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Accenture Match-Play. Who Lost on Day 1

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The Accenture Match-Play tournament was most noted for who lost on day 1 of the competition, at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

Day 1 recaps: Accenture

Ricky Fowler / Getty

It was a great victory for Ricky Fowler, defeating legendary matchplay exponent Ian Poulter 2-1. Even Ricky thought Poults was on a winner;

“I was definitely an underdog coming in. Heck, if I was filling out a bracket, I would have picked Poulter, too.  It feels like a big win after those missed cuts, it was nice to be the underdog. I had nothing to lose.”

Another Englishman on the wrong side of the leaderboard was Lee Westwood, he was defeated by Harris English 5-3.

George Coetzee, fresh from his win in South Africa, defeated Steve Stricker, an unlikely result at the start of play.

Zach Johnson, coming back from a layoff, lost to Richard Sterne 5-4. Everyone must now wonder if the unenforced rest period was a disaster, as Zach was playing really well beforehand. Another loser on day 1 was Keegan Bradley, falling to Jonas Blixt 2-1. Luke Donald also packed his bags, losing 5-4 to Matteo Manassero.

G-Mac only just made it,  he was four down through seven holes, and still three holes behind with three to play, when he staged an improbable rally against Florida neighbor Gary Woodland

Daily Wrap-up

Graeme McDowell / Getty

Graeme said he was surprised to get through;

“I’m sure he’s extremely disappointed right now, and I’m extremely elated. I’m surprised to be sitting here, having won. Yeah, I hit a couple of quality shots down the last couple of holes, but he had mistakes, as well. It’s a brutal format. I thought it was over, you’re not coming back from 3 down against a guy that’s playing as well as him. Yeah, I’m still going to try to hit my shots. But it required a mistake from him to give me half a sniff, even. It feels like a Sunday afternoon on Wednesday.”

The big names that made it safely through include, Henrik Stenson, the number one seed here, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, albeit after 22 holes, Jimmy Walker, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson.

     

U.S. Open. Phil is in Charge

Phil Mickelson is in charge, and the only player at the U.S. Open who is in red figures at Merion Golf Club, after three rounds have been completed.

Phil alone at the top

Phil Mickelson / Getty Images

Phil had an even par round today, which was good enough to elevate him to the top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Open. He has recorded five previous second place finishes in this tournament, but is now in control at Merion, leading by one shot going into the final round. Saturday is usually referred to as moving day, but no one at  the top of the board moved forward today. The good thing for Phil is that this is the first time ever he has enjoyed having the 54 hole lead at a U.S. Open, that must auger well for him;

” It’s a hard challenge, but it’s a lot of fun, every shot requires such great focus because a penalty can bite you quickly. I can’t wait to get back and playing. I feel good ball-striking, I feel good on the greens. I think it’s going to take an under-par round tomorrow.”

One shot back at even par, and tied in second place for the tournament are; Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel and Steve Stricker.

Another shot further back on +1 over par are; Justin Rose, Billy Horschel and Luke Donald.

Luke was cruising through his round, having had the outright lead until two equally poor swings on the last two holes. A 2-iron into the bunker on the par three 17th, that led to a bogey, and followed that with a shot into ankle-deep rough down the right side of the 18th green that led to a double bogey. And just like that, one of the best rounds of the day turned into a 71, and he was suddenly two shots behind. He also managed to miss three short putts as well earlier on, which in the end really hurt his final score.

Best round of the day went to Ricky Fowler, a -3 under par 67, but he is still at +3 over par for the tournament. It was tough going today for the players, but tomorrow will be even tougher, with some pins in the usual most difficult places. As I said a couple of days ago, the winner of this tournament may well not break par at the finish.

Asides;

Sad Sergio Garcia took a beating on the 15th hole, carding a 10 after going out of bounds with his tee shot,three times. He finished the round at +11 over par, when he could have been in contention.

World number one Tiger Woods had another disappointing day, a third round of +6 over par 76 has destroyed any ideas he may of had about making a late charge here on Sunday. He is currently at +9 over par for the tournament. Not fairing much better was his business buddy Rory McIlroy, the World number two finished one shot better at +8 over par, after his third round 75. The way these two are actually playing they may not be numbers one and two for too much longer.

