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. KLM Open. Dutch Delight as Luiten’s Leads.

Joost Luiten brought some Dutch delight to the home crowd as he leads the KLM Open at  the Kennemer Golf and Country Club in Holland.

Joost Luiten   (Getty Images)

Joost Luiten / Getty Images

In wet and windy conditions Joost fired in a third round -4 under par 66 at Kennemer to top the leaderboard at -10 under par. Joost is trying to become the first Dutchman in ten years to win the home tournament, and he said it had been a tough day;

“It was tough, it was a day all about surviving, especially on the front nine when it was raining and very windy. You knew it was going to be very tough, par was a pretty good score. If you said I would make par before we started I would probably have signed for it so four under is even better and I am pretty happy. I am just trying to enjoy it, it’s great to see all the people out there even when its raining and a day like this. You know everyone is behind you and you just try to play as good as you can and that’s what I am trying to do.”

Miguel Angel Jiménez  is still there, just one shot behind at -9 under par. Miguel did not fare so well in the tougher conditions and had to fight hard just to post an even round of 70.

Sharing third place are Julien Quesne and Damien McGraine, both players at -8 under par. Julien carding Par, while Damien climbed up the leaderboard with his battling -3 under par 67.

Damien said he had enjoyed the day;

“It was really enjoyable, my short game was razor sharp which you need in tough conditions. I managed not to drop any shots all day which was a great achievement I am very content.  I enjoyed it only because I was able to hang in there and picked up a couple of birdies close to the end which turned it into a very good day. When the conditions get tough it falls back on chipping and putting and today I was pretty good at it. Some of the holes are brutal, especially on the front nine, and when I weathered as far as number six I knew it would get a little easier. I’ve been showing reasonable form so I am looking forward to getting to this time tomorrow evening and see what it brings.”

The top of the leaderboard is still tightly packed, Simon Dyson and Oliver Fisher are tied fifth, at -7 under par and a shot further back are Hennie Otto and Robert Allenby.

The final round on Sunday will be an interesting affair, and I guess the weather will play a major part in what happens, but good luck to Joost Luiten.

Euro Tour. KLM Open. Pablo and Miguel Spanish Duo Share Lead.

The Spanish duo of Miguel Angel Jiménez and Pablo Larrazábal share the lead at the KLM Open at the half way stage in Holland.

Miguel Angel Jimenez  (Getty Images)

Miguel Angel Jimenez /Getty Images

Miguel fired a bogey free -3 under par 67 for his total score of -9 under par for the tournament. He is hoping that it will be his turn to win this week, after missing out last week in Switzerland;

“This course suits me, it’s not a very long course but you have to have the ball in position. I like this kind of links course and I feel very comfortable with my game. I didn’t manage to get the win in Switzerland last week, but maybe this week it will be my turn, I hope so.”

Pablo had two bogey’s in his second round -4 under par 66, to also reach -9 under par for the tournament at the Kennemer Golf Club, He said he had lost count of the putts he had missed on the back nine in a wet afternoon. Playing with Miguel tomorrow would be good, and a lot of fun;

“I’m happy, I’m hitting the ball as good as ever. I don’t know how many putts I missed today on that back nine. But I am on top of the leaderboard at the moment, the conditions were not good this afternoon, it was raining all the way so I am very happy with my game. It’s always good, we spend many practice rounds together, maybe 95 per cent we play together. We know each other well and have a lot of fun. We have a lot of dinners together.”

Simon Dyson, who won at Kennemer in 2006 and 2009 shot a bogey free -7 under par 63 second round, to finish tied in second place at -8 under par. Simon reported that he had a really solid round, and knows he can play well here;

“I’ve done well in previous years and played well around it today. I played really solid apart from the last two holes and never looked like making bogey. I hit a poor tee shot on the eighth, which was my 17th, and the lie determined the shot I had to play. I had quite a lot of room to pitch it on the green but had a terrible lie so had to play a little bump and run, a proper links shot, and managed to play it well. 
On the last I didn’t quite strike the chip as I wanted to but it was nice to roll the putt in and have a bogey-free round.”

Joining Simon in second place are Oliver Fisher and Julien Quesne, both players had a second round score of -5 under par 65, Julien bogey free and Oliver carding one bogey.

Top placed Dutchman is now Joost Luiten, a second round -5 under par 65 got him into a tie for seventh place at -6 under par. Missing the cut were Paul Casey and Padraig Harrington. Paul had shown signs of recovery lately but has slipped back, Padraig continues his disappointing season.

Euro Tour. KLM Open, Jiménez 1st Round Leader

Miguel Angel Jiménez leads the KLM Open at the conclusion of the opening round at the Kennemer Golf and Country Club in Zandvoort, The Netherlands.

Miguel Angel Jimenez  (Getty Images)

Miguel continues to roll back the years, with another fine performance at the start of the KLM Open in Holland. His opening round of -6 under par 64 gave him a one shot lead over the field on the par 70 Kennemer G&GC lay-out.

