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Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Karine Icher has First Round Lead

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Karine Icher has the first round lead at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco. A two-hour delay due to fog in the Bay Area, means there are still seven groups still to complete their opening rounds.

Karine Icher / Getty

 

Karine had a bogey free first round -6 under par 66, at Lake Merced Golf Club giving her a two shot lead in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. She said it was just a good day, and stuck to her strategy, including staying warm;

” It was just a good day, I’m happy about that.  I stayed confident all through the round. I think the strategy on this golf course is to stay short of the hole. It’s a tough golf course, especially with the wind and temperature.  Gets so cold.  You try to get to stay warm and try to catch the right wind and you go with it and make some putts.”

 

       Lake Merced Golf Club.

There are five ladies in the following pack, all at -4 under par for the opening round. Lydia Ko is one of that group, making a great start here, although she carded a couple of bogey’s.

With Lydia are, Ilhee Lee, Jenny Shin, Maria McBride and Dewi Clair Schreefel, with good first round scores of 68.

Earlier in the day on Thursday Lydia Ko was named as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, along with the likes of Pope Francis and Barack Obama. She mentioned what an honor is was to be singled out;

” You know, I just do what I love to do, play good golf.  That’s where my confidence builds up.  Kind of be named in that top 100 of the most influential people in the world is huge. Top 100 in the country is big, but in the whole world, you know, it’s a huge honor, especially amongst the big names there.”

 “ I played good today, so hopefully good memories and positive thinking for tomorrow.”

It was also Lydia’s 17th birthday and she was presented with a birthday cake following the end of her round, accompanied by everyone singing Happy Birthday;

” Kind of embarrassing, but then so happy that a lot of people knew about my birthday.  I was happy and thanked all the people there who were singing.”

Dewi Clair was still in bed when the delay was announced, so she decided to stay there. Her round was good, due mainly to a hot putter;

” Well, I was luckily in bed when one of the other players text me there was a delay. So I just had a pleasant morning where I’m staying.  I relaxed and kept to my routine and didn’t come out here earlier.”

 “Putter was really, really nice day.  I mean, when you make birdies you’re rolling the putter well. All in all I played really well from tee to green.”

 

Lake Merced Golf Club

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Magic 62 to Start for Ben Martin.

Ben Martin recorddragon logo darkZurich Classic of New Orleans Logo

Ben Martin shot a course record, a magic 62 in the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.

Ben Martin, 26, will attempt to become just the fifth first-round leader to win this season on TOUR. (Chris Greythan/Getty Images)

A happy Ben Martin / Getty Images

Ben has shot a 62 before, but that was on his home course, Greenwood Country Club, this one was in the big league;

” I think back, and that round and this round were two of the best rounds I’ve ever played, It was everything, the shots were going where I was looking and the putts were going in just like I was seeing them.”

The wind really picked up during the day, but Ben seemed oblivious to the conditions;

 ” I hate the cliché, one shot at a time, but when it gets windy like that, that’s really what you have to focus on. We played in the wind every day last week, so I was probably a little bit used to it. Really, everything was working well, I had a pretty good start and just kept it rolling. It was just one of those days, just like you draw it up.”

Something else that is going his way is history, six of the past nine winners of the Zurich Classic have been first-time PGA TOUR winners. Ben has no idea why that should be, but said he does play well on Pete Dye designed courses;

“I don’t know what causes that, I know that for myself, I like most Pete Dye courses. We played one last week and I was successful there. I guess whatever he does kind of fits my eye.”

Andrew Svoboda is in second place, wonderful round of -8 under par 64, and he is still two shots behind the leader.

Peter Hanson and Seung-Yul Noh are tied in third place, both recording opening rounds of -7 under par 65. Peter thinks he tries to over think what he is trying to achieve;

” We want to do this so exact and be so precise, I over-read putts and over analyze the shots, trying to figure this game out. I think sometimes you have to let the score come to you instead of you going after it.”

