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BMW PGA Championship. Manassero Magic.

Matteo Manassero produced some magic when winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in a play-off that lasted for four holes on the famous West Course.

Tight battle: It took four play-off holes for Manassero to emerge the victor

Matteo has become the youngest player ever to win the BMW PGA Championship with his thrilling victory at the Wentworth Club. The 20 year-old Italian was tied at -10 under par with Englishman Simon Khan, a winner here in 2010, and Scotland’s Marc Warren at the conclusion of regular play.

On the first play-off hole, Marc put his tee shot into the tree’s down the 18th and was subsequently eliminated. Matteo and Simon halved the par 5 eighteenth twice more before Matteo stepped up to birdie the hole at the fourth attempt, for his dramatic win. Simon unfortunately put his second shot into the water, while Matteo found the green in two on the par five, and then had a two putt birdie.

Two Spaniards finished tied in fourth place, Miguel Angel Jimenez and the overnight leader Alejandro Canizares finished the tournament at -9 under par, agonizingly just one shot from the play-off.

Lee Westwood had held a two-shot lead after his birdies on the second, third and fourth holes, but he followed that with a very disappointing back nine performance of 40 , and finished joint ninth at -7 under par.

Fell away: Despite early good form, Lee Westwood barely made the top 10 at Wentworth

 

Lee Westwood wilted under the pressure on the back nine.

BMW PGA Championship. Cañizares Claims Lead.

Alejandro Cañizares has claimed the lead after the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, played on the West Course at the Wentworth Club in England.

Alejandro Canizares   (Getty Images)

Alejandro Cañizares / Getty Images.

Alejandro Cañizares has a one shot lead at the BMW PGA Championship, shooting a third round of -4 under par 68, and claimed top spot of the leaderboard. He had been taken ill on the flight from Korea to China and had to withdraw from the Volvo China Open, being diagnosed with viral meningitis. He came here with little ambition;

” This week I was just happy to be able to swing the club,  after the practice round on Tuesday I felt really tired because it was the first 18 holes I had walked in three weeks. I had no idea how I was going to feel so I am very pleased that it’s working out for me. Every now and then I get a little weird feeling in my head, but the doctors say that is normal.”

Sitting right behind him on the leaderboard is Lee Westwood, his third round score of -5 under par 67 has put the Englishman firmly in contention for this title. This his first tournament in England since his move to Florida in the States, and this is his 20th attempt at winning the BMW PGA Championship. Lee thinks it would be ironic if he won now;

” I’m still far from holding the trophy but it would be ironic,  it would be great and I am after as many wins as I can get, but it’s a crowded leaderboard and I will have to play as well if not better than I did today. I felt much more in tune with my swing and had a lot better distance and direction control with my irons and set up a lot of chances. It was one of the most fun days I have ever had on a golf course. It was good to see a lot more smiling faces and a lot more people prepared to take their hands out of their pockets and applaud. I get great support here but even more so today.”

Matteo Manassero (69) and Mark Warren (70) share third place on seven under par, Mark said it would be huge for him to win:

” It would be huge to win, this is our premiere event, this is the biggest event we play outside the Majors for us, it doesn’t get any bigger. Career-wise it would mean the world to me.”

Sergio Garcia, who has had a rough time with the media this week, has enjoyed the support of the crowd at Wentworth, and thinks he could finish strongly tomorrow, he is in a group of eight players just four shots off the lead:

“I think it’s been a tough week but we’ve been getting better every day, so hopefully we can finish on a high note tomorrow. There’s no doubt that everybody has made it so much easier for me. The crowds here, I don’t have words to explain what I feel towards them. They have been amazing, every single tee, every single green, cheering me on. I can never pay them back.”

BMW PGA Championship. Francesco Molinari Leads at Wet Wentworth.

Francesco Molinari leads at the BMW PGA Championship after the conclusion of the second round at the Wentworth Club on the West Course.

Francesco Molinari   (Getty Images)

Francesco Molinari / Getty Images

On a wet and cold second day at Wentworth Francesco Molinari leads the BMW PGA Championship by just one shot after his second round of -4 under par, for a tournament total of -6 under par.

Francesco is happy to be at t he top, but is under no illusions as to how hard it will be to stay there on this difficult West course;

” I’m really happy with yesterday and today. The conditions were quite tough but I hit the ball well and the putter is working well so I am really happy at the moment. Six under is a good score given the conditions, I live over here now so I am used to it,  and I’m in a great position going into the weekend, but it’s a really tough course so anyone six or seven behind is still in it.”

Tied in second place is George Coetzee, at -5 under par, the South African has fared better than his compatriot James Kingston, who topped the leaderboard yesterday but collapsed today with a second round 77. Ten shots worse than his 66 of yesterday, he now has a tournament total of -1 under par.

