Open de España. Miguel Makes Historic Homeland Win

 

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Miguel Angel Jiménez made an historic homeland win at the Open de España, on his 27th attempt to raise the trophy.

Jiménez rewrites history on home soil

    Miguel Angel Jiménez / Getty Images

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. Miguel proved the truth in that old saying by winning the Open de España, his homeland trophy after 27 attempts at it. This historic win did not come easily, Miguel had to battle through a sudden death play-off after he,  Richard Green and Thomas Pieters all finished the tournament at -4 under par.

Miguel triumphed at the first extra hole, with a par, and in doing so becomes the oldest ever winner on the European Tour;

“There’s no words to describe what it means to me, you need to be into my skin but I’m not going to let you. It’s amazing. It’s my 21st victory on The European Tour and 27 times I played the Spanish Open. I have been close a couple of times. Today it was very tough out there but I got it in the end.”

“All the victories are special, all are unique, some of them give you more money, some less, but all of them are important. You play to win and when you make it you have to appreciate it. There is no secret, good food, good wine, good cigars and some exercise.”

“I don’t know if I felt nerves, but you do feel tension, you feel the pressure. For instance on hole 17, when I saw the approach roll down the slope, those things cut my mind and take away the freedom from my hands. I don’t know if that counts as nerves, but as tension, yes.”

“I would love to make The Ryder Cup team, I would break all the records at 50, I hope I can make the team and defend the European colors in Scotland.”

Richard lamented his silly mistakes, saying he was upset at not getting the job done;

“I have to take a lot of positives out of it, it’s the best I’ve played since the French Open last year. I played well in the Australian Open over Christmas, just unfortunately struggling to get the job done. I couldn’t count how many times I have run second on The European Tour.”

“It’s just a shame that when the heat of the battle comes along a bit of misfortune happens every now and again. The 14th hole cost me big time and I played pretty solid from that point in and probably should have won the tournament by two shots if that had just been a par.”

Thomas was happy with the way he played this week, and referred to last weeks dramatic events;

“Obviously I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t pull off the win but congrats to Miguel. I made some mistakes but I have to learn from them.”

“I’m proud of the way I played this week, it was a tough week emotionally for my caddie with his best friend passing last week (Iain McGregor died during the Madeira Islands Open), so it was nice for both of us to get some more confidence going into some other tournaments.” 

Open de España. Thomas Pieters Still There

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Thomas Pieters is still there at the top of the leaderboard of the Open de España going into the final round Sunday.

Thomas Pieters  (Getty Images)

Thomas Pieters / Getty Images

 

Thomas carded a -1 under par 71 third round to remain at the top of the Open de España leaderboard at -7 under par for the tournament. He will take a precious two shot lead into the final round over home favourite Miguel Angel Jiménez.

Thomas is looking forward to going round with Miguel in the final round;

It was a solid day. I hit solid shots and really played to my strengths. I got two over par early just because my short game wasn’t sharp enough but I took advantage of the par fives again today and the shots dropped in the end.”

“I stayed really patient, you need to be on this course and I’m getting better and better at it. You know that it’s going to be a hard day and an even par is a good score. I’ve always done well on really tough courses, I like grinding it out, not having to shoot six or seven under. Today I shot one under and I’m in the lead. I’m excited for tomorrow. I’ll just go out to play golf, obviously playing for a win too.”

“Playing with Jiménez will be fun, I’ll get to learn a lot from him and I’ll just soak it all in. I’ve never played with him or any of the big names. The crowd will also be bigger and all the support will go to him but I just have to play my own game.”

Miguel was upset that he did not close the gap closer, shooting a -3 under par 68, for a -5 under par total;

“I’m a little disappointed with that, I didn’t hit it very well the last few holes. I played very well the first nine holes and was solid until the 14th but made a bad bogey on the 15th where I three-putted from eight meters and also bogeyed the last.”

There are three players tied in third place at -4 under par, they are Richie Ramsay, Richard Green and Chris Wood.

