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Reno-Tahoe Open. Gary Woodland Wins

Gary Woodland won the Reno-Tahoe Open at Montreux Golf and Country Club in Nevada.

Coming up aces

Gary Woodland / Getty Images

 Gary managed to hole a 58-foot chip from the rough for one of his four birdies and also amazingly got up-and-down to save par five times  on his way to winning the Reno-Tahoe Open on Sunday for his second PGA TOUR victory. He finished with a total of 44 points in the Modified Stableford event. Gary said that he had tried to stay calm;

“It felt like it was meant to be this week, I tried to stay calm and really focus on what I was doing. Even though I wasn’t hitting greens I was hitting it in the right spots and gave myself opportunities to get up and down. I got lucky to find my ball on 14 there in the hazard and I kind of chopped it out. The chip that went in, I was just trying to get it on the green, let alone go in. It was one of the best shots I’ve ever hit. To follow up after Brendan Steele made the putt on 15, to answer him was huge, he had a lot of momentum and I sort of stole it all back and sort of rode it the rest of the way.”

Jonathan Byrd and Andres Romero tied for second place with 35 points, and Brendan Steele captured fourth spot on 33 points.

Jonathan birdied five of his first seven holes, and then followed that up with an Eagle on the par-5, 13th hole;

” My whole mindset was just to be a little more aggressive and give ourselves chances and just free it up. And I was able to do that today getting off to a hot start, just felt like I was off to the races.”

Played a Stableford event myself yesterday, came second on 40 points.

The Greenbrier Classic, 1st Round, Vijay shoots 63

   

Pleasant surprise

Vijay Singh/Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

Vijay Singh shoots a 63, -7 under par on the opening day of The Greenbrier Classic on Thursday at The Old White TPC · White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. It was the big Fijian’s lowest round for  six months, to take a one-stroke lead over Jeff Maggert, Jonathan Byrd and Martin Flores, and also leave Tiger Woods eight shots behind. Vijay was pretty surprised at the sudden upturn in his form;

“Gosh, I don’t know where that came from, I’ve been playing pretty good golf for a while, but just never got any scoring going. But today seemed I hit it close and drove the ball really well, hit a lot of greens and made some nice putts. Hopefully it keeps going, I don’t feel tired. I feel really energized. I’ve been working really hard on my game, so it’s nice to see something happen.”

On the other hand, Tiger Woods struggled all day with his putter;

“I was a little bit off with my game, and on top of that I didn’t have the speed of these greens at all. I missed literally every single putt high today.”

Jeff Maggert found it hard to recall some of his putts;

“At my age, it’s hard to remember, short-term memory’s going. I feel really comfortable here, there’s a lot of guys out here in their 40s, late 40s, that can really play some good golf still. So it’s not surprising to see some of the old guys up on the leaderboard.”

Phil Mickleson still at the top in Riviera

Phil Mickleson is still at the top of the leader board in Riviera at the Northern Trust Open at t he end of play on the third day. He is joined at the top by Keegan Bradley who fired a 66, compared to Phil’s round of 70. Phil said of his wobbly round:

“Usually when I win I’ll have two good rounds and I’ll have two rounds that aren’t so great that I’ve got to keep somewhere in it to give myself a chance. Yesterday and today I didn’t play the best. I wasn’t far off. I hit some good shots at times that didn’t quite turn out, but I was playing very defensive all day just trying to make pars.  I’ll go hit some balls and get it turned around for tomorrow because today was a big day. If I didn’t fight hard and make pars from some of the places I was at, then I’d be trying to play catch-up to a lot of guys.”

Keegan was really happy with his position and is looking forward to the final group pairing battle with Phil, a man he admires greatly.

“I can promise you I do want to beat Phil, and he wants to beat me. I just look forward to the challenge of going out there and being in the hunt with him. Like I said, you never know what Phil is going to shoot. He could shoot a really low one or not, so you’ve got to try not to focus on him as much. But the thing that I do have is I have played with him a bunch, I’ve hung out with him, and I feel more comfortable this year than I would last year playing in the final group. I’ve got that going for me. I love Phil. Everything he’s done for me is great, and if I didn’t win tomorrow, I would hope he would.”

Jonathan Byrd, Pat Perez and Bryce Molder are only one shot behind the leaders and plenty of  good golfers still in contention, which makes for an exciting finish to this tournament tomorrow.

