Harrington Takes Early Lead at PGA Grand Slam

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

Padraig Harrington has taken advantage of his wild card entry into the PGA Grand Slam of Golf shooting a five-under par 66 to put himself on top of the leaderboard after the opening round.

The PGA Grand Slam of Golf normally features the year’s four Grand Slam champions but an ankle injury forced the withdrawal of British Open champion Ernie Els and he was replaced by three-time major champion Harrington.

Three birdies in the final five holes allowed Harrington to take a two stroke lead into the clubhouse over Bubba Watson who took an early lead but bogeyed three holes in the back nine to finish on 68.

Webb Simpson was third on 69 with Keegan Bradley, another wildcard entrant, fourth on 72.

Harrington was happy to hold the overnight lead but wasn’t overly impressed with the way he played.

”I had a 15-footer at the third and kind of lost my focus a bit on the line and drove it through the line and then hit a bad putt coming back, a terrible bogey,” Harrington said.

“It wasn’t feeling great. You need to be making the birdies at that stage.”

The popular Irishman is making his third appearance in the PGA Grand Slam and is hoping to break through for his maiden victory in the $600,000 event.

“I’ve come close twice in Grand Slams and hopefully it will be that close coming down the stretch this week and it would fall in my favour,” he said.

Harrington said he wouldn’t be overly disappointed if he can’t convert his lead into a victory as he is simply happy to be given the chance to play in the tournament.

“Anytime you can come to this event, it’s fun,” Harrington said.

“The weather was perfect, the fans were great. It was good.”

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

Quinney and Gainey share lead at the Wyndham Championship

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

Jeff Quinney share lead

Jeff Quinney share lead

If Jeff Quinney keeps this up, he might soon have a new PGA Tour card — and a spot in the FedExCup playoffs.

Quinney and Tommy Gainey shot 7-under 63s on Thursday to share the lead after one round in the Wyndham Championship.

Quinney had eight birdies, including five in a row early in his round, to start strong in his last chance to qualify for golf’s postseason.

Gainey had five birdies and an eagle in matching his career-best round. Both players are chasing their first PGA Tour victory.

Stuart Appleby had a 64. Ten players — Paul Casey, Carl Pettersson, Ernie Els, Jason Bohn, Jimmy Walker, Tim Herron, Lee Janzen, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh and George McNeill — shot 65s during another low-scoring day at Sedgefield Country Club.

Quinney arrived in 215th place in the FedExCup standings. A win — and the 500 points that accompany it — would put him in The Barclays.

“The only chance I get in the playoffs is probably winning this week, and coming with the attitude of `all-in,’” Quinney said. “Basically, just push all your chips in, and this is what I got.”

A year ago, a close-but-not-enough finish on this course left Quinney outside the playoff field. He wound up in 126th place, falling short of the postseason by three points.

He spent most of the first day of his return to the par-70 Sedgefield layout near the top of the leaderboard after his early flurry of birdies.

Starting on the back nine, Quinney birdied Nos. 12-16 to move to 5 under. After a bogey on No. 18, he added three more birdies on his final nine holes and closed by sticking his 140-yard approach shot within 3 feet and sinking that putt for his eighth birdie.

“It’s my last chance, and don’t hold back, try to get out of my own way,” Quinney said.

Quinney, who has conditional status on the tour, is playing just his 11th tournament of the year.

“Once you do get in, you put a little pressure on yourself,” Quinney said. “It’s been frustrating. This is my first year I’ve been non-exempt for five years, and so I think you just expect it to be somewhere else, and it’s a struggle mentally to fight that. I still got the game. I just need the opportunities and not to get in your own way and try to force things.”

Gainey caught him during the afternoon, with four birdies and the eagle coming during the South Carolina native’s front nine. He moved to 7 under with a birdie on the par-4 13th, but ran into trouble on No. 15 when he sent his tee shot into a creek and closed his round with five pars.

“I hit it terrible off the tee, hit my irons really good, made a lot of putts, but I left quite a few shots out there, so I’ve got to definitely work on the tee ball here, because it’s starting to really frustrate me,” Gainey said. “Any time you play and shoot 63 … when you have no blemishes on a golf course like this — or any golf course, for that matter — it’s a good day.”

Gainey — who’s at No. 40 on the points list — is safely in the playoff field.

Some others here this week aren’t quite that secure.

Once again, the prevailing storyline was the list of players who came in search of a push into the playoffs. The Wyndham annually marks the final chance to crack the top 125 on the points list and qualify for the postseason, which starts next week in New Jersey.