Ross Fisher shot the low round of the day,carding  eagles on the 12th and 15th on his way to returning a -5 under par 67 third round, climbing 29 places to share sixth spot. He was naturally very pleased with his progress;

I’m very pleased, starting the day two over par I wanted to get into red figures and I managed to do that. I played really well and the difference from yesterday to today was that I had the speed of the greens. Yesterday I really struggled, I felt the greens were a lot slower than they were on Thursday morning so I’m pleased to go out there and play a solid round of golf.”

 

 

Open de España. Eddie Pepperell Pops Up.

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Eddie Pepperell, from England, pops up to lead the Open de España from a tightly packed leaderboard to claim the outright lead after the first round.

 Eddie Pepperell   (Getty Images)

Eddie Pepperell / Getyy Images

Eddie carded an opening round -4 under par under 68 at PGA Catalunya Resort to finish a shot ahead of a group of eight players. He said it looks like he has come out of nowhere, but his recent results have been good;

“Seemingly it’s come out of nowhere looking at my results but it’s very similar to last year. This time last year I started working with Mike Walker, and he made a big difference instantly. Then I went and did a couple of my own things, which was a bit silly and cost me a bit of time this year but I feel like I am back on the straight and narrow.”

“I back my ability and I know when I am playing well I can shoot good scores. I’m just not at the stage in my career yet when I am playing well enough consistently enough, but hopefully I will get there and today is a good sign. It was really tricky when it was flat calm and when I got on the tenth tee all of a sudden the wind came up out of nowhere and was blowing for the whole of the back nine.”

In the group of eight players who are just one shot off the lead at -3 under par are the Spanish contingent of Sergio Garcia, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

World Number Seven Sergio carded three birdies, an eagle and two bogeys, although suffering from jet-lag;

“I’m happy with my round, I didn’t have the greatest night last night and only slept for about four hours with the jet lag.”

“I didn’t feel extremely well with my swing but I managed to put it in play and give myself some good chances at birdies. The course is tough and the fairways are some of the tightest we have played all year. With the grass they have in this rough as soon as you miss the fairway it’s a guessing game.”

Tied with Spain’s finest at -3 under par are; Jose-Filipe Lima, Peter Uihlein, Thomas Pieters, Richie Ramsay and Robert-Jan Derksen.

Robert benefited from a hole in one on the par three 5th  to thank for his opening round of 69, he holed out with a five iron from 211 yards. 

Pablo Larrazabal had asked players, caddies and spectators to wear black as a mark of respect for caddie Iain McGregor, who died on Sunday while working for Alastair Forsyth in the Madeira Islands Open.

This is a very tightly packed leaderboard, and could change dramatically tomorrow.

The Masters. Brilliant Bubba at his Best.

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Bubba Watson was at  his brilliant best as he won his second Green Jacket winning The Masters at Augusta National.

Bubba Watson held off 20-year-old Jordan Spieth to become the 17th player with multiple Masters wins. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Bubba Watson receiving his jacket from Adam Scott / Getty Images

 

Bubba confidently cruised around Augusta National to card a final round -3 under par 69 and slipping on the Green Jacket once again. Apparently green is Bubba’s color;

“This one is a lot different, it’s almost like I lucked into it in 2012, and this one was a lot of hard work and dedication. After giving away that jacket last year, I wanted to get it back, I told Adam we should just kind of switch back and forth.  I never loved green so much.”

Jordan Spieth had to settle for a tie in second place with Jonas Blixt, both of them three shots adrift at -5 under par for the tournament.

Jordan said is was fun to be in the final group, but losing hurts;

” That was fun, but at the same time, it hurts right now, I wanted to get in contention on the back nine Sunday, but didn’t come out on top.”

After starting level with Bubba at the start of play on the final round, Jordan let it all slip away with some casual putting, carding a last round of level par 72. It was still an amazing tournament for the 20 year-old, and hopefully he will have learned a lot from this experience.

