Alstom Open De France. Hansen Leads

Anders Hansen leads the Alstom Open De France with a -5 under par 65 to lead by one shot at the Le Golf National course in Paris.

Anders Hansen   (Getty Images)

Anders Hansen / Getty Images

Anders defied a hand injury and testing conditions at Le Golf National to take a one shot lead after the opening round of the Alstom Open de France. He will undergo surgery in Zurich next week to try and overcome the long-standing hand problem. This course is good enough for the Ryder Cup, in his opinion;

“I’m telling you, it’s a great venue for The Ryder Cup. The course is set up perfect for it. The spectators get such a good view and it’s such a great finish to the round. I think it’s going to be a great venue. It is a tough course,  the greens are pretty firm and it’s tight out there. There’s hardly any wind, and you see the scores aren’t that great. I played actually really solid from tee to green,  I think I only missed two or three greens. I putted quite well, so just sort of all came together. At some stage it seemed a bit easy, but this course gets your attention and next thing you know, you’re making bogeys.”

Of his long-term battle with the hand injury, he is hoping that this surgery will be a quick fix;

I’ve had it for years and years and years,  they are going in three different places and they are going to remove a cyst I have here and clean this up and hopefully there’s a 50/50 chance it’s going to be okay. The other thing is to take the whole bone out and cut it a bit, but that’s a big operation and I would be out for six months, so we are hoping to do that and it’s going to be good enough. It’s just wear and tear from hitting too many golf balls.”

Frenchman Romain Wattel is in second place at -4 under par, he wants to play well in front of the home crowd;

“You are in front of the French crowds, so you want to be good, you want to play great golf and so there is pressure on me. I’m trying to play my best and just focus on the shot I have to play, that’s the only thing I can do.”

Martin Kaymer was part of a nine-strong group on three under par, while defending Champion Marcel Siem sadly signed for a first round of 78.

Euro Tour. BMW International Open. 3rd Round Three Way Tie.

The third round ended in a three-way tie in the BMW International Open at the Golfclub München Eichenried course between Ernie Els, Alexander Levy and Alex Noren. All three players finished the day with a tournament total of -15 under par.

Ernie Els   (Getty Images)

Ernie Els / Getty

Ernie has been caught at the top of the leaderboard in the BMW International Open, after a two hours and twenty minutes delay for rain in the third round. Ernie had a trio of three putts, but recovered with three birdies in his last five holes for a -3 under par 69 and to hang on at the top;

“All in all I’ve got to be happy, I was a little out of sorts on the greens on the front nine, I didn’t quite get the pace of the greens. They are a little bit faster for some reason and I kept hitting it past and then didn’t make the returns, but I made a little slight adjustment and played some proper stuff coming in. If it wasn’t for those three three putts I had, I would have had a really good score. I was playing so nicely that I felt I’m trying to pull away from the field, and then the opposite happened, and I made some mistakes. I’m in a good position still, just hanging onto the lead or co leader now, and tomorrow is all to play for.”

Alexander Levy was happy with his score, and to have played with Ernie;

“I played very well, I’m very happy. It was great for me to play with a fantastic player. It’s nice to play with him, very happy, it was unbelievable. It was tough, but I like this position.  I practiced for that and I’m happy to be in this position for tomorrow. I like to play in the top, I prefer this position. I want to be like that all the time. I don’t know what happens tomorrow, but I will go to make the job like today, and play golf on a golf course in good condition and I am happy.”

Alex Noren  started the day three shots adrift of the lead, but made up the deficit with a -6 under par 66 round;

” I hit a lot of good shots and a few bad ones, but you always do. You’ve got to be aggressive, because there are so many guys. The leaderboard is as tight as ever with so many good players. Yeah, I’ve got to be aggressive and maybe more aggressive tomorrow than today. I came off the bogey on 15, and it was a perfect distance for the three wood and I hit it great. Marcel  hit it really close just before me, so I knew it was possible, but then I managed to hole the putt, it was great.”

Tied in fourth spot are Matthew Baldwin and Thomas Bjorn, both just one shot adrift at -14 under par. Home favorites Martin Kaymer and Marcel Siem are close by, in the group of  five players at -12 under par.

The leaderboard is still tightly compacted, with eleven players within three shots of the leaders. It will be a real battle for supremacy tomorrow.

