Collin Morikawa Rediscovers Mojo, Contends at Masters

Collin Morikawa Rediscovers Mojo, Contends at Masters

Collin Morikawa, the two-time major champion, has rediscovered his golfing prowess after experiencing a breakthrough moment at the Masters. Known for his exceptional iron play, Morikawa had been struggling in recent years. However, a revelation at the driving range on Monday ignited a resurgence in his game.

Morikawa’s newfound confidence with his irons was evident in his performance at Augusta National. He shot a solid 69 on Saturday, the second-best round of the day, and was just one stroke behind leader Scottie Scheffler. His precision with his irons allowed him to create numerous birdie opportunities.

In addition to his improved iron play, Morikawa also made a bold decision to switch putters mid-tournament. Despite the reluctance of players to make equipment changes during competition, Morikawa reverted to his old Olson prototype blade after using a Spider Tour X mallet in the first round. This change proved to be a masterstroke, as he felt more comfortable and confident with his putting.

Morikawa’s resurgence is a testament to his resilience and determination. After a difficult period, he has found a way to rediscover his form and is now a contender for the Masters title. A victory would bring him one step closer to a career grand slam, with only the US Open trophy missing from his collection.

Morikawa’s journey serves as a reminder that even the most talented players can experience setbacks. However, with perseverance and a willingness to adapt, they can overcome adversity and return to their peak performance.

Tiger Woods Extends Masters Cut Streak to Record 24

Tiger Woods Extends Masters Cut Streak to Record 24

Tiger Woods, the legendary golfer, has made history once again at the Masters Tournament. Despite enduring numerous injuries and a devastating car accident, Woods has extended his record-breaking streak of consecutive cuts to 24.

On Friday, Woods faced a grueling day at Augusta National. He completed the final five holes of his opening round, which was delayed by storms, and then played another 18 holes. Despite the challenging conditions, Woods managed to shoot an even-par 72, ensuring his place in the weekend rounds.

Woods’ performance was particularly impressive considering his limited preparation. He has played just one less hole in the past three months than he did on Friday. However, Augusta National seems to bring out the best in him.

“I’m tired,” Woods admitted. “But Lance (Bennett, his caddie) and I really did some good fighting today, and we’ve got a chance.”

Woods’ determination and resilience were evident throughout the round. He made several clutch chips and putts to keep his score above the cut line. His accuracy off the tee was also impressive, hitting 25 of 28 fairways.

Despite facing a daunting deficit, Woods remains confident in his chances of winning the tournament. “I’m right there,” he said. “I don’t think anyone is going to run off and hide right now.”

Woods’ performance has inspired awe and admiration from fellow golfers. Stewart Hagestad, an amateur who missed the cut, said, “The guy has barely played at all in the last calendar year, and he’s 1 over. That’s alien stuff. That’s unbelievable.”

Max Homa, who is tied for the lead, was impressed by Woods’ composure on the 18th green when strong winds whipped up sand. “He’s standing there like a statue and then poured it right in the middle,” Homa said.

Woods’ record-breaking streak and his determination to win his sixth green jacket are a testament to his greatness. He remains a force to be reckoned with at Augusta National, and his presence in the weekend rounds is sure to add excitement to the tournament.

Tiger Woods Eyes Masters History Amidst Physical Challenges

Tiger Woods Eyes Masters History Amidst Physical Challenges

Tiger Woods, the legendary golfer, faces a historic opportunity at the 88th Masters Tournament. Despite enduring severe leg injuries from a 2021 car crash, Woods aims to break the record for consecutive Masters appearances, currently held by Gary Player and Fred Couples.

Woods began his first round on Thursday, completing 13 holes before darkness halted play. He stands at one-under par, sharing 17th place. To make the cut, Woods must complete the remaining five holes of round one and endure 18 more in round two.

The Augusta National course presents a significant physical challenge, with its hilly terrain and long distances. Woods acknowledged the strain on his body, stating, “It’s certainly one of the more hillier walks we have on tour.”

Despite the challenges, Woods remains determined. He sank a birdie putt at the first hole, recovered from a bogey at the fourth, and made another birdie at the eighth. He parred the next five holes before play was suspended.

Woods’s return to competition has been marked by uncertainty regarding his physical condition. He admitted, “Things just flare up. Some days I just feel really good, and other days, not so much.”

The brisk and swirling winds on Thursday added to the difficulty of the course. Woods described it as “one of the most tricky days I’ve ever been a part of.”

Woods’s quest to make history will be a testament to his resilience and determination. If he can overcome the physical challenges and make the cut, he will have the chance to chase his 16th major championship.

