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Shell Houston Open. Two at the Top.

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo There are two players tied at the top of the leaderboard in the Shell Houston Open  at  Golf Club of Houston (formerly known as Redstone Golf Club)

 

Bill Haas is currently 33rd in the FedExCup standings, but is poised for a big jump. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Bill Hass / Getty Images

Bill Hass and Charley Hoffman top the leaderboard at the Shell Houston Open after completing first rounds of -7 under par 65′s, Charley was bogey free.

Bill made six birdies, one eagle and a single bogey, and thinks he is playing OK;

” I feel like I’m hanging around, playing okay, I certainly haven’t knocked on the door on Sunday quite yet. But I feel like I’m doing a lot of good things. It’s not like I’m just lost out there. I feel like I’m close. I think you just have to stay positive, and hopefully one week it all clicks and you find yourself in the mix on Sunday and then try to take advantage of that.”

” The greens are absolutely perfect, I think the scores are reflective on that. They were a little slower, but part of that, too, is the weather. It was like a little dewy mist out there all day, which played a part in the speed of the greens.”

There are five players tied in third place, all at -6 under par, they are, Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Eric Compton and Jim Renner.

This field is really bunched up, with ten players recording rounds of  -5 under par, 67.

Phil Mickleson is in the hunt, finishing his opening round at -4 under par 68.

Phil’s  bogey-free performance was a world away from last week when he was forced to withdraw during the third round in San Antonio, after pulling a muscle in his right side;

“I’m surprised because I was worried about the Masters. I was certainly worried about Houston, but it healed a lot quicker. I felt great today; didn’t feel any pain or discomfort and didn’t even think about it.”

” One of the things I really worked on hard today was staying focused on each shot.  I needed to play here this week and really challenge myself in that regard to give myself the best chance for next week.”

 Two-time major winner Rory McIlroy settled for an opening round of -2 under par 70, which he said was a solid round;

 “Solid, if unspectacular start here in Houston. Really happy with my form from tee to green. Hole a few more putts and I’ll be right there.”

“The greens weren’t quite as fast as we’re used to here, so I struggled getting the ball to the hole. I just need to work on my speed a little bit, but I’m very encouraged with how I hit the ball. I just didn’t score particularly well.”

Humana Challenge. Reed Rampant -9 Again

 

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Patrick Reed was in rampant form again at the Humana Challenge, shooting -9 under par again. This time on the Nicklaus Course, he has now amassed an amazing -27 under par for the three rounds played, and a 7 shot lead in the tournament. Patrick’s -27 under par 189 total set a PGA TOUR record for lowest 54-hole score in relation to par, and it is also a record to post three consecutive rounds of 63, especially on three different courses.

Humana Challenge, Round 3

Patrick Reed, lining up another birdie putt / Getty Images

Patrick said it felt like deja vu, and his putter is still working well;

“It kind of seemed like deja vu all over again. When I played today, I felt just as confident as I did the last two days and the putter is still working. I’m just going to treat tomorrow as if it’s a Monday qualifier, 18-hole shootout, everybody’s tied at even par and hopefully I can go out and do the same thing I’ve done in the past three days.”

Brendon Todd and former Humana champion Charley Hoffman are tied in second place, a whopping seven shots adrift of the leader.

Charley shot a respectable -6 under par 66 at the Palmer Course while Brendon had a -4 under par 68 on La Quinta.

This tournament is a wrap, the only thing we need to know now is how many will Patrick win by, another -9 to-morrow would take him to -36 under par, or it could even be more, he carded a bogey today !!

 

Humana Challenge. Reed Romps Ahead.

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Patrick Reed romps ahead in the first round of the Humana Challenge at the PGA West (Palmer)  course in California, in this three course event.

Patrick Reed lines up a putt on the ninth hole

Patrick Reed / Getty

Patrick shot a bogey free -9 under par 63 in the opening round of the Humana Challenge, saying the Palmer Course is in perfect shape  and the putts just kept rolling in;

” The course is in perfect shape, the rough isn’t very high, the fairways are perfect and the greens are rolling very true. I started out a little struggling with the driver, had some lefts in it, but luckily I missed it in the right spots. I was really confident with my irons, kept hitting greens and all of a sudden, 10-, 12-, 15-, 20-foot putts started going in. I felt like there were some things I could have improved on, but at the same time whenever you tap in for par on the last hole and shoot 63, you’re pretty happy,” 

Four players shot rounds of -8 under par 64, they were, Ryan Palmer  on the Palmer Course, Justin Hicks and Daniel Summerhays on the Nicklaus Course, with Charley Hoffman matching their scores on the La Quinta Country Club course.

