CME Group Tour Championship. Julieta Hangs On.

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Julieta Granada just hangs on to the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship at  Tiburon Golf Club in Florida.

 CME Group Tour Championship

Julieta Granada / Getty Images

Julieta hung on to the CME Group Tour Championship lead, carding a -2 under par third round for  -9 under par tournament total, a one shot lead over the field going into the final round tomorrow.

Julieta needs her consistency of finding the fairways, the gap in length off the tee between her and Carlota is huge. On the par five 17th Carlota  out drove her using only a three wood, and even that was some by some distance;

“I played pretty well today; super consistent, I hit a lot of fairways and I hit a lot of greens.”

” I made some good putts out there. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow, see what tomorrow brings.”

I”’m aware of what’s going on, I like to know where I stand.  Like I said before, I just have to keep playing my game and trust my game, that it’s good enough to win out here.”

Carlota Ciganda and Morgan Pressel are sharing second place at -8 under par, with -2 under par and -1 under par respectively for their third rounds.

Just to prove the distance superiority Carlota reached the par five 17th in two, and narrowly missed her Eagle putt, that would have put her level with Julieta. Sandra Gal is in fourth place on her own at -7 under par, unfortunately finding the greenside hazard with her approach shot on the 18th, and dropping a shot there.

Lydia Ko and So Yeon Ryu are at -6 under par, tied in fifth spot. Lydia’s -4 under par 68 moved her into second place in the Race to CME Globe. Still in first place in that race is Stacy Lewis, who had a -2 under par 70 today, and has a lot on her mind;

“I’ve been thinking about all these awards and the Race to the Globe that kind of stuff for three, four weeks now.”

“Unfortunately that’s not going to go away overnight, I’ve just got to go hit some greens tomorrow.  That’s all I’m going to try to do.  If the putts go in, great; if they don’t, I’m going to take any par on this golf course, good.”

Lydia is not going to think about all the trophies and money;

“I’m not going to really think about it, I’m just going to go out there tomorrow like did today and not think about the big money that comes at the end of tomorrow.”

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik & Rafa Pull Clear.

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Henrik Stenson and Rafa Cabrera- Bello pull clear of the field in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course in Dubai.

DP World Tour Championship

Rafa Cabrera-Bello / Getty Images

Rafa shot a great third round -7 under par 65, to share the DP World Tour Championship lead with Henrik at -14 under par, the pair of them now have a three shot advantage going into the final round tomorrow.

Rafa said it had been a very special day for him;

“Obviously it’s been a very special round for me today,” he said. “I’m really, really pleased with the score, and obviously with the good finish.”

“The short game and putting has been unbelievable, probably the best day of my life for short game.”

“I think that that’s what helped me hang in there on the front nine and I did play better on the back nine. I was playing more aggressive going for it, hitting good shots, and giving myself a lot of chances and I did make some of them.”

Henrik did nothing wrong today, a bogey free -4 under par 68, and reported he had recovered from hitting the wall yesterday, he put it down to old age. He has never successfully defended a title, and wants to win here;

“I felt a little stronger today but I wasn’t exactly jumping out of bed this morning, but what do you expect at 38 years old? I’m a little low on energy but when the mind wants something you can pull through.”

“It would be great to win. It’s a great championship and it would mean a lot to defend a title and get the win. It’s been a good year but when you assess it you always look at the trophies and there hasn’t been one yet.”

“All in all it was a good day and we’re still at the races so I am pretty pleased.”

Justin Rose scored a -4 under par 68 today to move himself into third place alone, at -11 under par. He played alongside Rafa and could only admire what he saw;

“I watched an incredible round of golf today, Rafa was unbelievable. He really struggled with his game the first few holes, up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down, and then got some flow going.”

“He had 15 one-putts today. His short game was Seve-like. It was awesome.”

“He was chipping it to a foot and it was awesome. Chipping around this golf course is difficult, very grainy, very tough, very sandy underneath the ball. It was a masterclass.”

