The Open. An Irish Amateur Shares the Lead.

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An Irish amateur Paul Dunne shares the lead at The Open Championship with Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day at the end of round three on Sunday, at a calm St. Andrews.

The Open

Paul Dunne / Getty Images

Paul Dunne shot a bogey free third round -6 under par 66, to share the clubhouse lead at -12 under par for the tournament. Louis and Jason both had -5 under par 65’s to join Paul at the top of a congested The Open Championship leaderboard.

Paul is the first amateur since the legendary Bobby Jones to lead The Open after 54 holes, Bobby went on to lift the Claret Jug at St Andrews in 1927.

Louis played alongside Paul, and this to say of the young mans talent;

“He’s played unbelievable golf, that second shot on 17 was one of the best I’ve seen.”

“I think he made me so nervous on my second shot because I was going a completely different route, low, running up there, and I tugged it a little bit to the left. But it was an amazing shot. He deserved to birdie that.”

Paul was asked if he could win The Open, he replied;

 “I don’t see why not. I’m well capable of shooting the scores that I need to win if everyone else doesn’t play their best.”

“Whether it happens or not, I can’t really control. I can just go out and try to play my game and see where it leaves me at the end of the day. Hopefully I play great again and post a good number.”

“It’s surreal I’m leading The Open, but I can easily believe that I shot the three scores that I shot.”

“If we were playing an amateur event here, I wouldn’t be too surprised by the scores I shot. It’s just lucky that it happens to be in the biggest event in the world.”

“Hopefully I can do it again tomorrow, but whether I do or not, you know, I’ll survive either way.”

In fourth place on his own is Masters Tournament and US Open Champion Jordan Spieth, who brought his grand slam dream back to life with a third round -6 under par 66, which has given him a tournament total of -11 under par, and just one shot back going into the final round tomorrow. History beckons.

Jordan insists he is not really thinking about it;

“It hasn’t come up in my head while I’ve been playing yet.”

“I can’t speak for tomorrow given it’s the last round and if I have a chance coming down the stretch, if it creeps in, I’ll embrace it. I’ll embrace the opportunity that presents itself.”

“I don’t look at it as a negative thing, I look at it almost as an advantage.”

“Why should it add more pressure in a negative way? If it adds more pressure, it just makes me feel like this is something that’s a little more special, let’s go ahead and get the job done.”

“I know it’s easier said than done, but when you say added pressure, most people associate that with negativity or something that can hinder what’s comfortable.”

“For me, I think it could be advantageous. You hit the ball a little bit further, you can really get your mind around a more specific target and block out other things.”

Fifth position belongs to another Irishman, the three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, he posted a bogey free third round -7 under par 65, to reach -10 under par in the competition, and definitely has given himself a chance of grabbing another Major title. He joked with the media about this not being the final round;

“I always wanted to shoot 65 on Sunday at an Open. Unfortunately there’s another round to go.”

There are no less than nine players tied at -9 under par, in sixth place for the tournament; Australians Marc Leishman and Adam Scottanother amateur, American Jordan Niebrugge, Sergio Garcia from Spain, Justin Rose and Danny Willett from England, South African Retief Goosen, and two more Americans, Robert Streb and Zach Johnson.

Marc shot the low round of the day, a -8 under par 64, to put him in position to win his first Major.

Retief, the two-time US Open champion, was happy with his position;

“Three, four shots off the lead going into tomorrow is a good place to be.”

 “I’m feeling great. I have no back pain. I’d rather play bad golf and have no back pain than good golf and back pain and not being able to sleep or anything else.”

“I’ve had a good run in my career, but it’s nice to be up there and hopefully have a good day tomorrow, see where we end up.”

Longtime leader Dustin Johnson, who battled through the bad weather, collapsed in the calm conditions of the third round, carding +3 over par, and dropping to -7 under par for the tournament, and tied in 18th place, with his chances of picking up The Open Championship title in tatters.

The Open. Blown Away, But D.J. Has Half-Way Lead.

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High powered winds at St. Andrews have blown away the third round of The Open Championship, but D.J. still has the half-way lead. A ten and half hour weather delay meant that they could only complete the second round on Saturday, the third round will now be on Sunday and the final round on Monday.

The Open

Dustin Johnson / Getty Images

Dustin finally completed his second round, at -3 under 69 despite dropping three shots on returning to finish the round, posting The Open Championship leading score of -10 under par;

“This morning when we started it was almost impossible, but I managed to hang in there and then when we just went out and restarted it was very tough, but managed to make some good pars and then birdie the last hole.”

 “So it was a good way to finish the day.”

