Hong Kong Open, Miguel Masters Manley and Messawat in Playoff for the Title.

Miguel Angel Jiménez  rolled in an 18 foot putt at the 18th hole to become the oldest winner in European Tour history with this victory at the Hong Kong Open.

Miguel Angel Jimenez  (Getty Images)

Miguel Angel Jiménez / Getty Images

Finishing the final round tied with Stuart Manley and Prom Messawat at -12 under par Miguel made a winning birdie on the first extra hole in the play-of for the Hong Kong Open title.

A happy Miguel loves this place, winning the event for a record fourth time, and is thinking of the Ryder Cup;

“I love this place, I love this golf course, I love the tournament. I played so well and I holed some putts, and the one in the play-off gave me victory. If I play the way I am playing this week I will be in the Ryder Cup Team, there is one more year to go and now I get this victory here it will help a lot. You never know, I would love to be part of the team again.”

Prom, from Thailand, spoke about his amazing week;

“It’s been an amazing week for me, I didn’t feel any disappointment in the play-off. I did my best this week, and it’s my best finish on this golf course.”

Stuart was happy with his result, but was disappointed to put his approach to the green in the play-off into the Hospitality tent, he still made par, but is was not good enough;

“I’m pretty pleased. Obviously I’m disappointed to lose in a play-off with a poor shot, but for Miguel to make birdie is pretty special.  It was pretty special to make three myself to get into the play-off. So I can take a lot from the week. This week will give me a lot of confidence. It’s money on the board for The Race to Dubai and everything feels very positive.”

 

Hong Kong Open. Manley Hopes to Make it His.

Stuart Manley hopes to make the Hong Kong Open his maiden European Tour victory, he leads by one shot at the end of day three.

Stuart Manley  (Getty Images)

Stuart Manley / Getty Images

Stuart  had a -4 under par 66 third round, to post -10 under par at  the top of the leaderboard, and will take a one shot lead into the final round of the Hong Kong Open as the Qualifying School graduate chases his first European Tour title. He said winning would be great, and is fired up to take his first title;

“I wanted to be last group so I’m delighted, I’ve led quite a few times on the Challenge Tour so hopefully that will put me in good stead for tomorrow. There will be a few nerves early on I think but I’m swinging so well that if I can be committed to the golf shot I’ll be fine and just enjoy it. Pretty much from the first hole onwards, every iron shot was right down the pin. If it had been a good day on the greens it could have been a really low round, so it was disappointing not to capitalize, but I feel very confident the way I’m playing and I’m really excited about tomorrow. Winning would mean the world really. Obviously there is a lot of golf to go and I’ve just got to enjoy tomorrow and see what happens. To be a winner on The European Tour would be great.”

Tied in second place are Shiv Kapur and Wade Ormsby, both at -9 under par after they both produced third round totals of -4 under par 66.

Wade feels comfortable as he also tries to win his first Tour title;

“My game feels good, made a lot of birdies out there and overall pretty happy.”

Shiv says his recent wins on the Challenge Tour will stand him in good stead;

“If you can keep the mistakes off the card round here you’ll usually challenge and I’ve been able to do that. Whether it’s the Challenge Tour or the main Tour winning is always hard. For me winning recently in the last couple of months has been good and I know what to expect tomorrow. Sometimes you can make a couple of mistakes and still win a tournament and I think that’s been the biggest realisation for me in the last couple of months.”

The defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez, José Manuel Lara and Steve Webster all shot rounds of -5 under par 65 to total  -8 under par, just two shots off the lead. This course is a favorite of  Miguel’s and he really wants to defend his title here;

 “I hope I can keep hitting the ball the way I’m hitting it and knock in some putts to get the victory here, I would love it. I love this golf course.”

There is still a lot of golf to be played here, the man with the strongest will has an advantage.

Hong Kong Open. Jbe Kruger Cruising At The Top.

Jbe Kruger, from South Africa, is cruising along at the top of the leaderboard at  the Hong Kong Open in China.

Jbe Kruger  (Getty Images)

Jbe Kruger / Getty Images

Jbe required only 30 shots to complete the back nine and in so doing grabbed the halfway lead at the Hong Kong Open, with his -4 under par round and -7 under par total. He said of the days events;

“Our country lost a real-life hero. I played well, I probably swung it the best I’ve swung it in a long time. I’m excited and I’m playing better for a change. It’s fun to play relaxed golf for a change and see what unfolds.”

Qualifying School graduate Stuart Manley is in second place, shooting consecutive rounds of -3 under par, for a respectable  -6 under par total. He was on course for a share of the lead until he hit his approach into the water at the tenth, his last hole, and signed for a bogey;

“It’s really enjoyable, I started a bit scrappily but after the first few holes I played lovely. It’s 36 holes, there’s a lot of golf to go and a lot of good players around me so I’ll have to play well this weekend.”

Alex Cejka, Shiv Kapur and Wade Ormsby are tied for third place on -5 under par, with defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez just outside the top ten.

Miguel said the greens were tricky and his magical round ground to a halt;

“I played very well with birdies on the 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th and a birdie on number three, but then the magic stopped. The greens are very fast, you have to take care. I three-putted the fifth, but I am happy, I don’t feel like I putted badly but it happens. I thought about a low score after the first few holes, but you have to respect this golf course. It’s not very long but you have to get the ball in place every single time and you have to be very careful with the greens because they are firm and fast.”

Hong Kong Open. Its Higgins In Hong Kong

It is Ireland’s David Higgins who leads in the Hong Kong Open in Fanling, China.