Rory McIlroy's Masters Quest: A Light Bulb Moment for the Northern Irishman

Rory McIlroy’s Masters Quest: A Light Bulb Moment for the Northern Irishman

Rory McIlroy, the 34-year-old Northern Irish golfer, continues his pursuit of a first Masters Green Jacket, which would complete his career grand slam. Despite 12 cuts and seven top-10s in 15 starts at Augusta National Golf Club, McIlroy has yet to sustain his brilliance over four rounds.

Since 2014, the Masters has become an elusive goal for McIlroy. He has experimented with various approaches, including playing fewer tournaments and seeking psychological guidance. However, his efforts have not yielded the desired results.

In 2022, McIlroy finished second to Scottie Scheffler, his best Masters finish. This year, he has made changes to his preparation, including a trip to Las Vegas to work with Butch Harmon, Tiger Woods’ former coach.

McIlroy believes that maintaining normalcy and staying relaxed is crucial for his success. He has also focused on improving his weaknesses, such as putting, and elevating his strengths.

One key factor that has hindered McIlroy at the Masters is his inability to start strong. Since 2009, he has had only two sub-70 Thursday rounds. This year, with the opening round expected to be completed on Friday morning due to weather disruptions, a hot start will be essential.

McIlroy will play his first two rounds alongside world No. 1 Scheffler and Xander Schauffele. He is determined to overcome his past struggles and finally claim the elusive Green Jacket.

Tiger Woods Determined to Conquer Augusta's Challenges for Sixth Masters Title

Tiger Woods Determined to Conquer Augusta’s Challenges for Sixth Masters Title

Tiger Woods, the legendary golfer, is determined to don the Masters green jacket for a record-equaling sixth time despite the physical challenges he faces. The undulating terrain of Augusta National Golf Club poses significant obstacles, with severe slopes on fairways and greens. Woods’ fused ankle and other injuries make it difficult to play shots from non-tee areas, causing discomfort and pain.

Despite these challenges, Woods remains confident in his abilities. “If everything comes together, I think I can get one more,” he said. His shot-making and creativity are still intact, but his body limits his practice sessions and shot count.

Woods has adapted his training to focus on quality over quantity. He works daily to improve his flexibility, strength, and recovery. His practice sessions are now more targeted and efficient.

Woods’ intimate knowledge of Augusta National Golf Club is a significant advantage. He understands the intricacies of the course and knows where to hit his shots and avoid potential hazards. This knowledge has contributed to his 14 top-10 finishes in 25 starts at the Masters.

Woods’ love for golf and competition drives him to push through the physical pain. He enjoys the preparation and the thrill of competing. His passion for the sport has been a key factor in his successful career.

Woods will tee off at 1:24pm (10:54pm IST) alongside Jason Day and Max Homa. Despite the challenges, he remains a contender for the coveted green jacket.

Veer Ahlawat Moves Within Striking Distance at Hero Indian Open

Veer Ahlawat Moves Within Striking Distance at Hero Indian Open

Veer Ahlawat, renowned for his prodigious hitting prowess, surged within striking distance of the lead on the second day of the prestigious Hero Indian Open at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram. The tournament witnessed a remarkable course record of 10-under 62 by Norway’s Espen Kofstad, eclipsing the previous best of 64 set by Shubhankar Sharma in 2018 and Arjun Puri in 2022.

Ahlawat, starting from the 10th hole, displayed consistent play with pars on the first seven holes. He then unleashed a flurry of three consecutive birdies before a momentary lapse on the second hole. However, he responded with an impressive ‘eagle’ on the fourth hole, leaving him just 10 feet from the pin. Two more birdies followed, improving his score from a first-day 69 to a commendable 66.

Meanwhile, Japanese golfer Keita Nakajima maintained his overnight lead with a successive seven-under 65, giving him a two-round tally of 130. He held a two-shot advantage over Frenchman Romain Langasque and a three-stroke lead over Italian Matteo Manassero.

Nakajima’s exceptional putting earned him five birdies in a row on the front nine, propelling him to a commanding position. He added two more birdies after the turn, moving to -14 with seven holes remaining. However, a series of three bogeys on the 15th, 16th, and 17th holes threatened to derail his momentum.

Undeterred, Nakajima produced a stunning drive and a well-calculated shot from the fairway on the testing 17th hole, securing a birdie to restore his confidence. On the final hole, he drained an ‘eagle-putt’ from about 20 feet to finish at an impressive -14.

Other notable Indian performances included Karandeep Kochhar (138), Manu Gandas (138), Gaganjeet Bhullar (139), Rashid Khan (139), and Jairaj Singh Sandhu (142).

