Turkish Airlines Open. Poulter Blows Six Shot Lead.

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Ian Poulter had moved into a six shot halfway lead when the second round was finally finished at the Turkish Airlines Open, and then proceeded to blow it away in the third round, handing the lead to Wade Ormsby.

Turkish Airlines Open

Wade Ormsby / Getty Images

Wade had a -4 under par 68, to top the leaderboard at the Turkish Airlines Open with a total of -12 under par. He said his game is good, and he is feeling good;

“It feels great to be in this position. It’s a great tournament, great field, so to be up around the front is great and to be leading it makes me pretty happy.”

“My game is good. I’m hitting it strong, putting good. But I just walked off the ninth green and said to my caddie Richard that I’ve actually missed a few putts down the front nine.”

“As good a score as I’ve shot, I still feel like I left a few out there. So I’ll just keep trying to do what I’m doing and see how I end up.”

A sad third round for Ian of +3 over par 75 saw him fall back into a tie for second place at -11 under par. He shares that spot with Lee Westwood and Marcel Siem.

Poults had this to say about his miserable day;

“I’m most angry about the wedge shot which led to a double, that’s inexcusable for me to make that error right there. A simple wedge shot puts me to 20 feet with an outside birdie look at worst, and I hit the tree, so I’m going to be angry about that for a little while tonight and then I’ll be fine tomorrow.”

“It’s brought obviously a lot of players back into the fray, their dinner is going to taste lovely tonight and mine is going to taste horrible.”

“I’m going to get my head down and do the job tomorrow. Today was really disappointing to be out of rhythm after playing such great golf.”

Lee is content with the way he is playing

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in contention, but generally when I get in contention, I know what to do.”

“I’ve been hitting the ball pretty solidly for a few weeks now. Just getting the odd break, holing the odd putt to keep the momentum going.”

I haven’t really played the par fives well enough the first couple of days. Today I played them a bit better. All in all, I’m pleased with where my game’s at. It’s coming along nice.”

BMW Masters winner Marcel is raring to get going, now that the gap has closed;

“It’s a little bit more interesting now for everybody and for sure I’ll give it a shot tomorrow, try my best. That’s what we are out here for, and there’s why it’s called Race to Dubai.”

“I’ll have a good rest now and hope that my ball-striking is as good as today and the putter is hot. Can’t wait to go.”

WGC. HSBC Champions. Great Day for G-Mac.

White Dragon GolfWGC-HSBC Champions

It was a great day for G-Mac, Graeme McDowell leads the WGC, HSBC Champions tournament at the mid-way point at Sheshan International Golf Course in China.

WGC, HCBC Champions

Graeme McDowell / Getty Images

G-Mac shot a bogey free second round of -5 under par 67 to lead the WGC, HSBC Champions by three shots at the half way stage with a -10 under par total. While admitting he did not play as well as yesterday, although posting the same score, Graeme said his putter was red-hot;

“The putter was fairly hot today.”

“I didn’t play as well as I did yesterday; I missed a lot more fairways, which is a big key on this golf course. You must find fairways to have a chance out there.” 

“I got lucky a couple of times and I made some good saves. The greens are fantastic here at Sheshan and I managed to make some putts. It wasn’t my best ball-striking round but I hung in there and I’m right where I want to be going into the weekend.”

“This event has such a good feel to it. HSBC do a good job, you always get good support, there’s a great atmosphere and the golf course is so well presented.” 

“The WGCs are a special tier of events and this has always been one that I’ve had my eye on. This is a world-class field and they are bunching up behind me. I’ve just got to keep the pedal down and position myself for Sunday to have a sniff on the back nine.”

Ian Poulter is in second place, he also recorded a second round -5 under par 67, to give him a -7 under par total, to occupy second on his own.

Tied in third are Bubba Watson and Hiroshi Iwata, both players on -6 under par for the tournament.

Bubba, The Masters champion, birdied his last five holes, twice chipping in from off the green to card a -5 under par  67 second round.

This is a very tightly compacted leaderboard, apart from Graeme, and I expect someone to leap out of the pack tomorrow to challenge the cruising G-Mac.

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

 

Volvo China Open. Alexander the Great.

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Alexander Levy fired a great round of 62 to lead the Volvo China Open at the Half-way stage.