Els, who arrived at No. 126, was part of a morning threesome of bubble players that also included No. 124 Cameron Beckman and No. 125 Camilo Villegas.

“I said to the guys, `My playoffs started this week. If I don’t play well this week, I’m not advancing,’” Els said. “Most of the other guys have four playoff events. I have five. I feel like I need to do well (to go to) The Barclays and keep going. It’s hard not to think about it. There’s quite a bit of pressure on us guys lower down the field. We need to perform well.”

Fabian Gomez delivered the shot of the day — a double eagle on the par-5 No. 15. His 5-wood shot from 250 yards out went into the hole on the fly for the tour’s third albatross of the year.

And Furyk had two eagles in a span of four holes, his second multi-eagle round this year.

Indeed, low scores once again were the norm at the Donald Ross-designed course. Since the tournament moved back here in 2008, two of the three winners have finished at 20 under or better.

“My caddie said 5 under every day is sort of the goal,” Casey said.

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

Padraig Harrington just one of high powered field to play for FedEx Cup position

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

Padraig Harrington will play the Wyndham Championship

Padraig Harrington will play the Wyndham Championship

The Wyndham Championship has attracted one of its best fields, partly out of desperation from some players.

The final tournament before the start of the PGA Tour’s playoffs offers one last chance for players to climb the FedExCup rankings and claim a spot in The Barclays.

Several could use a big week in North Carolina. Ernie Els, who enters at No. 126, wrote on his official website that this is “last-chance saloon.” Padraig Harrington is No. 130, five slots behind No. 125 Camillo Villegas in the race to make golf’s postseason.

“I hope that I’ll be the fairy tale story, but any of us guys who are slightly outside the FedExCup at the moment, if we qualify, we can go on and win” the playoffs, Harrington said Wednesday. “That’s the whole idea … that anybody who is in the top 125 has a chance of winning it outright and being the best player of the year. So, if myself or Ernie or any of the guys actually make it in, and we hit our A-games for four weeks, all of a sudden, we can be the FedExCup champion.”

Meanwhile, No. 106 Retief Goosen and reigning playoff champion Jim Furyk want to solidify their spots in the standings.

They’re all a big part of what Tournament Director Mark Brazil has called the event’s best field in 20 years.

The playoffs “are obviously playing a role in the fields of tournaments, and this is a perfect example,” Bill Haas said. “I think it’s great to see. It shows the competitive nature of all the players out here. Everybody wants to play in these playoff events, and give themselves a shot, because anything can happen.”

Harrington will tee off Thursday morning as part of one of the tournament’s more intriguing groups. He’ll be joined by two other big names who also are looking to play their way into the postseason — No. 142 Justin Leonard and No. 147 Paul Casey. The threesome has combined to win four majors.

Harrington had a family vacation in the Bahamas scheduled, but when he wound up on the playoff bubble, his wife urged him to sign up for Greensboro.

“If I do qualify, I’m really looking forward to the fact that I can be the underdog and come through and win it outright,” Harrington said. “I suppose that’s what the FedExCup was designed for.”

Jason Dufner certainly could use a strong showing at the par-70 Sedgefield Country Club to move forward after his late five-shot lead evaporated at the PGA Championship last week and Keegan Bradley beat him in a three-hole playoff.

“I think it’ll make me a better player,” said Dufner, who at No. 25 doesn’t have to worry about making the playoff field. “I feel like there’s been more guys who have lost leads or lost tournaments in that situation and then have had greater finishes in the future than guys that have lost leads and you never heard of again.”

Two local favorites — Haas and Webb Simpson, who played their college golf at nearby Wake Forest — are safely in the playoff field. Simpson enters 12th on the points list with Haas three spots behind him.

“It’s about the time of year when the FedExCup playoff buzz starts going, and I think we’ve got a bunch of good names here because of it,” Simpson said. “I think I’m in a position where I can make a nice run at the playoffs and try to win. This week, I don’t think I can really hurt myself. I can definitely help myself with a good week.”

For Haas, no trip to Greensboro is complete without a return to his college town. The 29-year-old said he’ll make the 30-minute drive to Winston-Salem at least once to take a spin around campus “and just feel like I’m younger.”

“It was the best time of my life, without question,” Haas added. “I would trade everything I’ve done on tour to go back to college for four more years.”

One player in the field can return to school in the fall after he makes some PGA Tour history.

Olafur Loftsson, a rising senior at Charlotte, won the Cardinal Amateur across town to earn a sponsor’s exemption into the Wyndham. That will make him the first player from Iceland to play a tour event.

