Shell Houston Open. Matt Makes A Move.

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo Matt Kuchar makes a move in the Shell Houston Open, opening up a four shot lead.

Matt Kuchar's last victory came at last season's Memorial Tournament. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Matt Kuchar / Getty Images

Matt Kuchar was in cruise control as he eased his way through the third round with a -4 under par 68, to top the leaderboard in the Shell Houston Open at -15 under par.

Matt said it was nice to be in a position to have a shot at winning once again;

“It’s a nice position to have played well last week, to have been in the last group with a chance to win, and to come back this week, completely different course, and have another shot to win. It’s a bummer to three-putt the last one, my speed got a little off there, but all in all putted well. I’m not at all disappointed with the way I putted or the way I played. I’m pretty pleased.”

” Having a four-shot lead is a great position to be in,  I think I’ll just go out and try to turn the four-shot lead into a five-shot lead and see if I can keep going. ‘I’ve been playing some steady golf for a couple of years now and feel like my chances of playing well tomorrow are pretty good.”

Second place is shared between Cameron Tringale and Sergio Garcia, at -11 under par for the tournament.  Sergio, the 36-hole leader could only manage a +1 over par on Saturday. Cameron recorded a very respectable -3 under par 69.

With an 80% chance of rain forecast for Sunday, Sergio is worried about a Monday finish, leading up to the masters. Of course he first has to make up the four shots he is behind;

“I don’t think it’d be the best thing, for sure, it wouldn’t be very good. You’d have to squeeze everything together, get no rest.”

Cameron is working towards his first PGA TOUR victory, but has strangely booked a vacation in Hawaii with his family next week. If he wins here, his invite to the Masters would change all that;

“Hopefully I’ll have a good round tomorrow and maybe ‘ixnay’ those plans.”

Matt Jones had a third round -1 under par 71, he is now in fourth place on his own. Rickie Fowler shared the low round of the day, carding a -4 under par 68, he is T5 with Ben Curtis, both will need exceptional rounds tomorrow to contest this title.

Phil Mickelson will start the final round  in sixth place, nine shots off the lead. A third round  of even-par 72 put a huge dent into any plans he may have harbored about winning here;

“I feel like I putted really well, I felt really good with the putter. The ball-striking that was there the first two days kind of fell out and I had a tougher time putting them all together. I don’t know if I’ll have a good round tomorrow or not, but it’s close, a lot closer than it’s been.”

Rory McIlroy will start the final round way down the scoreboard, a third round +2 over par 74 kind of saw to that;

” Another uneventful day, I just haven’t really been able to get anything going this week. I feel like I’m playing well, like it’s all pretty much there, just something needs to get going. I’m driving the ball well, iron play feels good, short game feels pretty good. I putted much better today than I did the previous two days. I need a little spark to get me going.

“It’s nice that, just to get a week of competitive play, if there’s any sort of rust or if there’s anything you feel like you need to work on going into next week, it’s good to get it all out of the system this week.”

Matt Kuchar Wins The Players Championship

Matt Kuchar has won The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Matt had a final round of -2 under par for 70, and a tournament total of -13 under par. This is Matt’s fourth career win, and his first since the 2010 Barclays, where he won in a playoff against Martin Laird.

Kuchar the closer

Matt Kuchar Getty Images

His nearest rivals were two shots behind at -11 under par, four players tied at this score; Martin Laird, Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Ben Curtis. Coming in two shots further back  on -9 under par was Luke Donald, who recorded a fabulous -6 under par on his last nine holes, for a round of 66.  He finished in 6th place but needed to finish 4th or higher to replace Rory McIlroy as world No 1.

The Players 2012: resurgent Luke Donald trumped by Scotland’s Martin Laird

Photo: AP

The 54 hole leader Kevin Na waggled his way round in a frustrating +4 over par, 76. A sad performance taking into account his previous rounds, I guess his jitters got to him in the end.

Bob Estes had the round of the day, shooting a sparkling -7 under par 65, to finish with a flourish and in a tie for 15th place.

Valero Texas Open, Ben Curtis wins at TPC San Antonio

We've got a shootout

Carroll/Getty Images

Ben Curtis cured his drought and won the Valero Texas Open, at TPC San Antonio. Ben won by two shots from Matt Every and John Huh. The winning score was -9 under par, with an even par last round of 72 for Ben, he needed to birdie the last to achieve that score,  which proved to be enough to lift the trophy.

John Huh had a last round of -3 under par for a total of -7 under par for the tournament. Matt Every could not catch Ben, he managed only a -1 under par final round as his challenge faltered. He and John shared second place with final totals of -7 under par.

Next week the Tour moves to TPC Louisiana, Avondale, Louisiana for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where Bubba Watson returns  to defend his Zurich Classic title.

Other big names in the field include, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, and Graeme McDowell. It will be interesting to see how Luke Donald performs in his pursuit of the number one ranking. Rory McIlroy will not be there this week so it is a good opportunity for Luke to regain the top spot.