Jonas also enjoys playing in the Majors

“I think they are a lot of fun to play, it’s really tough. You beat your head in a little bit but you can’t beat yourself up too bad. The atmosphere, there are so many people here, the excitement of being here, it just adds to the experience. I love majors. I love when it’s tough. The harder the better.”

 

A very honorable mention must go to Miguel Angel Jimenez, next week this man will make his Champions Tour debut. He shot a final round of -1 under par 71 Sunday which gave him a creditable  fourth place on his own. He really wants a place on the next European Ryder Cup team;

I’m going to play only next week. I plan to focus myself for the Ryder Cup and then I need to play in the European Tour for that. If you don’t play over there you won’t have as good of chances. I would like to play on the Ryder Cup and I would like to help Europe defend the Ryder Cup. I would love to do that.”

This has been another very good golfing contest, both with the high standard of play, and the exquisite lay-out of the Augusta National course.

 

The Masters. Bubba Backs Up. Jordan Jumps Into Share of the Lead.

dragon logo darkMasters Flag   Bubba Watson backs up in The Masters on Saturday as Jordan Spieth jumps into a    share of the lead at Augusta National.

 

 

 

 Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Bubba Watson could only move backwards on moving day at The Masters, shooting a third round +2 over par 72. Jordan Spieth carded a -2 under par 70 to join Bubba at the top of the leaderboard on -5 under par for the tournament.

While Bubba seemed to lose concentration, Jordan just stayed focused, as the 20 year-old, vying to become the youngest ever Masters champion explained;

“You can’t let your focus go astray for one moment. It was about being patient, knowing that bogeys were going to come, and take advantage of the par fives. I’m able to take a lot of confidence out of today, a lot of positives. I wanted to get into contention, not just as a goal to get into contention, but to see how I can perform on a Sunday.”

“Today was a day to stay patient and try and get myself a later tee time even than today, and that goal was accomplished. And tomorrow is about seeing how I can control my game and emotions out on the golf course against guys that have even won here recently. So they have been in the position I haven’t. Doesn’t necessarily mean, I don’t think, that they have an advantage in any way. I think that I’m very confident in the way things are going, and really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Matt Kuchar and Jonas Blixt are tied in third place, just one shot back at -4  under par. Matt put together a -4 under par 68 third round. Jonas with a more conservative -1 under par 71.

 

 Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 50 year-old, who is known as “The Mechanic” aims to put a spanner in the works and try to win the tournament, just before he plays his first Champions League event;

“If you are fifty doesn’t mean that you cannot play well, I’m still moving, I’m still flexible. I love the place, it’s a beautiful place, a beautiful golf course, always manicured and I feel great here.The main thing is enjoy yourself, enjoy what you are doing and smile. Not enough people smile on the golf course. I love what I’m doing, and I hope I’m still in the same conditions for another 25 years. I’m not going to get bored of myself.”

 “Doesn’t matter how you play, you feel good, because everything is prepared for us the way it is. If you don’t hit good, you don’t want to be there. You need to hit good and you need to be patient, and you need to be into your own zone. I like it and that’s my style of game and what I love, what I love to do.”

 Miguel is tied in fifth place with Rickie Fowler at -3 under par.

 Lee Westwood is a shot further back at -2 under par, and  he has not finished lower than 11th in his last three appearances at Augusta National;

“Augusta is one of those places where I feel like I can get around, and I felt like I know how to get around here, even if I’m maybe not on my game. But I’ve hit the ball well this week and that’s why I’m in contention.” 

” The par fives are no gimmes around here, but if you’re going to shoot a low score then you’ve got to play them a couple under. There’s little birdie chances out there and I used all of them the first two days. And today played solidly and had a lot of chances out there. I was a bit unlucky at times on the greens. I had a lot of good putts that didn’t go in.”  

I guess that anyone in red figures now, has a chance to don the Green Jacket tomorrow, and that’s basically what Lee Westwood is thinking;

 “Anywhere within five, even six shots of the lead going into the final round of the Masters is given a good chance, especially with the way the golf course is playing out here. Even a good shot can drop you shots out there. Kind of on the knife edges of the greens.”

