European Tour. Volvo Golf Champions. Louis Lifts Trophy.

 

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Louis Oosthuizen lifts the European Tour Volvo Golf Champions trophy at Durban Country Club in South Africa. A final round of -4 under par 68 was good enough to see off the competition.

Oosthuizen starts 2014 in style

Louis and some local fans / Getty Images

Louis had some nervy moments towards the end of his round, a poor shot on 16 where he was lucky to be able to chip out, but still made bogey, and then he needed to make a birdie on the last to win;

“After my tee shot on sixteen I was lucky that I could chip it out and nearly made a great par. But when I stood over the ball on seventeen I saw that Branden had made birdie on eighteen so I knew that second shot was crucial to give myself a good opportunity and I hit it really close.

“And then eighteen, everyone thinks you just need to make a birdie but around that green it’s not easy and luckily I was far enough past where I could pitch it back into the grain and get it close. It was nerve-wracking through the round but I finished strong and I’m just happy that I got it done. It’s an awesome start for the year. Confidence-wise it’s great. I haven’t really played well last year with all the injuries so hopefully I can build from here on and just go better next time.”

Branden Grace captured second place, he also carded a -4 under par 68 in his final round, finishing with a -11 under par total, one shot adrift. He admitted it was terrible watching Louis pass him on the final green;

 “It was terrible watching it. But the winner at the end of the week is going to be the true champion and he played well so he deserves it. I thought I played some superb golf today. I let a couple slip out there which was unfortunate but if you had told me my first event I would start off with a second place, I would have taken it. This really gives you a push in the right direction so I’m really stoked.”

Tommy Fleetwood was the leader at the start of play, but he unfortunately could only produce a par last round of  72, which dropped him into a tie for third place with Joost Luiten, both at -10 under par.

Tommy said he hit the ball better off the tee, but it was the rest of his game that let him down at the crucial stage;

“Today was the best I have hit it off the tee all week and it was a shame the rest of the game let me down. After the long birdie putt on the second my putter went cold and it was not meant to be. It’s always great when you can be leading going into the final round of such a big event. I could have been four under, shot 66 and finished on the same score and not learned half as much. You have to take the positives and I have finished tied third in the first event and overall it’s been a very good week.”

Padraig Harrington and French duo Raphaël Jacquelin and Victor Dubuisson were another shot back on -9 under par.

European Tour. Volvo Golf Champions. Tommy Fleetwood Tops the Table.

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Tommy Fleetwood tops the table at the European Tour Volvo Golf Champions event at the end of day three on the Durban Country Club course.

 

Tommy Fleetwood  (Getty Images)

Tommy Fleetwood / Getty Images

Tommy Fleetwood managed to grind out a -3 under par 69 on moving day, to lead by shot one at -10 under par going into the final round of the Volvo Golf Champions in Durban.

Tommy said it was a tough course, made worse by him not playing too well;

“It’s a tough course as it is but obviously when you’re not quite on your game it turns into a very, very difficult course. I played four or five really good holes, but obviously the rest of it, I struggled. You miss your tee shots you’re always going to struggle for pars. I made one bogey but the bogey was always coming at some point, so I was quite cool and calm at the end of it.”

 “Three under around this golf course, when you’re not on your game is an absolutely brilliant score, and so I think it’s showing that I’m maturing as a golfer and I can actually score when I’m playing bad, which is one of the most important parts of being a professional golfer. Knowing that you can win and thinking you can are miles apart. That week at Gleneagles I was good at staying focused on my own game because that last round, things didn’t go my way all the time.”  

“I stayed patient and came in good at the end. If you can stay in with a shout with three or four holes to go, you never know what’s going to happen. That’s going to be key, just keep going and stay patient. All we want to do is win golf tournaments. That’s the best reason to win, you beat everybody over the week and it just gives you so much joy. It would mean a lot obviously, and first tournament of the year, and I haven’t played for five weeks. I would be in a very happy way if I could come away with the trophy tomorrow.”

Tied in second place at -9 under par are Victor Dubuisson and Joost Luiten.

Victor also had a very demanding day, due to him not striking the ball correctly;

“I’ve never hit the ball so badly but my short game saved me today. I could have been three or four over. I was a little tired this morning, I didn’t sleep well, and I missed a lot of shots. The win at the Turkish Airlines Open gave me a lot of confidence, but you can still have bad rounds.”

