Arnold Palmer Invitational. Scott Sailing to Victory.

dragon logo darkArnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard Logo Adam Scott is sailing to victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

Scores: Scott still cruising

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Adam put together a second round of -4 under par 68, to increase his lead at the top of the Arnold Palmer Invitational to seven shots. Arnold might just as well start engraving the trophy right now, Adam disagrees;

“We’re only halfway, seven shots over two days is not enough. I don’t think you can ever be leading by enough. The challenge might be just to start again and try and play a great 36 holes, start fresh, and try to be the leader after the next 36.”

“It feels very much like I was playing toward the end of last year in Australia, where I kind of picked golf courses apart by just hitting fairways and hitting greens, and just waiting for that right number to hit one close. I’d like to kind of keep that going for the next couple of days and I feel like I’ll be in good shape.”

There are three players who are seven shots adrift, and realistically have no chance of catching Adam. They are; J.B. Holmes, Francesco Molinari and Chesson Hadley.

Chesson Hadley  posted a bogey-free -4 under par 68, and is eying a spot in the field at the Masters.

“That just was so classy, and it really meant a lot to me, I came into this week just so appreciative to be here. It gives me something to work for, I know a win gets me in both ways,  Augusta is a thought, but it’s about winning more than getting to Augusta. It’s still hard to believe. We’re just playing with house money.”

J.B. is just happy to be healthy;

 “This is the first time in three years I’ve really been healthy. It’s a different feeling, that’s for sure. I’ve been really close, I feel like. I just haven’t really put it all together. I’ve just been waiting for it to click in. Hopefully this will be the week.”

 After a 7-under 65 on Thursday, Ryo Ishikawa began the second round in a tie for second, before he unraveled on his second nine. He had bogeys on Nos. 2 and 9 compounded by a double bogey at the third, en route to a +2 over par 74. He dropped eight spots on the leaderboard and into a tie for 10th, nine shots back of 36-hole leader Adam.

 Keegan Bradley carded the low round of the day -5 under par, 67  that included six birdies, nine one-putts and a total of just 25  putts on the round, to be T5.

“I played the exact same just no putts. The putter was the difference, went to talk to Dr. Bob last night and my buddy, John, and just talked about getting less into making putts and more into just having fun and looking forward to making them. Played so good all year, not much to show for it. I feel like I’ve got some good mojo going into the weekend.”

Amateur Nathan Smith was disqualified for playing a shot from an out of bounds area, what was his caddie thinking. Nathan took his disqualification like a true sportsman, accepting the decision with grace.

World Golf Championship. Chaos at Cadillac Championship.

dragon logo dark WGC-Cadillac Championship

The weather was the winner bringing chaos to The Blue Monster at Doral in the Cadillac Championship. 

Johnson shares lead

Dustin Johnson / Getty Images

Only three players were able to break par on a very windy and difficult day at Doral, The Blue Monster, assisted by the wind just chewed everyone else up, the average score was a tad under 76.

Patrick ReedMatt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson and Hunter Mahan are all tied at the top of the leaderboard on -1 under par.

Patrick eexplained that the course was hard enough without the wind;

“It’s a tough golf course as it is, and with how hard the wind is blowing, it made it even tougher. Almost felt like we were playing at a major today.”

Graeme McDowell was one of the players to break par today, a second round -1 under par has taken him into a share of second place at even par, along with; Rory McIlroyFrancesco Molinari, and Jamie Donaldson.

Jamie had the low round of the day, a -2 under par 70, it’s not very often -2 claims low round of the day.

G-Mac left us in no doubt about how hard it was today;

“I don’t think I’ve played in conditions this difficult in the U.S. It’s an Open Championship day. It’s a real Friday afternoon at St. Andrews in 2010 before they called it. It was hard out there ,really, really hard.”

Tiger Woods did do better than yesterday, he carded a second round +1 over, and is now +5 over par for the tournament.

Tiger was laughing as he said;

“We’ve all got a shot at it now, no one is going anywhere.”

Darness Descends at Doral, WGC Championship.

dragon logo darkWGC-Cadillac Championship

Darkness descends on The WGA Championship at the Blue Monster course at Doral, suspending the first round.

Harris English had the lowest round of the few who completed Round 1 on Thursday. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

Harris English / Getty Images

Harris English was one of just six players to finish the opening round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship after inclement weather delayed play at Trump National Doral. When the horn blew there were five players tied at the top the leaderboard on -3 under par. The only completed round was Harris English, the other four still to finish the opening round are; Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan, Francesco Molinari and Patrick Reed

Harris explained how important it was to finish today, and not to come back in the morning to finish the round, and then continue with the second;

“It was getting really dark, very quickly, but I wanted to finish the hole, it really changes the way you approach the day, waking up and playing one hole at 8 in the morning and then waiting around for three or four hours for your tee time is tough to do. That way in the morning, we can have a normal day.”

