RBC Heritage. Can Troy Triumph Tomorrow ?

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Can Troy Merritt triumph tomorrow? that is the question on everyone’s mind at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links, as he holds on to top spot of the leaderboard today.

RBC Heritage

Troy Merritt / Getty Images

Troy carded a third round -2 under par 69 at the RBC Heritage to maintain his place at the top of the leaderboard, going into the final round tomorrow with a three shot advantage at -14 under par.

The pressure was getting to him, as he spoke about the fear, and dropping a ball in the water;

“I was starting to feel the fear and being afraid, like I would when I was an amateur.”

“It’s not a bad fear, it’s the fear of being caught. And I think it’s worked for me in the past. “

“You go out there, play solid golf, take care of your business and you see how the other guy is doing.”

“I had a little bit of a tug with a 6-iron, and unfortunately watched it splash in the water, but it was a spectacular splash. I enjoyed that.”

“I ground out a six-footer for double. You don’t want to walk off that hole making 7, when you’re playing pretty solid.”

“It was a spectacular splash. I was going to try and get the momentum back, and I was able to do that.”

“Just play solid golf, put as much pressure on them as I can, make them try and take some risks, and just try and make pars, throw in an occasional birdie, and make them come and get me.”

There are three players tied in second place at -11 under par, including the defending champion Matt Kuchar, along with Brendon Todd and Kevin Kisner.

Low round of the day went to Brendon, a -8 under par 63, Kevin was -4 under today and Matt -3 under.

Matt had to overcome a double-bogey 5 after hitting a tree on the seventh hole, but he bounced back with birdies on the next two holes;

“There’s a tree that hangs out over the green protecting that, and it was a Dikembe Mutombo swat away from the basket, that was tough.”

Kevin is going to stick to his game plan;

“I’ll try to stick with the process, the kind of things I’ve been doing, and hopefully the results will come.”

“Whatever happens, happens. If I keep playing like I’m doing, hopefully I’ll have a chance.”

Jim Furyk, No. 10 in the world, was four shots behind the leader at -10 under par, with Masters Champion and FedExCup leader Jordan Spieth another stroke back at -9 under.

Jordan does not intend to go away quietly;

“Tomorrow I’ll be happy to be kind of in this quiet zone, coming from behind and hopefully making some noise.”

“I’m going to be really aggressive. If it doesn’t work out, then it was still a great stretch. And if I get out there and hit the shots that I want to hit, then I’ve got a possibility of contending again.”

 

 

RBC Heritage. Troy Merritt Has The Advantage.

White Dragon Golf RBC Heritage

Troy Merritt has the advantage at the half-way point in the RBC Heritage, leading the tournament by a comfortable four shots at Hilton Head.

RBC Heritage

Troy Merritt / A/P

Troy set a terrific pace, starting on the back nine,  going out in -7 under par 28 on his way to tying the Harbour Town Golf Links course record of -10 under par 61. He leads the RBC Heritage by four shots at -12 under par.

Troy has a strange quirk, in that he tries not to take a ball out of play after making a birdie with it, on this occasion his ball got beat up at the 12th hole, but he stuck with it, and made six birdies in the remainder of his round;

“It’s all about tempo for me, and the tempo was really solid today,  it was fun to roll the putts in and hear the crowd cheer.”

“As long as I can break 61 on the front nine, I’ll be happy, I just want to enjoy the moment, not think too much about the shots and add them up at the end of the day.”

“Anytime that you match shot for shot with the Masters champ, with the way he’s playing, it’s a pretty good feeling.”

The Masters Champ he was referring to was Jordan Spieth, who shot -9 under par 62 today to recover from yesterdays mini slump of +2 over par 74, leaving him at -6 under par for the tournament T7. Jordan explained what had happened;

“That’s just better golf, I told you guys yesterday, no excuses, I just played poorly.”

“I went back to posture, ball position, hand position and tempo, and I struck that ball quite a bit better.”

“I don’t want to go home early.”

Troy’s two-round total of 130 also got to within one shot of the 36-hole tournament record, which is shared by Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson, he said it would not stop him talking about it;

“It is pretty cool, but I’ll go ahead and say it was the second lowest through 36 holes, behind Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson, they won’t mention that I shot 130, which is fine.”

“I didn’t know that the course record was 61, had I known that, I might’ve started to hit some shanks or trying to hole some shots. It was just a lot of fun out there, fun to play in front of the fans.”

Tied in second place at -8 under par are Matt Kuchar and John Merrick, Matt with a -5 under par 66 and John with one better -6 under 65.

Defending Champion Matt played alongside Jordan, but stuck to his guns;

“The conditions were easier today than yesterday, so I think we all got out there thinking this is a good opportunity to take advantage of some tamer conditions, and I got off to a good start.”

“It’s got to be more than a coincidence when you have two guys in a group who fire great rounds. There’s certainly got to be some momentum that pulls the other ones along. It seems to happen a lot.”

