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BMW Masters. Luke Shares Lead With Rafa

Luke Guthrie shares the lead at the BMW Masters with Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello at the end of day 3.

Cabrera-Bello joins Guthrie in Shanghai lead

 Rafael Cabrera-Bello/ Getty

Luke and Rafa are tied at -8 under par for the tournament at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai. Luke struggled today, an even par round of 72 let the field catch up to his blistering start to this competition, his four shot lead disappearing.

He was philosophical about his position;

“At the beginning the week, if I was tied going into the fourth round tied for the lead, I’d have taken it. As today went it was a little frustrating. When I made a couple birdies, I seemed to step on my own foot a few times. Like at 18, I didn’t hit my greatest shot obviously, but wish I didn’t have to chip it on the green to get it close. Overall I was hitting it well, putting well, and just let a few shots get away toward the end and that’s never fun really. I’m tied for the lead going into tomorrow and I’m excited.”

Rafa said he was happy, and will enjoy the final round tomorrow;

” Really happy to keep playing good and happy, also, to put a good round together and be in contention tomorrow. I started with two birdies today, which was good. It gave me confidence straightaway, and then I just stayed calm, one shot at a time, and today it worked.  I’m happy, I’m proud, I’m confident and I’m enjoying the tournament so far, so hopefully tomorrow I can keep those feelings and take them on to the golf course with me, go out there, play my best and enjoy.”

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño is in third place at -7 under par, just one shot off the lead, while Gregory Bourdy is another shot back in fourth pace.

Simon Dyson’s chances of victory disappeared when he was disqualified for signing for an incorrect score in the second round. European Tour Chief Referee John Paramor said in a statement:;

“Simon Dyson has been disqualified from the BMW Masters presented by SRE Group under the rules of golf (6-6d). Simon was found to have breached rule 16-1a, which states that a player must not touch his line of putt.”

” When the footage was reviewed, Simon was seen to touch the line of his second putt after marking and lifting his ball on the green. He subsequently failed to add a two-shot penalty to his score when signing his card, and as a result has now been disqualified. He was bitterly disappointed. He had no way of explaining why or how he came to do what he did. He had no recollection of it until I showed him and even then he said ‘I can’t even remember doing it.’ It’s a very sad thing and unfortunately his event is over.”

I have not seen the video, but if you clear your line of putt of leaves or debris are you not then actually touching your line of putt in the act of doing that.?

 

BMW Masters. Guthrie Gathers Speed.

Luke Guthrie gathers speed as he extended his lead at the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren in Shanghai, China.

Luke Guthrie in action on day two of the BMW Masters in Shanghai

Luke Guthrie / Getty Images

After a second round of -1 under par 71 Luke was able to push his lead over the field out to four shots, with a tournament total of -8 under par.

Luke said it had been another tough day on the course, an under par score was a good effort;

“It was another difficult day out there, anything in the red was another good number and I was able to manage one under. I made a few more mistakes out there, made a few bogeys, which was a little disappointing. It’s never fun to bogey the last hole, but it’s playing tough. I hit a lot of good shots, a lot of things to build on. I made two great swings on 17 and 18 with irons to finish, and build on that going into tomorrow. I was in good form coming here; got a tie for fifth over in Las Vegas on the PGA Tour, and been hitting it really well.” 

His nearest rivals are at -4 under par, all six of them: Simon Dyson following his first two rounds of -2 under par 70, Thongchai Jaidee, Paul Casey, Craig Lee, Scott Jamieson and Ricardo Gonzales.

Craig Lee holed out from 188 yards on the 16th for an Eagle in his round of -2 under par 70, he did not know the ball was in the hole, he had already pulled his putter from the bag;

“Just when I was starting to get a bit frustrated about not moving forward, then bang! I hole a four iron straight into the wind from 188 yards.  Always helps the scorecard, especially from a birdie on the hole before, so it was great.” 

Former World Number Ones Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy are seven shots off the lead on -1 under par, with Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson +2 over par after a 74.

BMW Masters. Luke Guthrie Leads, Big John Daly Right Behind.

Luke Guthrie leads the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China, but Big John Daly is right behind him.

Luke Guthrie   (Getty Images)

Luke Guthrie / Getty Images

Luke required just 19 putts in his opening round -7 under par 65 at the  BMW Masters presented by SRE Group as the Final Series began in Shanghai. The 23-year-old American, who only turned professional last year and is playing his first regular European Tour event, carded five birdies and an Eagle, a chip in on the par five 15th hole.

Not surprisingly Luke said it was a great day;

“It was a great day, I had 19 putts, and that was definitely the key to my round. I had about five weeks off before I played the last two weeks over on the PGA Tour, and I’ve been playing solid, hitting it a lot better and just been getting a lot out of my rounds again, which is nice.

