Ishikawa and Goosen lead at The Quicken Loans National


Retief Goosen an Ryo Ishikawa carded rounds of 63 to share the lead after the first round of The PGA Tour’s Quicken Loans National in Virginia.

Ryo Ishikawa with a hole-in-one at the 4th

Ryo Ishikawa with a hole-in-one at the 4th

The pair were among the early starters and with good conditions scoring was on the low side during the first few hours of play. Ishikawa made a hole-in-one on the 4th hole, his 13th hole of the day after starting on the 10th, which rewarded one lucky person with a whole year of mortgage payments payed for them courtesy of Quicken Loans. Ishikawa made five consecutive birdies from the 14th-18th holes to go out in 30. He then carried on his birdie streak with another one at the 1st hole to get to 6-under-par through 10 holes.

Goosen took advantage of the shortest and longest holes, picking up birdies at three of the four par-3’s and birdies at all of the par-5’s. He was bogey free for his round.

Ishikawa wasn’t the only player with a hole-in-one though, Rickie Fowler also made an ace on the 9th hole. But with the years’ mortgage payment reward gone Fowler sent an ice bucket full of beers to the media centre, much to the delight of the press. Fowler shot a 4-under round of 67 and is four shots back off the lead.

There was a lot of discussion and confusion over Chris Como’s whereabouts yesterday. Tiger Woods’ controversial swing coach did not travel to Virginia and mounted speculation that he had been sacked by Woods. The claim was swiftly denied by Woods’ management before he teed off. The world number 266 made a terrible start, bogeying three of his first four holes and looked like being another long day. But a birdie at the par-5 5th hole gave Woods a bit of momentum and he carded five more birdies over the last 13 holes to post a respectable 3-under-par round of 68 and is still very much in the Tournament. His driving looked good, as did his approaches with the short irons. A few putts were raced by the hole but he was knocking the 5-footers in with confidence. He tees off at 13:10pm (GMT) this afternoon.

Elsewhere on the course defending Champion Justin Rose is just three shots off the lead after posting a solid 5-under-par round of 66 and England’s Andy Sullivan went one better with a round of 65, to put himself withing two shots of the lead.

The second round will get underway in just under an hours time.

Woods returns in Virginia


Tiger Woods returns to competitive golf today at The Quicken Loans National in Gainesville, Virginia.

The worlds 266th best player tees off later this afternoon at 17:55pm (GMT) alongside fellow countrymen Nick Watney and Bill Haas. Woods travels to Virginia off the back of a second consecutive missed cut in the 2015 Major’s and only his second ever missed Open Championship cut.

Woods looks on during practice

Woods looks on during practice

The stats from his two rounds showed how far off the pace Woods was over his 36 holes. He only made three birdies, the same number as Sir Nick Faldo, amateur Alister Balcombe and Tom Watson. Woods was tied for 108th in average number of putts per round with 33, alongside amateur Paul Kinnear, Darren Clarke and Mark Calcavecchia.

Woods has taken time off from the game and has been on vacation with his kids in the Bahamas, but is confident of turning the corner soon:

“I’m not really there in contention very often, so that part is frustrating. But I know how close it feels and I know that I just need a couple shots here and there and it turns the tide.

“Every time I’ve had those opportunities, I haven’t done it”.

Other notableĀ groupsĀ this afternoon are the defending Champion Justin Rose, Jimmy Walker and David Lingmerth who tee off at 18:06 (GMT) and Ernie Els, Charles Howell III and Jonas Blixt who tee off at 17:44 (GMT).

Elsewhere, we could have a new world number one next week in Joordan Spieth. The 2015 Masters and U.S Open Champion was one inch away from being in the four-hole playoff at St Andrews and keeping his dreams alive of equaling Ben Hogans record of winning the first three Majors in a row, a record that has stood since 1953. With that record now out of reach Spieth now has his eyes set on the world number one spot, after Rory McIlroy announced he would not be competing in next weeks Bridgestone Invitational. A win for Spieth in Akron next week will see him take the number one spot from the four-time Major Champion.