Hero World Challenge. Spieth Reigns Supreme.

White Dragon GolfHero World Challenge Logo

Jordan Spieth reigns supreme at the Hero Golf Challenge, with a winning margin of ten shots.

Hero World Challenge

Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Jordan dominated his competitors, destroyed the Isleworth Golf and Country Club course and easily won the Hero World Challenge. A final round -6 under par 66 gave his wonderful winning total of -26 under par, and a ten shot victory. He has now won back to back tournaments, previously the Australian Open and now Tigers tournament.

Starting with a seven shot lead in the final round Jordan proceeded to card three birdies in four holes and turned the final three hours into a peaceful walk in the Florida sunshine. He said of that front nine;

“It was the most fun I ever had playing nine holes of golf.”

The 10-shot victory was the largest margin of the year in golf, and broke the tournament record of seven shots that host Tiger Woods had in 2007. He was happy to end his year on high note;

“Whether my emotions showed it or not I’m not sure, but inside we were really very pleased with the year and how it came to a close.”

 “This caps off the best golfing year that I’ve ever had. Each year has been a little better than the last. Hope it continues in 2015.”

For the record, Henrik Stenson won the race for second place, ten shots off the pace at -16 under par. He acknowledged that Jordan had his game under control;

“It was a one-horse race, all the rest of us had to do was battle it out for second, really.”

“He was in pretty much full control of every part of his game.”

Keegan Bradley and Patrick Reed tied for third, -15 under par. Keegan was also impressed with Jordan’s play;

“The kid is playing great.”

“I wanted to go over there and tackle him and break his putter. No, I love Jordan. I’m happy for him. He was pretty much unbeatable this week.”

Tournament host Tiger Woods finished tied in last place, he too acknowledged the special play of Jordan;

”He’s playing some pretty special golf right now.”

It will be fun to watch Jordan and Rory as they tackle the Majors in 2015, there is some really good golf on the horizon.

 

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik & Rafa Pull Clear.

White Dragon Golf

Henrik Stenson and Rafa Cabrera- Bello pull clear of the field in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course in Dubai.

DP World Tour Championship

Rafa Cabrera-Bello / Getty Images

Rafa shot a great third round -7 under par 65, to share the DP World Tour Championship lead with Henrik at -14 under par, the pair of them now have a three shot advantage going into the final round tomorrow.

Rafa said it had been a very special day for him;

“Obviously it’s been a very special round for me today,” he said. “I’m really, really pleased with the score, and obviously with the good finish.”

“The short game and putting has been unbelievable, probably the best day of my life for short game.”

“I think that that’s what helped me hang in there on the front nine and I did play better on the back nine. I was playing more aggressive going for it, hitting good shots, and giving myself a lot of chances and I did make some of them.”

Henrik did nothing wrong today, a bogey free -4 under par 68, and reported he had recovered from hitting the wall yesterday, he put it down to old age. He has never successfully defended a title, and wants to win here;

“I felt a little stronger today but I wasn’t exactly jumping out of bed this morning, but what do you expect at 38 years old? I’m a little low on energy but when the mind wants something you can pull through.”

“It would be great to win. It’s a great championship and it would mean a lot to defend a title and get the win. It’s been a good year but when you assess it you always look at the trophies and there hasn’t been one yet.”

“All in all it was a good day and we’re still at the races so I am pretty pleased.”

Justin Rose scored a -4 under par 68 today to move himself into third place alone, at -11 under par. He played alongside Rafa and could only admire what he saw;

“I watched an incredible round of golf today, Rafa was unbelievable. He really struggled with his game the first few holes, up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down, and then got some flow going.”

“He had 15 one-putts today. His short game was Seve-like. It was awesome.”

“He was chipping it to a foot and it was awesome. Chipping around this golf course is difficult, very grainy, very tough, very sandy underneath the ball. It was a masterclass.”

Tied in fourth place at -10 under par are; Rory McIlroyVictor Dubuisson, Tyrrell Hatton and Thorbjørn Olesen.

