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World Ladies Championship, Inbee Park Prevails

dragon logo darkMission Hills

Inbee Park prevails at the World Ladies Championship, at Mission Hills in China.

Champion Inbee Park / Getty

Inbee sailed round the Blackstone Course in -6 under par 67, for a winning tournament total of -24 under par. On on a damp and drizzly day that made scoring a lot more difficult,  after those first three days of sunshine, Inbee won by five shots  in the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills.

Inbee mentioned the weather in her post match interview;

“Today was obviously the toughest day out there because of the weather. Everything seems to be working quite well for me, from ball striking to putting. Everything was great today so I’m just happy to be here and win my first tournament of 2014.”

“Last year I was leading going into the final round and I lost to Suzann. I knew that I left something out there last year so coming back this year I definitely wanted to win and that’s what I just did. I had good memories from last year and better memories from this year, so I’m happy to be here. It has been a fantastic tournament.”

 “Being in a team with So Yeon this year gave me a lot of confidence. Winning the individual and the team event is a huge honour, a double honour, so I’m very happy.”

Team event winners, So Yeon and Inbee / Getty

Second placed Suzann could only put together a final round of -1 under par 72, to finish the competition at -19 under par. She was disappointed, but will be back to play Mission Hills again;

“There’s room for improvement but it’s been a good week overall. My game has become a lot better over the week and I’ll be happy to come back and play this course again. Inbee played fantastic today under a little tougher conditions. There were a few extra elements of weather that we hadn’t seen earlier but I feel like I played average, nothing better. I didn’t go out and shoot six under like she did.

So Yeon Ryu took third place at a distant – 16 under par, after her last round -4 under par 69, but with Inbee were the runaway winners of the concurrent team competition, with their aggregate score of -40 under par;

“It’s always a great honor to represent your country but also gave me some pressure because I didn’t want to play badly in the team event. That gave me a lot of motivation.”

Winner of the Amateur competition was Minjee Lee, the 17-year-old from Australia birdied three of the last four holes for a -4 under par 69 and a share of fourth place on -15 under par with Ariya Jutanugarn .

This has been a fascinating competition, just wished they had used a standard par 72 course, the par fives on the Blackstone Course are too short for the quality players on the Ladies European Tour.

L.E.T. World Ladies Championship. Inbee Catches Suzann

 

dragon logo darkMission Hills

 

 

Inbee Park catches up with Suzann Pettersen in the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills in China.

Inbee Park / Getty

The World’s No.1 Inbee Park shot a third round  course record of -11 under par 62 and catch World No 2 Suzann Pettersen at the top of the leaderboard on the Blackstone Course, both ladies posting -18 under par for the tournament.

Inbee said although her ball striking was good it was the putting that really made the difference;

“It’s my career best round today so obviously it was a fantastic round. The last couple of days the putting has been really hard. These greens are a little bit grainy and much slower. We played on very fast greens the last two weeks and I just came here and I wasn’t used to the greens. I had a lot of putts the last few days but today everything seemed like it was going the right way and I made a lot of putts. That gives me 11-under. My ball striking is pretty much really similar for three days but just the putting. Everything I looked at today seemed like it was going in.”

Suzann has a number in her mind that she thinks will win the tournament, if she achieves it;

 “Today wasn’t an easy ride but with all the holes coming up you just have to be patient. I hit a great putt on eleven, missed a putt and then parred number twelve, after just having a 7-iron left. If you have a par there you drop two or three shots to the field. I’m in a good position for tomorrow and it’s going to be a nice battle again. I have my number in mind and I’m going to do everything in my power to get to that number. I’m not going to tell you what it is but I’m pretty sure it will be enough.”

Ye Na Chung is in third place, four strokes behind the leaders on -14 under par, after her third round of -5 under par 68. That score included a lucky Eagle on the par 4 16th  hole;

 “I was just lucky. When I hit it, the grass was really long so I just focused on not being long. When I hit it I think it was too long, but it was okay. I was very nervous but excited to play with Suzann but the main enemy of today’s round was not the other players. My only concern was my score.”

With a four shot lead the winner of the World Ladies Championship will be either of the two leaders, will probably come down to who scores the most Eagles on those short par fives.

L.E.T. World Ladies Championship. Suzann Strengthens Her Position.

dragon logo dark
Mission Hills Suzann Pettersen strengthens her position at the top of the leaderboard in the World Ladies Championship, at Mission Hills in China.

 

Suzann Pettersen / Getty

Defending champion Suzann Pettersen carded a bogey free second round -5 under-par 68, on the par 73 Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Resort to stretch her lead to two shots at the half-way stage of the competition. Her two round total is -11 under par.

