Greenkeepers view of Chambers Bay Greens.

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Mr Leo Barber is the General Manager of Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, and has long been renowned as the top Greenkeeper in New Zealand.

Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club

Leo Barber

Below is his professional assessment of the Chambers Bay greens, and the mistake that had been made in trying to mould two very different grasses together;

“It is not in doubt in my opinion that the greens were indeed of questionable composition and therefore rolled less than ideally.

Fescue greens are a completely different animal, beautiful to putt on in their own right but add the sometimes dreaded

Poa Annua into the mix and you have a diabolical collaboration between two grasses that thrive at different ends of the spectrum.

One grass needs to be cut low and worked vigorously to produce a good surface and the other cut higher and finessed.

It was always going to be a difficult task for the Superintendent brought in to address the growing concerns, only a couple

of years prior to the event, and even more difficult when that Superintendent lost control of his tools as happens in major

events, with the governing body taking over, and in this instance a governing body that had a strong desire to push the

agronomical boundaries.”

So you have to ask yourself, why did they do it ?

 

 

 

 

U.S. Open. Jordan Wins, and looking at Grand Slam.

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Jordan Spieth wins the U.S. Open, at the gravel pit, and is half way to a single season Grand Slam of Major titles.

U.S. Open

Jordan & Trophy / Getty Images

Jordan managed a final round -1 under par 69, to win the U.S. Open with a -5 under par total. It was the much maligned greens that came into play, Dustin Johnson had an Eagle putt on the last to win, but three putted to lose,  in an intense and insane last round.

Jordan is the youngest U.S. Open champ since Bobby Jonesand is only the sixth player to win the Masters and U.S. Open in the same season. He is now looking to win at St Andrews;

“Can’t win ’em all unless you win the first two.”

“We’re going to go to St. Andrews looking for the Claret Jug. I believe we can get it done if we get the right prep in.”

“It’s hard right now. It’s hard. I’m still amazed that I won, let alone that we weren’t playing tomorrow.”

“So for that turnaround right there, to watch that happen, I feel for Dustin, but I haven’t been able to put anything in perspective yet.”

Dustin Johnson finished tied second with Louis Oosthuizen at -4 under par for the tournament. Don’t ask Dustin what he thinks of these greens, he made three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the back nine, destroying his two shot lead, and his confidence with the putter.

Dustin put a brave face on it;

“I’m disappointed that I three putted the last hole. Other than that, I had a damn good week.”

 

Louis got into the records book with the lowest back nine ever, carding six birdies in his last seven holes in a blistering finish;
“You sort of forget about everything when you get in that situation of having a chance to win a Major.”

“I wasn’t nervous at all, I was excited. I’ll take a lot out of this week, especially the last three days, the way I played.”

Adam Scott, Cameron Smith and Branden Grace tied in fourth position at -3 under par. Branden was right there until his tee shot on the 16th, which went O.B. onto the railway lines.

Jason Day could not continue with his heroics, falling behind and out of contention of the back nine today, finishing T9 at even par in the competition.

World number one Rory McIlroy suddenly came alive today, a last round -4 under par 66, which could, and should have been better;

“I really thought when I held that long putt on the 13th, with 16 and 18 coming up, I could post a number. If I could birdie those two holes coming in and get to four under par, then I thought I would have a really great chance, especially with the way the greens are getting so baked out there today.”

“It would have been a number for the guys to really think about.” 

“I felt I hit a good shot on the 15th, but it just came up short. And then the 17th killed me. The last few holes of this golf course haven’t been kind to me all week, and when I look back at this tournament that’s where I’ll rue some missed opportunities.” 

“I feel like it’s one that got away, especially the way I putted this week. I don’t think I’ve ever hit the ball as well over all four days of a Major Championship, which obviously bodes well for the next few events and the rest of the season.”

An overheard comment;  a TV anchor for FOX asked a caddie,

“How much grass? Is there any grass on No. 4 green?”

He replied,

“Yeah, two blades, and they’re nowhere close to each other.”

