Wales Open. Luiten Lifts the Trophy.

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Joost Luiten lifts the Wales Open trophy at Celtic Manor.

Wales Open

Joost Luiten & Trophy / Getty Images

Joost hung on at Celtic Manor, only managing an even par final round of 71, but his tournament total of -18 under par was enough for him to lift the Wales Open trophy.

He admitted it was tough coming down the stretch;

“It was tough, it was hard work down the last. I didn’t have the start I wanted with two bogeys and I just tried to hang in there and wait for my chances and made some nice birdies at the end and a par down the last was luckily enough.”

“There’s always a lot of tension on the first hole, you try to settle down, try to make an easy par or birdie and then I left myself quite a tricky first putt and I just didn’t read it well. I didn’t give the right pace and you leave yourself an eight footer downhill left to right and that’s one you can make or miss and I missed it today.” 

“You just try to settle down the first couple holes, and after that, I got back into my game. I started to hit greens, and I just didn’t really make any putts in the middle part, luckily we made a couple at the back.”

Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowery were the guys trying to chase him down, they finished tied for second at -13 under par. Shane with a -1 under par 70 last round, and Tommy making a late charge with four birdies and an eagle on the last five holes to card -4 under par 67.

Tommy came off a double bogey on 13, and suddenly came alight;

“After the double bogey on 13 I definitely wasn’t thinking about getting to 13 under, just try your best on the last few and see what you can get. I wanted to get back to level par or under par for the day. I thought that would have been a good effort.”

“After a poor summer, I wanted to finish the season well. I’ve been playing well recently and the more you get up there, the better. This is how you learn. You can’t practice this on the range when you’re coming down the stretch in the top five and just the more you do it, the better it is.”

Five players finished sharing  fourth place at -12 under par, including Ryder Cup debutant Jamie Donaldson who carded a very respectable final round of -4 under par  67. He was joined by Nicolas Colsaerts, Eddie Pepperell, Marc Warren and Edoardo Molinari.

Jamie was very pleased with his preparation for the Ryder Cup;

“I’m very pleased, Celtic Manor is a tough golf course which doesn’t quite suit my eye. It’s been hard for me this week to keep focused and try and see the shots, if you take your foot off the pedal, and there’s a lot of trouble about.”

“I’m happy the way I played over the last four or five weeks, building up to the Ryder Cup. I couldn’t have asked for any more, really.”

Ryder Cup team-mates Thomas Björn and Lee Westwood carded closing rounds of 74 and 76 respectively, so will need to perform better next week at Gleneagles.

Lee said he will be ready;

“I needed to play some competitive golf and I’ve done that. I hit a few good shots this week, not so good today, but I probably had one eye on next week. I don’t think the concentration and the focus was there.”

“The Ryder Cup is very special, I am looking forward to getting there tonight and preparing for Friday when it starts.”

Wales Open. Joost Luiten Back In The Lead

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Joost Luiten is back in the lead at Celtic Manor and will take a two shot lead into the final round of the Wales Open tomorrow.

 

Wales Open

Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Round one leader Joost regained the lead in the third round carding -6 under par 65, to top the Wales Open leaderboard at -14 under par, and has the comfort of a two shot lead for the final round.

Joost reported he had played consistently well, and was happy with it;

“I’m happy with a good score today, I played solid, consistent, hit a lot of greens and holed some nice putts to start with. I didn’t really make a lot in the middle part, but came back strong at the end with three birdies on the last four, and I’m happy.”

“You’re in the last group, the greens are not as good as in the morning maybe and you just have to be patient out on the greens. They are quite soft and you have to create chances every hole and they will go in eventually and luckily it did for me at the end.”

Shane Lowery, yesterdays leader could only score -3 under par 68 in the third round, giving him a tournament total of -12 under par.

Shane had a fast start, recording three birdies in the first six holes, and then nothing, luckily not even a bogey;

“I got off to a flyer and just nothing really happened for me. I did make three good par saves, but I would have liked to make a couple more birdies and probably should have.”

“I’m right where I want to be for tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it. I’m still there. If you had given me this Thursday morning before I stood on the first tee, I would have taken your hand off. I’m where I want to be and I feel like I have a chance tomorrow.”

