Travelers Championship. Berger Blossoms at the Top.

 

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Daniel Berger blossoms at the top of the Travelers Championship with a beautiful 62 at TPC River Highlands.

Berger cruising in Connecticut

Daniel Berger / getty

Daniel carded a beautiful -8 under par 62 in the third round of the Travelers Championship and at -15 under par has a three shot cushion starting the final round tomorrow, thanks mainly to a good putting performance;

“I’ll tell you, it’ll be a lot easier stepping up on the tee box having a PGA TOUR win under my belt than if I didn’t.”

 “You know, it’s all about hitting good shots under pressure, and I’ve been doing that so far this week.”

“If I can continue to do that, then I’m sure I’ll be right there on Sunday.”

“I think I made a ton of putts, and that’s been a big key for me.”

 “I’ve been putting really good the last couple months or so, and even before I won, I mean, I was looking back.”

“I mean, I was in third or fourth, fifth place through two rounds, three or four tournaments in a row, and didn’t really play that great on the weekend, and then obviously in Memphis I played really well, and I played really well today again.”

Three players are tied in second place, those three shots back at -12 under for the tournament, Russell Knox, -6 under 64 today, Tyrone Van Aswegen -5 under 65, and Russell Henley, also with -5 under 65 today.

Russell Knox, who needed only 7 putts in his first six holes, says it will all come down to the last nine holes tomorrow;

“I mean, the last nine holes, anything can happen.”

“I love being here, and if it’s soft, it’s going to take a really low score to win this thing tomorrow.”

“Someone is going to shoot a really good score, and I hope it’s me.”

“I always tell myself, don’t be scared to play well, you’ve got to go for it.”

 

Travelers Championship. Four Way Tie After Second Round.

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There is a four-way tie at the top of the Travelers Championship leaderboard after the second round at TPC River Highlands.

Berger chasing Ryder Cup spot

Daniel Berger / getty

Daniel Berger, -3 under par 67 today, Russell Henley -5 under 65,  Marc Leishman  -2 under 68 and Tyrone Van Aswegen -4 under 66 all share the lead at -7 under par.

Daniel wants to make the Ryder Cup team, and is seeking his second win of the season and rolling in a few putts certainly helped;

“In terms of the Ryder Cup, I’m just doing everything I can to earn a spot on my own, but obviously I would never turn down a pick.”

“I don’t know who would. But yeah, I’m just playing the best I can, and whatever happens; happens.”

“I just hit some good shots, I haven’t missed many greens this week and rolled in a few putts, but obviously going to have to play a little better on the weekend to have a good chance.”

“I was not expecting the wind to blow like it did.”

“I came out here early in the morning and hit some putts and it was dead calm and it kind of picked up from nowhere, but I feel like I handled it pretty well.”

Marc was happy with his round today, especially driving off the tee, but would like to roll in more putts;

“I’m Happy with the day. I didn’t play quite as well, but conditions were a little tougher late in the day with the greens and a little bit of breeze up. It was challenging, but I’m happy with the day.”

“I Drove the ball pretty well again. Irons weren’t quite as good as what they were yesterday, and got a couple of lucky breaks that I capitalised on.

“Hopefully keep driving the ball as I am. It would be nice to get a few iron shots a little bit closer and roll those putts in.”

“That’s obviously the most important thing. I wasn’t able to roll too many in today, but I still shot 2-under.”

Saturday’s forecast of afternoon thunderstorms led to tournament officials scheduling third-round tee times from 7 to 9 a.m. off Nos. 1 and 10, with golfers remaining in threesomes.

Honda Classic. Mac Cracks. Henley Wins.

dragon logo darkThe Honda Classic LogoRussell Henley won The Honda Classic at PGA National on the fourth play-off hole Sunday, as Rory McIlroy cracked under the pressure of a wire to wire win.

Nike staffer Russell Henley won his second TOUR event on Sunday. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

Russell Henley / Getty Images

There was a four man sudden play-off for The Honda Classic title, and Russell Henley won it with a three foot putt for birdie on the first extra hole. He beat Rory McIlroy, Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox after they all finished tied at -8 under par for the tournament. Russell Henley seemed in shock, especially as he dumped his tee shot into the water on 15;

“It doesn’t feel real. I knew I was going to hang in there no matter what happened, I wasn’t going to let it bother me. The swing on fifteen, I didn’t really see coming, I looked up, and it was kind of fading, and I was a little bit shocked by that. This is not exactly what I was expecting at the start of the week.”

Rory admitted he did not play well enough to win;

“I didn’t play well enough at all to deserve to win this tournament. It was very disappointing, it was a perfect opportunity to win. It’s a tough course, especially when you’re in the thick of things. It’s hard to make birdies coming down the stretch there. Just got to pick myself up, get back at it and try get myself into contention at Doral next week and get the job done then.”

