Franklin Templeton Shootout. Matt & Harris Take Over at the Top.

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Matt Kuchar and Harris English take over the top of the Franklin Templeton Shootout leaderboard at -21 under par at the end of the second round in Florida.

Kuchar, English pull ahead

Matt Kuchar / getty

The second round consisted of Modified Alternate Shot,  Each player hits a drive on every hole and one drive is selected. The player whose drive is NOT selected hits the second shot, and they alternate shots until the ball is holed.

That format suited Matt and Harris, -6 under par 66 today, they have a unique team;

“It’s a unique pairing that way and there’s a decent rivalry, but I think both of us look at it as more respecting each other’s game.”

“We have very similar laid back, easygoing personalities. Just kind of we let that bit slide and just try to play some good golf together.”

“Nice to have a one-shot lead, but that’s no great cushion against guys like Stricker and Kelly that can really do some scoring.”

First round leaders Jerry and Steve are just one shot back at -20 under par, -4 under 68 today, to be in second place.

Jerry explained why they were behind the leaders, length off the tee;

“He was 50 yards past me.”

Steve added;

“There’s just a lot of offense on that team.”

Charles Howell 111 and Rory Sabbatini -3 under 69 today, are tied in third position with Kevin Chappell and Kevin Kisner, -4 under 68, both teams at -16 under par.

The final round tomorrow is  Better Ball, where each player plays through every hole using his own ball.

The player whose score is the lowest on each hole will be the team score for that hole.

 

Franklin Templeton Shootout. Jerry & Steve Lead.

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Jerry Kelly & Steve Stricker lead after the first round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout  at Tiburon Golf Club, Florida.

Franklin Templeton Shootout

Jerry & Steve / getty

Each player hits a drive on every hole and the best drive is selected. Each player then plays a second shot from the spot where the selected drive lays, and the best second shot is selected. This process is repeated until the hole is completed.

Steve Stricker returned to golf from a long layoff,  to team up with Jerry Kelly and take the first-round lead in the Franklin Templeton Shootout with a Scramble of -16 under par.

Steve said it was a great team effort;

“It was just a great team effort today, we both played well. We both kept the pedal down all the way around, we never let up.”

“We made a lot of good birdies, threw in an improbable eagle at the sixth hole, but other than that, it was just good, solid golf all the way around, all the way to the end.”

“Usually we have little hiccups here and there or a little lull period, and today that never happened. We just continued that good play every hole really.”

Jerry said it is really about rolling in the putts;

“We know everybody’s going to get in the fairway and get on the green in this format, so it’s really rolling in the putts.”

“I just need to do my job and hit solid putts, so he can see where the line is and make it like he does.”

Harris English and Matt Kuchar are in second place with a -15 under par total.

Charles Howell 111 teamed up with Rory Sabbatini, to claim third place at -13 under par.

Charles spoke about the old boys at the top;

“I think both of their biggest concern is that they have a big enough wheelbarrow for the Senior Tour.”

“They’re going to need some good tires and make sure they last the whole year.

 

Hero World Challenge. Hideki Easily Wins.

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Hideki Matsuyama easily wins the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

Matsuyama wins Hero World Challenge

Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki carded +1 over par 73 in th final round of the Hero World Challenge, but his -18 under par total was still good enough for the trophy;

Hideki recently won  the Japan Open, and named some of the great Japanese players;

“There’s been some great golfers in Japan.”

“Just to name a few, Jumbo Ozaki, Isao Aoki, Shigeki Maruyama, Tsuneyuki Nakajima.”

“And to be able to follow in their footsteps is a great honor. And then to come to the PGA TOUR and learn from really the best golfers in the world, it’s really helped my game.”  

“I’m grateful for all of their help. But to answer your question, I’m not the greatest golfer from Japan.”

“Jumbo won a hundred times, so unless I win a hundred times, I wouldn’t be greater than Jumbo.”

“Starting next week all my focus and preparation will be for the Masters.”  

“Hopefully, along the way I can play well on the PGA TOUR, but the Masters is my next goal.”

Henrik Stenson was second with a -16 under par total, his final round -4 under 68 was decent, but it did not create any pressure on the man in front of him.

Henrik mentioned the eight shot gap at the start of his round;

“I was miles away and it reminded me of the final round at Pinehurst in 2014 when Kaymer was miles ahead and you were just kind of walking in a bit of a vacuum.”

“I started picking up a few shots, made a nice eagle on 9. Then Hideki ended up in a bit of trouble.”  

“Unfortunately, I three putted from long range on 10, but I still picked up a shot there and then it was the double swing on 14 when he made a bit of a clumsy bogey and I made a good up and down for birdie.” 

“Now all of a sudden it felt like, okay, three back with four to go, there’s an outside chance if I keep on pressing on.”

Matt Kuchar, -2 under 70 today, Rickie Fowler, -3 under 69, and Dustin Johnson, -1 under 71, all shared third place at -13 under par.

Tournament host Tiger Woods could only manage a last round +4 over par 76, for a -4 under total, he was full of praise for Hideki;

“It’s going to give him a boatload of confidence going into next year and he’s going to be one of the top guys to beat for a very long time.”  

“Look at his swing, look at his game and look at the body that he has, it’s built for a workload and it’s built to handle the test of time.”  

“He’s going to be one of the players that we’re going to have to beat for a long time.”

 

 

Ryder Cup. Americans Dominate Afternoon Four-Balls.

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The American Team dominated the afternoon Four-Ball matches in the Ryder Cup, earning 3 points to Team Europe’s one. Team USA now leads 9 1/2 points to 6 1/2, a very substantial lead to take into the singles matches tomorrow at Hazeltine National.

