The Players. Captain Kirk Beamed to the Top

White Dragon Golf

Captain Chris Kirk has beamed himself to the top of The Players leaderboard at TPC Sawgrass.

The Players

Chris Kirk / Getty Images

Chris had a nice third round of -4 under par 68 to take possession of the top spot on The Players leaderboard with a -10 under par tournament total.

Chris said you can never feel comfortable on this course;

“I had a chance to sort of lose it a little bit today, I didn’t let it bother me, and thankfully I was able to birdie the next three to pull out a great round.”

“It’s not like you can ever get comfortable. If you have a six-shot lead at the turn, you’re not going to be comfortable playing that back nine just because of the way the back nine is.”

“You just put your head down and go get it.”

There are three players tied in second place,  Kevin Kisner, Ben Martin and Bill Haas, have all completed three rounds with a -9 under par total, just one shot off the lead.

Chris Kirk and Kevin Kisner, the two Georgia alums will be paired together in the THE PLAYERS Championship’s final group on Sunday.

Kevin is looking forward to the match-up with his old team-mate Chris;

“We’ve probably played 200 or 300 rounds of golf together, between qualifying and college tournaments.”

“We’ll have a lot of fun. Hopefully it will just be like an old qualifying round. We’ll go out and see who can make the most birdies and add it up at the end.”

“Two 31s in a row here, back nine yesterday, front nine today, which is pretty cool.”

“You know, the front, I probably missed three putts inside 15 feet, so it could have been stupid.”

Rory thinks a lot of players still have a chance to win on Sunday, he is at -6 under par, and could post a good number early tomorrow;

 “It seems like half of the Tour have a chance to win this thing.”

“I think a lot of holes on the front nine are very straight away, where there’s a lot of dog-legs on the back nine and it sort of, you can visualize shots better.”

 “I feel on the front nine, like even holes like 2 it’s, obviously you need to hit a draw there, but even 4 and 5 and 6 and 7, they’re all like pretty straight holes and I sort of get up there and I’ve got about six shots in my head that I can hit.”

“I just need to try and pick one of them and commit to them and sometimes, of the six shots, I don’t hit any of them.”

Tiger Woods faded out of contention, a +3 over par 75 was the best he could do, and he left the course without speaking to reporters.

 

Waste Management Phoenix Open. Y.E. and Bubba Share Lead.

dragon logo darkLogo Image

Y.E. Yang and Bubba Watson share the first round lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, at TPC Scottsdale. I like this course.

Superb in Scottsdale

Y.E. Yang and Bubba Watson / Getty Images

Bubba said right now he is in a good spot, not too nervous, after shooting an opening round of -7 under 64;

“If you look at my career, from junior golf, to college golf, to mini tours to now the Web.com Tour, to the PGA TOUR, I got to a level and I got out of my comfort zone. I get comfortable, and then I step up a new level and I get nervous again. Hopefully I’m at a stepping-stone where I’ve learned, now if I win a few more, I get nervous again. Right now I’m in a good spot.”

“This golf course, if your ball-striking is good, you can shoot some good numbers here. Hit a lot of greens, didn’t make too many mistakes, didn’t miss too many fairways. Just played solid.”

Through an interpreter Y.E. announced he is going to be aggressive;

“I think you have to be aggressive, at the same time, you can’t be too aggressive. You have to really balance it out, but you still have to be a little bit more aggressive than other tournaments.”

There are seven players tied in third place at -6 under par, all carding first rounds of 65, they are;  Pat Perez, Kevin Stadler, Matt Jones, Harris English, William McGirt, Greg Chalmers and Chris Kirk.

Harris actually birdied Nos. 12 thru 15 to top the leaderboard at -8 under par, but then followed that with bogey’s at the par-3 16th,  the rowdy stadium hole, where he hit an 8-iron over the green on the 178-yard hole. Then the par-4 18th, he said he was a little over the top on the par 3 tee;

“I guess I was a little juiced up on that tee, I left myself with an impossible up-and-down.”

TPC Scottsdale’s favorite player, Phil Mickleson, opened with an even par round of 71, and a long way back for this favorite son.

Phil thinks the same as me, he just loves playing here;

“It’s fun to be back here, I love playing here. I wasn’t as sharp as I need to be, for sure. Playing the last five holes at three over,  that was really bad. Fifteen really stung, it was only a twelve  or fifteen footer, and I am thinking eagle. I roll it 6 feet by and I miss it coming back. That was costly. I got off to a poor start, played a couple over, and finished poorly. In the middle of the round, though, I hit a lot of good shots and had a good little run, but it just wasn’t quite sharp. I wasn’t quite focused on every shot the way I need to be and let way too many shots slide.”

Phil also reported that his troublesome back is now in fine shape;

“It’s fine, honestly, it’s no big deal, it was a five-minute fix. I just have to be careful for a week or two as it heals up. It’s fine. Mobility is back. It’s just not a big deal. It happens every now and then. Last time was about four years ago.”