European Tour. Trophée Hassan II. Marvelous Marcel

The marvelous golf of German Marcel Siem kept him at the top of the leaderboard at the  Trophée Hassan II competition in Morocco on the European Tour.

Marcel Siem   (Getty Images)

Marcel Siem / GettyImages

Marcel needs a win here at the Trophée Hassan II, to stand any chance of climbing into the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 50 and earn himself a debut Masters Tournament appearance next month. His second round of -4  under par 68 keeps him on top of the leaderboard, and maintains a comfortable three shot lead over the field.

Marcel admitted that his round could have been better, but he still has the Masters appearance in his sights and actually hopes the wind does get up a little bit because he enjoys the challenge;

I think it should have been better than it was to be honest, the bogeys on four and seven were a bit weird because I was in the middle of the fairway there. But otherwise, this course is always tricky and I should accept the 68 because it’s always nice to go under par after such a low round the day before because that can be quite difficult to follow up on sometimes. I actually hope the wind blows a little bit more because I actually enjoy the challenge of playing into the wind and it would also keep the guys behind me away from me because if there is no wind out there then people can go very low around this course.”

David Horsey remains in second place at -9 under par, tied alongside Mikko Ilonen. David had a -5 under par 67, while Mikko took a big leap up the leaderboard with his round of -6 under par 66.

Alone in third spot is Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal after his sudden surge up the leaderboard with his wonderful -8 under par 64 around the Golf du Palais Royal course.

European Tour. Trophée Hassan 11. 40th Anniversary, Marcel Siem Leads.

Marcel Siem from Germany leads at the European Tour event, Trophée Hassan 11, being staged at Golf du Palais Royal in Morocco. It is the 40th Anniversary of this competition, which was established by the late King of Morocco in 1971.

Marcel Siem   (Getty Images)

Marcel Siem / Getty Images

Marcel Siem shot a first round of -8 under par 64 at the Trophée Hassan II, to lead by three shots from Spaniard Alvaro Velasco, who had a more modest first round of -5 under par 67.

Marcel is keen to earn his debut place at the Masters next month, he will need to keep playing like this to achieve that goal. Apart from playing well Marcel also said he enjoyed some good luck today;

” Sometimes you need a bit of luck in this game and thankfully today was one of those days where it went my way. I didn’t know I still had a chance for the Masters but now we know there are four or five of us in the field here who still might be able to get to the Masters if we win here. It is a nice incentive but I came here first and foremost to play this tournament and play this golf course. The Masters would be pretty special but I just have to concentrate on what I am doing in this tournament.”

There are three English players tied in third position at -4 under par, they are; David Horsey, Graeme Storm and Simon Wakefield.

Simon said he was shocked to be in this position, he  is still chasing a maiden European Tour victory after almost 300 events.

” It was one of those days when you go out there on a realty tough golf course and the wind is blowing 20-30 miles per hour and you don’t expect to finish on four under. I am shocked to be tied in third but I played well.”

David who won here two years ago said he has good feelings coming back here;

” Hopefully I can start climbing the order of merit now and have a good year because I feel like all the changes I have made have given me a new lease of life. It was very good, I am very happy with the start. I had my fair share of good luck today but you need that in this game and you just have to take advantage of it when it comes your way.I managed to play well today and had the ball under control for the majority of the round. Obviously I had the win here two years ago and I do feed off a lot of those good feelings from that when I come back here. It is a great golf course that is different to what we usually play with a lot of run-offs and raised greens but you can make a score if you play well as I showed today.”

Yesterday Francesco Molinari played in the Pro-Am with the Crown Prince of Morocco, HRH Prince Moulay Rachid. Francesco said it was a great privilege to have partnered the Prince;

” It was a great privilege for me to play with the Prince, I had the chance to meet him last night and he is a very nice, down to earth guy. He just loves his golf and is very knowledgeable about the game and the top players. It is not every day that you get the chance to play golf with Royalty so it is a very humbling experience for me.”

Omar Lahjomri, HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, Francesco Molinari & Jalil Bennis  (Getty Images)

Omar Lahjomri, HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, Francesco Molinari & Jalil Bennis  / Getty Images

Francesco did not have a good first round today, finishing at +1 over par 73.

WGC-Accenture Match-Play, Rory & Tiger Fall at First Hurdle, Again !!



