Justiin Rose leads by one going into final round at Transitions 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!

 

Justin Rose at Transition Championship

Justin Rose at Transition Championship

Justin Rose knew he was playing better than his score through the first 27 holes of the Transitions Championship. It wasn’t long before he was proven correct.

Rose ran off five birdies on the front nine Saturday and wound up with his second straight round of a 6-under 65 at Innisbrook to take a one-shot lead over Brendon de Jonge and Webb Simpson.

A 6-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole put Rose at 13-under 200 — one shot off the 54-hole tournament record — and his one-shot lead looks even more daunting considering the guys chasing him.

De Jonge and Simpson have never won on the PGA Tour. Neither have the two guys another shot behind — rookie Scott Stallings, who only made his first cut in the big leagues last week in Puerto Rico; and Gary Woodland, who lost in a playoff at the Bob Hope Classic this year.

Rose won his first two PGA Tour events last year at the Memorial and AT&T National, and knows what to expect from his emotions.

“It doesn’t mean it’s all going to go smoothly tomorrow,” Rose said. “You have to be ready for whatever happens. But at least I kind of am aware of the ups and downs, and the things I’m going to face. And I think that maybe it’s a lot easier to deal with.”

Then again, even consecutive 65s is not enough to feel comfortable on the Copperhead Course.

Simpson, whose wife recently gave birth to their first child, kept pace with Rose for much of the day until dropping shots on two of the tough par 3s on the back nine. He still had a third straight 67.

De Jonge earned a spot in the final group with a steady round of 66.

Nine players were separated by only three shots going into the final round, and while most of them don’t have Rose’s winning experience, there is a name that is hard to ignore. Nick Watney, coming off a World Golf Championship title last week at Doral, had seven birdies in his round of 65 and was in the group at 10-under 203 with Brandt Snedeker, who shot a 67.

Garrett Willis and Chris Couch, the co-leaders after the second round, each shot 70 to fall back, although they were still in the mix.

Sergio Garcia finally made a bogey in America this year — it’s his first PGA Tour event since last August — and then made four more in a round of 72 that most likely left him too far behind. He was six shots back.

PGA Champion Martin Kaymer, the No. 1 player in the world, had a 71 and was nine shots behind.

Rose was closer to the cut line than the top of the leaderboard halfway through his second round until he ran off five birdies on the back nine of Innisbrook and wound up with a 65. He had five birdies on his next nine — the front nine Saturday — to take the lead.

“First 27 holes of the tournament, I had to be really patient,” he said. “I knew I was playing well and wasn’t getting much out of it. Obviously, the next combined 18 went really hot. But this is a golf course that it’s easy to be patient on, really, in terms of you hit in the middle of the green, you two-putt for par, you know you’re not being lapped by the rest of the field.

“It’s not Disney from that type of scoring perspective.”

Watney went from feeling flat on Friday to feeling fresh in the third round, and it showed. He revved up the gallery behind the 17th green with a 10-foot birdie, and made a long two-putt across the 18th for his 65.

“I’ve done all I can do. I’m really excited for tomorrow,” Watney said. “I’m just going to take a lot from last week. I’m definitely riding some momentum. I just feel good with my game and I’m feeling more and more comfortable.”

Woodland is an intriguing contender.

He is the latest pure athlete to join the PGA Tour, cut along the lines of Dustin Johnson, only less polished. He spent his freshman year playing basketball, saw a greater future in golf and transferred to Kansas. That’s when he started facing his first real competition, but after shoulder surgery last year, Woodland is starting to progress quickly.

He lost in the three-man playoff at the Hope, and has been steady on a Copperhead Course he has never seen. Woodland, one of the biggest hitters on tour, decided to go conservative and hit mostly 2-iron off the tee. It’s working out for him.

The surprise is Stallings.

He missed every cut on the West Coast Swing and finally earned a paycheck last week — just over $11,000 — when he tied for 42nd in the Puerto Rico Open. His round featured a hole-in-one on No. 8, the third-toughest hole at Innisbrook, and he followed that with five birdies on the back nine.

Stallings received a sponsor’s exemption, mainly because he and Kenny Perry have the same agent, and Perry has an endorsement relationship with the title sponsor. It was a great break for a guy who has low status in his rookie year, and he’s running with it.