Valero Texas Open, windy third day @ TPC San Antonio

One tough Saturday

Halleran/Getty Images

It was a tough and windy third day at The Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio, with Ben Curtis hanging on to the lead despite shooting a +1 over par round. Ben’s total tournament score of -6 under par is three shots batter than his nearest rival, Matt Every.   Matt also had a +1 over par 73 for his total of -6 under par and will have to play really well tomorrow if he wants to win the title.

No one played very well in the windy conditions, so although Ben Curtis stumbled they was no real pressure from behind. John Huh and Matt Kuchar had rounds of -5 under par and have moved up the leaderboard, but will need to repeat those performances if they are to figure at the back end of Sunday.

Valero Texas Open, 2nd round incomplete @ TPC San Antonio

The Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio 2nd round was suspended due to darkness leaving the round incomplete. A Rain delay in the afternoon disrupted play for two hours, and after the resumption of play, darkness fell before the round could be completed.

Little rust, big opportunityCarroll/Getty Images

Ben Curtis

Ben Curtis,  who won The Open in 2003,was top of the leaderboard at the suspension of play, with another -5 under par round 67, and a tournament total of -10 under par. He leads David Mathis by two shots, with Cameron Tringale and first round leader Matt Every another shot behind. Matt Every has still not completed his second round, he has completed 16 holes, but is finding life difficult after his first round 63. Matt is currently +2 over par for his round, and has two holes left in the 2nd round to try and reduce the deficit before his starts out on his third round.

Ben said of his second round;

“Playing obviously really well. You know, the key around here is if you can drive it straight, keep it in the fairway, give yourself a chance to get at some of these pins, you know, with the slope of the greens and stuff like that, it makes it a lot easier from the fairway. I did that. Hit a lot of good iron shots. Left them, for the most part, on the right level and made a few putts and, you know, it was a pretty easy Round 2. You hate to say that but I mean I didn’t ,even when I missed the green, there was no terribly difficult up and down. All pretty straightforward. Played well. Every part of the game was good. You know, you wish you could have something to say about it afterwards, didn’t do this or that. I missed a couple short, maybe three, four birdie putts that I should have made inside ten feet but other than that, I’m not going to complain and, you know, the course is in great shape and greens are fantastic, rolling really good and there’s a lot of slope to them. It doesn’t mean they’re bad. It just means they’re tough. We’ll see how it goes over the weekend. When you’re not playing the schedule that you want, you don’t have it all laid out in front of you before the year starts, you’re kind of playing when you can. It’s hard.”

Ben Curtis is playing TPC San Antonio for the first time, the Valero Texas Open is just his fourth PGA TOUR start because of his low status after a miserable 2011.

Valero Texas Texas Open, Opening Round, Every shoots 63

New course record

Carroll/Getty Images

Matt Every shoots a flawless round of 63 for a new course record at the opening round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio. Matt’s -9 under par round gives him a three shot lead over the field, with his nearest competitor, Hunter Haas three shots adrift after a solid round of 66. Matt was happy with his record round;

” No bogies is always good no matter what course. I didn’t even know what the course record was until I got done. I kind of kept going and got a few good breaks in the middle of the round to keep the momentum going and then added up to 9-under.  I mean it’s just one day. It is nice to get off to a great start but you can’t read too much into one day of golf out here. Everyone is so good. It’s a good start. That’s what it means.”

Hunter Haas said it was all down to his caddy;

I didn’t drive the ball that well but my irons kept me it in. I caught a good one and flushed it down there and the caddy today told me we’re down there this far, you better go for it. It’s nice to finish off a round like that. It’s been awhile. I’ve had a few good rounds this year and keep doing the rest of the week. It’s very nice. It’s nice to walk off 18 holes anytime without any bogies.”

Ben Curtis is a shot further back after A -5 under par round of 67, and said it was an easy round;

” Birdied No. 4, made like a 12-footer there. It was a good hole to get a birdie on. One of the tougher holes out here. Hit a great shot in there, especially being in the wind today, it played really long even though we had it teed up. Then 6, I birdied 6. I hit it in the trees on the left and just trying to get it on the front right of the green and I was only like a hundred yards to the front or something, 90 yards to the front. I was just trying to just get it up near the green somewhere and get up and down and hit it. It came out left right at the hole and it hit just over the bunker and trickled up to about six feet and I made that. Then the next hole I hit a 4-iron to about 20 feet, just straight up the hill and pretty easy straightforward putt and made that. Then 9, hit an 8-iron in there and maybe 15 feet, just left of the hole and, again, just a slight left to right break. Pretty easy putt.And then birdied 14, the par 5 on the back. Hit a sand wedge in there to eight feet, made the putt. Overall, pretty easy. I had maybe, let’s see ; 11 I had like a 3-footer for par. 13, I had maybe a 4-footer for par and other than that the rest were tap-ins so it made it quite easy on myself.”