Arnold Palmer Invitational. Matt Makes It Again.

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Defending Champion Matt Every makes it again at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Matt Every and Arnold / Getty Images

Matt Every and Arnold / Getty Images

Matt joined Tiger Woods and Loren Roberts as the only players to repeat at Bay Hill, shooting a final round -6 under par 66, and an Arnold Palmer Invitational total of -19 under par, a one shot victory;

“It’s easy to get down on yourself out here, it’s the biggest waste of time because nobody really cares.”

“The last three feet I was begging for it to hang, and I was like, ‘Gosh, these are the ones that always lip out. Be so cool to see this one dive in,’ and it did. Cool moment.”

“I was playing so good, yesterday when I got done, that was the best I hit it in a long time.”

“I told Tiger I’d hold it down for him until he gets back.”

“I’m like, you’re already in the Masters.”

“After Augusta last year, I was really bummed out, I felt really good about my game and then I got there and got my butt kicked. “

“I’ve got to get better because I don’t want to be a guy who can’t compete there.”

“I do want to win more tournaments, though, scratch that I said that, but it’s neat to get them both here.”

Henrik, who finished second at -18 under par, was annoyed at being put on the clock by the officials, on the 15th hole, when he was leading the tournament, and I am inclined to agree with him, what a stupid decision;

“I’m a little bit disappointed with the outcome, but I’m as much disappointed with the PGA Tour officials for putting us on the clock on 15, starting to chase us down the stretch, and that’s not really the way to close out a golf tournament.”

“It’s hard enough to finish out a golf tournament and play those finishing holes without being on the clock.”

“I didn’t see the reason for that really. I didn’t even read my putt more than just one quick look on 15. Three-putted that one from long range. Morgan got a bad time on 16 on the second shot. I kind of rushed my putt from the back fringe.”

“It’s just hard when you don’t feel like you can take the time that you want to take. That surely didn’t help the cause.”

Ozzie Matt Jones finished in third place at -17 under par, with -4 under par 67 final round.

Rory, T11 at -11 under, spoke about the odds of him winning The Masters;

“I guess if you go on form, then probably no. But it depends how far you take that form back and you’ve got to look at previous results there and all sorts of stuff. I’m not a bookie.”

“The main goal was to come here and try to win, couldn’t do that. At least I got a couple of things out of this week, which is good.”

 

Arnold Palmer Invitational. Henrik Takes Over at the Top.

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Henrik Stenson takes over at the top of the Arnold Palmer Invitational leaderboard at the end of day three at Bay Hill.

Arnold Palmer Invitational

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik had a -6 under par 66 in the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, and at -16 under par for the tournament has a two shot lead going into the final round on Sunday.

Henrik said he needs to keep playing the same way as the first three rounds, because the ball does not know what it’s doing;

 “The golf ball doesn’t know what happened the previous three rounds, so I’ve got to go out tomorrow and keep the same mindset.”

“I’m not just a pretty face, I’ll try and make that different tomorrow but can’t give any guarantees. I’ll certainly try.”

 

Morgan Hoffmann is in touch in second place at -14 under par, -1 under for the third round saw him slip back;

“Just a really weird day out there, got some mud balls in the fairway, couldn’t control it. Got some weird lies in the bunkers. Brought it back and am decent for tomorrow.”

There are four players tied in third place, all at -13 under par, they are, Matt Jones, Jason Kokrak, Ben Martin and Matt Every.

Jason carded the low round of the day, -7 under par 65, which has given him a chance to get his first win on the PGA Tour.

Rory McIlroy had to settle for -1 under par 71, and is now seven shots back from the leader, at -9 under par;

“I’m frustrated, I birdied 12 and 13 and got right into the thick of things and then to give three shots back in quick succession was not really the plan.”

“I’m disappointed with the way I finished but I played well for the most part. I need to try to get off to a good start tomorrow, shoot a good score and see where that leaves me.

“There’s a lot of quality players above me. I would need to get off to a very fast start to win, 30 or 31 on the front nine, it’s possible; just try to start better and go from there.”

Daniel Berger scored an amazing Albatross, holing a 4-iron from 237 yards for a two on the 549 yard par 5 sixth hole. Daniel played the par fives in -6 under on Saturday, en route to a -4 under 68, and T23 at -7 under par;

“It was kind of right on that borderline between going for it and not going for it.”

“Little bit on the downhill lie. You know, my caddie gave me the confidence to go for it.”

“The joke between me and my caddie, how many albatrosses are going to be on that hole today.”

“It was special, especially over here, Mr. Palmer’s event.”

Daniel recorded a 2, 3, 4 and 5,  a combined -6 under par on the par fives and by doing so, started a new page in the golf history books, albatross, eagle, birdie and par, he is the first player to achieve that amazing feat.

I still can not understand why all the American TV commentators refer to an Albatross as a Double-Eagle, even mathematically it does not add up. Given that an Eagle is -2 under par, a Double Eagle would equal -4 under par. An Albatross is -3 under par.