“People over there are very pleased to see me have some success,” Loftsson said. “Very excited to be able to represent Iceland here and kind of show the world that we do play golf in Iceland and we can be pretty darn good.”

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

Run of birdies puts Garrett Willis in lead of Heritage Classic by one

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

 

Garrett Willis

Garrett Willis

Garrett Willis couldn’t give up on “Old Faithful,” no matter how many flashy, new belly putters he tested out this week.

 

Willis entered the Heritage seeking answers to his poor putting and had planned to park his longtime Scotty Cameron model. As he walked to the range Thursday morning, though, Willis just couldn’t go through with it and asked his caddie to “go back to my car and get ‘Old Faithful.’”

Good thing he did. Willis had a run of six straight birdies on the front nine on the way to a 7-under 64 and a one-shot lead in the suspended first round.

“Obviously, very excited about putting this well, and having a chance to making the cut for a change,” Willis said.

He held a one-stroke edge over Arjun Atwal, Matt Bettencourt, Chad Campbell and Tim Herron and was two shots in front of Mark Wilson, Camilo Villegas and 2009 Heritage winner Brian Gay.

Luke Donald, No. 3 in the world, led a group at 67 in a round slowed by a late afternoon rain delay of 2 hours, 16 minutes. Because of the delay, 18 players were unable to finish before dark.

Donald could move to No. 1 with a win. That might be a tall order if Willis’ maintains the putting touch he showed in the first round.

Willis’ only PGA Tour victory came at the Touchstone Energy Tucson Open in 2001, also his first start on the PGA Tour. It has been a struggle for Willis to keep his pro career going at times. He fell to 228th on the PGA Tour money list in 2005 and regained his playing privileges in 2009 with a 12th-place finish on the Nationwide Tour money list.

The putting problems surfaced this season as Willis has made only two cuts in eight tournaments, shooting 78-78 last week for an early exit in the Valeor Texas Open. He’s 177th in the tour’s putting rankings and got fed up giving away strokes on the green.

“We can’t make them all. I’m fully aware of that,” he said. “But for some reason some of these guys do week in and week out.”

Willis was on a full-out search for a winning replacement putter this week. He brought four putters with him, had three more made at Harbour Town and had his father ship in three more. Willis was ready to go with a belly putter he used in Tuesday’s practice round and in warmups before his starting time. Suddenly, Willis’ resolve disappeared and “Old Faithful” was back.

“I can’t pull the trigger,” he said.

Willis wasn’t so confident in his last-second choice after missing a simple 12-footer for birdie on the first hole. His game — and attitude — changed for good on the next hole when he made an 8-foot birdie putt to start his run. “I said, ‘Wow, maybe I can make a putt,’” Willis recalled.

Willis one-putted the next five holes, all for birdies, to move in front. Willis’ approach shots didn’t hurt, either — all his birdie putts were inside 15 feet. When bogeys on the ninth and 11th holes dropped him back, Willis returned the top thanks to his putter with birdies on the 15th and 16th holes, the last a tricky 15-footer.

“I made putts today that I normally don’t make,” he said.

Willis had only broken 70 four times in 12 previous rounds at Hilton Head. His low round was a 68 in 2001, Willis’ first time playing Harbour Town.

Donald, who won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February, is the highest ranked player in the field. He did little to hurt his chance for No. 1, rallying from a sluggish start with three birdies over his final six holes.

“A lot of people are telling me about” becomng No. 1, Donald said. “So it’s hard to put out of your brain. But that would be awesome.”

Defending champion Jim Furyk and reigning U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, fifth in the world, were in a pack at 68.

Ernie Els, 15th in the rankings, had a difficult start on a course he traditionally plays well with seven top-10s in 11 appearances. Els switched to a belly putter for the first round and struggled to a 75. Els also incurred a two-stroke penalty on his nex-to-last hole, the eighth, for testing the playing surface by raking a bunker of his footprints before his shot.

All but one of the eight top finishers teed off in the afternoon when the storm blew through Harbour Town and delayed the round. Bill Haas looked like he might chase down Willis with a tap-in birdie on No. 5 once play resumed to move a shot off the lead. But Haas followed with two bogeys and a triple bogey to fall back.

In all, seven of the world’s top 20 players teed off in what could be the final Heritage. The tournament, a PGA Tour fixture since 1969, is searching for a title sponsor, something both the tour and event organizers called essential for keeping the springtime tradition on the golf schedule.