The Ryder Cup. Europe In Control.

Ryder Cup Gleneagles The Ryder Cup

Europe are in control of The Ryder Cup, taking a commanding lead into the final day of 10 points to 6. They dominated the Saturday foursomes after the USA had won two matches in the morning session. Europe won one and the final match of the session between Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler against Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter was halved. That reduced the lead of Europe to 6.5 points to 5.5  points going into the afternoon Foursomes matches.

In the afternoon matches  Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, set the tone by  making 12 birdies in a record-setting duel against Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar. This was no push over as Hunter and Matt recorded 9 birdies between them, but it was not enough to overcome the most birdies by a single side in any Ryder Cup match by the Europeans.

The Americans missed some opportunities on Saturday afternoon, and American TV commentator Johnny Miller summed it all up , after Jim Furyk had made a mess of a short pitch shot that went long, he referred to the pressure of the Ryder Cup;

“It’s all nerves at this point. All these people around and the importance of getting, maybe, somehow another half a point for the U.S., just melted. He’s had trouble finishing all year even though he’s played great.”

Lee Westwood edged closer to becoming Europe’s record points scorer when he and Jamie Donaldson beat Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar in the foursomes.

Europe now needs only  four more points to retain the Ryder Cup. It sounds easy, but two years ago, Europe rallied from the same deficit to shock the U.S. at Medinah. The U.S. did the same in 1999 at The Country Club at Brookline, the two biggest rallies in Ryder Cup history, so it can be done.

The Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup

 

RBC Heritage. Magic Matt Kuchar Wins

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A magic final round from Matt Kuchar saw him win the RBC Heritage title at Harbour Town Gold Links.

Having a blast: Kuchar's hole-out leads to victory

Matt Kuchar / Getty Images

 

Matt managed to compile a final round of -7 under par 64, for his winning total of -11 under par.

Before the hole out from the bunker on the last for a winning birdie, Matt spoke to his caddie;

“I said to Lance, ‘I‘m about due to make one of these.  It was so cool to see that thing disappear at the end. I wasn’t too disappointed to end up in that front greenside bunker on eighteen.I knew it was a pretty easy up and down.” 

 

 

Luke Donald, who started the day with a two shot lead, finished in second place at -10 under par, Matt had quite a wait watching to see if Luke could catch him and force a play-off. It did not happen, and thankfully broke Matt’s Sunday slumps. Luke shot himself in the foot when he drove his ball way left out of bounds on the sixth hole, and carded a double bogey 6. He then found water again on 10, resulting in a bogey. He was happy with the way he is progressing;

“I hit a lot of solid shots, a lot to build off and I’m excited about some of the changes I’ve been making.”

John Huh and Ben Martin tied for third place at -9 under par for the tournament.

RBC Heritage. Rain Stops Play. K.J. Choi Leads

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Rain stopped play in the second round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.  K.J. Choi was the clubhouse leader at the cessation of play.

K.J. Choi shot a 4-under 67 on Friday. (Maddie Meyers/Getty Images)

K.J. Choi / Getty Images

K.J. benefited from an early tee time at Harbour Town and took full advantage, recording a second round -4 under par 67, to sit atop the leaderboard at the end of play with a total score of -5 under par for the tournament. He was aware that this course might suit his game and decided to play this year instead of taking his usual trip home at this time of year;

“If you just hit it beneath the trees, it’s a good course to play. It has very small targets and this course is working well.”

Robert Allenby is in second place at -4 under par, and has only completed five holes of his second round, he was pleased to get off the golf course;

“It’s not fun when it’s blowing 20 miles an hour every different direction and it’s raining at the same time. So it was nice get out of there.”

Scott Langley dropped back, with second round +2 over par 73, which left him tied in third place at -3 under par.

Luke Donald is one of those players tied in third, following his completed second round of -2 under par 69. Luke likes this course, and his results prove that;

“It’s a good course for me and my results have certainly showed that in the last few years. If I’d got hot with the putter it could have been really special but, still, a very solid round, and glad I’m done.”

“You’ve got to keep it in play and plot your way around this course, that’s why I’ve had some success here. It’s not a course you can overpower and you need to be proficient around the greens. I hit 15 greens and, with these small greens, it’s a job well done.”

Five-time RBC Heritage champion Davis Love III certainly won’t be around for the final two rounds of this competition, after following a strong -1 under par 70 on Thursday with an horrible 80 in the second round, his highest score ever in 93 career rounds at Harbour Town.

 Matt Kuchar is also in trouble +4 over par in six second round holes, yesterday he shot a -5 under par 66, and will need to regain some of that form if he is to make the cut. His bad start didn’t seem to bother him too much, he told reporters that he was having fun with his kids;
“Chasing my youngest around the beach, so had some fun this morning. It’s going to be lots of games and some movies maybe the next couple of days.”

It is going to be a long day tomorrow for some of these players, having to complete round two, and then set off again for round three.