Rory had another off day, -2 under par 70,with a couple of double bogey’s thrown in, and is now four shots off the lead;

“It makes life a little more difficult for me tomorrow. I need to be aggressive, I need to go at pins, hit it close and make some putts.”

“I felt a little better out there today than yesterday so knew if I stayed patient the birdies would come. I got on a nice run with three birdies in a row from the fifth and another one at ten, but unfortunately the back nine was not quite as good as the front.”

“It was annoying to follow one double bogey with another. I was a little frustrated but it was nice to get a couple back and at least keep myself in touch.”

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik Has Half-Way Lead.

White Dragon Golf

Henrik Stenson has the half-way lead in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course in Dubai.

 DP World Tour Championship

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik posted a second round -6 under par 66 to lead the DP World Tour Championship at the half-way point by two shots on -10 under par.

He reported that he felt like he was running on empty, after a long season;

“Around the 12th hole I felt like I was running out of steam. It was difficult mentally from there on. I had to really focus hard and drag myself over the finish line.”

“It’s hot and sticky and even though I’m drinking well and getting plenty of energy, I just felt like I hit the wall on 12.”

“If it’s one or two holes left, you normally feel like, ‘okay, I can hang on’. But it was a bit of an uphill struggle from there. I managed to finish in good style anyway so I’m pleased with that.”

“There’s still a lot of golf to play and I’m really happy with how I closed this round.”

Rory McIlroy is just two shots behind at -8 under par, sharing second place with Richie Ramsay and Danny Willett.

Rory said he will try to close the gap on the leader tomorrow;

“I’m in a good position and there is a lot of golf left, I’ve definitely been in worse positions after two rounds and still won.”

“It could have been worse but it probably could have been a little better. I definitely didn’t have it like I did yesterday. I had to dig in a little bit so hopefully that’s the bad one out of the way and I have 36 holes now to make some ground up on Henrik.”

“Henrik’s very comfortable on this golf course obviously. I can’t let him get too far ahead tomorrow. I have to get off to a fast start and try and put a bit of pressure on him. Hopefully I can do that.”

Shane Lowry, aided by a hole-in-one on the 13th, and former US Open Champion Justin Rose are among the five-strong group of players another stroke back at -7 under par.

Shane spoke about his first ever Ace in tournament play, on the 204 yard par three 13th, and how good it felt;

“It was a beautiful shot, a perfect number for my six iron.”

“It’s my first in tournament play and only my second ever so it was pretty exciting. It was hard to go on and play the next hole after that.”

“I am still in the tournament and I suppose if you had given me that on Thursday I would have taken it.”

The Ryder Cup. Europe In Control.

Ryder Cup Gleneagles The Ryder Cup

Europe are in control of The Ryder Cup, taking a commanding lead into the final day of 10 points to 6. They dominated the Saturday foursomes after the USA had won two matches in the morning session. Europe won one and the final match of the session between Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler against Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter was halved. That reduced the lead of Europe to 6.5 points to 5.5  points going into the afternoon Foursomes matches.

In the afternoon matches  Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, set the tone by  making 12 birdies in a record-setting duel against Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar. This was no push over as Hunter and Matt recorded 9 birdies between them, but it was not enough to overcome the most birdies by a single side in any Ryder Cup match by the Europeans.

The Americans missed some opportunities on Saturday afternoon, and American TV commentator Johnny Miller summed it all up , after Jim Furyk had made a mess of a short pitch shot that went long, he referred to the pressure of the Ryder Cup;

“It’s all nerves at this point. All these people around and the importance of getting, maybe, somehow another half a point for the U.S., just melted. He’s had trouble finishing all year even though he’s played great.”

Lee Westwood edged closer to becoming Europe’s record points scorer when he and Jamie Donaldson beat Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar in the foursomes.

