Valero Texas Open. Two Tied at the Top.

White Dragon GolfValero Texas Open

There are two players tied at the top of the Valero Texas Open leaderboard after 36 holes at TPC San Antonio in the Lone Star State of Texas. Bud Cauley and Tony Finau share the limelight at the half way stage.

Valero Texas Open Valero Texas Open

Bud and Tony at -8 under par for the tournament.

Bud scrambled very well, getting up and down nine times in the first two rounds, and needed only 22 putts today, shooting  a bogey free -6 under par 66;

“I scrambled really well.” 

“I didn’t drive it poorly but, you know, just with the wind out there it was tough to get some of the iron shots close. When I did miss the green I was able to leave it in a relatively easy spot and get up and down which kind of kept my round going.”

“Just driving the ball well,”

“”You know, obviously last week there’s no faking it around there. You have to drive it well or you can’t play. I worked on that a lot the week before and I was able to do that last week and carried that over to these two rounds.”

“I got a lot out of my round today. I hit the ball really well yesterday and just kind of left some shots out there. Today was nice to scramble well and look forward to this weekend.”

Tony, -7 under par 65 today, is looking forward to the week-end;

“I feel good. I’ve hit a lot of good shots, have had a good season so far.”

”Look forward to the weekend.”

There are then four players on -7 under, Cameron Smith, -7 under 65 today, 51-year-old Bob Estes -3 under 69, Kevin Chappell, -4 under 68 and Robby Shelton who carded -3 under 69.

Luke Donald, who was second last week, and Ian Poulter both missed the cut, and with it Ian also lost his PGA Tour card;

“The most frustrating thing is that I can’t plan a schedule. So, I have to be ready to go any given Monday for an event.”

“Obviously, I will try to qualify for the U.S. Open and the Open Championship, but it’s just very, very frustrating.”

“It’s not like I’m going to go away and you’re never going to see me again. I’m playing next week with Geoff Ogilvy in New Orleans [at the Zurich Classic].”

Ollie Schniederjans -5 under 65 today, spent an hour in his hotel room last night, looking for a putting groove. Looks like he found it rolling one putt from 34 feet, and three putts between 15-20 feet, followed by two more putts from just outside 10 feet. He also managed to hole out from 10 feet from the fringe;

“I’ve been working really hard on my putting, awesome to see it pay off today.”

 

 

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The Final 16. Sergio Blitzed By Jon.

White Dragon GolfWGC-Match Play

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play has a last 16 for the weekend  at Austin Country Club in Texas. Spain’s new wonder kid Jon Rahm blitzed the old one Sergio Garcia, 6-4.

Jon Rahm (left) knocked off fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia to win Group 7. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Jon and Sergio / getty

Jon eased past Sergio 6-4 to win group 7, he told reporters

“I’d rather not play a fellow Spaniard. Obviously, representing Spain, we want as many Spaniards to make it as far as possible. But worse came to worse, and luckily whoever won today was going to make it through. Out of that, at least we are happy that was going to happen.”

Sergio said he did not perform well;

“Obviously Jon is playing well. It is nice to see at least a Spanish player going through. . “At the end of the day, you have to perform and if you don’t do it then you get beat.”

World number 1 Dustin Johnson won group one, saying;

“I like match play, it’s fun and it’s exciting to watch. Yeah, I feel like I’ve got a little bit of an advantage just because I’m playing really well.”

The last sixteen knockout matches begin tomorrow, lining up like this;

Kevin Na USA v Bill Hass USA

Marc Leishman Australia v Phil Mickelson USA

Jon Rahm Spain v Charles Howell 111 USA

Soren Kjeldson Denmark v William McGirt USA

Hideto Tanihara Japan  v Paul Casey England

Ross Fisher England v Bubba Watson USA

Alex Noren Sweden v Brooks Koepka USA

Dustin Johnson USA v Zack Johnson USA.

It is sad that this years  Championship has been blighted by mid-term with withdrawals, which left Rory McIlroy with no chance to progress. after Jason Day retired. Other groups also had the same misfortune, with Gary Woodland withdrawing for personal reasons, and Francesco Molinari with an injury.

 

 

 

Arnold Palmer Invitational. Marc Leishman Wins.

 

White Dragon GolfArnold Palmer Invt'l

Marc Leishman, from Australia, wins the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Florida.

A win for the whole family

Family Leishman & Trophy /getty

Marc holed a 50 ft Eagle putt on the 16th hole on his way to carding  final Arnold Palmer Invitational round of -3 under 69, to post the winning total of -11 under par’

Marc convinced himself that son Harvey would make the Eagle putt;

“Some weird things go through your head, but I was thinking,  because we have a putting green upstairs, that Harvey could make this putt. You have to make it.”

