Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, at the Half Way Stage

Sergio Garcia   (Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia/Getty Images

Sergio Garcia is one of four players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the half way stage of the Commercial Bank, Qatar Masters tournament at the Doha Golf Course in Qatar. attaining a -9 under par total score for the tournament.  Joining Sergio at the summit are Ricardo Santos of Portugal, German Martin Kaymer and Marcus Fraser from Australia.

Of course Sergio and Martin are Ryder Cup Team-mates, who were part of the European Ryder Cup winning team in 2012 at  Medinah Country Club, Chicago U.S.A.

Sergio was happy with his first round of golf for this season, after his corrective eye-surgery;

“It was nice, I definitely felt I played a little bit better than yesterday. Obviously I would have loved to hit a couple of shots better, but I gave myself a lot of chances and I can’t be disappointed. The wind started picking up a bit and it made it tough enough to choose the right clubs. We tried to play smart and managed to do that fairly nicely.”

First round leader Ricardo  followed up his first round -7 under par 65 with a second round of -2 under par of 70 for his -9 under par total score. He made a fine up and down from the bunker at the par five last, while Marcus Fraser did the same on the long ninth to complete his 67. Marcus said he was a little scrappy down the last hole today;

” It was a little bit scrappy down the last hole but I managed to scramble a par. Overall I felt like I played pretty steadily most of the day. I made a few birdies once I got on to the back nine, which was the front nine, but I’m pretty happy with the day. It is definitely one of those courses where you need to be patient and just take your chances where you can get them.”

Ricardo Santos, the Madeira Islands Open winner was pleased with his efforts of the first two days,

I struck the ball very well today, I just missed a few shots but I’m still happy with the round. This afternoon the wind is a little bit stronger than the morning, so I’m happy with two under. It’s never easy, but I started really well, after four holes I was three under, so I told myself to just keep playing like that. I just want to play my game the best I can, and then we’ll see. I want to enjoy the weekend.”

World number four Justin Rose was penalised a shot on the opening day when his ball moved as he prepared to tap in on the 17th, but he still made his first cut in five visits to Doha, Justin joked;

“That’s almost like leading the tournament round here.”

Two rounds to go, I wonder if Justin is close enough to make an impact here at Doha,  if he does it would be for the first time.

BMW Italian Open, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano Wins

Fernandez-Castaño storms to victory

                                                  Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano/Getty Images

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño  finished with an -8 under par round of 64, and a BMW Italian Open  score of -24 under par total to hold off the challenge of Garth Mulroy to win by two shots.

Sunday’s final pairing were neck-and-neck for much of the final round, but Garth unfortunately suffered a  5-5 finish, which ultimately proved decisive at Royal Park I Roveri in Turin. Although Gonzalo was happy with the win he was still disappointed at not making the European Ryder Cup team;

“Not making the Ryder Cup was disappointing, I had a victory, two second-placed finishes and one third, and it hasn’t been good enough. It’s tough. You have to play well in the big events, and that’s what I didn’t do this year unfortunately. I have talked to Olly about The Ryder Cup many, many times. I can laugh about it now, but it hasn’t been easy. I just needed to believe in myself and put The Ryder Cup out of my head, which I’ve done this week. I changed my schedule a little, I normally travel on a Tuesday but I arrived here on Wednesday, mainly because I wanted to see the kids start school. It was a completely different frame of mind for the week. I didn’t know the course, so everything was new to me. I just followed my caddie’s instructions and it worked. The main thing was my attitude. I didn’t get to frustrated out there or try too hard. I just let it happen. It felt like match play out there and I’m delighted to have come out on top, it feels very special to win this tournament again. I thought maybe 22 under par would have been good enough, but the way Garth and I were playing it was crazy. We kept holing putt after putt and it had a match play feel, which was fun. I have to congratulate him because he has played great. We had a great battle.”

Garth Mulroy’s last round of -5 under par  67 was enough to finish two shots clear in second place, with Gregory Bourdy and home favourite Matteo Manassero sharing third after matching 65′s and a tournament total of -20 under par. Garth said he felt he played well;

“I played well, but Gonzo’s putter was a little hot for me today, we were making birdie after birdie and it was fun. The 17th got me in the end there, but I’m happy and I played well. He went through a seven hole stretch where he made six birdies. It forces the other player to make birdies too. The last two days have been very fun.”

Nicolas Colsaerts finished in a share of fifth with Medinah bound teammate Martin Kaymer, Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and England’s Gary Boyd. Nicolas said he is in good shape and playing well ahead of the Ryder Cup at Medinah;

“I feel pretty good, I had a fantastic start which was just what I wanted, to go deep under par after only a few holes. Two bad swings broke my momentum, and on a course like this where everyone makes birdies everywhere, momentum is very important and it feels like you’re losing ground. But I finished well again, which was what I wanted. It helps being able to go through the week in a very cool, calm way, without thinking about qualifying for The Ryder Cup. My goal was to play these two events and to keep going, keep playing and keep the good dynamic I’ve had all year. I wish I could’ve done a little better here, but it’s fulfilled the goal of continuing to play well before going to Medinah. I have a lot of good vibes.”

Gary Boyd produced the shot of the day when he holed his six iron second shot to the eighth green for an albatross, his spectacular round of 63 propels him into the top 115 on The Race to Dubai, and serves as a timely boost to his hopes of keeping his card;

“That’s probably the best I’ve ever played in my career. It was a nice start and then I really got the round going with an albatross at the eighth. At that point I was thinking that maybe I was back in the tournament with a chance to win. There’s a lot of pressure at this time of year and to have practically got over the line this week, with still a few tournaments to go, is a good feeling.”

BMW Italian Open 3rd Round in Turin

Garth Mulroy  (Getty Images)

                                                             Garth Mulroy/Getty Images

Garth Mulroy of South Africa  will take a one shot lead into the final round of the BMW Italian Open at  Royal Park I Roveri golf course in Turin, after his -6 under par third round of 66. Garth had seven birdies and only his second bogey of the week in moving to -17 under par and top spot on the leaderboard. Earlier in the week Garth had spoken about the South African feel to the  Royal Park I Roveri golf course, and yesterday said how comfortable he was playing it;

” I said on the first day the course reminds me a lot of a South African course, the trees, the shape, and the ball goes a little further too.
I haven’t played so well this year. It would be a big thing to win on mainland Europe, especially with the purse here and the two-year exemption. I don’t win very often so I’d take any win.  I’ve played quite a bit with Gonzalo. We’ve been drawn together a few times and have played together a few more at the weekend. I enjoy it and I like his caddie too, he’s a funny guy. I feel very comfortable out there.”

In second place, just one shot adrift is Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, he managed to birdie the last two holes for a round of 67, and to be 16 under, the highlight  of his round was undoubtedly a 70 foot eagle at the long eighth hole. Gonzalo was not happy with his unforced errors, two of which were due to putting his ball in the water;

” I played well but I had a few unforced errors which cost me a few shots, but two birdies to finish on the last two holes has put me back in contention and I’m in a great position for tomorrow. It’s not going to be an easy task. There are a lot of players within four shots, and this is one of those courses where you can go really low if you have a good day. So I will need to play well again tomorrow and go low, especially to put some pressure on Garth, who is playing great. He’s hitting the ball beautifully and his putting is fabulous. It’s going to be hard to beat him tomorrow.”

European Ryder Cup stars Nicolas Colsaerts and Martin Kaymer remain firmly in contention on -13 under par. They are joined by the home town favourite Matteo Manassero, overnight leader Richard Bland, Welshman Phillip Price and France’s Grégory Bourdy.