“I was surprisingly relaxed,” Stallings said. “I knew that I had nothing to lose. It was basically play well this week, and take advantage of the opportunity or if I didn’t play well, I was going to sit back and wait until I got in toward after the U.S. Open, because that’s when the tournaments would start opening up and the fields would get a little bigger.”

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!

Sabbatini win Honda Classic with excellent putting

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 Sabbatin iwins Honda Classic

Rory Sabbatin iwins Honda Classic

What a fantastic start to the Florida swing on the PGA tour.  The Honda Classic at the famous PGA National-Champion course once again gave us a great tournament with a lot of drama.

So first of all, congratulations to Rory Sabbatini on winning this years Honda Classic. I was fortunate enough to go out and watch some of this event in person and I can tell you first hand, however difficult this course looks on television, it’s that times five in person. It took a major-tournament type effort to win this event.  It is no surprise that past Honda Classic winners have gone on to do great things in the Major Championships of golf.  The conditions are so tough, if you can play well here – you can pretty much play well anywhere.
Rory managed his game to perfection and demonstrated that his putting skills are among the best in the game.  It is unreal that he could play four rounds in such windy contitions and three-putt only once.  Think about that.  How many times do you three-putt on easier courses under calmer conditions? It’s more than just impressive – it’s mind-boggling. In fact, during his third round 64, Rory only took 21 putts! That’s just incredible.
You can benefit from Rory’s success on the greens this past week by learning three fundamentals of good putting as this week’s “A Lesson Learned.” All week, he looked comfortable and confident, he stayed true to a putting routine and he stayed solidly over the ball.
First, work with a PGA Professional on finding the right putter for you. Long putter, blade, mallet, center-shafted, there are so many options to consider. And then, just the look of the putter can make a huge difference. I noticed that Rory was playing a new putter this week. Sometimes a new view by itself can make a world of difference.  When I visited the Scotty Cameron Studio before the National Club Pro Championship one of the first things they asked me was what putter looked the best to my eye.  Looks are important.  But there are some basics that don’t change.  You need the correct length putter in order to get your eyes over the golf ball and to get you in the comfortable posture. Next, you need the right length. I am comfortable at 35.5 inches.  Personally, I feel the putter should be on the heavy side. It provides a better feel. This is an example of how pros pick their equipment and how you should too.
Next, work on a putting routine. I noticed that Rory followed a definite routine every time.  He took time to look at the target before his putt. He looked at the target while he made his two practice swings.  Then took one more look before making the stroke.  Whether it was a 40 foot lag put or the two footer at the end to win, same routine means nerves don’t play as much a part.
And finally, the third key is to stay steady or solid over the ball.  Keep body movement to a minimum.  I coach players to be solid in the lower half of the body.  Rory kept his legs and hips so still all week. This really helps on windy days, and we had four of them.  Hitting the sweet spot of the putter(on the sight line- center of putter face) is critical for distance control.  If your lower body is quiet you can swing the arms/shoulders in one piece and hit the ball solidly on the sweetspot.
My advice to players, whether I am working with a mid-high handicap player or a junior player or a touring professional – if your current  putting style is not working – Change it!  I know this sounds so obvious, but I see players of all levels stubbornly practicing their old styles and trying to force it to work. On the other hand, during the telecast this week, one of the announcers talked about how Jerry Kelly has changed his putting to copy what Steve Stricker does. Jerry putted great all week.  If you putt a certain way and it’s not working, go to a PGA Professional and make a change.
I teach players the correct putting method and then let them adjust to fit their comfort level.  For example, I want my students to take multiple looks at the target.  Some pros look twice, some look four times.  Find out what is comfortable for you.  The thought is that looks turn into better feel.  And then I tell them to experiement with the width of their stance for stability purposes.  Kenny Perry has a wide base, Y.E Yang doesn’t.  As long as you are solid that is all that matters.
On a side note, I once shot a 65 in a South Florida PGA section event, incidentally, on this same Champion course here at PGA National. And prior to that round, I spent an hour on the putting green doing nothing but working on putting drills. The adage that you drive for show, putt for dough is not just a slogan – it’s really a truth.
If you work on these few suggestions you will be on your way to putting up better scores. And isn’t that we’re all looking to do – from every amateur player to the Rory Sabbatini’s of the PGA Tour?