Eric Compton, Chad Collins and Michael Thompson are tied in fifth place at -6 under par, following their tidy rounds of 66.

Eric, a two-time heart transplant recipient, took part  in a junior golf clinic earlier in the week, with youngsters who also have heart problems. He said he enjoyed meeting with the kids and it always gives him a lift;

“It seems to really relax me and really puts things in perspective. I seem to play better during the weeks where I have hospital visits.”

” This is a course that I feel very comfortable on, you have to hit a lot of long iron shots and drive it well here, and those are some of the strengths of my game.”

Michael used to live in the area, but decided to move away to help jump start his career;

“I haven’t played here much, but I’m starting to get more comfortable playing this course. At first, I thought it was a really long, big course and I felt like I had to overpower everything, but I’m starting to play more within myself and when I do that, I have rounds like today.”

“I loved New Orleans, being in the city and always having a lot to do. But I’ve always told everybody that if I would have stayed at Tulane, I probably wouldn’t have developed into the golfer that I am today as quickly. Transferring to Alabama was great for me.”

Volvo China Open. It’s tight at the Top, Play Suspended for the Day.

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It’s very tight at the top of the Volvo China Open at the Genzon Golf Club in ShenzenAlvaro Quiros and Simon Dyson share the clubhouse lead at the end of day one. Play was suspended due to bad light, with some players still to complete their first rounds.

Alvaro Quiros  (Getty Images)

Alvaro Quiros / Getty Images

Alvaro and Simon both shot opening rounds of -5 under par 67, to top the leaderboard on the Volvo China Open. Alvaro is coming back from injury and said things are slowly getting better;

“It was a good round of golf. It was a bit of a shame on the last par five because I was half a metre away from having a great chance to make another eagle but I ended up on the lip of the bunker and had to settle for a chip and two putts. You can’t see it yet on the rankings but I have been playing better. The Middle East swing was a good three weeks for me then I had a good result in Joburg and the last couple of weeks have been better.” 

Simon started on the tenth tee, and played well. He has won here before and that gives him a good feeling;

“I started on the tenth today and the first nine holes I played was the best I have played for quite some time. I really didn’t miss a shot. I missed two fairways just, and didn’t miss a green so gave myself a lot chances which is always nice and then I managed to make a couple of birdies on the other side for a tidy five under. It was a good start and very pleasing.”

“I have to say that because I was absolutely horrendous in the pro-am yesterday. I just went on the range for a couple of hours and managed to find something which I took out on to the course and it seemed to work for me. I’ll tell you what, it is an unbelievable finishing hole. If you need to make par on that hole to win on Sunday and you manage to get it done then you will deserve everything you get because it is a very tough finish.”

“I have had a bit of success here and really enjoy playing in China. Obviously I have won this tournament before so that always gives you a good feeling and like I said, I just played nicely today so hopefully I can continue to do that over the next three days.”

In third place, just one shot off the lead are English rookie Tyrell Hatton and Spanish Challenge Tour graduate Adrian Otaegui, David Horsey and Brett Rumford, who have all compiled completed first rounds of -4 under par 68. Alexander Levy and Il-hwan Park were still on the course when play was suspended, having played seventeen holes, and are also at -4 under par.

There is a posse of players at -3 under par, including Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter, they all signed a card for 69. Defending Champion and World Number Three Henrik Stenson was way down the pack at T38 with a completed opening round of -1 under par. There are currently 55 players within four shots of the leaders. A very compacted leaderboard.

RBC Heritage. Magic Matt Kuchar Wins

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A magic final round from Matt Kuchar saw him win the RBC Heritage title at Harbour Town Gold Links.

Having a blast: Kuchar's hole-out leads to victory

Matt Kuchar / Getty Images

 

Matt managed to compile a final round of -7 under par 64, for his winning total of -11 under par.