Suzann said she would need to be at least 16 under par for the next two rounds;

“Today was a little windy as we started, overall it was pretty decent. I feel like the par fives are playing like long par fours so five under today is certainly where I should be. You can really go low out here. There were a couple of really low ones out here today. It’s impossible to say. I think you’ve got to be at least sixteen under-par for the next two rounds, then I think you’re in good shape.”

There are five ladies tied in second place at -9 under par, they are; Trish Johnson, Ye Na Chung, Valentine Derry, So Yeon Ryu and Nikki Campbell.

So Yeon recorded two eagles in her second round of -5 under par 68, she explained how easy they both were;

 “The first was on hole six. I hit a three-wood and then a three-wood again the second shot. My eagle putt was just three feet. On hole 16 I hit a driver on the green and it was an eight foot eagle putt and I made it. I think it was 260 to the pin.”

Trish spoke about how low you would need to be to win here;

“Obviously there are two or three people in the field who can shoot anything under so it’s a case of wait and see what happens. I would imagine you’ve got to be 20 to 24 under to win, so it’s going to be a hell of a weekend.”

Valentine also reported how easy the par fives are round this course;

 “I started pretty well making birdies on the par fives. They are reachable in two so I think that’s easy and I just made a couple of putts and hit really good shots and shot five under.”

Korean Ye Na said she only tried to lay to par, and carded a -4 under par 69;

 “I tried not to be greedy today, so I focused on making a par on every hole and I think that was the reason for my score.”

Low round of the day was from Diana Luna, a personal low round of -9 under par 64 which included two eagles, on the second and sixteenth holes. As well as seven birdies and two bogeys on the par 73 lay-out;

 “I think I was in a very good mood today. I was smiling all the time and pretty relaxed. It worked out pretty well.”

 

L.E.T. World Ladies Championship. Defending Champion Suzann Starts Well.

dragon logo darkMission HillsSuzann Pettersen has started well in her quest to retain her World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills in China.

Defending Champion Suzann Pettersen / Getty

 Suzann opened the tournament with a -6 under-par 67 on the Blackstone Course at the Mission Hills Resort in the defense of her title. She Eagled the par five second hole and picked up three more birdies on the other par fives;

“I played a lot of good golf today and felt like I had a lot of great chances. I feel like you’ve really got to take advantage of the par fives out here. You only have some mid irons into some of them and I had one eagle, should have had two. I missed a very short eagle putt on six, so overall it was a pretty solid start.”

She also revealed some details of the man behind the ropes who had been following her and encouraging her all day long;

“He’s my boyfriend, we’re both Norwegian, we’re the same age and from the same town. We met through common friends. He’s an ex-skier who used to ski when he was younger. He has a great understanding of the lifestyle we live and the sacrifices we make and really respects our hours on the golf course so it’s very helpful and great to have someone you can share what you do with.”

Just one behind at -5 under par is World No.1 amateur Minjee Lee, who shares second place with Ye Na Chung.

Minjee was very happy to have played alongside Inbee Park, the World number one;

“It feels good to be up there but it’s only the first round so anything can happen. I’m in a good position and I don’t feel like I’m out of place. I feel like I can play with the pros and it was pretty cool playing with Inbee.”

Tied in third place are Trish Johnson, Valentine Derrey, Gwladys Nocera and Inbee Park, all at -4 under par.

Gwladys also enjoyed being in contention;

“Anything on top of the leader board is good and I feel really good about shooting that score today on the first round.”

Hong Kong Open. Its Higgins In Hong Kong

It is Ireland’s David Higgins who leads in the Hong Kong Open in Fanling, China.

David Higgins  (Getty Images)

David Higgins / Getty Images

David,who lost his European Tour card by less than €20,000 last year, took a one shot lead after a -6 under par first round of 64 at the Hong Kong Open.

David enjoyed the moment, but also spoke of his disappointment at losing his Tour card;

“It was great, I just played solid tee to green holed some lovely putts and had a chip in. If you’re going to have a score like that you have to do some good stuff. You’ve got to use your imagination, let it run out a little bit, maybe use a slope here and there, so it’s good for me. It’s a great test of golf. I played quite well on Tour at the end of last season, so I’ve come here in decent form and I’ve been working hard. The end of the year was disappointing for me because I didn’t keep my full playing rights, but I still have some. I’m going to have chances and every time I have a chance I need to make the most of it, this is a good start. You get on a course and hole some putts and you’re going to have a good score and I did that, so it’s time to push on and have a decent week here.”

Andrea Pavan, from Italy’s Challenge Tour, is a shot further back after a -5 under par 65, and amazingly there are seven players at -4 under par sharing third place on a congested leaderboard.

Andrea was happy with his position, but not so happy spoiling his round with a bogey;

” I started off well and hit it close many times on my front nine. I was four under and playing pretty flawless golf, but I made a few mistakes towards the end. Overall though it’s a good round and I’m pleased. Last year was a good year, so that brings you confidence. You want to always improve, and I know that I’m moving in the right direction.”

