Australian Open. Lefty Greg Leads

White Dragon GolfEmirates Australian Open

Lefty Greg Chalmers leads the Emirates Australian Open at the half-way stage at the Australian Golf Club Sydney.

 

Greg shot a second round -5 under par 66 to lead the Australian Open with that score by one shot.

Rory McIlroy shares second place, at -4 under par, with three other players they are; Adam Crawford, amateur Todd Sinnott and Conrad Schindler.

Rory thinks he missed a good chance today to get away from the field;

“I felt like I had an opportunity today to maybe shoot a good one and put a little bit of space between myself and the rest of the field, but it didn’t really pan out that way.”

Jordan Spieth, Brett Rumford and Geoff Drakeford are tied in sixth spot at -3 under par.

Jordan did not have a good day, but stayed in touch with the leaders;

“It was a struggle, big-time struggle, I wasn’t hitting it well. If I wasn’t putting well I may have shot 45 on the back nine.”

“I just didn’t find the ball-striking until the last few holes and then was very fortunate to grab a few birdies. I was really looking at making 4s and getting in and regrouping for tomorrow. But instead I kept myself in the tournament.”

Adam Scott is tied in ninth position at -2 under par following his second round -5 under par 66, he was happier with his effort today;

Australian Open

Adam Scott / Getty Images

“Yesterday I got off to a bad start, and I didn’t scramble well when I had to and it started to get away from me.”

”Today a couple of good shots coming up 14 and I made an eagle and momentum is on your side.”

“I think the greens were certainly testing us, getting to understand the slopes on the greens and especially around the edges,”

“I’ve hit a lot of wedge shots that have been a little mis-struck and then spinning off the greens. I guess that’s got to do with the pin positions as well. So getting it very close to the hole is not that easy. I think the greens have to be the defense because there is no rough.”

 

Australian Open. Jordan Spieth Leads.

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Jordan Spieth leads the Australian Open by one stroke at the conclusion of the first day’s play with -4 under-par 67, opening round.

Tied in second place are Aron Price and Scott Gardiner, both carded rounds of -3 under par 68.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy is two shots behind, with first round -2 under par 69.

Australian Open

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory took a few holes to find his form in the tricky conditions;

“It took me a little while to get going, I gave myself a lot of chances early on in the round and didn’t really take them.

“The conditions were pretty tricky. It was tough to get the ball close to the pins with the wind and these greens being quite firm as well.”

“It was cold, windy and a little bit of rain here and there, when I think of playing golf in Australia, it’s not the kind of day I expected.”

“The wind was up early on, then it died, then got up again.”

“I thought anything under par today was a decent score and it was nice to birdie the last and shoot something in the 60s. It puts me right there going into tomorrow.”

“Golf tournaments are long, all you want to do is give yourself a chance going into Sunday, I definitely feel like there’s a better score out there.”

Rory’s top rival for this title, Adam Scott did not do so well, shooting an opening round +3 over par 74. Before he teed off today Adam reported that he had not played on this course very much;

“I haven’t played here that much in the past. Obviously there’s been a lot of work done and they’ve presented a beautiful golf course for us this week.”

“My feeling is it’s certainly going to favour the longer hitters this week. There’s no rough out there.”

“It seems like it just hasn’t grown in for them yet but hopefully with some pretty long straight driving, I’ll be able to take advantage of a few holes.”

“The wind is the definitive this week. With no rough, so that’s not going to penalise any stray shots as much as it normally would, but the winds still will.”

L.E.T. Xiamen Open. Connie Chen 1st Round Leader

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Connie Chen is the 1st round leader at the Xiamen Open at Orient Golf and Country Club in China.

Xiamen Open

Connie Chen / Getty Images

Connie had a first round -4 under par 68 to hold the lead in this inaugural Xiamen Open. She had played at this course as an amateur and said that experience had helped her;

“Knowing the greens better than most of the other girls helped me.”

“I was hitting it great. I hit it quite long on the eighth hole so I had a short second shot in on the par five and a chip and a putt. Then on nine, I hit a brilliant tee shot and then a great shot in and a chip and a putt.”

Nikki Garrett, Liz Young, Beth Allen and Noora Tamminen are the ladies who are a stroke behind on -3 under par under par.

 Nikki, from Australia is playing in her last tournament of the year, and is just out to have fun;

“It’s my last tournament of the year so I’m just out to enjoy myself.”

