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DP World Tour Championship. Sweet Success For Stenson.

DP World Tour Championship proved to be a sweet success for Henrik Stenson, becoming the first man to win The Race to Dubai on the European Tour and FedExCup on the US PGA Tour

Sweet success for Stenson

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik with new Rolex watch / Getty Images

Henrik won the DP World Tour Championship by six shots, carding a flawless final round -8 under par 64, and in doing so also won The Race to Dubai at the Jumeirah Golf Estates Earth Course. His winning total score was -25 under par;

“It has been an incredible summer for me, the autumn in America was great and now this. I played so well this week. I knew the guys would try to catch me, especially Ian who never gives up. I wanted to stay ahead of him and I managed to do that. I don’t know how I am going to be able to top this next year but I am going to give my best in the Majors and that becoming the first male Swedish player to win one would be the icing on the cake.”

In second place, and losing his bet, was Ian Poulter, a good final round of -6 under par 66 was not good enough to catch Henrik, but was a commendable effort. Ian finished with a -19 under par tournament total. He said of Henrik’s score;

 “I have to take my hat off to him, unbelievable. I tried to run him down as hard as I could but even with a sore wrist he has pressed on and I just could not get close enough. Henrik has not made a mistake all week and I just had to make sure of second place and some valuable Ryder Cup points. I have thrown a lot at him and given him so much stick, but he is the best player on the planet right now.”

Victor Dubuisson picked up third place, playing alongside Henrik today he could only manage a -1 under par round of 71. He looked shell-shocked out on the course as Henrik constantly bombed drives off the tee with a three wood, still out distancing his efforts with a driver. Victor was alone in third spot at -17 under par.

 Joost Luiten was in fourth place at -16 under par, and a trio of former World Number Ones,  Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, shared fifth spot on -15 under par. It was a welcome return to form for these three as they have not had good results this year.

 

DP World Tour Championship. Stenson’s Star Still Shines.

Henrik Stenson’s star still shines in the DP World Tour Championship as he takes a one shot lead into the final round at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Earth Course.

Henrik Stenson   (Getty Images)

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik is sticking to his game plan to become the first man to win The Race to Dubai and the FedExCup in the same season. Saturday he shot a third round -5 under par 67 to maintain his lead at the top of the board, at -17 under par. He knows he does not necessarily have to win here to win the Race to Dubai, but he see’s no point in easing up;

“I am trying to avoid all that, I know I can win The Race to Dubai even if I don’t win here, but why not try my hardest to win this tournament? If I do I know that both trophies are coming home with me. It’s a great achievement to be the one who wins the most money throughout the year and I would love to emulate Robert. The guys are going to try their best to attack but if anything it makes me try even harder.They are the ones that need to overtake me so I am trying to stick to my game plan. It’s working so far so I don’t see any point changing.”

Second in this tournament is Victor Dubuisson, a winner already this season, beating Tiger Woods en-route to picking up the title at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Victor had a  marvelous -8 under par 64 third round and definitely keeps the pressure on Henrik if he wants this trophy.

Victor Dubuisson

Victor Dubuisson / Getty Images

More importantly for Henrik he has a four shot lead over Ian Poulter, who needs to win this title if he wants to win The Race to Dubai himself. Ian is currently tied in third place with Alejandro Cañizares at -13 under par.

Ian has a special motivation for beating Henrik here, he has a personal  100-dollar bet with Henrik, at 10/1, that he will overtake him, with the loser having to act as the winner’s personal waiter on a night out as well;

“The odds would be significantly shorter now and I have put myself in position to try to kick his backside tomorrow. It’s fun hunting Henrik and if I can get off to a decent start it’s going to be great on the back nine. Being European Number One would be a huge highlight in my career.”

The other two who could upset the odds in the Race to Dubai are Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell, who can still deny Henrik the title with victory here. Justin is at -11 under par and Graeme – 8 under par after both shot third rounds of 68.

Graeme says he is still in the competition;

“Alive and kicking, hats off to Henrik, he came here this week and is doing exactly what he needs to do. He has been the best player in the world the last six months and he needs to slip up tomorrow and I need to mount a massive challenge. I have not done much better than 68 round here before and I will need to do so tomorrow. I have not played my best the last three rounds but I am proud of how I have hung tough.”

