The Players. Day 2. Two Tied at the Top

White Dragon Golf

There are two players tied at the top of The Players, Jerry Kelly and Kevin Na both had good rounds today, while some big names failed to make the cut.

The Players

Kevin Na / Getty Images

Kevin and Jerry hold a two shot lead at -8 under par for 36 holes at The Players at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.

Jerry with a magnificent -7 under par 65 against Kevin’s more modest -3 under par 69 to both get to -8 under par for the tournament.

Kevin has overcome a terrible bout of “The Yips” which at times prevented him from taking the club back;

“I had the yips, that’s what it was.”

“A lot of the guys when you have that, they fall off the planet.”

“They play poorly and nobody really sees and hears about it. But the weird case was, I was playing some of my best golf and I couldn’t take the club back.”

“How does a guy not take the club back every time he hits it, and it goes down the middle?”

“I don’t know. Do you want to open up my brain and check it out? I don’t know. I try to not think about it. I got over it.”

“Having the yips, I think because I went through that, I’m a better player now.”

“I hope people get over that and see me as just a guy that’s playing well on TOUR versus a guy that couldn’t take the club back.”

Bernhard Langer is a player who could not control the putting yips, which is why he uses the Long Putter. Not sure if Bernhard will retire from golf at the end of this year, when long putters will be banned. On the other side of the coin, Bernhard holds the record for the most birdies made at the treacherous 17th in The Players, some 25 of them in his career. Ironically he also holds the record for the longest putt holed at the 17th, 59 feet 9 inches. Sadly He missed the cut here this year.

The Players

Jerry Kelly / Getty Images

Jerry carded a -7 under par 65 second round, and reported that he lives on adrenaline;

“I enjoy adrenaline, I am 48. I know it almost ravages the body as much as it helps it as you start getting older, but I would like to hang out for another couple of days and have some fun with it.”

“I figured I would have another chance at this golf course, I didn’t think it would be that long, but it’s just strange. This whole career has gone by in the blink of an eye.”

There are four players tied in third place, two shots back at -6 under par for the tournament, Branden Grace, David Hearn, Chris Kirk and the ever-present Rickie Fowler.

Rickie could have had second place on his own, but a loose shot on the par 5 16th found water, leading to a bogey.

Rickie and Ian Poulter were tied in a magazine survey with 24 percent of the vote, for the most overrated player on tour. Rickie was not worried about the comments of his peers;

“If there’s a time where I need something to kind of give me a kick in the butt, then I can think of that and it will put me in the right frame of mind to go out there and take care of business.”

 World number one Rory McIlroy stumbled a bit today, he too could have been better except for a trip to the water. He finished with a -1 under par 71 and a -4 under par total;

“A lot can happen, and I feel like I’m in a decent position.”

Tiger made the cut on the number, but Phil Mickleson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald all had to go home early.

Phil was left wondering how he ever won here;

“I was thinking to myself as I was walking around, `I can’t believe I’ve actually won here,’ you know?”

 

 

Valspar Championship. Senden Squeezes In for a Win.

dragon logo darkValspar Championship Logo Ozzie John Senden squeezes in to win the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook.

John Senden / Getty Images

John squeezed in with two birdies at the death, on the 17th and 18th holes to complete his final round at -1 under par and a winning total of -7 under par. On a wild and windy day at Innisbrook the tournament was always in the balance until John broke through with those two decisive birdies.

 This one-shot victory was John’s first on the PGA TOUR in more than seven years and sends the 42-year-old Australian to the Masters next month. He spoke about the wild conditions;

“I just love the way the course blows, the scoring always stays under double figures here, and I felt if I could just stay in the moment that I was swinging well enough to go out there and give it a shake. I got a little bit busy in the mind going up the last hole. But I managed to hit a nice second shot and the putt was really the icing on the cake when it went down to around two inches.”

Kevin Na, who started the day one shot off the lead, finished in the same place, at -6 under par, and in second place following a disappointing final round of +1 over par 72.

Scott Langley was in third place finishing at -5 under par, a final round -1 under par 70 kept him above the group who were at -4 under par.

That group included Luke Donald, Will MacKenzie and Robert Garrigus, who had led going into Sunday but suffered a nightmare front nine, going out in 41 shots. He eventually ended up with a score of  + 4 over par 75.

Justin Rose carded a +3 over par 74 including a hat-trick of bogeys from the 11th onwards as he completed his tournament on -2 under par, in a tie for 8th place.

Valspar Championship. Garrigus Gallop Cut Short.

dragon logo darkValspar Championship Logo The gallop of Robert Garrigus at the Valspar Championship was cut short on Saturday at Innisbrook. 

A pair of short misses brought Garrigus back to the field a bit on Saturday. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

Robert Garrigus / Getty Images

Robert expensively missed two short putts on his back nine and had to settle for a -1 under par third round of 70 on the Copperhead Course. That reduced his advantage at the top of the leaderboard to a one-shot lead in the Valspar Championship, as he posted -8 under par in the competition.

