The Players. J.B. and Kyle Tied at the Top.

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J.B. Holmes and Kyle Stanley are tied at the top of The Players leaderboard after 54 holes at TPC Sawgrass.

The Players The Players

J.B. and Kyle 

J.B. went round in-2 under 70 for a -9 under par The Players total, calling it an adventurous day, making some shots from out of the woods;

“An adventurous day, for sure.”

“I usually can make a bunch of birdies, so if I can just narrow it down to one bogey, then I’m usually in good shape.”

Kyle was even par 72 on the day, and had to remind himself that he was still in contention;

“You just kind of have to remind yourself that even though you’re a little bit over par, on the leaderboard I was still in a pretty good spot.”

Louis Oosthuizen shot +1 over 73, but has third place to himself with a -8 under par total, just one shot back;

“No lead can be big enough, that’s what makes this golf course great.”

“We have seen over the years great finishes around this golf course and horrible finishes.”

“It’s a great three finishing holes, and you need to be on your game. You need to hit the ball well and try not to do anything heroic when you have the lead.”

Truth is anyone could still win this title, it will be an exciting last day as the action unfolds, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Ian Poulter is at -6 under, and Sergio -5 under for the competition, maybe even Rory McIlroy at -1 under could go low early on and exert some pressure on the leaders.

Poults was not supposed to be at The Players, a last-minute phone call inviting him to participate. He was the only bogey free golfer today. What a great story that would make if he now wins it;

“It was a nice phone call to receive, I definitely feel better on the golf course for it.”

 

 

The Players. Two Tied at the Top.

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Two players are tied at the top of the The Players leaderboard after round one at TPC Sawgrass, William McGirt and McKenzie Hughes, share that honor, while Sergio Garcia was in the limelight with an Ace at the dreaded 17th.

A new era for McGirt

William McGirt / getty

William and McKenzie shot first rounds of -5 under par 67 at The Players, to lead the competition by one shot.

Now that William is famous, he finds it harder to hide from the fans;

“I  can’t hide anymore, I’ve gone through the airport a few times and tried to dress down as much as I could and hide. It doesn’t work.”

“But it is nice to be noticed. I mean, obviously if you’re walking around and you’re able to go unnoticed, that means people either have never heard of you or don’t care.”

“So, I would like to think that people actually do care, and they have noticed.”

J.B. Holmes, Alex Noren, Chez Reavie and Jon Rahm are that one shot back at -4 under par, following their opening rounds of 68.

 

Sergio Garcia's electric ace on No. 17 is the Shot of the Day

Shot of the day from Sergio Garcia, an Ace at 17 / getty

Sergio and Rory McIlroy finished in the huge group at +1 over par, with rounds of 73.

Sergio was really pleased with his Ace;

“The feeling was great.”

“”I think I wasn’t quite in the tournament because of everything that’s been going on after the Masters win and media and people congratulating you left, right and center. I felt like I was a little bit up in the clouds, and when I woke up, I was four over after six.”

Rory is still suffering from a sore back;

“My back has got a little bit stiff again. I guess just from obviously building it up and playing through and then not doing anything for three weeks and then coming back last weekend and hitting balls for four or five hours a day.”

“So I think that’s why I’m a little bit rusty, as well. But I think this week it’s just about trying to manage that and get through the week and try to play with what I have.”

The Masters, Four-Way Tie at the Top.

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There is a four-way tie at the top of The Masters leaderboard after 36 holes at Augusta National Golf Club. Charlie Hoffman, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia and Thomas Pieters.

The Masters

Rickie Fowler / getty

Rickie shot the low round of the day, -5 under par 67 to join the leaders at the top of The Masters leaderboard at -4 under par for the tournament.

Yesterday’s first round leader Charlie, choked today signing for a +3 over 75, but still shares top spot.

Sergio put in a good performance shooting a second round -3 under 69, for his -4 under total;

“I think that I’m a little bit calmer now. I think that I’m working on trying to accept things.”