HSBC Champions. Dustin Does It Easily.

Dustin Johnson does it easily at the HSBC Champions event at Sheshan International Golf Club, ShanghaiChina with a three shot winning margin.

Dustin Johnson  (Getty Images)

Dustin Johnson / Getty Images

Dustin’s final round of -6 under par 66 included an Eagle two at the par four 16th hole and a birdie two at the par three 17th. He finished the tournament with a -24 under par total.

Dustin said that he was under pressure at the start because of his slow start to the round compared to Ian and Graeme;

“I didn’t get off to the best start and Poulter and McDowell got off to great starts and put a lot of pressure on me, but I am swinging well and putting well so I thought just stick to my game plan and play the golf course how I want to play it and it’s going to come. I played really well the last few holes on the front nine and then had a great back nine. The guys made it really interesting but I just played really well coming down the stretch. The last few holes here you can make some birdies. It was a lot of fun out there, it was a good match from both of them. They put a lot of pressure on me but I am really proud of myself and the way I handled it. It takes a while to learn that maturity and patience, I wish I would have had some of that a few times a few years ago, but you learn from your mistakes and try to get better from them and I think I showed a lot of patience and a lot of discipline with clubs I picked and shot selection. This is probably my biggest win and hopefully there are better things to come.”

In second place on his own at -21 under par was defending Champion Ian Poulter. Ian matched Dustin’s -6 under par 66 final round score, but sadly it was not enough for him to retain his trophy.

Third spot was secured by Graeme McDowell, finishing the tournament on -20 under par. He also had a final round -6 under par 66, but could not reel in Dustin.

Sergio Garcia had a super final round of -9 under par 63, a par at the par five 18th robbed him of the chance to equal the course record. Sergio finished in fourth place at -18 under par.

Justin Rose completed the tournament at -16 under par, just one shot ahead of the improving  Rory McIlroy at -15 under par.

HSBC Champions, Dustin Holds Firm, And He Needed To.

Dustin Johnson held firm to hold the 54 hole lead at the  World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions at  Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China.

Dustin Johnson / Getty Images

Dustin needed to be strong in the third round, and he was, shooting a -6 under par 66, which kept him on top of the leaderboard at the HSBC Champions event, by three shots, on -18 under par. He felt he left a few shots out on the course;

“If you would have told me I would shoot 6 under before teeing off today, I’d have taken it. Obviously left a few shots out there.”

Hot on his heels for most of the day was defending Champion Ian Poulter, Poults had a -9 under par 63, for a -15 under par total, which keeps the pressure on Dustin going into the final round tomorrow;

” I just need to do my thing tomorrow and make a lot more than what he does. I’m going to have to see what happens coming down the stretch. It will always be great to be in the last group, seeing what’s going on.  It fires you up even more. It’s only Saturday, you can’t win tournaments on Saturday. It’s all about playing well on Sunday. I need to do that. I need to make plenty of birdies, try and make an eagle. if I can, I can get close.”

Graeme McDowell is alone in third place at -14 under par four off the pace after his third round -8 under par 64. Graham DeLaet (65), Justin Rose (65) and Rory McIlroy (67) were two more shots back at -12 under par, tied in fourth place.

Graeme thinks Dustin is pretty safe;

“From here, it looks like Dustin is going to have to beat himself for anybody to have a chance to catch him. Race to Dubai points will be very important to me. I have a lot to play for tomorrow. If not the trophy, second place will certainly be worth my while.”

Martin Kaymer shot up the leaderboard with  a record breaking third round of -10 under par 62, he was looking like shooting 59 but finished up parring the last two holes, as well as making par on two par fives;

“I didn’t really play much different than the last few days. I just made a few putts, a couple unexpected ones.”

China Suzhou Taihu Open. Veronica Very Strong In Second Round.

China Suzhou Taihu Open *

Veronica Zorzi stayed very strong to retain the lead at the half-way stage of the Suzhou Taihu Open at Suzhou Taihu International Golf Club in China

Veronica Zorzi / Getty

Veronica had a second round -4 under par 68 to lead the Suzhou Taihu Open at the half way point on -11 under par. Veronica said she was very happy;

” It was a pretty good day. I hit 16 greens, so the long game was good. I had 30 putts, made two bogeys. One on number six, that was my 15th, because I went into the bunker with the drive and didn’t have a nice lie so had to chip out, play to the green and two putts. The other bogey on 15 was three putts but I was very far away from the hole. I’m happy with my game. I still tried to concentrate on each shot and didn’t count my score. I was very focused like yesterday. I will try to do this and see what happens.”