Tiger Woods was +2 over par through ten holes, but said he was feeling a lot better, but he will have to play 26 holes tomorrow;

“Felt a lot better today, should be a long day for all of us. Hopefully I can get back out there in the morning, play well and work back to even par by the end of the first round, then shoot a low one in the afternoon.” 

Rory McIlroy was at -1 under par through fourteen holes, but there is a long way to go in this tournament and as usual anything could happen.

Euro Tour. Julien Quesne Wins Italian Open.

Frenchman Julien Quesne won the European Tour Italian Open at Golf Club Torino in Turin, Italy.

Julien Quesne  (Getty Images)

Julien Quesne / Getty Images

Julien carded a final round -5 under par 67, to win the 70° Open d’Italia Lindt, with a total score of -12 under par. This is Julien’s second European Tour victory, his previous win came in the Open de Andalucía last year. At the start of the final round Julien was four shots off the lead, but a brilliant back nine of 31 saw him post a clubhouse lead at -12 under par. No one else could match him;

 “I am very proud of this back nine. My attitude was very good this week and I think this is the key. To enjoy a second win on The European Tour is like a dream for me. After my double bogey I just kept calm. I was thinking the winner would be 15 under and I was only five under. I thought ‘just keep working and we will see what happens’. Then, when I got to the 16th green I looked up at the leaderboard and realised that I was just two shots off the lead and I knew that I still had a chance. I made a great putt there from five metres to save par and to make two birdies to finish was very special. When I made the birdie on 17 I thought that if I could get to 12 under then I would have the chance at least to get into a play-off. You never know in golf, so I am proud that I kept the attitude the way I did because I always knew that I was never out of the tournament. I am surprised to be here. The flags were very difficult all week so it was very difficult to make birdies and easy to make some bogeys. It was also really special to have my family with me, they make me stronger when they are with me and it is an amazing feeling to be able to celebrate here with them. I have had a great season this year, it has been a very consistent season with six top tens before this week and now it has become an amazing season. I can now play so many of the biggest events at the end of the year and try to finish as high as I can on The Race to Dubai.”

Second place was shared by David Higgins and Steve Webster, both players finishing at -11 under par for the tournament, just one shot off the lead. David needs to end the season inside the top 110 on The Race to Dubai, to avoid his 14th visit to Qualifying School, he is now sitting 111;

“I was very lucky on the last, I hit an awful tee shot but got a good lie in the fairway bunker, you still have to play the shot and I did and got the putt so I was delighted. I thought ‘How many chances am I going to get of maybe tying for the lead?’ so I said ‘come on, you’ve got to at least give it a good run and be positive with it’, and it went right in the middle. I had good practice rounds at the start of the week and I am proud of myself for taking that into the competition itself. I haven’t had a finish like this in 17 years so I am delighted. I can do it and I just have to do it more often I guess.”

Steve was happy with his result, he has been struggling all season with injury, and hopes this is a turning point in his season;

” It’s the first time I have played for four months without pulling out of a shot or feeling 70 per cent so hopefully this is a big turning point for me now.”

Home town favorite and Golf Club Torino member Francesco Molinari briefly threatened an Italian fairytale victory when he recovered from two early bogeys by holing a bunker shot on the eighth and then making a birdie on the ninth, but the Ryder Cup star stumbled home in 39 to finish -7 under par, tied 16th. Marcus Fraser had a poor final round, +2 over par 74, finishing tied in 8th place.

 

Euro Tour, Italian Open. Flawless Fraser Flying High.

Marcus Fraser is flying  high in the Italian Open, a flawless third round saw him flying high at the top of the leaderboard at Golf Club Torino, in Italy.

Marcus Fraser   (Getty Images)

Aussie Marcus Fraser / Getty Images

Marcus had a bogey free -4 under par, 68 in the third round of 70° Open d’Italia Lindt, which put him at the top of the leaderboard by one shot at -11 under par. Marcus likes this course, saying it was similar to the one which he grew up on;

“It’s similar to what I grew up on before I moved to Melbourne, I grew up on a very tight, tree-lined golf course with tiny little greens and the emphasis was on getting it in play and hitting little shots around the greens and that’s exactly what this demands. I think it’s a brilliant golf course and wish we could play it every week of the year.”