Europe now needs only  four more points to retain the Ryder Cup. It sounds easy, but two years ago, Europe rallied from the same deficit to shock the U.S. at Medinah. The U.S. did the same in 1999 at The Country Club at Brookline, the two biggest rallies in Ryder Cup history, so it can be done.

The Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup

 

BMW International Open. Four-Way Tie at the Top.

dragon logo dark

There is a four-way tie at the top of the BMW International Open in Cologne.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello  (Getty Images)

Rafa Cabrera-Bello / Getty Images.

Rafa had to be content with a share of the lead at -12 under par at the halfway point of the BMW International Open at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof, after incurring a double hit penalty.

He had been in the lead for most of the mornings play when he attempted to escape from to chip out of the rough in front of the green at the par five 7th hole. On the follow through he stuck the ball again, and carded a six, and had to share top spot with Emiliano Grillo, Pablo Larrazábal and Danny Willett.

Danny Willett hits his tee shot at the 10th during the second round of the BMW International Open

Danny Willett / Getty Images

Danny had forgotten to take the pain killers for his sore shoulder, which lead to shank from him;

” The only thing you can do is laugh as it is not something that happens very often.” 

“Twelve under was great score for two days and the shoulder was good early on. I completely forgot to take any pills after nine holes and I could feel it in the last few holes.”

Emiliano Grillo is recovering from some tough times personally;

“It’s been a rough couple of months personally and on the golf course so I’m happy with the week so far. My dad passed away in December so it has been a long six months dealing with everything you have to deal with back home.”

“I’ve learned a lot of things about life with that and I think I am growing up fast.”

There are a group of six players that are the closest challengers to the leaders, all  on -10 under par; they are Alex Cejka, Branden Grace, Andreas Hartø, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Robert Karlsson and Craig Lee.

It was a special day for Andreas Hartø, as he made his first European Tour cut, after thirteen tournaments.

Not so good for Martin Kaymer on his homecoming, he missed the cut, recoding a score of par for his two rounds, finishing at T102. What a strange game golf can be, on top of the world one day, and missing the cut the next. Martin was suffering from putting problems.  He actually reached 17 of 18 greens in regulation but needed 35 putts to complete his round today, and recorded 31 in the first round.

Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

The BMW International Open leaderboard is pretty compacted, and with likes of  Stenson and Jimenez lurking just behind the leaders I expect one of them to make a move tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nordea Masters. Jubilant Jaidee Wins Play-Off

dragon logo dark

 

 

 

 

   A very Jubilant Jaidee wins the Nordea Masters in a play-off for the title.

Thongchai Jaidee - Nordea Masters Champion  (Getty Images)

Thongchai Jaidee / Getty Images

Jaidee won the Nordea Masters title in Sweden after a three-man sudden death play-off, at the first play-off hole, with a birdie. At the end of regulation play he was tied with Stephen Gallacher and Victor Dubuisson at -16 under par for the tournament. Jaidee had posted that total earlier in the day, and had to sit in the clubhouse to see if anyone could catch him. Eventually it came down to last four groups before he knew he was in a play-off.

A final round of -7 under par, which included an Eagle on the 11th, saw Jaidee sit on top of the leaderboard and sitting back to see if he could be caught;

“I worked hard today, I started with three birdies in a row, had another one on six, then a good comeback on 11.We were nervous the last few holes – 16, 17 and 18 are tough holes, but 16 under was good enough for a play-off.”

“Then you never know in a play-off. A play-off was good for me as I finished early so I was very lucky. I thought 16 under would be second or third with the last hole being a par five. I had a good drive, then I knew I couldn’t  reach the green.  I played a great shot as I knew the pin was very tough, so I played the hole really well.”

“The golf course is wide open, you have to hit good golf shots and the weather helped a little bit.” 

Stephen whose missed birdie putt in the play-off was similar to the one he had made at the same hole 30 minutes earlier, said he was happy to get into the play-off;

“I had a good week and I was delighted to get into the play-off. I holed a lovely putt on the last after lipping out on both 16 and 17. Jaidee just hit a lovely shot there, or lovely three shots, on the last, which was playing really tough.” 