There are three Ladies tied in second place, two shots adrift of the leader at -9 under par for the tournament, they are; Ashleigh Simon, Anne-Lee Caudal and Carlota Ciganda.

Carlota was also very happy;

” It was a good day today. I did four under so I’m happy with my round and played good golf. I made some good putts at the beginning. I did three under over the first nine holes and made two very good birdies on five and six. I had a bogey on hole seven, which was my 16th hole, but I mean, I’m playing good so I’m happy to have a chance tomorrow to win again. It was a shame that I had a bogey on my 16th hole because I had a putt for birdie and I three putted but I’m playing good, hitting good shots and happy to have a chance tomorrow”

Ashleigh was disappointed that the putts would not drop;

” I hit is just as good as yesterday, if not better. I hit 15 greens, the putts just didn’t drop. I hit a lot of good putts but they seemed to just lip out instead of going in. I had 31 putts today.”

China Suzhou Taihu Open. Three Ladies Tied At The top On Day 1

China Suzhou Taihu Open *

There are three Ladies tied at the top of the leaderboard at the China Suzhou Taihu Open at the conclusion of play on day one.

One of the leading three Veronica Zorzi / Getty

Veronica shot a bogey free first round -7 under par 65 to share the lead at the China Suzhou Taihu Open with Holly Clyburn and Ashleigh Simon at the Suzhou Taihu International Golf Club in China.

Veronica was very happy with her solid play;

“Seven birdies, no bogeys, very solid round. I hit 17 greens and 29 putts so happy with my game. Playing conditions were good and we had sunshine so it was better than yesterday. There was a little bit of wind, but not too strong, so the conditions were good. I wanted to stay really focused on the present. I said to myself at the start of this tournament, take it shot by shot. I’m very focused on what I want to do. That was my key thought for today.”

Nikki Garrett is alone in fourth spot after her flawless -6 under par 66, it down to her good iron play;

” I hit my iron shots pretty close today so I had a 15 or 20 footer on the ninth and that was the longest putt all day so I hit my irons pretty nicely. I missed a few putts but I didn’t get angry or frustrated or anything. I knew that if I kept hitting it close a few would drop and I was lucky they did, so an all round solid day.”

Carlotta Ciganda and Jing Yan (A) also had blemish free cards, finishing on -5 under par, Carlotta said she felt very comfortable out there;

“I felt very comfortable on the course and I am very happy with my round. I made five birdies and 13 pars and finished with a birdie on 18. I made good putts on one and four. I was hitting lots of fairways and greens and giving myself lots of chances. I just tried to stay in the present all the time and try to enjoy. I feel lucky to be playing here so it was fun. I was hitting good shots and talking to my caddie so we had a great day. I think five under is pretty good and if I do that the next two days, no matter if I win or not, I will be very happy. It’s a good start for the tournament.”

Amateur Jing thought she had played well on the greens today;

“I think today I handled the greens really well because last week the greens were a bit tougher for me. I didn’t do so well on the greens which led to my score being not too great for three days. I think my long game is pretty good this week and last week as well so I’ll just keep going with that and improving my short game to make more birdies.”

 

HSBC Champions. Mighty Mac Is Back

Rory McIlroy proved that mighty Mac is back, by leading the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, China, on the first day of play.

Rory McIlroy   (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory reminded everybody that he is still a force to be reckoned with by firing an opening round of -7 under par 65 at Sheshan International Golf Cub, for his opening round. This follows his victory over Tiger Woods in that irrelevant exhibition match last week.

Rory is currently 62nd on The Race to Dubai rankings, and needs to move into the top 60 this week to have a chance of qualifying for the DP World Tour Championship in November. He spoke about how he likes this golf course;

“I came here yesterday and talked about how I like this golf course and how I felt like it set up well for me, it felt good to be out there and be in control of my golf ball. I gave myself a lot of looks for birdies. 
It’s a great start. It’s only one round of golf but it’s definitely the way I wanted and needed to start this week, keeping in mind that I obviously want to play myself into Dubai and try to pick up my first win of the season, as well. 
It felt pretty good out there. I let a couple of putts get away from me, a couple of the downhill ones, but I was able to hole ones coming back, which was good. I’ve tried to stay patient the entire season, and I know that if I believe that I’m working on the right things and I am working on the right things, then things will start to fall into place sooner or later. 
It’s obviously frustrating when you’ve had a couple of seasons previously where you have had success, and not being able to emulate that, there’s times where you definitely get frustrated. I wouldn’t say that I was restless in terms of trying to get a win this season, because I think that the best way to approach it is to stay patient and not to force the issue too much.” 

Tied in second place at two off the pace of the leader, at -5 under par after their rounds of  67 were Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Jamie Donaldson. 

Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, Bubba Watson and Justin Rose all opened with -4 under par 68. There is a long way to go, but Rory seems like he is back in business.

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