AT&T Byron Nelson. Aussie Steve Bowditch Leads

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Aussie Steve Bowditch leads the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Texas.

AT&T Byron Nelson

Steve Bowditch /Getty Images

Steve shot a first round -8 under par 62 to lead the AT&T Byron Nelson to sit on top of the leaderboard with a two shot lead, courtesy of some long-range putting success;

Steve lives in Texas now, but does not quite have the home town pulling power with the galleries. He spoke about settling in The Lone Star State;

“I basically threw a dart at the map when I first came over here in 2005, and then ended up marrying me a Texan, so I’m stuck now.”

“Probably my best putting in the way of longer putts made, I typically don’t make a lot of longer putts.”

“You always want to play well, but I guess it is a little more special when you have everyone around that only get to see you play golf once a year.”

“It feels different when I tee off now versus when I was out there then.”

“Obviously, off the course I prepare hard for this and would like to play well and get in contention. But when I’m inside the ropes, it’s just another week. Back then, it was the biggest tournament I’ve ever played in.”

Jimmy Walker is in second place on his own, at -6 under par after his 64, he said some excellent iron play helped him birdie the last three holes;

“I’m a Texas guy and lived here a long time, so yeah, winning in Texas is cool.”

“It was a nice finish. Good iron shots.”

James Hahn and Ryan Palmer share third place, both at -5 under par. Ryan had been letting his caddie do the club selection, but not today;

“We’ve had a good year. We’ve been playing well, so why change that up? “

“You know, it gives me more confidence to hit the shots I want to hit instead of relying on what he’s telling me.”

Ryan missed the cut at last weeks home tournament at Colonial, and wanted to make amends, especially to the fans who gave him a hard time on Twitter;

“I needed a good kick in the butt.”

“Took me a few days to get over it, being my home course at Colonial and the way I played.”

“Plus, I wanted to kind of shut up all the fans that wore me out on Twitter. Hopefully, I calmed them down a little bit.”

James likes to copy other people’s swings, to get the results he wants, this week he copied Charl Schwartzel’s fade swing, instead of his usual draw;

“I got bored, I was missing the ball left. I like the extra distance off the tee but I do want to hit more fairways.”

“Depending on how it goes this week, it could be Charl one day and Justin Rose another day and just kind of go through the list.”

“There’s about a million swings on the Internet. Just trying to figure out who is hot for the week.”

Jordan Spieth had a poor day in front of his home fans. Not as bad a day as Rory McIlroy suffered in his hometown event, Rory carded a +9 over par opening round today. Jordan was still unhappy with his -1 under 69;

“I just didn’t give myself enough looks inside of 15 feet today.”

“That’s the only reason I’m at one under and not better. I felt comfortable driving the ball and striking it.”

Irish Open. OMG Rory Shoots 80.

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World number one Rory McIlroy shoots +9 over par 80 in the first round of the Irish Open, But another home town boy Padraig Harrington has delighted the gallery with his first round performance. Just seven days ago the three-time Major champion was forced to retire, at Wentworth Club, for the first time in his career due to a shoulder injury . Today, he fired a -4 under par course record 67 to tie the lead at his home Open with German Maximilian Kieffer.

Irish Open

Padraig Harrington / Getty Images

Padraig and Maximilian shared the top spot on the first day of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation, both carding course record rounds of -4 under par 67 at Royal County Down Golf Club.

Padraig started slowly but finished with a flourish, making five birdies on the back nine compared to one bogey;

“After nine or ten holes I thought to myself, Come on, we’ve got to hit a good shot, no need to be afraid.”

“I know from experience now that I’m in a position where there’s many ways of competing in this tournament.”

“I’ve two options; play great from now on and try and get away from the field or play average and fight it out on Sunday afternoon.”

Soren Hanson is in third place at -3 under par after his opening round 68.

Rory said nothing went right as he  struggled to his worst score of the season, and is now in danger of missing the cut at his own sponsored event;

Irish Open

Rory McIlroy / A/P

“It was not quite as difficult as I made it look.”

“I was hitting it well on the range, keeping it down and hitting half shots, but the wind was not up that much on the course and I was caught between trying to play two ways. “

“My poor iron play led to missed greens, which led to giving myself a lot of 8- to 12-footers for pars, and that led to missing all of them, worse as I got closer to the green.”

“It’s disappointing because I want to go out there and play well, not just for myself but for a lot of other people.”

