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Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Rory Has Half-Way Lead.

dragon logo dark Rory McIlroy has the half-way lead at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.

Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)

Rory in the desert / Getty Images

Rory followed his first round 63 with a more pedestrian second round of -2 under par 70, but he still maintained top position on the leaderboard at -11 under par. His round today contained three bogey’s, which prevented him from building a commanding lead in the competition. He gave a blow by blow account of his wobbly back nine, but still expects to win this tournament;

“Making a few birdies on the front nine and turning two under par was a good effort, especially as the wind started to get up. I birdied ten, played eleven and twelve okay but then missed that little one (a par putt from inside two feet) on thirteen. Had a chance on fifteen and didn’t convert and made bogey on sixteen, but it was nice to birdie the last and at least give myself a one shot lead going into tomorrow.I will just go back tonight and regroup and realise that I am still leading the tournament. I hit a couple of loose drives which I haven’t done the last couple of weeks but I still feel like I’m playing well enough to go and win the tournament.”

“I have led from the front quite well in tournaments that I have won. I feel like I am still playing well, I know the course as well as anyone else and I expect to go out there and shoot two good scores over the weekend and hopefully lift the trophy.”

Second place belongs to American Brooks Koepka, whose flawless -7 under par 65 equalled the lowest score of the day and elevated him up the leaderboard to -10 under par overall.

Brooks is looking forward to going round with Rory tomorrow;

“I’ve never played with Rory, so it’s going to be fun. I know him a little bit from seeing him around, so hopefully I’ll be able to play as well as I did today. I putted really well today. Yesterday I didn’t putt very well, but today my putter came through for me. I’m striking the ball really well, and I also chipped well today. So everything’s going well, I can’t complain.”

Three players are tied in third place, Danny Willett who also shot -7 under par 65, Damien McGrane and Julien Quesne are at -8 under par for the competition.

European Number One Henrik Stenson and defending champion Stephen Gallacher among seven players another shot back at -7 under par in total.

Henrik was happy with his putting, and is hoping to put in a good challenge here;

“I think there is still a little way to go but today was the best I have putted for a long, long time. I was threatening on every putt and kept the score together with no bogeys, which is always a good sign.”

Danny started the week by jumping out of a plane, he thinks it could have been a good idea, made the first tee shot less terrifying;

“It was a different way to start the week, but if you are standing on the first tee trying to hit a drive onto the fairway it seems a little less nerve-racking than jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet, so it might have prepared me quite well. As soon as you jump out you think ‘What are we doing?’, but after that you level out and start to feel like you are just floating down and it’s unbelievable.”

He also mentioned his 0700 local time start;

 “A half-four alarm is never great but it’s a great time to play golf in the desert. The back nine is the scoreable nine and I was really, really clinical, didn’t miss a green, hit a couple of par fives in two and it was a real easy six under. The front nine gets a little trickier with the breeze and the doglegs but all in all it’s two good days’ work.”

World Number One Tiger Woods, playing alongside Rory, could only manage a second round of +1 over par 73 to make the cut with just one shot to spare on -3 under par.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Marvelous Mac is Back.

dragon logo dark

Marvelous Rory McIlroy is back, he leads the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.

 

Brilliant McIlroy back to his best

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory  carded seven birdies and an eagle, in his opening round of -9 under par 63 at Emirates Golf Club to lead the competition by two shots. He said it was good and that he was close to his best, and how comfortable he feels right now;

“It was good, it was really nice. I played really well from tee to green, drove the ball great again. I think I only missed a couple of fairways and only missed one green where I had to really get it up and down. I took advantage of how I am driving the ball and just need to do more of the same the next three days. It’s close, obviously, this year I’ve shot a couple of good rounds. This is a little lower than I went in Abu Dhabi and I feel very comfortable with my game.”

Sitting two behind is Italian Edoardo Molinari, who shot a first round -7 under par 65, with a bogey on the last hole, a six on the par five.

Edoardo kept telling us how well he hit the ball;

“It was a good day. I played a couple of practice rounds in the morning and in the afternoon it’s definitely more difficult, especially the back nine was quite tricky, but I hit the ball really well. I missed a couple of putts but I’m hitting the ball really well. I’ve been hitting the ball very well lately, and especially off the tee. The only blemish on the card was eighteen today, and I actually didn’t commit to the shot. But apart from that, I think I hit every fairway all day. Tomorrow I’ll be able to play in the morning with softer greens, and I think that’s going to be a big help tomorrow, because surely the greens will be firmer and firmer as the week goes by.”

There is a group of five players on -6 under par in third spot, they are; Stephen Gallacher, Richard Sterne, Julien Quesne, Damien McGrane and Matthew Baldwin, who all carded rounds of 66.