Hero World Challenge. Spieth Reigns Supreme.

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Jordan Spieth reigns supreme at the Hero Golf Challenge, with a winning margin of ten shots.

Hero World Challenge

Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Jordan dominated his competitors, destroyed the Isleworth Golf and Country Club course and easily won the Hero World Challenge. A final round -6 under par 66 gave his wonderful winning total of -26 under par, and a ten shot victory. He has now won back to back tournaments, previously the Australian Open and now Tigers tournament.

Starting with a seven shot lead in the final round Jordan proceeded to card three birdies in four holes and turned the final three hours into a peaceful walk in the Florida sunshine. He said of that front nine;

“It was the most fun I ever had playing nine holes of golf.”

The 10-shot victory was the largest margin of the year in golf, and broke the tournament record of seven shots that host Tiger Woods had in 2007. He was happy to end his year on high note;

“Whether my emotions showed it or not I’m not sure, but inside we were really very pleased with the year and how it came to a close.”

 “This caps off the best golfing year that I’ve ever had. Each year has been a little better than the last. Hope it continues in 2015.”

For the record, Henrik Stenson won the race for second place, ten shots off the pace at -16 under par. He acknowledged that Jordan had his game under control;

“It was a one-horse race, all the rest of us had to do was battle it out for second, really.”

“He was in pretty much full control of every part of his game.”

Keegan Bradley and Patrick Reed tied for third, -15 under par. Keegan was also impressed with Jordan’s play;

“The kid is playing great.”

“I wanted to go over there and tackle him and break his putter. No, I love Jordan. I’m happy for him. He was pretty much unbeatable this week.”

Tournament host Tiger Woods finished tied in last place, he too acknowledged the special play of Jordan;

”He’s playing some pretty special golf right now.”

It will be fun to watch Jordan and Rory as they tackle the Majors in 2015, there is some really good golf on the horizon.

 

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik & Rafa Pull Clear.

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Henrik Stenson and Rafa Cabrera- Bello pull clear of the field in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course in Dubai.

DP World Tour Championship

Rafa Cabrera-Bello / Getty Images

Rafa shot a great third round -7 under par 65, to share the DP World Tour Championship lead with Henrik at -14 under par, the pair of them now have a three shot advantage going into the final round tomorrow.

Rafa said it had been a very special day for him;

“Obviously it’s been a very special round for me today,” he said. “I’m really, really pleased with the score, and obviously with the good finish.”

“The short game and putting has been unbelievable, probably the best day of my life for short game.”

“I think that that’s what helped me hang in there on the front nine and I did play better on the back nine. I was playing more aggressive going for it, hitting good shots, and giving myself a lot of chances and I did make some of them.”

Henrik did nothing wrong today, a bogey free -4 under par 68, and reported he had recovered from hitting the wall yesterday, he put it down to old age. He has never successfully defended a title, and wants to win here;

“I felt a little stronger today but I wasn’t exactly jumping out of bed this morning, but what do you expect at 38 years old? I’m a little low on energy but when the mind wants something you can pull through.”

“It would be great to win. It’s a great championship and it would mean a lot to defend a title and get the win. It’s been a good year but when you assess it you always look at the trophies and there hasn’t been one yet.”

“All in all it was a good day and we’re still at the races so I am pretty pleased.”

Justin Rose scored a -4 under par 68 today to move himself into third place alone, at -11 under par. He played alongside Rafa and could only admire what he saw;

“I watched an incredible round of golf today, Rafa was unbelievable. He really struggled with his game the first few holes, up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down, and then got some flow going.”

“He had 15 one-putts today. His short game was Seve-like. It was awesome.”

“He was chipping it to a foot and it was awesome. Chipping around this golf course is difficult, very grainy, very tough, very sandy underneath the ball. It was a masterclass.”

Tied in fourth place at -10 under par are; Rory McIlroyVictor Dubuisson, Tyrrell Hatton and Thorbjørn Olesen.

Rory had another off day, -2 under par 70,with a couple of double bogey’s thrown in, and is now four shots off the lead;

“It makes life a little more difficult for me tomorrow. I need to be aggressive, I need to go at pins, hit it close and make some putts.”

“I felt a little better out there today than yesterday so knew if I stayed patient the birdies would come. I got on a nice run with three birdies in a row from the fifth and another one at ten, but unfortunately the back nine was not quite as good as the front.”

“It was annoying to follow one double bogey with another. I was a little frustrated but it was nice to get a couple back and at least keep myself in touch.”

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik Has Half-Way Lead.

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Henrik Stenson has the half-way lead in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course in Dubai.

 DP World Tour Championship

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik posted a second round -6 under par 66 to lead the DP World Tour Championship at the half-way point by two shots on -10 under par.

He reported that he felt like he was running on empty, after a long season;

“Around the 12th hole I felt like I was running out of steam. It was difficult mentally from there on. I had to really focus hard and drag myself over the finish line.”

“It’s hot and sticky and even though I’m drinking well and getting plenty of energy, I just felt like I hit the wall on 12.”