DP World Tour Championship. It’s Alejandro Cañizares Leading On Day 1

It’s Alejandro Cañizares Leading On Day 1 the DP World Tour Championship, the finale of The Race to Dubai.

Alejandro Canizares  (Getty Images)

Alejandro Cañizares / Getty Images

Alejandro shot a first round -6 under par 66, to lead the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. He was more concerned about his girl-friend being there than talking about his golf;

“My girlfriend is from the Czech Republic and I always forget she doesn’t have a Spanish passport and needs a visa. I only remembered when we got to the check-in desk at the airport in Turkey on Sunday evening and handed over the passports. Fortunately we had help from a lot of people and the tournament director Nick Tarratt was waiting with Dubai’s captain of immigration when we got to Dubai at 3am on Monday morning.”

Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Marcus Fraser are tied in second place, just one shot adrift of the lead at -5 under par.

Of the main contenders for the Race to Dubai title, Henrik Stenson has made the best start with a -4 under par 68, even though he managed to three putt the last hole today;

“It has been a lot of hard work all season and I just let my focus slip on the last. That sucks, but I am still in good shape and playing nicely. The guys are running on fumes so everybody is looking forward to getting done. You can’t win a tournament on Thursday but you can certainly play your way out of it. I would have taken four under at the start of the day so I just have to let the disappointment of the last slip away.”

Justin Rose, Henrik’s playing partner, is suffering from an inflamed shoulder that required an MRI scan recently. Justin shot -2 under par 70. He said Henrik is going to make it hard for them;

“Henrik is making it hard for the rest of us but that’s why I wanted it in my own hands and that’s still the case, so my goal remains the same for the rest of the week.”

Ian Poulter, -3 under par 69, carded four birdies and one bogey in his opening 69, but was frustrated at missing a number of chances to be higher up the leaderboard. He reflected on the missed opportunities;

“I am annoyed, I made two putts which were outside birdie chances and took a couple more but the rest were missed. I am frustrated but happy to be only three behind. I need to continue to be aggressive and see if I can nick it at the end. It’s a good mix to be really angry being three under par and still being in there for the next three days.”

 Rory McIlroy had to settle for an opening round of -1 under par 71, after being three under for his first four holes. But he reported his focus had improved.

” It’s much better than it has been the last few months and I am playing better, which is important. It’s good that the game is back on track. I have this event and two more so it would be great to get a win before the end of the season.”

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.

ISPS Handa Perth International. Hedblom Still Hoping.

Peter Hedblom is still hoping he can avoid the trip to Q School, he is now alone at the top of the leaderboard in the ISPS Handa Perth International.

Peter Hedblom  (Getty Images)

Peter Hedblom / Getty Images

Peter shot a second round -3 under par 69, at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club course, giving him a tournament total of -7 under par, a two shot advantage over his nearest competitor.  He admits he loves the idea of a fairy tale victory;

 “Definitely, I love fairy tales, my best friend on Tour, Michael Jonzon, in 2009 he was like me, way back and needed to win. I think he needed top three in Castellón in 2009, which was his last tournament, and he won it, beat Martin Kaymer. That was a fairytale story. It’s been two great days, But my golf is strange right now, because I hit really good shots, and some really poor shots, but my putting has been good. So it’s great right now to be leading. It’s been a while, 2009 was my last win, but I know I have the game to do it. Right now would be good. We’ll see, I think the closer you get to Sunday it’s going to be harder. I don’t really have anything to lose. If I want to play another full year on Tour, I need to win. You just have to go for it and have fun.”

In second place on his own at -5 under par is Ross Fisher, who carded a second round of -5 under par following his open even par round. Ross has his own agenda, he is currently 65th in The Race to Dubai and looking to break into the top 60, the players who will earn a place in next month’s DP World Tour Championship;

“I want to try and get in the top 60, It would be for me a great achievement having played the first half of the year in the States. My first tournament in Europe counting wise wasn’t till May. 
So I’ve always been playing catch up, but I can be really proud of how I’ve played the second half of the year. A good week here, hopefully that gets me into next week in China. Not out of the question if I won this week, hopefully that would put me into the HSBC, that would be huge. There are some big tournaments left. Obviously this week first and hopefully I can do enough here to get myself into next week, possibility the HSBC, Turkey and Dubai. 
The ultimate goal would be to get myself into Dubai, but I need to play very well this week to allow myself to try and get into next week.”