Tied in fourth place at -10 under par are; Rory McIlroyVictor Dubuisson, Tyrrell Hatton and Thorbjørn Olesen.

Rory had another off day, -2 under par 70,with a couple of double bogey’s thrown in, and is now four shots off the lead;

“It makes life a little more difficult for me tomorrow. I need to be aggressive, I need to go at pins, hit it close and make some putts.”

“I felt a little better out there today than yesterday so knew if I stayed patient the birdies would come. I got on a nice run with three birdies in a row from the fifth and another one at ten, but unfortunately the back nine was not quite as good as the front.”

“It was annoying to follow one double bogey with another. I was a little frustrated but it was nice to get a couple back and at least keep myself in touch.”

Xiamen Open. Three Way Tie at the Top.

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There is a three-way tie at the top of the Xiamen Open leaderboard after two rounds at the Orient Golf & Country in China.

Xiamen Open

Chloe Leurquin / Getty Images

Connie Chen has been joined at the top of the Xiamen Open by Chinese-Taipei amateur Ssu-Chia Cheng and Chloe Leurquin, all at -6 under par for the tournament.

24-year-old rookie Chloe was especially pleased with her performance, -4 under par 68 second round, knowing she needs a good result to keep her full tour card for 2015.;

“Last week, I was tied for the lead for a few holes and then I screwed up as I had a few doubles in a row, but this is the first time I’ve finished my round in the lead.”

“I was playing pretty solid the first nine, so two birdies and one bogey on nine. Then I had four birdies in a row. I had quite long putts on one and two and then chipped in on three.”

“I put it very close on four so that was a real birdie and then I had a couple of stupid bogeys after but it was good.”

“I need to work a little bit to keep my card for next year so hopefully this tournament will be enough so that I don’t have pressure in India and Dubai.”

“I’m playing well at the moment so a win is on my mind but I’ll just try to play like I did today and yesterday, just play for the green and two putt, or one putt if it falls in.”

Xiamen Open

Connie Chen / Getty Images

Connie, carded a bogey free -2 under par 70 and said she did not score so well today;

“Today my long game wasn’t that great and I struggled off the tee on the front nine. I got it together on the back nine.  

“I hit a bad 3-wood on the 12th hole but my putt on that hole was on the lip and it dropped after five seconds on the lip, so that was quite entertaining. I had seven metres up the hill for par and it sat on the lip I swear for five seconds and everyone was like, what?”

Xiamen Open

Ssu-Chia Cheng / Getty Images

High school student Ssu-Chia Cheng, just 17, is playing and putting well, she was able to card a second round -4 under par 68;

“I feel pretty confident in myself because I think I’ve played good golf this week and my shots and putting are really good.”

Charley Hull is only four shots adrift on two under par after a -3 under par 69, which included seven birdies and four bogeys;

“I’ll just keep on playing golf the same as I played the back nine. I came in with 32 so I’m pretty happy and I’ll just carry that form into tomorrow.”

 

CME Group Tour Championship. Carlota & Julieta Lead.

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Carlota Ciganda and Julieta Granada lead the CME Group Tour Championship at the half-way point in Florida.

CME Group Tour Championship

Carlota Ciganda / Getty Images

Carlota and Julieta sit on top of the CME Group Tour Championship leaderboard, both on -7 under par for the tournament at Tiburon Golf Club in Florida. Carlota fired a bogey free -5 under par second round of 67, while first round leader Julieta had a quieter -1 under par 71.

Carlota does not want to think about winning, just playing good golf;

“I don’t want to think too much about winning or finishing top 5, top 10, just keep playing one shot at a time and enjoy myself.”

Julieta is excited by the new experience of leading an LPGA tournament for this season;

“This is a new experience, I’m excited, this is all very new.  It’s going to make me a better player regardless of what happens this weekend, so I’m excited.”

