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Friday – Dell Match Play WGC

After three days of play, the field of 64 has been narrowed to 16 players who will play for the championship.  Jordon Spieth defeated Justin Thomas to advance and is certainly one of the favorites to make a run at the title.

Patrick Reed beat Phil Mickelson to advance along with Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Zack Johnson and other top players.  Click here to see the brackets and upcoming matches.

Tom Kite

Tom Kite

Tom and David Kite were on hand to watch the players warm up on the practice tee and enjoy the sunshine and temperate weather.

Players and spectators enjoyed a beautiful spring day at Austin Country Club.  The winds were moderate after several days of blustery winds from different directions.

Michael Cooper

Michael Cooper

It was a welcome respite from the windy conditions of the first three days.

Michael Cooper, a winner of almost every local championship available in the Austin area and a former member of the Longhorn golf team was on hand to watch the action on the practice tee.  Click here to see photos of people at the event.

 

Mcllroy makes a birdie on 9 from 70 feet.

Mcllroy makes a birdie on 9 from 70 feet.

Spectators were treated to some spectacular golf such as the 70 foot put by Rory Mcllroy on the 9th hole.  Mcllroy was one down to Kevin Na and Na had placed his second shot 15 feet from the hole.  Mcllroy was on the front of the green facing a difficult two putt.  The gallery watched the putt as it rolled and rolled and rolled before diving into the cup for a birdie three.  Na missed his putt and the match was even headed to the back nine.

Click here to see shots of players and the various sites of the day.

Saturday’s matches begin early and those who advance through the morning round will play a second match Saturday afternoon.

 

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Austin Fans Turn Out For Fabulous Golf At Dell Match Play WGC

Fans from all over the world witnessed second round matches of the Dell Match Play World Golf Championships.  Austin and all of Texas were well represented and the general reaction from the patrons was “wow, these guys are good golfers” and “this is a great event”.

Steve Paterson and family.

Steve Paterson and family.

For example, Steve and Meredith Paterson were there to enjoy the day and watch a little golf.  Paterson, who was the 2015 Player of the Year in the Austin Amateur Golf Rankings remarked “I want to see Jason Day hit a golf ball”.  After a brief visit at the practice tee, they embarked on their journey around the course to watch the matches.

Fans enjoyed the various facilities located on the course and the great vistas provided by the combination of a bright Spring day, Lake Austin, the Pennybacker bridge, the Pete Dye golf course, manicured grounds of Austin Country Club and the beauty of the central Texas hill country.

Duane and Kathy Kyrish, Lisa and Mike Allen

Duane and Kathy Kyrish, Lisa and Mike Allen

Duane and Kathy Kyrish, former Austinites living in Houston, joined Mike and Lisa Allen in the Grey Goose hospitality tent behind number 11 green and witnessed the drama unfolding on the difficult par three that was playing into the wind.  While they enjoyed the comforts of the hospitality tent, Zach Johnson hit the flag with his tee shot and almost made a hole in one.

Click here to see photos of player swings, patrons enjoying the play and more.

front nine vista at Austin Country Club

front nine vista at Austin Country Club

Friends, family and business associates met on the course and enjoyed the golf and the beautiful day.  One patron was heard to remark “This is like an amusement park while professional golf is being played”.  As one gazed out across the vistas on the back nine, that comment is easy to comprehend.

Among all the distractions of the incredible facilities and views, the world’s best golfers were battling it out for a share of the $9,000,000 purse at the WGC championship.  The story lines are many and varied.

DSC01487For example, Jason Day, fresh off a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, had won his first match on Wednesday but “tweaked” his back and it was questionable whether he would be able to continue to play on Thursday.

After warming up he decided to play and the fans around the 15th green were on hand to celebrate his 5&3 victory over Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee.

Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson, some of the best short iron players on tour made quick work of their opponents with quality iron shots and holed putts.  They are looking like players who are suited for the course.

All the of results of the matches are available a the Dell Match Play website.

Friday looks like the winds might abate somewhat and it should be another great day at the course.

 

 

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Windy Wednesday – Tricky Greens

#12 at ACC

#12 at ACC

Spectators were treated to an awesome display of power golf from the worlds best players.  However, the green complexes of the recently renovated Austin Golf Course held their own and presented the players with a balancing challenge.

Click here for the photos of the day.

Players hit short irons into many of the greens but were required to place the ball properly to maintain proper angles for their short shots and putts.  The course proved to be an excellent venue for match play and many holes were decided by the short game.

18 green

18 green

Number 18 is a short par four that is most players hit driver and tried to hit the green.  Very few succeeded and were then faced with a tricky second shot to a back left pin location.  It gave the players fits and very few birdies were recorded.

The forecast for tonight is for a change of wind and possibly some rain.  Players will face a north wind tomorrow and it should be interesting.

 

 

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Wind To Be A Factor At Dell Match Play

Camera Tower on #12

Camera Tower on #12

As evidenced by the flag blowing on the camera tower to the right of #12, players were playing and practicing in a 20 mph breeze with occasional higher gusts on Tuesday.

