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Honda Classic. Rory Mac Still on Track.

dragon logo darkThe Honda Classic LogoRory McIlroy is still on track to win The Honda Classic, leading the competition on  the PGA National course at Palm Beach Gardens.

In driver's seat at Honda

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory shot a -4 under par 66 to maintain his momentum at the top of the leaderboard at The Honda Classic, with a -11 under par total. He spoke about his implosion last year and thinks maturity has helped him overcome those difficulties;

“It’s a different end of the spectrum I guess, I wasn’t quite comfortable with my golf swing. I was still tinkering with equipment. I just wasn’t feeling in control of, you know, what I needed to be in control of. This year is obviously a lot different. I think it’s just a sign of a little more maturity, not really trying to force the issue or press. I knew that with the way I’m playing and the confidence in my ability, I would be able to get those shots back. I didn’t panic.”

“When you’re not quite in control of your swing, your confidence can sort of go in peaks and troughs. When you hit a few good shots, your confidence can go up quite quickly but then you hit one bad one, it can sort of go down again and that’s where I was sort of most of last year. Now I feel I’m happy with where my swing is, and even if I do hit a loose shot, I can get over it much quicker and much easier because I have the confidence in what I’m doing. I’m playing well and I’m comfortable.”

Brendon de Jong is in second place after his super second round -6 under par 64, which elevated him to -10 under par overall. Brendon, who has never won on the PGA TOUR,  will be in the last group Saturday, alongside Rory. He mentioned the wind picking up in the afternoon;

“I think I might have got a little bit of switch in the wind. I feel very comfortable, I’ve been out here long enough now. I’ve played quite a bit with Rory. I know obviously what a great player he is. I feel very comfortable. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

In third place at -8 under par is Russell Henley, who carded a second round -2 under par 70, to stay in touch with the leaders.

Among those making the cut on the number, at even par were some dignitaries; Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, V.J. Singh and Paul Casey.

Tiger reported;

“I hit it good enough to shoot probably at least three or four lower than I did. I had so many looks where I just missed, and I just need to read them a little bit better than I did today.”

Sergio is struggling;

“It’s just been a little bit of a struggle, it’s just one of those weeks where you just don’t feel it. I wish I could put my hand on what it is. I just didn’t feel comfortable starting out, but I have to be happy with the finish and hope for a decent weekend.”

There were also a couple of big names on the missed cut column, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson. Phil was +1 over par and Henrik was +9 over par for the first two rounds.

USPGA AT&T National @ Congressional Country Club, Bo Van Pelt Leads.

        471as.jpg

Bo Van Pelt leads by one shot after the first round of the AT&T National at a tough Congressional Country Club with a -4 under par round of 67, on the par 71 lay-out.

There are three players tied for second spot on -3 under par, they are; V.J. Singh, Brendon de Jong and Jimmy Walker. One shot further back on -2 under par are; Pat Perez, Jason Day and the top story of the day man Billy Hurley 111.

Tough course, tough man

Billy Hurley 111 / Stan Badz/PGA Tour

Billy Hurley 111 has a degree from the United States Naval Academy and has served as a Lieutenant on the U.S.S. CHUNG-HOON. Billy shot a 2-under 69 in the opening round and is just two strokes off the lead of Bo Van Pelt at Congressional Country Club, he is also a one-time U.S. Walker Cup team member who now calls nearby Annapolis home. As Billy said;

“Nobody has ever went to a service academy and played out here. But as far as fitting in out here, the background gives me a little bit of a story. I think there’s certainly a mental toughness that I learned from the Navy that translates well into golf, but the pressures and the life are very different. For whatever reason, I play really good when it’s hot. This is certainly a special tournament, and I think that any time that we as an American public take time to pause and remember, reflect and honor the military, it’s a great thing.”

Bo Van Pelt was happy with his position;

 “I mean, made a good up and down on 18, hit a good shot there that had gone long into the back bunker and had a pretty tough shot and hit it to about a foot and just kind of kept my momentum going after birdieing 17. Hit a good drive on No.1, it’s just a hole I’ve always kind of hit driver off of to just be aggressive. It’s a tough fairway to hit, and had a good number. Been working on my wedges a bunch. Been feeling like I need to improve in that area. I was working specifically today before I played, a shot I was hitting a bunch. So it was like 98 yards, and when I got 93 I thought I had a pretty good number.”

VJ said he had played well;

” I played well. I hit a lot of good shots, made a lot of birdies, and finally I made a couple of putts, which I guess is the key to playing good golf is you’ve got to make putts, and I did that. I actually thought it had kind of spun back in front of the hole, and all of a sudden this guy behind the green started going nuts. Yeah, you never know when those are going to happen, so it’s nice to get a deuce.  I thought I was going to go out and really shoot a low one, and then I bogeyed three in a row after that. You’ve got to be patient. You’ve got to keep calm out there. I gathered myself and made some more birdies coming in. All in all, I played really nicely, and I’m playing good golf.”

Tiger Woods was never under par in the afternoon and opened with a 1-over 72, he said;

“It’s certainly, I think, a little retribution for what happened last year. Don’t be mad at me. I didn’t play. “

Golfer Matt Every is a Dope

Matt Every’s dope drug suspension is not going to go away easily, it is rumbling on due mainly to the  bizarre interview with the Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman. Every maintains that who his friends are and what they do are of no concern to anyone, well he is definitely wrong. His 2010 arrest for marijuana possession and the defensive statement that; ”  Honestly, man, I know more people who smoke marijuana than who don’t smoke marijuana”, could seriously hamper his attempts  to garner the endorsements that line the pockets of PGA pros. Every needs to concentrate on some exceptional public relations, starting with distancing himself from the bunch of so called friends who think drugs are OK. His image and credibility have been damaged  he’ll need to learn a bit of proper image strategy. No wonder he is desperate for this episode to fade away, but unfortunately for him every time his name appears at the top of a leader board this silly story will rear its ugly head.

Another sad story surrounding the Sony Open is the verbal set to between Vijay Singh and Rory Sabbatini, who himself is no stranger to controversy. It seems Sabbatini’s caddy, Mick Doran, moved into Singh’s eyeline while he was attempting to putt. V J missed the putt and had words with Doran about the ungentlemanly conduct. At this point Rory vigorously defended his caddy. After the round V.J. said the row was over and it was forgotten. Sabbatini disagreed at demanded Singh apologise to his caddy. I think that’s a bit rich, he should rather be telling his caddy to stand still while other people are putting.

Vijay Singh and Rory Sabbatini

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