Dustin had a ball blown off the green;

 “Fortunately it happened in kind of the end part of the second round, so we’ve still got a lot of golf to play, so it is what it is. Can’t do anything to change it.”

“When I went up to mark it I got probably an inch from the ground. My coin was about to hit the ground when it took off.”

“Then I went to mark it again and I think it took off again. And then Jordan was running to his ball. It was pretty funny.”

The restart early on Saturday went badly very quickly, the ferocity of the winds starting to blow balls round on the green. Louis Oosthuizen was looking at a putt of three feet, when the wind suddenly moved his ball nearer the cup. Instead of marking the ball, or even tapping it in, he proceeded to ask his playing partners and then asked an official for a ruling. By the time he was told he must play the ball where it lies, the wind had blown it some ten feet past the hole. Louis ended up carding a double bogey 6, just because he did not know the rules. It was at this point the officials called it a day, and the ten and half hour delay began.

As the players left the course Jordan Spieth commented;

“They shouldn’t have sent us out in the first place.”

In second place is Danny Willett, who had completed his second round on Friday, he has a tournament total of -9 under par, just one shot adrift of the leader.

Paul Lawrie holds third place on his own at -8 under par, carding a second round -2 under par second round.

Jordan Spieth, who is attempting the Grand Slam of golf, was annoyed with himself for carding five three putts in the long round, but he his still in with a chance at -5 under par;

“It was an interesting round that took a lot of time, but it’s nice to look back on Saturday evening and instead of being five shots back with one to go, I’ve still got two full rounds, so anything can happen here.”

“I believe I’m still in contention. I still believe I can win this tournament. I need a really solid round tomorrow, though, because Dustin is not letting up.”

“Dustin is going to shoot a good round tomorrow with less wind and I’m going to need to shoot a great round to really give myself a chance.”

“To fall from two back to five back isn’t exactly what I wanted, but it could have been worse, could have been better. If I can shoot something like ten under in the last two rounds, I think I’ll have a chance to win.”

With the way the wind has been blowing anyone within five shots or less could win, and that includes a whole host of star players.

 

 

 

The Open. The Weather Wins at St. Andrews.

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The weather wins at St Andrews as torrential rain meant waterlogged greens and fairways on the Old Course, and play was suspended for 3 hours and 14 minutes. At  the close of play Dustin Johnson still held the lead at -10 under par, but has yet to complete his second round, with Danny Willett in second place.

Danny had completed his -3 under par second round 69, and at the time was clubhouse leader at -9 under par, he thought that was pretty cool;

“It was a tricky back nine, at 15 I got a bit of a flier and went long and at 17 just got on it a little bit instead of holding it up the right. From 50-70 feet they are not gimme two putts.” 

“It was nice to birdie the last, we hit some good golf shots today and it’s a good score.”

“You throw wind and rain in there and it becomes a bit of a lottery. If it’s just wind it’s playable. That strength wind out there it’s playable, you’ve got to hit good shots and you can make birdies.” 

“Hopefully it’s the same strength tomorrow and I think we’re in for a great weekend.” 

“You can’t put it out your mind, leading The Open, it’s pretty cool isn’t it?”

Currently tied in third place at -8 under par are Paul Lawrie and Jason Day, both will be returning early tomorrow morning to complete their rounds.

Tom Watson was playing in his last Open Championship, and sadly missed the cut, but did receive a warm send off from the gallery around the 18th hole, having previously had his picture taken on the Swilcan Bridge.

The Open

Tom Watson / Getty Images

40 mph winds are predicted for tomorrow, so play could be interrupted again, with many players yet to finish the second round, and trying to make the cut. Tiger Woods is one of those having to return to finish. he has seven holes left to get to the cut line, projected at even par, but he is at +5 over for the competition, so it looks like he will miss the cut here at St. Andrews.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson spoke about the bad weather that will affect play over the week-end;

“The forecast is for very strong winds so it is a very tough course today and tomorrow, but because we have had so much rain it’s nowhere near as fiery as it can be so I’m very hopeful that wind won’t affect play.

“Our target is to finish on Sunday. We do have the ability to go into Monday, but we certainly hope not to.”

The Open. Dustin Johnson Leads.

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Dustin Johnson leads the 144th The Open Championship on day one at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.

The Open

Dustin Johnson / Getty Images

Dustin took advantage of the easier early conditions to post a bogey free first round -7 under par 65 on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Dustin said on Monday he had no hang-ups about his Chambers Bay near-miss, and this round proves it;

“Nothing bad happened at Chambers Bay, so I wasn’t disappointed, really.”

“I did everything I was supposed to. I couldn’t control what the ball was doing on the greens there.

“There’s really no bad feelings from that, only good. I played really well and then it carried over to today.

