Bridgestone Invitational. Hideki Matsuyama, from Japan, Wins with a 61.

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Hideke Matsuyama, from Japan, wins the Bridgestone Invitational, shooting a final round -9 under 61, equaling the Firestone Country Club  South Course record.

Bridgestone Invitational

Hideke Matsuyama / getty

Hideke was calmness personified with his final round -9 under par 61 to easily win the Bridgestone Invitational with a -16 under par tournament total, a five shot winning margin. Hideke tied the course record also  held by Jose Maria OlazabalTiger Woods and Sergio Garcia;

“That might be the best round I’ve ever played.”

“This is Firestone Country Club, it’s such a difficult golf course and to play as well as I did here, I’m thrilled.”

“I did hit some good shots but I was nervous all the way around because I really wasn’t sure of my swing today.”

“All I can do is my best. I know a lot of us have tried from Japan to win Majors.”

“Hopefully some day it will happen. I’d like to win one but I’ll get back to work tomorrow morning and hopefully something good will come.”

Zach Johnson, USA. was in second place at -11 under par, a last round -2 under 68 not what he needed, a few missed putts for birdie over the closing holes doing the damage.

Charley Hoffman, USA, finished in third place at -10 under, a creditable -4 under 66 last round, that could have been better.

Thomas Pieters, Belgium, was alone in fourth, a last round +1 over 71 a sad end to his tournament, which he led for some time, a final score of -8 under par a long way from the winner.

In  the large group at -7 under was Rory McIlroy, he carded a final round -1 under 69, not a good tournament for a player who boomed 38 out of 42 drives over 300 yards off the tee, with an actual average of 344.6 yards, 1st in the field and strokes gained off the tee at 1.65, also 1st in the field. after 54 holes. Wedge approach shots very average and putting in the same class.

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W.G.C. Bridgestone Invitational. Two Tied at the Top.

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There are two players tied at the top of the Bridgestone Invitational leaderboard, Zach Johnson and Thomas Pieters, at Firestone Country Club.

Bridgestone Invitational

Rory & Zach were partners today

 

Zach, USA, -5 under 65 and Thomas, Belgium, are tied at the top of the Bridgestone Invitational leaderboard at -9 under par.

Thomas started well, finding fairways and making putts;

“The first eight holes I was in the fairway, hit good shots, made putts and the last 11 was a struggle.”

“I just was out of position every hole. Tomorrow I’ve just got to figure out a way to hit fairways, that’s it.”

“My bad golf is getting better. That’s always good, that’s why you practice.”

“I struck the ball really well with the irons, ball striking’s been really good.”

“Off the tee not so good but I think I’m missing it in the spots I can miss it in. All in all, not too bad.

“You just want to be in contention on Sunday afternoon, that’s it.”

Scott Hend, Australia, had the round of the day, -7 under 63, to get to -8 under for the tournament, and third place on his own.

Scott suddenly started holing putts;

“I holed some putts today. I’ve been scrambling well all week anyway, managed to hit a few more fairways and actually holed some putts, so that was the big difference.”

Hideki Matsuyama, Japan, is in fourth position on his own at -7 under par, with his -3 under 67 today.

Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland, a disappointing -2 under 68 today, Adam Hadwin, Canada, -3 under 67, and Charley Hoffman, USA, -3 under 67, share fifth spot at -6 under par.

Rory felt like he left a few shots out there, wonderful driving, followed by poor approach shots, from 100 to 70 yards out;

” Left a few out there but only three behind going into tomorrow .”

“I felt like I could have got a lot more out of it.”

“I think if I would have walked off today with a 65 or a 66, I would have felt that was a fair reflection of how I played.”

” I can get off to a fast start and try and put a bit of pressure on the guys up ahead of me.”

WGC Bridgestone Invitational. Jimmy Walker Leads.

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Jimmy Walker leads the Bridgestone Invitational at the half-way point at Firestone Country Club, Akron Ohio.

Bridgestone Invitational

Jimmy Walker / getty

Jimmy carded a second round -5 under par 65 to lead the Bridgestone Invitational with a -7 under par total, giving him a two shot lead over the field at the mid-way point of the competition.