The slim one shot lead going into the final round will not seem too much like a daunting task to the quality of players who are trying to catch Marcus. Local favorite Francesco Molinari, who was a member here at Golf Club Torino when he was just eight years old, is one of those players on -10 under par. He is joined on that score by Joakim Lagergren and Nicolas Colsaerts.

Francesco said he was a little bit unlucky today, but just loves the support the fans are giving him;

” It was a different round compared to the first two, I didn’t put the ball as close as the first two days but it could probably have easily been my first bogey-free round. I was just a bit unlucky on nine to find a piece of mud behind the ball. I could have been a bit more aggressive but there is still tomorrow to do that. I am still up there and will try to do well tomorrow. It’s fantastic and they are all rooting for me, maybe today they weren’t as happy as the first two days but I will try to give them some more joy tomorrow. It’s crazy. I haven’t seen that many people here in Italy ever.”

Nicolas could also have been sharing the lead, except for a three putt bogey on the last hole;

” I played okay, missed a few chances and missed the one on the last so 70 is probably what I deserved. I am not as close to the flags as I want to be because I am not in as much control as I want to be. Sometimes I have short irons in and am not getting it as close as I want to but I am putting okay and it showed on the first day, you can go low.”

Joakim shot  one of the lowest rounds of the day, -5 under par 67 for his -10 under par total. Overnight leaders Simon Thornton and Felipe Aguilar lie two off the lead at -9 under par, after both players carded par rounds of 72.

It is a very tightly packed leaderboard, and there will be some excitement and good golf for the fans to enjoy, as they follow their local hero Francesco Molinari, and hope to cheer him on to victory.

Euro Tour. Italian Open, Molinari Makes Italy Smile.

Francesco Molinari makes Italy smile as he tops the leaderboard in the European Tour, Italian Open in Torino.

Francesco Molinari   (Getty Images)

Francesco Molinari / Getty Images

Francesco shot a second round -5 under par 67, to share top of the leaderboard in the 70° OPEN D’ITALIA LINDT at the Golf Club Torino, in Turin, Italy. Joining him on his tournament score of -9 under par, are Simon Thornton and Felipe Aguilar, Simon also had a second round of -5 under par, and Felipe was -6 under par, 66 for his round.

Italian favorite Francesco is a Turin native, a hero whose halved match with Tiger Woods ensured Team Europe won the Ryder Cup outright in the ‘Miracle at Medinah.” Francesco is bidding to win his second National Title, he previously won the Italian Open in 2006;

 “It adds a little bit of pressure but it’s good, it gives you an extra motivation to do well and get focused for 18 holes. I said at the beginning of the week I didn’t want to think of anything but try to enjoy the week, try to make some birdies and I’ll try to do the same Saturday and Sunday. It doesn’t really matter that I won before, this is a special, special week for me. I was emotional yesterday on the tenth tee at 8 am with only 50 people watching so now with all these people on my course it’s a great feeling. It has been brilliant so far so let’s hope it continues to stay that way over the weekend. You have to embrace it, have fun, I smile on the course when I see people I know and I know they are rooting for me so I just try to enjoy it.”

Felipe has recorded seven top-ten finishes this season, and says that he likes this course;

“It was a fun day, I played well and got round a very difficult golf course. I love this golf course because it suits my game which is about accuracy more than distance. My driving stats are pretty good and you have to play the ball from the fairways around here because you are not going to have many birdie chances if you are playing out of the rough all the time. I love coming to Italy because they have a very similar culture to what we have back home. I feel very comfortable out here, we have similar courses, good food, good wine and weather so there are a lot of things that make me feel comfortable.” 

Simon claimed his first Tour win this year and thinks his good thoughts from that win will help him here;

” My game is still the same and the plan is still the same, the main thing that you take from winning out here is the fact you know you can get over the line because you have done it already. I still have to hit the shots and get into contention on Sunday,  we have a long day ahead tomorrow but if I can stick to the plan and keep committing then I should be there or thereabouts come Sunday.”

Tied in fourth place at -8 under par are Nicolas Colsaerts, one of yesterdays first round leaders, David Higgins and Steve Webster. Nicolas bogeyed the 16th and 18th holes to finish with a -1 under par 71. He said how difficult it is to follow a really good round with another one;

“It’s always tough to follow a day of prime striking, I missed only one green yesterday and everything was going my way pretty much. Then I started with a bogey today with a seven iron in my hand so that doesn’t really get you in the greatest of moods.”

The other two first round leaders Maximillian Kieffer and Ricardo Gonzales did not fare so well in the second round, Maximillian with an even par 72, to stay at -7 under par, and Ricardo slipped back to -6 under par following his +1 over par round.