With five holes left to play on his final round Tiger Woods walked off the golf course, citing a back injury. Tiger is  chasing Jack Nicklaus’ all-time major record, and a back injury does not auger well for the future. This is not the first time Tiger has complained about a tweak in his back, and it must now always be on his mind. Not a good omen for playing competitive golf. Whatever the real reason was we will never know for sure, Tiger refused to meet the press after the game.

Tiger Woods was 5 over after 12 holes Sunday at PGA National.

Tiger Woods, +5 over  par after 12 holes on Sunday at PGA National / Getty Images

The Honda Classic. McIlroy Makes His Mark.

dragon logo darkThe Honda Classic LogoRory McIlroy makes his mark at the Honda Classic on the PGA National course at Palm Beach Gardens, taking a first round lead.

The Upshot: Rory roars

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

 Rory carded a -7 under par 63 opening round, taking just 25 putts after hitting 14 greens in regulation in the opening round. Scoring birdies on the last two holes at PGA National giving him a one-shot lead, after the first round of The Honda Classic. By contrast,  he was +7 over par through eight holes last year when he became so frustrated with mounting expectations and a slumping game that he walked off the course in the middle of the second round. He said it was a mistake he would never repeat;

” It’s not something I really thought about out there. Coming in this week, I knew that I was playing well and I just wanted to try and get off to a good start. Regardless of what happened last year or where it is, it’s always nice to shoot a round like this and get yourself in the mix early.”

“You can’t fake it around here, you have to play well to shoot good scores, and I was able to do that today. I’ve reached a point now where I’m very comfortable with everything in my game and my swing. I’m seeing shots the way I want to see them. When I do that, I feel like the scores are just a byproduct of all the hard work and making good swings. I’m in a great place I couldn’t be happier.”

Russell Henley is in second place at -6 under par with a round of 64. He  opened with five birdies in six holes before cooling off. He put his good start  down to his career at the University of Georgia, which prepared him to face some of the more difficult venues on the PGA Tour;

“I think college golf may have something to do with that. Most courses you play are pretty difficult, at least the ones where you play the best teams and all of the highest-ranked tournaments. They’re pretty tough courses. Getting off to a good start here is pretty important, every hole is challenging, and you have to decide what to do with the wind and where it’s coming from.”

Rory Sabbatini, William McGirt and Jamie Donaldson are all tied in third place at -5 under par after their opening rounds of 65.

Phil Mickelson is not too familiar with this course, and it showed with his first round of even par 72;

“I’m a little uncertain at times where I want to go because I’m not as familiar with the course, but you should be able to pick that up quickly with the yardage books and I’ve got a great caddie. So those things are not as important as the execution, hitting the right shot and pulling it off. I really like this golf course, I think it’s a wonderful test of golf. I think it’s a very difficult, hard golf course but when you hit good shots, you get rewarded with birdies opportunities.”

Tiger Woods was one shot worse than Phil, carding a +1 over par round of 71; Tiger said he did not make too much;

“Well, I didn’t make much, it certainly wasn’t together today. I had four good looks early and didn’t make any of them. Then I made three good saves in a row at 16, 17, 18, which was nice, and then didn’t really hit the ball that well on the back nine. Then I started putting better. Figures.”

“We were talking about it out there today in our group, how different this golf course played this year compared to last year. They were as slippery as can be last year where now they are sticky and slower.”

Sony Open. Sang-Moon Bae has 1st Round Lead

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Sang-Moon Bae carded a -7 under par 63 to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

 

Sang-Moon Bae / Getty Images

Sang-Moon Bae leads the way at the Sony Open in Hawaii with opening round of 63, giving him a one-shot lead over Chris Kirk. The pair were together all Thursday morning, playing in the same group and taking the top two spots on the leaderboard. Chris taking second spot alone with his -6 under par 64.

Chris admired Sang-Moon’s lightening start, but was happy to catch up on the back nine;

“He was off to a great start, at one point he was four under and I was still two over. It took some catching up for me on the back nine. But it’s always nice to see putts falling.”

Sang-Moon said he had played well the week before, but had trouble reading the greens, but practice makes perfect, he arrived here early and worked hard;

“I think I played well last week, but really tough greens, very hard to read. I couldn’t read any right-to-left putts, any putts,  so I missed a lot of puts last week. But this course is more shorter than last week, so easy read, and I can make good speed, too. I practiced a little bit and I had fun, go to beach, go swim, everything. I like it here.”

Sharing third place at -5 under par are Brian Stuard and Ryan Palmer, but the leaderboard is tightly packed so anything could happen. It is exciting to be able to watch it all unfold. The next group all at -4 under, seven of them, includes Retief Goosen and Big John Daly.

Big John, who has recovered from elbow surgery commented;

“The arm feels good, the greatest thing is, I can hit three-quarter shots again, I haven’t done that in six years. That was my bread and butter; that was my game. I need a little more practice. I’m rusty,”

There are then twelve players recording -3 under par.