The forecast is for more of the same on Wednesday with a chance of rain and a switch of wind direction to the north with similar velocities.

As most courses in this area, Austin Country Club is designed for a prevailing southeast breeze and it will significantly change the way the course plays if the wind goes to the north.  Players who were here early had the opportunity to play the course in a north wind on Sunday and Monday so that will be to their advantage.  Most players did not have that opportunity.

Ben Crenshaw

Ben Crenshaw

Fans were treated to more opportunities to collect autographs and local celebrities like Ben Crenshaw were among the autographs sought after by fans.  Crenshaw gave a press interview and was gracious enough to sign autographs for fans in the right place at the right time.

And, those fans came in all sizes and shapes like these two youngsters who proudly displayed their flags with player autographs.

Click here for more photos of fans.

Click here for photos of players in action.

Young fans with their autographed flags.

Young fans with their autographed flags.

Some of the hospitality tents were open and folks enjoyed the impressive facilities.  One of those is the “1899 Club”.  It is located on the left side of #12 fairway is approximately 80 yards long and three stories high.  Spectators will be able to watch the players play their second and third shots to the green with the 360 bridge and Lake Austin in the background.  It’s quite impressive.

Matches begin Wednesday morning and the fans will receive scoring brackets on the grounds as they enter.  Live scoring for the matches is available on the World Golf Championship website at this link.

 

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Tuesday, Final Practice Round

Monday night at the Paramount Theater the player brackets were determined.  Tuesday morning the players headed to the course for their final practice round before play begins Wednesday morning.

Billy and Pam Clagett

Billy and Pam Clagett

The spectators showed up early and watched players battle an increasingly strong south wind.  Gusts in the 25 mph range made practice difficult.  Local golfers, such as Billy and Pam Clagett, seemed to be enjoying themselves even if the players were not.

DSC00628Fans were able to obtain player photographs.  Jack and Jackson Cardwell managed to get Adam Scott, a two time winner this season, to sign their flag before he began practicing.  This was an obvious delight to young Jackson and his proud father.  They were having a good time.

Jack and Jackson Cardwell

Jack and Jackson Cardwell

Friends and fans all seemed to be enjoying the weather and the celebrity of the worlds best golfers being present.  Click here to see photos of some of the people in attendance.

Meanwhile the golfers were hard at work on the practice tee and the course.  Phil Mickelson spent some time on the range and  Dustin Johnson was hitting balls next to him and was on the range for a couple of hours.  Nick Faldo spent some time with Lee Westwood and Chuck Cook was working with Jason Duffner.

All in all it was a golfers fantasy world.  Click here to see photos of golfers swings.

Matches begin Wednesday so it should be exciting.

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Dell Match Play Draw Event

Paramount Theater

Paramount Theater

The Paramount and State Theaters in Austin, Texas have hosted a wide variety of events over the years including world premiers of movies, musical celebrations of various artists, fund raisers, political debates and theatrical productions such as a sing along with “The Sound of Music”.

Monday, March 21st, it was the host to the Dell Match Play Draw Event that determined the brackets for players to compete against each other in the initial rounds of the Dell Match Play World Golf Championship.  Click here for photos of the event.

Guy Forsyth

Guy Forsyth

Consistent with the title of “Live Music Capital of the World”,  Guy Forsyth, a staple of the Austin music scene,  provided musical entertainment for the media and the “VIP” group that attended the function.  He was great.

Michael Dell, Rory Mcllroy, Ricky Fowler, Ben Crenshaw, Charlie Strong, Colt McCoy, Tom Kite and Andy Roddick participated in the draw process, broadcasted live on the Golf Channel.  The atmosphere was interactive and full of fun.

Both Mcllroy and Fowler were present for the draw in their group and it was entertaining to watch their reactions and hear their comments on their approach to this tournament and the upcoming Masters tournament.

Rory Mcllroy at Dell Match Play Draw

Rory Mcllroy at Dell Match Play Draw

Both commented that it was important to have their game trending in the right direction for the Masters.  This tournament figures prominently in both the world golf rankings and their preparation for the Masters.

Mcllroy had just arrived in Austin and indicated that during the ride from the airport to the event he inquired about the best place to eat Bar-B-Que and Mexican food but he declined to comment on which places he had chosen.

Mcllroy commented that he approached match play differently than stroke play in that he concentrated on playing the individual more than the course.

Ricky Fowler

Ricky Fowler

Fowler  commented that he enjoys Austin and has attended a variety of events in the city including collegiate tournaments at the UT Golf Club, the F1 races, and motocross.

In spite of wearing the wrong color of orange in Austin, he says he still likes the city and has fun when he is here. (He played college golf at Oklahoma State, whose colors also include orange).

Tomorrow, all the top 64 players in the World Golf Rankings will be at Austin Country Club in their final preparations for the tournament.  It should be very entertaining.