“It’s such a special year to honour Mr. Palmer how they have. It’s unbelievable.”

“Obviously, it’s sad not to have him up there on 18, but to play how I did and to win any tournament’s huge, but especially this one.”

“The putter was pivotal all week. I’ve been putting well all year and it’s nice to be able to hole putts the last few days.”

“That was key to do that. I gave myself chances for putts and, yeah, it was an awesome day and I couldn’t have drawn it up any better.”

Kevin Kisner, +1 over 73 today and Charley Hoffman, also +1 over 73, tied in second place at -10 under par

Rory McIlroy -3 under 69 today, shared fourth spot with Tyrrell Hatton, -1 under 71, both at -9 under par.

Rory wanted the win, but was happy with his effort the last two days;

“I haven’t had the win that I’ve wanted, but it’s been good consistent play and that hopefully bodes well for the year ahead.”

“I struggled the first two days here. I found it a little bit on the weekend. I’m just happy that I’m out here playing again and I feel good.”

Arnold Palmer Invitational. Charley and Kevin Have 54 Hole Lead.

White Dragon GolfArnold Palmer Invt'l

Charley Hoffman and Kevin Kisner share the 54 hole lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Florida.

Charley Hoffman finished birdie-birdie-birdie at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He's tied for the lead. (Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)

Charley / getty

Charley shot a third round -1 under par 71, which included birdies at the last three holes, while Kevin carded -4 under 68, to both share top spot on the  Arnold Palmer Invitational leaderboard at -11 under, and will take a three shot advantage into the final round tomorrow.

Charley says he is in a special spot;

“Week-in and week-out you’re trying to win, but to be in position at Arnie’s event is a special spot.”

 “It’s right up there with competing in a major championship, there’s no question.”

“To keep his legacy going and win his event would be something special.”

“Coming down the stretch I’m probably not going to think about that too much. I’m just trying to win a golf tournament, to be completely honest.”

“But if I happen to, it would definitely be a special one to put on the mantle.”

Kevin has a poor record in play-off’s;

“I’ve lost plenty of playoffs out here, so I try to make as many birdies as I can so I don’t have to do that anymore.”

 “These guys are not afraid and they’re going to make a lot of birdies and there’s no protecting leads.”

“I saw I got the lead early and then just tried to make as many birdies as I could on the back nine.”

Three players are tied in third position at -8 under par, Tyrrell Hatton, England, -5 under par 67 today, Marc Leishman, Australia, -1 under 71, and Matt Fitzpatrick, from England, who stood still today at even par.

Rory McIlroy made good progress today, a bogey free -7 under 65, which takes him to -6 under for the tournament, saying he played better and made some putts;

Arnold Palmer Invitational

Rory / skysports

“Today it presented us with an opportunity to go low, the golf course played a little bit shorter, so you could take advantage of the par-fives.”

“I just played better. I gave myself a lot of looks and holed some putts, which was nice to see. It’s sort of a score that I was waiting on.”

“I felt like it was in there, it was just a matter of trying to put it all together and today I did.”

“At least I’ve given myself a decent chance tomorrow, if I get off to a fast start, I’ll be right in there. I can take a lot from today.”

“I put it in the right position, I drove it better, gave myself a lot of looks, was smart when I needed to be and if I can continue to do that, then I do have a good chance.”

 

ISPS Handa New Zealand Open. Michael Hendry Wins Play-Off.

White Dragon GolfBMW NZ Open

Kiwi Michael Hendry is the first NZ Player to win the  New Zealand Open for 14 years. He won in a play-off against another Kiwi, Ben Campbell and Australian and Ex NZ Champion Brad Kennedy.

New Zealand Open

Michael was happy that a Kiwi has finally won the Brodie Breeze Trophy with a par at the first extra hole, after Ben and Brad both found water off the tee.

Michael shot a final round -2 under par 69 to get into  play-off against 54 hole leader at -20 under, and starting with a three shot lead Ben Campbell, who carded +1 over par today and Brad Kennedy with an even par 71 last round, all three with ISPS Handa New Zealand Open totals of -19 under par.

“It means the world to me, this is for me, other than winning a major, the biggest tournament that I can win.”

“Just to finally get that monkey off our back with a Kiwi winning. I’ve never been that emotional coming off a golf course before. It was very, very special.”

“My game plan today was hit every green that I could and get every putt to the hole, and I achieved my game plan pretty well.”