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!

Kenny Perry joins Champions Tour as new rookie

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!

KennyPerry-ChampionsTourRookie

Kenny Perry-Champions Tour Rookie

With the likes of major champions Fred Couples, Corey Pavin, Paul Azinger and Mark Calcavecchia making their debuts on the Champions Tour in 2010 — sprinkled in with other multiple PGA TOUR winners like Tommy Armour III, Ted Schulz, David Peoples, Jodie Mudd, Bill Glasson and J.L Lewis also making their first appearances — there was a great deal of anticipation, discussion and speculation from fellow players, fans and the media as to who was going to come out on top at the end of the year.

We all know now that Fred Couples was the runaway star from the 2010 rookie class. His season included four wins, more than $2 million in earnings for the first time in his 30-year career and an all-time Champions Tour scoring average of 67.96, earning him the Rookie of the Year title. But who is going to be the standout rookie of the 2011 season?

Kenny Perry is perhaps the most credentialed of the group, with 14 PGA TOUR victories and more than $30 million in career earnings. Perry dipped his toes in the Champions Tour late in 2010, testing the waters to prepare for a thorough campaign in 2011. The Kentucky native played the final two full-field events of the season, both in Texas, finishing tied for 35th at the Administaff Small Business Classic and 54th at the AT&T Championship. He also represented the Champions Tour at the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge toward the end of the year, along with Nick Price and Bernhard Langer.

Perry struggled in the opening rounds of both Champions events, shooting 78 the first week and 74 the second.

“It’s kind of like a track meet out here,” he said. “I’ve got to get my mind set more on making birdies quicker. On the PGA TOUR I can plod along and get into position in the first two rounds, and have two more rounds. Out here, I know it’s a lot more fast-paced, and I have to really pay attention. I can’t afford to make these doubles I’ve been making. You have to make birdies to cash in.”

Even though Perry thinks the scoring may be less “fast-paced” on the PGA TOUR, he is definitely looking forward to a different environment on the Champions Tour.

“Tournament-wise, it’s similar because I still have the pressure and the feelings inside me to do well, but definitely the atmosphere out here is much more relaxed,” he said. “The people are all friendly, and smiling, and happy. It’s pretty easygoing, and I’m excited and happy to be out here.”

For players to become eligible to compete in Champions Tour events they must attain age 50 on or before the day of their first tournament ‘obligation,’ such as the Wednesday pro-am, the date of pre-qualifying or the date of event qualifying. If a player plays less than six tournaments in his first season of eligibility he is considered a rookie the following season. Perry (two events in 2010), Steve Lowery (two), Jay Delsing (one), Tom Byrum (two), Willie Wood (one), Mark Carnevale (four) and Jodie Mudd (four) are all examples of this heading into 2011.

Along with the players already mentioned, a couple of “real” newcomers for 2011 include major champions Mark Brooks and Ian Baker-Finch, who has said he will play sparingly, perhaps five or six events, mixed in with his duties as a CBS golf commentator.

“It’s crazy to think I could play as well as the guys who still play golf full time,” said the 1991 British Open winner. “I will continue being a commentator for 25 weeks of the year and work on my golf course design, but I’ll try to play half a dozen Champions Tour events as well for the next few years.”

Baker-Finch has already tested the waters after turning 50, playing in the Handa Australian Senior Open Championship at Royal Perth in his native Australia, finishing tied for 15th after rounds of 75-71-70. Brooks, who played a combined 22 events on both the PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour in 2010, does not turn 50 until March 25 next year.

Other players expected to compete regularly include Brad Faxon (eight TOUR wins), John Huston (seven wins), Steve Pate (six wins) and Jim Gallagher Jr. (five wins), who turns 50 the day before Brooks. Huston (50 on June 1) and Faxon (Aug. 1) will have to wait until later in the year to get started.

Pate, a former Ryder Cup player who celebrates his 50th birthday on May 26, comes to the Champions Tour after toiling for several years on the Nationwide Tour. He became that Tour’s oldest winner in March of 2010 with victory at the Bogota Open in Colombia, his first win anywhere since 1998.

“I’m ready to play with guys my own age,” said Pate. “Three days of competition instead of four … nobody outdriving me by 50 yards … cart optional … what’s the downside?”