Before the hole out from the bunker on the last for a winning birdie, Matt spoke to his caddie;

“I said to Lance, ‘I‘m about due to make one of these.  It was so cool to see that thing disappear at the end. I wasn’t too disappointed to end up in that front greenside bunker on eighteen.I knew it was a pretty easy up and down.” 

 

 

Luke Donald, who started the day with a two shot lead, finished in second place at -10 under par, Matt had quite a wait watching to see if Luke could catch him and force a play-off. It did not happen, and thankfully broke Matt’s Sunday slumps. Luke shot himself in the foot when he drove his ball way left out of bounds on the sixth hole, and carded a double bogey 6. He then found water again on 10, resulting in a bogey. He was happy with the way he is progressing;

“I hit a lot of solid shots, a lot to build off and I’m excited about some of the changes I’ve been making.”

John Huh and Ben Martin tied for third place at -9 under par for the tournament.

Maybank Malaysian Open. Lightning Lee Westwood Wins

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A lightning storm delay could not de-rail Lee Westwood as he wins the Maybank Malaysian Open at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

Westwood romps to victory

Lee Westwood / Getty Images

This win ended a  near two-year absence from the winner’s circle for Lee Westwood, he had to wait a bit longer than he expected due to the threat of lightning, which forced play to be suspended for over four hours at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
Lee carded a final round -4 under par 68, to post a winning total of -18 under par, a massive seven shot margin over his nearest rival.

Knowing what works was the key for Lee, along with putting well;

“I started working with a new coach a few weeks ago, Mike Walker, and Billy Foster came back on the bag at the end of last year, so I was going back to what I had done before because it had worked. It’s started to work already the last couple of weeks, I’ve played well in Houston and at the Masters last week and this week I’ve obviously played very well. It’s a golf course that suits my game; it’s very tight in certain areas. I played well, I putted well, and the short game is good.”

” Now I feel like I’ve got a short game and starting to roll a few putts in. It makes a helluva difference if you can get up-and-down if you miss a few greens and keeps the momentum going.”

Lee will now be heading back up towards the top ten in the World Golf Rankings, he had slipped back to 36th on the ladder.

Three players tied in second place at -11  under par, a whopping seven shots off the pace. Nicolas Colsaerts, Louis Oosthuizen and Bernd Wiesberger were the closest competitors.

Andy Sullivan, who had featured at the top of the leaderboard for a couple of days managed to triple-bogey the second hole, after finding water with his tee shot. Things did not improve much for him as his final round collapsed to a +6 over par 78. He finished the tournament T11 at -7 under par, with four other players.

LPGA Lotte Championship. Michelle Wie Wins

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Michelle Wie won the LPGA Lotte Championship in Hawaii on the Ko Olina Golf Club course.

Michelle and her victory Hula dance / Getty Images

Michelle shot a final round of -5 under par 67, to post a winning total of -14 under par for the Lotte Championship title. The winning margin could have been greater, but her short range putting is still suspect, even missing one from inside two feet.

“This is a dream come true for me, the amount of love I felt this week was unbelievable. I think being back home, I think just not putting pressure on myself, just feeling all the support from the people this week, and you know just being patient. I just had a blast this week.”

I’m just having fun out there, I was out there and nervous. Every time I felt nervous out there, I was looking around, I felt there was no place I’d rather be.”

” The highlight of this week was to come back home, there wasn’t just one moment. From the first tee shot that I made to the last putt, the aloha that I felt from everyone was unbelievable.”

” My caddie isn’t one for pep talks, but he gave a good one today. He said, it’s windy out there today, but play your game, and that’s really what I did. I didn’t try to force anything. I had a number in my head that I thought I needed to shoot, and I got it.”

Angela Stanford finished in second place after her last round of +1 over par 73, a very poor effort by her standards. She started the day with a four shot lead, and ended it two shots adrift at -12 under par.

Angela rued her decision making, and poor putting;

“Today, just didn’t make the putts that I’ve been making,  I wasn’t hitting it great today. Just misclubbed a couple of times. Just didn’t make good decisions. She’s been playing great, she’s having a great year, so it was bound to happen. I just happened to be the one that caught the buzz saw.”