Stephen played alongside Tiger and Rory and had this to say of the Worlds number one;

” Me and Tiger had a couple of holes where we had great saves of par but it was one of those days where we took advantage of the conditions, it was quite benign. It was great to play with Tiger and Fred Couples in the Champions event on Tuesday, that eased me in and I knew what to expect.”

Tiger Woods opened with a -4 under par 68, tied in tenth place. Tiger said he played OK;

“I played all right today. I probably could have got a couple more out of it. I didn’t hit a bad putt today which was nice, it was just that sometimes the grain grabbed it pretty hard at the end.”

Rory also thinks Tiger is playing well;

“He’s a true pro, he knows there are no pictures on a scorecard. He was hitting it a lot better at the end of the round but to shoot the score he did on our front nine was a good effort.”

Lets see how well Tiger plays tomorrow, and for that matter lets see if Rory can put four great rounds together.

European Tour Bans Caddie for hiding extra club in a bush.

Thought you should know this, cheating is not just restricted to the soccer field or rugby pitch, it has now surfaced at the wonderful game of golf, at the highest level, the European Tour.

Jose Manuel Lara was disqualified from the BMW International Open by the European Tour, after his Caddie was caught trying to hide an extra club he had accidentally put in Jose Manuel Lara’s bag at the beginning of the round. The caddie, Mathias Vinson, created a ruse on the second hole of the round to try and dispose of the 15th club, in a bush. Playing partners Damien McGrane and Peter Hedblom noticed Vinson going toward the bush and asked him what he was doing.

According to European Tour chief referee John Paramor, Vinson replied to the players;

” I’ve got this wrong. I’ve done something bad. I wish it hadn’t happened.”

Normally the penalty for having an extra club in the bag would have been assessed as a pair of two-shot penalties, one for each hole he had the extra club in the bag. But this was not a normal affair, John Paramor said:

“It was clearly the caddie doing what he felt at the time was the right thing, but was clearly the wrong thing. He’s kind of been asked not to come back and that’s how the matter has been resolved.”

What strikes me as funny is that the two playing partners saw what was happening, but Jose did not apparently. You don’t suppose the caddie told Jose of the error, and it was then Jose’s idea to get around the problem, knowing if the caddie did get caught he could absolve himself of all blame. I wonder if John Paramor will be keeping a close watch on Jose Manuel Lara, and I also wonder what corrective action would have been taken if it was proved that Jose instigated the dastardly course of action.

Your comments are awaited.

Robert Rock leads Joburg Open

Englands Robert Rock took the lead in the Joburg Open in the second round before a thunderstorm halted play for the day. Robert has a score of 11 under par after posting an eagle and four birdies.                                             Jamie Elson, one of the leaders after the first round, was unable to start, it has yet been reported why. Damien McGrane, who shared that first-round lead with Jamie Elson, was one over after three holes on Friday.

The second round will have to be completed tomorrow, an anxious wait for Charl Schwartzel to see if he makes the half way cut.

Robert Rock plays a drive at the Joburg Open

Warren Little/Getty Images

Robert Rock plays a drive at the 10th during the Joburg Open

Jamie Elson leads Joburg Open

England’s Jamie Elson has stormed into a share of the first round lead at the Joburg Open, shooting an eight under par 63 over Royal Johannesburg and Kensington’s West Course.
“I got off to a flyer. I birdied the first, second, third and then chipped in at the fourth.

He was joined at the top of the leader board by Ireland’s Damien McGrane, who managed to reach the clubhouse before thunderstorms halted play.
In all about four hours were lost because of the real threat of lightning, and some of the players unable to complete their rounds before darkness set.
Elson was able to play his final three holes after the storm and picked up two shots in his last three holes of the day
“I had just hit a good shot on 16, the par three, and there was a strong downwind,” he said.
“With the water short it was a pretty good shot and left myself with an eight footer when I resumed play. I managed to knock that in and then finished well”
.“I had a good year here last year, I think I shot six-under on the second day at the hard course, so if I can do that again it would be nice.”

Damien was also pleased with his start to the tournament saying, “I am delighted to be in a good position after round one. For the last three or four years Irish golf has been quite incredible, and I think we feed off each other. For a small nation it sure is great to be there or thereabouts”
.“I stacked up a few birdies during the round, but that eagle really turned my round.
“I played beautifully from start to finish, and this course does give up opportunities. The greens and weather were perfect, so if you’re on your game there are birdie chances. Needless to say you have to make the chances and today I holed a few nice putts.

“I hit plenty of fairways and holed a few nice putts for birdie, it was just the bogey at the last which was disappointing. Apart from that it was a perfect round of golf.”

Lets hope these two happy soldiers are still at the top tomorrow.

(Getty Images)

Jamie Elson  (Getty Images)

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