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Northern Trust Open. William McGirt the New Leader.

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William McGirt is the new leader of the Northern Trust Open at he end of day 3 at the Riviera Country Club, in Pacific Palisades, California.

William McGirt / Getty Images

 William  accumulated 8 birdies in 13 holes at Riviera County Club on moving day, to sign for a third round -6 under par 65, giving him a tournament total of -12 under par.

He said he really appreciated playing on the TOUR;

“When you’re around mini-tours for eight years and go through a bunch of heartaches at Q-school, once you finally get here, you really have to appreciate it. I’ve just got to go play my game tomorrow and hope that it’s good enough.”

In second place at -10 under par are Charlie Beljan and George McNeill,  George had a -5 under par third round of 66, while Charlie carded -3 under par 68.

Tied in fourth spot are Jason Allred and Brian Harman, both at -9 under par.

Jason is another player who is soaking up the atmosphere playing on the Tour, especially the reaction he got when sinking a ten foot putt on the last hole to card a -4 under par 67. He also spoke about his expectations;

” Making the putt on eighteen is probably the most excitement I felt from the crowd ever in my career.I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be able to be at a place in my life. I just have so much to be thankful for with my amazing family. It just feels great to be out here and soak it up.”

“I need to be honest, it’s totally blown them out of the water, but also to be honest, even when I go out to practice, whether it’s to prepare for a gate way tournament or this week, I still have that belief in me that I have it in me to win big golf tournaments. At times, even I have a hard time believing that over the years, but it sure is fun to be out here and be able to have a chance.”

There is a bunch of formidable players sitting on -8 under par, Jordan Spieth (67), Dustin Johnson (69) and Jimmy Walker (67), who is going for his fourth win of the season after winning last week in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am. Also in that group are a pair of Masters champions, Bubba Watson (64) and Charl Schwartzel (68).

Bubba had the round of the day, -7 under par 64, the boys at the top had better not look back over their shoulders, the sight of one of these top players coming after you is likely to give you a case of the colly-wobbles.

The chasing top class players with William in the middle / Getty Images

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

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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.”

RBC Canadian Open Rd 3, Robert Garrigus Leads

 

Happy place

Robert Garrigus/Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

 

Big hitting Robert Garrigus leads the RBC Canadian open after shooting a third round of -6 under par 64, for a tournament total of -16 under par, and also broke the 54-hole scoring record at the RBC Canadian Open, that was set more than a half-century ago by Arnold Palmer .Robert  was one shot better than Arnold, who set the record in 1955 at Weston Golf & Country Club, and this was matched two years ago by Dean Wilson at St. George’s Golf & Country Club. Arnold went on to win in 1955, giving him the first of his 62 PGA TOUR titles.  The average distance off the tee this week by Robert is over 320 yards, leaving himself some short irons into the soft receptive greens at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario, and he has taken full advantage of these conditions.

Robert has a one shot lead over William McGirt, whose third round was a steady -4 under par 66, and he is in good position to challenge for his first win on Tour.

In third place, by himself, is another consistent player this week, Scott Piercy, his third round was a -3 under par 67, which left him just two shots from the top of the leaderboard.

There are three players tied for fourth spot, Bo Van Pelt, Scott Stallings and Captain Kirk. Both Scott and Captain Kirk fired in rounds of -7 under par 63, and in that kind of form are certainly in contention. Scott managed to birdie six of seven holes on the front nine, including four in a row at one point, he said afterwards;

“It was a dream start, that front nine, everything was going right. I always had the theory that you always have these days when the putts are going in the middle of the hole and everything’s working out, so you have to get as many as you can on the days you have it.”

The way this course is playing the final outcome is far from certain, with just about anyone in the top ten at the moment with a chance of lifting the trophy, I expect to see someone else shoot a 62 in the final round.

RBC Canadian Lift,Clean & Place Open

TOUR Report: RBC Canadian

William McGirt & Scott Piercy/getty images

Once again they are playing lift, clean and place at the RBC Canadian Open on the Hamilton G&CC, with William McGirt and Scott Piercy sharing the lead after round two. Scott could not match yesterdays recording equaling round, but his -3 under par 67 got him to -11 under par and still top of the board. Sharing that spot is William McGirt, whose -4 under par 66 went nicely with his first round 63 and also on -11 for the tournament. Tim Clark had the best round of the day, another record equaling -8 under par 62 and tied for fourth place, with Vijay Singh. Alone in third spot is Robert Garrigus, with a tournament total of -10 under par.

Scott spoke about the pressure of coming off a 62;

“You shoot 62 and think, oh, I’ve got it. You expect to shoot another 62, which is;  to shoot 62, you’ve got to have things going for you. You’ve got to be making the putts. You’ve got to get the right bounces. I think you’ve got to be realistic with your expectations. When I shot 62, my expectation was to hit fairways and greens, and it just happened. Knowing that it’s generally tough to follow up a course record, I just wanted to hit a bunch of greens, a bunch of fairways, and let it happen again. I like to be aggressive and shoot at things, because the greens are so severe in spots, you want to be below the hole, putting up into them. Here it’s more playing for pars and hoping that the birdies fall.”

William McGirt is relishing the uncharted territory he finds himself in;

” I’ve never been in this position out here, I was in the next to last group at Tampa this year. It was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it. Yesterday it seemed like I hit a lot of really good iron shots. I did hit a couple close today, but I wasn’t quite as close yesterday, so it was a little tougher to make putts. But I did sneak it by them on 8 in the front of the green, so it was a bonus. All in all it was pretty solid. Hit a lot of fairways and greens, and fortunately I made some putts.”

This year Tim Clark has managed to miss the cut four times and was disqualified from another event, this was all due to him recovering from wrist surgery, he said of his round today;

” The only way to get better was to come out here and play tournament golf. I could feel I was getting better every round I played. I don’t think I came back too soon, I think it’s what I needed to do. Obviously being soft you’re able to go at a lot of flags and make a lot of birdies.”

With all these record breaking scores and the easy soft course conditions, you have to wonder why the authorities allowed these top professional players to, lift, clean and place. Professional players will always take advantage of easy conditions, why make even easier for them. This competition is the Canadian Open, a searching test of golf for the best of players, well it’s not much of a test at the moment. Even at my club, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, we never play lift, clean and place, it is always play the ball as it lies.

Given the easy conditions it is sad to see Canadian Mike Weir missing the cut of -1 under par, in his national tournament, but he is not alone in the big name casualties. Last weeks Open Champion Ernie Els has also missed the cut this week, much to everybody’s surprise.

Mike has failed to make the cut in all his eleven starts this year and does not seem to know what the problem is, or how to fix it;

” I don’t know,I need a little time to think about it, and see what I can draw on it and see what we can get ready for next week.”

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