The Ryder Cup. European Glory at Gleneagles.

Ryder Cup Gleneagles The Ryder Cup

The European Ryder Cup Team tasted Glory at Gleneagles by lifting the trophy once again.

World number one Rory McIlroy lead by example as he put the first point of the day on the board when he defeated good friend Rickie Fowler 5-4.

Rory was full of praise for Captain McGinley;

“I can’t say enough about the Captain. Paul McGinley has been absolutely immense this week. He has left no stone unturned. He has given this week a lot of thought over the last two years. I am just glad it worked out for him.”

Ryder Cup

Jubilant Rory / Getty Images

Graeme McDowell then recovered from three down to hand rookie Jordan Spieth his first defeat at this Ryder Cup, G-Mac won 2-1.

There was a brief interlude as Team USA fought back, Patrick Reed beat Henrik Stenson on the 18th, Phil Mickelson took down Stephen Gallacher and Matt Kuchar beat Thomas Bjørn.

The European Team responded to the challenge, Martin Kaymer chipped in to complete a 4 and 2 win over Bubba Watson and Justin Rose snatched a half from Hunter Mahan at the 18th to take Europe to 13 ½ points.

Jamie Donaldson capped of an impressive debut, having the honor of claiming the winning point with a 5 and 3 victory over Keegan Bradley.
Jamie felt over the moon with his experience;

“I hit the wedge shot of my life to close the game out. I can’t really put words to it. It is unbelievable. I knew it was getting tight there at the end and everyone was building on my group. I just tried not to spend too much time looking at the scoreboard.”

“I was able to do it well enough to close it out.The lads have got on so well all week. It is an incredible week. It is hard to describe how good it is , there is nothing else like it in golf.

“It has been amazing to be a part of it.”

European Captain Paul McGinley applauded the Team effort;

It has been a real honor to captain these 12 players, our backroom team, it has been a huge team effort.” 

“We had three or four big ideas which we kept feeding back to and they came off. I have a great sense of pride giving happiness to everyone.”

The two sides will square off next time at Hazeltine in 2016, will the European’s make it four in a row ?

Ryder Cup Gleneagles

The Ryder Cup. Great 1st Day at Gleneagles

Ryder Cup Gleneagles

It was a great first day at Gleneagles in the 2014 Ryder Cup. In the morning foursomes, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia lost a tense match to Phil Mickleson and Keegan Bradley, this was after Team Europe were leading 1up with three to play. The match took five and half hours to complete.

Team USA were leading after those morning foursomes, Europe 1.5 and US 2.5. Big shock of the day was Ian Poulter and Steve Gallacher being thrashed 5-4 by the young pairing of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, much to the delight of the American Team as Ian was the thorn in their side at Medinah, Jordan explained;

“There are a few guys on our team that specifically would like to match up against Ian. There are a few guys that came up and told us that they are very jealous that we had them today.”

“But whatever it is, past history or just the fact that he’s known as being The Ryder Cup wizard for the Europeans, he’s certainly not under our skin because we haven’t dealt with him before.”

Ian shrugged off the loss;

“Obviously it’s a loss on the board, whether that be 5 and 4 or one down, but I don’t look at it as a heavy loss, I just look at it as a loss.”

“Ryder Cup is very black or white. It’s very simple: You lose or you win.”

Team Europe equalled that 5-4 score in the morning when Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, Justin went on to win again in the afternoon foursomes, he had this to say;

That’s the job, that’s the role. When you go out one, that’s the position the captain obviously put you into to go deliver a point” 

“That’s what me and the Iceman came to do today. We got off to a good start and we know how key that was.”

Last match of day one was won by Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson against Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.

Europe came back in the afternoon to lead at the end of day one 5-3. Already looking forward to tomorrows matches in this intriguing Ryder Cup, there are many twists and turns to come, and as Ian Poulter said, you lose or you win.

Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. MJ Makes It Her’s.

White Dragon GolfYokohama Tire LPGA Classic

MJ Hur makes the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic her’s, as she picks up the trophy on the RTJ Trail, Senator Course.

Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic

MJ and Trophy / photo A.P. 

MJ set a tournament record winning total of -21 under par to win the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic with a final round -6 under par 66. Having her dad carrying the bag this week was extra special for her. She was aware of the charge being made by Stacy;

‘It’s definitely an exciting week for me, I started with two birdies and it made me so much more comfortable the rest of the round. But Stacy played so well and I definitely thought about her.”

”I just played my own game, and after nine holes I made a few birdies on the back nine.”

The easiest of those those birdies was on 16;

”After I made that, I definitely think about winning. The last two holes, I really enjoyed the golf.” 

World number one Stacy Lewis was making a real charge, doing her best to catch up to MJ, she also carded a final round -6 under par 66, to finish in second place at -17 under par.

Stacy commented about playing well, but unable to any pressure on leader;

”You get events where people kind of run away with tournaments, I’ve done it before. “

“It’s just golf. I played well, gave myself a ton of opportunities for birdies, which that was the goal coming into the day.”

”I would have liked to have made a couple of more to give her something to think about coming up those last few.”

