Wales Open. Joost Luiten Back In The Lead

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Joost Luiten is back in the lead at Celtic Manor and will take a two shot lead into the final round of the Wales Open tomorrow.

 

Wales Open

Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Round one leader Joost regained the lead in the third round carding -6 under par 65, to top the Wales Open leaderboard at -14 under par, and has the comfort of a two shot lead for the final round.

Joost reported he had played consistently well, and was happy with it;

“I’m happy with a good score today, I played solid, consistent, hit a lot of greens and holed some nice putts to start with. I didn’t really make a lot in the middle part, but came back strong at the end with three birdies on the last four, and I’m happy.”

“You’re in the last group, the greens are not as good as in the morning maybe and you just have to be patient out on the greens. They are quite soft and you have to create chances every hole and they will go in eventually and luckily it did for me at the end.”

Shane Lowery, yesterdays leader could only score -3 under par 68 in the third round, giving him a tournament total of -12 under par.

Shane had a fast start, recording three birdies in the first six holes, and then nothing, luckily not even a bogey;

“I got off to a flyer and just nothing really happened for me. I did make three good par saves, but I would have liked to make a couple more birdies and probably should have.”

“I’m right where I want to be for tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it. I’m still there. If you had given me this Thursday morning before I stood on the first tee, I would have taken your hand off. I’m where I want to be and I feel like I have a chance tomorrow.”

“Joost is playing lovely but I felt like I played lovely myself. Just warm up the putter tonight and see what happens tomorrow.”

Grégory Havret carded a -5 under par 66 to lie three shots off the lead on -11 under par, alongside former champion Thongchai Jaidee, who shot -4 under par 67.
Grégory  was happy to be recording rounds in the red, under par numbers, and hopes for another one tomorrow;

“I played good. Unfortunately the last three holes were not as good as the first 15, but it was definitely a good round.”

“Anything red in this beautiful course is always good, and that’s three in a row and hopefully another one tomorrow.”

Jamie Donaldson, of the three Ryder Cup players left in the competition, was best placed on -8 under par  under after a 68. Lee Westwood had a -3 under par third round, which included  a birdie-eagle finish, to post a -3 under total. Thomas Björn carded a level par 71, which was  made up of 18 straight pars to remain at -2 under par for the tournament.

Ladies European Tour. Spanish Open. Russian Maria Balikoeva Leads.

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Russian Maria Balikoeva leads the Spanish Open on the Ladies European Tour in the Canary Islands.

Spanish Open

Maria Balikoeva

Maria carded a second round -3 under par 69 to top the Tenerife Open de Espana leaderboard at -7 under par on the  Golf Costa Adeje course in the Canary Islands.

Maria said she thought she was unlucky yesterday, playing in the afternoon wind;

” We were unlucky because we played in the afternoon yesterday and I played today again when it was windy but I played really well.”

It’s just a shame that on the last few holes I dropped but I’m happy about my score, on 17, I didn’t think it would be as quick as it was. It went three metres past and I didn’t hole it back.”

“The greens are really quick, especially going down the grain. I’m not used to such quick greens. I was quite gentle the first nine holes and then it just went. Either it was my nerves or I wanted to finish the round, I don’t know.”

There is a trio of ladies tied in second place at -6 under par for the tournament, Kylie Walker, Amy Boulden and Connie Chen.

Kylie also mentioned the wind in her after round report;

“It was pretty solid because the wind is quite gusty so I’m happy with one under. I didn’t hit it quite as good today. I definitely hit it better yesterday, certainly off the tee.”

Rookie professional Amy shot a second successive round of -3 under par 69, and is looking for her first Tour win;

“It was a tough day and it was pretty windy but I think it was the same all day so it’s been pretty fair for all the players.”

“I kept steady and grinded it out really. I’m feeling confident about my game at the moment and I’m playing well each week so I’m hoping a win is around the corner really.”

Connie is also in contention for the first time on Tour, and admitted to a few nerves at the end of her round today;

“My game was pretty good today. I got a bit nervous on the last few holes, so I did make a few silly mistakes.”