It all started so well for Europe this afternoon, Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters beat Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson 3-1 to put the first point on the board.

2016 Ryder Cup - Afternoon Fourball Matches : News Photo

Rory & Thomas and the winning fist-pumps.

From then on it all went south as Danny Willett and Lee Westwood lost 1 up to J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore. This match could, and should have been in Europe’s favor but two short putts missed, one on 17, which would have leveled the scores, and then another on 18, to lose the match. If they had both dropped it would have been a different story, the culprit was Lee Westwood.

Danny said they had played well, but could not get the important putts to drop;

“We had a good tussle out there most of the day.”

“Westie played nice and solid, but we just couldn’t get the putts at the right time.”

“We had chances at 17 and 18. We hit pretty good putts but that green at 18 is tricky. It’s just a shame because we hit two pretty good shots in there.”

Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia went down 2-1 to Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar. Sergio’s frail putting was exposed under pressure, that Claw style grip is not positive enough to sink those pressure putts.

Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth defeated Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson 2-1 in a match where Patrick played some great golf.

The Americans will start the singles tomorrow with a three-point lead, and Team Europe will have to start strong and try to level the scores early on in the day.

 

Ryder Cup. It’s Game On As Europe Fight Back.

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It’s game on as the European Team fight back came  in the afternoon Fourballs, winning 3-1 at Hazeltine National in the Ryder Cup where the Americans now only lead 5-3 overall at the end of day one.

Ryder Cup

Rory McIlroy / getty

Rory sealed a good afternoon with his win with Thomas Pieters, 3-2 over Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

Rory was very gung-ho about the wins;

“It’s incredible, I’ve played one Ryder Cup in the US and this is definitely a little more hostile than the one at Medinah.”

“I just want to let people know how much it means to us.”

“This guy beside me all day was absolutely incredible. It’s his first Ryder Cup and he played so well. A lot of credit has to go to Thomas, as well.”

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson defeated Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed 5&4.

Justin said they trusted their game, while Henrik said his win was very sweet;

“Henrik and I did what we do best, we just stuck with it, trusted our games, trusted ourselves and we got on a little run.”

“We dovetailed beautifully and made a bunch of birdies. I relied on my partner again and he delivered.”

Henrik;

“We were playing very nicely in the afternoon, made a couple of putts that we didn’t do in the morning and it seemed like they got possibly a little bit tired.”

“It makes it sweeter though, when you beat the guys you lost to in the morning, that’s for sure.”

Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello were victorious, 3-2 over J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore.

Sergio loves the Ryder Cup;

“I love it. I love golf. Obviously this is very special for us. And to play with this guy, he was a rock out there. He gave me so much confidence to be able to go for shots and go for putts.”

While Rafa was excited to pay alongside his compatriot in his first Ryder Cup experience;

“It’s been a real honour to play today, if I would have picked a partner, I couldn’t have picked anyone better than him to join me in my first Ryder Cup match.”

“I’m proud that we played great that we felt very comfortable, we rooted for one another and that we got the point for Europe.”

The only American win was from Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka, 5-4 over Martin Kaymer and Danny Willett.

It is definitely game on tomorrow, and it will be interesting watching how the European Team approach the next round of Foursomes.

Ryder Cup. USA 4-0 Up.

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The USA are 4-0 up in the morning Foursomes of the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National.

Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose lost 3-2 against Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth.

Thomas Pieters and  Lee Westwood fell to a 5 and 4 defeat to Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer went down 4-2 to Zach Johnson and Jimmy Walker

Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan lost 1 up to Ricky Fowler and Phil Mickelson.

A dejected Rory / getty

Darren Clarke the Euro Captain had this to say;

“They weren’t firing on all cylinders, they’ve been playing really nicely in practice and it was one of those things.”

 “Foursomes is a difficult game. We took a look at the line up and we were looking forward to it and I thought we were looking strong but in foursomes sometimes that happens.”

“The American guys played better than we did. Looking at it, 4-0 is probably a fair result for the way that they were playing.”

“There are so many points to play for yet. Obviously it’s not an ideal start by any stretch of the imagination but we’ve come back from deficits like this in the past.”

“It’s a big ask, a tough ask, but the guys are all ready and keen and can’t wait to get back out there.”

 

WGC Bridgestone Invitational. DJ Does It Again.

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DJ does it again, Dustin Johnson wins the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.

Dustin Johnson followed up his win at the U.S. Open by winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Dustin Johnson / getty images

Dustin shot a final round -4 under par 66 to claim the WGC Bridgestone Invitational title with a winning total of -6 under par, and a two shot wining margin, good putting made the difference.

At the beginning of the tournament it was said that this course suited the shorter hitters off the tee, the long guys would have problems with the tree-lined course. I guess no one told Dustin that;

“This golf course is playing so tough, it’s not like I need to go out and shoot 63.”

“You just try to hit it in the fairway and get to get it on the green and try to make some putts. I knew if I shot 4 or 5 under I’d have a chance.”

“I feel great, I feel like my game is where it has been all year. I just haven’t been putting quite as well as I’d like.”

“The last couple of weeks, I just putted a little better.”

Scott Piercy was in second place at -5 under par, he carded a last round of even par 70.

World number one Jason Day has suffered the same type of last round malaise as Rory over in Europe earlier, Rory could only card an even par last round when in contention.

Jason was worse, with final round +2 over par 72, to finish tied in third place at -3 under par, with Jordan Spieth, -3 under 67 today, Matt Kuchar -4 under 66 and  Kevin Chappell with his last round -3 under 67.

Jason did not get a green in regulation over the last six holes, and he was disappointed with the outcome;

“Disappointed, but I’ve got to try and focus on what I did great this week, move on, and try and get better for the next one.”