Quicken Loans National. Billy Hurley 111 Has Maiden Tour Win.

White Dragon GolfQuicken Loans National

Billy Hurley 111 has his maiden PGA Tour win at the Quicken Loans National, on the Blue course at Congressional Country Club.

Quicken Loans National

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Billy Hurley

Billy shot a -2 under par 69 last round for a winning  Quicken Loans National tournament total of -17 under par, and a three shot victory.

“I couldn’t think of a better tournament for my first PGA TOUR win.”

 “I’m just thrilled to have gotten it done today.”

“It’s been a hard year, it’s been a really hard year, so it’s nice to have something go well.”

V.J. Singh claimed second place, his final round -6 under par 65 equaled the low round of the day, and elevated him up the leaderboard with a -14 under total;

“Billy played well, he’s been playing well all week.”

“You can see he’s under control and it’s nice to see him play well and not lose it actually at the end of the tournament.”

Jon Rahm,  -1 under par 70 today, and playing in his first PGA Tour event, shared third place with Bill Haas -3 under 68, both with -13 under par totals.

 

 

Valspar Championship. Charl Schwartzel in Play-Off Win

White Dragon GolfValspar Champ

Charl Schwartzel beat Bill Haas in a play-off to win the Valspar Championship at Copperhead.

Valspar Championship

Charl Schwartzel / Getty Images

Charl and Bill were tied at the top of the Valspar Championship leaderboard after 72 holes, with -7 under par totals, forcing a play-off. Charl set the record for overcoming a five shot deficit at the start of play today to win, carding a final round -4 under par 67. Bill stuttered his way round to post a last round +1 over par 72.

Charl’s comeback is now complete, he had been playing so poorly that he considered  skipping the FedExCup Playoffs last year;

“I thought about just saying let’s just start over, let’s just get your game in the right shape and then make this year a good year, you know.”

“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it was but I needed confidence.”

” Winning in South Africa helped because there you’re hitting good shots under pressure to win. That gets your confidence up.”

“All over it’s a really good boost to going back and starting the first year, first major of the year. I mean it’s a really exciting week and always look forward to it.”

In the end it was a poor bunker shot on the first play-off hole that sunk Bill Haas;

“That bunker shot, a 12 handicapper could have done that, that was pretty bad.”

“I made some nice par saves and grinding my butt off.”

” I was one putt away from winning and so you got to take the positives and say that you can do it.”

“I hit a great iron at seventeen, a decent iron at eighteen. I thought I made the putt to win.”

“I’m not going to say that I gave it to him but I certainly could have shot better than one over today I think.”

Ryan Moore claimed third place at -5 under par for the competition, a last round of even par 71 not good enough to contend.

Of note was the performance of Amateur player Lee McCoy, he was the real McCoy on the course shooting a final round -2 under par 69, and also the real McCoy at Copperhead, sporting a full head of ginger hair. The Innisbrook resident captured fourth place on his own at -4 under par.

Jordan Spieth continues with his woes, +2 over par 73 today to finish in a tie for 18th place.

Valspar Championship. Bill Haas Ahead.

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Bill Haas is ahead after 54 holes of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort, Copperhead Course.

Haas grabs outright lead

Bill Haas / Getty Images

Bill is ahead in the Valspar Championship, shooting a third round -4 under par 67, to top the leaderboard at -8 under par, and will take a one shot lead into the final round tomorrow. Another -4 under will surely see him take the title.

Bill said it was his great putting that gave him confidence, along with some advice from dad Jay, including why not to grow a beard;

“My putter the first two days, I felt like I had about probably between six putts from 4 to 5 to 6 feet to save par and I’ve made almost all of them.”

 “That’s been the thing that’s really helped me this week. I’ve made a lot of par saves.”

“It’s almost like I’m trying to hit a lot of knock-down shots. All that does is speed my hands up a little bit and not let my body get out in front.”

“If it goes South, I can blame him, that’s always nice.”

“When I started shaving and playing golf he would always say, ‘Did Arnold ever have a beard? Did Jack ever have a beard? Did you lose your razor, Bill?’ I would get those a lot.”

Heavily bearded  Graham DeLaet of Canada Pristine approach leads to eagle

 is in second place at -7 under par, a -3 under par 68 helping him up the table, due mainly to carding an Eagle on the par five 14th hole. He has yet to win his first PGA Tour title, but thinks tomorrow will be the day;

“I think tomorrow is going to be the day.”

“Every time I’m in this position I say the politically correct things. I’m going to go and win this golf tournament tomorrow.” 

Charley Hoffman – 4 under 67 today and Ryan Moore -2 under 69 were three shots behind, at -5 under for the tournament.

Charles Howell III -1 under par 70 and Steve Stricker, sadly over par today, +1 carding 72, they are four shots back of the leader.