Ryan admitted he was hitting it pretty close, not making a lot of long putts;

“I wasn’t making a whole lot of long putts, just hitting it close.”

Justin said he was just trying to give himself as many opportunities as he could;

“Just trying to give myself as many opportunities as I can.” 

Daniel was just having fun;

“It’s fun to make birdies, that’s one of the fun things about this tournament is that the courses are a little easier. They’re in perfect shape, which makes them almost even easier.”

Charley just loves the La Quinta course;

“I love this golf course, I think this is probably one of the better tracks we play all year when it’s said and done.”

Zach Johnson is one of seven players carding -7 under par first rounds of 65. Zach was on the La Quinta course, and said it was his good wedge play that helped him reach his target, and the greens are just perfect;

 ” My wedges are clean, I’ve worked on it a lot. I’ve worked on it in a number of different ways, but the main way is really just trying to dial in yardages and trajectories. The greens over there are, I don’t even know how to explain them, it’s like carpet. I mean, they’re just so good. I don’t know what they do over there, but they look artificial. They’re like this every year, but they’re as good as I’ve ever seen.”

This is just round one and with three courses being played it will some time before we get a clear picture of what is really going on. Being a putter manufacture I hope good putting will be the key to winning this week.

RBC Heritage. Three Tied at the Top, in Storm Hit Harbour Town.

Play has been suspended for the day with three players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage on the Harbour Town Golf Links, at the rain affected end of the day. Kevin Streelman, Charley Hoffman and Steve LeBrun are at -6 under par for the competition.

Trio at the top

Steve LeBrun, Kevin Streelman and Charley Hoffman / Lecka / Getty Images

In the wet, windy and difficult conditions Kevin and Charley both had second rounds of -1 under par, 70 for their totals, with Steve LeBrun shooting a second round -3 under par 68.

Luke Donald also had second round of -3 under par, and shares T4 with Bill Haas, who came home in -2 under par for the day, both of them at -5 under par.

The next group of players, seven in all, are at -4 under par, they are all handily placed to go forward in this competition tomorrow. They are; Johnson Wagner, Rory Sabbatini, Graeme McDowell, D.H. Lee, Pat Perez, and two Aussies, Stuart Appleby and Marc Leishman. All these players are in the clubhouse, but the cut line has still to be determined  with 17 players still to complete their second rounds. The current cut line is at +1 over par, but could easily move to +2.

Pat Perez said his trying to stay calm;

” I’m trying to stay level, which is always, for me, trying to stay on a high, I’ve really worked hard on it this year. I don’t have the ups and downs. It’s hard, especially for me, because I’ve done it my whole life. But to say, that’s not going to bring me down, let’s try to make 5 instead of 6. And the next hole it’s basically done. I didn’t think I’d make a lot of birdies, but I seem to be hitting it closer than I ever have out here.”

One of those players teetering on the current cut line at +1 over par is Jesper Parnevik, and he is on the 18th hole with an agonising five foot putt left for his par. If he misses that tomorrow, he would drop to +2 over and that would move the cut to that number as well.

Obviously there are other players on the course who could make a birdie and change things back again, it will be a very interesting early start tomorrow.

Of those who have definitely missed the cut are; Vijay Singh +4, Ernie Els +4, John Daly +10, those are just a couple of the higher profile guys who have struggled in this competition.

RBC Heritage. Davis Deserves Lead.

Brian Davis deserves the lead at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, after his super opening round of -6 under par 65.

Davis jumps out front

Brian Davis / Lecka / Gett Images

Brian Davis leads the RBC Heritage after the opening round, and once again is in contention in this event which he lost in spectacular fashion in 2010 at Harbour Town when he called a penalty on himself, and consequentially lost out out to Jim Furyk. Brian wants to win this tournament, so that people remember him for winning rather than conceding.