Tiger Commented;

“It certainly is frustrating, I’m playing well enough to do it, and unfortunately just haven’t gotten it done.”

 

FRYS.COM OPEN, Jonas Blitx wins Maiden Tour Event

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Resilient rookie

Jonas Blixt/Laberge/Getty Images

Jonas Blixt won the Fry’s.Com Open, for his maiden US PGA Tour victory, with a tournament total of -16 under par.  Swede Jonas had a half-dozen fans walk the round with him wearing Swedish yellow ribbons, with “Jonas” written on white T-shirts, the support seemed to focus Jonas on the task in hand. He said his putter was a nuclear weapon, and the statistics proved the point, with him returning putting rounds of 25-28-27-25, for a tournament-best total of 105 putts. He finished first in strokes gained-putting and was ranked third in SGP coming into the week, he did not have a three-putt all week. Jonas also sported bright orange shoes, belt and shirt, very sort of  Rickie Fowler.

Jonas said he really wanted to be a hockey player;

” I was more interested in hockey, I wanted to be a hockey player, it’s the greatest sport ever, the lockout just kills me. I never really got big enough or good enough to play. Golf kind of suited me pretty well. The weird part is I’ve been working on some stuff with my swing, and I wasn’t feeling completely 100 % about my swing, I just told myself; Just give it a good hit every time and see what happens. Just focus, you can’t do anything better than your best. That’s what I did on every shot. You learn something every time, last week I didn’t play very well in the final round. I got a little too cute with some shots and wasn’t aggressive enough.”

Tim Petrovic and Jason Kokrak tied for second, with Tim posting a last round of 64, and Jason had  a 68, with both players finishing on -15 under par for the tournament.

Tim eagled the par-5 ninth hole, hitting a 2-iron to 2 1/2 feet, and making the putt to take the lead, he said;

“I think we were about 240 yards into the wind, hit into the bank and it bounced right up there. Almost went in. I played today like I was going to have to Monday qualify next week, and I played it like the Monday qualifier. That was kind of my mindset when I started today. I was going to play like a one-day shootout. Throughout my career I’ve always done well in the Monday qualifiers, I guess because I just kind of dial in, focus. I tried to have that mentality today.”

Jason also had an eagle, on the 17th hole and then closed with a par.

“It’s just nice to play well this week, it gives me confidence going into the rest of the year.”

 

McIlroy Wins Honda Classic & is World #1

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Sunday at PGA National

Rory McIlroy, Of Northern Ireland, ReactsAP

Rory McIlroy won The Honda Classic, and with it the World Golf Ranking of #1. Rory had a last round of 69 for a tournament total of -12 under par, two shots clear of the field. Tiger Woods finished joint second after a marvelous round of -8 under par, and a total of -10 at the end. He shared second place with the ever present and consistent Tom Gillis, who made a mockery of his lowly world ranking with four rounds in the sixty’s in this tournament. Justin Rose sadly could not improve on his overnight score, finishing with a level round of 70 and a -7 total. Ricky Fowler also had a good last round, with a 66, to finish tied 7th, looks like he may be getting used to those new Cobra clubs of his.

Tiger Woods eagled the 18th, which sent a massive roar around the golf course, Rory heard it all the way back on the 13th green, just as he was about to put for a birdie, he said;

“I could hear the huge roar, and it definitely wasn’t a birdie roar.I was able to hole that putt, which was very important. I knew if I could just play the last five holes at even par, it was going to be good enough. Great to get the job done, and very happy to come out on top.”

“It was tough today, especially seeing Tiger make a charge, I knew par golf would probably be good enough. To shoot 1 under in these conditions, when you go into the round with the lead, is very nice. And I was just able to get the job done.”

On becoming World #1 Rory enthused;

“It was always a dream of mine to become the world No. 1 and the best player in the world or whatever you want to call it. But I didn’t know that I would be able to get here this quickly. Hopefully, I can hold onto it for a little longer.”

 

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