“I had a lot of really good chances today and putting, I was a little tentative. I left a lot of them short. I’m one shot off the lead and it’s not too bad going into the third round. If you want something badly you get nervous and it’s natural.”

A shot further back at -5 under par are Spanish hopeful Carlota Ciganda and English youngster Charley Hull.

Charley was tied for the lead at one point but double bogeyed the 5th hole;

I started off really good and my front nine, I played really well, solid, which was the back nine on the golf course.”

“I hit my drives really well and putted well and hit it close. On the back nine I ran out of gas.”

Wales Open. Lowery Leads at Half-Way Point.

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Shane Lowery leads the Wales Open at the half-way point at The Celtic Manor Resort.

Wales Open

Shane Lowery / Getty Images

Shane shot a second round -6 under par 65 to lead the Wales Open at -9 under par after 36 holes. He admitted his lofty position was a bit of a surprise, as he had never played that well before at Celtic Manor;

“I’m pretty happy. I’ve never, ever done well here before, so to be leading after two rounds is nice.There is still a long way to go in the tournament but I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”

“I didn’t drive it that good yesterday but still shot a decent score. I drove it a lot better today, drove it a lot straighter and gave myself a lot of chances and rolled in a few putts, so it was nice.”

“I felt like coming over that I could give it a go this week. I was around tenth going into the back nine on Sunday last week, and similar the week before in Switzerland. If I can get myself in a good position come the back nine this weekend, again, hopefully I can give it a go.”

First round leader Joost Luiten is tied second place, carding -2 under par in the second round for a -8 under par tournament total. Joost said the course played much tougher today, overnight rain being the main factor;

“I’m happy. It was tough today because the greens were very soft compared to yesterday with all the rain they had last night, and with the back pins, even seven irons spun back four or five yards, and it was tough to fly them all the way to the back.”

Big hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts is also tied in second at -8 under par, and would love to win again, his last victory was in 2012;

“It would mean a lot to win again after two years and struggling the first few months of the season.”

“Today I started very nicely but made two silly mistakes in the middle of the round and I almost lost it but it was nice to hole that putt on the last. It was about 35 feet with eight feet of break.”

The two Gleneagles Ryder Cup wild cards, Stephen Gallacher and Lee Westwood experienced differing results but similar emotions.
Steve shot -1 under par 70, and went home, missing the cut; Lee scored -2 under par 69 and made the cut. He was happy to have two more rounds of golf before heading to Gleneagles;

“I needed a couple more rounds, I was not particularly competitive yesterday, it was pretty scratchy, but today was more solid. A few iffy shots but it was nice to finish with two birdies in the last four holes to ensure being here for the weekend and two more competitive rounds.”

“I have been working on my game and been in the gym quite a lot, but I’m not quite match fit. I had three weeks off and you lose your sharpness.”

Steve was in a relaxed and philosophical mood as he left Celtic Manor;

“Yesterday was quite tough, it was tough to get going and get my head around it but today was a lot better. I was maybe trying a wee bit too hard yesterday and still thinking about next week.”

“I feel good, I’m physically and mentally good so I am really looking forward to next week. I’ll get up the road this afternoon and relax this weekend and maybe play nine holes with Thomas (Björn) on Monday morning.”

“I’ve done my preparation for it and I just want to get up there and get going.”

YOKOHAMA TIRE LPGA CLASSIC. Two at the Top.

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Two ladies are tied at the top of the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic leaderboard, Stacy Lewis and Mi Jung Hur, on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill ,Senator Course.

Yokohama Tire Classic

Stacy Lewis / Getty Images

Stacy and Mi Jung both carded first rounds of -8 under par 64 at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, to take a one shot advantage into the second round. Stacy finished strongly  with a birdie barrage on the back nine, sinking birdie putts on five of her last six holes, including her last three;

Even if I don’t finish that way, it was a good round, but definitely nice to birdie the last three,”

“I played really solid last week, and the scores just didn’t really show how I played. So I felt like things were coming along and getting closer and it showed out there.”