DIVOTS: John Daly caused an early morning stir with three birdies his first six holes to take the lead. Bogeys on the seventh and ninth holes dropped him back. He finished with a 70. … Brian Davis returned to Harbour Town with a 68. Davis called a two-shot penalty on himself in last year’s playoff with Furyk when he touched a loose reed with his takeaway. … Matt Bettencourt’s 65 came only days after he totaled his car in a highway wreck on the trip from his home in Upstate South Carolina. Bettencourt said he hit a camper top that fell off the car in front of him on I-26 and he had no choice but to brace for impact. He and his wife, Kim, were not hurt.

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

Cheyenne Woods out from famous Uncle’s shadow with win at ACC

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

 

Cheyenne Woods wins ACC

Cheyenne Woods wins ACC

At least one Woods is a winner this year.

Tiger Woods’ title slump certainly hasn’t extended to his niece Cheyenne. After winning the Atlantic Coast Conference individual golf title, the Wake Forest junior wants to keep establishing her own identity during the upcoming NCAA regionals.

“Coming into Wake Forest (in 2008) … there was a lot of spotlight on me as Tiger Woods’ niece,” Woods said Tuesday. “Now that I’m into college a little more, I’ve shown that I am able to play, not being known as Tiger’s niece, but I have my own game, too. I feel people are starting to recognize that, and this past weekend, I think, helped a lot.”

A few more weekends like this one, and people might start to wonder if Cheyenne ought to offer some tips to her uncle after he has gone 17 months without a victory — the longest drought of his career.

During that span, Cheyenne Woods has won twice.

The Phoenix native ranks fourth in the ACC with an average score of 73.59. Most recently, she was the only player under par for all three rounds at the ACC Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro.

Closing the tournament with a 68 that marked her best round of the season, Woods shot a 5-under 208 at the par-71 course to claim a seven-stroke win.

That lopsided margin of victory was reminiscent of the way Tiger used to dominate fields during his 71 career victories, including 14 majors. Describing their relationship as “decently close — as close as I am with any other uncle,” Cheyenne Woods said Tiger watched her victory on the Internet, sent her text messages and posted a congratulatory tweet after her victory.

Though having the Woods name stitched onto her golf bag undoubtedly brings extra pressure, she insists coming from her family has been a positive. Her father Earl Jr. is Tiger’s half-brother, and her paternal grandfather was Earl Sr.

“It’s definitely gotten my name out there as a collegiate golfer about to turn pro next year. It’s a good thing to have,” Cheyenne Woods said. “It’s helped me grow as a person and a player, being able to handle the interviews, the cameras, the spotlight.”

Said Wake Forest Golf Coach Dianne Dailey: “She’s just laid back — you don’t see her get bent out of shape about much. I don’t think her heart rate goes above 50.”

There’s definitely a family resemblance between uncle and niece. It’s found in their faces, not necessarily in their playing styles.

Cheyenne Woods says her swing compares more favorably to Ernie Els’ because it’s “nice and smooth, but still powerful.” Meanwhile, she says her uncle “is always hitting it, swinging out of his shoes, hitting it 400 yards.”

“My game is probably not as aggressive, but when I do need to make those shots, I will make them,” Cheyenne Woods said.

Dailey praises Woods’ calmness and her handiwork with the putter, saying she “reads greens better than anybody on our team.”

Woods’ immediate focus focus is on the NCAA regionals, and Wake Forest is almost certain to claim a spot in one of the three regional tournaments when the bids are announced Monday. After the NCAAs comes one final season with the Demon Deacons before she plans to turn pro.

“I know it’s going to be hard getting started — I’m not going to expect myself to jump up to the No. 1 spot and be the female Tiger Woods, like he was,” Cheyenne Woods said. “But I know I am talented, and I’ll just take it as it comes, work hard. I know there’s going to be ups and downs, so I know it’s a hard life, living the professional life, traveling. … I think it will be a struggle, but it’s one that I’m looking forward to and willing to work towards.”

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

Heritage Classic faces problem with sponsors for 2012 event

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

 

Jim Furyk at the Heritage Classic

Jim Furyk at the Heritage Classic

Jim Furyk noticed there were several more politicians and decision makers on hand than usual when he arrived at Harbour Town Golf Links. And the Heritage defending champion hopes that means good things for the tournament’s future.

 

The Heritage, played here since 1969, might not return in 2012 if it doesn’t find a title sponsor to underwrite the approximately $8 million a year to hold the event. Verizon, its backer since 1987, pulled out after last year’s tournament.

