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The Barclays, Nick Watney Wins

Nick Watney/Cox/Getty Images

Straight to the top

Nick Watney won The Barclays tournament at Bethpage Black course in Farmingdale New York in some style with a score of -10 under par for the event. He won by three shots from fellow American Brandt Snedeker, who had a -1 under par last round to finish with a score of -7 under par.

Nick commented after his win about the extra putting coaching he received, which stopped him from leaning back on his heels;

“I made more putts than I made all year, it paid off. With the way things were going, I don’t know if anybody would have expected this, this week. But you know, Bill Haas proved last year that if you make it to Atlanta, you have a chance. The way they have the FedExCup formatted, it’s pretty neat. You need to be in Atlanta. So I wanted to have a good week. And to be No. 1 now is amazing. It’s been not quite the year I would have wanted, but this really makes it all forgotten. I’m thinking about the Ryder Cup, much more now than I was coming in, because coming in here, I didn’t deserve to be in the conversation, because I had not played my way in. Someone told me that Davis said he wanted a hot player, and we still have a week to go, but I’d love to be on the team. But I’m not really concerned with it just because it’s out of my control.”

The biggest surprise of the day was the way Sergio Garcia went from a commanding leading position to scrambling to finish in a tie for third place. Sergio sunk like a soggy souffle on Sunday afternoon, with five bogeys on the back nine, not the type of performance we were all looking towards, especially European Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal. Equally concerning for American Ryder Cup captain, Davis Love 111, was the collapse of  Tiger Woods, who finished the tournament at +1 over par.

Sergio is a fan of both Nick and Brandt and thinks Davis should consider both players for the Ryder Cup;

” I’m not, obviously, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but I think both Nick and Brandt, they both played great. They have been playing very nicely. Obviously Nick has had a little bit of a slower year this year, but you know, as a player, I hope they make the team, and then we’ll see what happens there.”

Brandt is also thinking of the Ryder Cup;

“The golf course was the winner this week, it was so tough to play the last two days. The greens were just as firm as I can remember on the Tour, the fairways were as firm as I can remember on Tour. It was a great test of how mentally strong you could stay on the course over the last 36 holes, because you knew you were just going to get some bad breaks no, way around it. Nick obviously played great today, to shoot under par today. The Ryder Cup’s definitely on my mind. But I’m not letting it affect the way I play. I try to win every golf tournament. The Ryder Cup gives me more motivation, and if I do that, I know I will make the decision easy for them. Davis has an extremely difficult choice with a bunch of guys. You can’t go wrong with any of them.”

The Barclays, 3rd Round at Bethpage Black, Its Still Sergio in Front

Sergio Garcia still leads The Barclays after the third round at Bethpage Black course in Farmingdale New York. He leads by two shots from Nick Watney who could only manage a par round today, against Sergio’s -2 under par third round effort. Sergio spoke about today’s tough conditions;

Proving ground

Sergio Garcia/Cox/Getty Images

” The course is extremely firm, the greens, just probably some of the fastest greens I’ve ever played. Just one of those days where you knew it was going to be tough and you have to hold on very tight, and just kind of hope for the best. If you play well, you can shoot a decent score, but as the day goes on, the course just gets harder and harder. No doubt playing in the morning makes it a little bit easier. Even though the greens were still firm, they were probably not as firm and probably not quite as fast. It’s just we know what Bethpage Black is all about. We know it’s a tough golf course, and you’ve just got to realize that’s the way it’s going to be. This will tell you how fast it was, usually when you are putting on fast greens, you have an idea where the ball is going to stop, and today, you didn’t. You thought the ball was going to stop 2 feet behind the hole, and it went 6. It was pretty much as simple as that. Was it unfair? I wouldn’t say it was unfair, it was borderline. It was very close. It felt like the greens were very close to Shinnecock Hills at the U.S. Open.”

Nick backed up Sergio’s assessment of the tough conditions;

” The course just kind of beat you up. There’s firm and fast, and then there’s this, I mean, this is pretty extreme.”

The lowest round of the day went to Kevin Stadler, with a -6 under par 65, Kevin is  now just three shots off the lead. There is a large group at 4-under par that include Tiger Woods, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, Phil Mickleson and Charl Schwartzel, an impressive collection of players who have either won a major or been No. 1 in the world. For the first time in a tournament Tiger Woods three putted four of the greens, the unexpected experience shocked him;

“I don’t remember blowing putts by 8 to 10 feet, so that was a bit of a shocker.”

 

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.

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