Sóren Hansen was a member of Nick Faldo’s Ryder Cup team in 2008, he is one of five players tied in third place at -4 under par. Sóren  is in the top 40 career earners and thus exempt for next year, he is in a safe position;

“Obviously that relaxes me a little bit and I feel for the guys who are playing for their privilege to play on The European Tour. I played with Oliver Fisher and he’s played really, really good the last two days, shot level par, but should probably have been a lot better really. I feel for him and hope he can have a good week.”

DP World Tour Championship, Rory Signs Off in Style.

Race to Dubai Champion and DP World Tour Champion

Race to Dubai Champion and DP World Tour Champion Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy signed off on his remarkable season by winning the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Earth Course, on Sunday. Rory’s last round of -6 under par 66, gave him a tournament totel of -23 under par, two shots ahead of his nearest rival, who was Justin Rose. Rory said his year had been “Unbelievable.”  He had heard the cheers around the course as Justin came charging through the field, and watched as Justin birdied the last, the par five eighteenth from around 100 feet.

“I saw Justin make a charge, I heard the cheers, but to finish like that was great. I could not have wished for any better. To back up 2011 with another Major and to be part of an unbelievable story at the Ryder Cup has made it an incredible year. But hopefully I can emulate it or do even better next year! It’s an unbelievable feeling, I said I wanted to win both trophies this week and that is exactly what I’ve managed to do even though I didn’t get off to the best of starts with a bogey on the first. I knew I needed to do something special over the closing few holes, I really couldn’t have wished for a better ending. I made all the targets that I set for this year and I’m already looking forward to 2013. Today I went out with a target of 22 under par, which I thought would be enough to win so making it to 23 under par gave me a bit of a cushion.”

Justin’s compensation for his Earth Course record of -10 under par last round 62, and second place at -21 under par, is fourth spot in the World Golf Rankings, pushing down Lee Westwood, the first time Lee has been outside the top four in three years. He played the last six holes in -6 under par, and also has the memory of that 100 foot putt, that everybody thought was actually going in. It would have been even more miraculous than the Ryder Cup birdie against Phil Mickleson. The putt looked like it was going to stop at the top of the ridge, but then gently trickled down to the side of the hole, Justin summed it up as:

“Probably four Mickelsons, maybe five. I knew it was hero or zero there, I was one roll away from looking like an idiot. I actually got goosebumps. I thought it was going to go in for a second.”

Luke Donald went 102 holes without a bogey, but sadly finished his tournament with a last round of -1 under par 71, tied in third place with South African Charl Schwartzel, both completed the tournament at -18 under par.

But the day, and the year, belonged to Rory McIlroy, lets hope he can continue the good form next year. It is always hard to follow a really good year with another, and even more of a challenge for Rory, as he has decided to change his clubs for next year, no more Titleist, it is rumored he will now play Nike. Rickie Fowler has not played so well since his switch to Cobra, lets trust that Rory has not made the same mistake.

DP World Tour Championship, Its Luke and Rory Tied at the Top

Luke Donald v Rory McIlroy at the DP World Tour Championship  (Getty Images)

Luke & Rory/ Getty Images

The World number one Rory McIlroy and World number two Luke Donald are tied at the top of the DP World Tour Championship after three rounds at the Jumeirah Golf Estates Earth Course in Dubai. Both of these splendid players have a Tournament score of -17 under par, attaining that number with third rounds of -6 under par 66′s.

 Luke  has amazingly extended his bogey free run at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course to 100 holes, that was good enough to distance himself from the rest of the field, with the exception of the World number one Rory, who started with a bogey at the first, but that was cancelled out by five birdies and an eagle at the long 14th.

100 holes without a bogey at this tournament, Luke could not believe it:

I’m not sure I can believe that, that’s pretty good. I guess that’s my style, I don’t make too many mistakes. It’s going to be fun, great for the crowd and everyone watching around the world. Hopefully we can make some birdies.”