Those who successfully progressed through the Champions Tour National Qualifying School to gain membership for 2011 include Frankie Minoza and Lee Rinker, both finishing tied for second behind winner Keith Clearwater. Roger Chapman and Mark Mouland, both former winners on the European Tour, earned conditional status by finishing sixth and eighth respectively at the q-School.

Minoza, from The Philippines, may be the sleeper in this group. The longtime player in Asia has won seven titles on the Japan Golf Tour. He has also won titles in Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore, Pakistan, Korea, The Philippines and Malaysia. At one time in his career he was ranked in the top-50 in the world.

Rinker, who tied for second with Minoza at the Q-School, competed on the PGA TOUR in the late 1990s, earning a pair of runner-up finishes in 1997 at the GTE Byron Nelson Classic and the B.C. Open. Rinker also recently served as the head golf professional at Trump International GC in West Palm Beach, Fla. Rinker’s name may be familiar to golf fans — his brother (Larry) and sister (Laurie) also played successfully as professionals.

Minoza and Rinker would surely like to follow in the footsteps of Peter Senior and Chien Soon Lu. Senior traveled from his native Australia to win the Qualifying School late in 2009 and went on to finish 20th on the money list with $821,666, capturing 18 top-25 finishes in 25 starts in his rookie season. Lu claimed the 12th, and final, conditionally-exempt spot after an eight-hole playoff at the same q-School. The amiable man from Taiwan surprised everyone when he seemingly contended every week on Tour. Eight top-10s in 19 starts earned him not just the respect of his peers, but also $929,764 and 16th position on the final money list.

Greg Twiggs, Bob Lohr, Ernie Gonzalez Jr., Jim Carter and Chris Perry, who all have a single PGA TOUR victory to their names, also become eligible for the 2011 rookie class of the Champions Tour but will have limited status.

Enhanced by Zemanta

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!

Trans Atlantic tag team wins Shootout

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!

DJohnson-Poulter

DJohnson & Ian Poulter

Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter won the Shark Shootout Sunday, shooting a 13-under 59 in the scramble format to beat Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell by two shots.

Johnson and Poulter took the lead with birdies on their first four holes and had no trouble the rest of the way in finishing at 30-under 186. Clarke and McDowell (59) never came closer than two strokes.

The two teams passed second-round co-leaders Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker (64) and Fred Funk and Kenny Perry (66). Kelly and Stricker, the defending champions, tied for third at 26 under with Chris DiMarco and Anthony Kim (61).

The 12 two-man teams in the tournament hosted by Greg Norman at Tiburon Golf Club played modified alternate shot in the first round and better ball in the second. Johnson and Poulter split $750,000 from the $3 million purse.

Johnson and Poulter, who played for the rival U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams two months ago, made the perfect duo in the three-format tournament.

After a birdie on No. 3, they maintained sole possession of the lead, although Clarke and McDowell gave chase.

“They kind of pushed us around,” Poulter said. “You know what, making the birdies they did, it was kind of good for us to see good shot after good shot, and good putts going in. It’s a lot easier to hole putts when your playing partners do.”

Funk-Perry and Kelly-Stricker started the day in front by a shot, but both teams started slowly. Funk-Perry made a birdie, then eight straight pars. Kelly-Stricker had three birdies on the front.

With Johnson putting first in the scramble format, Poulter took advantage, perhaps nowhere more so than on the par-4 15th. Holding a two-shot lead, Poulter knocked his approach to 7 feet after Clarke had put his close. After Johnson missed his putt, Poulter made his to keep the two-shot advantage.

The two teams parred the par-3 16th, but with the par-5 17th ahead, Clarke and McDowell had another chance. They couldn’t reach the green in two, but neither could Johnson and Poulter.

“It was definitely a lot harder than it looked,” Johnson said. “Standing there we were like, ‘Oh, this is a piece of cake.’”

Poulter came through, pitching to 7 feet. Then Johnson made the putt to follow Clarke and McDowell’s birdie.

“Ian is one of the best chippers of the ball in the world, and he was the man for the job,” McDowell said. “He was pretty clutch today. He played great.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

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!