 

 

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Dell WGC – Monday Practice Round

Sergio Garcia on practice tee

Sergio Garcia on practice tee

The world’s best golfers played practice rounds at Austin Country Club on Monday March 21, 2016.  And, according to plan, the first day of Spring and the WGC championship had perfect weather.

Austin Country Club members along with Dell ticket holders were present to watch the action.  The foursome that drew the most attention included Jordan Spieth, Ricky Fowler, Jimmy Walker and Justin Thomas.

Staff of Planning Works enjoying the sunshine and golf

Staff of Planning Works enjoying the sunshine and golf

Click here to see more photos.

As the foursome made it’s way through the front nine, the gallery grew and groups of fans like these folks from Planning Works seemed to be enjoying both the weather and the golf.  There certainly seemed to be a “wow” factor going through the spectators as they watched the quality of shots and had to opportunity to watch these players up close.

The early morning chill gave way to warmer temperatures as the day progressed and at 1:30 p.m. the temperature was in the 70’s.  Sweaters came off although windbreakers were still in order due to the breeze.

Justin Thomas and Jimmy Walker watch Jordan Spieth tee on on #9.

Justin Thomas and Jimmy Walker watch Jordan Spieth tee on on #9.

As players practice and make their way round the course they await the pairings to be determined Monday evening at the Paramount Theater.  Players will be seeded according to their position in the world golf ranking as of Monday, March 21.  There will be four pools of players: Pool A are the players ranked 1-16, B is 17-32, C is 33-48, D is 49-64.

A random draw will determine how these players are grouped into 16 groups of four that contain one player from each pool.  They will compete against each other for two days in a match play format to determine which 16 players will advance and play matches against each other to determine the champion.

Spieth plays his 2nd shot to #9 green

Spieth plays his 2nd shot to #9 green

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Dell Match Play Championship – Final Preparations

Jordan Spieth practicing putting on Sunday March 20, 2016

Jordan Spieth practicing putting on Sunday March 20, 2016

After almost three months of erecting hospitality tents, media tents, vendor booths, food and beverage stations etc. Austin Country Club looks like a site for a World Golf Championship.  Click here for photos of the facilities, the course and players practicing.

Construction crews built foot bridges tweaked the golf course conditions, hauled in television equipment, roped off spectator areas, built bleachers, and have done so in the least intrusive manner possible.

The greens superintendent, Bobby Stringer, along with the PGA Tour staff have worked non-stop to bring the golf course to a peak of readiness and it is in great condition. The height of the net on the practice tee was raised to 100 feet to contain the long hitters on the practice tee.

Bobby Stringer,Greens Superintendent at Austin Country Club

Bobby Stringer,Greens Superintendent at Austin Country Club

A nine month restoration project that began in January 2015 was completed in November.  It improved the green complexes, removed some trees for better sight lines, added a few bunkers, replaced the fairway turf, and in general improved the course.

DSC00150The Austin Country Club board and committees negotiating with various businesses for parking, worked with the City of Austin as well the Lower Colorado River Authority and other governmental agencies to obtain necessary permits for a significant event and attended to numerous other logistics and details.

Now, the event is about to begin with practice rounds Monday and Tuesday before the matches begin on Wednesday.

 

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Walking On Water At The Dell Match Play WGC

DSC00075Patrons entering through the main gate near the 360 bridge at Lake Austin will be walking on water to gain access to the golf course.  Golf Austin.Org staff stopped by the site on Saturday morning to check on the state of construction for the foot bridge.  Workers there were installing the final span of a footbridge that starts near the bridge and ends at the front of number 13 tee box.

These photos give some idea of what that looks like.  At the time the photo was taken the handrails were not yet installed and the final section of the bridge was being installed.  Workers indicated that they would be finished later today or Sunday morning.

View of the back nine at the Dell WGC.

View of the back nine at the Dell WGC.

The hospitality tents and vendor tents on the back nine appear to be ready for use.  As can be seen from this photo taken from across the lake, the back nine will provide plenty of spots for patrons to camp out and enjoy watching golf and the boat traffic on the lake.

How do I tee this up?

How do I tee this up?

Ever had trouble teeing up your golf ball?  You are not alone, as demonstrated by these two individuals contemplating the best method of teeing up this golf ball.

Click here for more photos of how the preparations on the back nine looked on Saturday morning and some of the work being done on the footbridge.

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Jay Reynolds Wins Regional Tournament at Comanche Trace

Jay Reynolds Wins 2016 Regional Championship

Jay Reynolds Wins 2016 Regional Championship

Jay Reynolds shot nine under par for two rounds at The Club at Comanche Trace in Kerrville, Texas to capture the 5th Regional Championship by nine shots.   The tournament was held March 12-13 on the Hills/Creek course.

Reynolds posted 67-68 =135, nine shots under par.  The competition is hosted by Golf San Antonio and Reynolds represented the Austin.  Reynolds had a great golfing season last year that included setting a new course record of 60 at Lions Municipal Golf Course in route to winning the Men’s City Championship.  He is off to a good start for 2016.

Congratulations to Jay.

Click here for full field scores.

 

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