“I was hoping to peak for a couple of weeks. I knew I was playing well, so to finish fifth and then second is not bad. I’m delighted with that. Play-offs are fine margins. My ball got up to four-foot from the hole and then spun back. If the wind drops a bit instead of gusting and I’m stone dead. Play-off golf, you need that bit of luck, but the putt to get into the play-off was great.”

Victor had the opportunity to win on 18 in regulation play with a birdie, but he somehow three-putted from just off the green and missed his chance. Robert-Jan Derksen also had a final round of -7 under par 65, it was good enough to give him fourth spot on his own at -15 under par.

Home town hero Henrik Stenson is still waiting for his first victory at home, he could only manage a last round -1 under par 71, to finish in fifth place at -14 under par.

” It was a disappointing last day, apart from the first hole I got off to a good start and made a couple of birdies, but the bogey on the sixth was a momentum killer.” 

“It was one of those days when I didn’t quite get it going and missed a few chances and a couple of bogeys slipped onto the card too easily. You can’t afford that if you are going to win the tournament. I was still fighting and in with a chance on the last, but I just missed it in the wrong place. It left me in a bad spot.” 

“It would have been nice to win in front of home fans, but there will be more chances and there will be more chances to win other golf tournaments, so you can’t be too disappointed.” 

 

 

Nordea Masters. Henrik Joins Eddie at the Top.

dragon logo dark

Henrik Stenson alights the home crowd by joining Eddie Pepperell at the top of the Nordea Masters leaderboard at the conclusion of round three.

 

Eddie Pepperell hit eight birdies on his way to a share of the lead at the Nordea Masters  Nordea 1

Eddie Pepperell and Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik shot -8 under par 64 in the third round of the Nordea Masters, to catch Eddie at the top of the leaderboard at -13 under par, in Sweden. Henrik the Worlds number two collected seven birdies, adding an eagle at the seventh, recording one bogey, at the par three 15th. He was keen to tell us how good the shot was that brought him an Eagle two at the 7th hole;

That was a great shot and it all started with the six iron on the previous hole. Last year I hit a lot of good iron shots that didn’t go in, so it was nice to finally see one go in. I knew it was going to be inside ten feet when I hit it and it landed about five feet away, had a little release and hop and went in.”

“The crowds have been great. I haven’t played in front of home crowds for a while and with the success I’ve had I really feel the support. I’m going to enjoy tomorrow and try to be up there tomorrow with nine to go and try to win this tournament for them.” 

“It would be great to do it. I’ve not won in Sweden before and obviously I would like to do that in my career. It seems like I’m going to have a chance tomorrow, but there is a long way to go and a lot of good players up there. I’m sure I need to stick to my play and be there when it really matters tomorrow.”

Eddie was no slouch in the third round carding a -7 under par 65, and is happy to be competing against Henrik in his own country;

“I had great fun out there, I felt comfortable out there. I’m really happy with myself, the game feels pretty good.” 

“It was a great start with three birdies in a row. I was flying and I missed good opportunities on four and five. Then I had a sticky spell with my swing, but hung in there. I would like to have finished with a birdie on the last two holes, but I’m not too unhappy about that.” 

“On 17 I had a good swing, bad putt. On 18 I just hit a slight pull and the wind just took it in the water, but I can’t be too disappointed as I committed fully. Henrik is tied with me so it is going to be a great day tomorrow, but I’ve just keep to keep focused on my game and do what I’ve been doing. If I do that I’ll have a shot come the last and I’ll enjoy it.”

“Henrik is one of the best players in the world, he’s in fine form and it is his home country. I couldn’t ask for much more really from a final round. It’s going to be really exciting for me and I’ve got to make it exciting for him.” 

Stephan Gallacher and Alvaro Quiros are tied in third place, at -12 under par, just one shot behind the leaders. It is a compacted leaderboard and it will be an exciting contest to see who comes out on top tomorrow.