 

 

Eurasia Cup. Europe Excel on Day 1

dragon logo dark  Day 1 of the Eurasia Cup was dominated by the European Team, an excellent performance saw them crush Asia.

Miguel Angel Jimenez  (Getty Images)

European Team Captain Miguel Angel Jiménez / Getty Images

European Team captain Miguel Angel Jiménez lead by example as his team spanked the opposition 5-0 in the opening round of four-balls in the Eurasia Cup. Partnered by Pablo Larrazábal they set the standard in a 2 and 1 victory over Asia skipper Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat at the  Glenmarie Golf & Country Club in Malaysia.

Pablo was full of praise for his captain;

“Miguel played great, he had like three or four birdie chances where he made birdie and he was amazing. I was there when he needed me but he played great.”

At the anchor end was Graeme McDowell, he had a 26-hour journey from Orlando after playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, but shook off any signs of jet-lag. He and partner Jamie Donaldson completed the whitewash victory beating  Nicholas Fung and Kim Hyung-sung 3-1.

Graeme spoke about their some from behind victory;

“We somehow managed to make the turn at one-down, which was huge. And this guy {Jamie} had a phenomenal back nine. It was great to watch.”

Jaime admitted he and Graeme had a slow start to their match;

“We had a slow start. We had five pars which was quite slow, but after that Graeme holed a good couple of putts on the front nine and he birdied six, eight and nine and after that I played well and we dovetailed really well to close out the match on 17. We have had a very good day today. To be five nil up is a fantastic start.”

“We have always said during practice that we simply can’t underestimate our opponents because the end of the day, we are playing in Malaysia, it’s so hot and the courses favor them.  We just had a very good day today and we have to not get complacent, get out tomorrow and continue to play well and not take it for granted, although we have had a very good start.”

In the middle matches Victor Dubuisson and Joost Luiten  secured a 3&2 win over Prayad Marksaeng and Siddikur Rahman. Followed by Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen who had a two-up victory against  Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara.

 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Stephen Gallacher won 4&3 against  Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar.

The three-day EurAsia Cup continues on Friday, with the 10-man teams playing five more foursomes before the tournament concludes with singles matches on Saturday.

World Golf Championship. Calm Restored at Cadillac.

dragon logo darkWGC-Cadillac Championship

Calm was restored at the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral on day three of the contest around The Blue Monster. Patrick Reed has the lead going into the final round.

Patrick Reed could be taking home his third trophy in seven months Sunday at Doral. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

Patrick Reed /Getty Images

In much calmer conditions Patrick turned his game around in four holes Saturday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, finishing up with a -3 under par 69 and a two stroke lead at -4 under par. He said he was not bothered that Tiger was close behind;

“That’s fine, I’ve seen Tiger a lot on the driving range. Never had the opportunity to play with him and I still haven’t been able to play with him. Whenever he’s close to the lead, he’s a guy you have to watch out for. But at the same time, I have to go and just play my own game.”

“If you have a 54-hole lead, that means you’re playing the best golf of the group through three rounds. Tomorrow is Sunday, but at the same time, it’s another round of golf. We’ve won twice since August, we’ve played great. And if I continue doing what I’m supposed to be doing, come Sunday afternoon, hopefully we’re holding the trophy.”

Jason Dufner and Hunter Mahan are tied in second place at -2 under par for this tournament, Hunter thinks it will go down to the wire;

“The tournament will not be over until the last putt drops on eighteen. That always happens, but it seems like you just can’t coast in here. You can’t have a big enough lead going into eighteen this week. So I don’t think anyone is going to be too bothered if someone gets out to a three, or four-shot lead, because there’s so much golf out there. And there’s so much that can happen, good and bad.”

Tied in fourth place are Jamie Donaldson and Tiger Woods, both at -1 under par. Tiger did what he wanted to do, get back into the tournament. A third round of -6 under par 66 certainly did that;

“It was nice to get back in the tournament again Now it’s playing more like a normal course. I held it together yesterday, a long day, tough day, and that gave me a chance today.I figured, hey, I’m only six back. That’s definitely doable, especially with the conditions and how difficult this golf course is playing. If I just get back to even par for the tournament, I’ll be right there. And I did one better.”

