Nedbank Golf Challenge. Marc Leishman Wins.

White Dragon Golf

Marc Leishman wins the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player County Club in Sun City, South Africa.

Nedbank Golf Challenge

Marc Leishman / Getty Images

A final round -5 under par 67 gave the emotional six shot victory to Marc at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, with a -19 under par total. It had been a difficult year for Marc as his wife Audrey got very unwell, and he was unsure of his golfing future, but now everything in the garden is rosy;

“It’s amazing. I’m so happy. It’s not very often you can walk up 18 with a good cushion and enjoy it.”

“I knew it was going to be a really tough day, I knew I had to play well. Henrik’s an awesome player and I knew he’d make me earn it, which he did.”

“I’m really pleased that I could play as well as I did and have a little bit of a buffer there at the end.”

“Golf’s a lot easier when you don’t have to make up lost ground, especially on this golf course where there’s trouble everywhere.”

“I was really happy to not have too many bogeys. I definitely found out where the trouble was in the practice round.”

“I’m pretty happy to have this year over, to be honest.”

“Audrey got very sick and I lost an uncle who I was very close to. This tops off what was otherwise not a great year.”

“Three weeks ago we moved into a new house, so this will help pay for that.”

Henrik Stenson finished in second place, a last round of even par was not what he was looking for, four birdies cancelled out by four bogey’s, finishing way back at -13 under par.

Third place went to Chris Wood, at -9 under par, a last round -4 under par getting him into that spot on his own.

Byeong-hun An, fresh from being crowned the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year finished this tournament at -7 under par in 8th place on his own.

Byeong-hun An, Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year / Getty Images

Byeong-hun An, Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year / Getty Images

Nedbank Golf Challenge. Leishman Leads.

White Dragon Golf

Marc Leishman leads the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City after 54 holes of the tournament at the Gary Player Country Club.

 Nedbank Golf Challenge

Marc Leishman / Getty Images

Australian Marc fired the low round of the day, -6 under par 66, to take control of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. He now has a tournament total of -14 under par, and will have a one shot advantage over Henrik Stenson going into the final round tomorrow.

Marc has been in this position before, and knows about the pressure he will get from Henrik, and hopes he does not come up short this time. Good putting was the key today, and he wants that trend to continue tomorrow;

“I saw Henrik was getting away a little bit so I had to try to do something to make it interesting for tomorrow.”

“Hopefully I can have another good round like today and give him a run for his money.”

“I’ll be very relaxed, there’s not too much to stress about. Obviously I really want to win, but it’s golf. I generally sleep well so hopefully I’ll do that tonight, and I’ll try to make some birdies tomorrow.”

“There’s a lot of golf to go and anything can happen.”

“I’ve been in this position a few times in big events so it’s great to draw on that experience.”

“I’ve come up short a couple of times but I’ve won tournaments before and I’m looking forward to having a chance tomorrow.”

 “It was a good day. I got the speed of the greens a lot better today. I’d been missing a lot of putts low all week from hitting them a bit soft, so I fixed that today and managed to hole some putts, which was the main difference.”

Henrik, from Sweden, had another hot day with the putter, sinking some vital ones just to stay in touch. A third round of -2 under 70, for a -13 under par total  keeping Marc in sight.

South African Jaco Van Zyl is keeping the home crowd happy, he is alone in third place at -10 under par, a third round of even par today kind of stalled his momentum.

From the USA, Robert Streb also had a disappointing even par third round, he is stayed at -9 under for the competition.

Farmers Insurance Open. Gary Grabs the Spotlight.

dragon logo dark

Gary Woodland grabbed the spotlight at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, using his power to push him to the top of the leaderboard.

Passing the test

Gary Woodland / Getty Images

Gary carded a -2 under par third round at Torrey Pines difficult South Course, which gave him a tournament total of -8 under par. He said if he does make the fairways it makes it a lot easier for him, he also remarked on the departure of Tiger Woods from this tournament following Tigers +7 over par 79 third round;

“If I drive the ball in play, I’m playing a little different golf course than most guys are playing. You get going south on this golf course, you can definitely put up some numbers in a hurry, I don’t think he’s too concerned about it.”

Marc Leishman and Jordan Spieth are only one shot adrift on -7 under par for the tournament. Marc completed his third round in par 72;

“If you let bogeys worry you on that golf course, it’s going to be a pretty long day. You don’t have to do a whole lot wrong to have a bogey.”

Jordan was happy to be one shot back, especially as he struggled today but made some good saves;

” Only one shot back and a bunched leaderboard, it’s going to take a good score tomorrow.  I’m excited about tomorrow. I had some great saves down the stretch today, so take that momentum.”

