European Tour. Volvo Golf Champions. Jacquelin Jumps Ahead.

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Raphael Jacquelin jumps ahead after the first round of the European Tour event at the Durban Country Club.

 

 

Raphael Jacquelin  (Getty Images)

Raphael Jacquelin / Getty Images

The conditions were blustery but that did not stop Raphael from carding a first round of -5 under par 67, to lead the Volvo Golf Champions by one shot.

Raphael said he was happy with his bogey free effort;

“I managed to get everything right, a bogey-free round; that’s the key, to go bogey-free every round on this course. It’s a new year and pretty good way for me to start, so that’s great.”

Defending Champion Louis  Oosthuizen is just one shot behind, after he recovered from a poor start, a bogey on the first hole, to score -4 under par 68.

Another shot further back, on -3 under par, sharing third place are Darren Clarke and Victor Dubuisson. A now slimline Darren, who has lost three stone in weight over recent months, delivered birdies on the second, eighth, tenth, 14th and 18th. He mentioned his new look;

“It’s something, I took a look at myself in October and thought it’s time to make a change. I am feeling strong. I reached 10 today, whatever it was, hit it 300 off the tee into the wind and hit driver from 285 to 12 feet and I couldn’t have reached there maybe five, six months ago.  So hopefully it will pay off.”

Colin Montgomerie is playing well and finished his first round at -2 under par with his opening round of 70. Colin said he struggles on the longer courses, so chooses his events carefully;

“I was playing well at the end of last year and I started to play a lot more golf. I had not been having much fun on 7,500-yard courses on the main tour but I am a member of three tours now (European Tour and two seniors tours) and it’s given me more freedom to choose courses I can get round. It’s very difficult and tricky out there, the wind was coming off the sea and made every hole a crosswind. You have to be very careful, you can make a mess out there in a hurry.”

Asides

I would love to see Volvo join the campaign to stop South Africa killing endangered species like Lion, Elephant and Rhino in penned in areas, just for the fun of rich tourists. It’s called canned hunting, the operators breed these animals and put them in penned in areas for tourists to shoot them, and it is legal. It is time to stop the killing of these creatures.

European Tour Money Title for Rory ?

Rory McIlroy /thesidelinesagenda.com

Rory McIlroy can wrap up the European money title this week if he puts in a good performance at the Singapore Open. All his closest rivals will not be competing, and he already leads the race going into the tournament. Rory has already claimed the U.S. PGA Tour money list, and would love to repeat Luke Donald’s 2011 win on both sides of the Atlantic. Rory said he would like to have a strong finish to the season;

“I’m in the lead at the moment and it would be nice to increase that,” McIlroy said Wednesday, a day before the tournament. “There’s still a lot to play for in the next three weeks and I want to finish off the season as strong as possible.”

His nearest rivals, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, who won last week at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, and Branden Grace, have strangely decided not to compete this week. The field is still going to be a strong one, with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomery, John Daly and Miguel Angel Jimenez all teeing it up for the tournament at the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club.

The winners prize cheque this week is $1 million, and Rory will also be playing next week at  the Hong Kong Open, while most of his rivals again will not be competing. Rory did not play at the WGC event last week, because he watched his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, play in a tennis tournament. A poor decision which bought him world-wide criticism, and especially by the golf tournament sponsor. Rory has admitted that the criticism against him was fairly laid.

“I think the criticism is fair. Shenzhen is a World Golf Championship event, one of the big ones. It was a tough one to miss. But I can’t play every week.”

He then went on to say;

”  If I had I would have played five in a row finishing the season and after playing Turkey and Ryder Cup and all the FedEx Cup stuff, it’s just too much. You have to say no and you have to be selfish sometimes and look after yourself, ; it doesn’t make you a bad person. You have got to put yourself first and foremost, and try to fit in the things you want to do. I’m in the fortunate position where I can dictate where I want to play, what I want to do, where I want to go.”

Seems that is what all the youngsters say these days; I do want I want, when I want to do it.