Rory said he had suffered another bad night with his fever, it did not show his golf;

I woke up at four and was not feeling great, but I guess the adrenaline keeps you going when playing, “

When informed about Luke’s wondrous  run without a bogey, Rory smiled and replied,

He must be due one. I think everyone is looking forward to the Number One and Number Two duel tomorrow, and that’s the way it’s panned out. I know I’m excited about it, and I’m sure a lot of people are. It will be a great way to finish the 2012 European Tour season.”

Joint halfway leader Marc Warren could only manage a par round of 72 to stay at -11 under par, now six shots behind Luke and Rory. Tied in second place at -14 under par are South African Major Champions Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, with four-time European Tour winner Branden Grace and Dutchman Joost Luiten two shots further back at -12 under par.

Given the Status of the leading pair, everyone else is probably too far back to make an impact in this Tournament, so it’s down to Luke and Rory to put on a show for the watching and waiting World.

 

DP World Tour Championship, Luke has Rory and Marc for Company at the top.

Luke Donald shot a second round -4 under par 68, to remain at the top of the leaderboard at the DP World Tour Championship on the Jumerirah Golf Estates course in Dubai. He was joined at the top by Rory McIlroy who shot a second round -5 under 67, and Marc Warren who matched Rory’s score on the day. All three players are at -11 under par for the Tournament.

Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy/ Getty Images

Rory thinks he was suffering from a bit of sunstroke, and said although he took some medicine he was not feeling too good out on the course;

“I got off the course yesterday and had a really sore head and a fever, I think it was a bit of sunstroke. I took a few things and felt better, but I’m not feeling great again. The sun’s taking it out of me a bit.”

Luke thought he was not as sharp on the greens today, but is looking  forward to a fun weekend;

” Obviously I haven’t dropped a shot in 36 holes so feel good about that. I wasn’t quite as good on the greens today. I had some opportunities, ten to 15 footers on a few holes that I just misread, but that was a solid round of golf. It was reasonably straightforward. I didn’t put myself in too much trouble today, but certainly when I gave myself a little bit of trouble out on the course, I was able to recover with the putter. It’s a great field in general and it usually produces a really exciting weekend. The last tournament of the year, we are looking forward to going out on a high note, and obviously Rory is playing well and a bunch of other guys are playing well, so should make for a fun weekend.”

Marc said he was happy to be the Scot amongst all the high quality people near the top of the leaderboard;

“It was nice to be the Scot in that pack with the Englishman and the Northern Irishman. It’s great to be in contention with guys like that, and looking down the leaderboard, it’s a high-quality leaderboard and doesn’t get any better anywhere in the world really. It’s great for The European Tour and it’s great for The Race to Dubai, and it’s great to be a part of that.”

Two South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace are only a stroke behind, lurking with intent at -10 under par.

Round of the day went to Sergio Garcia, who shot one of golf’s most remarkable course records in Dubai – two eagles, nine birdies, two bogeys and a triple bogey seven, to match the course record. We have to assume the operation to remove that astigmatism has helped him see things more clearly now;

Sergio Garcia  (Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia/ Getty images

Sergio was amazed at his record equaling round;

“It was unbelievable, wasn’t it? I’m still kind of getting used to it, my sight’s not changed immensely, but the main reason was that with contact lenses I was feeling very uncomfortable.”

It is still a very tightly packed leaderboard, and it is indeed going to be a great weekend, and a fine finish to the regular season, with the World number one and two battling it out between them. I trust they will both stay focused and not lose sight of the others in this field who are perfectly capable of winning this tournament.

DP World Tour Championship, Luke Leads.

Luke Donald  (Getty Images)

Luke Donald/ Getty Images

Luke Donald, who won in Japan last Sunday, is once again the man to catch after a sparkling -7 under par first round to the $8,000,000 DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Rory McIlroy, uncatchable at the top of The Race to Dubai, is just one shot behind at -6 under par.

Luke said that he always feels different a week after winning, he felt like he could not miss;

” I felt like I couldn’t miss. I hit some really good irons shots too and it’s fun when it seems that easy, You always feel different the week after winning, you just feel like you have that little extra pep in your step and there’s a bit more confidence flowing through you for sure. Especially winning by five as I did last week gave me a huge boost.”

Luke  moved back up to second in the rankings ahead of Tiger Woods by taking the Dunlop Phoenix title at the weekend and is seeking to match Rory with four wins this year.