Bracket busters

Rory & Tiger, early exits again. / Stan Badz/PGA Tour/ Getty Images

The WGC-Accenture Match-Play tournament brought two more early exits from Rory and Tiger at The Golf Cub at Dove Mountain, on the resumption of the first round today.

Shane Lowery defeated Rory McIlroy 1 up, Rory definitely seems to be having problems with his new equipment, Shane was feeling pretty good about his win;

“Obviously it was always going to be a tough match for me against Rory today, playing against the world No. 1. But I’m feeling quite good now, but it’s important not to get too high now because it’s only the first round, and I’ve got another match tomorrow and really looking forward to playing that.”

Rory admitted he just did not do enough to win the match;

“I didn’t make enough birdies in the end, Shane had a nice little stretch around part of the back nine. I hung in there, but I just didn’t do enough.”

Chucky Three Sticks defeated Tiger Woods 2 and 1, and said he knew he needed to play at his best to have a chance against Tiger;

“I knew I had to play my best to have a chance out there, he’s Tiger Woods and I was just happy to hang in there.”

Tiger felt he had played well;

“I didn’t really miss a shot today. We both played well, he made a couple of more birdies than I did. He played well, and he’s advancing.”

Luke Donald beat Marcel Siem 1 up. Marcel was making his World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship debut. He played well, but Luke said he did not worry when Marcel took the lead;

“I didn’t worry because I was hitting good shots still, I hit a couple of left shots on the back nine but drove it great today, hardly missed a fairway, hit a lot of solid iron shots and putted well. I obviously made it tough on him, too, and I just felt good about my game, so I wasn’t worried when I went 1 down on 12.”

There are still some first round matches to be completed, on Friday, before the second round can get under way.

Other notables winning today were Justin Rose, 2 and 1 over K.J. Choi; Ian Poulter, 2 and 1 over Stephen Gallacher; Martin Kaymer 2 and 1 over George Coetzee.

A loss for Lee Westwood at the hands of Raphael Cabrera-Bello after 19 holes, another poor result for Lee in this competition.


Alstom Open de France, Marcel Siem Wins

Super Siem overcomes Molinari magic

Marcel Siem (Getty Images)

Marcel Siem of Germany won the Alstom Open de France at Le Golf National in Paris. It is Marcel’s second European tour win, and he had to fend off a charging Francesco Molinari to get it. Francesco fired a last round -7 under par 64, the lowest round of the week to finish just one shot behind Marcel. The new champion had a very respectable last round of -4 under par 67 in the blustery conditions for his -8 under par total and to lift the trophy. With this win Marcel also gains a place in The Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes, and becomes the third German to have triumphed at this event after Bernhard Langer and Martin Kaymer. Marcel was extremely happy with his win;

“I’m so happy, this means a lot to me.First, after eight years it doesn’t matter what kind of tournament you won, it’s huge because you’ve got the confidence again. Every time I’ve played consistent golf this year, and there were so many times up there, I couldn’t make it.  Stupid things happened the whole time. It means so much to me to win after that long stretch. It’s all about winning in the end and it puts so much pressure every time you don’t win and people start talking, you will never win again and stuff like that, so it’s very important for me. I love this golf course. I always loved it and I love it even more or even better now. I’m super happy. I was very nervous, I have to say, after 14 when I made the up and down out of the trap. The last stretch is one of the toughest stretches we have on Tour. In Cologne at last month’s BMW International Open, I hit it in the water on seven, when in the last round I was leading.  But I made great golf shots. I hit it close on 15, made a good shot on 16 that wouldn’t drop and even 17, hit the flag. I stayed very calm. That was very nice. Now I’ve got the win it’s going to make me relax a lot more now.”

Francesco enjoyed his unbelievable last round;

” It’s been just an unbelievable day really. I had a really bad start, but two years ago when I finished second here, I doubled the first on the last day. From then on, it was just great golf. I had a couple of good breaks and finally a lot of putts going in the hole. I was in the moment, in the zone and I wasn’t really counting the birdies. The game has been feeling well all week and everything was coming out perfect.”

The home crowd favourite Raphaël Jacquelin claimed the third spot on six under par, with the English trio of David Lynn, Ian Poulter and David Howell a shot further back in fourth place.

