CIMB Classic. Three-Way Tie at the Top.

White Dragon GolfCIMB Classic

There is a three-way tie at the top of the CIMB Classic after the first round in Kuala Lumpur. Defending Champion Justin Thomas is joined at the top by Keegan Bradley and Derek Fathauer.

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Justin Thomas/ getty

Defending Champion Justin, one bogey, Derek, bogey free, and Keegan, two bogey’s, all share the CIMB Classic lead at -8 under par following their opening rounds of 64.

Justin has never had the opportunity of defending a title before, but just wants to re-create the fun memories;

“It is great to be back. I’ve never had the opportunity to come to a tournament as a defending champion before, so just being out there today with my caddie, Jimmy was good.”

“I kind of talked about some things that happened last year and just the good vibes we have and the good memories.”

“It’s fun. Hopefully we can recreate some of those good memories and good things.”

Paul Casey is alone in fourth place at -7 under par, he carded one bogey in his first round of 65.

Adam Scott was the runner-up last year, but has started slowly this year, -2 under par 70 in the first round, to be T 26;

“This was a good event for me last year.”

“I was trying to reel the guys in but came up one short.”

“So to come back this year, knowing the course a little bit better and feeling a little bit more comfortable is vital.”

“I love playing in Asia. Hopefully I’ll be able to play well enough to give myself another shot at it this year because it would be great to win the CIMB Classic.”

Valspar Championship. Three Way Tie at the Top.

White Dragon GolfValspar Champ

There is a three-way tie at the top of the Valspar Championship after the first round at Copperhead. Charles Howell 111, Keegan Bradley and Ken Duke share top billing.

Charles Howell III hits out of a bunker on the 15th hole during the first round of the Valspar Championship (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Charles Howell 111 / Getty Images

All three players carded first rounds of -4 under par 67 in the first round of the Valspar Championship, Charles and Ken bogey free.

Charles was happy with his bogey free effort, and is thinking of The Masters;

“I was impressed I got away with no bogeys.”

“It was nice to get off to a good start here on a place like this.”

“I’m not sure what the rest of the week will hold, but to actually play a nice round on a tough golf course is good for my confidence.”

“Always this time of the year, the Masters’ carrot looms, when April comes around it has a different feel, at least for me, than the other majors.”

“So when the Masters comes around and I’m not in it, then it’s a bit of a wake-up call or a kick in the rear to somehow make one last push to try to get in it.”

“It’s not like it’s more special to me than anyone else. Everyone feels that way about it.”

“It’s such a great event. It would be nice to somehow find a way to get there.”

“This golf course is so difficult and there’s trouble everywhere, and I don’t expect tomorrow to be a bogey-free day. Pars are good scores.”

Keegan said  he has been working hard to improve his game;

“It’s been tough, it’s no fun playing poorly out here.”

“I see all my buddies up there doing well and it feels not fun to feel like you’re on the outside looking in.”

“So I’ve been working the hardest in my career.”

Chesson Hadley holds third spot on his own with  -3 under par 68, while defending champion, and World #1 Jordan Spieth continues to struggle, +5 over par 76, and will have to work hard just to make the cut;

“I got off to a poor start, and I was behind the eight-ball with gusty winds on a very tough course.”

“Unfortunately now, on my off-days, typically my history, I’m able to hold that around even par.”

“I’m just shooting too high a number, and didn’t squeak out even today, even though it was an even par kind of round.”

“Hopefully less wind tomorrow and can work hard to play on the weekend.”

Northern Trust Open. James Hahn Wins in Play-Off

White Dragon GolfNorthern Trust Open

James Hahn wins his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Northern Trust Open, in a play-off at Riviera Country Club.

Northern Trust Open

James Hahn / Getty Images

James, along with Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey all tied at the top of the Northern Trust Open leaderboard at the conclusion of the final round with tournament totals of -6 under par.

They went into a sudden death play-off, which lasted for three holes, James carding a birdie at the par three third hole, the 14th to win. All three pared the 1st extra hole the 18th, Justin and James birdied the 2nd extra hole, the 10th, with Paul being eliminated there.

Jame’s never thought he had a chance to win this tournament;

“This is amazing, I never would have thought I would win this tournament.”

D.J. congratulated James, and mentioned his putting;

“Hats off to James, making a long putt like that.”

“I played with him all day, so I knew he was rolling the putter really well.”