Jimmy has been suffering with ill health lately, and welcomes this return to playing good golf, and enjoyed making some important putts;

“It hadn’t been a lot of fun this year, I had a few okay finishes, a lot of 30th, high 20s, just stuff that’s not moving me around.”

“It’s nice to see some putts go in and make some solid swings and keep rounds going, make some par putts, just the stuff I haven’t been doing.”

Thomas Pieters, Belgium, yesterdays leader dropped into second place, with an even par second round 70 for -5 under total;

“I played decent, again, I think I hit plenty of greens, I think a bit less than yesterday.

“The driver was still a little bit off. Ball-striking’s been good, the same today.”

“I missed a couple of short ones on 17 and 18 but I’m rolling the putter nicely so I’m looking forward to this weekend.”

Tied in third place at -4 under par are Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland, -1 under 69 today, Zach Johnson, USA, -3 under 67, and Hideki Matsuyama, Japan, with a second round -3 under 67.

In the large group at -3 under are Jason Day, Australia, -4 under 66 today, and The Open champion Jordan Spieth, USA, who managed to rescue an even par second round of 70, with two late birdies on 17 and 18.

WGC Bridgestone Invitational. Thomas Pieters Leads.

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Thomas Pieters, from Belgium, leads the Bridgestone Invitational after the first round at Firestone Country Club.

Bridgestone Invitational

Thomas Pieters / getty

Thomas fired a first round -5 under 65 to lead the Bridgestone Invitational by one shot at Firestone.

Thomas has problems with his driver, good putting was the key;

“I can’t hit the damn thing.”

“Off the tee I was very bad but managed to find a lot of greens and I didn’t leave myself too many downhill putts.”

“I only had two putts from above the hole, the rest of them were just pretty straightforward putts. I think that was the key.”

“I hit plenty of three woods.”

“When I hit driver, I shouldn’t have, I was just not confident with it.”

“So I’ll have to do plenty of work on the range this afternoon, I’m sure I’ll get it back.”

In second place at -4 under is Russell Knox. Scotland, with his opening round 66, he said he was happy using his old putter;

“I figured it did work at one point.”

“I rolled the ball beautifully. I switched iron shafts, which I haven’t done in five years. That seemed to make it a little easier for me.”

Six players are all tied in third position at -3 under par, World Number Four Rory McIlroyNorthern Ireland, Ross Fisher, England. Jon Rahm, Spain, with Open Champion Jordan Spieth, Kevin Kisner and Bubba Watson, all from the USA.

Rory, for some unknown reason has just sacked his longtime caddie, the new one Harry Diamond was good;

“Awesome, we both did the numbers and I sort of consulted him a couple of times. It was good.”

“There was a couple of shots that I hit or a couple of clubs that I pulled that I maybe should have just thought a little bit more about, but, no, really good.”

Jordan had a moment with his caddie when he decided to try a difficult pitch shot, which he pulled off;

“I said, Michael, just put the bag over there, stand over there and watch this.”

”I split a hole that was 60 yards in front of me and cut it to get onto the green.”

”It was really a cool shot. I was shocked I pulled it off.”

WGC Bridgestone Invitational. Danny Lee Leads.

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Danny Lee, from New Zealand, leads the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.

WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Danny Lee / Getty Images

Danny Lee had a first round -5 under par 65 to lead the WGC Bridgestone Invitational after the first round at Firestone in Akron, and he was happy with that result;

“I left a couple short birdie putts out there.”

 “It’s hard for me to say. It may sound a little bit too greedy, but I did. And I was hitting it that good, and I was very happy with my result.

Sharing second place at -4 under par after their opening rounds of 66 are Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk.

Graeme spoke about the tricky greens, suffering through a sticky patch, and coming out the other side;

“In years gone past, the fairways have not really been a must because the greens have been extremely receptive, and the guys can still hit the greens out of the rough.”

“I think this year, when it’s firm and fiery, even the rough’s firm and fiery, the ball is bouncing into trouble when you do actually hit it offline here, and the greens are hard to hold.”

“So it’s tricky.”

“It’s been a rough year, no doubt about it, definitely been some time for reflection and some questions being asked of myself.”

“But I think we all experience these things in everything we do. It’s how you answer the questions and how you come out the other side really.”

“When you’re packing your bag on a Friday afternoon, it’s hard. It’s not cool.”