Sony Open. A Walk in the Park for Walker.

dragon logo dark

It was a walk in the park for Jimmy Walker as he won the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

Walker's run continues

Jimmy Walker / Getty Images

Jimmy fired an amazing last round of -7 under par 63, to lift the trophy at the Sony Open on Hawaii with a -17 under par total. Added to that sweet success is the fact that although  it’s still only the middle of January, he is also No. 1 in the FedExCup standings and Ryder Cup standings.

Jimmy said it took him a while to get there, but he played some real cool golf;

“It took me a long time to do it, I felt very calm and controlled. That’s what you’ve got to feel and do when it’s time to win. It’s easy to say, hard to do, but today was awesome, really cool golf. I’ve always felt like I belonged, and you need affirmation every now and then. The other win was like, `Yeah, OK, I can do it.’ I did it, and I was supposed to be able to do it. Everybody told me I was supposed to do it, and I finally did it. And then it’s, `Well, are you going to be the guy that won that you never hear from again?’ It’s nice to get it done and do it again today.”

Chris Kirk finished in second place at -16 under par, his last round -4 under par 66 not good enough to win the trophy. He felt he had played well enough to win;

“I feel like I hit the ball well enough to win this week, but it doesn’t always work out that way.”

Jerry Kelly finished alone in third place, at -15 under par, with Harris English on his own in fourth at -14 under par.

Jerry finishing strongly with a -5 under par 65, but Harris was not so good again carding another round of -3 under par 67, to slip out of contention.

World number two Adam Scott completed his tournament in -10 under par, and is now taking a six-week break, to work on his game which was lacking a little something here in Hawaii;

“I was liking my position there, I was making today a lot of fun, but I didn’t play very well on the next nine. I just was in the rough too much, unfortunately. It’s just such a hard course to get it going around here. I’ll work on my game a lot, I think there’s plenty of work on after the last couple weeks.”

Sony Open. Chris Kirk is the King.

dragon logo dark

 

Chris Kirk is the King at the end of the third round at the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in  Honolulu.

Riding high

Chris Kirk / Getty Images

 Chris took control of the Sony Open on Saturday as he  fired a -5 under par third round  65 to take a one stroke lead going into the final day, with his -12 under par tournament total.

Chris spoke about how tight this competition is;

“When it’s so close like that, everybody is going to be making some birdies here and there, so I probably won’t look at leaderboards as much as I normally would. A lot of courses I think lend themselves to you need to know what your position is going into any given hole, but out here, I don’t think that’s really the case. They’re just so volatile with guys making birdies and bogeys. I’ll just probably try to keep my head down and make as many birdies as I can.”

Second place is being shared by Will Wilcox and Harris English, both at -11 under par. Will, said he does not know what to expect, but is delighted to be in the mix;

“I didn’t know what was going to happen this week, making the cut was a dream come true. Playing good on Saturday was a dream come true. Getting to have a decent shot tomorrow is ridiculous. I saw I was beating James Hahn by two or three. He was like 51st and I was in 13th or something, you’ve just got to play tight and make a couple of clutch putts, which I did today. I don’t know. We’ll see.”

Harris mentioned how tough it is, and he is happy to be in with a shot at  the title;

“It was just kind of `Grind it til you find it.’ this course is tough. It’s hard to hit the fairways, and you’ve just got to be a wizard around the greens, and that’s kind of how I approached today. I didn’t have my best golf, but I scraped it around at three under par and I’m still in this golf tournament.”

Next in line at -10 under par are Jerry Kelly and Jimmy Walker.

Robert Allenby made only five cuts in 24 tournaments last year and had to use an exemption from career money (top 25) to get his card. Robert is currently tied in sixth place, at -9 under par, with six other players. He said the turn around for him came with playing his local club with the old boy’s, who will not give him an inch;

“I’ve been playing the guys at Admiral’s Cove, all the 60-year-olds, and they make me putt out because they’re like waiting for me to miss. I keep shooting 7, 8, 9 under and stuff with them. They’ve put me in a good mental state for out here on tour.”

There are eleven players within three shots of the lead here at the Waialae Country Club, so the Sony Open title is still very much in the balance. Someone is going to have a very good round tomorrow.

 

Sony Open. Brian Blazes Trail,

dragon logo dark

 

 

Brian Stuard blazes a trail at the top of the leaderboard at the Sony Open  at the wonderful Waialae Country Club course in Hawaii.

Brian Stuard / Getty Images

Brian  finished off his second round with an Eagle, using a hybrid 3-iron into 2 feet on the par-5 ninth hole for a -5 under par 65. Back to back 65’s have given Brian a -10 under par tournament total, a one shot lead going into the week-end.

Brian said he feels comfortable on the greens;

“I think it’s something to do with the greens, I feel comfortable on the greens. I feel like I read them pretty well and I’m able to make putts.”

Second place belongs to Aussie Marc Leishman and Japanese Hideto Tanihara, both players one shot adrift of the lead at -9 under par. Marc with a smooth second round -6 under par 64, and Hideto carded a -5 under par 65.

Marc also had an Eagle on the ninth hole, and said it has out him right into the mix;

 “They’re the sort of things that really turn an average round into a good one, or a good one into a great one. It was nice to shoot six under and get myself right in it.”

