BMW International Open. Fab Zanotti’s Maiden Victory.

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Fabrizio Zanotti collected his maiden European Tour victory at the BMW International Open, the first Paraguayan to achieve that feat.

Fabrizio Zanotti - BMW International Open Champion ()

Fabrizio Zanotti / Getty Images

Fab won a four man play off at the BMW International Open at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof, for his first ever win on Tour.
It came at the fifth play off hole, and it secured a memorable success for him, after World Number Two Henrik Stenson had sent his tee shot into the water, after the others had earlier fallen by the way-side.

He had recorded the best round out of the four players to reach the play off, carding a flawless -7 under par 65 for the second successive day, to reach the top at -19 under par.

Fab said that after a lot of hard work, he had finally arrived;

“I was patient. I tried to play shot by shot in the play off. I’m just very happy. I knew today that if I made a good run I’d have a good chance. Today was my day.”

“This is huge. I think everybody in Paraguay is going to be so happy, everybody in Paraguay was awaiting this moment, like me. I’ve been working a lot and trying to build my confidence to get to this moment and finally I’m here.”

“I was just trying to enjoy the moment, shot by shot, then when I got to the playoff, it was very up and down for the first one. Then in the second I got a good birdie after Henrik. Then I started thinking, maybe today is my day.”

Pablo Larrazábal and Gregory Havret were the other two players who had finished on that -19 under par total, Pablo could only manage a final round of even par 72.

Jamie Donaldson, Simon Dyson and Thongchai Jaidee all finished a stroke behind the leaders. at -18 under par. The shot of the day went to Englishman James Heath. He carded an Ace at the 194 yard par three 16th, and took possession of a brand new  a BMW i8, and admitted;

“It more than triples the highest cheque I’ve ever made. It looks fantastic. It’s certainly an upgrade from my previous vehicle.”

Well done James, I am a BMW man myself, and need a new one, but I will have to pay for mine.

 

BMW International Open. Pablo Proceeds To Take Control.

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Pablo Larrazábal proceeds to take control of the BMW International Open in Cologne.

 

Pablo Larrazabal  (Getty Images)

Pablo Larrazábal / Getty Images

Pablo fired in a superb bogey free third round of -5 under par 67, to top the BMW International Open leaderboard at -17 under par, a healthy lead of three strokes. He remarked that he had not played well, but the course drying out helped with spin;

“My game wasn’t good today. I didn’t hit the driver good. I put myself in a little bit of trouble. But I knew how to handle it and how to keep it going. I made some birdies coming in, and to, you know, I can play better golf.  But I cannot, playing like I played, I cannot score better.”

“You know, it was spinning back three, four metres with a seven, eight iron. These days where it was releasing but yeah, three, four, five metres with the same irons, and now they are spinning back. So yeah, it was tough at the beginning to know how to plan those shots, but yeah, I saw it out.”

Richard Green is one of eight players who are in second place at -14 under par. Richard had an even more amazing flawless third round of -10 under par 62. Just as he was about to make a birdie putt on the 17th when the siren went off, halting play for an hour and forty minutes. He then returned, sunk the putt to make it eight gained strokes in eight holes, and parred the last;

“I had already set that up prior to the siren going off and the weather delay. I just had to make that six-foot putt afterwards and move on to eighteen.  It was probably nice to sit on that over the break. It’s always nice when you get it going and a score comes off like that. It’s what we strive for every day and it’s a fantastic feeling.”

“Compared to Thursday afternoon when I played, it’s a totally different golf course really. The course was firm on Thursday afternoon, bouncy, and now all of a sudden it’s target practice now. So you can pretty much fly it at any pin and stop it right there.”

Paul Casey is in a group of nine golfers on -13 under par, he also had a low round today, a -9 under par 63;

“The golf course is perfect, it really is set up for scoring so that’s what I did.”

The way this course is playing now, and the low scores being recorded, tomorrow should be a very interesting day, it maybe that a three shot lead will not be enough.