 “It’s much easier to say than to do it. That’s the challenge we always have, making sure that you accept the  bad breaks with the good ones and move on.”

“There were a couple of moments out there where I could have lost it a little bit, you just have to realize that those things are going to happen.”

“I still have to get so much better at it, but what that shows me is that I have a lot of room for improvement, so that is something very positive.”

“Things are happening at the moment, so I want to make sure that I keep riding that wave and go out there tomorrow and be positive like I’ve been the first two days.”

Thomas carded -4 under 68 to join the crew at the top.

Tomorrow is moving day, and with so many names close to the leaders it will be interesting to see if anyone makes a significant surge, on the traditional moving day, Saturday. Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, are all within striking distance.

 

 

The Masters. Charlie Charges Ahead.

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Charlie Hoffman charges ahead in the first round of The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, in tough windy conditions.

The Master

Charlie Hoffman / Getty

Charlie carded an amazing -7 under par 65 in the first round of The Masters, to lead the field by four shots.

Charlie put his success down to good putting;

“The putts started going in the hole, as simple as that sounds.”

“I hit it pretty solid in the wind, got away with a few shots and then I was able to make those 15-20 footers in the wind which was nice.”

“I just kept hitting my spots and out here with the wind you end up having 20-footers and that’s sort of what you’re looking for. I was able to pour those in coming down the stretch which was nice and then I hit a few real close at the end which is always a good bonus.”

“Obviously going to sleep on the lead at a Major Championship here at Augusta National is not going to be the easiest thing. I look forward to it and I look forward to the challenge the next three days.”

“If you don’t believe in yourself, who’s going to believe in you?”

William McGirt is in second place at -3 under par, with his opening effort of 69;

“Honestly, I was just trying to figure out how to get it to the house without hurting myself.”

“I was not upset to see it blowing. I love it when it plays tough. I’m not the kind of person that’s going to get in a shootout with anybody.”

Lee Westwood holds third place, with a first round -2  under par 70, he also had a good day with the putter;

“I just made a couple of putts on the back nine and hit it a little bit closer.”

“It was just a matter of being patient and not being too frustrated with being three over on the front nine.”

“I didn’t get aggressive on the tenth, I didn’t get too aggressive at 11, just playing into the right spots, did the same at 12 just waiting for something to happen.”

World Number two Rory McIlroy was in the group at even par on the day,  World Number  one Dustin Johnson had to withdraw, due to in injury incurred during the week, when he fell down some stairs;

“It sucks, it’s tough. I want to play. I’m playing probably the best golf of my career, and I look forward to this tournament every year.”

“And to have a freak accident happen yesterday afternoon after I got back from the course, it’s tough.”

Defending champion Danny Willett is at +1 over after his opening round 73.

 

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The Final 16. Sergio Blitzed By Jon.

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WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play has a last 16 for the weekend  at Austin Country Club in Texas. Spain’s new wonder kid Jon Rahm blitzed the old one Sergio Garcia, 6-4.

Jon Rahm (left) knocked off fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia to win Group 7. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Jon and Sergio / getty

Jon eased past Sergio 6-4 to win group 7, he told reporters

“I’d rather not play a fellow Spaniard. Obviously, representing Spain, we want as many Spaniards to make it as far as possible. But worse came to worse, and luckily whoever won today was going to make it through. Out of that, at least we are happy that was going to happen.”

Sergio said he did not perform well;

“Obviously Jon is playing well. It is nice to see at least a Spanish player going through. . “At the end of the day, you have to perform and if you don’t do it then you get beat.”

World number 1 Dustin Johnson won group one, saying;

“I like match play, it’s fun and it’s exciting to watch. Yeah, I feel like I’ve got a little bit of an advantage just because I’m playing really well.”

