U.S. Women’s Open. Shanshan Still Leads,

White Dragon Golf

Shanshan Feng, China, still leads the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National, on a rainy day. President Trump also put in an appearance, the first time ever a sitting president had been at the U.S. Women’s Open.

U.S. Women's Open

Shanshan Feng / getty

Shanshan carded a second round -2 under 70, to stay ahead of the field at the U.S. Women’s Open, with a -8 under par total. She spoke about playing in the rain;

“I played probably the first nine holes in the rain, but my phone told me it was going to rain all afternoon and I was prepared.”

 “I really didn’t pay attention to the weather and just concentrated on every shot.”

“But I had a lot of five irons and hybrids into par fours  and a three wood on No. 9.”

Sharing second place are three ladies from South Korea, Jeongeun6 Lee, -3 under 69 today, amateur player Hye Jin Choi, -3 under 69, and Amy Yang, -1 under 71,  they are two shots back at -6 under par.

Jeongeun6 Lee has started using a six after her name, because there are five other ladies from South Korea  with the same name;

“The 6 was added to my name because there are six players on the KLPGA with the same name and I was the last one.”

“With the rain, I was able to stop the ball on the green, which made me more comfortable.” 

Angela Stanford, currently at -2 under par, is happy the President is here, she wanted to be a Secret Agent;

“I secretly want to be a Secret Service agent, so I’m kind of hoping to see one at some point.”

“They are hard to find. But it’s pretty cool. You have Secret Service at your major golf tournament.”

 

John Deere Classic. Charles & Ollie Lead.

White Dragon GolfJohn Deere Classic

There are two players tie at the top of the John Deere Classic leaderboard at TPC Deere Run. Charles Howell 111 and Ollie Schniederjans share the honor with opening rounds of 63.

Round replay: Howell shares lead after 63

Charles Howell 111 / getty

Charles was bogey free, Ollie carded one bogey in his round of 63, and they topped the John Deere Classic leaderboard by two shots.

Charles played well last week, but said to win here you would need to play well with the putter;

“This morning without traffic, they were rolling like carpet.”

“This morning was absolutely the best scoring we’ll see all week, which would also lead me to believe that tomorrow morning you’re going to see some low scores as well. “

“Here, it’s about minimizing bogeys as much as you can and take advantage of the holes that you need to.”

“I went to Quicken Loans quite honestly not prepared to play well. I had only been hitting balls for four or five days prior to that event.”

“Expectations were extremely low and I played well. I know that’s a good lesson for myself and all golfers. But yeah, then here this week, this is a tournament that’s obviously very special to me.”

“Here it’s about minimizing bogeys as much as you can and take advantage of the holes that you need to.”

“The hard holes are still hard, and the easy holes you can take advantage of.”

“But anyone this week that’s going to contend to win, you’re going to have to putt well for four days.”

Ollie started slowly, then made birdie on five of his last eight holes;

“I haven’t had a great start really all year on the first round.”

“I have had some decent first rounds and good Fridays, but this is the first really good round I’ve had on Thursday.”

“It’s nice to get off to a good start and hopefully keep it going.”

Four players are then tied in third place two shots back at -6 under par after their first rounds of 65. Zach Johnson, Patrick RogersRory Sabbatini and Chad Campbell.

Zach is comfortable with this course;

“With this Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday rain we had, it’s one of those you feel like you got to keep the pedal down.”

 “The course is still nice. I was surprised we didn’t play it up today. I technically only had 1 1/2 mud balls probably, so that was pretty good considering.”

“I’m very comfortable with this golf course, essentially any condition.”

“All that being said, you still have to execute. Thursday was one of those good days.”

Quicken Loans National. Play-Off Win for Kyle Stanley.

White Dragon GolfQuicken Loans National

Kyle Stanley held his nerve to win the Quicken Loans National, after play-off against Charles Howell 111, at TPC Potomac.

Quicken Loans National

Kyle Stanley

Kyle and Charles both carded final rounds of -4 under 66, to top the Quicken Loans National leaderboard at the end of play with -7 under par totals.