Paula Reto had her best ever finish to a LPGA tournament, finishing in third place at -14 under par. She had a poor last round carding +1 over par 73, after starting the day tied at the top of the leaderboard.

In a strange coincidence Connie Chen won on the Ladies European Tour this week, she also had her dad on the bag. Maybe the fathers just bring a calming factor into the girls thinking.

Ladies European Tour, Spanish Open. Connie Claims 1st Victory.

White Dragon GolfTenerife Open de Espana Femenino

Connie Chen lifted her 1st Ladies European Tour trophy, winning the Spanish Open, in the Canary Islands.

Spanish Open

Connie & first victory trophy / Getty Images

Connie completed the Tenerife Open de España Femenino with another -3 under par 69, to lift the trophy with a tournament total of -12 under par, and a two shot victory.

Connie was very excited to have her first victory, especially with her dad Hong on the bag. She spoke to reporters about the day and also the duff chip she made on 18, which led to a bogey;

“I’m so happy, I was so nervous today teeing off and being able to keep going and make that eagle on the back nine gave me a good feeling for the day.”

“I was very nervous over that chip, I just acknowledged that it’s only natural to be nervous and tried to focus on other things to distract me, like the scenery and blue skies.”

“It’s nice that we worked really well this week together. It was a little different to our usual disagreements on the golf course.”

“We just discussed that there are some things that work, with him being my father and us being so close, and some things that we need to get a little bit of distance in the relationship and chill out.”

“With him being so close to me he wants me to do so well, so he was able to let go of that and let me play my own game this week.”

Spanish OpenConnie and Dad, Hong / Getty Images

Second place went to Spanish girl Carlota Ciganda, who also posted a final round -3 under par 69 to finish with a -10 under par total. She really wanted to become the first home winner of this tournament;

“It’s a pity, because I wanted to win so badly and this was the only objective in my mind.”

If you can’t win, then the best position is second, so I am happy because when I think about this tournament it will give me confidence for the future.”

Beth Allen was in third position at -9 under par, with Charley Hull finishing in fourth place at -8 under par.

With her victory, Connie becomes the 12th first time winner of a Ladies European Tour event this season, this is a closely contested Tour.

 

Wales Open. Luiten Lifts the Trophy.

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Joost Luiten lifts the Wales Open trophy at Celtic Manor.

Wales Open

Joost Luiten & Trophy / Getty Images

Joost hung on at Celtic Manor, only managing an even par final round of 71, but his tournament total of -18 under par was enough for him to lift the Wales Open trophy.

He admitted it was tough coming down the stretch;

“It was tough, it was hard work down the last. I didn’t have the start I wanted with two bogeys and I just tried to hang in there and wait for my chances and made some nice birdies at the end and a par down the last was luckily enough.”

“There’s always a lot of tension on the first hole, you try to settle down, try to make an easy par or birdie and then I left myself quite a tricky first putt and I just didn’t read it well. I didn’t give the right pace and you leave yourself an eight footer downhill left to right and that’s one you can make or miss and I missed it today.” 

“You just try to settle down the first couple holes, and after that, I got back into my game. I started to hit greens, and I just didn’t really make any putts in the middle part, luckily we made a couple at the back.”

Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowery were the guys trying to chase him down, they finished tied for second at -13 under par. Shane with a -1 under par 70 last round, and Tommy making a late charge with four birdies and an eagle on the last five holes to card -4 under par 67.

Tommy came off a double bogey on 13, and suddenly came alight;

“After the double bogey on 13 I definitely wasn’t thinking about getting to 13 under, just try your best on the last few and see what you can get. I wanted to get back to level par or under par for the day. I thought that would have been a good effort.”

“After a poor summer, I wanted to finish the season well. I’ve been playing well recently and the more you get up there, the better. This is how you learn. You can’t practice this on the range when you’re coming down the stretch in the top five and just the more you do it, the better it is.”

Five players finished sharing  fourth place at -12 under par, including Ryder Cup debutant Jamie Donaldson who carded a very respectable final round of -4 under par  67. He was joined by Nicolas Colsaerts, Eddie Pepperell, Marc Warren and Edoardo Molinari.

Jamie was very pleased with his preparation for the Ryder Cup;

“I’m very pleased, Celtic Manor is a tough golf course which doesn’t quite suit my eye. It’s been hard for me this week to keep focused and try and see the shots, if you take your foot off the pedal, and there’s a lot of trouble about.”

“I’m happy the way I played over the last four or five weeks, building up to the Ryder Cup. I couldn’t have asked for any more, really.”

Ryder Cup team-mates Thomas Björn and Lee Westwood carded closing rounds of 74 and 76 respectively, so will need to perform better next week at Gleneagles.

Lee said he will be ready;

“I needed to play some competitive golf and I’ve done that. I hit a few good shots this week, not so good today, but I probably had one eye on next week. I don’t think the concentration and the focus was there.”

“The Ryder Cup is very special, I am looking forward to getting there tonight and preparing for Friday when it starts.”

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.

Ladies European TourLadies European TourWhite Dragon GolfTenerife Open de Espana Femenino

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.”