U.S. Open. Jordan Wins, and looking at Grand Slam.

White Dragon GolfChambers Bay

Jordan Spieth wins the U.S. Open, at the gravel pit, and is half way to a single season Grand Slam of Major titles.

U.S. Open

Jordan & Trophy / Getty Images

Jordan managed a final round -1 under par 69, to win the U.S. Open with a -5 under par total. It was the much maligned greens that came into play, Dustin Johnson had an Eagle putt on the last to win, but three putted to lose,  in an intense and insane last round.

Jordan is the youngest U.S. Open champ since Bobby Jonesand is only the sixth player to win the Masters and U.S. Open in the same season. He is now looking to win at St Andrews;

“Can’t win ’em all unless you win the first two.”

“We’re going to go to St. Andrews looking for the Claret Jug. I believe we can get it done if we get the right prep in.”

“It’s hard right now. It’s hard. I’m still amazed that I won, let alone that we weren’t playing tomorrow.”

“So for that turnaround right there, to watch that happen, I feel for Dustin, but I haven’t been able to put anything in perspective yet.”

Dustin Johnson finished tied second with Louis Oosthuizen at -4 under par for the tournament. Don’t ask Dustin what he thinks of these greens, he made three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the back nine, destroying his two shot lead, and his confidence with the putter.

Dustin put a brave face on it;

“I’m disappointed that I three putted the last hole. Other than that, I had a damn good week.”

 

Louis got into the records book with the lowest back nine ever, carding six birdies in his last seven holes in a blistering finish;
“You sort of forget about everything when you get in that situation of having a chance to win a Major.”

“I wasn’t nervous at all, I was excited. I’ll take a lot out of this week, especially the last three days, the way I played.”

Adam Scott, Cameron Smith and Branden Grace tied in fourth position at -3 under par. Branden was right there until his tee shot on the 16th, which went O.B. onto the railway lines.

Jason Day could not continue with his heroics, falling behind and out of contention of the back nine today, finishing T9 at even par in the competition.

World number one Rory McIlroy suddenly came alive today, a last round -4 under par 66, which could, and should have been better;

“I really thought when I held that long putt on the 13th, with 16 and 18 coming up, I could post a number. If I could birdie those two holes coming in and get to four under par, then I thought I would have a really great chance, especially with the way the greens are getting so baked out there today.”

“It would have been a number for the guys to really think about.” 

“I felt I hit a good shot on the 15th, but it just came up short. And then the 17th killed me. The last few holes of this golf course haven’t been kind to me all week, and when I look back at this tournament that’s where I’ll rue some missed opportunities.” 

“I feel like it’s one that got away, especially the way I putted this week. I don’t think I’ve ever hit the ball as well over all four days of a Major Championship, which obviously bodes well for the next few events and the rest of the season.”

An overheard comment;  a TV anchor for FOX asked a caddie,

“How much grass? Is there any grass on No. 4 green?”

He replied,

“Yeah, two blades, and they’re nowhere close to each other.”

Something that made me laugh, on the 17th tee the marshals were waving their arms at the gallery, wanting them to be quiet and stand still. On the other side of the tee a freight train was rumbling passed, all that noise and movement, and the player still teed off.

 

U.S. Open. Jordan and Patrick tied at the Top.

White Dragon GolfChambers Bay

Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed are tied at the top of the U.S. Open leaderboard, on a Chambers Bay Golf Club course that was manufactured from a disused gravel pit and sewerage works, and at times played like it, as many of the worlds best golfers were washed down the toilet.

U.S. OpenU.S. Open

                                           Jordan and Patrick / Getty Images

There was drama as well as brilliant play here today, although the leading score of -5 under par has not been increased from yesterday’s total. Jordan shot a -3 under round while Patrick could only better his total by one with a -1 under par 69.

Jordan said he could not compare his position here with the Masters event, and was also concerned about the USGA using a forward tee at the 18th, and changing it to a par 4 in the middle of the U.S. Open;

“It’s playing different, and I’m in a very different position. I’m not going to have a five-shot lead.”

“So given it’s a U.S. Open, I imagine they’re going to try to bring us back to par;

“So I’ll draw some on Augusta, but at the same time, my patience level has to be even that much higher.”

This {the 18th} is the dumbest hole I’ve ever played in my life.”