Defending champion, World #1 Jordan Spieth is at last in red figures, albeit six shots off the pace at -2 under, but he is there with a chance tomorrow;

“I’m still in this golf tournament, I’ll need something like seven under tomorrow which is feasible.”

“So, to think after the first round that I go Saturday night and be able to sleep with a chance to win the golf tournament, I’m very pleased with that.”

Hero World Challenge. Three Tied At The Top.

White Dragon GolfWorld Challenge

There are three players tied at the top of the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Bill Haas will take a one shot lead into the week-end.

Hero World Challenge

Jordan Spieth /Getty Images

Jordan and Bill shot -6 under 66, Jimmy carded a -5 under par 67, for them all to top the Hero World Challenge at the 36 hole stage with -11 under par totals.

Jordan is still working hard, and he needs to because no one is going to let him get away;

“The grind is still there.”

“It’s still all about rest, coming off how much golf we’ve been playing, I’m still going to be about making sure I’m resting.”

” But on the golf course, I’m still getting as intense and upset and highs and lows that I experience at a normal PGA TOUR event.”

Bill knows he will have to keep playing well to stay with the leaders;

“The scores are just really good, which makes for an exciting weekend, and I’m just happy to hold my own weight for two days.”

“I think if I shoot 11 under on the weekend, then I’ll have a really good shot.”

“Simple as that sounds, that’s the way you’ve got to keep it. If I play well, I think I’ll have a chance.”

“But if I don’t, there are so many players that are playing well, the best players in the world, I’ll fall back pretty quickly if I don’t.”

Jimmy is really happy with his new swing;

“Driving the golf ball today, I haven’t had that much fun in a long time, to be honest.”

Sharing second place at -10 under par are, Chris Kirk, -7 under 65 today,  Bubba Watson -5 under 67 and Patrick Reed, -7 under 65.

Patrick really wants to win, top ten is not good enough;

“I know to get to all my goals I need to get Wins.”

“Top 10s, top 5s aren’t going to cut it where I need to get to.”

“Those are good fill-in weeks, but we need to get in contention a little more. We need to close some tournaments off.”

Two guys struggled on the greens today, with putting problems, they were Justin Rose, and Anirban Lahiri.

Justin was dumbfounded by his even par round today, nothing we can do for him as he has a 14 club contract;

“You’d think I had never seen these greens before.”

Not sure about Anirban’s club contract, but he thinks his Mum could putt better than him, he carded a -2 under 70;

“If my mom had putted, she would have shot 65.”

 

 

 

Accenture Match-Play. Rose & Rory Out. Magic McDowell Survives Again.

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Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy crashed out of the Accenture Match-Play tournament at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Course on Dove Mountain. Graeme McDowell survived another match where he looked like losing, once again.

Graeme McDowell  (Getty Images)

Survivor G-Mac / Getty Images

Justin went down to Ernie Els, 1 up, while Rory lost to Harris English, on the 19th hole. G-Mac went three down after six holes against  Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan. He then birdied the seventh and eighth to get within one hole, only to then lose the 14th to be two down with four holes to play. Graeme won the 15th and the 17th, and rounding off with  a ten foot putt on the final green to seal a one up win.

He joked afterwards;

“Why do it the easy way when the hard way will do. I just got off to a slow start again, probably less so today. I was quite proud of myself when I got a half on three, so I was only two down after three, as opposed to three down. I tried to go out there today and execute my game plan and try not to give him any room, try not to make any mistakes, try not to give him anything, and he kind of played the same kind of golf back. He played very, very well. 

“I made big putts on 15 and 16. The 16th especially was a massive putt to give me the opportunity.I feel very fortunate again today. I’ve certainly expended all my energy and emotions the last couple of days, but thankfully it’s early in the season and I’ve plenty left in the tank.”

Louis Oosthuizen dumped out Henrik Stenson 4-3, and Webb Simpson dispatched Brandt Snedeker by the same score.

George Coetzee is still doing fine, winning the 21 hole battle with Patrick Reed. Jason Day took even longer to overcome Billy Horschel, 22 holes.

Sergio Garcia is going along smoothly, a 3-1 victory over Bill Haas, while Jason Dufner eliminated Matteo Manassero by 2-1. 

Sergio said he had fun out there today;

“It was good fun, we both played hard. We both tried to play as well as we could to beat our opponent and I was fortunate to be just a little bit better than him today.”

A resurgent Rickie Fowler beat Jimmy Walker 1 up, Matt Kuchar beat Ryan Moore by the same score. Jim Furyk took care of Charl Schwartzel 3-2, and Jordan Spieth was too strong for Thomas Bjorn, beating him 5-4.