“If it’s one or two holes left, you normally feel like, ‘okay, I can hang on’. But it was a bit of an uphill struggle from there. I managed to finish in good style anyway so I’m pleased with that.”

“There’s still a lot of golf to play and I’m really happy with how I closed this round.”

Rory McIlroy is just two shots behind at -8 under par, sharing second place with Richie Ramsay and Danny Willett.

Rory said he will try to close the gap on the leader tomorrow;

“I’m in a good position and there is a lot of golf left, I’ve definitely been in worse positions after two rounds and still won.”

“It could have been worse but it probably could have been a little better. I definitely didn’t have it like I did yesterday. I had to dig in a little bit so hopefully that’s the bad one out of the way and I have 36 holes now to make some ground up on Henrik.”

“Henrik’s very comfortable on this golf course obviously. I can’t let him get too far ahead tomorrow. I have to get off to a fast start and try and put a bit of pressure on him. Hopefully I can do that.”

Shane Lowry, aided by a hole-in-one on the 13th, and former US Open Champion Justin Rose are among the five-strong group of players another stroke back at -7 under par.

Shane spoke about his first ever Ace in tournament play, on the 204 yard par three 13th, and how good it felt;

“It was a beautiful shot, a perfect number for my six iron.”

“It’s my first in tournament play and only my second ever so it was pretty exciting. It was hard to go on and play the next hole after that.”

“I am still in the tournament and I suppose if you had given me that on Thursday I would have taken it.”

The Ryder Cup. Europe In Control.

Ryder Cup Gleneagles The Ryder Cup

Europe are in control of The Ryder Cup, taking a commanding lead into the final day of 10 points to 6. They dominated the Saturday foursomes after the USA had won two matches in the morning session. Europe won one and the final match of the session between Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler against Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter was halved. That reduced the lead of Europe to 6.5 points to 5.5  points going into the afternoon Foursomes matches.

In the afternoon matches  Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, set the tone by  making 12 birdies in a record-setting duel against Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar. This was no push over as Hunter and Matt recorded 9 birdies between them, but it was not enough to overcome the most birdies by a single side in any Ryder Cup match by the Europeans.

The Americans missed some opportunities on Saturday afternoon, and American TV commentator Johnny Miller summed it all up , after Jim Furyk had made a mess of a short pitch shot that went long, he referred to the pressure of the Ryder Cup;

“It’s all nerves at this point. All these people around and the importance of getting, maybe, somehow another half a point for the U.S., just melted. He’s had trouble finishing all year even though he’s played great.”

Lee Westwood edged closer to becoming Europe’s record points scorer when he and Jamie Donaldson beat Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar in the foursomes.

Europe now needs only  four more points to retain the Ryder Cup. It sounds easy, but two years ago, Europe rallied from the same deficit to shock the U.S. at Medinah. The U.S. did the same in 1999 at The Country Club at Brookline, the two biggest rallies in Ryder Cup history, so it can be done.

The Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup

 

BMW International Open. Four-Way Tie at the Top.

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There is a four-way tie at the top of the BMW International Open in Cologne.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello  (Getty Images)

Rafa Cabrera-Bello / Getty Images.

Rafa had to be content with a share of the lead at -12 under par at the halfway point of the BMW International Open at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof, after incurring a double hit penalty.

He had been in the lead for most of the mornings play when he attempted to escape from to chip out of the rough in front of the green at the par five 7th hole. On the follow through he stuck the ball again, and carded a six, and had to share top spot with Emiliano Grillo, Pablo Larrazábal and Danny Willett.

Danny Willett hits his tee shot at the 10th during the second round of the BMW International Open

Danny Willett / Getty Images

Danny had forgotten to take the pain killers for his sore shoulder, which lead to shank from him;

” The only thing you can do is laugh as it is not something that happens very often.” 

“Twelve under was great score for two days and the shoulder was good early on. I completely forgot to take any pills after nine holes and I could feel it in the last few holes.”

Emiliano Grillo is recovering from some tough times personally;

“It’s been a rough couple of months personally and on the golf course so I’m happy with the week so far. My dad passed away in December so it has been a long six months dealing with everything you have to deal with back home.”

“I’ve learned a lot of things about life with that and I think I am growing up fast.”

There are a group of six players that are the closest challengers to the leaders, all  on -10 under par; they are Alex Cejka, Branden Grace, Andreas Hartø, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Robert Karlsson and Craig Lee.

It was a special day for Andreas Hartø, as he made his first European Tour cut, after thirteen tournaments.

Not so good for Martin Kaymer on his homecoming, he missed the cut, recoding a score of par for his two rounds, finishing at T102. What a strange game golf can be, on top of the world one day, and missing the cut the next. Martin was suffering from putting problems.  He actually reached 17 of 18 greens in regulation but needed 35 putts to complete his round today, and recorded 31 in the first round.

Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

The BMW International Open leaderboard is pretty compacted, and with likes of  Stenson and Jimenez lurking just behind the leaders I expect one of them to make a move tomorrow.