“I’ll just have to pick myself up and go out there tomorrow and shoot a good one. I want to give the fans something to cheer about and not just get sympathy claps as I got coming off the ninth green.”

“My goal will be to make some birdies, make my first birdie of the tournament at some point.”

I’ve missed the cut the last two years so I don’t want to make it three in a row. I want to at least go out there tomorrow and fight for it, try to claw my way back towards the cut line and if I can sneak in there, that’ll be great.”

Playing alongside Rory was Rickie Fowler, who carded an opening even par round 71 in his first outing since winning the Players Championship at Sawgrass. Luke Donald went one better with a 70.

 

BMW PGA Championship. Francesco Stands Firm.

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Francesco Molinari stands firm at the top of the BMW PGA Championship leaderboard at Wentworth Club.

BMW PGA Championship

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Francesco had to recover from a poor start, with two bogey’s in the first three holes, and was delighted to finally card a second round -3 under par 69, to remain at the top of the BMW PGA Championship with a -10 under par total;

“The start is really tricky the first three holes. I think I played them okay.”

“My chipping wasn’t good enough on the first and on the third to save par. I managed to steady the ship and made a few birdies coming in at the end, so a good day.”

“Obviously I’m delighted to have gone a little bit further under par from yesterday and just need to keep doing the same.”

“I know how hard I’ve been working the last few months, so it’s nice to see that it’s paying off on the course.”

In second place on his own is South Korean Byeong Hun An who returned a marvelous card of -8 under par 64 in the second round, to reach a -9 under par total.

Tied in third position at -8 under par are Emiliano Grillo and Jaidee Thongchai, the Argentine and Thai players making it a very international top of the leaderboard.

Emiliano Eagled the two par fives on the back nine, the 486 yard 12th and 539 yard 18th, and was enjoying his day;

BMW PGA Championship.

Emiliano Grillo / Getty Images

“I am enjoying the moment and playing well and being in contention is what I need.”

“If I keep knocking someone is going to open the door.”

“I’ve been looking for a win since I turned pro and it’s going to come soon. There’s a lot going on when you are in contention and you have to be prepared.”

“Playing well definitely pushes the confidence up and it’s nice to be on the leaderboard every week. This is a big week, the Flagship Event of The European Tour and it would be great to win.”

Best placed Englishman is James Morrison, who last week won the Spanish Open. James returned a second round score of -6 under par 66, which gave him a tournament total of -7 under par, and fifth place. James lives just 20 minutes from Wentworth Club, but discovered on Thursday evening that staying at home is not always an advantage, due to a power cut;

“I thought we had been burgled at first, I couldn’t even charge my phone and a cold shower this morning at 5:30 was no fun.”

World number one, and defending champion, Rory McIlroy carded a second round +6 over par 78, and missed the cut here at Wentworth, with a +5 over par 36 hole total.

He was in a hurry to leave the course, to get to Heathrow Airport;

“Flight to catch.”

“I’m not angry, a little disappointed I’m not going to be here for the weekend. I’m not going to read too much into it. It was inevitable at some point that the run was going to come to a bit of an end.”

“I’m sort of back to my usual at Wentworth. It wasn’t great before I won last year and it hasn’t been great after.”

“If anything good comes out of this, it’s just that I get a little bit of a rest over the next couple of days, and feel a bit fresher for what’s going to be a really big week for me next week.”

BMW PGA Championship

Disappointed Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

 

BMW PGA Championship. Francesco Leads.

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Francesco Molinari leads the first round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.

BMW PGA Championship.

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Francesco opened the BMW PGA Championship with a blistering -7 under par 65, hitting 17 out of the 18 greens in regulation, to lead by two shots on the first day at Wentworth.

“I think I missed one green on the third and chipped up to two feet, so it was as stress-free as it could be round here.”

“I love this place and it’s good to be back. It rewards accuracy, which suits my game.”

“I missed the Masters this year after 22 Majors in a row and it was not a nice feeling, so I hope I will be back soon.”

In second place is Robert Karlsson, with his first round -5 under par 67. Robert has some happy memories of Wentworth, shooting a course-record 62 in the third round in 2010, after having to hire a private jet to get back to London on Saturday morning, because he had flown home to Monaco the day before thinking he had missed the cut.

Third position is shared between five players; Jorge Campillo, Chris Wood, Y.E. Yang, Marc Warren and the oldest man in the field Miguel Angel Jiménez.