Shubhankar Sharma Aims to End India's Indian Open Drought

Shubhankar Sharma Aims to End India’s Indian Open Drought

Shubhankar Sharma, the 27-year-old Indian golfer, is poised to make a strong run at the upcoming Indian Open, a tournament he considers the “fifth major.” Sharma, who finished tied seventh in the 2018 edition, is hoping to end India’s 15-year drought without a homegrown winner.

Sharma’s confidence stems from his recent form, which includes a tied-second finish in Singapore. He believes the parallels between his current situation and his performance in 2018 provide him with a sense of hope and belief.

Over the past six years, Sharma has matured both as a golfer and as a person. His game has become more refined, his tee shots have become longer and sharper, and his training regimen has become more regimented. However, some things have remained constant, such as his love for the Gurugram course, which he considers his second home.

Sharma acknowledges that the Indian Open is a challenging course, with thick roughs and narrow fairways. He emphasizes the importance of hitting the fairway and executing precise approach shots. Despite the difficulty of the course, Sharma believes that local knowledge will give him an advantage.

The field for the Indian Open is strong, with the likes of Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri also in contention. However, Sharma is confident that he can be one of the Indians to challenge for the title.

“It is one of the strongest Indian fields ever assembled at the Indian Open,” Sharma said. “While we have not had an Indian winner for some time, I think this weekend, we will surely have a few in contention. I certainly want to be one of those.”

Ash Barty Shines in Golf and Tennis, Rules Out Professional Return

Ash Barty Shines in Golf and Tennis, Rules Out Professional Return

Ash Barty, the three-time Grand Slam tennis champion, showcased her diverse athletic abilities this week in New Zealand. While she narrowly missed the cut at the New Zealand Pro-Am Championship in golf, she made headlines with her impressive performance on the tennis court.

Barty, who also played cricket professionally for a brief period, displayed her exceptional hand-eye coordination and athleticism in both sports. Despite missing the cut in golf by two shots, she enjoyed a strong second round in the team event at Millbrook Resort in Queenstown.

When asked about the possibility of pursuing professional golf or returning to professional tennis, Barty unequivocally stated, “The answer is no to both.” She emphasized her love for playing tennis as a hobby and the joy she finds in spending time outdoors.

“I love playing as a hobby and it’s obviously lovely to get outside for 18, go for a walk, and enjoy it,” Barty said.

Barty’s retirement from tennis at the age of 25 after winning the 2022 Australian Open marked a remarkable end to her illustrious career. Since then, she has embraced motherhood and found time to indulge in her passion for tennis.

Her recent performance in New Zealand serves as a testament to her enduring athleticism and the joy she derives from participating in sports. While she may not be pursuing professional golf or tennis, Barty’s love for both sports remains evident.

Manu Gandas Returns to Form, Eyes Strong Indian Open Performance

Manu Gandas Returns to Form, Eyes Strong Indian Open Performance

Manu Gandas, the 27-year-old golfer from Gurugram, faced a challenging first season on the DP World Tour (European Tour) in 2023. Despite qualifying by topping the PGTI Order of Merit, he made only five cuts in 25 appearances.

“The results didn’t go my way, but I’ve gained invaluable experience,” said Gandas, whose best finish was a tied-20th at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational in Northern Ireland. “I now understand the demands of competing with world-class golfers in challenging conditions.”

Gandas has shown signs of improvement in the 2024 PGTI season, winning the Players Championship in Kolkata and finishing 13th at the Vooty Masters. He is now eyeing a strong performance at the Hero Indian Open, a DP World Tour event on his home course.

This year’s Indian Open will feature a record prize purse of $2.25 million and will be the second of five events comprising the Asian Swing. The tournament will attract 144 players, including 2015 champion Anirban Lahiri, Indian veteran Shiv Kapur, and three-time DP World Tour winner Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium.

“I’ll try to apply my learnings,” said Gandas, who finished tied-32nd last year. “The DLF course can be intimidating, especially in windy conditions.”

Reflecting on his European experience, Gandas highlighted the colder, windier, and wetter conditions, which affect warm-up time and distances. He also noted the longer courses, which test the long game.

Gandas has been troubled by recurring niggles in his right wrist and left ankle. “I’ve been playing with pain for the past 2-3 years,” he said. “This season, I’m prioritizing rest and physical strengthening to improve my yardage.”

Despite the challenges, Gandas remains determined. “There were times of self-doubt, but as an athlete, you must persevere,” he said. “I had support from Shubhankar, but homesickness can be a factor. Technical and mental inputs from tour regulars were helpful, but speaking to my coach Anitya Chand was invaluable.”

Meanwhile, Indian Golf Union (IGU) President Brijinder Singh announced plans to hire a National Development Manager (NDM) and National High Performance Manager (NHPM). “We’re interviewing candidates and expect to appoint an NDM by early April,” he said. “The NHPM will be an established player with a strong commitment to golf.”

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