Euro Tour. 70° Open d’Italia Lindt. Three-Way Tie At The Top

There is a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the European Tour, 70° Open d’Italia Lindt at the Golf Club Torino in Italy.

Nicolas Colsaerts  (Getty Images)

One if the three Nicolas Colsaerts / Getty Images

Nicolas said he had some rest at home, on his mum’s couch, before coming to Italy, and it had really helped him to re-energize his batteries. A -7 under par 65 opening round at the Italian Open to get in a tie at the top;

“Nothing beats being back home with your mum looking after you, I was sitting at home on the couch watching the golf from Holland and was quite happy to be looked after by my mum on the couch. It was the best place to be for me. Apart from the bogey at the tenth, my first hole of the day, I got off to an amazing start and was kind of flying on my front nine. Then I didn’t make birdie on the first which is an easy par five and then there were a few occasions where I had wedge in hand and didn’t give myself the chances for birdies that I probably should have. It was nice to finish with a birdie though and get a good round in. It should have really have been eight or nine under after the start I made but I kind of got a bit sloppy on the inward nine. I was just a bit too far away from those flags to make the birdies and get to a really low number.”

Sharing top place after the first round with Nicolas are Ricardo Gonzales and Maximillian Kieffer, both with -7 under 65’s first rounds themselves. Ricardo said he hit it well and is looking forward to the next three days;

“I hit it perfect, I only missed two shots from the tee, then I hit fairways, hit greens, made some good putts and that’s why I shot 65. I tried to relax the last two or three weeks but I played with little tension. On Tuesday’s practice I said ‘come on, relax’ and it worked. I’m feeling very good and we’ll see what happens over the next three days.”

Maximillian had been suffering from a cold in the build up to this tournament;

” I’m very happy, 65 is a very good score. I didn’t feel so good coming here because I wasn’t hitting it that well the last few weeks and I’ve had a cold. I wasn’t really expecting a lot and I just took it shot for shot. Mentally it’s nice to shoot a good score, you always feel better when you’re playing well and have a good score so hopefully I’ll have another three good rounds.”

Marcus Fraser is alone in fourth place at -6 under par, just one shot adrift of the leaders. Local favorites Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero both made good starts, Francesco with a -4 under par 68, while Matteo opened with a -2  under par 70.

BMW PGA Championship. Francesco Molinari Leads at Wet Wentworth.

Francesco Molinari leads at the BMW PGA Championship after the conclusion of the second round at the Wentworth Club on the West Course.

Francesco Molinari   (Getty Images)

Francesco Molinari / Getty Images

On a wet and cold second day at Wentworth Francesco Molinari leads the BMW PGA Championship by just one shot after his second round of -4 under par, for a tournament total of -6 under par.

Francesco is happy to be at t he top, but is under no illusions as to how hard it will be to stay there on this difficult West course;

” I’m really happy with yesterday and today. The conditions were quite tough but I hit the ball well and the putter is working well so I am really happy at the moment. Six under is a good score given the conditions, I live over here now so I am used to it,  and I’m in a great position going into the weekend, but it’s a really tough course so anyone six or seven behind is still in it.”

Tied in second place is George Coetzee, at -5 under par, the South African has fared better than his compatriot James Kingston, who topped the leaderboard yesterday but collapsed today with a second round 77. Ten shots worse than his 66 of yesterday, he now has a tournament total of -1 under par.

Joining George at -5 under par are Alejandro Cañizares, Marc Warren and Mark Foster.

Lee Westwood is lurking at -3 under par and thinks he could be dangerous if his short game keeps improving, and his long game comes together;

 ” My short game’s been red-hot. I played some nice pitches and walking off the back of the 12th green, where I pitched to about four feet, Ernie said ‘Bit of a short-game wizard now.’ I also got up and down on 18 after hitting it in the hazard and those sorts of things can make a big difference to your week and going into the weekend with momentum. If my long game starts to come together, I could be dangerous.”

Lee’s Ryder Cup team-mate Luke Donald made a premature exit in his bid for a hat-trick of titles and fellow heroes of the Miracle at Medinah also made an early departure from The European Tour’s Flagship Event, with Rory McIlroy (75), Graeme McDowell (75), Ian Poulter (76) and Paul Lawrie (72) all joining Luke in missing the halfway cut.

European Tour. Trophée Hassan 11. 40th Anniversary, Marcel Siem Leads.

Marcel Siem from Germany leads at the European Tour event, Trophée Hassan 11, being staged at Golf du Palais Royal in Morocco. It is the 40th Anniversary of this competition, which was established by the late King of Morocco in 1971.