“Everyone seems positive,” Furyk said Wednesday. “I know they’re working together and working very hard to find a sponsor. I’m not sure what the hang-up is or what you can really find wrong with the area or the golf course.”

Furyk doesn’t see much wrong, especially after the FedExCup champion’s Heritage victory last spring. He won in a playoff with competitor Brian Davis called a two-stroke penalty on himself for touching a loose reed in the hazard area left of the course’s signature lighthouse hole, No. 18.

Furyk has had five top-10 finishes at Harbour Town, including the win, two seconds and a fourth, since 2003.

“It’s on a very short list of my favorite events, probably my top three,” said the former U.S. Open champion. “I had a couple of close calls here, and an event I always wanted to win before my career was over. It was nice to close the door last year and finally get that done.”

Furyk will have several top competitors trying to keep him from another victory. Luke Donald, No. 3 in the world, heads a field that includes seven players in the top 20. Graeme McDowell (No. 5) and Matt Kuchar (No. 10) are also entered. The others are Furyk (No. 13), Ernie Els (No. 15), Ian Poulter (No. 16) and Francesco Molinari (No. 19).

Also in the field is Jason Day, who tied for second at the Masters and is playing for the first time since that dramatic Sunday at Augusta National.

Andy Pazder, PGA Tour executive vice president and chief operating officer, says the field won’t hurt the cause courting potential sponsors this week. Player after player told Pazder how much they enjoy coming to the Pete Dye’s layout on Calibogue Sound and Camilo Villegas changed his schedule to make sure he teed off at Harbour Town.

“We are extremely confident we can find a long-term partner and title sponsor here,” he said. “We’ve got a number of active discussions under way.”

Tournament Director Steve Wilmot feels that confidence, too. “But on the drive home, we still don’t have a sponsor,” he said.

Still, the tenor of negotiations with prospective companies have intensified the last four to six weeks, keeping him hopeful despite the scores of pitches he’s made over the past 19 months since Verizon announced its plans to leave.

Several state leaders, including U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have come down to help with the cause. In July, the Heritage Classic Foundation released a study that found last April’s golf tournament brought nearly $82 million to South Carolina and its coastal region. The survey was conducted by Clemson’s International Institute for Tourism Research and Development with help from USC Beaufort.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has said several times she would not use taxpayer money to fund future Heritage tournaments. Duane Parrish, the head of South Carolina’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, reiterated that stance again Wednesday.

“We’ll find someone,” Parrish said. “This is too great of a price value for an organization to entertain, to get the exposure.”

The Heritage Classic Foundation used $4 million from its reserves for this year’s tournament. Local governments have also pitched in $1 million. That’s not a formula that can continue.

“Do I wish we could announce something Sunday? Sure, but we’re not,” Wilmot said.

Furyk would hate to see the Heritage disappear — and not just because he’s earned more than $2.3 million in prize money in 12 trips to Harbour Town.

Losing this event “probably sends a false message, in my opinion, that the tour isn’t as strong as it has been,” he said.

Day thinks he and his competitors will do their parts to get people talking about Harbour Town. “Hopefully, we can get some good play this week and hopefully, we can pick up a sponsor,” he said.

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

Nationwide Tour players have opportunity to grab first green jacket at Masters

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

 

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson

Nationwide Tour graduates are no strangers when it comes to winning on the PGA TOUR, but taking that next step and winning a major isn’t as given.

 

In the 22-year history of the Nationwide Tour, alumni have won majors 13 times. Leading the way for alumni is Ernie Els with three majors.

With the Masters getting underway on Thursday the chance is there for a former Nationwide Tour player to break through and win another major.

The Tour reached a milestone last month when Martin Laird won the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It was the 300th time a former Nationwide Tour player won on the PGA TOUR. (Look back at all 300 wins.)

The last Nationwide Tour graduate to win a major was Lucas Glover, who won the 2009 U.S. Open at soggy Bethpage. Earlier that year former Nationwide Tour player Stewart Cink won the British Open.

The last time a former Nationwide Tour player won the Masters was in 2007 when Zach Johnson‘s steady play led to his first major championship.

Here is a look at the top 10 former Nationwide Tour players who have a chance to break through and win their first major this year.

Major championships won by former Nationwide Tour players
Player Major
John Daly 1991 PGA Championship
Ernie Els 1994 U.S. Open
John Daly 1995 British Open
Tom Lehman 1996 British Open
Ernie Els 1997 U.S. Open
David Duval 2001 British Open
David Toms 2001 PGA Championship
Ernie Els 2002 British Open
Jim Furyk 2003 U.S. Open
Shaun Micheel 2003 PGA Championship
Zach Johnson 2007 Masters
Lucas Glover 2009 U.S. Open
Stewart Cink 2009 British Open

Nick Watney — It seems now that it’s just a formality before Watney, 29, wins his first major. He took down a strong field to win the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship to prove he is ready for that breakthrough. Here’s another stat that might be worthwhile — he finished seventh last year at the Masters throwing up a tidy 65 in the final round.

