPC Scottsdale course. Phil nearly aced the par-3 16th, hitting a 9-iron to within a foot of the hole, to set up a birdie on the rowdy stadium hole packed with nearly 20,000 screaming fans, on his way to a -7 under par third round of 64, and to lead the tournament at -24 under par. Of his nine iron into the 16th Phil calmly stated;

“What’s funny about that is 172 yards is a very tough 9-iron for me to get there, but I immediately take 5 yards off and in my head I had 167. The reason is you always have a little bit of adrenaline here, and the ball goes a little bit longer on 16. I played for a 167-yard shot and tried to hit just a comfortable or stock 9-iron, and the ball ended up flying that far and released to the hole. Having played this course and that hole over the years and knowing what your body does and how to adjust to it has helped me, and certainly it did today.”

Brandt Snedeker is in second place, Brandt had a third round of -6 under par 65, to be six shots behind Phil at -18 under par for the tournament. Phil is aware of Brandt’s capabilities and is looking to just keep pace with him tomorrow to cruise home to a wire to wire victory;

“I know how good Snedeker is and how hot he can get with a putter, he can make birdie from just about anywhere. He’s going to make a run tomorrow. I, hopefully, will be able to keep pace. To me, the wire-to-wire isn’t that important except for now I’m three rounds and the fourth one is kind of the more important one. It would be an important thing because it’s meant so much to me over my career having won this tournament, coming back as a past champion, and winning here in the town that has meant so much to me, to Amy and I, where we met, had our first two kids, went to college. It’s a special place.”

Brandt thinks Phil is playing unbelievable golf;

” Phil is playing pretty unbelievable, I will have to go at some pins and make some putts early and be more aggressive than I probably normally would be.”

Padraig Harrington and Ryan Moore are tied in third place at -16 under par, eight strokes off the pace, Padraig is still happy with his game though;

“I feel like I’m in a good place with the game.”

Padraig had some fun out there on the sixteenth, kicking footballs into the crowd;

“I did not want to screw up the first one along the ground, for sure, I did want to get it airborne a little bit of distance. I found when I punted it, the first three or four, I hooked them quite a bit, and then the last one, I actually made sweet contact and kicked it over the stand, actually cleared the whole thing.”

Looks like it will be the crowd favorite Phil Mickelson lifting the trophy tomorrow, good luck Phil.

 

 

Waste Management Phoenix Open, It’s Phil The Real Deal

It's still all Phil

Phil Mickelson / Stan Bedz / Getty Images

Phil Mickelson proved the first round 60 was no fluke as he followed that up with a second round -6 under par 65, to lead the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale by four shots at the conclusion of play.

Phil sadly took a double bogey on his final hole in the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, costing him another shot at history, a chance to break the PGA TOUR’s 36-hole scoring record. Phil said he needed to remain focused, and not make those kinds of mistakes;

“You always remember kind of the last hole, the last putt, but I think it’s very possible that’s going to help me, because it’s got me refocused, that I cannot ease up on a single shot. I’ve got to be really focused, these guys are going to make a lot of birdies and I’ve got to get after it and cannot make those kinds of mistakes. Unfortunately, I made a double on the last hole and didn’t finish the way I wanted to, but I think it’s a good example of what can happen on this course. You can make a lot of birdies and eagles, make up a lot of ground, but there’s a lot of water and trouble there that if you misstep you can easily make bogeys and double.”

Phil’s drive on 18  drive on bounced into the left-side water hazard and, after a penalty drop, he still had a chance to get up down for par and the record;

“I hit a good shot, I thought, I tried to start it right down the middle and hold it into the wind. It just leaked a little bit left. I still thought it was up. Then I hit a poor wedge from there, but the tee shot I didn’t think was going to be in the water at any point.”

In second place on his own is Bill Haas, at -13 under par, he knows he has to keep making birdies;

“We all know the way the course is playing, if there’s no wind on the weekend, you’ve just got to keep making birdies.”

Talking about tomorrow Bill hoped that Phil doesn’t go too crazy on moving day;

“It’s just another day. It’s moving day, hopefully, I can move up the leaderboard and he doesn’t go too crazy.”

Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker are tied in third place at -12 under par, Keegan recalled his Eagle on the par 5 fifteenth hole, needing only a seven iron to hit it to within eight feet;

“I just smashed a driver down there, I had been hitting 3-wood and I’m driving the ball so well that I just decided to rip driver down there.”