“Joost is playing lovely but I felt like I played lovely myself. Just warm up the putter tonight and see what happens tomorrow.”

Grégory Havret carded a -5 under par 66 to lie three shots off the lead on -11 under par, alongside former champion Thongchai Jaidee, who shot -4 under par 67.
Grégory  was happy to be recording rounds in the red, under par numbers, and hopes for another one tomorrow;

“I played good. Unfortunately the last three holes were not as good as the first 15, but it was definitely a good round.”

“Anything red in this beautiful course is always good, and that’s three in a row and hopefully another one tomorrow.”

Jamie Donaldson, of the three Ryder Cup players left in the competition, was best placed on -8 under par  under after a 68. Lee Westwood had a -3 under par third round, which included  a birdie-eagle finish, to post a -3 under total. Thomas Björn carded a level par 71, which was  made up of 18 straight pars to remain at -2 under par for the tournament.

Wales Open. Lowery Leads at Half-Way Point.

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Shane Lowery leads the Wales Open at the half-way point at The Celtic Manor Resort.

Wales Open

Shane Lowery / Getty Images

Shane shot a second round -6 under par 65 to lead the Wales Open at -9 under par after 36 holes. He admitted his lofty position was a bit of a surprise, as he had never played that well before at Celtic Manor;

“I’m pretty happy. I’ve never, ever done well here before, so to be leading after two rounds is nice.There is still a long way to go in the tournament but I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”

“I didn’t drive it that good yesterday but still shot a decent score. I drove it a lot better today, drove it a lot straighter and gave myself a lot of chances and rolled in a few putts, so it was nice.”

“I felt like coming over that I could give it a go this week. I was around tenth going into the back nine on Sunday last week, and similar the week before in Switzerland. If I can get myself in a good position come the back nine this weekend, again, hopefully I can give it a go.”

First round leader Joost Luiten is tied second place, carding -2 under par in the second round for a -8 under par tournament total. Joost said the course played much tougher today, overnight rain being the main factor;

“I’m happy. It was tough today because the greens were very soft compared to yesterday with all the rain they had last night, and with the back pins, even seven irons spun back four or five yards, and it was tough to fly them all the way to the back.”

Big hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts is also tied in second at -8 under par, and would love to win again, his last victory was in 2012;

“It would mean a lot to win again after two years and struggling the first few months of the season.”

“Today I started very nicely but made two silly mistakes in the middle of the round and I almost lost it but it was nice to hole that putt on the last. It was about 35 feet with eight feet of break.”

The two Gleneagles Ryder Cup wild cards, Stephen Gallacher and Lee Westwood experienced differing results but similar emotions.
Steve shot -1 under par 70, and went home, missing the cut; Lee scored -2 under par 69 and made the cut. He was happy to have two more rounds of golf before heading to Gleneagles;

“I needed a couple more rounds, I was not particularly competitive yesterday, it was pretty scratchy, but today was more solid. A few iffy shots but it was nice to finish with two birdies in the last four holes to ensure being here for the weekend and two more competitive rounds.”

“I have been working on my game and been in the gym quite a lot, but I’m not quite match fit. I had three weeks off and you lose your sharpness.”

Steve was in a relaxed and philosophical mood as he left Celtic Manor;

“Yesterday was quite tough, it was tough to get going and get my head around it but today was a lot better. I was maybe trying a wee bit too hard yesterday and still thinking about next week.”

“I feel good, I’m physically and mentally good so I am really looking forward to next week. I’ll get up the road this afternoon and relax this weekend and maybe play nine holes with Thomas (Björn) on Monday morning.”

“I’ve done my preparation for it and I just want to get up there and get going.”

Wales Open. Joost Luiten Leads on Day 1.

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Joost Luiten leads  at the end of day 1 of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor Resort.

Wales Open

Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Joost shot an opening round at the Wales Open of -6 under par 65 to sit on top of the Celtic Manor Resort course leaderboard.

Nicolas Colsaerts and Andrew McArthur are tied in second place at -5 under par following their first round scores of 66. Nicolas hit the longest drive in European Tour history , mighty a 447-yard bombshell that left him with just a gap wedge into the 613-yard par five 18th hole at Celtic Manor, to set up the Eagle. Even that record could not console him as he rued not having the chance to play once again in the Ryder Cup, in his previous outing he carded eight birdies and an eagle in a four-ball win alongside Lee Westwood at Medinah two years ago.;

“I saw them having dinner and thought ‘I wish I was in that room. It’s their adventure and I am not part of it, but once you play in one Ryder Cup, you don’t want to miss another one.”