Defending Champion and local favourite Louis Oosthuizen is in fourth place on his own, but it could have been so much better. He was leading the tournament with three holes to play, but clocked up a sad seven on the 16th after hitting his second shot into thick undergrowth and having to declare it unplayable.

Louis was obviously very frustrated at the turn of events;

“It’s frustrating that I finally got my seven birdies, which you need to do around this course, but made too many bogeys. I was not great off the tee and hit a few wayward shots but I’m still happy to be right in there. You don’t want to give yourself unnecessary work and I had the chance to get to 12 under today, so I need to be more focused tomorrow.”

European Tour.Volvo Golf Champions. Three-Way Tie at the Top

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There is a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Volvo Golf Champions event at Durban Country Club.

Tommy FleetwoodLouis Oosthuizen and Joost Luiten are tied at the top of the Volvo Golf Champions at -7 under par for the tournament. Joost carding a spectacular albatross, ( note it is not a double eagle) at  the par five tenth hole. He  holed his second shot, a four iron  from  248 yards, at the to the 560-yard hole.

Joost Luiten  (Getty Images)

Albatross man Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Joost explained how it went, and the good feelings involved;

“It’s my first albatross,  I hit a good drive down the middle of the fairway, 227 metres left, hit a four iron and basically went straight at it. It pitched exactly where I wanted, just front of the green and released up the slope and straight at the pin and went in. It was a good feeling. “

“I didn’t really do a lot over the winter. I had three weeks off and I didn’t really practice. You never know how you are going to play after that but luckily the game is still all right. The funny thing is yesterday it felt terrible but I was making some good swings today, so that gives you some trust hopefully for the coming days. I want to win again and if you do there’s a Ryder Cup coming up, that’s the main goal.”

Tommy is not thinking of the Ryder Cup at this moment;

“It’s not my motivation at the minute, although it would be a dream come true one day.”It’s the best sporting event in the world but there are a lot of guys ahead of me at the moment.

“The difference between winning at Gleneagles last year and coming fifth that week was a single putt in four rounds. I could have lost in the play-off (with Ricardo Gonzalez and Stephen Gallacher), finished 50th in the order of merit and not played in the WGC event in Shanghai or this week and the difference in mindset would be huge.

“I played in all four Final Series events and played with Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy, and just being surrounded by the big players is a massive learning experience that you can’t buy.”

Padraig Harrington, currently sharing eleventh place at -2 under par, had to contend with his caddie collapsing half way round the course. Regular bag-man Ronan Flood needed medical treatment, and could not continue. Pat Cashman,  a photographer for the Golfing Union of Ireland, and who has known Padraig for around 35 years was in the gallery following his fellow Irishman and stepped in to carry the bag.

Padraig Harrington and stand-in caddie Pat Cashman  (Getty Images)

Padraig and Pat / Getty Images

Pat said in interview;

“The bag was lighter than I expected. It was very comfortable. I saw Ronan on the range and he looked awful. I said if you need help, call me. They sent out a replacement caddie but Padraig asked if I would be happy to continue and I was. I told him I wouldn’t give him a line or a club but he was so easy to work for. I’ve given him my phone number if he needs me but hopefully Ronan will be okay.”

Padraig spoke about his stand-in caddie;

“He started off like he was carrying bows and arrows but by the end he had the double-strap going (on the bag) and was using all the lingo. It’s amazing how much caddies do for you and it gives you a new appreciation for what they do out there. I know now why we pay them the big bucks!”

Euro Tour. KLM Open. Joost Luiten Lights Up The Leaderboard

It was Dutch delight in the KLM Open as Joost Luiten’s name was up in lights at the top of the leaderboard, winning his home title in Holland.

Joost Luiten   (Getty Images)

A Happy Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Joost became the first Dutchman to win his home title with his victory at the KLM Open at Kennemer Golf & Country Club in Zandvort, Holland, in a sudden death play-off. Joost, who started the day with a one shot lead, had finished the tournament at -12 under par, tied with Miguel Angel Jiménez. The last round scores were; Joost with a -2 under par 68, while Miguel carded -3 under par 69. So a play-off was required to find the winner. It did not take long as Joost won the first play-off hole, the 18th, with a par, Miguel missed his six-foot par attempt.