Paul was amazed at how well everyone played;

“I didn’t think I would have the longest birdie putt after seeing where those guys were.”

“But those guys played phenomenal recoveries, absolutely brilliant.”

Sergio admitted he was not good enough eventually finishing T4 at -5 under par;

“I’ve always been truthful to myself and I didn’t deserve to win this week. It’s as simple as that.”

 “It caught up with me on the last six, seven holes. It was already a good effort for me to have a chance.’

“Unfortunately, it’s never nice to finish bogey-bogey. But I can’t really be disappointed because I didn’t play well enough.”

He was joined on that -5 under par total by Keegan Bradley, Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama.

Retief Goosen held on as long as he could, a double bogey on the unlucky 13th was the beginning of his undoing. He followed that mishap with three consecutive bogeys, finishing T8 at -4 under par;

 “I’m kicking myself, that’s for sure.”

“That was an opportunity missed, and we’ll move on. It won’t be a nice pill to swallow, but that’s just the way this game is.”

Waste Management Phoenix Open. Darkness Descends on the Desert.

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Darkness descends over the Arizona desert, suspending the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, at TPC Scottsdale, with Ryan Palmer leading. Play was suspended at 5:45 p.m. MT because of the gloom, leaving nine players, out of the 132 starters, to complete their opening rounds on Friday.

At the 16th hole Ryan gave away a dozen golf balls to excited fans, they were wrapped with a $10 dollar bill, with the message “Have a beer on me”

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Ryan shot an opening round of -7 under par 64 to lead the Waste Management Phoenix Open by just one shot at TPC Scottsdale.

Wasye Management Phoenix Open

Ryan Palmer / Getty Images

Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson and Daniel Berger are tied second place at -6 under par after their opening efforts of 66.

Bubba said he had a great day;

“A couple breaks went my way right there in the middle stretch of the back nine which kept me going.”

“All in all it was a great day.”

The much heralded return of a resurgent Tiger Woods did not amount to much, he carded a first round +2 over par 73, even though he drove the green on the par 4, 17th hole, a distance of 341 yards. He seems to be struggling with his chipping around the greens, do you think it could be the dreaded Chipping Yips ?

Tiger explained;

“I’m just having a hard time finding the bottom. Because of my old pattern, I was so steep on it, that I have a new grind on my wedge and sometimes it’s hard to trust.”

“I’m ahead of schedule on my speed, look how far I’m hitting it now. I’ve just got to get committed to hitting the club less sometimes. That’s the hard part. I bailed out on a couple of shots because I just don’t believe I have that much speed on my body yet. But I do.”

“This is my second tournament in six months, so I just need tournament rounds like this where I can fight through it, turn it around, grind through it and make adjustments on the fly.”

The second-round tee times are still expected to begin on time at TPC Scottsdale, with the groups starting off the first and 10th tees at 7:30 a.m. The remaining nine players will resume their opening rounds before continuing on with their second rounds. There could also be more delays during the second round, weather forecasts predict a 90 percent chance of rain on Friday with up to a quarter-inch of precipitation expected.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Seung-Yul Soars, Ben Backs Up.

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Zurich Classic of New Orleans Logo

Seung-Yul Noh soars at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans while Ben Martin backs up on the TPC Louisiana course.

No bogeys for Noh at Zurich

Seung-Yul Noh / Getty Images

Seung-Yul shot a -7 under par 65 in the third round of the Zurich Classic, sending him to the top of the leaderboard with his tournament score of -18 under par. He has now completed 54 tournament holes without incurring a bogey, and will enjoy a two shot lead at the beginning of play in the final round tomorrow. Great Golf. With stats like these, eight of his approach shots were hit to 10 feet or closer, and he  made seven birdies in posting his second round of 65 this week.

“That’s just this week, that’s why I’ve played three good bogey-free rounds. I was very disappointed in the whole season last year. I learned from that time. I’m very ready for tomorrow.”

His turnaround has come since he hired Scott Sajtinac  to coach him. Scott had some good things to say about his new employer;

“We know the kid’s good. He’s the real deal, it’s just coming together this week. To be able to have that calmness that it takes to win, it comes with age. It’s hard to win out here, let alone without a lot of experience.”

” His iron play is off the charts right now. There are a lot of cross breezes , slightly in, slightly helping, you’ve really got to control the flight of your ball. He’s doing it.”