Marcel Siem   (Getty Images)

Marcel Siem / Getty Images

Marcel Siem shot a first round of -8 under par 64 at the Trophée Hassan II, to lead by three shots from Spaniard Alvaro Velasco, who had a more modest first round of -5 under par 67.

Marcel is keen to earn his debut place at the Masters next month, he will need to keep playing like this to achieve that goal. Apart from playing well Marcel also said he enjoyed some good luck today;

” Sometimes you need a bit of luck in this game and thankfully today was one of those days where it went my way. I didn’t know I still had a chance for the Masters but now we know there are four or five of us in the field here who still might be able to get to the Masters if we win here. It is a nice incentive but I came here first and foremost to play this tournament and play this golf course. The Masters would be pretty special but I just have to concentrate on what I am doing in this tournament.”

There are three English players tied in third position at -4 under par, they are; David Horsey, Graeme Storm and Simon Wakefield.

Simon said he was shocked to be in this position, he  is still chasing a maiden European Tour victory after almost 300 events.

” It was one of those days when you go out there on a realty tough golf course and the wind is blowing 20-30 miles per hour and you don’t expect to finish on four under. I am shocked to be tied in third but I played well.”

David who won here two years ago said he has good feelings coming back here;

” Hopefully I can start climbing the order of merit now and have a good year because I feel like all the changes I have made have given me a new lease of life. It was very good, I am very happy with the start. I had my fair share of good luck today but you need that in this game and you just have to take advantage of it when it comes your way.I managed to play well today and had the ball under control for the majority of the round. Obviously I had the win here two years ago and I do feed off a lot of those good feelings from that when I come back here. It is a great golf course that is different to what we usually play with a lot of run-offs and raised greens but you can make a score if you play well as I showed today.”

Yesterday Francesco Molinari played in the Pro-Am with the Crown Prince of Morocco, HRH Prince Moulay Rachid. Francesco said it was a great privilege to have partnered the Prince;

” It was a great privilege for me to play with the Prince, I had the chance to meet him last night and he is a very nice, down to earth guy. He just loves his golf and is very knowledgeable about the game and the top players. It is not every day that you get the chance to play golf with Royalty so it is a very humbling experience for me.”

Omar Lahjomri, HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, Francesco Molinari & Jalil Bennis  (Getty Images)

Omar Lahjomri, HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, Francesco Molinari & Jalil Bennis  / Getty Images

Francesco did not have a good first round today, finishing at +1 over par 73.

European Tour, BMW Masters, China

 

 

Jamie Donaldson  (Getty Images)

 

Jamie Donaldson/ Getty Images

Jamie Donaldson leads the field after the first round of the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club, in Shanghai China, shooting a -10 under par 62, to lead by four shots from the chasing pack. Jamie who had a victory at the Irish Open in July, it was his first win in 255 European Tour events. Jamie was well pleased with his great round;

“It was one of those rounds where you hit every shot where you want to and every putt where you want to. I played great from the word go, hit a lot of fairways and put myself in really strong positions and capitalised when I had putts. I didn’t have many long putts, just played really well, and one of those days where everything went for me. It’s been a really good day. The course suits me. The fairways are quite generous and if you miss the bunkers you can play aggressive golf. It’s an awesome field, so I need to keep playing like that to stay ahead of them. The strength and depth across The European Tour nowadays seems to be very strong , it’s just particularly strong this week. I’m just going out there trying to play my own game and whoever I play with, I’m just trying to do what I do and control what I can control. I’ve just got to play well for the next three days to finish on top.”

There are two players tied in second place at -6 under par, they are Peter Hanson and Francesco Molinari, they are just one shot ahead of winning Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal, who is without a top ten finish since January, World Number One Rory McIlroy and  Michael Hoey, they all signed cards for -5 under par, 67s. José said he needed to improve his driving;

“It’s great to shoot a low round, hit a lot of good iron shots and had quite a few birdie chances, that’s why I managed to score well. Tomorrow and the next few days if I want to score well I will have to improve the driving.”

Justin Rose was round in -4 under par, 68, and Branden Grace shot a -2 under par, 70. Rory McIlroy can be leapfrogged by either Rose or Grace this week, but was delighted to steal a march on the pair after an impressive first round. Rory was especially pleased with his 9 iron shot to the last green;

Definitely a nice way to finish, I hit probably my best drive and my best iron shot of the day into the last, so always nice to finish like that.”

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood were in the group on -2 under par. Jamie has a real march on the rest of the field, but there is still a long way to go, it will be interesting to watch him and see if he can survive at the top for the next three days.