Inbee Park also carded a final round -5 under par 67, which took her into third position on her own at -11 under par.

Embedded image permalink

A selfie from Michelle.

RBC Heritage. Luke Leaps to the Top.

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Luke Donald leaps to the top of the RBC Heritage leaderboard at Harbour Town Golf Links.

Donald surges to top with 66

Luke Donald / Getty Images

Luke posted another round of -6 under par 66, low round of the day, to sit comfortably on top of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage at -8 under par, and a two shot lead. He spoke about the weather conditions;

“I’ve always liked this golf course, and the conditions were pretty manageable, for the front nine at least. I think we’re in for a very windy day tomorrow, so I’ll need to control the ball even better.”

John Huh is in second place, a third round of -3 under par 68, and a -6 under par total, would have been better if he had not three putted the last hole. John said his tee shot was OK, it would be difficult to miss the eighteenth fairway, it is the widest on the course, but the second put him in a bad spot;

“I hit a good drive, had about 200 yards and hit my rescue over, put myself in the wrong spot. Believe it or not, I’ve been playing really good, but I just wasn’t able to put everything together. I think this is the week that I’ve put pretty much everything together.”

Nicolas Thompson is in a four-way tie for third place, at -5 under par. Joining him on that score are Jim Furyk, Charl Schwartzel and Ben Martin.

Nicolas was upset at his putting performance today;

“The only thing that was really off was my speed control, I might have had a missed read or two here or there, but that happens. I don’t think I hit one putt too short today. This golf course is the ultimate patience test. You have to be so patient out here, because how many golf shots are you going to hit in the perfect spot off the tee, so you think, and not have an exact shot on the pin?”

Charl thinks he will have a chance if he just continues with the good ball striking;

“I think if I can continue the ball striking and giving myself chances I can make a few birdies tomorrow and give it a shot.”

First-round co-leader Matt Kuchar bounced back from Friday afternoon’s rough start, to finish in a tie for seventh place at -4 under par. He was happy with that result after a long day, he had played 29 holes;

“It helps to be in contention, it helps to really have an incentive to go out and play some good golf.”

Maybank Malaysian Open. Showdown for Lee and Andy.

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There will be a showdown in the last round of the Maybank Malaysian Open between Lee Westwood and Andy Sullivan at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

Lee Westwood  (Getty Images)

Lee Westwood / Getty Images

Lee Westwood had his Maybank Malaysian Open lead whittled down to a single stroke by compatriot Andy Sullivan in the third round, setting up a showdown for the final round. Lee is now at -14 under par for the tournament.

Lee started the day four shots ahead of the chasing pack and at one stage his lead was five strokes, but a closing bogey saw him sign for a third round -1 under par 71.

Lee admitted that today was a hot grind to the end, but is happy with his position;

“It was tricky out there, I didn’t play as well as I did the first two days, but there were some difficult flags and it was really hot. That’s as hot as I’ve been on a golf course for quite some time. It was a real grind, but I’m leading going into the last round so I’m quite happy with that.”

Andy showed his mettle, signing for a third round -6 under par 66 and a total of -13 under par. He said he had been  trying to limit his mistakes, and he made a pretty good job of that;

 “I played well again and tried to limit my mistakes. I only made one mistake but I got it back straight away. I’m delighted with the way I finished. I felt myself getting a bit tired coming up fifteen and sixteen. I made a couple of sloppy swings but I didn’t drop any shots. I holed a good putt on sixteen to keep the momentum going.”

Julien Quesne is in third place at -10 under par, with Nicolas Colsaerts a shot further back in fourth place at -9 under par.

LPGA. Lotte Championship. Awesome Angela Extends Lead.

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An awesome third round from Angela Stanford saw her extend her lead in the LPGA Lotte Championship in Hawaii.

