LPGA CN Canadian Women’s Open. Kiwi Lydia Ko Shares the second round Lead

CNCanadianWomensOpen_188x84The Vancouver Golf Club

Coquitlam, BC, Canada

The LPGA, CN Canadian Women’s Open has a surprise leader after the second round, Kiwi World number one amateur Lydia Ko shares the top spot with South Korean Chelia Choi. The 15 year-old Lydia, from the Gulf Harbour Country Club, New Zealand fired in a bogey free second round of  four-under 68 today, to climb into a share of the lead with Chelia Choi, who also had a wonderful second round, shooting a -8 under par, 64.

Lydia is playing in only her 10th professional event and her third tournament on the LPGA Tour, after her performances in the Australian Open and US Open, and she really desires to become the first Kiwi golfer to win on the LPGA Tour. Good Luck Lydia.

Fifteen-year-old Lydia Ko's family almost moved to Canada when she was younger but instead chose to settle in New Zealand.

Lydia Ko/Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press

Lydia said there is no pressure really for her to play well and contend, not like her fellow professional competitors;

“I’m just here for the experience, but the professionals, on the other hand, it’s about how much money they’re going to get by each placing.”

Brian Alexander, is a longtime member of the Vancouver Golf Club and is this week caddying for Lydia. The pros travel with their own caddies, but Lydia has to get them wherever she goes, just two weeks ago, in the U.S Amateur which she won, Lydia had her mum on the bag;

” Two weeks ago at the U.S. Amateur, my mom caddied, and that is kind of a different feeling, because she’s your mom and you have to listen to her. It was really comfortable having my mom there, but it’s also really relieving and comfortable to have someone that knows the course off their hat, really. He’s been here for, I think 10 years, so he knows where not to go and where to go. There were quite a few tricky greens.”

Chelia Choi, who celebrates her 22nd birthday on Saturday, said she had been suffering from a sore shoulder in the first round, but a massage treatment paid off.

“I’m very happy, I don’t know how I made the putts.”

Defending Champion Brittany Linicome has dropped out of contention after rounds of 72 and 73 that have left her struggling at +1 over par for the tournament, in a share for 31st place.

The Barclays, Bethpage Black, Bites Padraig Back

The Barclays at Bethpage Black took revenge on Padraig Harrington in the second round, he shot a +4 over par round of 75, which left him with a tournament total of -3 under par. He is not yet out of it, but the course humbled him today.

The leaders after the second round are sitting at the top of the scoreboard with a tournament total of -8 under par. Last weeks winner, Sergio Garcia is one of them with his 66, 68, start. He is joined by American Nick Watney who had a good 2nd round of 69, to go with his opening effort of 65.

Updates from The Barclays

Sergio Garcia & Nick Watney/Getty Images

Just one shot back are the big Fijian Vijay Singh, who has won The Barclays four times, although not at this venue, he shares second place with Bob Estes. Both of these players shot lower rounds today than their opening efforts, Vijay with 68, 67, and Bob with 69 and 66.

Best round of the day went to Henrik Stenson who sailed round in 65, a -6 under par score to go with his opening round of +2 over par 73, and tournament total of  -4 under par, tied for eleventh spot.

Tiger Woods tweaked his back when he slept awkwardly,on a soft bed at his hotel Thursday night, he said of the injury;

“As I warmed up, it got progressively worse, and then you saw what happened on the golf course. It didn’t feel very good, but I got it around, and just because the swing didn’t feel very good doesn’t mean I can’t make every putt. I went out there with that kind of mindset and just buried a bunch of putts. It was like a section of movement, so it didn’t hurt standing up, it didn’t hurt at the bottom of a squat, but it was the somewhere in-between there it was going to catch. It would grab just before impact, so you’d kind of expect it, so I could get through that. So I’m right there, this is a very bunched leaderboard. There are so many guys there. I think, what, 70-plus guys within nine shots as of right now.”

Tiger intends to sleep on the floor tonight, he managed a smile as he said;

“I’m probably going to sleep on the floor, I do that in Europe all the time, so this is nothing new. I’ve been through that kind of stuff before, so I know what it feels like.”

Live Report Image

Tiger Woods, bending gingerly on the green/Cox/Getty Images

At -5 under par Tiger is definitely in the chase for the title. Rory McIlroy on the other hand has slipped back to even par for the tournament with today’s round of +2 over par, and unless he produces something very special tomorrow he looks out of contention.

There is a slight possibility that  rain will affect Saturday’s third round, according to the forecast for The Barclays, and also the winds will pick up over the weekend to 15 mph.