“I was really frustrated walking off the tee box.”

Patrick actually agreed with my assessment of yesterday, that this was Mickey Mouse golf;

“I actually felt it was a pretty disappointing round.”

“To have five or six bogeys, didn’t get up and down once, I was zero percent on up-and-downs today.”

“I hit the ball in the middle of the green on 18 and have no chance to putt a normal putt and stop near the hole, and have to play Mickey Mouse golf to try to make par, unfortunately is a bad way to end the day.”

“But we’re in a good position and we hopefully can have a good weekend and have a chance to win.”

The drama came from Jason Day, who collapsed while walking down the 18th fairway, his last of the day. He recovered well enough to finish the hole posting a bogey 5 and sits T9 at -2 under par for the tournament. If he will take any more part in this competition, we will have to wait until tomorrow and see if he gets onto the tee.

More drama from Tiger Woods who posted his worst ever 36 hole total as a professional in his career, +16 over par, and missing the cut in the process. He had this to say today;

“I hit it a little bit better today, but, again, I made nothing today.”

“I didn’t make any putts the first two days; I hit it better today. Hitting some spots where I could hit some putts; I made nothing.”

 “Just continue practicing, continue working on it. And hopefully it will be a little bit better.” 

“Obviously, I need to get a little better for the British Open, and I’ll keep working at it.”

On the plus side of the register, Dustin Johnson and Brandon Grace are tied in third place, both at -3 under for the competition.

The only thing I can say is that just about everyone has criticized not just the course but the change made to the lay-out, in the middle of a tournament. There are only 16 players who are under par, and the defending Champion Martin Kaymer did not make the cut, which was set at +5 over par.

This course is so poorly prepared that they had to bring in a local rule that stones in the bunker are not immovable, but may be lifted. So even after seven years the bunkers are full of stones, and this is the U.S. Open.

 

115th U.S. Open. Gruesome Greens Grab Attention.

White Dragon GolfChambers Bay

The gruesome greens at Chambers Bay Golf Club grabbed everyone’s attention in the first round of the U.S. Open. At the end of the day Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson shared the lead, while at the other end of the table, Tiger Woods +10 over and Rickie Fowler +11 crashed spectacularly. The fescue grass experiment is not off to a great start, especially as the older greens have never really taken hold properly, and they have been infiltrated by poa annua clumps. The early morning starters had the best of the day.

U.S. Open

Dustin Johnson on his way to par the 10th / all pics Getty Images

Dustin and Henrik shot open rounds of -5 under par 65 at the 115th U.S. Open at the much maligned Chambers Bay Golf Club in Washington.

Dustin reported that he is playing with confidence, hitting good irons shots;

“Hit a lot of quality iron shots, the confidence is definitely there.”

Henrik said he had a good day on the greens;

“It was a good day on the greens in all, but especially the last five holes.”

 “I hit some beautiful putts and managed to slip a few in there.”

Patrick Reed, with a -4 under par 66, for third place alone reported that he definitely missed a few putts;

” All I had to do was get the ball to the hole and it had a chance of going in. I made some long putts, but I also feel like I missed a lot of good opportunities.”

Matt KucharBen Martin and the amateur Brian Campbell are tied in fourth place at -3 under par. They are followed by a group of payers at -2 under par.

Phil Mickelson was happy with his start, -1 under par 69 and T14, as he chases the career Grand Slam this week, but did criticize the greens;

“The first round was the round I was going to be most nervous at, getting started.”

“You don’t want to have to fight to come back all the time. You want to get off to a solid start around par.”

“I think the biggest challenge is that the green speeds are different from green to green, that’s going to wreak havoc on our touch.” 

“What I found is that they’re not the most true surfaces downhill, because you can’t hit it hard enough to hold the line. But uphill they seem to hold the line just fine.”

“I might have to factor that in, in how I play some shots now, because I think the percentage of made putts uphill from three to nine feet is going to be quite a bit higher than downhill.” 

US Open

Rory McIlroy, at +2 over par was not quite so outspoken;

“I just didn’t quite have it with the putter today, and that’s something that I need to get right over the next three days if I want to have a chance.”

“I still feel like if you make a good enough stroke and you have the right speed, there’s a good enough chance the ball will go in.”

US Open

Sergio Garcia, who started with an even par first round and T26, took to twitter to post;

“Happy with my Even par round today although it could’ve been a bit better by the way I played but this greens are as bad as the look on TV.”