Chris has played just six events this season after spending five months on the sidelines with a broken bone in his wrist following a fall;

“It’s a long way for me to fall and it hurt.”

“It was misdiagnosed as bone bruising for a month and then I was in a cast for two months at home.”

“It was a nightmare because I fell out of the top 60 on The Race to Dubai and plummeted down the world rankings.”

It’s been a struggle and feels like I have been working hard to finish 30th every week. I did finish third in Morocco but I think it was always going to be a bit of a battle after five months.”

Big highlight of the day was Andrew Johnson carding an Ace at the 184 yard par three 8th hole, which won him the sponsors prize of a brand new BMW M4;

BMW PGA Championship

Andrew and his new BMW M4Getty Images

“It took one bounce and hit the flag and went straight in. It just happened so quick, so I didn’t really know what to do.”

 “I just saw him. He looked and I was like, ‘All right, now is the time to go’.”

World Number One Rory McIlroy, last weeks winner at Quail Hollow had a quiet first round -1 under par 71, but was mentally a little angry;

“Physically I am all right, I got back to my hotel at 4:30pm (on Wednesday) and did not leave it until 6:30 this morning, but mentally I could feel myself getting a little angry out there.”

“Acceptance of bad shots is the thing I have been doing so well and I feel like my patience was wearing a bit thin today.”

“I just need to stay in control of my emotions because I feel like that’s one of the things, if I’m a little tired or a little fatigued mentally, I’ll start to be hard on myself and start to get down on myself.”

“I played okay. There weren’t really any aspects of my game I thought were really good, but at the same time I don’t feel any aspect of my game was really off.”

One thing for Rory to think about is that no one has won here from being more than four shots off the lead after the opening round, he is six shots back.

Wells Fargo Championship. Rory Records Record Breaking Win.

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Rory McIlroy records a record breaking win at the Wells Fargo Championship with a -21 under par total at Quail Hollow.

Wells Fargo Championship

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Rory had a quiet final round of  -3 under par 69, to win the Wells Fargo Championship by a blistering, and record breaking seven shots, with his -21 under par total.

He told reporters that he needed to play more, and that was why he was at this tournament;

“I said, I need to play a little bit more. I feel like I’m playing well.”

“I feel like as the best player in the world, I want to go at it every week and, not so much prove it, but just show that.”

“The way I played yesterday really set me up to go out there today.”

“I was in control of the golf tournament and I just needed to shoot a solid round and that was going to get me over the line.”

“I’ve learned how to handle these positions and I’m finishing the job off the way I should, which is very pleasing.”

“In terms of there wasn’t as much excitement on the back nine. I finished with six 3s the last time I won here. Would have been nice to finish with six 3s again.”

“It does push me. I think you see guys that you knew well, guys that are your peers and they’re winning golf tournaments, big golf tournaments, that you want to win.”

Tied in a distant second place were Quail Hollow member Webb Simpson and playing on a sponsor exempion Patrick Rodgers, who both carded tournament totals of -14 under par

Webb knew Rory was going to be tough to beat especially as he started with a four shot lead, and he made too many mistakes. Carding a last round of even par;

“It was a memorable week, nonetheless.”

 “Through number six I made so many mistakes, probably more mistakes than I had all week.”

“That was kind of a killer to be couple over through six with Rory playing pretty solid.

“He was a tough guy to beat today.”

Patrick doesn’t have PGA TOUR status, but in this form he soon will have;

“Walking down the first fairway, with all those people out there, I get chills talking about it.”

“I tried to talk to him when he was playing well to keep him loose, but he handled it really well.”

“It was awesome. It was a lot of fun being out there, pushing Rory a little bit.”

“I tried to come into this week with a lot of confidence, I feel like my game can compete out here, and I’m going to really carry that with me for the next few events.”

Phil Mickelson finished tied in fourth spot at -12 under par, along with Gary Woodland and Robert Streb.

Phil had worked hard on his putting, and it paid off for him, he needed only 22 putts in his final round;

“I really worked hard on my short putts and putted those phenomenal.”

“I started to drive it better, but, more than that, get my iron shots close to the hole, work it into those pins. I made a lot of birdies this week. That’s important.”

 

 

Wells Fargo Championship. Rory Reigns with Record Round.

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Rory McIlroy reigns at the Wells Fargo Championship, shooting a record round of 61 at Quail Hollow.

Wells Fargo Championship

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Rory produced a -11 under par 61 third round to sit on top of the Wells Fargo Championship leaderboard at -18 under par, and writing a new chapter in the records books. He now has a four shot lead over second placed man, Quail Hollow member Webb Simpson.

