Travelers Championship. Bubba Buoyant at the Top

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Bubba Watson is buoyant at the top of the Travelers Championship leaderboard at TPC Harding Park, letting his putter do the talking.

Travelers Championship

Bubba and Putter / Getty Images

Bubba carded a bogey free second round -3 under par 67 to keep himself afloat at the top of the Travelers Championship leaderboard, maintaining his two shot advantage over the field. He said a red-hot putter was working well on these perfect greens. He was drug tested after the round Friday, and joked that he hoped he passed it;

“It’s just my mind right now, over the putts, I’m thinking well,  these greens are perfect. These greens are running so smoothly.

“Some of the holes were playing a little bit longer because of the wind.”

“The wind was in a different direction, so it just made the course a little bit tougher.”

“I hope I passed it, it’s usually when you’re at the top of the leaderboard they want to drug test you, especially me.”

Three players are tied in second place at -9 under par, Brian Stuard, Brian Harmon and Carl Pettersson.

Brian Harmon was happy to keep Bubba in sight, he also shot a -5 under par 67 today;

“That was kind of a nice momentum-keeper going into the weekend.”

Low round of the day went to Nick Watney, he signed for a -6 under par 64, which took him into a T8  position on the leaderboard at -7 under par, in a huge group of players.

Strangest news of the tournament concerns Keegan Bradley, who has updated his Saint Vitus Dance pre-shot routine to a new absurd level. On Friday he took almost a full minute before addressing the ball with his approach shot at the par four 14th hole. There were 19 mini-practice swings, up-and-back, club-twirling dance steps before hitting his shot, in this latest rendition of his twitchy routine. Like it or not Keegan is in the group at -7 under par, so unfortunately for those of us who have to watch that routine, it does seem to work for him.

Among those missing the cut, which was made at -2 under par, was Ernie Els,  defending champion Kevin StreelmanPadraig HarringtonHunter Mahan and Louis Oosthuizen.

The Claret Jug was on display at the Travelers Championship on Friday, this was a reminder to players that four spots and as many as nine in that tournament are up for grabs this week. The leading five players, who are not already exempt from the top 20 in the FedExCup will be part of the field at St. Andrews next month contesting The Open.

Jason Gore has never played at The Open, in all the years that he has been a professional;

“I’ve been in professional golf for 18 years now and I’ve never been to Europe.”

“So that just blows my mind. It blows a lot of people’s mind. Playing at St. Andrews would be a lot of fun, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

He has a chance to qualify this week, currently T5 at -8 under par.

 

 

 

 

 

The Open. Wire to Wire Win for the Wizard of Hoylake, Rory.

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Rory McIlroy was the wire to wire wizard of The Open at Hoylake, winning the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

Rory McIlroy - 2014 Open Champion  (Getty Images)

Kissing the Claret Jug, Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory McIlroy wins his third Major championship, and all before the age of 25, equaling the achievements of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods before him.

Rory carded a final round of -1 under par 71, for his winning total of -17 under par, a two shot victory. The other guys did not make it easy for him, there were some great sores out on the course today;

“It feels incredible, today wasn’t easy. There were a lot of guys making runs at me and I just needed to stay focused, keep in the present and concentrate on what I was doing out there.”

“To be three legs towards the career grand slam at the age of 25 is a pretty good achievement. It’s not going to sink in for a while. I knew I had some holes where I could make birdie and 16 was the real hole for me which I think settled the championship.”

 “Well done for putting up such a fight. Rickie, no doubt with the way your Major record is this year your time will come, and Sergio too, two of the best players in the world.”

“It’s pretty hard to describe right now, to be honest, I feel like I’ve come a long way in the last 18 months. A lot has happened to me on and off the golf course. My determination and hard work has really paid off.”

“This is the first Major my mum has been to that I’ve won, so mum, this one’s for you. I just can’t wait to get back and defend this thing at St Andrews next year.”

Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler tied for second place at -15 under par. Sergio charged at Rory, carding a -6 under par 66, and Rickie, who was playing alongside Rory threw in a final round -5 under par 65.