“Any time you shoot 65 it is very pleasing. I thought I played well today I made two key par putts on 16 and 17.”

There are six players tied in second place at -6 under par, after their opening rounds of 66; Robert Streb, Retief Goosen, Paul Lawrie, Jason Day, Zach Johnson and Danny Willett.

Louis Oosthuizen is in the group at -5 under par,  the 2010 Champion has shot over 70 just once in his last 11 rounds on the Old Course at St Andrews, he is really comfortable out on this course, and with bad weather predicted, he could figure at the end.

Hottest player on the planet right now, Jordan Spieth, also carded a first round -5 under par 67, and is in the five way tie for eighth place.

He played alongside his good friend Dustin, and reported that the way Dustin is driving the ball, beating him will be a tough task;

The Open

Jordan and Dustin / Getty Images

“I am very pleased with the start. It was certainly nice to finish that way.”

“I saw a 65 in our group and if DJ keeps driving it the way he is, then I’m going to have to play my best golf to have a chance.”

“It’s hard to argue with somebody who’s splitting bunkers at about 380 yards and just two-putting for birdie on five or six of the holes.”

“I don’t have that in the bag, but I’ve played enough golf with him to where I believe in my skill set that I can still trump that crazy ability that he has.”

“I expect when he stands on the tee it’s going to be up there miles and down the fairway. I also expect that I can birdie each hole when I stand on the tee. It just happens to be a little different route.”

“If Dustin keeps driving the way he is I’m going to have to be at my best to have a chance.”

“He doesn’t really play badly, ever.”

Tiger Woods has proved once again that he is just not ready to really contend at a Major, he started poorly on the first with an unconvincing tee shot, with an iron. It left him with 135 yards to the pin, but he found the burn at the front of the green, took a drop and carded a bogey.

The Open

Tiger and Burn / Getty Images

Tiger finished the day at +4 over par 76, the same score as another old favorite, Tom Watson.

U.S. Open. Four tied at the Top.

White Dragon GolfChambers Bay

There are four players tied at the top of the U.S. Open leaderboard after 54, mostly disappointing holes. Jason Day teed off and then proceeded to work his way to the top, along with Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Branden Grace, all at -4 under par for the title.

U.S. Open

Jason Day / Getty Images

None of the leaders could make the final break to top the U.S. Open leaderboard on their own, although they all had some serious chances, the Broccoli like greens defeating their best efforts. Of the top four only Jason broke par today, -2 under par 68, Dustin and Branden were even and Jordan was +1 over.

No one else could catch them, only six players managed to break par on the day, with Louis Oosthuizen carding the lowest round, -4 under par 66. That’s back to back 66’s for Louis, shame about the opening round 77, or he could have been right up there with them. He is currently T5 at -1 under par, with Cameron Smith, Shane Lowery and J.B. Holmes.

The next best all at +1 over, and seeing as the pin positions will be at their hardest tomorrow, I don’t expect anyone to topple one of those top four. But anything could happen, because no one can putt on these variable speed, lumpy greens.

Jason only spoke to a USGA official, and then headed to his motor home to lie down;

“I didn’t feel that great coming out early.”

“I felt pretty groggy on the front nine just from the drugs that I had in my system, then kind of flushed that out on the back nine.”

“The vertigo came back a little bit on the 13th tee box, and then felt nauseous all day. I started shaking on 16 tee box and then just tried to get it in, really.”

“Just wanted to get it in. I think the goal was just to go through today and see how it goes.”

Caddie Colin Swatton summed it all up;

“That was the greatest round I’ve ever watched.”

“I said, ‘You’ve got the heart of a lion. You get to show the world today you get to be the greatest you can be and look, let’s do it.’ And he just put his head down and kept walking, one foot in front of the other.”

“It was pretty impressive.”

Jordan wants to try and limit the mistakes tomorrow, and thinks he has a solution to playing 18;

“We’ll just have to check where the wind is, there’s an option to play down No. 1.”

“All in all, I thought it was a dumb hole today, but I think we’re going to play it from there again, so I’ve got to get over that. Just need to limit the mistakes tomorrow.”

U.S. Open

18th hole Via 1st Fairway

The  Fox Sports’ U.S. Open telecast is one of the poorest attempts I have ever witnessed at presenting golf to the world. The background music was so loud the commentator could not talk over it. The camera at times was unable to follow the ball flight, and had no idea where it was. The commentators mixed up players names, twice I heard Jason Spieth. So all in all this championship has been let down by the poor course condition, and inadequate presentation on the TV.

Do you think watching this tournament would make you want to out and play golf? certainly not at Chambers Bay.

115th U.S. Open. Gruesome Greens Grab Attention.