“I’d like to do something else in this tournament so I don’t get remembered just for that. People do remember it, but for me, I’m just trying to move on from that, and trying to win a golf tournament. I wasn’t worried about my score or about my misses, I was just playing.”

Tied in second place at -5 under par are Charley Hoffman and Kevin Streelman.

Charley thinks he has at last learned to play this course;

” I had zero success early here. I didn’t have the patience to play this golf course. Now I know which side of the fairways to hit it on, and now I can hit it on that side of the fairways sometimes.”

Personally I hope Brian Davis can go on and win his first PGA Tour event, he feels that Harbor Town owes him one.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s play, should be very interesting. Luke Donald has made a good start to this event, currently at -2 under par.

 

 

 

 

Valero Texas Open. Billy Battles On.

Billy Horschel battles on at the top of the leaderboard at the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio,  AT&T Oaks Course.

Billy's ballgame

Billy Horschel / Cohen / Getty Images

Billy Horschel shot a third round -2 under par 70, to lead the field at the Valero Texas Open by a comfortable two shots with a -10 under par total. Billy is full of confidence, and is no shrinking violet when it comes to making statements about his ability;

” I’ve never been star struck out here, I respect all the veterans out here. I respect everyone that’s put their time in out here. But at the same time, I’m as confident as I’ve ever been, and I feel just as good as anyone else in the world right now. I didn’t even know I fell out of the lead until someone just told me,  I couldn’t care less whether I was leading after eight holes or whether I’m leading right now. I knew that I was playing well. I’m trying to stay loose, I think I’ve learned in the past that the looser I am, the more it helps.”

Tied in second place at -8 under par are Jim Furyk and Charley Hoffman, Jim with a third round of -3 under par and Charley had a -2 under par score on the day. Jim will partner Billy for the final round, thanks to the former U.S. Champion’s consistent form from tee to green, Jim hit fifteen greens in regulation, a remarkable feat as the San Antonio wind switched to the South for the first time during the tournament.

“It was funny to wake up and have the wind the dead opposite. What I was hitting hybrid into Thursday and Friday, I’m hitting 9-iron today.  I’m glad I got a couple rounds under my belt before that wind switched.”

Sharing fourth spot at -6 under par, are Ryan Palmer, with a -4 under par 68 round today; Bob Estes, -3 under par  69, and World Number two Rory McIlroy, scrambling home with -1 under par round of 71. Rory is now four shots off the lead and will need a really low round tomorrow if he is to contest this title. It seems unlikely as he only managed to get on seven out of the fourteen 14 fairways, this was for the second time in the tournament, continuing his trend of up-and-down play this year after an off-season equipment change.

” It was a tough scoring day, It was hard to really go low under par. I probably should have been a couple better, but at the end of the day, it’s still a solid round, and I still have a chance coming into tomorrow.”

Bob Estes is not even thinking about the Masters, just tomorrow;

” I don’t like talking about it, I’m just thinking about tomorrow. There’s plenty to stress out about, think about, playing in this wind. It’s just course management, a lot of guys, when the wind is blowing, they have trouble keeping it down or playing the right shot, and sometimes you have to play some pretty good defense. You play too aggressively in certain places and you hardly have a chance to two-putt or get it up and down.”

If the wind does blow at up to 25 mph tomorrow, I guess anything could happen, but I don’t expect Billy Horschel to let another victory chance slip through his fingers.

Valero Texas Open. Billy Horschel Bounces Back.

Billy Horschel bounced back from last weeks disappointment at the Shell Houston Open, to lead after the second round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio.

Here he comes again

Billy Horschel / Halleran / Getty Images

Billy Horschel is two shots clear of the field in San Antonio, courtesy of his second round of -4 under par 68, for a tournament total of -8 under par. Last week at the Shell Houston Open Billy finished tied in second place, his last round of -6 under par just one shot off the lead, and this week is continuing to show his recent good form.

There are three players within one shot of the lead, Daniel Summerhays, Steven Bowditch and Charley Hoffman. Charlie always seems to play well in San Antonio, but not sure why, maybe its the Mexican food;

” I don’t know, I played good over at La Cantera when it was played over there, and ever since it’s moved here to TPC  I’ve played well also. I hit a bunch of fairways and gave myself an opportunity to make a lot of birdies, hopefully I can keep this going this weekend.”