Morgan Pressel made third place her own with a fine round of -6 under par 66, she has had a very busy week;

“It’s been a really, really great week from the Kia Awards to announcing the ANA Inspiration, to last night’s Rolex Awards celebration.”

“Everything about this week is really, really special. So it’s nice to be here part of CME Race to the Globe. It’s such an exciting finish for our season.”

“I love talking fashion, so last night was a lot of the fun on the red carpet. But, yeah, this has probably been the busiest week I’ve had all year in terms of extracurricular activities.”

“I’m kind of excited tonight I don’t have any. I don’t really know what to do with myself.”

Michelle Wie made her presence felt, both in this competition and in The Race to CME Globe. A  5-under 67 puts her nicely in the frame in both events. She now sits two shots back at 5-under-par in a tie for fourth position with Sarah Jane Smith and Sandra Gal, and second place in the overall standings.

Just to prove how cold and windy it was Sandra changed from her mini skirt into long pants during her round.

Michelle posted a fine second round, which currently has her in 2nd position for the Race to CME Globe competition. Making bogey on the first hole of the day, a par 5 upset her greatly;

“I was irritated, you never like to bogey a par 5, nonetheless on the first hole, but I think it kind of fueled me.  I made a birdie on 3 and the hole out on 7 was a lot of fun as well. But, yeah, sometimes I play well when I bogey the first hole because then I am very irritated. “

This is how the rankings stand at the moment in the Race to CME Globe.

CME Ranking Player Score Position Projected Ranking
1 Stacy Lewis (-1) T15 1
2 Inbee Park (+1) T37 3
3 Lydia Ko (-2) T10 4
4 Michelle Wie (-5) T4 2
5 So Yeon Ryu (-4) T7 5
6 Shashan Feng (-1) T15 8
7 Anna Nordqvist (+1) T37 10
8 Chella Choi (-4) T7 9
9 Karrie Webb (+4) T49 14

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik Has Half-Way Lead.

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Henrik Stenson has the half-way lead in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course in Dubai.

 DP World Tour Championship

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik posted a second round -6 under par 66 to lead the DP World Tour Championship at the half-way point by two shots on -10 under par.

He reported that he felt like he was running on empty, after a long season;

“Around the 12th hole I felt like I was running out of steam. It was difficult mentally from there on. I had to really focus hard and drag myself over the finish line.”

“It’s hot and sticky and even though I’m drinking well and getting plenty of energy, I just felt like I hit the wall on 12.”

“If it’s one or two holes left, you normally feel like, ‘okay, I can hang on’. But it was a bit of an uphill struggle from there. I managed to finish in good style anyway so I’m pleased with that.”

“There’s still a lot of golf to play and I’m really happy with how I closed this round.”

Rory McIlroy is just two shots behind at -8 under par, sharing second place with Richie Ramsay and Danny Willett.

Rory said he will try to close the gap on the leader tomorrow;

“I’m in a good position and there is a lot of golf left, I’ve definitely been in worse positions after two rounds and still won.”

“It could have been worse but it probably could have been a little better. I definitely didn’t have it like I did yesterday. I had to dig in a little bit so hopefully that’s the bad one out of the way and I have 36 holes now to make some ground up on Henrik.”

“Henrik’s very comfortable on this golf course obviously. I can’t let him get too far ahead tomorrow. I have to get off to a fast start and try and put a bit of pressure on him. Hopefully I can do that.”

Shane Lowry, aided by a hole-in-one on the 13th, and former US Open Champion Justin Rose are among the five-strong group of players another stroke back at -7 under par.

Shane spoke about his first ever Ace in tournament play, on the 204 yard par three 13th, and how good it felt;

“It was a beautiful shot, a perfect number for my six iron.”

“It’s my first in tournament play and only my second ever so it was pretty exciting. It was hard to go on and play the next hole after that.”

“I am still in the tournament and I suppose if you had given me that on Thursday I would have taken it.”

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.