Luke Donald Wins Transitions Championship, and is World #1 Again.

Luke Donald won the Transitions Championship at the Copperhead course after a four-way playoff. Tied at the top after the final round at the Copperhead Course were, Luke Donald, Jim Furyk, Sang-Moon Bae and Robert Garrigus, all at -13 under par for the tournament. Luke Donald had last round 0f  -5 under par, but best round of the day went to Scott Piercy who sot a -9 under par 62 to finish just one shot off the pace at -12 for the tournament. Retief Goosen had  a sad last round of  75, to fall out of contention, Padraig Harrington shot at last round of even par to finish at -7 under par, six shots off the pace. Not a good result for Paddy Harrington after his record first round of 61. Ernie Els had a gallant tournament in his bid to get into the Masters, he finished just one shot short of the playoff at -12 under par.

Luke was asked if he thought that the general consensus of opinion was that he was a spent force and last year was somewhat of a fluke;

“I use it to motivate me, yeah for sure. Absolutely, I don’t pay too much attention to it, but I certainly wasn’t in the media at all. I think people thought that my last year was maybe a little bit more of a, not a fluke, but I don’t think many people thought I could do that all over again this year. Hopefully I can prove them wrong.”

About standing over his final birdie attempt, luke said;

“Last thing I thought about was I’ve been ranked No. 1 in putting the last three years.’

When the putt dropped in, Luke Donald was the #1 player in the world again.

Luke Donald wins four-man play-off to claim USPGA Transitions Championship and world No 1 spot Photo: AP

Korean Sang-Moon Bae was a happy golfer, saying;

“Great, but on the last hole, but great week. I did my best. Pretty good. My driver, iron shot, came back and the putter, everything good. Looking forward to play Bay Hill next week.”

Talking about his putt on the play-off hole Jim Furyk had some regrets, about the putt itself, and the missed opportunities before he reached the play-off;

 

“Well, that’s a putt, really, just trying to; I hit it maybe a little harder than I would have usually and knocked it about five feet by. Just a putt you’re trying to get down there close. I hit what I thought was a really good drive. I didn’t think that ball was going to miss the fairway and it hit off the back, what appeared to hit off the back of that mound and kind of shot forward and left and went much farther than hit it all week, because of that, got up there in the short cut and had an awkward lie with the ball way below my feet, especially my left foot was up really high.Tried to take a little more iron because of the stance being so awkward, I didn’t feel that I could go at 9 firm. I felt like I would lose my balance, and so tried to hit an easy 8 and came out hot out of the short cut, and that’s why it was long. I hit good shots down the stretch. I’m disappointed. Obviously the three-putt at 13, I’ll replay that through my mind a little bit and again got probably a little too caught up in the line. It kicked really hard right coming off that fringe, but the speed was pitiful and I was a little surprised. I didn’t think I hit it three feet long, four feet long but ended up about eight feet long. I hit the second putt, absolutely maybe the best putt I hit all day. A little surprised that one didn’t go in. That first one was so bad, I left myself in that position.”

After waiting two hours at the top of the leaderboard, Robert said of his play-off putt;

“18, it was a pretty simple putt. I thought it was the same exact put I had in regulation, but just didn’t break as much. I had a great day. If you would have told me I would have been in a playoff this morning when I woke up, I would have pretty much told you;  you were crazy. It was a good day, and hit three good shots in the playoff and they didn’t go in the hole and that’s golf and that’s why we keep grinding and keep going.”

Ernie Els finished bogey, bogey to miss his chance of winning, and going back to the Masters, he might have to win next week or the Houston Open to get back to Augusta National, he said in interview;

“It’s going to be tough, I’m pretty hot now, and it’s difficult to talk with a straight head here. If I take stock, I think I’m playing good golf, and I’ve got to head into the next couple of weeks trying to get a win.”

Great tournament, and great to see Luke Donald back as World #1, his next joust with Rory McIlroy will be an interesting contest, and I am looking forward to it.

 

 

 

Harrington falters in 2nd round @ Transitions Championship.