White Dragon GolfChambers Bay

The gruesome greens at Chambers Bay Golf Club grabbed everyone’s attention in the first round of the U.S. Open. At the end of the day Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson shared the lead, while at the other end of the table, Tiger Woods +10 over and Rickie Fowler +11 crashed spectacularly. The fescue grass experiment is not off to a great start, especially as the older greens have never really taken hold properly, and they have been infiltrated by poa annua clumps. The early morning starters had the best of the day.

U.S. Open

Dustin Johnson on his way to par the 10th / all pics Getty Images

Dustin and Henrik shot open rounds of -5 under par 65 at the 115th U.S. Open at the much maligned Chambers Bay Golf Club in Washington.

Dustin reported that he is playing with confidence, hitting good irons shots;

“Hit a lot of quality iron shots, the confidence is definitely there.”

Henrik said he had a good day on the greens;

“It was a good day on the greens in all, but especially the last five holes.”

 “I hit some beautiful putts and managed to slip a few in there.”

Patrick Reed, with a -4 under par 66, for third place alone reported that he definitely missed a few putts;

” All I had to do was get the ball to the hole and it had a chance of going in. I made some long putts, but I also feel like I missed a lot of good opportunities.”

Matt KucharBen Martin and the amateur Brian Campbell are tied in fourth place at -3 under par. They are followed by a group of payers at -2 under par.

Phil Mickelson was happy with his start, -1 under par 69 and T14, as he chases the career Grand Slam this week, but did criticize the greens;

“The first round was the round I was going to be most nervous at, getting started.”

“You don’t want to have to fight to come back all the time. You want to get off to a solid start around par.”

“I think the biggest challenge is that the green speeds are different from green to green, that’s going to wreak havoc on our touch.” 

“What I found is that they’re not the most true surfaces downhill, because you can’t hit it hard enough to hold the line. But uphill they seem to hold the line just fine.”

“I might have to factor that in, in how I play some shots now, because I think the percentage of made putts uphill from three to nine feet is going to be quite a bit higher than downhill.” 

US Open

Rory McIlroy, at +2 over par was not quite so outspoken;

“I just didn’t quite have it with the putter today, and that’s something that I need to get right over the next three days if I want to have a chance.”

“I still feel like if you make a good enough stroke and you have the right speed, there’s a good enough chance the ball will go in.”

US Open

Sergio Garcia, who started with an even par first round and T26, took to twitter to post;

“Happy with my Even par round today although it could’ve been a bit better by the way I played but this greens are as bad as the look on TV.”

 

AT&T Byron Nelson. Texas Aussie Steve has Two Shot Lead.

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Texas Aussie Steve Bowditch has a two shot lead going onto the final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Four Seasons Resort tomorrow.

AT&T Getty Images

Steve Bowditch / Getty Images

Steve posted a -4 under par 65 in the third round to take his AT&T Byron Nelson total to -13 under par, and says he will be sticking to his game plan;

“You’ve got to stick to your game plan, and hopefully come that back nine, you’re there or thereabout and see what happens. Have some fun.”

There are then five players at -11 under par, Dustin Johnson, Jonathan RandolphJimmy Walker, Scott Pinckney and Jon Curran.

Dustin reported that good putting saved his third round, a marvelous -7 under par 62;

AT&T Byron Nelson

Dustin Johnson /Getty Images

“At times I hit some really good shots, but I really didn’t hit it that well, but I putted well.”

“With it being so wet, it’s hard to get them real fast, they’re really good speed to be aggressive with your putter and make some putts.”

“Getting off to a good start is always very good for the confidence, and out here you feel like you need to make a lot of birdies with the soft conditions.”

“I think this is the first time I’ve played it when it was soft, I’m hitting a lot more drivers off the tee than normal.”

“Usually the fairways are so firm that I hit quite a few irons off the tees, but this week wherever the ball flies is where it’s stopping.”

Charley Hoffman, Joe Affrunti and Ryan Palmer are all tied in seventh place at -10 under par for the competition.

Charley pulled himself into contention with his -5 under par 64, Joe and Ryan posted third rounds of -2 under 67.

Jordan Spieth, the local home town favorite just stalled on the day, with a re-occurrence of his putting problems. He should have made birdie on the first two holes today, but missed short putts. He finished the day with a -1 under par 68, and is now six shots off the lead at -7 under par.

“All in all, needed a 4 under or more round to stay in the hunt and just unfortunate. I just didn’t have it.”

“Didn’t hit as many fairways today, less greens and I didn’t take advantage when I had opportunities.”

“Hopefully I can rally tomorrow, have a clean card with some circles on it just to have a good solid finish in this tournament, and give the fans something to cheer about.”