Something that made me laugh, on the 17th tee the marshals were waving their arms at the gallery, wanting them to be quiet and stand still. On the other side of the tee a freight train was rumbling passed, all that noise and movement, and the player still teed off.

 

U.S. Open. Four tied at the Top.

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There are four players tied at the top of the U.S. Open leaderboard after 54, mostly disappointing holes. Jason Day teed off and then proceeded to work his way to the top, along with Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Branden Grace, all at -4 under par for the title.

U.S. Open

Jason Day / Getty Images

None of the leaders could make the final break to top the U.S. Open leaderboard on their own, although they all had some serious chances, the Broccoli like greens defeating their best efforts. Of the top four only Jason broke par today, -2 under par 68, Dustin and Branden were even and Jordan was +1 over.

No one else could catch them, only six players managed to break par on the day, with Louis Oosthuizen carding the lowest round, -4 under par 66. That’s back to back 66’s for Louis, shame about the opening round 77, or he could have been right up there with them. He is currently T5 at -1 under par, with Cameron Smith, Shane Lowery and J.B. Holmes.

The next best all at +1 over, and seeing as the pin positions will be at their hardest tomorrow, I don’t expect anyone to topple one of those top four. But anything could happen, because no one can putt on these variable speed, lumpy greens.

Jason only spoke to a USGA official, and then headed to his motor home to lie down;

“I didn’t feel that great coming out early.”

“I felt pretty groggy on the front nine just from the drugs that I had in my system, then kind of flushed that out on the back nine.”

“The vertigo came back a little bit on the 13th tee box, and then felt nauseous all day. I started shaking on 16 tee box and then just tried to get it in, really.”

“Just wanted to get it in. I think the goal was just to go through today and see how it goes.”

Caddie Colin Swatton summed it all up;

“That was the greatest round I’ve ever watched.”

“I said, ‘You’ve got the heart of a lion. You get to show the world today you get to be the greatest you can be and look, let’s do it.’ And he just put his head down and kept walking, one foot in front of the other.”

“It was pretty impressive.”

Jordan wants to try and limit the mistakes tomorrow, and thinks he has a solution to playing 18;

“We’ll just have to check where the wind is, there’s an option to play down No. 1.”

“All in all, I thought it was a dumb hole today, but I think we’re going to play it from there again, so I’ve got to get over that. Just need to limit the mistakes tomorrow.”

U.S. Open

18th hole Via 1st Fairway

The  Fox Sports’ U.S. Open telecast is one of the poorest attempts I have ever witnessed at presenting golf to the world. The background music was so loud the commentator could not talk over it. The camera at times was unable to follow the ball flight, and had no idea where it was. The commentators mixed up players names, twice I heard Jason Spieth. So all in all this championship has been let down by the poor course condition, and inadequate presentation on the TV.

Do you think watching this tournament would make you want to out and play golf? certainly not at Chambers Bay.

115th U.S. Open. Gruesome Greens Grab Attention.

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The gruesome greens at Chambers Bay Golf Club grabbed everyone’s attention in the first round of the U.S. Open. At the end of the day Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson shared the lead, while at the other end of the table, Tiger Woods +10 over and Rickie Fowler +11 crashed spectacularly. The fescue grass experiment is not off to a great start, especially as the older greens have never really taken hold properly, and they have been infiltrated by poa annua clumps. The early morning starters had the best of the day.

U.S. Open

Dustin Johnson on his way to par the 10th / all pics Getty Images

Dustin and Henrik shot open rounds of -5 under par 65 at the 115th U.S. Open at the much maligned Chambers Bay Golf Club in Washington.

Dustin reported that he is playing with confidence, hitting good irons shots;

“Hit a lot of quality iron shots, the confidence is definitely there.”

Henrik said he had a good day on the greens;

“It was a good day on the greens in all, but especially the last five holes.”

 “I hit some beautiful putts and managed to slip a few in there.”

