SERGIO GARCÍA, 70 today. Total 140 (-2): “A very consistent round. I made a couple of nice par saves… could have been a little bit more aggressive with a couple of putts coming in, but it was quite windy and some of the putts were extremely quick. All in all it was a good, positive one under par.
My short game is pretty good right now. I’m trying to feel and know what I’m doing with my short game. Obviously there’s still a couple of spots, but it’s definitely coming back.
Today the course was playing tough again with the wind, it was difficult to hit fairways and to choose the right club … thank God it’s soft, because if not, this would be hell.
Compared with last week, this course is tighter, the greens are tougher, and the weather conditions much more difficult, but I’ve always enjoyed hard courses.
A back to back win would be a great thing, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. We had a great week last week, we have a nice week up to now, but Valderrama can catch you any time… you can never think that you have this course under control.
Valderrama is definitely one of the trickiest courses on tour, even without wind.
One of the things I love about Valderrama is that even without wind it’s asking you to hit all the shots in the bag. There’s many ways of playing it, that’s why it feels a lot like my home course, you can play it aggressively or more conservative. That’s the beauty of it. A course doesn’t need to be long to be tough.
These greens can be rated as fast, maybe slightly slower than US Open, Masters o TPC speed but definitely over average which makes them very tough with this wind.”
RICHIE RAMSAY, 72 today. Total 137 (-5): “Another tough day. The wind was gusting again. I actually felt in parts I played better today, my ball striking was really good, the driver specially. I hung in there. I was two over. I made a lovely birdie on 8 and played very steady from then on, but I just couldn’t get the ball to drop.
There’s a few holes out there where there’s no forgiveness at all.
I look forward to playing with Sergio, he was pretty much one of my idols when I was growing up. His natural ability and the way he plays golf is the way that I like to play golf. He likes to shape it and move it, and use some imagination; he’s probably the best person doing that in the game.
And also he connects to people, they like to go and watch him and he’s entertaining to watch. The guys out here appreciate how good he is and enjoy the fact that he’s back and playing well. I think we all want him to win a major after Carnoustie… but I hope he gives me a chance here!
The one tournament where you have to maintain your concentration just like here is probably the US Open, from the fact that you know that one shot can cost you a few more. But normally in a US Open you don’t have this kind of breeze in all different directions, and this course is so tight, and the greens today definitely felt faster to me…that putt I had on 17 was absolutely rapid. I had a 35-40 feet putt and I had to keep it high on the right side because if you miss it left with a little bit of speed you could be in real trouble with the water.
I’m not concentrating on the lead, I’m just concentrating to enjoy and try to be up there on Sunday afternoon coming down the back stretch because that’s where the pressure is.
Many people at home will be very happy with some snacks of ham when I get back. It’s very kind… thank you very much!”
(Richie was presented with a leg of Osborne 5J ham for his first round’s lowest score – 65).
GRÉGORY HAVRET, 71 today. Total 139 (-3): “71 today is a good round, it’s not on the red but par is a good round because Valderrama on a windy day with a late tee time is a real test of golf. Yesterday morning I was lucky to have 9 holes, not easy, but without wind which is always helpful when you play such a tough course. But today I had wind all the way, and a changing wind which makes you play extra careful because this course doesn’t accept any error. As soon as you slightly misjudge the wind you can be in trouble and that’s what happened on 11 and I made a 7 there. I messed up 18 and I finished with a 5, but the rest was really good and quite solid, so I’m quite glad.
Yesterday was definitely a good round and I was 1 under after 9 today. That means some good golf was there, but we all know that every hole here is a real challenge, so you’ve got to keep focusing shot after shot.
The weather forecast will be roughly the same for the weekend, the wind will make it really difficult and we have big names which means the tournament is very open. By history and by experience I guess the winning score will be between par and 5 under… if I can stay in the red, I hope to be up there.”
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ, 70 today. Total 141 (-1): “I feel great about my par on 18… I never really know how to play that hole, so very happy with my par. Today was not easy because of the changing winds. This is a very technical and very demanding golf course – the cut at +7 proves it. You need to be very straight and to land the ball on the right spots.
You need to be mentally strong. We’ve spent 5 hours on the course and the key is to keep patient. If you play too aggressively you pay for it.
Four shots behind the lead is not a bad position coming into the weekend. The main thing now is to finish under par. You really have to respect this course and take it one shot at a time”.
JOSÉ MARÍA OLAZÁBAL, 74 today. Total 149 (+7): “It’s been a tough week, but that 20-footer on 18 has made me play over the weekend. No matter how well you are playing, this course is a real test. It demands perfect shot making and very accurate play. I tried to hang on and never stopped fighting – that’s what I learnt from Seve, my mentor since I was young, and I was rewarded in the end.”