“I hit my wedges a lot better, which is always a good sign for me. When my wedges get back on track that usually gets the entire swing back going in the right direction.”

Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic

Mi Jung Hur / Getty Images

Mi Jung reported she was playing well and was pleased to be bogey free on the first round, and would like to stay bogey free for the rest of the week;

“It was awesome to be bogey free. That was my goal for today and I made it. My shots were really working good and also my putter was very good, so everything was perfect for the round.”

“I feel so much comfortable after I did the top-10 in Portland, I think my confidence, it made me feel better and better.”

“I just got in the Asia tournament after I finished third in Evian. I didn’t expect it but I really excited to play Asia, I want to keep this momentum to Asia so I have to play good here.”

“I will set my goal for bogey-free for a whole week, so hopefully I can make it.”

Paula Reto, from South Africa is in third place alone on -7 under par following her first round effort of 65. After a shaky start to her LPGA career Paula is now feeling more comfortable with life;

“The first couple tournaments I was just really nervous, you know, trying to find myself pretty much out here. Everything just kind of fit in the last couple of tournaments and obviously being more comfortable where I’m at.”

“Better relationship with my caddie and I on the course, what we need to do, game plans. Sticking to things and just committing to stuff.”

“It’s important obviously but I’m not trying to think about it too much. If it goes either way I’m going to be happy. I’m just going to have fun out here and just do the best I can and I’m glad I’m playing a little bit better now than before.”

It is all pretty tight at the top end of the leaderboard, but maybe tomorrow it will settle down a bit and we will have a clearer picture of who is really in form here.

 

Ladies European Tour, Trish Johnson Sets Her Sights on the Spanish Open

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Trish Johnson sets her sights on the Spanish Open title in Tenerife, Spain.

Spanish Open

Trish in Spain / Getty Images

Trish set the pace in the first round of the Tenerife Open de Espana, shooting -7 under par 65 at  Golf Costa Adeje in the Canary Islands. A recent winner of the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, Trish fired in eight birdies with only one bogey in the hot and sunny conditions, and said she was at a loss to explain her sudden return to good form, apart from a red-hot putter, calling one long putt a snaker;

“I can’t really explain it because for the past two weeks I’ve been rubbish and Evian was embarrassing. I think it’s just a case of when you go to some places you like the greens.”

” Having said that, I did go on the putting green yesterday. I saw something playing at Evian, and I can’t remember who it was, but I remember thinking I like the look of that with the right hand and I just started to practice it and I felt comfortable straight away.”

I thought, this feels really good, and I putted very well today, so we’ll see if it continues.”

“It was a real snaker and it went straight in. I’m very, very happy, a nice start, but there are an awful lot of good players here and I’m under no illusions. There won’t be any six shot leads, that’s for sure with Carlota and Charley and Aza here.”

In second place at -6 under par is Wendy Hillier, just one shot behind on 66, with two ladies tied in third position, Stacy Lee Bregman and Kylie Walker carding rounds of -5 under par 67.

Stacy Lee was also very pleased with her putting performance;

“I putted really well today. I hit some really good putts and hit it on the fairways and knocked it close and gave myself a lot of chances.”

” I’ve grown up playing courses that are inland, not coastal courses, but I do have a bit of experience with grainy greens. I saw everything today and it felt right.”

“I was in the right frame of mind. I’ve been working on my putting and it seems to be paying off.”

Spanish hopes are resting on Carlota Cigander, who is tied in fifth place at -4 under par, with a whole host of other ladies.

Carlota was reasonably pleased with today’s round;

“I was three under after four holes and then I had a couple of holes where I didn’t play very good, on nine and ten. I came back and kept playing very well on the back nine so I’m very happy with my results today.”

Wales Open. Joost Luiten Leads on Day 1.

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Joost Luiten leads  at the end of day 1 of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor Resort.

Wales Open

Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Joost shot an opening round at the Wales Open of -6 under par 65 to sit on top of the Celtic Manor Resort course leaderboard.