Patrick Reed, with a -4 under par 66, for third place alone reported that he definitely missed a few putts;

” All I had to do was get the ball to the hole and it had a chance of going in. I made some long putts, but I also feel like I missed a lot of good opportunities.”

Matt KucharBen Martin and the amateur Brian Campbell are tied in fourth place at -3 under par. They are followed by a group of payers at -2 under par.

Phil Mickelson was happy with his start, -1 under par 69 and T14, as he chases the career Grand Slam this week, but did criticize the greens;

“The first round was the round I was going to be most nervous at, getting started.”

“You don’t want to have to fight to come back all the time. You want to get off to a solid start around par.”

“I think the biggest challenge is that the green speeds are different from green to green, that’s going to wreak havoc on our touch.” 

“What I found is that they’re not the most true surfaces downhill, because you can’t hit it hard enough to hold the line. But uphill they seem to hold the line just fine.”

“I might have to factor that in, in how I play some shots now, because I think the percentage of made putts uphill from three to nine feet is going to be quite a bit higher than downhill.” 

US Open

Rory McIlroy, at +2 over par was not quite so outspoken;

“I just didn’t quite have it with the putter today, and that’s something that I need to get right over the next three days if I want to have a chance.”

“I still feel like if you make a good enough stroke and you have the right speed, there’s a good enough chance the ball will go in.”

US Open

Sergio Garcia, who started with an even par first round and T26, took to twitter to post;

“Happy with my Even par round today although it could’ve been a bit better by the way I played but this greens are as bad as the look on TV.”

 

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Inbee In Control.

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KPMG Women's PGA Championship

Inbee Park / Getty Images

In her quest to return to the top of the Rolex Rankings Inbee fired a bogey free, lowest score of the day, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship third round -7 under par 66, to post -14 under par for 54 holes, and will have a two shot lead beginning the day on Sunday. The defending Champion is looking to notch up her third win in a row at Westchester Country Club in New York;

Inbee said she is really happy with her ball striking and also her putting;

“Obviously I’ve done something three times before; I won three majors in a row before. I’m just trying to give myself the confidence that I can do it, do another three-time tomorrow.”

“When you’re trying to win the second, third time in a row, it just feels like you’ve done your homework already.”

“So you feel a little bit more relaxed and you kind of know how it feels like and how it’s going to play like.” 

“The way I’ve been playing, I’ve really been happy with ball-striking, and today was the best putting day yet.”

Sei Young Kim, who started the day at the top had to settle for second place, those two shots back at -12 under par, following her third round -4 under par 69, on the par 73 lay-out.

Sei Young is comfortable with her position right now;

“I don’t mind my position right now because I feel comfortable.”

“Sounds like I have done this before. So tomorrow I will be aggressive and I will do my best to try to win.”

Inbee will be aware of the threat from her South Korean compatriot, back in mid-April in Oahu, Hawaii, Sei Young “stole” the LOTTE Championship from her by chipping in on the 18th hole to force a playoff, then proceeded to hole out for eagle on the 73rd hole to claim the Victory.

Canadian amateur Brooke Henderson is sharing third place with Suzann Pettersen and Karrie Webb, all at -8 under par, four shots off the pace, and it will be a tough job to try and catch Inbee tomorrow.

Brittany Lincicome moved up the leaderboard to T7 at -6 under par, with her -4 under par 69 third round, she is eight shots off the pace, but finds it fun;

 “I was trying not to look at my scorecard, and trying not to look at the standard bearer because you’re trying not to think about, I birdied two in a row, I birdied three in a row; you want to keep it going. But yeah, it’s really fun,”

Manulife LPGA Classic. Two Tied at the Top

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Manulife LPGA Classic, Suzann and Mariajo are tied at the top of the leaderboard at the end of day two at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Canada.

Manulife LPGA Classic

Mariajo and Suzann / Getty Images

Mariajo and Suzann are tied at the top of the Manulife LPGA Classic leaderboard at -13 under par for the 36 hole total.