It was a day of double Dutch delight as compatriot Daan Huizing won the Kharkov Superior Cup on The Challenge Tour, in the Ukraine.

The winning putt brought a massive cheer from the packed home gallery, and Joost thinks the victory will be good for Dutch golf. This is also his second victory this year having  won the Lyoness Open, powered by Greenfinity in Austria earlier this season. He was full of praise for Miguel’s play today;

“Miguel was playing great, especially on the front nine when he started with four birdies in six holes and I was struggling a little bit. I made a few mistakes and although I saved par each time I thought to just hang in there until the back nine and hopefully I can make a move there and that happened. I don’t know what it means for Dutch golf but I think it’s pretty big. Maarten Lafeber won it in 2003 and that was huge, and to have another Dutch winner now I think it will help the game here and hopefully we can create more Dutch winners for this tournament.”

Miguel was hoping to record his 13th victory since turning 40 years old, but in the end had to settle for second place;

“It was a tough day in the wind and not easy for anyone. I was happy to be in contention once more.”

 Simon Dyson, a  three-time champion here, finished three shots back in a share of third place alongside fellow Englishman Ross Fisher, Ireland’s Damien McGrane and France’s Grégory Havret, all finishing on -9 under par.

Euro Tour. The Irish Open. Luiten Likes It.

Joost Luiten likes the way he is playing at The Irish Open on the European Tour, giving himself a one shot lead to take into the final round.

Joost Luiten   (Getty Images)

Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Joost fired a flawless bogey free round of -6 under par, 66, to take him into a clear lead going into the final round. Good approach play, all birdies were from ten feet or less, coupled with good putting put him into this precious position. He also likes this course;

” It was good to-day, a round in this wind with no bogeys is always good. It looks like I’m playing good, playing consistently. I don’t make a lot of silly mistakes, the game feels good. I like the course , obviously after three rounds if you’re leading you like it. The key is to stay out of the fairway bunkers. It’s always great to go into the last round of the tournament as the leader, but this is The Irish Open and perhaps bigger than some other events. I don’t really care who is behind me, as long as they stay behind me. You still have to go out and make some birdies, be patient and take it one shot at a time. It’s always good to have a win under your belt, you can go a little bit more for the win. You have nothing to lose so that’s how I am going to go out tomorrow. I’ve been working on my swing for a long time and am finally fully fit after a shoulder problem which meant I couldn’t practice as much on the range. It has been good for a couple of months and feels really good now.”

Pablo Larrazábal is alone in second place at -14 under par, he also had a third round of -6 under par 66, and at just one shot back is certain to mount a charge for the title. He is hoping he will strike the ball as well tomorrow as he has done the other three rounds, and continue making the putts.

” I’ve been playing good. The last month I didn’t play as good as the three months before, so I feel that I’m hitting the ball good, and I have to fight for the tournament. I hope tomorrow I can hit the ball as good as these days and hole as many putts.”

Robert Rock occupies third place, just three shots off the lead after his disappointing -1 under par round, leaving him on -10 under par for the tournament. He is still very much in this competition, and maybe Paul Casey can make an impression tomorrow. Paul is showing some form here and at -9 under par in total can not be ruled out of contention. Sharing that position with Paul is Scot Henry.

Another shot further back at -8 under par is former Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal, sadly halfway joint-leader Peter Uihlein slipped back to -7  under after a poor round of +2 over par 74.

The Irish Open. Rory Feels Lost. Oscar Floren 1st Round Leader

Oscar Floren of Sweden found some unexpected form to lead The Irish Open by one one shot after the first round at Carton House Golf Club, at Kildare Ireland.

Oscar Floren   (Getty Images)

Oscar Floren / Getty Images

Oscar fired in his best round of the season, -6 under par, 66,  to top the leaderboard at The Irish Open on day one of the tournament. Previously this season Oscar has not finished above 25th place in a European Tour event, but carded a bogey free round that included four birdies and an Eagle. The eagle came at the par four 13th, where Oscar holed out in two shots.