Joining George at -5 under par are Alejandro Cañizares, Marc Warren and Mark Foster.

Lee Westwood is lurking at -3 under par and thinks he could be dangerous if his short game keeps improving, and his long game comes together;

 ” My short game’s been red-hot. I played some nice pitches and walking off the back of the 12th green, where I pitched to about four feet, Ernie said ‘Bit of a short-game wizard now.’ I also got up and down on 18 after hitting it in the hazard and those sorts of things can make a big difference to your week and going into the weekend with momentum. If my long game starts to come together, I could be dangerous.”

Lee’s Ryder Cup team-mate Luke Donald made a premature exit in his bid for a hat-trick of titles and fellow heroes of the Miracle at Medinah also made an early departure from The European Tour’s Flagship Event, with Rory McIlroy (75), Graeme McDowell (75), Ian Poulter (76) and Paul Lawrie (72) all joining Luke in missing the halfway cut.

BMW PGA Championship. Play Suspended, Kingston Claims Lead.

 

Play in the first round of the BMW PGA Championship has been suspended due to darkness on a dramatic opening day on the West Course at Wentworth Club. Currently James Kingston of South Africa has claimed the lead.

 

James Kingston   (Getty Images)

James Kingston / Getty Images

James Kingston has completed his first round at the BMW PGA Championship with a leading score of -6 under par, 66 at the Wentworth Club in England.

A 90-minute delay at Wentworth, due to the threat of lightning meant the last group, who had only just then teed off, could not complete the course in daylight hours. They will return early on Friday morning to complete their first rounds, and with second round tee times unchanged, all should go smoothly.

In second place is Mikko Ilonen at -5 under par, with Scott Henry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño a shot further back at -4 under par. All of these players have completed their rounds.

Also at -4 under par is Austrian Martin Wiegele, Martin has only completed 13 holes, so has a chance tomorrow of climbing further up the leaderboard. There were five groups still on the course when play was suspended.

James recieved an invitation to play in this event, he lost his card for the Tour and currently has to survive on these kind of opportunities. He was feeling pretty upset about losing his Tour card;

“I never felt like I played poorly enough to lose my card and that’s what makes it even more frustrating. I felt like I played half decent throughout the whole season, but just never managed to put a score on the board. It does make it a little harder to accept. Getting an invite into this event, what a great feeling to be back here. I think I’ve made the most of it today.”

Mikko was happy to survive in the very cool Wentworth temperatures;

” It was pretty nippy when we started and stayed that way, “all day I was thinking ‘Can I get these waterproof trousers off?’ and never managed it. We even had hail on the ninth tee. I said to a friend last night it was going to snow today and she laughed at me. It’s British summer and we have proof of that.”

Scott Henry, who graduated from the Challenge Tour last season, only found out he was in the tournament as he boarded a flight from Madeira on Monday morning. He is another player who has grabbed an opportunity, and played well;

“It was nice to see my name on the leaderboard on the back nine, it was a bit surreal. I was pretty nervous this morning, it’s a big tournament and the first time I have been here. It’s a great test of golf and for the first time this year I could put everything together.”

All but one of last year’s victorious Ryder Cup team are in the 150-man field, but several of them fell victim to the closing stretch at Wentworth Club’s famous West Course.

Justin Rose at even, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, last weeks winner started with rounds of 74, Ian Poulter 76 and Luke Donald 78.

 

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Justin Jogs Along

 

Justin Rose  (Getty Images)

Justin Rose / Getty Images

Justin Rose jogged through the third round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship with a -4 under par round of 68. He now has a two shot lead over the field. Jamie Donaldson is in second place at -10 under par after his third round score of -3 69, he shares second spot with Thorbjorn Olesen.

Thongchai Jaidee is alone in fourth place at -9 under par following his marvelous round of -6 under par, 66. New Zealand’s Michael Campbell is still showing some interest in this tournament, he now at -7 under par, five shots off the pace going into the last round.

Justin was pretty candid with his comments;

“I came here with no expectations, I came here to see where my game is at. Anybody who wins this week, they have beaten the Number One and Number Two in the world. You can say you’ve beaten the best. I believe that any tournament I tee up in I can win.”

Jaime Donaldson had a victory last year in the Irish Open, so far that is his only triumph, but he is feeling confident here;

“I feel pretty good, I played some great recovery shots out there. It was another tough day out there, even though there wasn’t much wind. I couldn’t have really scored much better than that.”