Suzann shot a bogey free -7 under par 65, she said consistency and patience were the keys to playing well;

“I think if you hit all the fairways you’re going to give yourself a lot of chances with your irons, so tried to be aggressive.”

“The par 5s are very scoreable, you’ve just got to try and take care of business on those, and if you can squeeze in a birdie or two or three on the rest of the holes you’re in good position.”

” So I felt like I did that today.  Hitting the ball pretty good.  Hit 18 greens I think, 17 yesterday, so plugging along nicely.”

“Consistency usually pays off, you’ve just got to be patient, I don’t put too much into it.  I’m playing solid golf and I’m enjoying myself out there.”

Mariajo carded a second round -6 under par 66 to get to share the top spot, and is well aware of the skill that the rest of the field can bring into play;

“I mean, really, the girls are really good out here and last week it was windy and people were shooting low scores.”

“So no matter the conditions, people are going to go out there and shoot low.”

” If it rains maybe it’s going to be easier because the greens are going to receive a lot more.”

” So I mean I’m just going to go have fun this afternoon and stay away from the game and hope for a good weekend.”

Alone in third place is Cristie Kerr, a -3 under par 69 keeping her one shot behind the leaders with her -12  under par total.

World number one Lydia Ko had a better second round, carding -4 under par 68, which moved her up the leaderboard to T48, at -5 under for the tournament, and extended her made cut streak to 53 tournaments;

“I feel like I’m playing good enough but just the scores aren’t there.”

“Kingsmill, I knew I played good but it’s just a couple under and that wasn’t going to cut it. “Dallas, that was a whole different week.”

“When I know and I have the confidence that, hey, I am playing good, it’s just the scores aren’t coming, I’ve just got to keep the head high and just be confident for the next two days.”

World number two Inbee Park is in a huge group of ladies who are all a -7 under par in the competition, and T23. Inbee is looking to unseat Lydia at the top of the rankings, and it could happen this week.

The cut was made at -4 under par, 70 players made the cut at -4 under par 140 ,which sets a new all-time LPGA Tour record for low cut at a par 72 course, and there were some notable Ladies who missed the cut:

CAN Brooke Henderson  USAStacy Lewis, Morgan Pressel

ESPAzahara Munoz, Carlotta Cignada, Beatriz Recaro

AUS  Karrie Webb 

JPN Ai Myazato  KOR Mirim Lee, Se Ri Pak THA Ayria Jutanugarn

ENG Laura Davies CHN Xi Yu Lin

 

 

L.E.T. Evian Championship Qualifiers. Emily and Klara.

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Ladies European Tour rookie Emily Kristine Pedersen and  Klara Spilkova have qualified for the fifth, and final Major of the year, the Evian Masters Championship.

Evian Masters

Klara and Emily / Getty Images

Emily topped the two rounds qualifier at -4 under par with rounds of 72 and 66 over the two days of glorious sunshine at Evian Resort Golf Course.

Rookie Emily, who won the European Amateur Championship in 2013 will be taking her place at the Evian for the second time, but right now has to return to high school to take eight exams this month before finishing on 24th June. She is excited about playing in the Evian again;

“It feels really amazing to qualify. I played in the tournament last year so I know how good it is and I can’t wait to be back in September.”

Klara, who qualified at -2 under par with rounds of 69 and 71, will be playing in the her first but used to come and watch the Championship as a junior, a decade ago;

“I’m feeling great that I’ve made it to Evian. I went to the Evian Masters when I was around 10 as a small girl with my dad and it will be so good to be playing.”

“It’s beautiful! I remember watching Laura Davies on the first tee and everyone used a driver except her, she used a 3-iron and I thought, ‘wow!’”

“I was watching everyone like Morgan Pressel, Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer.”

“My dad bought me a head cover for my driver and I had it for eight years, so I was always thinking about Evian and telling everyone: I will play there one day. And now I will!”

Congratulations to these two Ladies, and I look forward to reporting on your progress in the Evian Masters Championship in September 2015.