Volvo China Open. It’s tight at the Top, Play Suspended for the Day.

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It’s very tight at the top of the Volvo China Open at the Genzon Golf Club in ShenzenAlvaro Quiros and Simon Dyson share the clubhouse lead at the end of day one. Play was suspended due to bad light, with some players still to complete their first rounds.

Alvaro Quiros  (Getty Images)

Alvaro Quiros / Getty Images

Alvaro and Simon both shot opening rounds of -5 under par 67, to top the leaderboard on the Volvo China Open. Alvaro is coming back from injury and said things are slowly getting better;

“It was a good round of golf. It was a bit of a shame on the last par five because I was half a metre away from having a great chance to make another eagle but I ended up on the lip of the bunker and had to settle for a chip and two putts. You can’t see it yet on the rankings but I have been playing better. The Middle East swing was a good three weeks for me then I had a good result in Joburg and the last couple of weeks have been better.” 

Simon started on the tenth tee, and played well. He has won here before and that gives him a good feeling;

“I started on the tenth today and the first nine holes I played was the best I have played for quite some time. I really didn’t miss a shot. I missed two fairways just, and didn’t miss a green so gave myself a lot chances which is always nice and then I managed to make a couple of birdies on the other side for a tidy five under. It was a good start and very pleasing.”

“I have to say that because I was absolutely horrendous in the pro-am yesterday. I just went on the range for a couple of hours and managed to find something which I took out on to the course and it seemed to work for me. I’ll tell you what, it is an unbelievable finishing hole. If you need to make par on that hole to win on Sunday and you manage to get it done then you will deserve everything you get because it is a very tough finish.”

“I have had a bit of success here and really enjoy playing in China. Obviously I have won this tournament before so that always gives you a good feeling and like I said, I just played nicely today so hopefully I can continue to do that over the next three days.”

In third place, just one shot off the lead are English rookie Tyrell Hatton and Spanish Challenge Tour graduate Adrian Otaegui, David Horsey and Brett Rumford, who have all compiled completed first rounds of -4 under par 68. Alexander Levy and Il-hwan Park were still on the course when play was suspended, having played seventeen holes, and are also at -4 under par.

There is a posse of players at -3 under par, including Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter, they all signed a card for 69. Defending Champion and World Number Three Henrik Stenson was way down the pack at T38 with a completed opening round of -1 under par. There are currently 55 players within four shots of the leaders. A very compacted leaderboard.

World Ladies Championship, Inbee Park Prevails

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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

 

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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.

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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.