“You get frustrated with the people closest to you and around you, and caddies and agents and coaches. It’s hard.”

Jim likes this course, reminds him of the ones he played while growing up;

“It reminds me of golf courses I grew up on.”

 “Everything’s right in front of you. There’s not a lot of blind shots. I just feel like I know where I’m supposed to put the ball. It’s a matter of being able to do it.”

“The years I’ve played well, I feel like I’m on top of my game.”

Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose are tied in third place at -3 under par.

Justin started hot, with four birdies in his first six holes, and then cooled off a bit;

“It’s great to see this course play this way, though, you’ve got to be very strategic.”

“I think we know the course so well in somewhat soft conditions, and many so times you can get the ball up and down with short-siding itself.”

“It’s going to be much harder to get it up and down short-siding.”

Bridgestone Invitational. Tiger Triumphs.

Tiger Woods claimed his expected victory as he triumphed in the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.

A very fine No. 79

Tiger Woods /Getty Images

A last round of even par 70 was good enough for Tiger to take the spoils in the Bridgestone Invitational tournament at Firestone Country Club with a seven shot victory. He thought that was pretty OK, so did his son, and they are looking forward to next week and picking up Major number 15;

” That was pretty cool. This week was nice, I was able to get the lead and I held it, and it was awfully special for me to have him here to witness it because he understands it now. He understands when I make birdie, when I make par, and he understands the difference. Do I want it any more?  No, it’s the same, each and every major, I always want them. I’ve been successful 14 times, and hopefully next week will be 15.”

Tied second place with Henrik Stenson was Keegan Bradley, the defending champion, finishing at -8 under par, Keegan said coming second was a big event;

” It was a really weird feeling because it was like a tournament within a tournament, I felt like, coming in second is a big accomplishment considering Tiger had such a big lead. It’s very tough to give Tiger that many shots. The round he shot on Friday was pretty special. You know, I hate to sit here and go on and on about how good he is, but he is. It’s difficult because I really want to get up there and contend with him, but this week he’s playing really well.”

Sharing a distant fourth place at -6 under par were Zach Johnson, Miguel A Jimenez and Jason Dufner.

 

 

The Honda Classic. Michael Thompson Comes Up Trumps.

A bear of a win

Michael Thompson / Franklin / Getty Images

Michael Thompson came up trumps in The Honda Classic at PGA National Champion Course, Palm Beach Florida. Young gun Michael cruised to a two shot win over the more experienced Geoff Ogilvy, with a last round of -1 under par and a tournament total of -9 under par. The win gets Michael into his first World Golf Championship next week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral, and qualifies for two more WGCs this year at the Bridgestone Invitational and at the HSBC Champions. He is also now  in the PGA Championship, gets to start next year in Hawaii and earned a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.

Michael said in interview that the whole week had been magical, something he had been dreaming about for a long time;

“This week was magical, just had a groove and kept feeling it. This is everything, this is a childhood dream come true. I’ve dreamed of playing out here since I was 7 years old and to win, it’s just unbelievable. I just can’t put it into words, the whole day was awesome.”

He particularly enjoyed walking up the eighteenth fairway after his second shot on the par five landed in the greenside bunker, giving him the opportunity of an up and down birdie, and he did just that;

“That for me kind of sealed the deal, it allowed me to walk up the fairway and enjoy the experience, see the crowd and just finish strong.”

Geoff Ogilvy will also be at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral, thanks to putting together four good rounds of golf, for his total of  -7 under par.

Geoff admitted that he had already given himself next week off;

“I kind of penciled in a week off, so it’s nice, and it gets me back in the mix for the Masters.”

Geoff was also full of admiration for Michael, and the way he played this golf course;

You don’t have to do much wrong to be making a bogey out there, so it’s pretty impressive, it’s a great effort really. As you see by the rest of the scores, it’s a very hard golf course and it seems to get progressively harder in some ways. There’s a disaster waiting everywhere. There’s a lot of golf courses on tour that it might be easy to close out a golf tournament, or easier, but this is not one of them.”

Luke Guthrie, Michael’s sparring partner at the top of the leaderboard for most of this event fell back during the last round, carding a miserable +3 over par 73, and a tournament total of -5 under par, but it still left him alone in third place.