Rory McIlroy Gets Back In Contention on Day Two with an Incredible Six-Under-Par, 65.

So, what exactly is going on with golf right now – the Majors are over, what’s left? Well, there’s the FedEx Cup, but it’s a little complicated. So here’s a quick 101…

First off, there’s the Barclays, and that is only open to the top 100 players. After that, the top 100 players play in the Deutsche Bank Championship, which is followed by the BMW Championship played only by the top 70 players. You can see where this is going, yes?

Finally, there’s the Tour Championship and only the top 30 points leaders will be invited to that.

But back to the Barclays, day two, and winner of two Majors this year – the British Open and the U.S. Open – Rory McIlroy is back. After an uneven opening round of three-over-par, 74, he roared back in contention with a six-under-par, 65.

McIlroy’s early morning tweet said it all, ‘Morning gym session done. Ready to make my comeback today.’

And that he did. Talking to journalists after his round, McIlroy told them exactly when he knew his game was back on form, “First tee. The work that I did on the range [after his round the day before] really helped and it just sort of got me back into the rhythm and into the flow of things. I knew that my game was there and I just needed to take advantage of the chances I was giving myself. I was asked yesterday after I played, if you’re going to battle to make the cut. I said missing the cut isn’t an option.”

On top of the leaderboard are Adam Scott – who followed his day one 68 with an incredible 65 – and Cameron Tringale, who carded a 65 on day one and 68 on day two. Jason Day got himself the lowest score of the day with a seven-under-par, 64.

There were some fun and games on the fifth hole. Phil Mickelson missed the green and ended up playing his approach shot to the green from the hospitality area amidst wildly enthusiastic fans.

After day two, we have two players sharing the lead, but there are almost 40 players within striking distance of taking the lead. It’s still anyone’s match to win – and that includes you, Rory!

Sources: Statesman, USA Today, NY Daily News

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Joey Logano Leads the Last 44 Laps at the Bristol Motor Speedway to Win His Third Race This Season.

There’s only a handful of races left before the Chase, and there are a few drivers still left out in the cold. Matt Kenseth is one, and he must have felt pretty confident as he roared into the lead after the final restart with just 63 laps to go at the Bristol Motor Speedway. He managed that feat by staying on old tires, whereas others – most notably Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski – had pitted and were driving on brand new tires.

Kenseth held the lead for 21 laps, and then both Logano and Keselowski overtook him.

After the race, Kenseth told reporters, “I wasn’t very good at all in traffic. We figured we’d try to stretch it out a little bit and hopefully hold those guys on tires off. But they cleared everybody way too fast on that restart. We did all we could to hang on.”

Logano describes chasing Kenseth and the moment when he realized he could overtake, “I just kind of hounded him for a while. Waited for that mistake. Waited for that golden opportunity where I knew I could clear him. Finally he got a little bit up in the rubber, up high. He got a little free and I got a good run at the same time, and was able to get up underneath him and get some good position into the corner.”

Keselowski did his best to beat his Team Penske teammate, but to no avail, “Every time I’d get close to Joey, I’d pick up a massive aero push up off the corner and just couldn’t do anything. I lost too much speed. I couldn’t even get close enough to do a bump and run.”

Logano was overjoyed to win, “I’d never won more than one race in a season. Now we’ve won three before the Chase even starts.”

Keselowski agreed, “Joey and I both have three wins, and we’re entering the Chase strong in a lot of ways. I think we’re both legitimate threats  to win the championship this year.”

Sources: ESPN, US News, USA Today

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Camilo Villegas Wins the Wyndham Championship – His First PGA Tournament Victory Since 2010.

It was all excitement after the third day of the Wegmans Championship. Heath Slocum who was on top of the leaderboard after day two, sharing that lead with Scott Langley, shot a 68 and so slid into third. And that’s as far as he wants to go as he’ll need the points from at least a third position to get into the Barclays.

It was Nick Watney  who won the day with a five-under-par 65, and that put him one stroke ahead of Brad Fritsch who also carded a 65 for the day. Langley shot a 69, and that pushed him back into fifth place.

Turns out on the final day, it wasn’t about getting a great score to win, it was all about carding a spectacular round.

One of the first into the scorer’s tent after just such a spectacular round was Camilo Villegas. Getting four birdies and an eagle on the front nine, he got another birdie on the 15th for an otherwise par round to finish 17 under par, 263. It was a brilliant finish, but all he could do was watch TV and cross his fingers.