San Diego native Pat Perez is tied in fourth spot with Morgan Hoffman, both on -6 under par, and very much in this contest.

Pat mentioned how far Gary can hit the ball;

“When you play with Gary, who hits it 40 yards farther than I do, it doesn’t look that hard. Where he hits it is unbelievable. But it was a lot harder today.”

Back to Tiger, who recorded  back-to-back double bogeys, the first time since the 2011 PGA Championship. It meant he was on his way home early, because more than 78 players advanced to the weekend, there was a 54-hole cut for top 70 and ties. Only one other player, club pro Michael Block, had a worse score than Tiger.  Sadly it is now official that he went seven straight holes making bogey or worse !!!

Sony Open. Brian Blazes Trail,

dragon logo dark

 

 

Brian Stuard blazes a trail at the top of the leaderboard at the Sony Open  at the wonderful Waialae Country Club course in Hawaii.

Brian Stuard / Getty Images

Brian  finished off his second round with an Eagle, using a hybrid 3-iron into 2 feet on the par-5 ninth hole for a -5 under par 65. Back to back 65’s have given Brian a -10 under par tournament total, a one shot lead going into the week-end.

Brian said he feels comfortable on the greens;

“I think it’s something to do with the greens, I feel comfortable on the greens. I feel like I read them pretty well and I’m able to make putts.”

Second place belongs to Aussie Marc Leishman and Japanese Hideto Tanihara, both players one shot adrift of the lead at -9 under par. Marc with a smooth second round -6 under par 64, and Hideto carded a -5 under par 65.

Marc also had an Eagle on the ninth hole, and said it has out him right into the mix;

 “They’re the sort of things that really turn an average round into a good one, or a good one into a great one. It was nice to shoot six under and get myself right in it.”

Harris English, at -8 under par for the tournament is alone in fourth position, while Jason Kokrak is one of the six players at -7 under par.

Jason admitted he had done little practice, but was pleased with how it is going

“I’m keeping the ball in play, keeping the ball in front of me, I’m pleased with where I’m at right now. I’m going to have to make a few more putts. I didn’t do a whole lot of practicing this offseason, so I’m just kind of playing my way into some good play this week.”

Keeping Jason company on -7 under par are, Adam Scott, Jimmy Walker, Chris Kirk, Sang-Moon Bae and Chris Stroud.

Surprisingly missing the cut is Jordan Spieth, he was on the verge of getting to -2-under par at the turn, until carelessly missing a four foot birdie putt. He followed that mistake with a tee shot out of bounds on the next hole, and never recovered.

Apart from all that Jordan said he putted well;

“The funny thing is, I putted better this week than last week.”

RBC Heritage. Three Tied at the Top, in Storm Hit Harbour Town.

Play has been suspended for the day with three players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage on the Harbour Town Golf Links, at the rain affected end of the day. Kevin Streelman, Charley Hoffman and Steve LeBrun are at -6 under par for the competition.

Trio at the top

Steve LeBrun, Kevin Streelman and Charley Hoffman / Lecka / Getty Images

In the wet, windy and difficult conditions Kevin and Charley both had second rounds of -1 under par, 70 for their totals, with Steve LeBrun shooting a second round -3 under par 68.

Luke Donald also had second round of -3 under par, and shares T4 with Bill Haas, who came home in -2 under par for the day, both of them at -5 under par.

The next group of players, seven in all, are at -4 under par, they are all handily placed to go forward in this competition tomorrow. They are; Johnson Wagner, Rory Sabbatini, Graeme McDowell, D.H. Lee, Pat Perez, and two Aussies, Stuart Appleby and Marc Leishman. All these players are in the clubhouse, but the cut line has still to be determined  with 17 players still to complete their second rounds. The current cut line is at +1 over par, but could easily move to +2.

Pat Perez said his trying to stay calm;

” I’m trying to stay level, which is always, for me, trying to stay on a high, I’ve really worked hard on it this year. I don’t have the ups and downs. It’s hard, especially for me, because I’ve done it my whole life. But to say, that’s not going to bring me down, let’s try to make 5 instead of 6. And the next hole it’s basically done. I didn’t think I’d make a lot of birdies, but I seem to be hitting it closer than I ever have out here.”

One of those players teetering on the current cut line at +1 over par is Jesper Parnevik, and he is on the 18th hole with an agonising five foot putt left for his par. If he misses that tomorrow, he would drop to +2 over and that would move the cut to that number as well.

Obviously there are other players on the course who could make a birdie and change things back again, it will be a very interesting early start tomorrow.