Kyle won with a par at the first extra hole, the par four 18th, to win his second PGA Tour title, and a tearful Kyle had this say;

“There was some doubt there for a little bit. Yeah, I mean, it’s no fun.”

“You certainly question if you’ll get back,  and have a moment like this. It makes this pretty special, for sure.”

“I wish I didn’t cry so much, to be honest, it just feels good to put the work in and see the rewards.”

“I think that’s where most of the emotion’s coming from.”

Because of a rib injury, Charles had not played golf for more than two months;

“Going into this week I was extremely rusty, I really can’t believe how well I played.”

Rickie Fowler, -5 under 65 today, and Martin Laird -3 under 67, finished tied in third place at -5 under par for the tournament.

Rickie managed to card a double bogey six in his last round, at the par four 14th.

Franklin Templeton Shootout. Jerry & Steve Lead.

White Dragon GolfFranklin Templeton Shootout

Jerry Kelly & Steve Stricker lead after the first round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout  at Tiburon Golf Club, Florida.

Franklin Templeton Shootout

Jerry & Steve / getty

Each player hits a drive on every hole and the best drive is selected. Each player then plays a second shot from the spot where the selected drive lays, and the best second shot is selected. This process is repeated until the hole is completed.

Steve Stricker returned to golf from a long layoff,  to team up with Jerry Kelly and take the first-round lead in the Franklin Templeton Shootout with a Scramble of -16 under par.

Steve said it was a great team effort;

“It was just a great team effort today, we both played well. We both kept the pedal down all the way around, we never let up.”

“We made a lot of good birdies, threw in an improbable eagle at the sixth hole, but other than that, it was just good, solid golf all the way around, all the way to the end.”

“Usually we have little hiccups here and there or a little lull period, and today that never happened. We just continued that good play every hole really.”

Jerry said it is really about rolling in the putts;

“We know everybody’s going to get in the fairway and get on the green in this format, so it’s really rolling in the putts.”

“I just need to do my job and hit solid putts, so he can see where the line is and make it like he does.”

Harris English and Matt Kuchar are in second place with a -15 under par total.

Charles Howell 111 teamed up with Rory Sabbatini, to claim third place at -13 under par.

Charles spoke about the old boys at the top;

“I think both of their biggest concern is that they have a big enough wheelbarrow for the Senior Tour.”

“They’re going to need some good tires and make sure they last the whole year.

 

Valspar Championship. Three Way Tie at the Top.

White Dragon GolfValspar Champ

There is a three-way tie at the top of the Valspar Championship after the first round at Copperhead. Charles Howell 111, Keegan Bradley and Ken Duke share top billing.

Charles Howell III hits out of a bunker on the 15th hole during the first round of the Valspar Championship (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Charles Howell 111 / Getty Images

All three players carded first rounds of -4 under par 67 in the first round of the Valspar Championship, Charles and Ken bogey free.

Charles was happy with his bogey free effort, and is thinking of The Masters;

“I was impressed I got away with no bogeys.”

“It was nice to get off to a good start here on a place like this.”

“I’m not sure what the rest of the week will hold, but to actually play a nice round on a tough golf course is good for my confidence.”

“Always this time of the year, the Masters’ carrot looms, when April comes around it has a different feel, at least for me, than the other majors.”

“So when the Masters comes around and I’m not in it, then it’s a bit of a wake-up call or a kick in the rear to somehow make one last push to try to get in it.”

“It’s not like it’s more special to me than anyone else. Everyone feels that way about it.”

“It’s such a great event. It would be nice to somehow find a way to get there.”

“This golf course is so difficult and there’s trouble everywhere, and I don’t expect tomorrow to be a bogey-free day. Pars are good scores.”

Keegan said  he has been working hard to improve his game;

“It’s been tough, it’s no fun playing poorly out here.”

“I see all my buddies up there doing well and it feels not fun to feel like you’re on the outside looking in.”

“So I’ve been working the hardest in my career.”

Chesson Hadley holds third spot on his own with  -3 under par 68, while defending champion, and World #1 Jordan Spieth continues to struggle, +5 over par 76, and will have to work hard just to make the cut;

“I got off to a poor start, and I was behind the eight-ball with gusty winds on a very tough course.”