Interviewed after the matches were over, Villegas was asked what he was thinking while he was waiting for the other players to finish their rounds, “I was hoping for a playoff. I thought I needed one more [to clinch the tournament]. When the boys got closer to the last hole, you can get a little anxious.  You don’t have a  golf club in your hand. You can’t really control it.”

Watney came the closest to beating Villegas. Sadly, he’d bogeyed the 14th and couldn’t get the birdie he needed over the last four holes to force a playoff. But he did try, and that rebounded – he ended up getting a double bogey on the 18th, and that put him way out of contention.

Bill Haas and Freddie Jacobson tied for second place, and Slocum came in fourth.

Sources: News Observer, ESPN, Golf Week

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Peyton Manning Helps the Denver Broncos Shut Out the San Francisco 49ers, 34-0.

You’re the San Francisco 49ers, you’ve spent $1.2 billion on the new Levi Stadium in downtown Silicon Valley, and you’ve filled it full of loyal fans for the first match. What’s the last thing you want to happen. Answer: Lose!

OK, so it’s only a preseason match, almost a friendly, but losing is not what the fans wanted to see. Especially by so much and without even getting on the scoreboard. And it was disheartening to see so many home fans leaving after the third quarter, probably hoping to miss the inevitable traffic jam after the game was over.

For the Denver Broncos, quarterback Peyton Manning threw a 17-yard TD to Julian Thomas to open the scoring and, for the two times he was on the field, the game belonged to him. As Manning heads into his 17th season, he looks unstoppable – and well able to top his record-breaking 55 touchdown throws last season.

Subbing for Manning was backup QB Brock Osweiler, and he had a good time out on the field. He threw one touchdown pass, and led a touchdown drive as well.

And the Broncos were far from being at full strength. Not only did Montee Ball, Von Miller, and Kayvon Webster miss the game through injury, but Lamin Barrow and Gerrell Robinson both left the game injured.

For the 49ers, there isn’t much to say. Their offense team was everything you’d expect, but perhaps they wouldn’t have lost so badly if their star defense team hadn’t been missing Justin Smith and Patrick Willis.

The 49ers had their chances to score. QB Colin Kaepernick just missed connecting with Brandon Lloyd in the end zone, and Phil Dawson – who’s normally so accurate with his kicks – missed a 55-yarder in the first quarter and a 44-yard kick in the second quarter.

Their last preseason game a couple of weeks ago, San Francisco lost 3-23 to the Baltimore Ravens. Hopefully, the 49ers are getting all their losses out in the preseason and come the real season, it’s all going to be about winning.

Sources: CBS San Francisco, Denver Broncos, ESPN

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Marc Warren Takes A Two-Stroke Lead from Bradley Drudge to Win in Denmark.

On the second day of the inaugural Made in Denmark tournament, Bradley Drudge got himself a three-stroke lead over the pack. But then the winds hit, up to 30 mph, and everyone turned in terrible scores – all except for Marc Warren who’s five-under-par made it seem as though he’d been playing in sunny Florida rather than windswept Denmark.

And so, sharing the lead after the third day, Drudge and Warren took to the par-71 course for the final time.

It soon became obvious that Warren’s game was perfectly suited to both the course and the weather conditions. He made three birdies on the front nine to go four strokes clear of Drudge, and then two more birdies on the back nine. Warren also got two bogeys, but his final score of 68 was enough to seal victory two strokes over Drudge.

Not that Drudge had a bad round. Yes, he got five bogeys, but what we should probably agree on is that we should be saying he only got five bogeys. More miraculous given the weather was that he made six terrific birdies and the crowd loved him.

Behind runner-up Drudge came Phillip Archer three strokes behind him, and just one stroke behind Archer was local boy Thomas Bjorn who shot 69 and ended up tied for fourth place with Oliver Fisher and Eddie Pepperell.

Speaking after his win, Warren said, “It feels incredible. I felt the last couple of years I’ve been close to winning a couple of times but for whatever reason it hasn’t quite happened for me, whether I’ve made mistakes or someone else has played really well. This summer I feel more confident than I’ve ever been. Today I kept telling myself I was swinging the club really well and I was confident in what I was doing. The crowds have been amazing.  Coming from the PGA last week [where Warren finished 15th], it definitely had that same feel to it. Coming down those last four holes, the crowds were so big.”

Sources: PGA, Golf, by TourMiss, I Seek Golf

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Roger Federer Wins the Men’s Singles Event at Cincy Against Spain’s David Ferrer.