Of those who have definitely missed the cut are; Vijay Singh +4, Ernie Els +4, John Daly +10, those are just a couple of the higher profile guys who have struggled in this competition.

The Masters. Aussie Assault at Augusta

Three Aussies have made a third day assault on the Masters at Augusta National, Adam Scott in third place, followed by Marc Leishman and Jason Day tied in fourth place. They are vying to be the first Aussie to win the Masters Title. For them to accomplish that feat they will have to overcome the two leaders at the top of the board.

Wide-open Sunday

Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker / Getty Images

Angel and Brandt both completed the third round in -3 under par,  for a tournament total of -7 under par. Brandt has made a bold statement about being here to win;

” I’ve spent 32 years of my life getting ready for tomorrow, I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t win. Period. I’m not here to get a good finish, I’m here to win.”

Angel, who won here in 2009, is a two-time Major winner, and you would think that he has the extra experience to overcome the mental factors of coming down the stretch in a Major contest, Angel had this to say, via an interpreter;

” I’ve been working very hard for this moment, and I’ve got to take the opportunity.”

Adam Scott said it would be fantastic to win the Masters, I think that is an under statement;

” Obviously, to win the Masters would be incredible, it would be great for Australia. We’ve never looked better odds-wise going into a Sunday, except that one year in 1996. It’s going to be a hell of a round tomorrow.”

Jason Day lead the tournament for most of the day, but made bogey on the last two holes;

“My favorite tournament of the year, I love this place. Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure on my shoulders, being from Australia and no Australian has ever won the event. They have been very, very close, but I’ve just got to try to get that out of my mind and just plug away.”

The day started with some high drama as Tiger Woods was penalized two shots, following his violation of the rules in dropping his ball yesterday, after his shot had hit the pin and found it’s way into the water. Tiger dropped his ball to replay the shot, but instead of dropping according to rule 26-1; ” Play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot the original ball was last played.” Tiger went two yards further back, to give himself the correct distance for the shot. In a game of political maneuvering the tournament committee handed Tiger a two shot penalty. There are a lot of people who felt that he should have been disqualified. Ultimately what saved Tiger, was a new rule, just two years old, that states disqualification will not be handed down when the complaint has come from someone watching TV. Seems like a fair assessment to me, a TV pundit gets umpteen replays, officials on the course get one look. You could argue that Tiger and his caddie should know the rules, I bet Steve Williams would not have let his man violate a rule.

Tiger admitted the mistake;

I went back to where I played it from, but went two yards further back and I tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit, and that should land me short of the flag and not have it either hit the flag or skip over the back. I felt that was going to be the right decision to take off four yards right there. And I did. It worked out perfectly.”

Masters. Sergio Suddenly Surprises.

Sergio Garcia suddenly surprised everyone by sharing the first round lead of  the Masters at Augusta National with Aussie Marc Leishman.

Sergio Garcia / Reddington/ Getty Images

Sergio Garcia grabbed a share of the Masters lead on day one of the Masters with Aussie Marc Leishman, both players at -6 under par after their first round scores of 66. Having Sergio’s name at the top of the leaderboard came as a surprise to all the pundits, who were all of the opinion that he hated Augusta National;

” No, I mean, well,obviously, it’s obviously not my favorite, my most favorite place, but we try to enjoy it as much as we can each time we come here. Sometimes it comes out better than others, but today it was one of those good days. And let’s enjoy it while it lasts. But like I said before, every time I tee it off, I try to play as well as I can, hope that my best that week is really, really good, and if I manage to do that, I will have a chance at winning. If my best is not that good, then, I’ll struggle a little bit. Today my best was pretty good, and I’m looking forward to doing the same thing the next three days. We all go through those moments, the beauty and the bad thing about this game is that it can have such highs and such lows, because it’s a lot more mental than some of the other games. So you know, the most important thing is to make sure that you get through those nicely and learn from them. Sometimes I do feel like there is such a thing as being too hyper about something, you’ve still got to keep calm. I still get very excited about playing the game and every single week and trying to win tournaments. It’s obviously not the same feeling that I had when I was 19, 20 or 21. But that’s kind of normal.”

Keep it going tomorrow Sergio.

In third place alone is Dustin Johnson, who came through the first round at -5 under par. Many think that the big hitting American can do well here this week, and his opening round of 67 goes a long way to substantiating those claims.

There are six players tied for fourth spot, they are; David Lynn, Rickie Fowler, Gonzo, Trevor Immelman, Fred Couples and Matt Kuchar. These all had opening rounds of -4 under par, 68.

This is The Masters, so don’t be surprised if this top section of the leaderboard changes dramatically  tomorrow. Bad weather is forecast so anything could happen.