If Sergio really wants to win a Major, he will have to address the problem of that fragile putting grip.

Jim Furyk had a -7 under par 65 and finished alone in fourth spot at -13 under par for the championship. Tiger Woods ended his tournament returning a final total +6 over par. Defending Champion Phil Mickelson returned a final total of -5 under par.

John Deere Classic, Thrilling Three Way Tie and Five Hole Play-Off

Jordan Spieth captured the John Deere Classic on Sunday on the fifth playoff hole for his first PGA TOUR victory. At the end of regulation play at TPC Deere Run he was tied at the top with defending Champion Zach Johnson and David Hearn, all at -19 under par.

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Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth and David Hearn / Getty Images

Jordan, just nineteen years of age, carded a final-round -6 under par, 65, after holing out a bunker shot on the 72nd hole to finish at -19 under and a tie with defending champion Zach Johnson and David Hearn. It then took five extra holes to decide the winner, with Jordan scoring a birdie to win it out-right.

Jordan Spieth and Trophy / Getty Images

This  win gives Jordan full-time membership on the PGA Tour, along with a chance at the FedEx Cup playoffs, and also  gives him a chance of a tilt for the Claret Jug , as his win gives him a spot at Muirfield next week. Jordan said he did not expect to win this early in his career, and is now worried about his summer golf attire going to Scotland;

“I didn’t think it would happen this early, I had a plan. I guess the plan got exceeded. The shot on 18 was the luckiest shot I ever hit in my life. The fact that it bounced right and hit the pin and dropped down to the cup, it’s just extremely fortunate. Just got so lucky. That’s what it is. But right now I’m extremely pleased, and a little worried about only having short sleeves going to Scotland”

Defending Champion Zach Johnson had a chance to win the tournament on the first play-off hole, but his  12-foot birdie putt attempt agonizingly missed.

Zach and the missed putt on the first play-off hole, the 18th./ Getty Images

Zach reckons he has seen too much of the 18th hole;

” I don’t need to see that hole many more times. I had my chances on the back side in regulation. I mean, I hit some really good shots and just didn’t make anything. I love this place, as you all know, and I am just appreciative to be able to play and represent this tournament. I feel like this is my profession and one thing you have to be is resilient. I’ll get over it pretty quick, I’ll keep the mindset that I am playing well and ride it out. I’ll be fine.”

David Hearn is happy with his play and is looking forward to playing in the RBC Canadian Open, in two weeks;

” I’m obviously happy with where my game is at going into that, so I’ll be happy to compete again. Congrats to Jordan. He’s going to have an amazing career, obviously. He’s an incredible talent to come on tour at his age and have as much success as quickly as he has. So hat’s off to him.”

Paul Lawrie Wins Qatar Masters

Paul Lawrie shot a smooth round of 65 to win the Qatar Masters for the second time with a four-shot win over Jason Day and Peter Hanson at the Doha Golf Club on Sunday. This flawless performance, a last round of 65 for a total of – 15 under par, elevates ‘Chippy’   into the worlds top 50 for the first time since 2003. Just a year ago the 1999 Open champion was down at 272nd in the rankings, now he is part of golf’s elite group again. Chippy said after his last round;

“I don’t think I can play much better than that, I’ve been playing well for a long, long time, but it’s just nice to come out one ahead and shoot seven under.’When you’ve got a chance to win a tournament you don’t sleep as well the night before and things go racing through your mind. You’ve got to get back to basics and I did that. I hit some nice shots coming in.”

Paul Lawrie of Scotland

When he was prompted that after his last Qatar Masters win he then went on to win the Open and raise the Claret Jug in 1999  he smiled and said;

“Now wouldn’t that be nice to get that again?’

The Ryder Cup question was asked;

“I’ve been trying to keep that to the back of my mind.  If I keep playing as I am I will get in, there’s no question, but there’s a long way to go and I know as well as anyone that there are a lot of good players.”

 

American John Daly finished in 4th position at -9 under par, his best finish since 2009 and his 2nd place in the Italian Open.