In the final tournament before the U.S. Open, all attention is on the semis and the final of the Southern & Western Open to see who’s in the best position to win the Grand Slam. And for all of the criticism he took last year, Roger Federer is looking real good.

Barring any upsets, the ideal final at the U.S. Open has to be between Novak Djokovic and Federer…

As Federer beat Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and Milos Raonic in the semifinals at Cincy, he was definitely on a roll – and not only from those two wins, but from the 13 consecutive wins before that also. And let’s not forget that Federer has got in the finals five times before – in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012 – and he won each time.

Back to this year’s final, Federer was facing David Ferrer, and it seemed to be a fairly even match in the first set with both players at three games each. Federer broke Ferrer’s serve to go to 5-3, but then looked in trouble when he came to serve out the set going to 0-40, before saving three break points and winning the set, 6-3.

The second set saw Federer making unforced errors and making disappointing serves. Ferrer took full advantage and was five games up before Federer finally held his serve. Ferrer served out the set to win 6-1.

But if Ferrer was expecting Federer to give up, he was disappointed. The Federer serve if anything was better than in the first set, and he quickly broke Ferrer’s serve to go to 4-1. From there, serves went to the server and Federer won the set, 6-2, and the title for the sixth time.

Speaking to the press after the match, Federer joked, “I finally got a big trophy for the kids. I’ve been bringing home some smaller ones. I keep telling them they are still trophies, but this one should satisfy them.”

Always gracious, Ferrer told journalists, “I made the final. But I can never beat Roger, he’s too much for me. I’m still lucky to be playing with the best in the world. Roger deserved to win the title.”

Sources: Tennis Now, BD News 24, Global Post

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Bradley Drudge and Marc Warren Share the Lead at the Himmerland in Denmark.

So, before we begin, the Made in Denmark tournament is planned as an annual event at the Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort in Farso. The course is a little over 7,000 yards and it’s a par 71. And if you haven’t heard of it, that’s because this is the first time this tournament has taken place.

After the first day, there were three players sharing the lead at five under – Felipe Aguilar, local boy Thomas Bjorn, and Bradley Drudge who hasn’t had a win since the Omega European Masters in 2006.

Bjorn described the conditions of the course to the press, “It was a tricky day today with the wind, especially on my back nine. But I drove the ball really well and that gives you opportunities on this golf course. There are a couple of holes out there you have to be careful and be happy to walk off with par.”

On day two, it was Drudge’s chance to shine, getting four birdies on the back nine to card a 68. And that was enough to put him on top of the leaderboard, four strokes clear of England’s Simon Wakefield. But the pack was close after that.

The wind was up on day three, and everyone felt the pressure to try to play good golf. Drudge had problems from the get-go and, although staying in front, shot a two over par 73.

However, joining him in the lead was Marc Warren who defied the weather to card eight birdies and three bogeys… a magnificent five under par. Drudge and Warren now lead the pack by three strokes.

Speaking to journalists after his round, Warren said, “We could see the wind was a lot stronger than the first two days so we knew it was going to be a battle today. Obviously Bradley was well ahead of me and the rest of the field and to be honest I was hoping it was going to be tougher because if it was easier he could maybe have the chance to pull away. Overall I am absolutely delighted. I think 66 today, I probably couldn’t have hoped for that before I started. I felt a wee bit of out of synch the first couple of holes, then hit a really nice second shot into the third and from then on just played really solid golf. A lot of imagination was needed today and I enjoy that style of golf.”

Sources: Fox News, Irish Times, Sky Sports

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Serena Williams Wins Her First Cincy Title Beating Ana Ivanovic in the Final.

Well, as Serena Williams might say, sixth time lucky. For all of her 62 wins in the WTA, this is first time that the world’s #1 has won the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio.

And this is her fifth title this year, and that means that we can expect great things from Williams in the U.S. Open starting next week.

Although her opponent in the women’s singles, Ana Ivanovic, beat Williams in their match in January at the Australian Open, she lost the last two they’ve played. But it was Ivanovic who stole the initiative in the early games of the first set…

Having beaten Maria Sharapova in the semifinal, Ivanovic was extremely confident in her play, breaking the Williams serve to sit at 3-1. But that’s as far as she got before Williams’ game kicked in and she simply took control from then on.

It was Williams’ serve that saved the day. She broke back to even the set at three games all, and then broke Ivanovic’s serve again to win the set, 6-4. And in the second set, Ivanovic really didn’t get much of a look-in, Williams dominating the court to win the set, 6-1, and the title.