Angela Stanford / Getty

Angela compiled at third round of -5 under par 67 to extend her lead to four shots, with her total of -13 under par, at the Ko Olina Golf Club in Hawaii.

She said afterwards that she was happy to have picked up three birdies early on, when the wind was not quite as strong as it became later in the day;

“I didn’t think the wind was blowing as hard when we started, so it was kind of nice to get out there and get a little bit of a rhythm. It really picked up on the back. So it got tough towards the end just because it was windy and it started to become a really long round. But for the most part, my putter was great again, so that was a lot of it.”

“I just like some of these holes and I think every golfer will tell you, when you play different golf courses, there are some holes you like and some you don’t. I’m fortunate that the ones I like are grouped together, so that’s fine, nice. The ones I don’t like are kind of bookends.”

Sharing second place, and now four strokes adrift are, Michelle Wie and Hyo Joo Kim, both at -9 under par for the tournament.

Local favorite Michelle admitted to missing a few shots on the course today;

“Yeah, left a couple of shots out there today, but I have one more day and hopefully tomorrow I’ll make a lot of birdies and catch up to her. It’s going to be fun tomorrow. Ideally going into tomorrow I wouldn’t want to be this far behind. I think it’ll make it more interesting tomorrow. Just go out there and try to make some birdies early on and see what I can do.”

Hyo Joo Kim had set herself a target of a top ten finish here, and has not changed her mind;

“I’m not going to change my goal today or tomorrow, the top ten is still my goal, but anything I know where I am now and anything that happens from this point on, and if I finish better than top ten, that is a bonus and I will have a good time.”

In fourth place on her own at -8 under par is Cristie Kerr, rookie Amy Anderson, top-ranked Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu were tied for fifth place at -6 under par.

RBC Heritage. Rain Stops Play. K.J. Choi Leads

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Rain stopped play in the second round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.  K.J. Choi was the clubhouse leader at the cessation of play.

K.J. Choi shot a 4-under 67 on Friday. (Maddie Meyers/Getty Images)

K.J. Choi / Getty Images

K.J. benefited from an early tee time at Harbour Town and took full advantage, recording a second round -4 under par 67, to sit atop the leaderboard at the end of play with a total score of -5 under par for the tournament. He was aware that this course might suit his game and decided to play this year instead of taking his usual trip home at this time of year;

“If you just hit it beneath the trees, it’s a good course to play. It has very small targets and this course is working well.”

Robert Allenby is in second place at -4 under par, and has only completed five holes of his second round, he was pleased to get off the golf course;

“It’s not fun when it’s blowing 20 miles an hour every different direction and it’s raining at the same time. So it was nice get out of there.”

Scott Langley dropped back, with second round +2 over par 73, which left him tied in third place at -3 under par.

Luke Donald is one of those players tied in third, following his completed second round of -2 under par 69. Luke likes this course, and his results prove that;

“It’s a good course for me and my results have certainly showed that in the last few years. If I’d got hot with the putter it could have been really special but, still, a very solid round, and glad I’m done.”

“You’ve got to keep it in play and plot your way around this course, that’s why I’ve had some success here. It’s not a course you can overpower and you need to be proficient around the greens. I hit 15 greens and, with these small greens, it’s a job well done.”

Five-time RBC Heritage champion Davis Love III certainly won’t be around for the final two rounds of this competition, after following a strong -1 under par 70 on Thursday with an horrible 80 in the second round, his highest score ever in 93 career rounds at Harbour Town.

 Matt Kuchar is also in trouble +4 over par in six second round holes, yesterday he shot a -5 under par 66, and will need to regain some of that form if he is to make the cut. His bad start didn’t seem to bother him too much, he told reporters that he was having fun with his kids;
“Chasing my youngest around the beach, so had some fun this morning. It’s going to be lots of games and some movies maybe the next couple of days.”

It is going to be a long day tomorrow for some of these players, having to complete round two, and then set off again for round three.

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