Perry and Funk share lead with Stricker and Kelly at Shark Shootout

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!

perry-kenny-102910-640x360

Kenny Perry

Champions Tour players Fred Funk and Kenny Perry shot a 10-under 62 in better-ball play Saturday for a share of the second-round lead in the Shark Shootout with defending champions Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly.

Stricker and Kelly, who rallied to beat Perry and J.B. Holmes last year in the final round, had a 63 to match Funk and Perry at 18 under on the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort’s Tiburon Golf Club course.

Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter shot a 64 to finish at 17 under.

The 12 teams will play a scramble format Sunday.

Last year, Perry and Holmes had a two-stroke lead with four holes to play in the final-round scramble format, only to see Stricker and Kelly take the title.

“I’m not taking for granted anything,” said Perry, who won with John Huston in 2006 and Scott Hoch in 2008. “They’re great putters; we’re good putters. If I drive it well, it’s going to set up the whole day for us.”

Stricker and Kelly, both from Madison, Wis., birdied four of their last six holes.

“When we’re playing together and we’re feeding off each other, it’s fun,” said Kelly, who did most of the talking because Stricker is losing his voice. “A fun, competitive arena. But we’re just really going to enjoy what we’re doing, and not really worry about where everybody else is.”

Perry birdied the first six holes of the day, and Funk made three of the team’s four remaining birdies. Funk was amazed by Perry’s streak, which ended when he missed a 4-footer for birdie on No. 7.

“Nobody’s hit it that good for that long a stretch that I’ve seen,” said Funk, who characterized Perry’s play as the best in his 21 or 22 years of professional golf. “That was phenomenal. I’ve seen some really good golf for 18 holes, but that seven holes was as good a quality as you’ll ever see.”

Perry admitted missing the short birdie putt shook him up a little bit.

“I was so zoned in for the first seven holes, when I missed that putt on No. 7, it was like somebody stuck a needle in a balloon,” he said. “Life just went right out of my body. It was the weirdest feeling. It was like all of a sudden my focus, I lost it for a few holes.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

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!

Two teams tied after Friday’s round at Shark Shootout

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!

SteveStricker

Steve Stricker

Two very different teams played to their strengths to achieve the same results Friday in the first round of the Shark Shootout.

Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly, the defending champions, and Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter put up matching 9-under 63s in the modified alternate-shot format to take the lead at Tiburon Golf Club.

Stricker and Kelly have similar games, while Johnson hits massive drives and Poulter is more accurate off the tee. Johnson and Poulter also have an edge as far as rankings with both in the top 15 in the world, while Stricker and Kelly are good friends from Wisconsin who know how to complement each other on the course.

“We’re still a great team and sometimes teams can support each other, and it can help an individual along, even though you’re playing your own ball,” Kelly said. “It’s still a team game.”

The 63s tied the mark for low score in the format in the tournament’s 10 years at Tiburon.

“I think it was a dream start, to be honest,” Poulter said.

The overall format record is a 57 by Fred Couples and Raymond Floyd in 1990 at Sherwood Country Club in California. The 12 teams playing in the tournament hosted by Greg Norman will play better ball Saturday, and a scramble on Sunday in the $3 million event.

Mark Calcavecchia and Jeff Overton, who grabbed the early lead with an eagle-birdie start, and Fred Funk and Kenny Perry were tied for third at 8 under. Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank were fifth at 6 under.

Members of those three teams in contention have good records in the event.

Calcavecchia, who is playing in his 17th Shootout, has won twice, and so has Perry. Leonard and Verplank lost in a playoff in 2006, and tied for second last year.

Norman and partner Matt Kuchar were last in the field after a 72.

Both of the first-round leaders stumbled down the stretch.

Sitting at 8 under through 11 holes, Johnson and Poulter bogeyed the par-3 12th, and despite the long-hitting Johnson the duo parred both the par-5 14th and 17th.

“Parring the two par 5s was brutal,” Johnson said. “It was no fun. No. 14 was playing pretty tough, but No. 17 was playing fairly easy. We hit four pretty good shots and we made a 5.”

Poulter rued the failure to build on a strong start.

“It’s just a shame that we kind of parred two of the par 5s,” Poulter said. “I think we were really looking to take advantage of those, especially with Dustin’s length, and how we got off to a decent start.”