Victor Dubuisson continued to impress on his World Golf Championships debut as he overcame Peter Hanson 3 -1 to progress to face former Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson, who saw off Jonas Blixt at the 17th hole when Jonas lost his ball under a bush. ( would have been ironic if Jonas had got a free drop, wouldn’t it)

Some good match ups tomorrow and any of the remaining players could win, as Graeme McDowell said yesterday, this is a brutal format.

Two Tournaments in Two Weeks in Hawaii; Seem Like Heaven to You ?

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Logo ImageDoes two tournaments in two weeks in Hawaii seem like heaven to you ? Well it apparently does not suit everyone.Twelve of the thirty players who teed it up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course have opted to miss next weeks Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, a short island hop away.

2012 SOIH winner Russell Henley

Russel Henley, last years winner / Stan Bedz PGA

Last years winner Russel Henley carded  26 birdies against only two bogeys during the tournament, the only real defense the Waialae Country Club has is the wind. If it doesn’t blow then low scores are the order of the day.

Weather conditions this year are predicted to be similar to last years event, sunshine periodically shrouded by passing clouds and the occasional rain shower are expected, as are manageable trade winds and seasonable highs right around the 80 degree mark.

Excuses are the usual, Jonas Blixt ho has missed the cut and finished T-54 in his two tries at Waialae Country Club commented;

 “It just doesn’t fit me. I just don’t hit enough fairways to compete there. I’m just not very good at it. Honestly, we want to play, if I could play every tournament, I would, but you just can’t play them all.”

This from Martin Laird;

“It doesn’t set up well for me, if you don’t hit right-to-left you’re at a disadvantage. My high fade is not the ideal shot there.”

Apart from Jonas and MartinDustin Johnson has also pulled the plug. along with nine others who have chosen to play the Hyundai, but not the Sony. The missing in action list is pretty impressive;

Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Ryan Moore, John Merrick, Kevin Streelman, Patrick Reed, and Billy Horschel.

Seems like John Merrick just likes to play on the mainland;

“I just really love the West Coast events, I’ll play Humana (the week after the Sony), San Diego, Phoenix, Pebble Beach, and LA. You just have to pick your spots.”

Ryan Moore also prefers to go home;

 “For me, it’s 100 percent a scheduling matter.”

Billy Horschel has a corporate commitment to CVS;

 “Six months ago we gave them some days for an outing at TPC Sawgrass for a military event, and we came up with next Friday.”

Patrick Reed just feels knackered;

“I feel like we’ve walked over Mount Everest this week, it’s just very hilly. Besides, the Humana (and Palm Springs) area is one of our favorite places, I’ve had success at Torrey and I want to be well-rested going into those.”

So, who is going to play the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in lovely Honolulu, take a look at this bunch;

Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner, and Jordan Spieth, these guys alone are worth the entrance money.

To tell you the truth I could easily live in Hawaii, visited there four times and loved every minute.

The Greenbrier Classic. Johnson Jumps Into Lead

Johnson Wagner jumps into the lead at The Greenbrier Classic at The Old White TPC , with a third round of -6 under par 64 and a total of -14 under par tournament score.

Wagner pulls ahead

Johnson Wagner / Getty Images

Johnson who played here several times a year as a student at Virginia Tech, already has his game plan laid out. He ranks 21st in fairways hit, sixth in greens in regulation and 10th in putting through 36 holes.

“This is the kind of golf course that if you play tentative at all you’re going to miss fairways, and when you miss fairways out here you get some awkward angles on some of these tough TOUR pins especially on Sunday. So I think my main key for tomorrow is going to be aggressive off the tee and hit as many fairways as I can, which will set up a lot of birdie opportunities.”

Jimmy Walker is alone in second place, two shots off the pace at -12 under par tournament total. He also had a third round of -6 under par 64, and likes this course;

“I like the golf course, I’ve always liked it. The first time we came here we really enjoyed it, just the whole atmosphere. Everybody’s so nice and everybody’s so accommodating. The hotel is amazing and just really enjoyed being here and the golf course really seems to fit my eye. I like the tee shots, like the second shots, and I feel comfortable.”

Jonas Blixt is in third place at -10 under par for the tournament total, the only other player on the course to finish in double figures.

Bill Haas is in a group of players who are on -8 under par, and is bidding to win again after last week, but admits the leaders will have to help by coming back a bit;

“This week I’ve tried to do a good job of staying in the moment and telling myself that last week you did it, you never know what will happen. I’m going to need the leaders to not go crazy low but a good round tomorrow will put me in a great position. Today was kind of a mixed bag, I hit a lot of nice shots that didn’t result in birdies.Then those last four holes I played in three under and it could easily have not been that way. So I’m counting my blessings to shoot 3 under par and with that said, I’m going to go hit a few on the range and hopefully figure something out and have a decent Sunday.” 

To be honest the winner will come from the current top three, the others are realistically too far away.