Mentor vs. pupil

Luke Donald, Slow play is killing golf

Luke Donald, the worlds number one player has said in his twitter account that slow play is killing golf. This topic is no stranger to us guys at the other end of the spectrum, it is the number one gripe at our club every week at the mens tournament day.

Last week one group on the course had lost two holes on the group in front of them, letting faster groups play through does not seem to be an option. One player remarked, I pay the same subs as you, and I will take as long as I want. Others get very aggressive and hostile if you ask to play through, it is like a stain on their character. The slight against them is already there, everyone knows who they are, but little is done to combat the problem. It seems Luke Donald is of the same opinion, tweeting;

It’s not that hard, be ready when it’s your turn. Slow play is killing our sport. I could rant all day long, don’t think anything will ever change as the slow players don’t realize they are slow.

Slow play was in evidence this week in Hawaii, with Steve Stricker and Jonathan Byrd being put on the clock during the final round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Luke Donald / Getty Images

Steve Stricker Wins Tournament of Champions

Steve Stricker won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation course in Kapalua. Steve had a steady last round of  69 for a total of -23  to win by 3 shots from Scotland’s Martin Laird. Webb Simpson and Jonathan Byrd sadly failed to mount a back nine charge during the last round, leaving Steve to cruise to his first win ever in Hawaii. He now leads the Fed-Ex cup with a 500 point haul for the win.

Looking forward to the Sony Tournament in Honolulu next week, its one of my favorite places.

Stricker Still Leads in Hawaii

Steve Stricker still leads the Hyundai Tournament of Champions after the third round, still five shots clear of the field.  Webb Simpson, Martin Laird and defending champ Jonathan Byrd are still in the hunt but it would appear only some serious mistakes by Steve would intervene in him picking up the trophy.

Jonathan Byrd is still full of optimism saying, “He’s a tough guy to catch,” but I don’t think any lead is too much.”

stricker-action-getty

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Steve remarked after his round, “I knew it was going to be tough, I mean, it always is. When you’re leading the golf tournament it’s just hard to keep that momentum. I had such a good day yesterday that when you’re not making birdies you feel like you’re letting things slip away, and that’s what I was feeling like, I felt like everybody was coming after me and I was kind of coming back to the pack.”

“It was a struggle today, not a lot of good things happened, but I stayed patient, I really did, even though I wasn’t making any birdies and it felt like everybody else was. I just stayed patient and after my chip shot at 16 it felt like things were going to kind of turn my way and it did. So it was a good finish and it has put me in a good position.”

“Fortunately we had a good finish, but we have one more day, it’s not over yet, and I have to go out and play good tomorrow.”

It will be a good contest tomorrow with Steve and Jonathan in the last pairing for the last round, Steve will be able to keep a close watch on defending champion Jonathan Byrd. Both players really like the Kapalua Plantation course. Jonathan said, “Fortunately this is my fifth year here so I feel like I’ve got a good feel for the golf course and how to play it and how to prepare for it. It’s hard to putt on this golf course, there’s just so much break, and the grain, and the mountains, and the ocean. I think just being able to judge the greens and the distance has been the key, but you have to keep coming back to figure this golf course out.”

While Steve thoughts were, “I think just playing it so many times understanding the little things about this course, and there are a lot of little things. The greens are pretty severe, you have to know where to miss it, know where to hit it, it’s a tough course and there’s a lot of trickery to it and I guess I’ve become comfortable with it because I play here so much.”

Stricker Strikes in Hawaii

Steve Stricker shot a 10 under par 63 in the second round of the Hyundai Tournament at the Plantation course in Hawaii with an amazing putting display. “I felt like I was going to make every putt I looked at for a while,” Stricker said.

He now has a five shot lead over Webb Simpson at the halfway stage in Kapalua.

Kevin Na eagled the 17th and 18th holes but is still six strokes behind Stricker. Na said “I think it’ll be the best finish of my life,”

Jonathan Byrd, the first round leader had a disappointing second round shooting 71 to finish at -8, seven shots in arrears of Stricker at -15.

Goofy Rory Sabbatini had a bizarre two shot penalty for arriving late at the first tee. It was bizarre was the practice ground is only 25 yards from the first tee, his caddy took the blame citing a slow watch on his wrist. Although now twelve shots back of the leader Rory was philosophical about the error, stating.

“It’s the first time ever for me on tour. I know it’s the first time for Mick. I guess neither of us were really paying attention. Just one of those goofy moments.”

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