 

 

BMW International Open. Four-Way Tie at the Top.

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There is a four-way tie at the top of the BMW International Open in Cologne.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello  (Getty Images)

Rafa Cabrera-Bello / Getty Images.

Rafa had to be content with a share of the lead at -12 under par at the halfway point of the BMW International Open at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof, after incurring a double hit penalty.

He had been in the lead for most of the mornings play when he attempted to escape from to chip out of the rough in front of the green at the par five 7th hole. On the follow through he stuck the ball again, and carded a six, and had to share top spot with Emiliano Grillo, Pablo Larrazábal and Danny Willett.

Danny Willett hits his tee shot at the 10th during the second round of the BMW International Open

Danny Willett / Getty Images

Danny had forgotten to take the pain killers for his sore shoulder, which lead to shank from him;

” The only thing you can do is laugh as it is not something that happens very often.” 

“Twelve under was great score for two days and the shoulder was good early on. I completely forgot to take any pills after nine holes and I could feel it in the last few holes.”

Emiliano Grillo is recovering from some tough times personally;

“It’s been a rough couple of months personally and on the golf course so I’m happy with the week so far. My dad passed away in December so it has been a long six months dealing with everything you have to deal with back home.”

“I’ve learned a lot of things about life with that and I think I am growing up fast.”

There are a group of six players that are the closest challengers to the leaders, all  on -10 under par; they are Alex Cejka, Branden Grace, Andreas Hartø, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Robert Karlsson and Craig Lee.

It was a special day for Andreas Hartø, as he made his first European Tour cut, after thirteen tournaments.

Not so good for Martin Kaymer on his homecoming, he missed the cut, recoding a score of par for his two rounds, finishing at T102. What a strange game golf can be, on top of the world one day, and missing the cut the next. Martin was suffering from putting problems.  He actually reached 17 of 18 greens in regulation but needed 35 putts to complete his round today, and recorded 31 in the first round.

Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

The BMW International Open leaderboard is pretty compacted, and with likes of  Stenson and Jimenez lurking just behind the leaders I expect one of them to make a move tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BMW International Open

dragon logo darkThe Former Champion Danny Willett and his playing partner Rafa Cabrera-Bello set the pace on the opening day of the BMW International Open to top the leaderboard at the end of day 1.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello  (Getty Images)

Rafa Cabrera Bello / Getty Images.

Rafa and Danny both shot opening rounds of -8 under apt 64, to top the leaderboard by two strokes of the BMW International Open at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof in Cologne, Germany.

Danny was the champion at this same venue two years ago, his only European Tour victory, said he played well and took advantage to score when it was available, dripping in some nice putts;

“It was good. It was one of those days when I rolled a few nice ones in. There was a score out there and we both took it. You can turn average rounds into good rounds when you hole a few putts and that is what I seemed to be doing.”

There are a group of seven players keeping the two leaders in sight, these next best challengers are all on -6 under par.

Alvaro Quiros, Gary Stal, Michael Hoey, Graeme Storm, Andy Sullivan, Emiliano Grillo and Anders Hansen are the formidable group chasing down the leaders.

Andy Sullivan also enjoyed a good days putting;

 ” I played some smart golf, which has been lacking in recent performances. My putting was a lot better and that always helps. I tried to play it to 20 feet and rely on my putting.”

Martin Kaymer did not fare so well in front his home fans, and was disappointed to post -1 under par 71;

“I struggle to see a lot of shots, it was a tough day for me on the greens. Those greens look good but they are very tough to putt on.  There are expectations from so many people who come out and expect you to play well, at least as well as two weeks ago. That’s how Germans are, but you have to lower your expectations. I had very long weeks the last two months. It’s very difficult to keep your energy level up. It’s nice to play here, but it’s also quite exhausting because there’s so much to do.”

Euro Tour. BMW International Open. Els Excels

Ernie Els excelled in the BMW International Open at Golfclub München Eichenried, winning by one shot from Thomas Björn.