Tied in fourth place was Aussie Deyen Lawson at -18 under par, a final round -3 under 69 not quite good enough to get into the play-off.

ISPS Handa New Zealand Open. Kiwi Campbell Cruzin.

White Dragon GolfBMW NZ Open

Kiwi Ben Campbell is cruizin at the top of the ISPS New Zealand Open leaderboard after 54 holes.

New Zealand Open

Ben Campbell / getty

Ben carded a third round -5 under par 66 to lead the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open at -20 under par, and will take a one shot lead into the final round tomorrow. An Eagle at the 17th saw him pull away, and he hopes to hole more putts tomorrow;

“I didn’t have my A-game today but managed to get a good score on the board. I have talked to my coach about doing ugly well.”

“My caddy told me to be patient. I holed some good par putts to keep the momentum going and went for it on 17 with that eagle.”

“There is a lot of golf to be played and it could be bad weather. I have to stay patient. “

“Something can happen on a course like this. But I will hit the ball, go and find it and hopefully hole some putts.”

Aussie Brad Kennedy is hot in pursuit, a third round -3 under par 68 to claim second place on his own at -19 under;

“It was one of those days when I felt I was in control for most of the day.”

“It is the first time we have seen pins here on a Saturday and there were a couple of tough ones today. It was a positive day and I can start chasing now.”

“There are some guys behind who can shoot low so I know I need to play well, stay aggressive and do my best to chase down Ben who holed everything today.”

Sharing third place at -17 under are another Kiwi Michael Hendry -4 under 67 today and Aussie Dimitrios Papadatos, -5 under 66.

Dimitrios has high hopes for success;

“I have already won one tournament this year, at the Oates Vic Open, so there is no reason why I can’t make it two.”

Michael stayed patient, and capitalised on his chances;

 “It was pretty ordinary, to be honest. I just kept telling myself to stay patient and hopefully I’d capitalise on some opportunities coming in and I did.”

Low round of the day went to Ryan Fox, New Zealand, -8 under par 63, to be T9 at -13 under par. Must be the influence of Steve Williams on the bag.

Ryan started to hole some good putts today;

“To be honest it was probably a little scrappy to start with and I holed a 45 to 50 footer across the green on five and that kick-started things.”

“I saw a lot of 10 and 12 footers go in today that haven’t gone in the previous five or six tournaments and it’s nice to be back in the tournament.”

“Brad  played some amazing golf the first two days and he looks like he started pretty solidly again today, so unless he does something silly and shoots six or seven-under I think I’d have another chance tomorrow with another 63 or 64.”

ISPS Handa New Zealand Open. Brad Kennedy Leads.

White Dragon GolfBMW NZ Open

Brad Kennedy, from Australia, leads the New Zealand Open after 36 holes.

New Zealand Open

Brad Kennedy / : photosport.nz

Brad shot a second round -9 under par 62 at the par 71 Millbrook course, to lead the New Zealand Open by one shot at -16 under par.

Former champion Brad carded a birdie at six out of his last seven holes, with good putting being the key;

“It was awesome, it is nice to play like that. I had a good rhythm going into the back -9, coming through 15 to 18, I had some nice full numbers.”

“The greens are just pure here so they are great to putt on. I birdied my last four holes.”

“It doesn’t matter where I am, I just have to stay aggressive. Anytime you try and be conservative, a course like this will come and get you.”

“It’s nice knowing that I have won the Open before, at a different course, to be able to win it a second time would be fantastic.”

“Having won it before allows me not to press too hard; guys who haven’t won it before and are in contention will be trying to win the first one.”

“It’s a great National Open to win and we will all be having a go.”

First round leader Ben Campbell, of New Zealand signed for second round -5 under par 67, at The Hills, for a -15 under par total, good putting keeping the momentum going;

“Five under was always good out there, so I can’t complain. I played pretty solid all day, so it was nice.”

“I holed two or three putts outside 10, 15 feet which kept the momentum going. “

“I didn’t quite hit the ball as good as yesterday, but it’s always tough backing up a good round like that.”

Michael Hendry, also from New Zealand holds third place at -13 under par, a -6 under par 65 at Millbrook keeping him in touch of the lead.

Michael was in the four-ball with the leader, and enjoyed the experience, watching his playing partner rolling in putts;

“It is good having a playing partner rolling putts in as well; it allows both of us to start rolling.”

“We had at least 30 birdies between us in 36 holes, so it was a good four ball.”

“I think it will be a different story on the weekend. Hopefully the wind gets up, I like playing in the wind, it would make it a bit more difficult and pin positions will be tough.”