The defending champion Russell Henley played Wednesday in the Pro-Am, but food poisoning stopped him in his tracks on the 11th hole. Two trips to the hospital for IV fluids and medicine helped Russell make  his opening round 12:20 p.m. tee time. His +3 over  par 73 opening round didn’t come close to the 63 he fired off in last year’s final round.

Russell said he was still not feeling good;

“I’m not operating at 100 percent, I’m feeling a lot better than yesterday, but I made two bad swings, two really bad holes. Other than that, I played a pretty decent round, a couple putts didn’t fall. I think I’ll be feeling good tomorrow and hopefully will play well.”

Would love to know what Sea Food Restaurant he was at, and I bet they are praying that he does not mention them.

The Greenbrier Classic. Matt Makes A Move.

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Matt Every makes a move on the leaderboard at The Greenbrier Classic, his second round of -8 under par 62 propelled him to the summit, at -9 under par. The Old White TPC course has surrendered another 62, this could be a record breaking winning score here this weekend.

The Greenbrier Classic

Matt Every / Getty Images

Matt’s bogey-free round gave him sole possession of the top of the leaderboard at -9 under par, he said making some putts really helped him;

” I played really well tee-to-green, finally made some putts. I haven’t made anything all year and it  just finally happened today. Been waiting for it.”

On an extremely tightly packed leaderboard there are five players tied in second place, all at -8 under par for the tournament. it reads like this; Daniel Summerhays, Bill Lunde, Steven Bowditch, Russell Henley and one of the first round leaders Johnson Wagner.

Johnson fell back with his disappointing second round effort of even par 70, a long way from yesterday’s 62. The other first round leader Tommy Gainey fared even worse, with a second round +1 over par 71, leaving him in the next group of players at -7 under par for the tournament.

In a strange statement Tommy said the course played really tough today. The stats prove something different, it played easier on Friday than it did in the first round with a scoring average of 69.668 to 70.096. I guess Tommy never saw Matt at the top of the board with his 62;

“You have to give credit to the golf course. The golf course, it gave up some low scores yesterday, but what’s the lowest score it gave up today?  I mean really, in any other tournament besides the majors, everybody’s shooting 7, 8, 9 under on the first or second rounds. The golf course hung up pretty good today, it played tough.”

In amongst those who will not play at the weekend is Phil Mickelson, who got his first sub-par round at The Old White TPC but missed the cut at The Greenbrier Classic for the third straight year, a first in the World Golf Hall of Famer’s career. Joining Phil on the early bus ride home are  2010 Greenbrier Classic champion Stuart Appleby; Roberto Castro, who finished second at last week’s AT&T National; Charles Howell III, Brian Gay and former major champions Lucas Glover, Mike Weir, Trevor Immelman and Vijay Singh.

Humana Challenge, Three Tied at the Top

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There are three players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the Humana Challenge event at PGA West ,  La Quinta California, the event that was formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic.

Jason Kokrak, Roberto Castro and James Hahn share the top of the leaderboard at -9 under par with rounds of 63.

Jason said he was concentrating on getting the ball in the fairway;

“I just tried to put it in the right spots, put it in the fairways, out there, that’s key. They’re tighter fairways and if you can be in the fairway, you’ll have a good opportunity for birdie.”

Roberto Castro had nine birdies at PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus Private Course, and James Hahn had nine birdies on PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course. 

James said he was happy with his day, especially the two chip-ins;

” It was a great day, chipped two in. Hadn’t done that since I was 9.”

Russell Henley, who won the Sony Open in Hawaii last Sunday, shot a round of -8 under par, 64 on the Nicklaus Course, he said it was a perfect day;

” It was a perfect day, the weather is perfect, the greens were true. So, it’s just trying to stay patient and let the birdies come to me.”

Phil Mickelson made his first tournament start since tying for second in early November in the HSBC Champions in China, the only event he played in after the Ryder Cup, he finished at even par, after a miracle shot at the par three twelfth. His tee shot flew to the left, leaving him behind a  tall tree blocking his path to the green.  A full blooded swing flop shot climbed miraculously nearly straight up and over the 25-foot tree and stopped 2 feet from the hole. It helped him salvage his par on the hole and eventually his round. Phil spoke later about that shot;

“That was one of my better wedges, but, as I was telling my partner, `You hit it there as much as I do, eventually you’re going to learn how to hit those shots.'”

Referring to the tee shot that lead up to it, Phil just said;

” It was just very bad timing, quick from the top, lower body fast, just a bad swing. I did the same thing on the next par 3 with the same club. Only it went the other way. I made par both times, though.”

I just wish I could get away with a bad shot and make par, my bad shots are usually terminal.

Mike Weir,  opened with a -5 under par round of 67, the 2003 Champion has unfortunately missed 16 consecutive cuts,he was pleased to get of to a good start here;

“I drove it well and putted well and everything was pretty good. It was a nice solid round to get off to a good start.”