RBC Heritage. Three-Way Tie at the Top.

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There is a three-way tie at the top of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.

Matt Kuchar carded his 19th round in the 60s this season. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

One of the three, Matt Kuchar / Getty Images

Matt Kuchar, Scott Langley and William McGirt all posted rounds of -5 under par 66 to share the first round lead at the RBC Heritage.

Matt  birdied both the par five holes on the front nine before finishing with a birdie on his final hole, the ninth. He thinks a lot of the players coming from the Masters will play well here;

” It was some awfully steady golf. You’re going to see a lot of guys, if they’re not too run down from a major championship, come out and play some pretty good golf the week following.”

Scott was inspired by the performance of Jordan Spieth at the Masters;

“Seeing Jordan do so well, almost win the Masters, inspired me a little bit.”

William McGirt was catching the good vibes from Scott;

“Scott and I were both making birdies left and right, it was easy to feed off each other.”

Harris English is alone in fourth spot at -3 under par, just two shots off the lead. There are a whole host of players at -2 under par, 15 of them in total. Fresh from his exploits at the Masters was Jordan Spieth, he was among those guys on -2 under par for the day, and was paired with the U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain, Tom Watson and 2012 Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III.Both of these guys have been winners here, and Tom wanted to take a close look at the way the young man played, so Jordan could find his name on the team sheet;

“It was unbelievable just to be playing with them. I was anxious to get back out and play another competitive round, so today was going to be kind of therapy, in a sense, from last week.”

If Nick Faldo does not pull his socks up he will find himself back in the TV booth pretty quickly. Nick stuttered to an opening round of +6 over par 77. This the course where Nick won his first ever U.S. PGA Tour title, in 1984.

The Masters. Bubba Backs Up. Jordan Jumps Into Share of the Lead.

dragon logo darkMasters Flag   Bubba Watson backs up in The Masters on Saturday as Jordan Spieth jumps into a    share of the lead at Augusta National.

 

 

 

 Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Bubba Watson could only move backwards on moving day at The Masters, shooting a third round +2 over par 72. Jordan Spieth carded a -2 under par 70 to join Bubba at the top of the leaderboard on -5 under par for the tournament.

While Bubba seemed to lose concentration, Jordan just stayed focused, as the 20 year-old, vying to become the youngest ever Masters champion explained;

“You can’t let your focus go astray for one moment. It was about being patient, knowing that bogeys were going to come, and take advantage of the par fives. I’m able to take a lot of confidence out of today, a lot of positives. I wanted to get into contention, not just as a goal to get into contention, but to see how I can perform on a Sunday.”

“Today was a day to stay patient and try and get myself a later tee time even than today, and that goal was accomplished. And tomorrow is about seeing how I can control my game and emotions out on the golf course against guys that have even won here recently. So they have been in the position I haven’t. Doesn’t necessarily mean, I don’t think, that they have an advantage in any way. I think that I’m very confident in the way things are going, and really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Matt Kuchar and Jonas Blixt are tied in third place, just one shot back at -4  under par. Matt put together a -4 under par 68 third round. Jonas with a more conservative -1 under par 71.

 

 Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 50 year-old, who is known as “The Mechanic” aims to put a spanner in the works and try to win the tournament, just before he plays his first Champions League event;

“If you are fifty doesn’t mean that you cannot play well, I’m still moving, I’m still flexible. I love the place, it’s a beautiful place, a beautiful golf course, always manicured and I feel great here.The main thing is enjoy yourself, enjoy what you are doing and smile. Not enough people smile on the golf course. I love what I’m doing, and I hope I’m still in the same conditions for another 25 years. I’m not going to get bored of myself.”

 “Doesn’t matter how you play, you feel good, because everything is prepared for us the way it is. If you don’t hit good, you don’t want to be there. You need to hit good and you need to be patient, and you need to be into your own zone. I like it and that’s my style of game and what I love, what I love to do.”

 Miguel is tied in fifth place with Rickie Fowler at -3 under par.

 Lee Westwood is a shot further back at -2 under par, and  he has not finished lower than 11th in his last three appearances at Augusta National;

“Augusta is one of those places where I feel like I can get around, and I felt like I know how to get around here, even if I’m maybe not on my game. But I’ve hit the ball well this week and that’s why I’m in contention.” 

” The par fives are no gimmes around here, but if you’re going to shoot a low score then you’ve got to play them a couple under. There’s little birdie chances out there and I used all of them the first two days. And today played solidly and had a lot of chances out there. I was a bit unlucky at times on the greens. I had a lot of good putts that didn’t go in.”  

I guess that anyone in red figures now, has a chance to don the Green Jacket tomorrow, and that’s basically what Lee Westwood is thinking;

 “Anywhere within five, even six shots of the lead going into the final round of the Masters is given a good chance, especially with the way the golf course is playing out here. Even a good shot can drop you shots out there. Kind of on the knife edges of the greens.”