Speaking after the match, Williams said, “It’s just amazing to finally win here. It was such a great week. She was playing so hard, hitting so many winners. I just kind of close my eyes and serve. When you think about it too much, you get crazy.”

Ivanovic put on a brave face for the press saying, “It’s been a great week for me in Cincinnati. I really want to congratulate Serena. I think I got a lesson on how to serve today. Maybe after you [Williams] retire you can give me some tips.”

Many may think that Williams is ready to retire, and that perhaps a big win at the U.S. Open will give her the opportunity to get out at the top. However, the smart money says Williams will be wowing us on the tennis court for years to come.

Sources: BBC, USA Today, CNN

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After Two Rounds, Brittany Lincicome Leads the LPGA Championship By Three Strokes.

It’s good to see Brittany Lincicome doing so well in the Wegmans LPGA Championship being held this year at the Monroe Golf Club in Rochester, NY. Since she won the Kraft Nabisco tournament in 2009, the last few years have been tough – only getting 11 top 10 finishes in the last three years, since she last won in 2011.

On the first day, Lincicome shot an incredible 67 and was in the perfect position to take the lead from Meena Lee, Jane Park and Lexi Thompson who were at the top on the leaderboard. But that’s not to discount other strong opponents including Imbee Park and the amazing rookie, 17-year old Lydia Ko who weren’t far behind.

On the second day, Lincicome didn’t start off well. On the first hole, her birdie putt missed the hole by five feet and, missing the return putt for a par, she got a bogey – her first three-putt of the tournament.

Regaining her game over the next three holes, Linicome powered a 350-yard drive on the fifth hole, and then her approach shot was within a foot of the hole for an easy birdie. Sticking to pars, Lincicome sank a 25-foot putt on the ninth for a birdie, another birdie on the 12th, and then sealed her lead with an eagle on the 14th hole.

With four pars to finish the round, carding a 68, Lincicome found herself way out in the lead by three strokes. Behind her are Imbee Park and Thompson, and just behind them are Lee, Ko and Jane Park.

After her round, Lincicome was overjoyed to talk to the press, “I haven’t been here in a while so it’s pretty exciting anytime you can shoot under par, especially at a major. I feel like all year I’ve been doing a lot of good things, hitting well, putting well, chipping well, they just don’t seem to all come together on the same day. I don’t know what I was doing in 2011, 2009, all those other years that I won. I feel like I’m doing the same things, it just hasn’t happened.”

Sources: USA Today, Golf Channel, I Seek Golf

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Roger Federer Wins Against Gael Monfils to Play Andy Murray in the Quarterfinals at Cincy.

After being runner-up in the men’s singles final to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in Toronto last week, Roger Federer continues to show great form at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio. And he broke a new record in his first match playing Vasek Pospisil.

The wind was up and both players were having problems controlling the ball in the first two sets. Indeed, it was Pospisil who seemed to have the upper hand for most of the first and second set, but in the third set Federer broke Pospisil’s serve twice to take a 4-1 lead. And after a little over two hours, served out the set to win his 300th career victory in a Masters tournament.

And he’s the first to reach that level of success, Rafael Nadal still has another 19 matches to win to equal Federer’s record. Speaking to the press after beating Pospisil, Federer said, “It’s a nice round number. I’ve had some more important ones over the one today. Nevertheless, it’s nice to reach such milestones.”

In the third round at Cincy, Federer dispatched Gael Monfils in straight sets. It was another tough match for Federer and things were looking a little ominous as he lost his first service game. But Federer pulled back and ended up winning the first set, 6-4.

After losing the second set, 4-6, Monfils used his momentum to put pressure on Federer, but he just couldn’t make the break on the three chances he got in the early games. Federer stuck his ground and broke Monfils in the eighth game, and went on to serve out the set, 6-3, after one hour 48 minutes.

Asked by the press how he’s approaching his game these days, Federer said, “I have a different eagerness today. I was a bit more erratic when I was younger – good day, bad day, medium day, I was a bit all over the place. I think I’ve gotten my act together over the years. I think I’m in a good spell right now. I have a lot of tennis in my legs right now. I go day by day. I have a great team behind me and a wonderful family. I’m very much at peace with how I need to play.”

Federer goes on to play Andy Murray in the quarterfinals who in turn beat John Isner in a close battle where Murray had to save two match points to defeat the American.

Sources: ABC News, ATP World Tour, Reuters

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