The Barclays, Padraig leads after 1st round.

                                  

The Black oozes red

Padraig Harrington/Greenwood/Getty Images

The Barclays first round at Bethpage Black  in New York got off to a red number start as Padraig Harrington shot a -7 under par 64, to lead the field by just one stroke. Padraig made a mockery of the red warning sign on the first tee, which reads, ” “The Black Course is an Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only For Highly Skilled Golfers.” Padraig remarked that as soon as he forgot how difficult it was supposed to be he started to think Birdie;

“The most interesting thing was it’s very hard to go out and play this course without thinking you’re playing a U.S. Open. The best I’ve struck my putts, the best I’ve rolled the ball for a long period of time. You’re going to need to be 12-under par at the end of the week, or, who knows? But it ain’t going to be level par.”

Padraig knows that he needs to win this tournament to have any chance of being called into the Ryder Cup team, he and European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal  do not get on, and the three-time Major Champion knows he will have to force his way onto the team. Personally speaking I think Padraig should be there, his experience of playing in America is invaluable. Padraig admitted his chances were slim;

 “I’m sure if I went and had a look at the odds, I would be a long-shot to make the team.”

Close behind at -6 under par are Nick Watney and Brian Harman who both cruised round with 65’s. Fifty one of 123 players managed to break par on the infamous Bethpage Black lay-out, not exactly the result everybody was predicting. There is only six shots separating 1st and 51st on the leaderboard, a real log jam, and tomorrows round looks to be exceptionally important.

Rory McIlroy, who relished the side-by-side with Woods, is looking forward to tomorrow;

” It was good, I thought I played really solid, especially starting off, three under through six. Got a little quiet around the middle of the round, and my short game let me down a couple of times. It definitely could have been a few shots better, but I’m happy with how I played. I felt like I had a lot of chances out there, and I had enough chances to shoot a low one. I don’t think I need to change the strategy at all of hitting a lot of drivers and trying to be aggressive, so we’ll just continue to do the same thing.”

Tiger, who finished one shot better than Rory was not best pleased with todays performance;

“I didn’t quite hit the ball as well as I would like. I’m going to do some work this afternoon and work on a couple things that I know I need to shore up for tomorrow. But I’m very pleased with the way I putted. I putted great today.”

The guys who really struggled today were, Boo Weekly and Jason Bohn at +7, Andres Romero at +8 and dead last all on his own is South Korea’s Sang-Moon Bai, who sunk to a +10 over par round.

Augusta, Darla Moore & Hootie Johnson.

Darla Moore/bottomline.nbcnews.com

Hootie Johnson, the  former Augusta National chairman, the same man who famously declared in 2002 that he wouldn’t admit women to the club;

“At the point of a bayonet.”

Hootie Johnson/usatoday.com

In 2003 Hootie followed that statement with another politically incorrect statement, some people actually hoped the drop dead part of the admission would come true quickly;

” I do want to make one point, though. If I drop dead, right now, our position will not change on this issue.”

Bobby Jones & Cliff Roberts

Some pretty strong stuff, and lots of the guys in the locker room admired his unbending attitude, seems though that the old boy himself has softened in old age. I bet Cliff Roberts and Bobby Jones are spinning in their respective graves at the latest goings on at Augusta. Turns out it was Hootie Johnson who was personally responsible for nominating a woman for membership to the club, that woman was none other than Darla Moore. Here is Hootie’s latest  reported comments;

“She has a long connection with me, I’ve had her as a guest at the club a number of times along with her husband. She’s a sweet lady.”

Lets all drink to progress, if you don’t place one foot forward, you will always be standing in the same place. Remember Cliff Roberts statement;

“As long as I’m alive, all the golfers will be white and all the caddies will be black.”

Well, Lee Elder became the first black golfer to play in the Masters Tournament in 1975, Lee said at the time;

“I don’t want anything special. I will make it on my own.”

                           

Lee Elder/legendsrevealed.com       Lee congratulates Tiger on his Masters win/bleacherreport.com

Cliff Roberts died two years later in 1977, no one knows if being alive when a black golfer played in The Masters had hastened him into committing suicide, but he had been ill some months.

You have to wonder what he would have made of  Tiger winning in 1997, with a total of -18 under par, and aided by a white caddie, Fluff Cowan. Tiger said of Fluff, after their Masters win;

” I think Fluff’s the best caddie in the world, he’s a great caddie and a great friend.”

    Michael Thomas Cowan/ caddybytes.com

Seems like even Tiger has some statements he regretted making, Fluff may not  be the best caddie in the world, but you don’t fire a great friend.