Thorbjorn Olesen won the Sicilian Open last year, and is also full of confidence;

“I won last year and that gave me a lot of confidence, and I had a few second places. So I’m learning in every tournament, and it’s been a really good process the last three years. Hopefully I can make a few birdies tomorrow and make it exciting.”

David Howell, is at -8 under par, his last victory was  in 2006 at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, but has kind of dropped off the radar since then. David commented about his record in this tournament;

 “I’ve never really played well here, a couple of top twenties I think maybe. But if I can have a great day tomorrow obviously I can post a very good total. I’ve played really consistently for the best part of a year and I’m playing some of the best golf I ever have really. I’m just coming from a low position. It’s hard to fight your way back up there, but I’m doing it bit by bit and a big finish or a win would go a long way to taking me right back to where I want to be.”

I honestly don’t think David, or anyone can catch Justin, with the mood that he is in. He was relegated to fifth in the Official World Golf Rankings by Louis Oosthuizen’s victory in South Africa last week, Justin would take the position back by lifting a title worth €336,725.

 

 

BMW PGA Championship, Luke Donald wins, and Regains World #1 Ranking

Luke Donald BMW PGA Champion  (Getty Images)

Luke Donald BMW PGA Champion (Getty Images

Luke Donald successfully defended his title and retained his BMW PGA Championship title at the Wentworth Club in Surrey England, on Sunday. In doing so he also returned to the number one spot in the World Golf Rankings. This victory makes him only the third player, Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie are the other two,  who have won The European Tour’s flagship event two years in a row.

Luke had a last round of -4 under par, 68 for a tournament total of  -15 under par. Justin Rose put up a good fight, and even drew level with Luke after four holes of the last round on Sunday. That event seemed to galvanize Luke’s thinking, and he then accelerated away to go clear once more.

This was Luke’s first ever successful title defense, he was very pleased with everything today;

 “What a great one to do it at. This is our biggest event on The European Tour. To come and defend and get back to number one is very sweet indeed. I was just trying to keep my head down and plug away. I was swinging well and I’ve putted well all week. I just needed to settle down a bit. This is a big week and I felt some of the pressure. After the fourth I didn’t give him (Justin) another hole where he was teeing off first other than the 18th. I got the job done.  I take a great amount of satisfaction. It means I am doing the right things, the hard work is paying off and I have a great team around me.”

Luke’s next meeting with Rory McIlroy will be at the Memorial tournament in Ohio starting on Thursday, but it is the US Open Championship in San Francisco on June 14 that his sights are now on. If he continues to play like this there is a good chance a first Major could well be his.

Justin Rose had to settle for share of second place, on -11 under par, with Paul Lawrie, who finished his tournament with a sizzling -6 under par 66, for the same Sunday total.

Justin was asked what he felt the difference was between him and Luke on the day, he replied;

“Luke’s putter really. He buried a lot of putts in the middle of the round and there were no loose shots coming down the stretch.”

Paul Lawrie has moved up in the rankings from world number 272 a while ago, to now probably being in the top thirty, and for the first time he can call himself Scotland’s top player. Paul said of his round;

 “You’re never unhappy when you shoot 66, but really it should have been a few less. When you get on a bit of a run the confidence goes up and right now it’s probably never been better.”

BMW PGA Championship 3rd round, Luke Donald in control.

Donald in pole position to defend his title

Luke Donald (Getty Images)

Luke Donald is in control of the BMW PGA Championship title at Wentworth after overcoming testing conditions with a third round – 3 under par, 69,  at the Wentworth Club in front of record Saturday crowd of 25,176. Luke showed his class with a joint-best round of the day in strong winds, the 34 year old is now eleven under par for the tournament, and two ahead of Justin Rose in second place.

Luke is attempting to follow Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie as the only players ever to make a successful defence of The European Tour’s flagship event. Nick Faldo did it in 1980 and 1981, while Colin Montgomerie had three wins in a row from 1998 to 2000.

The overnight leader James Morrison had a very difficult day, even though he started four clear of the field after a sparkling second round 64. The world’s number 236 cracked under the pressure and  signed for an 81 and will go into the closing eighteen holes eight strokes behind after, a quadruple bogey eight, a triple bogey eight and three bogeys on his card.

Luke said of his day;

 “The tougher the better. The good players that can be patient and deal with it are always going to rise to the top usually. That was by far my best round of the three. The wind was swirling and I hit a lot of solid shots. There were a couple of loose ones coming down the stretch, but I’m very pleased with that finish, it was hugely important for me. Physically and mentally it was tough and it’s going to be a grind tomorrow.”

Justin Rose was also pleased with his effort in the windy conditions;

“I’m delighted. It was one of those where I didn’t realise how good a round it was until I saw that the course had taken its toll.”

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