The World’s Number Three ranked player Lee Westwood climbed 18 places to 40th with a closing 70, just a  a day after it looked as if he might be pulling out with knee and groin trouble after he slipped walking to the first tee. Lee said;

“The leg is fine , it wasn’t a problem today. “

Alstom Open de France, 3rd round, Howell & Hansen Lead

Howell and Hansen hold slender advantage

David Howell (Getty Images

David Howell and Anders Hansen share the third round lead at the Alstom Open de France at Le Golf National, Paris, with a tournament total of -6 under par. There was a brief interruption, around 35 minutes, for a thunder-storm and Anders Hansen and George Coetzee who were then leading, at 8 under, dropped shots at the last couple of holes. That gave David Howell the opportunity to make up ground with his third round of -4 under par, 67, to tie Anders and pass George, who is now one shot back at -5 under par.

David is very satisfied with the way he is playing;

“I played beautifully. It’s been three good rounds so far. Today was probably the way you want to play the golf course. The way I played, I kept the ball on the whole in the fairway and took my chances when they came along. You’ve got to play steady golf around here. You can’t smash it all over the place and expect to score. You’ve got to be patient and play strategically, not make too many stupid errors and when the birdie chances come, the greens are perfect, so you can hope to hole some putts from 20 or 30 feet as well.
The confidence is building by the day and today’s round was important for me, and tomorrow’s will be of course. In decent position after 36, you never want to go backwards, and to play such a nice round, I was very pleased for my confidence. “

Anders was disappointed to drop shots late on in his round;

“I’m very pleased. Obviously disappointed to drop shots on six and 16, and on 17 I hit a bad drive, but two bogeys on a tough, tough day like today, it’s very decent. I’ve heard it’s going to be very, very windy tomorrow. We’ll see what’s going to happen. This is where I want to be and this is what I’ve worked towards. I’m happy to see the changes are working well and I’m hitting a lot of good shots out there. The more comfortable I get with the things I’m doing, you think the chances are that I’m going to play better, so all in all I’m very pleased.”

Frenchman  Raphaël Jacquelin went round in 70 to lie two behind Howell and Hansen. He was joined on four under by overnight leader Marcel Siem, who struggled to 73 after carding back to back 68s earlier in the week. Raphaël was happy with the home support he has been receiving;

” It was great to see the public coming, even if the weather was not very good. I hope they are going to be there a lot tomorrow and support me.  I will try to do my best, and we’ll see. It’s like a fifth major for us, and so it would mean a lot but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. The course is putting a lot of pressure on myself already. So I will try to do my best again.”

Lee Westwood dropped off the planet, with a third round 76, but Ian Poulter is still in with a chance at -3 under par and three shots of the pace.

Alstom Open de France, 2nd round, Marcel Siem Leads



Siem holds slender advantage

Marcel Siem (Getty Images

Germany’s Marcel Siem leads after the second round of the Alstom Open de France,  at Le Golf National in Paris. Marcel has a one shot lead over Alexander Noren of Sweden, who at one time joined Marcel at the top until he  found water at the last and made bogey.

Marcel is hoping he can keep going, after two rounds of -3 under par and tournament total of -6 under;

 “If you shoot a few under on the golf course, it doesn’t matter what are the conditions, it’s a good score. I’ve shot two times three under now, so I’m very happy and I hope I keep it going like that. “

A mid afternoon suspension of play for a lightning storm came at the right time for Marcel;

“I had just made double bogey before that. Then on 18, would have been my first shot after the lightning. I was a bit steamy there, and actually it was good for me I reckon that we got called off the course. It was nearly flat calm in the end. On the last four holes, there was a little breeze off the left, half a club of wind. It was very comfortable and nice to play and I’m really happy that I made something out of it.”

Alexander was also happy to be amongst  the later starters;

” It was tough the first nine holes, and then we got really lucky on the back nine. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, and then got a lot of good putts on the back nine coming in, so it was a steady round and I’m really pleased.”

Anders Hansen is just four shots off the lead, he said;

“I’m very proud of myself to keep doing what I’ve done, even though there’s a few shots that didn’t come as I wanted them to, but all in all, I’m still in the learning process of trying to figure this thing out. To go out on a course like this with a few new things in the golf swing is not exactly easy. When you get out there, you have to trust what you’re doing.”

