RSM Classic. Austin Cook In Control

White Dragon GolfThe RSM Classic

Austin Cook is in control of the RSM Classic which would be his first PGA Tour win.

Cook leads at The RSM Classic

Austin Cook / getty

Austin shot a -4 under par 66 in the third round of the RSM Classic, to maintain his lead and will head into the final round tomorrow with a three shot advantage at -18 under, in pursuit of his maiden PGA Tour win, with putting being the key;

“Putting is key right now, been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys.”

“Hitting the ball pretty much where we’re looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.”

“I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence.”

“I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I’ve just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.”

Holding second place at -15 under par is Chris Kirk, with third round -6 under 64, Chris is a specialist on this Seaside Course, having played over 300 rounds here over the years, and loves the place;

“I’m really comfortable here, I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic.”

“My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.”

Brian Gay has third position, he carded a third round -1 under 69, collecting two bogey’s and a double on the day, but he also loves the Seaside Course;

“I love the course, we keep getting different wind directions so it’s keeping us on our toes.”

“Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we’re getting a new course every day.”

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RSM Classic. Chris Kirk Leads.

White Dragon GolfThe RSM Classic

Chris Kirk leads the RSM Classic at Sea Island in Georgia.

Kirk out front at The RSM Classic

Chris Kirk / getty

Chris shot a first round -9 under par 63 on the Plantation Course at Sea Island to lead the RSM Classic by one shot.

Chris, who made Eagle at the last hole, used his putter well needing only 23 putts on his round today;

“It was fun seeing all of those putts going in.”

“That’s kind of what I’ve struggled with over the past year, and why I haven’t had the results I’ve come to expect.”

“So to have a day like today; hopefully I can make a bunch more of them.”

Joel Dahmen is in second place, with -8 under par 64, he also played the Plantation Course;

“Being out here last year helped a lot, I was kind of a deer in the headlights, honestly, for the first half of the year.”

“Seeing the courses, just being familiar out here is a huge thing.”

“I only played nine holes of practice rounds this week; I just felt like my game’s in pretty good shape.” 

Three other Plantation players are tied in third spot at -7 under par, following their opening rounds of 65; Jason Kokrak, Hudson Swafford and Brian Gay.

Nick Watney and Brice Garnett  are the top players who navigated the Seaside  Course carding -5 under par 65’s, to be in the group at T8.

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OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Chris Kirk 63 Opening Round.

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Chris Kirk shot 63 in the opening round of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in  Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Chris Kirk polished off a first round 63 following a bogey-free round in Mexico.(Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

Chris Kirk / getty

Chris signed for  a bogey free -8 under par 63 on the El Camaleon course at the  OHL Classic at Mayakoba, to top the leaderboard by one shot;

“I don’t think anybody’s comfort’s really that high.”

“I definitely drove the ball well today. Just trying to stick to my sort of go to shot and hit draws out there for the most part.”

“It’s definitely intimidating off the tee a little bit, but thankfully I hit a lot of good ones today.”

“I just played pretty terrible over the weekend in Vegas, but I think I was just a little bit tired.”

“So thankfully, I came and took Monday and Tuesday completely off and didn’t touch a club and just tried to relax, and now I feel kind of re-energized and ready to play again. “

“No, I definitely wasn’t expecting to shoot 63 today, but happy I did.”

Tied in second place at -7 under after shooting 64 are, Ben Crane, Camilo Villegas and Gary Woodland.

Ben referred to tight fairways, describing the first cut as jungle;

“This is a very tight golf course, maybe 10 to 15 yards of rough on each side, it’s just jungle, right?”

“When you get some crosswinds, you’ve got to hit solid tee shots and you’ve got to really control your ball.”

“You really want to be able to flight your ball because you really don’t want to be curving it down on that crosswind downwind, right, because it’s going to curve so much.”

Best placed home player is Abraham Ancer, in a six-way tie for fifth place at -6 under following his 66, which should have been better, carding a bogey at the last;

“It’s huge. It’s awesome playing in Mexico in front of my people.”

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself and I obviously want to play well, but it would be awesome to finish up there at the end of the tournament.”

Crowne Plaza International. Chris Kirk Crowned King of Colonial

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Chris Kirk was crowned King of Colonial Country Club winning the Crowne Plaza International on a sunny Sunday.

Crowne Plaza International

Chris Kirk / Getty Images

Chris carded a final round -4 under par 66, to post a winning total of -12 under par to win the Crowne Plaza International at Colonial.

Chris had not played well, especially with the driver, so elected to use a three wood on the last tee, a sensible play;

“I just didn’t think I was going to hit it anywhere on the planet, to be honest with you. It didn’t really feel like I was swinging that great early on in the week but somehow I was able to get it done.”

“I was as nervous as I’ve ever been today for sure, those up and down on the last couple of holes and especially making that putt on 18 was pretty sweet. Something I’ll never forget.”

“Kind of surprised that I’m sitting here with y’all at the moment.”

“To be able to do it when I didn’t really feel like I quite had it, is a huge step for me.”

“Just to be a part of the history of this tournament is really just amazing to me.”

Chris is an admirer of Ben Hogan, and now his name will also be engraved on the Wall of Champions;

“He’s always been the standard and still is, and will be for a long time, I would imagine, to now have even just a little bit of an association with him is very special.”

Three players all tied for second place at -11 under par, Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth and Jason Bohn.

Jason had an incredible round of -7 under par 63, and agonized over his last putt, that lipped out and would have given him a 62, and also a place in a play-off. He absolutely thought the putt was dropping in;

“I totally thought I made it.”

“I was hitting good shots and I was making putts, it was playing very soft and you could play very aggressive, so I just kept trying to push the pedal down and keep firing at flagsticks.”

Jordan made a mistake at the 184 yard par three 16th, all pumped up by the crowd he airmailed the green with a 7 iron;

“I just took the wrong club, you’ve got to hit 8-iron there below the hole. Tried to hit a 7 and kind of punch it in there, maybe get it a little too close to the hole.”

“Ninety nine percent of the time, I make the right decision and stay below the hole. We made the wrong decision today, and it cost us.”

“For being on my third year and being in that position a lot, it was a mistake that shouldn’t happen.”

Brandt had the opportunity of a birdie putt at the final hole, from about 12 feet, that would have put him in a tie for the lead,  and force a playoff. But he sadly pulled it;

“I’ve seen that putt hit here a thousand times, I know exactly how you’re supposed to hit and it was my worst putt of the day.”

“Disappointing because that’s kind of my strength and to hit a bad putt like that when it matters is doubly hard.”

The International leaderboard had a very Stars and Stripes look to it, the best International players were Canadian Adam Hadwin, and Englishman Ian Poulter both of them in a group tied at -10 under par.

Poults could only manage a final round of even par, and is stuck with that under achievers tag again;

“I’m just disappointed that obviously I didn’t get the job done, I really should have and I didn’t do it. I didn’t play well enough today.”

The others in the -10 under group were; Pat Perez, Kevin Kisner and George McNeill.

Crowne Plaza International

Chris and Trophy / Getty Images

 

 

The Players. Captain Kirk Beamed to the Top

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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.

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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.

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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.”