The last sixteen knockout matches begin tomorrow, lining up like this;

Kevin Na USA v Bill Hass USA

Marc Leishman Australia v Phil Mickelson USA

Jon Rahm Spain v Charles Howell 111 USA

Soren Kjeldson Denmark v William McGirt USA

Hideto Tanihara Japan  v Paul Casey England

Ross Fisher England v Bubba Watson USA

Alex Noren Sweden v Brooks Koepka USA

Dustin Johnson USA v Zack Johnson USA.

It is sad that this years  Championship has been blighted by mid-term with withdrawals, which left Rory McIlroy with no chance to progress. after Jason Day retired. Other groups also had the same misfortune, with Gary Woodland withdrawing for personal reasons, and Francesco Molinari with an injury.

 

 

 

WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play. Rory Out.

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Rory McIlroy is out of the  WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play, at Austin Country Club in Texas.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match PLay

Søren Kjeldsen / getty

Soren  Kjeldsen beat Emiliano Grillo, to advance to the last 16 of the WGC Dell Match Play tournament, and at the same time eliminating Rory McIlroy, because Soren will win the group with a walk over point in round three.

Soren was happy to progress out of a tough group;

“Right now, I’m very pleased to make it through, obviously I was in a very, very, very tough group and I got through that. I’m happy with that.”

Top winners included Bubba Watson 4-3 over Scott Piercy, World number 1 Dustin Johnson 3-2 over Martin Kaymer, Phil Mickelson 5-4 over Daniel Berger and Jordan Spieth 4-2 over Yuta Ikeda.

Unfortunately the two pull outs have changed the complexity of the competition.

Sergio Garcia set up an intriguing winner-takes-all encounter with Jon Rahm following his 4 and 3 victory over Kevin Chappell;

“It wasn’t easy. It was so gusty, the wind was blowing so hard.”

“Normally you need to hit a good putt, but you have to get lucky with catching the gust at the right time. I felt like I played really well today.”

“That’s what I wanted at the beginning of the week, for both of us on Friday to play to get through so at least one of us Spaniards goes through. I am excited.”

Jon is looking forward to the battle;

“We really want to play each other. We wish it was in the final. But we’re going to pretend like it’s a final.”

“We’re both very excited. Mathematically whoever wins tomorrow is going to go through. I think that is a good thing for us that at least we will have the showdown tomorrow.”

WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play. Day 1 Disasters.

White Dragon GolfWGC-Match Play

Day 1 of the Dell Technologies Match Play competition brought a few disasters at Austin Country Club, in Texas. Rory McIlroy being one of them, losing 2-1 to Soren Kjeldsen.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

Rory / getty

Rory told reporters;

“Overall, I can’t be too disappointed. But at the same time, when standing on the 14th tee just having won three holes in a row, I thought I had him going into a tough stretch of the golf course.”

“But he put up three birdies in a row, and you can’t do anything about that.”

Jordan Spieth was another first day casualty, losing 4-2 to Hideto Tanihara, while Jimmy Walker went down to Martin Kaymer, 4-2.

All o f these guys need to step up to the plate tomorrow, if they want to progress in this tournament.

World number one Dustin Johnson won 5-3 over Webb Simpson, and Phil Mickelson dispatched Si Woo Kim by the same score.

Sergio Garcia had a ding-dong of a battle against Shane Lowry, it finished all square.

Sergio put his woes on the day down to poor putting;

“It’s never easy. Obviously I needed the putt to win. I had the chance of tying it up. I hit a good putt. It was really, really slow.”

“We didn’t play great. We definitely didn’t make anything, neither of us. I think we made probably two or three putts between the two of us.”

“At least I think we both fought hard.”

Saddest story of the day surrounded Jason Day, his mother is very ill, and will go into surgery on Friday. Naturally Jason could not concentrate on his golf, and was three down in six holes when he withdrew. He later made a tearful statement, but I think no one would have thought ill of him had he just left the course and took the first flight home, to support Mum;

“It’s been a very, very hard time for me to even be thinking about playing golf, and I know my mom says not to let it get to me, but it really has.”