Ernie Els  (Getty Images)

Ernie Els / Getty Images

Ernie had posted his intentions at the BMW International Open when carded an opening round 63. He finished off the job with three rounds of -3 under par 69, for a winning total of -18 under par.

Ernie said he had enjoyed a wonderful tournament;

” It’s been wonderful, I’ve had a great week in Germany. We’ve got to thank BMW obviously for their 25 years of support, I’ve tried a long time to try and win this golf tournament. Wonderful to have sponsors like that around the world, and especially on The European Tour. There’s a lot of people that are working behind the scenes; the volunteers, the Golf Club of Eichenried.  There’s quite a lot of people getting involved in the golf course. We’ve got to thank all of them, and obviously my play this week has been great. I just felt good this week. I just felt my game was there and lucky enough it was one shot good enough. I really had it going and then I made it tough for myself again. Thomas was playing great, he stumbled on 14, I was watching the kid, I played with him yesterday and he looked like he had a great game, but he stumbled as well on the back nine. It’s great to get my name on this wonderful trophy. Obviously it gives you a lot of confidence. Wire-to-wire you’ve got the pressure, every night you’ve got to sleep on it, guys are chasing you. So this is quite a week for me.”

Thomas Björn was in second place at -17 under par, he also finished second in his last tournament, and is in good form at the moment;

“I played well, got off to the start I needed today and got right there in front. The thing that’s been great this week is the driver, and let me down on the back nine. I fought all the way to the end, and he hit two very classy shots on the last. When you go up against Ernie, you’ve got to take it 18 holes to the end and I didn’t quite do it today. I’m on a good run of form. I wanted to try and get myself in the top 20 in The Race to Dubai and top five for The Open, and I’m keeping closer to that and that’s my goal over the next couple of weeks. The qualifier takes a lot out of you, and I’m going to Ireland on a golf course I won on and I’ll keep carrying on and fighting hard until I win a golf tournament.”

The kid Ernie referred to was Alexander Levy, who finished in third place alone at -16 under par. The Qualifying School graduate from France played exceptionally well.

The home favourite Martin Kaymer, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and Swede Alex Noren all finished tied for fourth spot at -15 under par.

Euro Tour. BMW International Open. 3rd Round Three Way Tie.

The third round ended in a three-way tie in the BMW International Open at the Golfclub München Eichenried course between Ernie Els, Alexander Levy and Alex Noren. All three players finished the day with a tournament total of -15 under par.

Ernie Els   (Getty Images)

Ernie Els / Getty

Ernie has been caught at the top of the leaderboard in the BMW International Open, after a two hours and twenty minutes delay for rain in the third round. Ernie had a trio of three putts, but recovered with three birdies in his last five holes for a -3 under par 69 and to hang on at the top;

“All in all I’ve got to be happy, I was a little out of sorts on the greens on the front nine, I didn’t quite get the pace of the greens. They are a little bit faster for some reason and I kept hitting it past and then didn’t make the returns, but I made a little slight adjustment and played some proper stuff coming in. If it wasn’t for those three three putts I had, I would have had a really good score. I was playing so nicely that I felt I’m trying to pull away from the field, and then the opposite happened, and I made some mistakes. I’m in a good position still, just hanging onto the lead or co leader now, and tomorrow is all to play for.”

Alexander Levy was happy with his score, and to have played with Ernie;

“I played very well, I’m very happy. It was great for me to play with a fantastic player. It’s nice to play with him, very happy, it was unbelievable. It was tough, but I like this position.  I practiced for that and I’m happy to be in this position for tomorrow. I like to play in the top, I prefer this position. I want to be like that all the time. I don’t know what happens tomorrow, but I will go to make the job like today, and play golf on a golf course in good condition and I am happy.”