Bubba Watson — He’s one of the best feel players around and Augusta National is best suited for guys that can improvise shots. Watson’s got the length and is real close to moving into the upper echelon on TOUR. He has a win this season and is headed toward his best season on TOUR. He didn’t play in the Masters last year but made the cut in 2009 and finished 42nd.

Stuart Appleby — He hasn’t set the world on fire this season, but he’s capable of breaking through at some point to win a major. Like Watson, he wasn’t in the Masters last year but in 2009 tied for 30th. In 2007 he tied for seventh at Augusta for his best showing there.

Steve Stricker — Mr. Consistency has been Stricker’s calling card for the last several years. While he won’t wow many folks with his game, it’s more than good enough to win a major. With the success he’s had of late it seems the only thing missing from his resume is a major. Two years ago he quietly tied for sixth at Augusta National.

Matt Kuchar — It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years since a barely-shaving Kuchar, who was an amateur at Georgia Tech, thrilled the galleries as he tied for 21st. This season he has five top 10s and in last year’s Masters tied for 24th. If his putting is on the mark, watch out.

Bill Haas — The former Wake Forest star has only one year of experience at the Masters, and that was last year when he tied for 26th. He had a solid start to the season but has tailed off some with two missed cuts heading into this week. His length off the tee bodes well for Augusta National and the experience of playing last year should help.

Jerry Kelly — With the 25-year anniversary of Jack Nicklaus winning the Masters at age 46, maybe a 44-year-old will win his first major. Kelly was fifth in 2007 at the Masters and has plenty of experience at Augusta National. He was third at the Honda Classic earlier this season.

Tim Clark — He always seems to be hanging around the leaderboard at majors, especially at the Masters. Clark has battled some injuries this season, so it’s hard to say if he’ll be ready this week. In nine Masters he’s finished inside the top 25 four times and was second in 2006.

Camilo Villegas — He’s had a disappointing 2011 and is just 144th on the FedExCup points list. His best showing is a tie for 33rd at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, but sometimes a major can get a player going in the right direction. In 2009, he tied for 13th at the Masters. This will be his fifth Masters so he knows the course.

Jhonattan Vegas — The ‘odds’ on Vegas winning in his first Masters appearance are pretty slim because noone since Fuzzy Zoellar in 1979 has ever won the tournament in his first attempt. Vegas has taken the PGA TOUR by storm this season in his rookie year and won the Bob Hope Classic.

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

World Rankings get shuffled but Kaymer still enjoys No.1 spot

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

 

Martin Kaymer

Martin Kaymer

The first to arrive last week were Martin Kamyer’s brother, Philip, and his best friend Patrick.

 

On Tuesday evening, though, less than 24 hours after their plane touched down in Phoenix, the two dragged the reigning PGA champion back to the airport. There was a “surprise” in store, they told Kaymer.

Turns out, the trio was there to pick up Kaymer’s father, Horst, who had flown in all the way from Germany to have a word with the man who now sits atop the Official World Golf Ranking.

“He says, ‘Next time in Germany who knows if you’re still No. 1, so I just wanted to take the opportunity to say congratulations,’” Kaymer said with a grin.

Horst Kaymer was teasing his son, of course. But the fact is, the No. 1 ranking in the world has proven to be a fleeting proposition of late — and there seems to be no end in sight.

For much of last year, Phil Mickelson had a chance to overtake Tiger Woods at the top of the rankings. He didn’t, but Lee Westwood finally ended Woods’ reign at 218 weeks on Halloween. And then 17 weeks later, another domino fell as Kaymer dethroned Westwood when he finished second at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.

The 26-year-old German plays for the first time since taking his place at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking this week at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. And he’ll be able to keep a close eye on the competition during the first two rounds when he’s paired with No. 2 Westwood and No. 3 Luke Donald.

Should Westwood go on to win at TPC Blue Monster, the Englishman would go back to No. 1. And the scenario is likely to be played out several more times in the weeks leading up to the Masters — that’s how volatile the rankings are now that the once seemingly insurmountable Woods has slipped to fifth.