Harris English, at -8 under par for the tournament is alone in fourth position, while Jason Kokrak is one of the six players at -7 under par.

Jason admitted he had done little practice, but was pleased with how it is going

“I’m keeping the ball in play, keeping the ball in front of me, I’m pleased with where I’m at right now. I’m going to have to make a few more putts. I didn’t do a whole lot of practicing this offseason, so I’m just kind of playing my way into some good play this week.”

Keeping Jason company on -7 under par are, Adam Scott, Jimmy Walker, Chris Kirk, Sang-Moon Bae and Chris Stroud.

Surprisingly missing the cut is Jordan Spieth, he was on the verge of getting to -2-under par at the turn, until carelessly missing a four foot birdie putt. He followed that mistake with a tee shot out of bounds on the next hole, and never recovered.

Apart from all that Jordan said he putted well;

“The funny thing is, I putted better this week than last week.”

Sony Open. Sang-Moon Bae has 1st Round Lead

dragon logo darkLogo Image

Sang-Moon Bae carded a -7 under par 63 to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

 

Sang-Moon Bae / Getty Images

Sang-Moon Bae leads the way at the Sony Open in Hawaii with opening round of 63, giving him a one-shot lead over Chris Kirk. The pair were together all Thursday morning, playing in the same group and taking the top two spots on the leaderboard. Chris taking second spot alone with his -6 under par 64.

Chris admired Sang-Moon’s lightening start, but was happy to catch up on the back nine;

“He was off to a great start, at one point he was four under and I was still two over. It took some catching up for me on the back nine. But it’s always nice to see putts falling.”

Sang-Moon said he had played well the week before, but had trouble reading the greens, but practice makes perfect, he arrived here early and worked hard;

“I think I played well last week, but really tough greens, very hard to read. I couldn’t read any right-to-left putts, any putts,  so I missed a lot of puts last week. But this course is more shorter than last week, so easy read, and I can make good speed, too. I practiced a little bit and I had fun, go to beach, go swim, everything. I like it here.”

Sharing third place at -5 under par are Brian Stuard and Ryan Palmer, but the leaderboard is tightly packed so anything could happen. It is exciting to be able to watch it all unfold. The next group all at -4 under, seven of them, includes Retief Goosen and Big John Daly.

Big John, who has recovered from elbow surgery commented;

“The arm feels good, the greatest thing is, I can hit three-quarter shots again, I haven’t done that in six years. That was my bread and butter; that was my game. I need a little more practice. I’m rusty,”

There are then twelve players recording -3 under par.

The defending champion Russell Henley played Wednesday in the Pro-Am, but food poisoning stopped him in his tracks on the 11th hole. Two trips to the hospital for IV fluids and medicine helped Russell make  his opening round 12:20 p.m. tee time. His +3 over  par 73 opening round didn’t come close to the 63 he fired off in last year’s final round.

Russell said he was still not feeling good;

“I’m not operating at 100 percent, I’m feeling a lot better than yesterday, but I made two bad swings, two really bad holes. Other than that, I played a pretty decent round, a couple putts didn’t fall. I think I’ll be feeling good tomorrow and hopefully will play well.”

Would love to know what Sea Food Restaurant he was at, and I bet they are praying that he does not mention them.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Four Tied at theTop.

                                                   dragon logo dark

 

2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions started with a first round four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at the Plantation Course at Kapalua,  MauiHawaii.

Jordan Spieth / Getty

Jordan Spieth was one of the first round leaders, fresh from some coaching to adjust technical glitches with his grip and flattening the plane on his downswing to hit more draws. It all worked as Jordan shot a bogey free first round -7 under par 66 to share the lead in the clubhouse. The rookie of the year explained that his swing got out of whack;

“With that many events, your body just wants to do so many different things. You’re playing in heavy winds one week and the next week you’re trying to launch it out. I still don’t own my swing yet, kind of all over the place.” I had new member orientation this week, I think it was more of a brief meeting than it normally is for new members. I have no excuses and I’m ready to play.”

Jordan shares the top spot with, Michael Thompson, Chris Kirk and Webb Simpson, who all carded -7 under par 66.

Webb Simpson / Getty

Webb was  fully prepared, he had also been working on his game during the brief winter break;

“My off-season was pretty staggered, two weeks off and have to play; two weeks off and play. I was trying to figure out the proper rest versus practice, but I’m the type of guy that I hate not being prepared. And so I tried to just literally not touch a club for 10 days and then once I got back, then I hit it hard the last 10 days. So I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle. You know, there’s just a few shots in the round you need to step up and hit, and today I had a few of those and I was able to hit some good shots. Take care of the par fives, and just one dropped shot, one poor iron swing on 7, but overall, great start.”

The two Johnson’s, Zach and the big hitting Dustin are also in this field, Zach in contention with an opening -6 under pat 67, and Dustin with a more modest -3 under par 70. You would expect Dustin to tear up the par fives here, with his prodigious distance off the tee, so stand by.