Alexander Levy  (Getty Images)

A casual Alexander Levy / Getty Images

Alexander recorded a -10 under par 62, a course record which put him in command of the Volvo China Open at Genzon Golf Club, with a four shot lead. He has a desire to follow the lead of the other French players into the winners circle, especially his friend Victor Dubuisson;

“It is a great round for me, I played unbelievably today and it’s the first time I have played like that. I really like the course and it is in great shape. I played really well and made a lot of putts to make the lowest score of my career. I shot 63 at Kingsbarns during the Dunhill Links in Scotland last year but this course is a lot tougher and I am only starting to realise how good that score is. “

“I played the right strategy today and I just have to try to do that over the next couple of days. I hope that I can play with Ralph tomorrow because he is a great friend and it would be funny if we could play in the last group together tomorrow.”

“I just tried to play one shot at a time. I didn’t realise how good the score was to be honest because I was focussed on playing shot by shot. I am very happy to be here, this is my first time in China and I feel great to be playing so well in what is a really big event for me.” 

“I think the French players are all very close and Victor’s performances over the last few months is helping all the French players and inspiring them to try to do the same. I am friends with Victor. It is mainly through golf that we have a relationship but we are friends. What he has done over the past few months has been amazing and it has really had an effect on all the French players so hopefully I can try to emulate that.” 

Adrian Otaegui, from Spain, is in second place, a -6 under par 66 for a -10 under par total kept him in touch with the leader. Fellow countryman Alvaro Quiros is a further shot back at -9 under par following his more modest second round of -4 under par 68.

Fourth place belongs to Raphaël Jacquelin, his second round of -5 under par 67 gives him a tournament total of -8 under par, and maybe a slim chance of catching Alexander. He was pretty happy to be where he is, saying he is not playing too well;

“I played a bit better today compared to how I was hitting the ball yesterday, so I feel pretty good. Still a few bad shots, but overall, five under, I’ll take it, definitely.”

Ian Poulter just managed to make the cut, a -1 under par total was due to some poor play and a rules infraction, on the 13th hole. he had driven the ball into trees off the tee, and took the penalty two clubs length relief. The drop left him on a cart path, so he was entitled to relief from that position. A free drop is only one club length, but Ian took two, which incurred a one shot penalty. He finished the hole with an eight on his card.

Volvo China Open. It’s tight at the Top, Play Suspended for the Day.

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It’s very tight at the top of the Volvo China Open at the Genzon Golf Club in ShenzenAlvaro Quiros and Simon Dyson share the clubhouse lead at the end of day one. Play was suspended due to bad light, with some players still to complete their first rounds.

Alvaro Quiros  (Getty Images)

Alvaro Quiros / Getty Images

Alvaro and Simon both shot opening rounds of -5 under par 67, to top the leaderboard on the Volvo China Open. Alvaro is coming back from injury and said things are slowly getting better;

“It was a good round of golf. It was a bit of a shame on the last par five because I was half a metre away from having a great chance to make another eagle but I ended up on the lip of the bunker and had to settle for a chip and two putts. You can’t see it yet on the rankings but I have been playing better. The Middle East swing was a good three weeks for me then I had a good result in Joburg and the last couple of weeks have been better.” 

Simon started on the tenth tee, and played well. He has won here before and that gives him a good feeling;

“I started on the tenth today and the first nine holes I played was the best I have played for quite some time. I really didn’t miss a shot. I missed two fairways just, and didn’t miss a green so gave myself a lot chances which is always nice and then I managed to make a couple of birdies on the other side for a tidy five under. It was a good start and very pleasing.”

“I have to say that because I was absolutely horrendous in the pro-am yesterday. I just went on the range for a couple of hours and managed to find something which I took out on to the course and it seemed to work for me. I’ll tell you what, it is an unbelievable finishing hole. If you need to make par on that hole to win on Sunday and you manage to get it done then you will deserve everything you get because it is a very tough finish.”

“I have had a bit of success here and really enjoy playing in China. Obviously I have won this tournament before so that always gives you a good feeling and like I said, I just played nicely today so hopefully I can continue to do that over the next three days.”

In third place, just one shot off the lead are English rookie Tyrell Hatton and Spanish Challenge Tour graduate Adrian Otaegui, David Horsey and Brett Rumford, who have all compiled completed first rounds of -4 under par 68. Alexander Levy and Il-hwan Park were still on the course when play was suspended, having played seventeen holes, and are also at -4 under par.