Oscar was pleased with his performance;

“I played great today, It was nice to get off good start today. I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, and eventually a few putts are going to drop. Mentally I’ve changed a bit and put in the work, doing the smart things every day. After March/April I changed things and it’s been paying off. I’ve been in form the last few weeks, I finished well in Germany but I played well in St Omer and Austria the first two rounds as well.”

Hot on Oscar’s heels are a posse of five players on -5 under par, led by Irish favorite Shane Lowery. Shane is joined in second place by, Michael Hoey, Joost Luiten, Peter Uihlein and Jean-Baptiste Gonnet.

Shane Lowery owns a house on the course, but has banned his family, he shares it with Graeme Storm and Oliver Fisher during the tournament;

“Family are banned from the house until Sunday afternoon. I always hang out with Graeme Storm and Oliver Fisher and when the tournament was announced I said they could stay with me. I’m trying to keep my routine as normal as possible this week. It would seem like there should be more pressure on me this week, but I’m looking at it as an advantage. I play this course week-in, week-out and know it like the back of my hand. I went to Baltray just happy to be there and would have been happy going home with four rounds under my belt, but obviously I came away with a lot more than that. This week and 2009 is like chalk and cheese. You can say I’m coming here trying to win the tournament but I’m trying not to talk too much about it.”

Rory McIlroy

Lost Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory McIlroy shot a +2 over par, 74 in the first round of The Irish Open, and admitted that he felt lost out on the course;

” At the moment, no aspects of my game are strong and I’m just feeling a bit lost at the moment. It feels good on the range and I can hit all the shots but when I get out on the course it really does not seem to be there. Off the tee, I am missing one right and then missing one left and it’s just not going where I want it. It puts you in two minds every time you are playing a tee shot. The game is just not coming easy to me at the moment and while I was struggling at this point last year, I was able to turn the corner in the middle of the summer and have a great end to my season. I don’t know whether it’s a matter of trying to play my way out of it or just keep grinding away on the range or whatever.”

Euro Tour. Diamond Joost Wins Lyoness Open.

Bright Diamond, Dutchman Joost Luiten won the European Tour Lyoness Open title in Austria on Sunday.

Joost Luiten  (Getty Images)

Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Joost had a final round of -1 under par, 71 which was good enough to win him the Lyoness Open trophy at the Diamond Country Club, in a weather delayed afternoon in Austria. His final total of -17 under par was two shots ahead of Dane Thomas Björn, who finished alone in second place at -15 under par for the tournament.

Joost was obviously very happy with his win, his previous victory came in the Iskandar Johor Open in 2011;

“It’s been a great week so I am really, really happy. It was a long day, I started off with a bogey but I hit the ball nicely so I just wanted to focus on that, hit the greens, two-putt and make the others chase me. Unfortunately I made a few mistakes on the greens and didn’t make a lot of putts, but in the end I was three clear after my birdie on 16 and that gave me a little bit of air. It’s always nice to finish par, par and hold the trophy.”

Joost spoke about the one hour weather delay, due to the threat of lightning in the area;

“At that time I wanted to play on but it was good to have a break for me because I wasn’t playing really well so I just had some food and tried to focus again and went out there and tried to make pars and sneak in a birdie and that’s what I did.”

Thomas rued the minor golfing mishaps he endured, but was gracious in defeat;

“I played very well at the weekend but I just didn’t do enough today. I bogeyed the sixth and that made it a tough challenge, but I played well down the stretch and tried to put some pressure on.I was unfortunate on the 17th with the bounce. I never really applied enough pressure. But I came here to win or to at least get a top ten and I’ve done that and I’m pretty happy.I hit a lot of good shots. I was a little too aggressive with the putt on the 16th. They didn’t quite drop today, but I putted really well all week and that’s the biggest thing I’ve been struggling with for a long time. It’s been nice to putt well two weeks in a row. Joost has been knocking on the door for a long, long time and he’s a great player so I have to take my hat off to him. He played some wonderful golf this week and deserves it as much as anyone else on Tour. I played with him last week on Sunday and he’s got everything to make him a world-class player. He’s carried himself well when he’s come close to winning but not done it, so hats off to him, he deserves it.”

Third place was shared by Liang Wen-chong from China and Frenchman Romain Wattel, both finished the tournament on -14 under par.