Nicolas Colsaerts and Andrew McArthur are tied in second place at -5 under par following their first round scores of 66. Nicolas hit the longest drive in European Tour history , mighty a 447-yard bombshell that left him with just a gap wedge into the 613-yard par five 18th hole at Celtic Manor, to set up the Eagle. Even that record could not console him as he rued not having the chance to play once again in the Ryder Cup, in his previous outing he carded eight birdies and an eagle in a four-ball win alongside Lee Westwood at Medinah two years ago.;

“I saw them having dinner and thought ‘I wish I was in that room. It’s their adventure and I am not part of it, but once you play in one Ryder Cup, you don’t want to miss another one.”

Of the longest drive, “The muscles from Brussels” only mentioned the wind assistance and some heavenly help;

” I thought it was too far right but it’s all downhill and downwind and it must have luged down the fairway. If all the stars align you can hit it a long way.”

Tied in fourth place are Justin Walters, Robert Rock and Sam Walker, these three carded rounds of -4 under par 67.

Robert admitted he had not played well this year;

“Probably for the last month I’ve been playing good, the rest of the year has been pretty horrific. I’ve been driving the ball well for months, and wasting every opportunity that brings.”

” My iron play has been good for two weeks, the putting has been hit and miss, but the past two weeks have been good, so I hope I can drag that on for a little bit longer.”

Of the four Team Europe players competing at The Celtic Manor Resort, Jamie Donaldson’s -1 under par 70 was the best score, with Thomas Björn returning with level par, Lee Westwood +2 over par and a rusty Stephen Gallacher signing for a +7 over par 78, Steve had this to say afterwards;

“I did half expect it, generally if I’ve got something to play for I’ll play pretty well. When I go through the motions I’m useless.’

“All eyes are on next week and it’s hard to put it out of my mind when I’m already in. Once you’re in it, I just want it happen. Next week it’ll be different, you’re in a heightened mood and I’ll be better.”

“One swallow doesn’t make a summer, so I’m not really bothered to be honest. I’ll just go out tomorrow and try and make a few birdies, see what happens. I’ll give it my best shot, I shot 63 around here once (in 2010).”

The longest drive this season on the PGA Tour was hit by Bubba Watson, who sent one 424 yards on the 16th hole at Firestone Country Club. He was the only player to eclipse 400 yards this season.

Tour Championship, FedExCup, Billy Wins It All

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Billy Horschel wins it all, the Tour Championship and the FedExCup.

The Tour Championship   The FedExCup

Billy and Two Trophies.

Billy described it one word;

“Unbelievable.”

He cruised through the final round in -2 under par 68 to finish with a total of -11 under par, and a three shot victory. He spoke about his pregnant wife and how they had discussed this tournament;

I remember flying home and talking with my wife and she said, ‘You’re probably just waiting for the season to be over and start a new season.’ I sort of was.”

 “But at the same time, I knew my game was in the right shape and I just needed to get out of my own way. I needed to allow my golf game to show.”

“Hopefully, she’s not going into labor right now.”

I was able to rise to the occasion and get the job done, and it just gives me so much confidence, such a thrill to accomplish something like this, especially with the guys I was going up against.”

Rory McIlroy failed to fire in the final round, carding a +1 over par 71, he finished the tournament tied in second place with Jim Furyk, at -8 under par.

Rory had to admit that Billy played the best golf;

“Billy deserved it, he played the best golf this week. I was making bad swings at the wrong time and getting punished for them.”

“When Billy was making bogey on ten I thought I had a decent chance and then I three-putt there for the second day in a row and I felt like any chance I had to win the golf tournament went.”

“To win two Majors, my first WGC event and give it a real good run in these FedEx events, I’m really proud of myself the way I hung in there and dug deep the last few weeks.”

“When I look back on the year as a whole it’s been my best year to date so I can’t complain.”

Rory and Jim will be heading off to the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland, the European Team will be happy that Billy Horschel will not be there, especially in the form that he is in right now.