Stricker and Kelly were at 10 under through 15, then bogeyed the par-5 17th after Stricker knocked his second shot near the lip of a greenside bunker. Kelly was forced to play the ball directly to the left instead of straight at the pin, then barely got it out of the bunker. He missed a 10-footer for par. They missed the green at the last, but two-putted for par.

Johnson and Poulter both hit poor tee shots on the par-3 12th.

“I’m not taking the full blame on that one,” Poulter joked, although he did admit he may have jinxed them when he said then they had gotten off to a good start.

Still, they’re happy with where they’re at and confident heading into the final two rounds.

“Our game, I think, is very good for this format,” Poulter said. “Better ball (Saturday) gives us plenty of chances. I’m playing well. Dustin’s hitting it long and straight, and that’s dangerous.

“That’s also going to be very dangerous come Sunday in that scramble format. You’ve just got to keep hitting good golf shots. We’ve certainly done that today in this format, which is the trickiest of the three.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

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!

Australian Frances Bondad shoots 5-under on Friday to lead Suzhou Yaihu Ladies Open in Suzhou

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!

Frances Bondad

Frances Bondad of Australia shot a five-under par 67 on Friday to lead the Suzhou Yaihu Ladies Open in Suzhou, near Shanghai.

The 22-year old from Greystanes in New South Wales led by one shot from Thailand’s Nontaya Srisawang and Ireland’s Rebecca Coakley, Dewwi-Claire Schreefel from Netherland’s and Scot Vikki Laing tied for fourth on 69.

Bondad started slowly with a three-putt bogey on the fifth hole, but fired six birdies at Suzhou Taihu International Golf Club to rise above the rest of the field.

“It was very steady. I hit every single fairway and I made a lot putts.” said Bondad, who tied for fifth a the 2009 event.

Her putting was exceptional and she sank monster putts on the eighth, ninth, 11th and 17th holes, but said “It was just luck, luck and maybe a little bit of my practise as well.”

She chipped in from the fringe on the par-four 12th hole and holed a three-footer for birdie on 14.

The Los Angeles-born third year Ladies European Tour player is targeting her first victory on the tour after a career best tie for second and the Open de Espana Femenino last month.

She played in the more favourable afternoon conditions when there was less wind along with 23-year old Boeljon, from Beverwijk and Srisawang, 23 from Chaing Mai.

Despite playing in relatively warm weather compared to the early starters, with highs of around 15C, Srisawang was in shock from the cold. She said,v”That was one of the coldest days I’ve ever played and coming from Thailand it’s pretty different. I made four or five long putts and was lucky on the greens.”

Boeljon was more prepared coming from Europe and said, “I hit two bad shots and the resulted in two bogeys but other than that it was pretty solid. I just stuck to my game plan.

Coakley’s form was also steady. The 29-year-old from Carlow was up at 4:20am for her 6:40am tee time and carded three birdies in a flawless round of 69.

“I think the key today was just having control of the golf ball. It was very windy but I just hit fairways and greens and a couple of greens that I did miss. I missed in the right places and it was relatively easy to make up and downs” she said.

Like Bondad, she tied for fifth at the 2009 event and hopes to claim her first victory. “Obviously I’d love to win, but I just take each day as it comes. If I can play like I did today for the next two days, I think I’ll be in contention. “said Coakley, who was raised in Adelaide, Australia.

Laing, 29, from Musselburgh, was three under on the back nine, which she played first, but played the front nine in level par. She said, “I’m very happy with that and I would have taken it on the first tee.”

Fellow Scot Kylie Walker from Glasgow shared seveth place on 70 with Australian Nikki Garrett and the English trio of Florentyna Parker, Felicity Johnson and Sophie Walker.

Parker played in the misty, windy, morning conditions, and had her first career hole-in-one at the par-three 14th. Her tee shot landed six metres short of the cup before finding its way into the hole.

“I hit seven-iron very, very soft and it rolled in like a putt,” said 21-year-old Parker, the ABN AMRO Ladies Open champion who is a member at the Royal Birkdale.

The second round begins at 6:30am on Saturday and theere will be a cut to the leading 60 professional players and those tied at the completion of 36 holes.

Enhanced by Zemanta

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!

Champions Tour welcomes newcomers to the fold in AT&T 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!