The last word goes to someone who is absolutely delighted with the Augusta change of heart, she is Martha Burk, the lady who started the crusade against Augusta, Martha said;

Martha Burk ” We won, absolutely, that’s how I feel.”

” It’s important symbolically. In an absolute sense, two women playing golf is not important, but two women  being allowed into one of the enclaves of power for, basically, Fortune 500 members is a very important symbolic statement about the place of women in society. Had we not started this 10 years ago, and kept at it and kept at it, it wouldn’t have happened now, and it might not have happened ever. We did not give up. There were several confluences that came together: IBM naming a woman as a CEO was one factor. I think we were another one. We succeeded in changing public opinion pretty well.I got a lot of death threats, I had to hire bodyguards, and I did wear a bulletproof vest. It was not fun. I believed in what I was doing. I don’t want to take personal credit. Yes, I was a spokesperson, but there were a lot of women standing behind me as well. That was very important, but I do feel personally vindicated.”

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.”

 

Augusta National Admits Women, The Times They Are A Changing

Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore made History by being accepted by Augusta National, the women to be welcomed as members.

The home of the Masters now has green jackets for women, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore have become the first female members since the Augusta National club was founded in 1932,  and current chairman Billy Payne said on Monday;

“This is a joyous occasion. These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well-known and respected by our membership. It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their green jackets, when the club opens this fall. This is a significant and positive time in our club’s history and, on behalf of our membership, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome them and all of our new members into the Augusta National family.”

Hootie Johnson, who retired as chairman in 2006, said Monday;

” This is wonderful news for Augusta National Golf Club and I could not be more pleased. Darla Moore is my good friend, and I know she and Condoleezza Rice will enjoy the Club as much as I have.”

Darla Moore said of her acceptance at the club;

” Augusta National has always captured my imagination, and is one of the most magically beautiful places anywhere in the world, as everyone gets to see during the Masters each April. I am fortunate to have many friends who are members at Augusta National, so to be asked to join them as a member represents a very happy and important occasion in my life. Above all, Augusta National and the Masters Tournaments have always stood for excellence, and that is what is so important to me.”

Condoleezzer Rice is looking forward to playing the course;

” I have visited Augusta National on several occasions and look forward to playing golf, renewing friendships and forming new ones through this very special opportunity. I have long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf. I also have an immense respect for the Masters Tournament and its commitment to grow the game of golf, particularly with youth, here in the United States and throughout the world.”

Tiger Woods commented;

” I think the decision by the Augusta National membership is important to golf. The Club continues to demonstrate its commitment to impacting the game in positive ways. I would like to congratulate both new members, especially my friend Condi Rice.”

Jack Nicklaus, the six-time Masters champion and an Augusta member, offered his welcome to the two women;

” Everyone at Augusta National shares a similar passion for the game of golf, and I know they will be great additions to the club. ”

Well done Augusta National, now that the female member debate has finally ended, lets all go play golf.

 

 

Wyndham Championship, Sergio Garcia Wins

 

    FedExCup_150.jpg

Wyndham wallop

Sergio Garcia/Martin/Getty Images

I am pleased to report that Sergio Garcia won the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club on Monday morning. This victory was Sergio’s  first on the PGA Tour since the 2008 Players Championship. His winning score was – 18 under par after shooting a final-round 66, beating  Tim Clark by two shots and Bud Cauley by three. Sergio now excitedly goes to Bethpage Black for The Barclays with momentum, he ranked 33rd in the FedExCup, a big jump of 69 spots. The Barclays, which begins Thursday, is the first of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs that will decided the season-long champion and winner of the $10 million bonus.

“I am proud of the way I played coming in, hopefully this will secure my spot in the Ryder Cup. We’ll see when the team comes out, but I think my chances are a little better now.”

With this win, Sergio appears to have forced himself  into the automatic qualifiers for the European team with just one week remaining. The matches will be held at Medinah Country Club where a then 19-year-old Garcia finished second to Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship. Go Sergio !!!

Tim Clark finished in second spot after his last round 67 and a tournament total of -16 under par. Tim also moved up the points list, to 54th, this amazing position after not even being in the Playoff picture a few weeks ago. Tim knew it was going to be hard to reel in Sergio on the day;

“It was going to be tough to catch Garcia, the way he finished.”

Bud Cauley claimed third place with a final round of -2 under par, 68 and a tournament total of -15 under par. Local boy Carl Pettersson finished in a three-way tie for fourth spot, with Jimmy Walker and Chad Campbell.

Lets go to the Play-offs.