Rory definitely likes this course, he won here in 2010, and was thinking of the magic 59, but still managed to break his own record on this course. In all, he carded nine birdies during a 10-hole stretch, and said he is rolling the ball and putting nicely;

“I feel like it’s one of these courses I can get on a roll with. I was thinking about 59 from the 14th tee box,”

“I got off to a great start, I’m obviously delighted with the score, it’s always great to break your own course record.”

“I feel like the best player in the world right now and I wanted to go out and prove that.”

“I’ve always loved this place, I have great memories here and it feels a little bit like a second home.”

“It’s a mental thing, you’re picturing good shots, you’re visualizing the lines on putts and you’re not getting in your own way. You’re just letting it happen.”

“I rolled the ball really well, which I haven’t been doing for the past couple of weeks, so to see a lot of putts drop like that was really nice.”

“More of the same on Sunday would be nice obviously, but I just want to keep it going. Even though I’ve got a lead there’s no reason why I shouldn’t go out there and be aggressive and try make as many birdies as I can.”

Webb Simpson is in second place , four strokes back at -14 under par after his third round -4 under par 68, and is under no illusions about how hard it will be tomorrow to try and chase down Rory;

“What an incredible round McIlroy played, I’ve got a tough opponent tomorrow.”

Robert Streb has third spot on his own at -11 under par, a -1 under par third round stifling any progress, and is now seven shots off the lead.

Phil Mickelson was in contention at -11 under par, that was before a triple bogey 7 at the 18th hole, this hole  has now become his nemesis, he double bogeyed the 18th hole on Thursday. That triple dropped Phil to -1 under par 71 on the day and has left him 10 shots behind the high-flying Roryon -8 under par.

 

Wells Fargo Championship. It’s Tight at the Top.

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It’s very tight at the top of the Wells Fargo Championship leaderboard, with Robert Streb sharing the summit with Quail Hollow member Webb Simpson.

Quail Hollow Championship

Webb Simpson / Getty Images

Webb recorded another round of -5 under par 67 to get to his -10 under par tournament total, while Robert was a little more subdued today, carding -3 under par 69, to add to his -7 under 65 yesterday.

Webb likes having friends and family supporting him from the gallery this week, at his home course;

“I saw so many people, friends and family and heard my name a lot.”

“I’m sure tomorrow will be fun. I think if I’m one over at any point tomorrow early in the round, I think that support will help me.”

Robert said he has been dodging some bullets this week;

“My misses haven’t gotten me in too much trouble, with the exception of sixteen.”

Martin Flores and Patrick Rodgers are tied in second place at -8 under par for the tournament.

Martin called Quail Hollow a bigger version of his home course;

“When I just step on the tee, I feel very, very comfortable out here.”

Patrick is competing at the Wells Fargo Championship on a sponsor exemption, and is making the most of the opportunity;

“I just watched Jordan win the Masters and make it look pretty easy. That gives me a ton of confidence.”

“Most of the tee shots set up really, really well for me,  it really suits a high draw off the tee. It’s been a big advantage so far.”

 “I won a lot in college and I’m comfortable at the top of the leaderboard.”

“I have full confidence I’m capable of not only playing really well but winning out here.  I just try to carry myself with that confidence and hopefully this weekend I can do the same.”

Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson are tied third place at -7 under par, making a significant move today, Rory a -5 under par 67 and Phil with his 66. Will McKenzie also joins them on them on that score.

Rory is trying to stay patient, something that he is getting better at;

“I’m not putting myself under that much stress, I’m making it good on myself. I drove the ball beautifully at TPC Sawgrass and I’ve continued to do that this week.”

“I think I’ve gotten a lot better at staying patient. That’s probably one of the strengths of my game now.”

“It’s just knowing from experience what a good score is. If you’re putting yourself in position to score and it’s not happening, you know you’re not losing any ground on the field.”

“The way I hit it today, I felt like I could have shot 63 or 64, but realizing 67 is still a good score and puts me in a great position going into the weekend.”

Phil has yet to win at Quail Hollow, but does have seven top-10s in 11 starts here, he was happy to finally shoot -6 under par 66. He should have done it yesterday but ended up with a 71 instead;

“Right now, nobody is turning 66s into 71s better than me, and it’s nice to finally shoot that 66 and get the score that reflects the way I feel I’m playing.”