Englishwoman Liz said she had putted well on the these very quick greens;

“I didn’t have a three putt, so that was good on these greens because they are very quick downhill.”

“I had two bogeys and five birdies and I only holed one long putt so four tap in birdies. I was striking the ball better last week but I putted well which is crucial on this course.”

Noora got a boost from seeing her friends name up on the leaderboard early on in her round;

“After that I made a lot of birdies. Then I had a birdie on eight and nine and added three more on 12, 13 and 16.”

The highest ranked player in the field, Charley Hull, had a nightmare of a day, and finished +1 over par 73, five shots off the lead. She can still win the LET order of merit with a win in Dubai.

 

 

CME Group Tour Championship. Julieta Granada Leads

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Julieta Granada leads the CME Group Tour Championship after the first round at Tiburon Golf Club in Florida.

CME Group Tour Championship

Julieta Granada / Getty Images

Julieta carded a bogey free first round -6 under par 66, to lead the  CME Group Tour Championship by two shots on the opening day. Julieta said course management was the key for her today, and admitted that her million dollar payday was actually a bad influence on her, she just relaxed too much;

“I just managed my game really well at the beginning where I was playing really conservative, just hitting the greens, and two putting for par.”

“The start is really tough out here, but once you get going you can make some birdies out there.”

I wouldn’t take it back, but, you’re 20-years-old and it’s your first year out here and life becomes really good so you think you can relax a little bit.”

“It’s really exciting and fun and you win $ 1 million. Life becomes really good. You think you can just go relax a little bit.”

” But everybody else out here is still grinding and going at it. I kind of sat back a little bit and relaxed, and I didn’t have the same hunger to play well and to make money, I guess. So, yeah, it was a learning curve, but I wouldn’t take it back.”

Sandra Gal is in second place, a -4 under par 68 for her first round, and said she had to play some special shots in the wind today;

“I had to hit a lot of knock down shots, then again downwind you got to have really good control. So I hit lots of different types of shots today.  It was pretty crazy.  The difference between into and down was enormous.”

“Not going to change anything, just going to play solid and have good pace with your putts.  Hopefully hole a couple. I’m not going to change anything.”

Three ladies are tied in third spot on the leaderboard, Caroline Hedwall, Stacy Lewis and Belen Mozo are all at -3 under par for the competition.

Stacy reported that the golf course is playing tough, and she is happy to be where she is on the leaderboard;

Just kind of kept me in there, to make some birdies there at the end and make a few putts.  The golf course is playing so hard.  You just got to hang in there, and that’s what I did today.”

“I think we were all kind of a little bit nervous, a little bit hesitant there at the beginning, but we seemed to all kind of settle in. It’s one good round.  We got a long, long way to go, but it’s nice to get off to a good start.”

Lydia Ko finished with a -1 under par 71, and admitted she was nervous about giving her speech for winning the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year award;

“I’m a little nervous, I’m not a very good speaker in front of a large crowd, so I’m definitely going to be nervous. Hopefully everybody will be nice, and even if I make a mistake they’ll be like, yeah, whatever.”

Congratulations Lydia, how about knocking them dead with a Haka.

Sanya Ladies Open. China’s Xi Yu Lin Wins

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China’s new rising star 18 year-old Xi Yu Lin won the Sanya Ladies Open at Yalong Bay Golf Club.

Sanya Ladies Open

Xi Yu Lin / Getty Images

Xi Yu Lin carded a last round -5 under par 67 to win the Sanya Ladies Open with a -14 under par total. She had two birdies and an eagle on the back nine to finally break away from the chasing pack, to win her first trophy on the Ladies European Tour;

“I think this is the biggest win of my career because it’s my first win on the Ladies European Tour.”

 “My mum was with me this week and she always brings me good luck, because in 2012, she came to watch me for the first time in two years when I won my first professional career win on the CLPGA.”

“This time she came and I earned my first win on the Ladies European Tour, so I think she’s kind of my lucky star.”

“These last two years, women’s golf has developed very fast and all the young players like Shi Yuting, Zhang Yu Yang and Zhang Jienalin, they are having more and more good results on the golf course.”

Another 18 year-old finished in second place, England’s Charley Hull, a last round -3 under par and a total of -9 under par for the tournament. She reported that she was playing well, and her putting is in excellent form;

“It was a good day and I’m happy with how I’m playing. It was windy out there again today.”