 

Irish Open. Søren Kjeldsen is Champion.

White Dragon Golf

 

Søren Kjeldsen is the Irish Open Champion, which was hosted by the  Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club in Northern Ireland.

Irish Open

Champion Søren & Rory / Getty Images

Søren won the Irish Open with a birdie on the first a play-off hole, against Bernd Wiesberger and Eddie Pepperell. In the tough cold and windy conditions only four players shot under par rounds today , and of the three leaders only Eddie was under par.
Søren carded a +5 over par round which left him with a -2 under par total, to equal the scores of Eddie and Bernd.

In the treacherous conditions Søren dropped four strokes on the opening nine, and his nervous winning putt in the play-off did a 360 round the cup before falling;

“The last breath I took was on about the 14th.”

“I have never been as nervous as this in the other tournaments I have won.”

“I had decided not to look at leaderboards but once I started dropping shots I started looking because it gave me a little pleasure that I wasn’t the only one struggling because it was such a brutal day.”

“I was leaking shots left, right and center but made a great up and down on 15 and the three-wood second shot in the play-off was pretty special.”

Eddie produced a bogey free -2 under par 69 round today, to get himself into the play-off on that score. Second place also gets him into the 144th, The Open Championship, at St Andrews;

“It’s great.  It didn’t cross my mind until I walked off the 18th and my caddie told me.”

“That’s a real bonus, and I know my dad and a few friends had already planned to go up there regardless. So I’ll be looking forward to it already.”

“I had a good weekend, good day today and put myself into a position where I had a chance to win.”

“On the whole I’m very pleased I think.”

Bernd thought he had also reached in the par five 18th in two, in the play-off;

“I thought I hit a really good three iron, it was right online.”

“I don’t know how it came up that short.  It was like 15-20 yards short from what I expected from that lie.”

“Just two bad chips on 18 that kind of cost me in the end to go to another extra hole.”

“But all in all, especially after last week, the way I played there, I have to be very proud and I’m quite happy with second place, and especially going into my favourite event in a couple weeks, I hope I can go one better.”

Joining the top three in The Open will be Tyrell Hatton, who edged out Rafa Cabrera-Bello for a place after they finished in a tie for fourth place on -1 under par.

 

 

Irish Open. Six Tied at the Top, Rory Misses Cut.

White Dragon Golf

There are six players tied at the top of the Irish Open leaderboard, but world number one Rory McIlroy misses the cut at Royal County Down Golf Club.

Bernd Wiesberger, Richie Ramsay, Soren Kjeldsen, Chris Wood, Tyrrell Hatton and Rafa Cabrera-Bello all share the Irish Open lead at -3 under par.

If you are wondering how tough the conditions were out there, take a look at Bernd;

Irish Open

Feeling the cold, Bernd Wiesberger / Getty Images

These six leaders are closely followed by two heavy-weights, in the form of three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington and former world number one Luke Donald, both on -2 under par for the competition.

For third year in a row we have to say good-bye to Rory McIlroy, who missed the cut again here, worryingly it follows last weeks cut at the BMW. Rory said he had tried hie best, but the conditions made it very hard.

Irish Open

Rory missing cut / Getty Images

Rory shot an even par round today, but it was not enough;

” I felt like I played OK.”

” I didn’t really; it’s hard like this in the wind conditions. It’s hard even if you give yourself birdie chances, it’s hard to take advantage of them.”

“I was trying out there as hard as I could, I just couldn’t quite get a good run of holes going.”

“I didn’t get any momentum going. I was a couple under through fourteen, but needed a good finish, but  unfortunately wasn’t able to do that.”

“So really, just left myself with too much to do from yesterday. I felt like I played a solid round of golf today, but just wasn’t enough.”

The support out here is phenomenal, it’s going to be the third year in a row that they don’t get to see me play at the week-end.”

“So it’s obviously disappointing, to say the least, more disappointing for them.”

“I”m honestly looking forward to a few weeks off, to get ready for the U.S. Open, but right now it would have been nice to play the week-end at least.” 

 

 

AT&T Byron Nelson. Aussie Steve Bowditch Leads

White Dragon GolfAT&T Byron Nelson Logo

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.

White Dragon Golf  Open Championship logo

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.