Robert still managed to enjoy himself out there;

” I had fun, I’m in a good position. If I play a good round tomorrow, if I shoot under par, they’re going to have to come get me.”

Kevin Na had a third round -3 under par 68, for his total of -7 under par for the tournament and holds second place alone. He still suffers from the slow play tag that follows him around;

“I know how to play, I don’t know what people have said, but I don’t think I should be criticized. It’s not fair to me, I already have that stamp on me.”

One of the low rounds today came from third placed John Senden, his third round of -7 under par 64 catapulted him into third spot on his own at -6 under par. John took his putting stroke from the practice green onto the course

“I just was trying to be free, trying to putt like I do on the practice putting green, I took it straight to the golf course today. Very happy to do that. There’s a lot of grain on these greens and ball seems to turn a lot when you’re putting. You’ve really got to take note of way the grain reads.”

” I’ll get out there tomorrow and try to do it again. I can’t control what any other player does, but I can go out there and do the best I can do. Hopefully I can be at the top of the leaderboard round about the end of the day.”

Justin Rose, -2 under par on the day occupies fourth place on his own at -5 under par. Retief Goosen equalled John Senden’s low round of -7 under par and is in the group at -4 under par.

 Luke Donald is at -3 under par, and definitely in position to capitalize on any mistakes the leaders make and perhaps steal a victory. Luke played like his game of old;

“ Kind of a Luke Donald round, that’s kind of what you need around this place. I never thought I was very far off, but around a course like this you need to hit fairways and greens and kind of make it easier on yourself because it’s tricky.”

“I’ve played here enough times, and seeing the scores over the last couple days, I knew a good round would shoot me up the board. So just try to play my own game and post something low-ish to get me back into contention.”

Valspar Championship. Garrigus Gets Ahead.

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Valspar Championship Logo

 

Robert Garrigus gets ahead in the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook on day 2 taking a three shot lead into the week-end.

Garrigus leads at Valspar

Robert Garrigus / Getty Images

Robert can not remember a better performance going into the week-end than the one he put together on day 2 at the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead course. He shot a second round -5 under par 66, to finish the day three shots ahead on -7 under par for the tournament;

“It’s the fishing, I think that puts me in a good frame of mind because I’m clear and not thinking about anything, just going out and having some fun. I probably hit one of the top-five shots of my life there on sixteen, out of the trees. Hit a low, cut 5-iron, then rose it up over the pine tree and cut it 40 yards and hit to ten feet. That’s just one of those shots that when you’re playing good and everything is rolling, you kind of expect it. It was a lot of fun to try it, and to pull it off was even better. I’ve spent half my life in the trees. I’ve had a lot of practice.”

Kevin Na is in second place, a second round -3 under par 68 gave him a total of -4 under par for the tournament. That was good enough for second spot alone.

Highest-ranked player in the field, Justin Rose shot a second round -3 under par, and joins Matt Every, Pat Perez and Matteo Manassero, all tied in third place at -3 under par.

Justin finally got some momentum going;

“I got some momentum going today, I worked my way into the tournament early. To finish strong with my round yesterday I think helped give me some momentum into day. It’s exactly how I needed to flow into the tournament.”

During the round today Pat Perez  was the first player to reach -5 under par for the tournament, until he missed two drives well to the left. The first was in the trees at No. 6, and then another wayward drive went out of bounds on No. 7. Both of them led to double bogeys, though Pat shrugged off the disappointment;

“Just move on and keep going.”

Danny Lee went from first to worst. He was tied for the lead Thursday, and then shot +8 over par for 79, and miss the cut. The cut was at +3  over par,  and because 84 players advanced, there will be a 54-hole cut to top 70 and ties on Saturday.

The list of players missing the cut was pretty impressive, they include;

Ernie Els, Mike Weir,  Camilo Villegas, Webb Simpson, Geoff Ogilvey, D.A. Points, VJ Singh, Angel Cabrera, Kyle Stanley and the wild man himself, John Daly, who propped up the whole field.

 

 

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Walker Wins

dragon logo darkJimmy Walker wins the AT&T  Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Jimmy Walker poses with the trophy after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Jimmy Walker / Getty Images

Jimmy won his third career victory, lifting the trophy at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, carding a nervy final round of +2 over par 74. His total score of -11 under par was good enough to keep him on top of the leaderboard and grab the title.

Jimmy mentioned gaining the winning habit and also the drama on the last green;

“I don’t know if it was just a matter of doing it once and then having it happen again and then happen again. I’ve always felt like I could win out here, and I think that’s what you have to believe to be out here, that you belong and that you can win. And finally, it happened. And it’s cool that it’s happened a couple more times. It’s drama, man, it was too much for me. I hate three-putting, I had two of them back there, and definitely didn’t want another one on the last. I just go out and play golf, this is what I want to do and I’ve worked really hard to do it, to be here, and to be in this position and it’s really cool.”