“I love Shanghai. This is my first time over in China and Asia, and I just wanted to challenge myself to come travel abroad and get used to this, and just keep gaining experiences and get better at becoming a global player. I was really looking forward to this tournament on my schedule and I just can’t be more happy to be here.”

Big John Daly  had been recovering on the sidelines for four months, following elbow surgery, and the 47-year-old was delighted with his return. A round of -4 under par 68 announced his return to golf;

“When you don’t play competitive for a while, especially against all these guys out here, as good as they are, you want to execute and hit solid shots. Luckily I got a lot of shots that came out right today.”

“My elbow has been ailing me for probably six years, and the last four have been really just brutal and finally to get the surgery done, it’s nice to be able to pinch chips, which I haven’t been able to do in a long time, so that’s encouraging.”

Completing an American top three is Peter Uihlein, an opening round of -3 under par is another good start to his first European Tour season. Peter has been in contention all season long , and has a win in Madeira and finished runner-up to at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Peter said it had been really tough out there today, and was amazed at the effort of Luke;

“That was tough today, that was really hard, that was some round by Luke. I don’t know what course he played, but that was really difficult today. I got off to a bad start and I was able to grind it out and finish well, so it was nice.”

In the contest to be European Number One, Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson carded a level par 72, while his nearest challenger Graeme McDowell shot a -2 under par 70, helped by an Eagle from around 100 feet on the par five 13th hole.

The Honda Classic. Michael Thompson Comes Up Trumps.

A bear of a win

Michael Thompson / Franklin / Getty Images

Michael Thompson came up trumps in The Honda Classic at PGA National Champion Course, Palm Beach Florida. Young gun Michael cruised to a two shot win over the more experienced Geoff Ogilvy, with a last round of -1 under par and a tournament total of -9 under par. The win gets Michael into his first World Golf Championship next week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral, and qualifies for two more WGCs this year at the Bridgestone Invitational and at the HSBC Champions. He is also now  in the PGA Championship, gets to start next year in Hawaii and earned a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.

Michael said in interview that the whole week had been magical, something he had been dreaming about for a long time;

“This week was magical, just had a groove and kept feeling it. This is everything, this is a childhood dream come true. I’ve dreamed of playing out here since I was 7 years old and to win, it’s just unbelievable. I just can’t put it into words, the whole day was awesome.”

He particularly enjoyed walking up the eighteenth fairway after his second shot on the par five landed in the greenside bunker, giving him the opportunity of an up and down birdie, and he did just that;

“That for me kind of sealed the deal, it allowed me to walk up the fairway and enjoy the experience, see the crowd and just finish strong.”

Geoff Ogilvy will also be at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral, thanks to putting together four good rounds of golf, for his total of  -7 under par.

Geoff admitted that he had already given himself next week off;

“I kind of penciled in a week off, so it’s nice, and it gets me back in the mix for the Masters.”

Geoff was also full of admiration for Michael, and the way he played this golf course;

You don’t have to do much wrong to be making a bogey out there, so it’s pretty impressive, it’s a great effort really. As you see by the rest of the scores, it’s a very hard golf course and it seems to get progressively harder in some ways. There’s a disaster waiting everywhere. There’s a lot of golf courses on tour that it might be easy to close out a golf tournament, or easier, but this is not one of them.”

Luke Guthrie, Michael’s sparring partner at the top of the leaderboard for most of this event fell back during the last round, carding a miserable +3 over par 73, and a tournament total of -5 under par, but it still left him alone in third place.

 

The Honda Classic. Young Guns Luke & Michael Hold On.

Seeking a breakthrough

Michael Thompson & Luke Guthrie / Ehrmann/ Getty Images

The Honda Classic has two tied at the top of the leaderboard going into the Final round on Sunday. Michael Thompson and Luke Guthrie are locked together at -8 under par for the tournament, but their sluggish third rounds of par for Michael and +1 over par for Luke has let the more experienced players close the gap. Perhaps the chilly, windy conditions slowed these two down, Lee Westwood and Geoff Ogilvy are poised nicely just two shots adrift of the young guns, and will be certain to push hard tomorrow to see if the youngsters break under the pressure.

Lee Westwood likes his chances;

” I like my chances regardless of the conditions, I’m playing nicely. Just got a couple of mistakes I made today, but other than that, I’m playing solidly. I have to start making a few putts. I had a lot of chances to make putts that just grazed the hole. I like being out late on a Sunday and having a chance.”

Geoff Ogilvy felt that even par for the day was always going to be good enough to keep in touch with the leaders;

“Even par for the day was never going to go backward, it was only going to go forward, and I did that.”

There are eleven players separated by just four shots who are contesting the final round, a group that includes Rickie Fowler, Charles Howell III, Keegan Bradley and Justin Rose.