Last week was a case in point as Kaymer took a break while Westwood and Donald played in The Honda Classic. Westwood was 1 under through 36 holes and inside the top 10 on the leaderboard before eventually tying for 29th. Kaymer said he started to get phone calls from friends who speculated he might be ranked second or third when he came to Doral.

“To be honest with you, I said, I really don’t care,” Kaymer said. “I’ve been No. 1 in the world at least for seven days. No one can take it away from me. … That was my goal when I started playing golf.”

Kaymer said the significance of what he accomplished by getting to the championship match at Dove Mountain hit him last Wednesday night when he was having dinner with Horst, Philip and Patrick at a steakhouse in Scottsdale. The cake that was delivered for dessert had “Congratulations, No. 1″ written on it.

“And then, you know, my dad and me, we were just looking at each other in a strange way and then we both thought I think the same thing; how cool it is … there’s no one else in the world who is better in the sport than you,” Kaymer recalled.

“It was a very satisfying feeling, and for us at the table, it was a very strange atmosphere. It was very proud. Everybody on this table has achieved something great, but at the end of the day, it was me who played golf, but without those three people there, and obviously with a few others, I wouldn’t have achieved that.”

Ernie Els has been there, done that. The three-time major champion was the world No. 1 for a total of nine weeks in 1997 and ’98 so he can understand Kaymer’s deep-seeded satisfaction.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling; to look at the ranking and all the way to the top, there’s no one ahead of you,” Els said. “It’s a great feeling. … You walk out, and there’s a certain appreciation that you have for it, and then obviously a certain respect from the players. They look at you a little differently and … really on top of the world.

“For Martin to have it at 26, it’s a great feeling. Obviously Tiger had it since he’s been, I don’t know how old. … It’s almost like winning a major. It’s that kind of feeling.”

Kaymer calls the No. 1 ranking a “life goal.” His playoff win at the PGA Championship last August admittedly was a huge accomplishment but to be recognized as the best at one’s profession is even more of career-definer. Kaymer is the second German to accomplish the feat — Bernhard Langer was No. 1 for three weeks when the rankings were first established.

“It would be nice to be one day longer … than Bernhard Langer,” Kaymer said, grinning. “,,, If it happens, it happens. If not, that’s fine, too. But there’s no extra pressure or anything.”

The questions, Kaymer acknowledges, are different now. It’s not when will you get to No. 1, it’s how long you can stay there. And as much excitment as the volatility of the rankings creates, always lurking is the spectre of a man who has spent a total of 623 weeks as No. 1.

“I think it’s good for golf in the whole world,” Kaymer said. “Obviously it would be fantastic if Tiger comes back and finds back to his form. That would be great to against the greatest player whoever played the game in his top form and see if I can it still compete against him. I don’t believe so; if he plays the same way that he played in 2000, I might struggle, but it would be nice to have that challenge.”

Kaymer doesn’t see the anyone dominating the game like Woods once did — at last not anytime soon. Els, who bears more scars than many in the Woods era, isn’t quite so sure but he knows the game has changed.

“I don’t know, man,” Els said. “I played for 10 years when that guy dominated, so it’s tough to get a different mind set on things. Tiger was the dominant player. He won 14 majors. Think about it, 14 majors, in such a short period of time. Who is ever going to do that again? Who knows? That is pretty dominating.

“… The youngsters, they have got something going for them. They didn’t have to play under a guy that was so dominant and I don’t think they will ever appreciate how good Tiger was back then. He could do it again, who knows? He’s just got to sort out the new swing again. He’s so mentally strong that he could well dominate again.

“… It’s nice to see that the 20 somethings are actually producing now. They have started winning majors now and they are winning tournaments. It’s basically almost their time to shine now and for us to do what we can.”

 

 

 

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

McIlroy and McDowell face the Blue Monster this week at Doral

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

 

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell

The gang’s all here.

For just the second time since 2005, all of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will tee it up at Doral Resort & Spa in Miami for the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.

From No. 1 Martin Kaymer of Germany, who makes his first appearance as the world’s top-ranker player, to No. 50 Mark Wilson, the only two-time winner on the PGA TOUR this year, and everyone in between, all of the 50 will be vying for the $1.4 million first prize and much-needed mojo heading into next month’s Masters.

It was at Doral a year ago when Kaymer finally showed the potential in the U.S. that his European peers have seen for years when he finished T3.

It was at Doral a year ago when Ernie Els broke a two-year winless drought with a four-stroke victory over fellow South African Charl Schwartzel, who had spent the previous week as Els’ house guest. Els’ victory was a popular one, and he used the momentum to win again two weeks later at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.