David Higgins  (Getty Images)

David Higgins / Getty Images

David,who lost his European Tour card by less than €20,000 last year, took a one shot lead after a -6 under par first round of 64 at the Hong Kong Open.

David enjoyed the moment, but also spoke of his disappointment at losing his Tour card;

“It was great, I just played solid tee to green holed some lovely putts and had a chip in. If you’re going to have a score like that you have to do some good stuff. You’ve got to use your imagination, let it run out a little bit, maybe use a slope here and there, so it’s good for me. It’s a great test of golf. I played quite well on Tour at the end of last season, so I’ve come here in decent form and I’ve been working hard. The end of the year was disappointing for me because I didn’t keep my full playing rights, but I still have some. I’m going to have chances and every time I have a chance I need to make the most of it, this is a good start. You get on a course and hole some putts and you’re going to have a good score and I did that, so it’s time to push on and have a decent week here.”

Andrea Pavan, from Italy’s Challenge Tour, is a shot further back after a -5 under par 65, and amazingly there are seven players at -4 under par sharing third place on a congested leaderboard.

Andrea was happy with his position, but not so happy spoiling his round with a bogey;

” I started off well and hit it close many times on my front nine. I was four under and playing pretty flawless golf, but I made a few mistakes towards the end. Overall though it’s a good round and I’m pleased. Last year was a good year, so that brings you confidence. You want to always improve, and I know that I’m moving in the right direction.”

Jimenez breaks Leg, McIlroy breaks Engagement Rumor

Miguel Angel Jimenez and Hong Kong trophy/ AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Miguel Angel Jimenez has broken his right shinbone, while Skiing, and will be out of golf for up to five months of the 2013 season, recuperating  from the injury. Miguel took it all  in his stride, saying;  

“I was skiing in Sierra Nevada, I lost control and fell. I felt a huge stab of pain and I knew straight away I had broken something. I broke the top of the tibia in my right leg, just where it meets the knee, and they put in two pins. It will take three, four or five months to recover and be able to return to competition. I was playing very well but, these things happen in life.”

A casual statement, but I guess it’s one you would expect from a millionaire, if you or me were out of work for five months it would be pretty disastrous. Amazing how many of these golfers get serious injuries, putting their golfing futures in danger, while doing some quaint pastime hobby.

Miguel was a vice captain on Europe’s Ryder Cup-winning team in September, and  In November, the 48-year-old Spaniard became the oldest European Tour winner by capturing his third Hong Kong Open title.

Rory McIlroy, the Worlds number one ranked golfer, has denied reports he is engaged to tennis player Caroline Wozniacki. Rory’s representative  released a statement on Friday saying various media reports of the couple’s engagement weren’t true.

“On behalf of Rory McIlroy, I would like to confirm that he has NOT become engaged to Caroline Wozniacki as was originally reported in Australian press. Rory is in Australia to support Caroline before he heads in January to Abu Dhabi.”

Hi-res-156926302_crop_exact

In Happier times, Caroline and Rory / Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Of course if Caroline thinks that they were engaged and Rory has now slapped her down in public, I guess this is the end of that little fairy story. After that terse rebuff, what girl in her right mind would now accept the proposal of such a man. Who knows this could be the last picture of the Happy Couple.

European Tour Money Title for Rory ?

Rory McIlroy /thesidelinesagenda.com

Rory McIlroy can wrap up the European money title this week if he puts in a good performance at the Singapore Open. All his closest rivals will not be competing, and he already leads the race going into the tournament. Rory has already claimed the U.S. PGA Tour money list, and would love to repeat Luke Donald’s 2011 win on both sides of the Atlantic. Rory said he would like to have a strong finish to the season;

“I’m in the lead at the moment and it would be nice to increase that,” McIlroy said Wednesday, a day before the tournament. “There’s still a lot to play for in the next three weeks and I want to finish off the season as strong as possible.”

His nearest rivals, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, who won last week at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, and Branden Grace, have strangely decided not to compete this week. The field is still going to be a strong one, with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomery, John Daly and Miguel Angel Jimenez all teeing it up for the tournament at the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club.

The winners prize cheque this week is $1 million, and Rory will also be playing next week at  the Hong Kong Open, while most of his rivals again will not be competing. Rory did not play at the WGC event last week, because he watched his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, play in a tennis tournament. A poor decision which bought him world-wide criticism, and especially by the golf tournament sponsor. Rory has admitted that the criticism against him was fairly laid.

“I think the criticism is fair. Shenzhen is a World Golf Championship event, one of the big ones. It was a tough one to miss. But I can’t play every week.”

He then went on to say;

”  If I had I would have played five in a row finishing the season and after playing Turkey and Ryder Cup and all the FedEx Cup stuff, it’s just too much. You have to say no and you have to be selfish sometimes and look after yourself, ; it doesn’t make you a bad person. You have got to put yourself first and foremost, and try to fit in the things you want to do. I’m in the fortunate position where I can dictate where I want to play, what I want to do, where I want to go.”

Seems that is what all the youngsters say these days; I do want I want, when I want to do it.

 

Hong Kong Open result

A brilliant birdie from the bunker on 18 wins Rory  McIlroy the highly ranked UBS Hong Kong title. this win also hots up the race to Dubai with Luke Donald. Luke is trying to become the first man to win the money title on both sides of the Atlantic in the same year. It looked for a long time like a foregone conclusion but Rory’s win changes all that.  The Arnold Schwarzenegger pose in the bunker (minus the muscles) showed how much it meant to him. I look forward to the conclusion of the race to Dubai and an end to really great season of golf, even Tiger Woods is wagging his tail again.