Rickie Fowler, is finally in the mix on a Sunday, he is looking forward to still being in contention on the back nine;

“The biggest thing is being within a few shots going into the back nine tomorrow, that’s where the tournament really starts.”

The big name  missing from the mix was Tiger Woods, who started well with a 32 on the front nine, and then faltered on the back nine, finally folding to a double bogey on the par-3 17th, when his tee shot plugged into the bank short of the green and he never found the ball. Tiger finished with a round of 70, pretty much the same as everyone else, when what he needed was a low score.

It will interesting tomorrow to see if the young guns can keep their heads and gain a first Tour victory, or will the experience of the likes of Lee Westwood, Geoff Ogilvy, or even Rickie Fowler step up to the plate.

 

 

The Honda Classic, Luke Guthrie Leads by One.

Guthrie stands alone

Luke Guthrie / Getty Images

The Honda Classic second round was dominated by Luke Guthrie, shooting -7 under par, 63 to lead by one shot on the              PGA National Champion Course at Palm Beach. His tournament total of -9 under par is just one shot ahead of Michael Thompson, alone in second spot, who had a -5 under par second round of 65.

Luke said he had no idea about Rory’s situation;

” I had no clue, I was just kind of going about my business out there.”

Tied in third place at -7 under par are Boo Weekley and Graham DeLaet, Boo with a second round of -3 under par 67, and Graham with a  -2 under par round of 70.

There are six players tied in fifth place at -6 under par, they are; Lee Westwood, Geoff Ogilvy, Doug LaBelle 111, Justin Rose, Sean O’Hair and Chucky Three-Sticks.

Rory McIlroy was forced to withdraw due to pain in his wisdom tooth, there are some conflicting stories around about why he actually quit, he was -7 over par through eight holes of his second round at the time. The pain in the tooth statement came form Rory’s management company, make what you want with that. With Tiger Woods just making the cut on the number it represents another poor start to a tournament for the stars of Nike. It was Rory’s third missed cut in a row. Tiger felt he just did not hit the ball very well today;

” Well, I didn’t hit it anywhere near as good as I did Thursday, I didn’t have it today. I had it going early and then I would lose it.”

 

Overnight leader Camilo Villegas  shot a second round -7 over par, 77 a mighty difference of 13 strokes from his opening round of 64,  to miss the cut by a shot.

Other notables missing the cut were, Major winners Louis Oosthuizen and David Duval, followed by Mike Weir, Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey.

Sony Open, Hawaii, Rookie Scott Langley Leads

SONY OPEN

on the left is Scott Langley/ Getty Images

The Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club.had a surprising first round leader in Scott Langley, in his first start as a rookie on Tour. Scott fired in a first round 62, -8 under par, with some wonderful stroke play and nerveless putting. Scott said he was excited about the coming days of this tournament;

“I’m a young guy, but I’m old enough to know that we have a lot of golf left. We’ve barely started, and I’m excited about the next few days.”

Just one shot behind the leader in second place is another rookie, Russell Henley, with his opening effort of -7 under par 63. Russell was pleased he got friends Scott and Luke Guthrie as his playing partners in the first round;

“I think there was a lot of nerves for me the first few holes and I think playing with Scotty and Luke was huge for me, and watching them play well kind of gave me a goal to try to keep up with them, so it was definitely fun feeding off them.”

Unfortunately Luke Guthrie did not fare so well, finishing at +1 over par, tied in 88th place.

A year ago Scott and Russell two were playing in a Hooters Tour event in Florida, Russell missing the cut and Scott just making it to proceed, walking up sixteen today the pair reminisced, Scott said;

“We were on the range trying to help each other find it. We were just walking up 16, you could see the ocean behind, PGA TOUR signs everywhere. We looked at each other and realized this is pretty cool. To look back one year ago and to know that we weren’t here, we were in a far different place.”

Tied in third spot at -6 under par are Scott Piercy and Tim Clark, Scott Piercy had a 64 in the morning, with Tim Clark matching that score in the afternoon session. Tim spent most of last year suffering from a mystery elbow injury, and came into this tournament with fairly low expectations;

“It’s going to be an exciting year for me because I do feel like I’m healthy again and can play a full schedule. I’m obviously doing a lot better than I was last year.”

Scott Piercy, the RBC Canadian Open champion, was among 20 players in the field who started their season last week on Maui, at the weather wrecked Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course, he recalled the terrible putting performance he endured;

” Seven three-putts and a four-putt last week. The wind wasn’t even blowing today compared to last week. I just played solid today, hit it in a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, made two fairly key putts and took care of the par fives.”

Seventy players in the 144-man field broke par, they included a pair from the Champions Tour. Russ Cochran, who won the Senior British Open in 2011, he had a first round of 68 and Fred Funk who shot an even par round of 70.

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