Dustin Johnson finished tied in second place, just one shot off the lead at -10 under par, and it was his -6 under par 66 round that was giving Jimmy the jitters. Along with Dustin at -10 under par  was Jim Renner.

Jim was among the Web.com Tour graduates, this result has  earned him a spot at the Northern Trust Open next week and he will be in better position to get into events over the next couple of months. Apart from this second place Jim and John Harkey Jr who is  the CEO of Consolidated Restaurant Operations Inc, won the Pro-Am portion of the tournament;

“It was pretty big, I just knew I needed a good week. My back was up against the wall, and that’s something I’m familiar with and I don’t mind it. But I’m happy that I freed myself up a little bit for the rest of the year.”

Jordan Spieth had to return to the course early Sunday morning to complete his third round, suffering  six three-putts and carding a +6 over par 78. He faced Pebble Beach Golf Links when it was at its most vicious throughout the third round, though he did manage to bounce back with a bogey-free -5 under par  67 final round to at least tie for fourth, with Kevin Na, both at -8 under par.

Had a torrid time myself on Paraparaumu Beach Golf Links yesterday, cold fierce winds, and rain, in what is supposed to be the middle of summer. These cold weather patterns are confusing me, didn’t Al Gore win the Nobel Prize for a slide show on Global warming. Another political lie.

AT&T. Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Walker is Walking It.

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Jimmy Walker is easily walking all over the opposition at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Amazing place

A determined Jimmy Walker / Getty Images

Jimmy has notched up a six shot lead at the AT&T completing a -4 under par 67 on the Monterey Peninsular course to secure the lead at -13 under par. That was before play was suspended due to darkness, with others still to complete their rounds.

Play was suspended by darkness at 8:43 p.m. ET  after a delay of two hours and 20 minutes when wind gusts of up to 36 mph began to actually blow balls around on several greens. The third round will now resume at 10:30 a.m. ET tomorrow. I don’t expect anyone to catch Jimmy from the remaining players.

Jimmy said he had no idea what the weather was going to be like tomorrow;

“Who knows what the weather’s going to do. I know Pebble Beach is a tough golf course, especially with the winds. I’m excited to be here, to be in this position. This is why you play golf and work hard to be in this position.” 

Tim Wilkinson and Hunter Mahan also played Monterey Peninsular and are tied for second place at -7 under par after rounds of 69 and 72, respectively. Richard Lee is alone in fourth at -6 under par while Phil Mickelson, Blake Adams, Kevin Na, Ryan Palmer and Pat Perez are tied, another stroke behind.

D.A. Points  had been disqualified from the pro tournament for in inadvertently using a practice aid on the 18th tee in violation of Rule 14-3. A clever spectator videoed D.A. as he waited on the 18th tee, keeping warm by putting a soft green sponge ball under his arm while he swung a club. Disqualified, go figure.  D.A. did have the option of playing Spyglass on Saturday with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, his partner in the pro-am.

D.A. said he was happy to continue with his playing partner in the Pro-Am competition;

“It’s not every day that you get to play 18 holes at Spyglass, let alone 18 holes at Spyglass with Secretary Rice. She’s such a sweet, just warm hearted woman and she loves golf and she’s wanting to get better. I signed up to play at the  Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It’s not just about me and the golf tournament, it’s about playing with our amateurs and making sure they have a good time. And who knows, if we could have come out today and lit the scoreboard up, lit the place on fire, maybe she would have got to see tomorrow. And my intent was to come out and help her have a good time and give her an opportunity to keep playing.”

Condoleezza and her caddy, with D.A. Points / Getty Images

Congratulations D.A. you are a golfing gentleman.

Kevin Na, did the fans Take it too far ?

Everyone agree’s Kevin Na has some problems, plays too slow. Compared to the average club golfer all the pro’s play too slow, at my club anything over four hours is frowned upon. They do not apply that logic to the professionals, even Tiger Woods struggled around our track, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club. He was even quoted as saying he would never play there again, a sad comment from a man who was paid a large sum of money just to turn up. The club itself  did not benefit financially from his appearance, the debt that club still carries dates back to Tigers appearance.

Getting back to the heckling Kevin Na experienced on Sunday at The Players, no it should not have happened, but it has happened in the past and no one said anything against it at the time. In fact the media said it was all his own fault, because he did not interact correctly with the crowd. I am referring to the nasty heckling Colin Montgomerie suffered at the hands of the American crowds, no one then said it was distasteful. I think that taunting Colin with shouts of Mrs Doubtfire, was even more cruel than the crowd singing to Kevin Na. The only difference between these two samples is one of the recipients was European and the other American. Apparently we should all feel sympathy for the American, but the foreigner is fair game.

So in answer to the title, no I don’t believe the fans took it too far, I was only surprised that during Tiger’s highly publicized indiscretions, the gallery did not start singing, Tiger, Tiger burning bright, who you taking to bed tonight.