Lee Westwood, at +1 over par,  is still having his problems with the course, but feels he is still not out of contention;

“It’s that kind of golf course.  You don’t have to be far off. I would liked to have played a bit better coming in but I’m not out of it.”

Handa Wales Open @ Celtic Manor,Thongnchai Jaidee leads by one.

Thongchai Jaidee  (Getty Images)

Thongchai Jaidee (Getty Images)

Thongchai Jaidee has given himself an opportunity to register his first victory on European soil as a third round -4 under par,67  in the Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor puts him in the lead at  the top of the leader board. The Thai golfer now has an advantage in the ISPS Handa Wales Open,  over second round leader Ross Fisher, who could only muster a par third round and also Joost Luiten. Joost had an amazing third round of -7 under par 64, which propelled him up the leader board into tied for second place.

Thongchai is excited by the opportunity to win in on European soil for the first time;

 I’ve won a lot of times in Asia and I’ve played well a lot of times in Asia. In Europe, it’s very important for me to do well because the weather is going to be very difficult for me. I’ve learned a lot of things, how to play with these conditions. I think this time it’s a very good chance. You never know how it’s going to be tomorrow, but I’ll try to give it my best and look forward. If I keep my game plan like this, I have a good chance. I’ll play my own game, the best thing to do is to hit fairways, hit the greens and putt well. That’s my key tomorrow.”

The 42-year-old Thongchai birdied the par five 18th after an incredible drive measured at 410 yards,and then only needed a seven iron second to the 575 yard hole. He unfortunately pushed it into a bunker, but made a 12 foot putt for the outright lead.

 He was pleasantly surprised with the drive;

“I think 320 is the longest for me, so when we got to the top of the hill I asked ‘where’s the ball?’ and a marshal told me. I thought it was 390, but 410 sounds better.” He

Ross Fisher stubbed his toe in his hotel room on Friday night;

“There were a few expletives and it was extremely painful. I couldn’t put any weight on it and half-contemplated playing in trainers.
One of the toes is as purple as anything. I iced it and two of the toes were strapped together, but I hit it everywhere and I’m glad to finish. It would mean a lot to win. I set very high standards and I reached 17th in the world, so I know I have the game. “

“Given where I hit it that’s one of the best level par rounds I’ve ever had. I hung in there and dug deep.

Dutchman, Tim Sluiter is another shot further back after his third round score of  -3 under par, 68, and is alone with a tournament total of -5 under par.

Germany’s Marcel Siem has made a remarkable recovery from yesterday’s poor round, to shoot a third round -5 under par 66, which has put him in good position to maybe have a say in the outcome of this tournament tomorrow.

Handa Wales Open @ Celtic Manor, Lee Slattery leads after 1st Round

Lee Slattery leads the Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor after his opening round -4 under par ,67 on this par 71 layout in Wales. He leads by just one shot from Germany’s Marcel Siem and Tim Sluiter of the Netherlands. Marcel is the only German in the field this week and after a good start is in position to contend for the title. Strangely enough a Welshman has never won his National title, although they usually figure strongly in the event.

Alex Noren is bidding to make history by becoming the first player to successfully defend the ISPS Handa Wales Open, but at +10 for his opening round it is pretty safe to say he will not be around at the weekend.

Lee Slattery  (Getty Images)

Lee Slattery (Getty Images)

The thirty-three year old Lee Slattery’s performance comes just three days after shooting 66 at Walton Heath to earn himself a US Open Championship debut. Today he had only one dropped shot, but nobody got round unscathed, Lee  spoke of his day;

 “It was very difficult. The wind was stronger than anticipated and if you get round without a bogey it’s an amazing achievement.”

Lee is planning for a trip to San Francisco for the US Open;

I know Olympic Club is going to be difficult, but I’m really looking forward to it. It’s more the atmosphere. I remember The Open at Hoylake (his only previous Major was there in 2006) and I thrived on it.”

In-form German Marcel Siem,  who has already had five top-12 finishes this season and was in the lead going into the final round here two years ago, said:

“It was gusty, windy and there were firm greens, so three under was good.  It’s really nice to play out here. I love the course and I’ve had a lot of very good rounds here already. The greens are firm, which suits my high ball flight. You have to think a bit more around the course now because it’s a lot firmer and the traps are in play all of a sudden.”