“I nearly holed so many long putts today, 30 footers, but they were all on the edge. I’m pretty happy with the way I’m putting and I’m not missing any short putts like I did here last year so I’m happy and looking forward to next week.”

Aussie Nikki Campbell and Huei-Ju Shih of Chinese Taipei finished in a share of third place, both on -8 under par for the competition following their final rounds of -3 under par 69.

Turkish Airlines Open. Poulter Blows Six Shot Lead.

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Ian Poulter had moved into a six shot halfway lead when the second round was finally finished at the Turkish Airlines Open, and then proceeded to blow it away in the third round, handing the lead to Wade Ormsby.

Turkish Airlines Open

Wade Ormsby / Getty Images

Wade had a -4 under par 68, to top the leaderboard at the Turkish Airlines Open with a total of -12 under par. He said his game is good, and he is feeling good;

“It feels great to be in this position. It’s a great tournament, great field, so to be up around the front is great and to be leading it makes me pretty happy.”

“My game is good. I’m hitting it strong, putting good. But I just walked off the ninth green and said to my caddie Richard that I’ve actually missed a few putts down the front nine.”

“As good a score as I’ve shot, I still feel like I left a few out there. So I’ll just keep trying to do what I’m doing and see how I end up.”

A sad third round for Ian of +3 over par 75 saw him fall back into a tie for second place at -11 under par. He shares that spot with Lee Westwood and Marcel Siem.

Poults had this to say about his miserable day;

“I’m most angry about the wedge shot which led to a double, that’s inexcusable for me to make that error right there. A simple wedge shot puts me to 20 feet with an outside birdie look at worst, and I hit the tree, so I’m going to be angry about that for a little while tonight and then I’ll be fine tomorrow.”

“It’s brought obviously a lot of players back into the fray, their dinner is going to taste lovely tonight and mine is going to taste horrible.”

“I’m going to get my head down and do the job tomorrow. Today was really disappointing to be out of rhythm after playing such great golf.”

Lee is content with the way he is playing

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in contention, but generally when I get in contention, I know what to do.”

“I’ve been hitting the ball pretty solidly for a few weeks now. Just getting the odd break, holing the odd putt to keep the momentum going.”

I haven’t really played the par fives well enough the first couple of days. Today I played them a bit better. All in all, I’m pleased with where my game’s at. It’s coming along nice.”

BMW Masters winner Marcel is raring to get going, now that the gap has closed;

“It’s a little bit more interesting now for everybody and for sure I’ll give it a shot tomorrow, try my best. That’s what we are out here for, and there’s why it’s called Race to Dubai.”

“I’ll have a good rest now and hope that my ball-striking is as good as today and the putter is hot. Can’t wait to go.”

WGC. HSBC Champions. Great Day for G-Mac.

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It was a great day for G-Mac, Graeme McDowell leads the WGC, HSBC Champions tournament at the mid-way point at Sheshan International Golf Course in China.

WGC, HCBC Champions

Graeme McDowell / Getty Images

G-Mac shot a bogey free second round of -5 under par 67 to lead the WGC, HSBC Champions by three shots at the half way stage with a -10 under par total. While admitting he did not play as well as yesterday, although posting the same score, Graeme said his putter was red-hot;

“The putter was fairly hot today.”

“I didn’t play as well as I did yesterday; I missed a lot more fairways, which is a big key on this golf course. You must find fairways to have a chance out there.” 

“I got lucky a couple of times and I made some good saves. The greens are fantastic here at Sheshan and I managed to make some putts. It wasn’t my best ball-striking round but I hung in there and I’m right where I want to be going into the weekend.”

“This event has such a good feel to it. HSBC do a good job, you always get good support, there’s a great atmosphere and the golf course is so well presented.” 

“The WGCs are a special tier of events and this has always been one that I’ve had my eye on. This is a world-class field and they are bunching up behind me. I’ve just got to keep the pedal down and position myself for Sunday to have a sniff on the back nine.”

Ian Poulter is in second place, he also recorded a second round -5 under par 67, to give him a -7 under par total, to occupy second on his own.

Tied in third are Bubba Watson and Hiroshi Iwata, both players on -6 under par for the tournament.

Bubba, The Masters champion, birdied his last five holes, twice chipping in from off the green to card a -5 under par  67 second round.

This is a very tightly compacted leaderboard, apart from Graeme, and I expect someone to leap out of the pack tomorrow to challenge the cruising G-Mac.