The second leg of the Florida Swing is when things really heat up, and we’re not just talking about the temperature. The PGA TOUR’s 50th stop in Miami is cause for celebration of a tournament’s long, storied history. Starting when Hall of Famer Billy Casper won the inaugural Doral Country Club Open Invitational in 1962, the TPC Blue Monster has a way of producing grand champions such as Doug Sanders (twice), Jack Nicklaus (twice), Lee Trevino, Hubert Green, Tom Weiskopf, Mark McCumber (twice), Andy Bean (thrice), Lanny Wadkins, Raymond Floyd (thrice), Greg Norman (thrice), Ben Crenshaw, Els (twice), Tom Kite, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson and Geoff Ogilvy.

Oh, and Tiger Woods has had some success at the TPC Blue Monster. He won here twice when the event was known as the Ford Championship at Doral — including a memorable duel with Mickelson in 2005 — and then once again, in 2007, after it became a World Golf Championship event.

mug12.jpg
Woods

This is a very important week for Woods, who has dropped to No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking after spending more than five years at No. 1. Woods has played in just nine rounds this year, and clearly is not comfortable with his latest swing change when the pressure is really on.

He shot 75 in the final round of both of his stroke-play events (he was T44 at the Farmers Insurance Open and T20 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic) and he made a double bogey on the first sudden-death hole in a first-round loss to Thomas Bjorn at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.

For Woods, it’s bad enough he endured his first winless season as a professional in 2010 while he dealt with his well-chronicled personal issues. But when he finished far down the standings at Torrey Pines — a place where he had won his last five starts and had never finished out of the top 10 in 12 appearances — more alarms went off as to the state of his game. If Woods were to perform poorly this week at a venue where he won three consecutive times would cast further doubt on when he’s going to stop his slide.

Mickelson also could use a boost as he prepares to defend his Masters title. After finishing second at Torrey Pines, he has gone T29, T9 and T35 before getting blown out by Rickie Fowler in the second round of Match Play. At least one national sports magazine (Sports Illustrated) has already wondered if we have seen the end of the Tiger & Phil Era as we know it.

Will the Europeans continue to rise to the top of the PGA TOUR leaderboard? The Euros hold the top four spots in the world rankings for the first time since 1992, though U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell needed a final-round 64 to become the only European player to finish in the top nine at The Honda Classic. Only one European player has won at Doral ever — Nick Faldo in 1995.

One thing seems certain: The leaderboards will be dripping red. The average winning score at Doral the last three years is 18-under par, and the weather is expected to be much calmer than it was at last week’s Honda Classic. Let the birdie barrage begin.

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

Nigeria to see big boost in golf by Young Masters Golf (YMG) announcement

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

YMG Junior GolfGolf in Nigeria has received a boost with news that Young Masters Golf (YMG), the popular youth development course, will launch there soon.
The license to spread YMG across the West African country has been secured by 2AT (To A Tee Nigeria Ltd), which plans to deliver the programme in schools.

Seyi Badmos, a director of 2AT, explained: “We aim to introduce golf in a fun and accessible way to as many children as possible, while increasing the popularity of golf tuition among the Nigerian youth and growing and sustaining golf in the country.”

There are currently 43 golf clubs in Nigeria, but the sport is gaining in popularity.

Badmos added: “Golf in Nigeria is gradually developing with a surge in the development of new golfing facilities, but unfortunately not many youths are involved in the game owing to a lack of appreciable knowledge about the sport, which inadvertently makes most people term it as elitist. There is, therefore, a need to bring more youths to the sport.”
The YMG programme is already used in South Africa and the Sudan – just two of an expanding list of 13 countries using the training course.
Developed by a team of highly experienced PGA professionals, the YMG programme is the ultimate solution for boys and girls from the ages of six to 14-years-old who want to start playing golf or, if they already play, to improve.

The programme has recently been overhauled and improved to offer a focused approach to golf development, but its ethos is as it always was: to encourage youngsters to participate in golf and to teach them the basics, rules and etiquette of the sport, through the auspices of PGA-trained professionals.

Chris Smith PGA, sales director for YMG in the UK, said: “We are delighted to welcome Nigeria to our list of participating countries and feel sure it will help to develop the game in a country where youngsters are always so enthusiastic about sport.

“We will continue to work hard to take YMG to any part of the globe where golf pros believe it may help improve participation.”

To discover more about delivering the Young Masters Golf programme to juniors or for information on clubs providing the scheme in your area visit www.ymg-golf.com

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!