There is a posse of players at -3 under par, including Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter, they all signed a card for 69. Defending Champion and World Number Three Henrik Stenson was way down the pack at T38 with a completed opening round of -1 under par. There are currently 55 players within four shots of the leaders. A very compacted leaderboard.

Accenture Match-Play. Who Lost on Day 1

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The Accenture Match-Play tournament was most noted for who lost on day 1 of the competition, at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

Day 1 recaps: Accenture

Ricky Fowler / Getty

It was a great victory for Ricky Fowler, defeating legendary matchplay exponent Ian Poulter 2-1. Even Ricky thought Poults was on a winner;

“I was definitely an underdog coming in. Heck, if I was filling out a bracket, I would have picked Poulter, too.  It feels like a big win after those missed cuts, it was nice to be the underdog. I had nothing to lose.”

Another Englishman on the wrong side of the leaderboard was Lee Westwood, he was defeated by Harris English 5-3.

George Coetzee, fresh from his win in South Africa, defeated Steve Stricker, an unlikely result at the start of play.

Zach Johnson, coming back from a layoff, lost to Richard Sterne 5-4. Everyone must now wonder if the unenforced rest period was a disaster, as Zach was playing really well beforehand. Another loser on day 1 was Keegan Bradley, falling to Jonas Blixt 2-1. Luke Donald also packed his bags, losing 5-4 to Matteo Manassero.

G-Mac only just made it,  he was four down through seven holes, and still three holes behind with three to play, when he staged an improbable rally against Florida neighbor Gary Woodland

Daily Wrap-up

Graeme McDowell / Getty

Graeme said he was surprised to get through;

“I’m sure he’s extremely disappointed right now, and I’m extremely elated. I’m surprised to be sitting here, having won. Yeah, I hit a couple of quality shots down the last couple of holes, but he had mistakes, as well. It’s a brutal format. I thought it was over, you’re not coming back from 3 down against a guy that’s playing as well as him. Yeah, I’m still going to try to hit my shots. But it required a mistake from him to give me half a sniff, even. It feels like a Sunday afternoon on Wednesday.”

The big names that made it safely through include, Henrik Stenson, the number one seed here, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, albeit after 22 holes, Jimmy Walker, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson.

     

Waste Management Phoenix Open.

 

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Bubba Watson and Matt Jones share the lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open going into the week-end at TPC Scottsdale.

On a roll

Bubba Watson / Getty Images

Bubba  dressed in  lime green shoes and an otherwise all-black outfit, played in the morning, getting the best side of the draw, he birdied his first hole. Playing early in the cooler temperature does not suit him, back is a little stiff, but he said he is exactly where he wanted to be. Happily at the top of the leaderboard after his second round of -5 under par 66, for his -12 under par total;

“Back is not as loose as you want it to be, weather is not as warm as you want it to be. But I hit a good tee shot, and then I hit my wedge in there close and I made the putt, that got me going. It’s right where I want to be going into the weekend. I had two sloppy bogeys coming down the stretch, but I will take it.” 

Matt also played a morning round, and was thankful for the opportunity to be able to shoot his second consecutive -6 under par 65 for his -12 under par;

 ” We definitely got the good side of the draw. The golf course is so different tournament week than it is when you play out here regularly. It’s a lot harder, a lot faster. The greens are a lot quicker. The pins are a lot more tucked out here. So, it’s like a new golf course when you come here for a tournament.”

Two players are tied in third place, Greg Chalmers and Harris English are at -10 under par.

Brandt Snedeker shot the low round of the day, he also started in the morning, before the wind got up. His second round score of -7 under par 64 moving up the leaderboard to be at -8 under par. Brandt put his special round down to good putting, something I love to hear;

” My putting, plain and simple. I hit the ball extra good yesterday and had some of the worst putting I had all year. Today, I kind of did the opposite.”

Phil Mickelson, the Defending Champion, recovered with a bogey free  -4 under par 67, but he is still a long way from the leaders. Phil declared he is still in the race for this title;

” I’m not totally out of it, obviously heading into the weekend, I’d like to be closer, but as we have seen in the past, there is that minus eight, nine ten, and in some cases eleven-under par round out there. My back feels great, like I said, it was a simple fix. I just don’t want to overdo it.”

Among those missing the cut here are, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, Retief Goosen, Ian Poulter and Keegan Bradley.