Kenny Perry plays Champion's Tour

It’s good to be a Champions Tour rookie at the AT&T Championship.

Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio has provided the backdrop for an uncanny series of triumphs by newcomers, a fact that won’t be lost this week on Corey Pavin, Kenny Perry, Steve Lowery and a handful of others.

Champions Tour players are quick studies. They know history and they grasp opportunity. Those are traits which have helped get them this far and both have applications this week.

The AT&T Championship has been a breeding ground for rookie winners on the Champions Tour. Until the string was broken last year by Phil Blackmar, the AT&T Championship was won six straight times by rookies and nine overall since 1986.

In fact, John Cook achieved a rare double dose of the feat in 2007 and 2008. Cook was technically still a rookie in 2008 because he had played only twice on the Champions Tour the previous year, which included his initial victory at Oak Hills.

The other rookie winners in San Antonio: Bruce Crampton, 1986; David Graham, 1997; Doug Tewell, 2000; Craig Stadler, 2003; Mark McNulty, 2004; Jay Haas, 2005 and Fred Funk, 2006.

One rookie who won’t be a factor in San Antonio is Fred Couples, the leader of the rookie class of 2010. Couples posted his fourth victory of the year last week in Houston — only Bernhard Langer, with five, has more. But Couples is taking the week off before the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Perry, whose arrival has been much anticipated, tied for 35th at the Administaff Small Business Classic in Houston. After an opening 78, he posted 69-70, and described his debut as “fighting, fun” if not completely in sync.

“It’s just I’m not very sharp,” Perry said. “I hit a lot of loose shots. I’m plodding along. Hopefully San Antonio will go a little better. Then I get off until Christmas and hopefully I start off better at the beginning of the year.”

The Champions Tour’s 54-hole format for most tournaments requires a thoroughbred’s speed out of the gate.

“It’s kind of like a track meet out here,” Perry said. “I’ve got to get my mind set more of making birdies quicker. On the PGA TOUR, I can kind of plod along and kind of get into position in the first two rounds, and have two more rounds. Here it’s a lot more fast-paced, and I have to really pay attention. You have to make birdies to cash in.”

In Houston, Langer’s start proved the point. He opened with 79 before closing fast (68-66) but there simply weren’t enough furlongs left for him to chase down the leaders.

“It was over after the first day,” Langer said. “Such a bad day.

“I actually played extremely well the first five holes. But I missed some putts, made a couple of bogies, and then started forcing it.”

Langer is golf’s methodical man. He simply doesn’t hit shots until he’s totally in tune with what he wants to have happen.

“Just didn’t play my normal game,” he said. “I was just trying to force the issue and make something happen.”

Lowery, who like Perry made his debut last week, already appreciates how that can happen on the Champions Tour.

“It’s definitely a quicker tournament, you have to be ready to play,” said Lowery, who shot 75-67-72 to finish T21. “You have to be ready to play on the first hole. It may not seem like it should make much of a difference, but I think it does. You can’t have that one bad day.”

The other storyline in San Antonio is the battle of the bubble among those players marginally inside the top 30, trying to hold on to their spot, and those just outside trying to get into next week’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship. The numbers are being crunched this week, the possibilities studied and the odds calculated.

Mark Wiebe is No. 30 after a solid showing at the Administaff Small Business Classic, where his second-place finish catapulted him from the 40th spot. Just ahead of Wiebe are Brad Bryant (29th), David Peoples (28th), Joe Ozaki (27th) and Jay Haas (26th).

Just shy of the 30th spot are Ted Schulz, Keith Fergus, Bob Tway, Mike Goodes and Hal Sutton.

“That was my goal, to get back in the top 30, so I have another week that I have to play good to stay in the top 30,” Wiebe said. “I’ll be anxious to look at it to see the gaps, and see how far ahead I am of 31 and how far behind 29 I am. I’m going to have to play good next week too, but I am very happy.”

Wiebe is $7,665 ahead of Schulz and a mere $254 behind Bryant.

Too close to call, and that means Wiebe’s focus ultimately will be on one thing.

“I’m just going to go play golf,” he said. “That’s the only thing I know how to do that’s kind of good sometimes. I’m just going to go in and play golf, and hopefully it adds up low.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

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!