Of the longest drive, “The muscles from Brussels” only mentioned the wind assistance and some heavenly help;

” I thought it was too far right but it’s all downhill and downwind and it must have luged down the fairway. If all the stars align you can hit it a long way.”

Tied in fourth place are Justin Walters, Robert Rock and Sam Walker, these three carded rounds of -4 under par 67.

Robert admitted he had not played well this year;

“Probably for the last month I’ve been playing good, the rest of the year has been pretty horrific. I’ve been driving the ball well for months, and wasting every opportunity that brings.”

” My iron play has been good for two weeks, the putting has been hit and miss, but the past two weeks have been good, so I hope I can drag that on for a little bit longer.”

Of the four Team Europe players competing at The Celtic Manor Resort, Jamie Donaldson’s -1 under par 70 was the best score, with Thomas Björn returning with level par, Lee Westwood +2 over par and a rusty Stephen Gallacher signing for a +7 over par 78, Steve had this to say afterwards;

“I did half expect it, generally if I’ve got something to play for I’ll play pretty well. When I go through the motions I’m useless.’

“All eyes are on next week and it’s hard to put it out of my mind when I’m already in. Once you’re in it, I just want it happen. Next week it’ll be different, you’re in a heightened mood and I’ll be better.”

“One swallow doesn’t make a summer, so I’m not really bothered to be honest. I’ll just go out tomorrow and try and make a few birdies, see what happens. I’ll give it my best shot, I shot 63 around here once (in 2010).”

The longest drive this season on the PGA Tour was hit by Bubba Watson, who sent one 424 yards on the 16th hole at Firestone Country Club. He was the only player to eclipse 400 yards this season.

Tour Championship, FedExCup, Billy Wins It All

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Billy Horschel wins it all, the Tour Championship and the FedExCup.

The Tour Championship   The FedExCup

Billy and Two Trophies.

Billy described it one word;

“Unbelievable.”

He cruised through the final round in -2 under par 68 to finish with a total of -11 under par, and a three shot victory. He spoke about his pregnant wife and how they had discussed this tournament;

I remember flying home and talking with my wife and she said, ‘You’re probably just waiting for the season to be over and start a new season.’ I sort of was.”

 “But at the same time, I knew my game was in the right shape and I just needed to get out of my own way. I needed to allow my golf game to show.”

“Hopefully, she’s not going into labor right now.”

I was able to rise to the occasion and get the job done, and it just gives me so much confidence, such a thrill to accomplish something like this, especially with the guys I was going up against.”

Rory McIlroy failed to fire in the final round, carding a +1 over par 71, he finished the tournament tied in second place with Jim Furyk, at -8 under par.

Rory had to admit that Billy played the best golf;

“Billy deserved it, he played the best golf this week. I was making bad swings at the wrong time and getting punished for them.”

“When Billy was making bogey on ten I thought I had a decent chance and then I three-putt there for the second day in a row and I felt like any chance I had to win the golf tournament went.”

“To win two Majors, my first WGC event and give it a real good run in these FedEx events, I’m really proud of myself the way I hung in there and dug deep the last few weeks.”

“When I look back on the year as a whole it’s been my best year to date so I can’t complain.”

Rory and Jim will be heading off to the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland, the European Team will be happy that Billy Horschel will not be there, especially in the form that he is in right now.

KLM Open. Paul Picks Up The Trophy.

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Paul Casey picks up the KLM Open trophy at Kennemer Golf & Country Club in Holland.

KLM Open

Paul Casey / Getty Images

Paul carded a final round of -4 under par 66 to lift the KLM Open trophy with a tournament total of -14 under par. Looking at the names on this old trophy, it has been contested for over 90 years, he admitted that he was very honored to have his name inscribed alongside them. Paul is also a proud new dad, fiancée Pollyanna gave birth to the couple’s son on September 1;
I’m a bit emotional to be honest, it was very care free for three and a half days, because if I played well or poorly I was going to go home to see my baby, and then I got to the last three holes and I thought I really want this, not that he is old enough to understand.” 