Keegan Bradley matched that -7 under par third round score of 65, which elevated him up into second place on his own at -16 under par. Just two shots behind the leader, and with them both playing confident golf, tomorrow’s pairing will be a joy to behold.

On Friday Keegan woke up with food poisoning symptoms, it did not stop him from scoring a 66. He said he woke up OK for Saturday, and proved it by carding a third round -7 under par 65.

“ Saturday I woke up, thankfully, a hundred percent, but I felt very, very sick yesterday. I felt so great today, from the first tee to the range to the last hole. I’m most proud this week of where I’ve been mentally on the golf course and how calm I’ve felt.”

Of his coaching with Chuck Cook, Keegan thinks they have it all sorted now;

“We’re done doing much, it’s all just maintenance now. When I’m not in contention, it’s no fun, I love waking up and feeling that energy, getting to the first tee and the bigger crowds.”

Robert Streb is alone in third place at -15 under par, he carded a third round -4 under par 68.

Ben Martin had raced to the lead shooting a course-record -10 under par 62 in his first round, then followed that with his 36-hole score of 129 also a course record. He started the day badly carding a bogey 6 on the second hole, and never really recovered as the others moved away from him. He finished the day recording a +1 over par 73 and backing up into a tie for fourth place with Jeff Overton and Andrew Svoboda.

Paul Casey arrived here on Tuesday morning, he had to travel to Los Angeles to square away his green card first. By the time he arrived in New Orleans on Wednesday afternoon, he was too tired to get out and walk the course. On top of that he had a 7 a.m. tee time in Round 1. He carded a third round -8 under par 64, and explained it like this;

“I’m really just winging it completely blind, but it’s paid off. I’m trying not to learn the course, I’m trying to stay kind of, ‘Ignorance is bliss’ out there. I know his courses and I know how he thinks and I feel very, very comfortable around them. I’m not sure I’ll continue the trend of skipping practice rounds, but it’s fared well so far this week.”

“I know how to win a golf tournament, I feel very much over all the injuries and the struggles that I’ve had. So tomorrow is just a really exciting day for me.”

Shell Houston Open. Two at the Top.

dragon logo darkShell Houston Open Logo There are two players tied at the top of the leaderboard in the Shell Houston Open  at  Golf Club of Houston (formerly known as Redstone Golf Club)

 

Bill Haas is currently 33rd in the FedExCup standings, but is poised for a big jump. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Bill Hass / Getty Images

Bill Hass and Charley Hoffman top the leaderboard at the Shell Houston Open after completing first rounds of -7 under par 65’s, Charley was bogey free.

Bill made six birdies, one eagle and a single bogey, and thinks he is playing OK;

” I feel like I’m hanging around, playing okay, I certainly haven’t knocked on the door on Sunday quite yet. But I feel like I’m doing a lot of good things. It’s not like I’m just lost out there. I feel like I’m close. I think you just have to stay positive, and hopefully one week it all clicks and you find yourself in the mix on Sunday and then try to take advantage of that.”

” The greens are absolutely perfect, I think the scores are reflective on that. They were a little slower, but part of that, too, is the weather. It was like a little dewy mist out there all day, which played a part in the speed of the greens.”

There are five players tied in third place, all at -6 under par, they are, Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Eric Compton and Jim Renner.

This field is really bunched up, with ten players recording rounds of  -5 under par, 67.

Phil Mickleson is in the hunt, finishing his opening round at -4 under par 68.

Phil’s  bogey-free performance was a world away from last week when he was forced to withdraw during the third round in San Antonio, after pulling a muscle in his right side;

“I’m surprised because I was worried about the Masters. I was certainly worried about Houston, but it healed a lot quicker. I felt great today; didn’t feel any pain or discomfort and didn’t even think about it.”

” One of the things I really worked on hard today was staying focused on each shot.  I needed to play here this week and really challenge myself in that regard to give myself the best chance for next week.”

 Two-time major winner Rory McIlroy settled for an opening round of -2 under par 70, which he said was a solid round;

 “Solid, if unspectacular start here in Houston. Really happy with my form from tee to green. Hole a few more putts and I’ll be right there.”

“The greens weren’t quite as fast as we’re used to here, so I struggled getting the ball to the hole. I just need to work on my speed a little bit, but I’m very encouraged with how I hit the ball. I just didn’t score particularly well.”