He followed that with a birdie at sixteen, his approach came to rest just five feet from the pin, Keegan said he loved the atmosphere at the sixteenth hole;

 “It reminds me of when I go to Fenway Park, there’s always like a murmur, it’s really cool, I dig it. I wish there was more holes like that out here. It was such a relief to shoot a good number, I’ve been playing so well this whole year and haven’t made many putts. Today, the putts started to go in.”

I cannot see anybody catching Phil, the real deal, Mickleson.

I will be at TPC Scottsdale in July, contact me if you want to join me in a round.

 

 

 

Phil Fires in Pheonix

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Cup half-full

Phil Mickelson / Martin / Getty Images

Phil Mickelson fired in a first round of 60 in the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. The 60 was so nearly a 59 as Phil’s putt on the last lipped out, but he was happy to settle for the lead at -11 under par.

Phil said he was certain the putt for 59 was in;

Six feet to go, it was in the center, three feet to go, it was in the center. A foot to go, it was in the center, and even as it’s approaching the hole, I couldn’t envision which side of the hole it could possibly miss on, and it ended up somehow just dying off at the end, catching the lip. Well, 60 is awesome, last time I shot 60 here in `05, I birdied like the last three or four holes just to do that, and I was ecstatic, and I’m ecstatic to shoot 60. But there’s a big difference between 60 and 59. Not that big between 60 and 61, there really isn’t. But there’s a big barrier, a Berlin Wall barrier, between 59 and 60I shot it in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. I shot 58 in a practice round. But to do it in a tournament would have been historic for me, something I’d always remember, and I’ll always remember that putt on the last hole probably, too. When I birdied three and four, done deal. I’m going to get this done, very disappointed that I wasn’t able to birdie the last couple. I just knew I could do it, and darn it, it just lipped out.”

There are five payers tied in second place at -7 under par, four shots adrift of Phil, they are;  Ryan Palmer, Brandt Snedeker, Padraig Harrington, Ted Potter Jnr, and Jeff Maggert. Behind them is a whole host of guy’s on -6 under par, but the day belonged the Phil Mickelson.

Would love the see Phil go on and win this tournament.

I will be in Scottsdale in July, so if you are interested in playing a round, or just interested in White Dragon Golf,  let me know and we can meet.

Frosty Start in Sun Valley @ TPC Scottsdale

A frost delay at TPC Scottsdale in  the Waste Management Phoenix Open meant the first round could be completed. At the close of play Ryan Palmer was leading at -7 under par, but in close contention was Bubba Watson at -5 under par for 15 holes.Webb Simpson is alone in second place at -6, with six others finished on -5.

Palmer spoke about using his old putter;

“I pulled it out of the garage and was putting in my living room, then went outside in the backyard on my putting green, and I knew it was time to bring it back out. I used the exact same putter the last two years, and of course had two of the best years of my career. But toward the end of the year last year, around the BMW, I just got frustrated with not making anything, so I thought I’d try something different, put a similar style head in play and actually had some success. But my first two weeks out here I could tell I wasn’t comfortable when I’d get over the short putts. I guess you could say I left a couple out there, but it was a great day for sure.”

Palmer interview after Round 1 of Waste Management

Webb Simpson, the highest ranked player in the field, likes the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale, saying;

“It’s one of those courses that just fits your eye well.”

Kyle Stanley  opened his account with a 69, just  four days after a devastating loss in the Farmers Insurance Open. He praised the folks who greeted his appearance;

“I’m kind of overwhelmed by it. It was just good to be out there, it was almost therapeutic.”

Bubba Watson drives General Lee to Phoenix Open

Bubba Watson arrived for the Phoenix Open in great style on Wednesday,  driving the original General Lee 01 car used in the “Dukes of Hazzard” television series. Bubba had NASCAR driver Carl Edwards riding shotgun in the famous 1969 Dodge Charger  that he had recently purchased at the Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale for $110,000.

Bubba apparently has “loved the show forever” and has a collection of Dukes of Hazzard DVDs to prove it.  Angie, his wife, knew of his admiration for the show, he said;

“At the time we met she knew that I loved that car and wanted one. We made a deal back then that if I ever won a golf tournament, she would let me get one.”

Bubba                                          Bubba's ride in TPC lot. on Twitpic

(Photo: Allan Henry/US PRESSWIRE)

 

The parking of the vehicle could have been better, but no one seemed to care too much. Ian Poulter tweeted; 
IanJamesPoulter
 Check out@bubbawatson new car in the parking lot. General Lee great machine.

Ian is also playing a practice round tomorrow with Bubba and Gary Woodland and reckons he will be hitting first into the greens, meaning his drives will be way behind the big hitting duo.

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