Waste Management Phoenix Open. Hideki Beats Rickie In Play-Off

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Hideki Matsuyama beat Rickie Fowler in a play-off for the Waste Management Phoenix Open title at TPC Scottsdale.

Waste Management Phoenix Open

Hideki Matsuyama / Rob Schumaker

Hideki, from Japan, and Rickie went through a play-off lasting four holes, 18 twice, then 10 and the last was 17,  where Rickie made bogey to end the contest.

 

Both players had finished the Waste Management Phoenix Open with -14 under par totals, and both of them carded -4 under par 67 in the final round, forcing them into the play-off.

Rickie had his whole family out in support, plus of course the partisan galleries, and Hideki was aware of who they wanted to win;

“They were for Rickie, weren’t they?”

 “I’d say 99 percent of the gallery were cheering hard for Rickie. That gave me the motivation to go out and do it.”

“Even after the 15th  it didn’t look very good, and then Rickie opened the door for me and I was able to walk through it. It feels really good.”

Rickie got all emotional after the loss;

“I mean, the hard part is having, you know, all my friends and family and grandpa and my dad who haven’t seen me win.”

 “I’ll be all right. With how good I’m playing, I know I can win. That’s the hard part.”

Harris English was in third place, at -12 under par for the tournament, two off the pace set by the leaders.

Danny Lee faltered in the last round, shooting +2 over par 73 to end his hope of lifting the trophy, returning a final total of -11 under par, and fourth spot on his own.

Phil Mickelson could only manage a last round of even par, and T11, no barnstorming finish from him, the putter was not working;

“I tried on the front nine to get to some of these pins, and I kept short-siding myself and shot 1 over, and realized you just can’t force it out there.”

” It didn’t help that his putter cooled after a hot, six-birdie third round. He made 125 feet of putts on Saturday, and less than half of that (58 feet) on Sunday, when he needed 31 putts, his high for the week.”

“I hit a lot of good shots, I didn’t shoot the number this week probably that I felt I could, or should, but I feel my game is right where I want it.”

 

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Rickie Fowler Wins

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Rickie Fowler wins the weather interrupted Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club in United Arab Emirates.

 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Rickie Fowler / Getty Images

Rickie won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship with a final round -3 under par 69 for a tournament total of -16 under par.

Rickie was very satisfied to start his season with a win, confirming his winning ways of last season were just the beginning of an upward progression, and moves him up to fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking;

“This was a big one. Last year having a multiple-win season, to come back and work on getting back in the winner’s circle after a successful season and keep moving forward.”

“This is a great start.”

“It’s great field that HSBC has put together here. The course is in perfect shape.”

“It was a lot of fun today. It was a bit stressful at times.”

“Thomas is playing well. It’s fun to kind of go head-to-head with him being in the same group. We had a good time.”

“It’s nice to come out on top this week.”

“I’d like to jump in and be a part of that crew and see if we can continue to win some Majors if I can jump in there.”

“The goal right now with where my game’s at, the best it’s been this early in the season in my career, I’m working on getting ready for Augusta. And I’d like to have my shot at getting the Green Jacket there.”

“The ultimate goal this year is to go win a Major and this is a step in the right direction for sure.”

Second place went to Thomas Pieters, he carded a last round -5 under par 67 to post -15 under for the tournament.

Tied in third position were Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson, both two shots off the pace at -14 under par. Rory had a last round -4 under 68 while Henrik carded -5 under 67.

World number one Jordan Spieth finished in the group five shots back at -11 under par, while Ian Poulter could do nothing in the final round, going round at even par 72 for T14 at -9 under par.

 

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Five Tied at the Top.

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There are five players tied at the top of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship leaderboard after a dramatic day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, including another delay, of 2 hours 50 minutes. The delay meant that the third round could not be completed, and the players will have to return tomorrow to finish 54 holes, and then start the final round.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory McIlroyBranden Grace, Rickie Fowler, Joost Luiten and Ian Poulter were tied at the top of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, all at -10 under par, but they all have yet to complete 54 holes.

Rory carded -2 after 9 holes, Branden has completed 16 holes for -6 under, Rickie -4 on 11, Joost -3 on 10 and Poults -5 under after 13 holes. With a further five players on -9 under tomorrow will also be a very dramatic day, when only the fittest will survive.

Poults is relishing this finish, saying it is more like match-play, a format he enjoys, he was a winner at last weeks EurAsia Cup;

“It’s match play, whenever you go head-to-head you get the juices going, and that’s obviously nice as the first tournament of the year.”

 “I think it’s done me some good, and I think I’m looking forward to what the challenge is for the next 20, 26 holes.”

The -9 under group have yet to complete their third rounds, they are Andy Sullivan, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Henrik Stenson and Robert Rock.

Rory summed it all up nicely;

“This one is a bit more bunched. I think there will be a few more in contention.”

In all, 16 players are within three strokes of the lead, and that includes Jordan Spieth and  American amateur Bryson DeChambeau.

Jordan has finished his 54 holes, carding -4 under par 68 and is in a group at -7 under for the competition, while Bryson slipped up today returning a completed third round score of +1 over par, also at -7 under.

Jordan spoke about his troubles this week, including poor putting;

“I started out this tournament not driving the ball particularly well the first 12, 13 holes and since then my driver has been on.”

“I can make excuses all I want; I still haven’t made many putts and there’s no excuses for that. It can all come together tomorrow.”

“It’s happened many times in random rounds. Why not the fourth round here?”

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Andy Sullivan Sits On Top Of Unfinished 2nd round.