Spaniard Miguel said he came to life when the sun came out;

“When the sun came out I started to play my best golf, holing my wedge shot from 40 metres on the 16th was very nice. Then the birdie on the last was a great way to finish, I’m very happy. It’s a nice course and it’s in great condition, so I enjoyed my day very much. It’s maybe not playing as firm as it normally would, because of all the wet weather we’ve had. But hopefully we can get a bit more sun and it will dry out over the next few days. I played very well last week, so I expected to play well again here.  Seve Ballesteros’s first win on The European Tour was here in 1976, and José María [Olazábal] also won here in 1989, so hopefully I can win here too. That would be fantastic. I love to kick the young boys’ butts! I look after myself. People know I love to smoke cigars and drink nice wines, but I also work out and I keep myself very fit, because you have to. I love my job and I love my life, so hopefully I can keep it going for a few years yet.” 

There are six players chasing Miguel, all tied at -5 under par in second spot. The internationally mixed bunch are;

Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal, Ireland’s Damien McGrane, Scot Gary Orr, Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti, England’s David Howell and Australian Robert Allenby. The leaderboard is tightly packed once again on the European Tour in what should be another exciting contest.

Fabrizio has good memories of this course, and plays well here, he will need to play well again as  has dropped to 152nd position on The Race to Dubai, the 30 year old has just four events remaining after this week to climb into the top 110 players who will keep their cards;

” A few years ago I played well here, so I like Holland. Always you have good memories, so you try to remember the good results and good places. Sometimes you get to those places and just play good golf, and that’s the case with me here.”

Damien was delighted with his start to the tournament;

“I’m delighted, because I played lovely from start to finish. The course is in fantastic shape, and the weather was somewhat kinder this morning. All in all it was a very pleasing day, and definitely gives me a nice platform to build on over the next few days.” 

Best placed Dutchman is Wil Besseling, he is tied in ninth place at -3 under par, just three shots off the lead.

European Tour, KLM Open, Hanson Wins

Rory McIlroy and Peter Hanson have both had the ideal preparation for Medinah after their wins past weekend  (EuropeanTour)

Rory McIlroy & Peter Hanson/EuropeanTour

Peter Hanson won the KLM Open in The Netherlands with a final tournament total of -14 under par, after Peter had produced an eagle on the par-five 18th hole to win at the Hilversumsche Golf Club.  Peter had considered withdrawing from the tournament after his one-year-old son, Tim, was hospitalised with a respiratory virus on Friday, but after receiving some good news concerning Tim, Peter elected to play on;

” It was especially hard yesterday, with having him in the hospital, on Friday night I didn’t sleep a lot. Yesterday was very tough, but I kind of calmed down a little bit yesterday evening when I heard he was over the worst of it.”

With Rory McIlroy winning on the USPGA Tour again the European Ryder Cup Team have had a good few months of wins in preparation for the contest in Medinah. The list includes  Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, and now Sweden’s Hanson in what has been a morale-boosting few weeks for Olazábal’s side.

Nicolas Colsaerts and Martin Kaymer are to be joined by fellow continental Francesco Molinari at this week’s BMW Italian Open, as preparations continue and The 39th Ryder Cup draws another week closer.

European Tour, KLM Open. Graeme Storm leads after 1st round

Storm pleased to overcome trying time

Graeme Storm /Getty Images

Graeme Storm of England leads the European Tour KLM Open after the first round at Hilversumsche Golf Course with a faultless round of 63, a -7 under par effort. Graeme is trying to overcome personal tragedy away from the course, with his grandfather passing away prior to June’s BMW International Open.

“I’ve had a tough run and it’s all been a bit of a struggle. I’ve just not been enjoying it. I lost my grandfather on the Wednesday morning of Germany and since then I have really struggled. I kind of kept it to myself what happened but it hit me really hard. You can get punished round here but I played the best I have probably played all year. I’m just happy to get a round like that under my belt after recent months. The golf course here is fantastic, the best I have ever seen it, so you have to hit it straight and that is what I did. I made the birdies when I gave myself the chances and got up and down when I missed the greens. There is still a lot of play for this season. Keeping my card is the goal. At the start of the season it was getting into the top 60 on The Race to Dubai but I’m a long way from that so my goal now is to keep my card.”

I wish Graeme well, and hope that he will retain his card.

There are three players tied in second place, European Ryder Cup player Martin Kaymer, Raphaël Jacquelin and  Fabrizio Zanotti, who all had rounds of 65, -5 under par and two shots adrift of the leader.

Martin and Raphaël both had eagles on the par five twelfth hole, Martin saying he is working hard as he seeks to recapture his best form.

” Two years ago when I won here was very nice but that was a period of time I could have played golf with my eyes closed. Now is a different time when I need to work and it takes a lot of energy and a lot of concentration. I really need to focus on the things on the range. Two years ago it was more automatic.”

Defending Champion here is Simon Dyson, a three times a winner of this event, he began his defense of this title beginning the week with a 70 that featured a welcome Eagle on 18.