Rory said he got off to a slow start but is driving the ball beautifully;

“I got off to a bit of a slow start but felt I was hitting the ball well enough to give myself opportunities for birdies. I just had to stay patient. I got it together on the back nine. It’s a great way to start, obviously, I’m confident heading into tomorrow. I think I drove the ball beautifully with the exception of 18.”

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño and Marc Warren joined Rory on the -6 under par score, Gonzo said the front and back nines were completely different, I know that feeling;

“The back nine had nothing to do with the front nine, I played very well on front nine, believe it or not. I didn’t hole any putts, but I stayed patient, and all of the putts seemed to drop on the back nine. It was worth the wait, that’s for sure.”

Marc was rushing around looking for his waterproofs, he stepped out of his hotel into pouring rain, 20 millimeters of the stuff had fallen in two hours, but it soon cleared up and the conditions were perfect, Marc enjoyed the fact that there was no wind;

There was no wind to speak of and the greens were pure. I felt as if I hit a lot of good golf, Winning is the most fun you can have at a golf tournament and it’s something I want to do again soon.”

Tied in fourth spot with rounds of 67′s were 2009 winner Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Richie Ramsay, Louis Oosthuizen and Fredrik Andersson Hed.

Returning from eye surgery, Sergio Garcia shot 73, he needed the corrective surgery for an astigmatism following the Ryder Cup, Ian Poulter shared the same score, he must still feel deflated after his peculiar aberration at the Australian Open last week, missing a very short putt.

Footnote:

Astigmatism is a type of refractive error of the eye. Refractive errors cause blurred vision and are the most common reason why a person goes to see an eye professional. Just incase you were wondering what Sergio’s condition was.

UBS Hong Kong Open. Maical Miguel Makes it Three

Magical Miguel Angel Jiménez makes it three wins at this event, the UBS Hong Kong Open, and he also became the oldest winner on the European Tour in history. Miguel’s tournament winning score was -15 under par, with a last round of -5 under par 65, to lift the trophy.

Miguel Angel Jimenez  (Getty Images)

Miguel Angel Jiménez/ Getty Images

Miguel is six months older than Des Smyth was when he won the 2001 Madeira Islands Open, the victory was Miguel’s 19th on The European Tour and the 12th win since he turned 40, with two of which also came in Fanling in 2005 and 2008. Miguel, the  assistant Captain at The Ryder Cup at Medinah, said he hoped it was not his last victory;

It’s very nice , I hope it’s not the last one, I really love this place. I love the golf course, it’s a great golf course where you have to control the ball very well, it’s not a matter of distance.”

Of his longevity playing golf Miguel admitted;

“This is maybe the olive oil in my joints, and the nice Rioja wine and those things keep you fit and flexible. The most important thing, I do what I like to do in my life, and golf has given me all of this pleasure. Winning now, at 48.  My goodness 24 years I’ve been on the Tour. I still love it and I think that is fantastic, to love what you’re doing, and enjoy yourself, keep fit, keep working myself a little bit and stretching a lot, and that’s the main thing to do to compete with the new guns. “

Fredrik Andersson Hed , another veteran player, at 40, made a charge and could have got up to make it a play-off, but just came up short, claiming second place on his own at -14 under par, he rued a couple of missed birdies on the back nine that would have made the difference;

“I don’t think I’ve ever played better than I did today under pressure. There were a couple of loose shots on 15 and 16 that I got away with and made pars and then unfortunately couldn’t get the birdies in on 17 and 18. It always feels good to finish second in a golf tournament; you know you’ve done something good. It’s a pity I couldn’t get one of the putts on the last two holes to put a little bit more pressure on him on the last hole. He did fantastic, though, with a perfect tee shot, the perfect second shot and easy two-putt, so all credit to Miguel.”

Marcus Fraser was third at -12 under par, and tied for fourth was Peter Lawrie, who  sealed his place next week  at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai in the process, Scot Stephen Gallacher and the first of the young guns, 19-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero, last week’s Barclays Singapore Open champion, they finished at -11 under par.

The re-emerging Kiwi Michael Campbell, joint overnight leader with Miguel, and playing in the last pairing, fell away to joint eighth, with a sad last round of +2 over par.

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