Jim Furyk and Rory McIlroy are in a group of players who are at -5 under par, three shots off the lead. Jim only arrived here the night before the pro-am and only managed to get in four holes before rain and lightning halted play at the AT&T Oaks Course. Jim has two drivers in his bag this week and hopes the gamble works out well enough to give him encouragement to take them to Augusta National next week. He tried to get some information on-line;

”  Tried to go online to get an idea where guys were hitting balls off the tee. I wanted to give it a practice run, I’m having a hard time. I may have to switch shafts out. I’ll make a couple of adjustments and try to play through it. There aren’t many birdies at Augusta anymore either. If they lengthen it out another 400 yards, there would be no birdies at Augusta.”

Rory showed his greenhorn credentials in the desert, searching for a miss-placed tee shot off the fairway he discovered that the cactus on this course may be smaller than the ones that soar up through the Arizona desert, but they spike you just as hard. He said of the incident;

” I shouldn’t have been there anyways, so I guess it was deserved, getting a, whatever it was,  off the cactus.”

Rory thinks he is in fine shape for this tournament, and Augusta, after reaching two par fives here in two shots;

“I think that shows where my game is, those two par fives are probably the toughest to hit in two with how small the greens are. It shows that my ball-striking is there. If I can keep hitting shots like that into par fives, I’ll be doing OK.”

Humana Challenge, Scott is Not Stalling

Healthy cushion

Scott Stallings / Getty Images

Scott Stallings took a stranglehold on the Humana Challenge with his third round -9 under par, 63, which now gives him a five shot cushion over the field.

There are five players tied in second place at -17 under par, they are, Roberto Castro, Stewart Cink, Chucky three Sticks, John Rollings and the blond bombshell Charley Hoffman. There are a further eight contestants another shot back at -16 under par, but barring a calamity this title belongs to Scott Stallings.

Scott spoke about his aggressive approach to this tournament;

“I stayed aggressive, playing with John Rollins was a huge help. He’s a good guy and he was an easy guy to club off of. We made a lot of birdies the last couple days, and so we kind of fed off each other. I guess you can say it’s conservatively aggressive, like No. 8.  I hit a really good drive and had 8-iron. But just because I had 8-iron to a par 5, I fired it in the middle of the green, had a 20-footer and was happy to make it. I’ve been smart when I got out of position.”

Roberto had shared the lead after each of the first two rounds, but felt he was a little out of rhythm today;

” I got a little out of rhythm on the back, but still hit enough good shots to feel good about it.”

Anyone who wants to take this title has to out play Scott Stallings, and he is in no mood to let things slip from this healthy position.

Travelers Championship @ TPC River Highlands, 2nd Abandoned

     

Done for the day

The second round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut was under a  rain delay suspension, with Fredrik Jacobson currently leading the way, when play was finally abandoned for the day. Fredrik was able to complete his second round before the rain interrupted play, finishing the day with a -4 under par round of 66, to give him a tournament total of -9 under par.

Wether he will remain as the second round leader is in doubt, as there are still some players who will have to complete the round before the third round can start. Most notable among these golfers is Nathan Green, who is only one shot adrift of the current lead, but he still has nine holes left to complete his second round.

Another who could have a say in the second round lead is Will Claxton, he has not even started his second round, so anything is possible. I would hazard a guess that Will hopes to get some golf in today, or the possibility of completing two rounds in one day looms on the horizon.

Charley Hoffman was having a good day until the suspension, and wishes he could have continued, he was 5 under through his first six holes on the back nine;

“It was a nice five-hole run. Any time you can make a bunch of birdies, no matter at the beginning of the round, end of the round, middle of the round, it’s a good feeling.”

First round leader David Mathis slumped to a second round +3 over par, leaving him at -3 under par for the tournament.

Of the three Major winners contesting this title, Webb Simpson had a second round of -1 under par, for a total of -5 under par. Keegan Bradley had  a -2 under par round, for -4 under par total, and Bubba Watson slumped to a +1 over par round and a tournament total of -3 under par.

 

 

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