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Andy Sullivan sits on top of the leaderboard at the close of an unfinished 2nd round play, due to fog, in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, in the United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Andy Sullivan / Getty Images

Andy shot a second consecutive round -5  under par 67 to post a  Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 36 hole total of -10 under par, but will have to wait until the round is completed tomorrow to see if he stays at the top of the leaderboard. The delay lasted for two hours and forty five minutes.

Andy said today’s 67 was easier that yesterday’s;

“I think today was even more impressive than yesterday, I had it under a lot of control and it felt quite easy.”

“Today, started off great, lost my way through the middle part of the round and dug deep and finished really strong with three birdies.”

“I think on the whole, much much happier with today and obviously it puts me in good stead finishing that way for the rest of the tournament.”

 “I feel totally different coming in. This time last year, I had already won but still felt this tournament of this magnitude with the players, I knew that I would have to go some to do it.”

“Coming in this year, I know if I bring any A Game, I’m going to have a good chance at being up there now.”

“It’s nice to do that, and obviously to go out there and actually put your A Game to the test is great.”

American amateur Bryson DeChambeau is in second place at -9 under par, having completed only nine second round holes, for a -1 under par return so far. Bryson is trying to become just the fourth amateur in history to win on The European Tour, he  shows no signs of nerves, in a field which includes four of the top ten players in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Joost Luiten -4 under 68, and  Rafa Cabrera-Bello, -5 under 67, have completed their second rounds for a -7 under pat total and share third place on that score with Thomas Bjørn and Richard Bland, who have only finished 11 holes.

The four from the worlds top ten, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter are all in a huge group on -5 under, with unfinished rounds, while Jordan Spieth is on -4 under, also with more holes to play tomorrow.

 

 

 

Abu Dhabi Penalty for World #1 Jordan Spieth.

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World #1 Jordan Spieth received a slow play penalty at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championshpis

Jordan receives the bad news / Getty Images

Jordan reported that he had no idea why he got the penalty in the first place, he said it was a surprise to his playing partners Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler as well. The official ruling was that he took too long over a putt, while already being on the clock.;

“It didn’t make any sense to me”

“It didn’t affect the round, but Rory and Rickie were surprised as well.”

Under the European Tours slow play policy, two monitoring penalties will result in a fine, of about $2,800.

Rory commented;

“It was a bit of a weird one.”

“Sometimes the refs have to use common sense. With the time we’re allowed if you take an extra look at a putt you’re over the time.”

“But if we’re in position relative to the group ahead there’s no reason to time us.”

So I guess walking around to check all angles of a putt is verboten on the Euro Tour, you just have to stand up and hit it. Officialdom gone mad, if you want to watch the best golf in the world, let the players take some time over a putt. There are too many rules already.

 

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Jordan Only Wins By 8 Shots.

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Jordan Spieth only won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions title by 8 shots, when many (including me) thought the winning margin would be more. He joins Ernie Els as the only players in PGA Tour history to finish a 72-hole event at -30 under or lower.

 

Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Jordan carded a final Hyundai Tournament of Champions round of -6 under par 67 for his winning total of -30 under par. It was just business as usual;

“I felt like it was short three-week break and continue what we were doing last year.”

“That’s the way I’ll keep on thinking about it. It worked this week. All parts were firing.”

Defending Champion Patrick Reed finished in second place, at -22 under par, those eight shots off the pace set by the leader. His final round -4 under par 69 never threatening the dominant Jordan Spieth. He knew it going to be a tough ask;

” I knew I had to go out early and make birdies early, and try to put some pressure on him.”

“All of a sudden I made two birdies early, and I got to within three.”

“Next time I looked at the leaderboard it was back to five.”

“He’s going to go out and make birdies, he’s not going to go out and shoot over par, especially the way he’s playing right now.”

Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka shared third position at -21 under for the tournament. Brandt carded a last round -6 under par 67, while Brooks could not match yesterdays ten under effort, scoring just -2 under par 71.

Rickie Fowler was alone in fourth place, with a -20 under par total, a -6 under 67 for his last round effort, was not too bad, but not good enough.

Of note was the wonderful tournament of Padraig Harrington, he also fired -6 under 67 final round. The oldest man of the final two rounds finishing T6 at -17 under par, with Peter Malnati and Fabian Gomez.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Super Spieth, Again.

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It’s super Jordan Spieth again in the third round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, the Plantation Course in Maui, Hawaii.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Jordan carded a third round -8 under par 65 to increase his lead at the top of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions leaderboard to five shots over his nearest rival, with a three round total of -24 under par. It could have been more, his second shot to the par five 18th hit the pin, nearly dropping in for a rare Albatross, he settled for the Eagle.

As good as Jordan’s round was, it was not the best of the day,  Brooks Koepka fired a bogey free -10 under par 63, which moved him into second place at -19 under par, those five shots back.

In interview after his round Jordan reflected on what he needs to do tomorrow, and the round of Brooks;

“Got to keep making birdies tomorrow, keep my game up.”

“Brooks shot ten under today, that’s insane.”

Patrick Reed has third place to himself, a third round -6 under par 67 for a -18 under par total not good enough to keep pace with the leaders. He is still bogey free on the week, but knows he needs birdies as the leaders will not let up, and he will just have to go out there and get them;

“Jordan is definitely not letting up and we’re going to have to go out and get it.”

The Kona wind got up a little today, but you would not have known it by the scores, apart from Jordan and Brooks efforts, Brandt Snedeker had a -8 under par 65, moving up the leaderboard sharing fourth spot with Fabian Gomez.

Jimmy Walker carded -9 under par 64, and just missed a birdie putt on the last, his total of -14 under par puts him at T6, joining  Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner and Steven Bowditch, on that score.

Another round in the low 60’s tomorrow will seal the victory for Jordan, 66, 64 and 65 so far, even another ten under round would not catch him.