Alex Noren  started the day three shots adrift of the lead, but made up the deficit with a -6 under par 66 round;

” I hit a lot of good shots and a few bad ones, but you always do. You’ve got to be aggressive, because there are so many guys. The leaderboard is as tight as ever with so many good players. Yeah, I’ve got to be aggressive and maybe more aggressive tomorrow than today. I came off the bogey on 15, and it was a perfect distance for the three wood and I hit it great. Marcel  hit it really close just before me, so I knew it was possible, but then I managed to hole the putt, it was great.”

Tied in fourth spot are Matthew Baldwin and Thomas Bjorn, both just one shot adrift at -14 under par. Home favorites Martin Kaymer and Marcel Siem are close by, in the group of  five players at -12 under par.

The leaderboard is still tightly compacted, with eleven players within three shots of the leaders. It will be a real battle for supremacy tomorrow.

BMW International Open.

An excellent second round from Ernie Els kept him at the top of the leaderboard at the half-way stage of the BMW International Open in Munich.

Ernie Els  (Getty Images)

Ernie Els / Getty

Ernie had a tougher day but managed to grind out a -3 under par second round of 69, which included a double bogey. It was still enough at -12 under par tournament total to keep him in front of everybody else.

Ernie thinks the Golfclub München Eichenried course will play harder over the weekend;

” I’m in a nice position obviously, I think it’s going to play a little tougher over the weekend. It’s getting a little bit firmer but I would like to swing a little better tomorrow, but I’m in a really nice position. I’m quite fortunate to be where I am. I didn’t play as good today as I did yesterday obviously. I fought hard for a score today and satisfied with that. There is so much golf to be played. If you fall out of the lead, if you’re not leading after three rounds, it doesn’t really mean much at all late Sunday. So you just want to stay in the race and keep trying to go forward.”

Tied in second place at -11 under par, just one shot adrift, are Matthew Baldwin and Alexander Levy.

Matthew said for him it is all about self-control;

” Just to stay patient and self talk is a big point for me. I sometimes get down on myself, so stay positive and stay patient. Stay patient and let the chances come and we’ll see what happens.”

Alexander, a Qualifying School graduate, said he was happy, apart from a few shaky tee shots;

” I’m very happy to play this one today, I missed a few shots off the tee but I take a good time on the course and I played very, very well today and I’m very happy. I stayed very patient, because two weeks ago, I played well in Austria, but the second round I missed a few shots and I didn’t play very well the second round, and today I’m very happy to play well today. I take a few experiences, and it’s nice to progress on that and to play like that with the experience. It’s positive, I’ve just got to play my golf and take a lot of good time on the course, and we’ll see what happens.”

Danny Willett, the defending champ and Bernd Weisberger are together in fourth place at -10 under par.

Danny carded a -7  under par 65, which was a pleasant surprise after his battles with a back injury recently;

” It was good, yesterday was a bit hit and miss, a little bit shaky. I haven’t played a lot of tournament golf in the last 14 weeks, so it was a bit rusty, and today hit some proper golf shots again and I played really nicely.It’s good to put yourself in a position. Obviously Ernie has got a round to go and a few other guys at seven, eight under par, so it will be interesting at the end of the day. It is a birdie-fest out here and people make a lot of putts and stuff. If you can just keep hitting it inside 20 feet, 15 feet, you are going to hole your fair share. We had some good numbers, played the par fives pretty nicely, it’s just been pretty good all the way around. First time coming back to a tournament defending champion is always nice, obviously different golf course but still the same atmosphere and it’s BMW’s 25th anniversary, so it’s a nice event this year.”

Bernd was happy to be in contention;

” Obviously I’m happy, I got myself back into contention again and up the leaderboard, so very happy to see that after a couple of hiccups during the round. All in all, I like the way I hit the ball. I like the way I executed my chances when I had them, so pleased with my game overall.”

Behind by just three shots at -6 under par are, Martin Kaymer, and his German compatriot Marcel Siem, Alex Noren, Tommy Fleetwood and Miguel Angel Jiménez.

Missing the cut at -3 under par was Colin Montgomery, Alex Cejka, Tom Lewis, Anders Hansen, just some of the bigger names to fall out.