“Unfortunately now, on my off-days, typically my history, I’m able to hold that around even par.”

“I’m just shooting too high a number, and didn’t squeak out even today, even though it was an even par kind of round.”

“Hopefully less wind tomorrow and can work hard to play on the weekend.”

Honda Classic, Camilo Villegas,Surprise Leader,

Back on track

Camilo Villegas / Chris Condon / Getty Images

Camilo Villegas is the surprising first round leader of the Honda Classic at the PGA National Champion Course,Palm Beach Gardens, with a round of -6 under par 64. It is  four years now since his back-to-back wins in the FedEx Cup Playoffs events, when he  rose to as high as No. 7 in the world. The  31-year-old Colombian then plunged  into a slump that  was so bad that over the last 18 months he lost his card last year. Camilo won The Honda Classic in 2010 at PGA National, so he at least has that to build on. But despite the good start, he wasn’t afraid to risk ruining the day on the last hole. Even his caddie asked what he was thinking of when he was addressing a shot on the last hole;

“My caddie said, where are you going to go with this one,. And I said, I’m looking straight at that flag. And I hit a great shot.”

Tiger Woods saved his round with a shot from out of the water on the par 4, sixth hole, taking his shoes off to enter the hazard, he finished the day at even par;

“I was 1 over at the time, and if that ball is not playable from where it’s at, where I crossed was pretty far back, looking at six, three over and all of a sudden I flip it, make par there and birdie the next.”

Charles Howell 111, Chucky three-sticks,  opened with a -3 under par, 67. He has just until the end of the month to go from No. 64 to the top 50 in the World Ranking to qualify for the Masters in his hometown of Augusta.

Branden Grace,  Rickie Fowler, Graham DeLaet  and Robert Streb, are all tied in second place at -5 under par for the opening round of this tournament.

 

WGC-Accenture Match-Play, Rory & Tiger Fall at First Hurdle, Again !!

 

 

Bracket busters

Rory & Tiger, early exits again. / Stan Badz/PGA Tour/ Getty Images

The WGC-Accenture Match-Play tournament brought two more early exits from Rory and Tiger at The Golf Cub at Dove Mountain, on the resumption of the first round today.

Shane Lowery defeated Rory McIlroy 1 up, Rory definitely seems to be having problems with his new equipment, Shane was feeling pretty good about his win;

“Obviously it was always going to be a tough match for me against Rory today, playing against the world No. 1. But I’m feeling quite good now, but it’s important not to get too high now because it’s only the first round, and I’ve got another match tomorrow and really looking forward to playing that.”

Rory admitted he just did not do enough to win the match;

“I didn’t make enough birdies in the end, Shane had a nice little stretch around part of the back nine. I hung in there, but I just didn’t do enough.”

Chucky Three Sticks defeated Tiger Woods 2 and 1, and said he knew he needed to play at his best to have a chance against Tiger;

“I knew I had to play my best to have a chance out there, he’s Tiger Woods and I was just happy to hang in there.”

Tiger felt he had played well;

“I didn’t really miss a shot today. We both played well, he made a couple of more birdies than I did. He played well, and he’s advancing.”

Luke Donald beat Marcel Siem 1 up. Marcel was making his World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship debut. He played well, but Luke said he did not worry when Marcel took the lead;

“I didn’t worry because I was hitting good shots still, I hit a couple of left shots on the back nine but drove it great today, hardly missed a fairway, hit a lot of solid iron shots and putted well. I obviously made it tough on him, too, and I just felt good about my game, so I wasn’t worried when I went 1 down on 12.”

There are still some first round matches to be completed, on Friday, before the second round can get under way.

Other notables winning today were Justin Rose, 2 and 1 over K.J. Choi; Ian Poulter, 2 and 1 over Stephen Gallacher; Martin Kaymer 2 and 1 over George Coetzee.

A loss for Lee Westwood at the hands of Raphael Cabrera-Bello after 19 holes, another poor result for Lee in this competition.