“This tournament has been going for more than 90 years and looking at the names on the trophy, you have Seve, Langer, Payne Stewart. It’s got some great names so to add my name to that is a great honor.”

“Just having my first child was a great distraction. I had no expectations coming into the week and I did very little practice, although I’ve played good golf. Even flying in Wednesday morning to spend as much time at home as possible, so I was apprehensive as to how I was going to play.”

” I couldn’t have dreamed it would turn out this way. It’s not that I wasn’t trying my hardest on the course, but you just don’t know how it will turn out. I’m absolutely over the moon. First tournament as a Dad and first win as a Dad!”

In second place was fellow Englishman Simon Dyson, just one shot behind at -13 under par, Simon recorded a final round of -5 under par 65, and came so close to winning. To complete the round-up another English player captured third place, Andy Sullivan Aced the 15th on his way to posting -12 under par, and claiming the hole in one prize, a trip into space;

” It was such a rollercoaster out there today, and this week, so to top it off by going to space is great. I was on the comeback after a few bad holes and the caddie pulled out a nine iron and said try to cut it in there, luckily it came off and it went in.”

“I’m not sure if I’ll go, I’ll check with the missus. I’m not great with heights or flying! I might have to pluck up some coverage. I don’t think spaceman is a new nickname for me.”

“My daughter will think I’m the best dad in the world, a professional golfer and an astronaut, she’s got the best dad in the world! I’m going to have to pluck up some serious courage, but it is a once in a lifetime experience, so I’m going to have to do it.”

“My caddie just shouted to me, ‘we’re going to space’. I was in hysterics. It’s just an unreal experience. I didn’t play great through the round and then I hit a shot like that. I had two twos on there, but not been close to it. So I wasn’t really even thinking about it.”

“It’s been such a rollercoaster of a day. I just strapped myself in and went for the ride. Overall it’s been a great week and I’ve really enjoyed myself here at the KLM Open.”

Tour Championship. Rory Right Alongside Billy.

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Rory McIlroy is right alongside Billy Horschel as the pair are tied together at the top of the Tour Championship leaderboard at East Lake Golf Club

Tour Championship

Rory and Billy / Getty Images

Rory Eagled the par five 15th on his way to scoring a -3 under par 67 and catch Billy at the top of the Tour Championship leaderboard, which going to make it an epic battle in the final round. Both golfers are tied at -9 under par for the tournament and both are looking forward to the challenge.

Rory is happy to be there;

“To be tied for the lead with 18 to play, the way I have played this week, thats all I could hope for. My short game really saved me today. I think the par putt on 11 was a big momentum putt in the round after three-putting 10 and Billy being in there pretty close and just narrowly missing for birdie. I think being able to hole that par putt was big.”

“Thats the great thing about the play-off’s, if you just get yourself in, with a good stretch, you have a chance at it all”

“I’ve come here with the ultimate goal of trying to cap it off and trying to put an exclamation point on it or the icing on the cake or whatever you want to call it. Would it be poetic justice? I’d feel really good about it.”

“I just want to win.” 

Billy wanted to go at it straight away;

” Can we go tee it up right now ? I”m serious, that would help me out a lot.”

“Your not going to play a perfect 72 hole event, hope I got my bad nine out of the way, and I have a great 18 left” 

” It’s going to be an exciting day.”

These two have a two shot lead over third placed Jim Furyk who matched Rory’s -3 under par 67 round and is alone in third at -7 under par.

There are three dangerous players just one shot further back at -6 under par, Justin Rose, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler.

Rickie shot -3 under par 67 and Justin went one better with -4 under par 66, while Jason stood still with his even par 72 third round.

Rickie thinks he is in a position to make a go of it;

” Really all you can ask for going into the week is to be in a position to win Sunday.”

“The tournament is really going to start tomorrow on the back nine. I know pretty much most of the scenarios for me. I know if I win I’ve got a pretty good chance. I know there’s some possibilities of some extracurricular activities if certain things line up properly.”

Gary Woodland fired the low round of the day, a -7 under par 63, but after his earlier troubles it only got him to -1 under par for the tournament.

It’s all go for an exciting finale tomorrow.