Padraig Harrington slumped to a 2 over par round of 73, following yesterdays magical 61. It would seem that Padraig sampled a little too much of the Bushmills Black Label  last night, in celebration of his Innisbrook Resort, Copperhead record round. Harrington is still in 2nd place at -8. Leader after the 2nd round is Jason Dufner, who fired in another -5 under par bogey free round of 66,for a tournament total of -10 under par, a wonderful exhibition of consistency. Jason said of his stress free round;

“Pretty similar to yesterday. Pretty stress-free again. Not really many mistakes out there. I hit a lot of fairway, a lot of greens, and pretty easy 5-under again. So that was nice, even when I was saving par, they were inside of three or four feet. So pretty stress-free round. Pretty happy with my ball-striking. It’s kind of a nice change from last week with the wind being not as aggressive as it was last week, I felt like I was playing pretty good last week but the wind was kind of tricking me a little. You know, it’s a good start to the week.”

No sweat yethttp://www.pgatour.com

Padraig was honest with his comments after the sad round;

“I’m happy with my game but when you shoot a good score, it’s hard to match the next day. When you’re leading the tournament, it’s hard not to be a little bit cautious and I think at times I was on the greens. I struggled to get the ball up to the hole a lot today. You know, it was what it was. I certainly freed up on my back nine. I felt I had some birdie chances. Disappointed to 3-putt the 6th and 7th. You know, I would actually say, my mother cursed at me for missing the tap-in on 6. She wouldn’t be so impressed with me not going through my routine on that. But, you know, these things happen. It’s disappointing as I said to make a couple of bogeys there. It would have been okay if I got to that clubhouse and certainly shooting 70 or so. But I’m glad it’s not Sunday. I know I have to putt a little bit better on Sunday and I have to be;  you’ve got to have a little bit more flow if you’re going to win tournaments. I didn’t do that much damage today.”

Luke Donald had -3 round of 68 to finish at -7, just three shots behind Jason Dufner. Justin Rose had a disappointing effort of just -1  70 to end up at -5 for the tournament.

 

Paddy Harrington Leads @ Transitions Championship

Paddy Harrington leads the Transitions Championship after a -10 under par first round of 61, a new course record at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club. Padraig is three shots clear of the field, and is heading for a very happy St Patrick’s Day on the 17th, if he keeps up the hot pace. Commenting on his beautiful round, Padraig said;

” Where do I start; I’ve been playing nicely in practice. I shot 64 yesterday. I’ve been for a long time now, I play better on the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday than I do on the Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I’m trying to stay patient. I know my game is good. One of the hardest things is to wait with confidence. I haven’t putted very well, certainly very inconsistent for the last year and it’s been showing up in my results. A lot of my good weeks are struggling just to get inside the Top-10 and that’s kind of just showing up in my World Rankings, because unless you’re finishing first, second or third you are not getting substantial points in that sense. So, yeah, it’s been a strange last year, but as I said, I’m very comfortable where my game is at. I’ve made a lot of; I feel like good improvements and I feel like things for a long time, I’m feeling like things are ready to happen. Obviously today it showed the potential. Obviously today is a peak. But we’ll wait and see what happens over the next number of weeks. I’ve certainly been; I have a good understanding of my game, let’s say, at the moment. So I’ve been quite comfortable going into nearly every tournament this year.”

Snakes? What snakes?Greenwood/Getty Images

Talking about it being St Patrick’s week, Padraig was full of smiles;

“I would consider that a coincidence. (Laughter) But it is nice that they named the day after me. (Laughter). And if you take the words of the people out there, it actually seems to be a whole week (smiling). Yeah, it’s good. As I said, I get great support. I think there’s 60 million people in the U.S. who claim Irish heritage. So every single event I go to, I get great support and gives them a little to shout this week. But if you came and watched my groups every week, there would be somebody out there, an Irish American, who would be there supporting. So it’s just a little bit, I suppose it’s just a little bit more highlighted this week because of the week it’s in.”

Luke Donald and Justin Rose are six shots off the pace after opening rounds of 67, they surely did not expect to be so far adrift after just one round, but a little piece of Irish magic can do that to you.

There is still a long way to  go, this is shaping up to be a great tournament, I am looking forward to the next round.