Dustin Johnson,  Miguel Angel Jimenez and Zach Johnson share sixth place at even par for the three rounds. The weather conditions still hold the key around here, if it starts to blow again anything could happen. Another calm day and the winner will come from the top five.

Hong Kong Open, Miguel Masters Manley and Messawat in Playoff for the Title.

Miguel Angel Jiménez  rolled in an 18 foot putt at the 18th hole to become the oldest winner in European Tour history with this victory at the Hong Kong Open.

Miguel Angel Jimenez  (Getty Images)

Miguel Angel Jiménez / Getty Images

Finishing the final round tied with Stuart Manley and Prom Messawat at -12 under par Miguel made a winning birdie on the first extra hole in the play-of for the Hong Kong Open title.

A happy Miguel loves this place, winning the event for a record fourth time, and is thinking of the Ryder Cup;

“I love this place, I love this golf course, I love the tournament. I played so well and I holed some putts, and the one in the play-off gave me victory. If I play the way I am playing this week I will be in the Ryder Cup Team, there is one more year to go and now I get this victory here it will help a lot. You never know, I would love to be part of the team again.”

Prom, from Thailand, spoke about his amazing week;

“It’s been an amazing week for me, I didn’t feel any disappointment in the play-off. I did my best this week, and it’s my best finish on this golf course.”

Stuart was happy with his result, but was disappointed to put his approach to the green in the play-off into the Hospitality tent, he still made par, but is was not good enough;

“I’m pretty pleased. Obviously I’m disappointed to lose in a play-off with a poor shot, but for Miguel to make birdie is pretty special.  It was pretty special to make three myself to get into the play-off. So I can take a lot from the week. This week will give me a lot of confidence. It’s money on the board for The Race to Dubai and everything feels very positive.”

 

Hong Kong Open. Manley Hopes to Make it His.

Stuart Manley hopes to make the Hong Kong Open his maiden European Tour victory, he leads by one shot at the end of day three.

Stuart Manley  (Getty Images)

Stuart Manley / Getty Images

Stuart  had a -4 under par 66 third round, to post -10 under par at  the top of the leaderboard, and will take a one shot lead into the final round of the Hong Kong Open as the Qualifying School graduate chases his first European Tour title. He said winning would be great, and is fired up to take his first title;

“I wanted to be last group so I’m delighted, I’ve led quite a few times on the Challenge Tour so hopefully that will put me in good stead for tomorrow. There will be a few nerves early on I think but I’m swinging so well that if I can be committed to the golf shot I’ll be fine and just enjoy it. Pretty much from the first hole onwards, every iron shot was right down the pin. If it had been a good day on the greens it could have been a really low round, so it was disappointing not to capitalize, but I feel very confident the way I’m playing and I’m really excited about tomorrow. Winning would mean the world really. Obviously there is a lot of golf to go and I’ve just got to enjoy tomorrow and see what happens. To be a winner on The European Tour would be great.”

Tied in second place are Shiv Kapur and Wade Ormsby, both at -9 under par after they both produced third round totals of -4 under par 66.

Wade feels comfortable as he also tries to win his first Tour title;

“My game feels good, made a lot of birdies out there and overall pretty happy.”

Shiv says his recent wins on the Challenge Tour will stand him in good stead;

“If you can keep the mistakes off the card round here you’ll usually challenge and I’ve been able to do that. Whether it’s the Challenge Tour or the main Tour winning is always hard. For me winning recently in the last couple of months has been good and I know what to expect tomorrow. Sometimes you can make a couple of mistakes and still win a tournament and I think that’s been the biggest realisation for me in the last couple of months.”

The defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez, José Manuel Lara and Steve Webster all shot rounds of -5 under par 65 to total  -8 under par, just two shots off the lead. This course is a favorite of  Miguel’s and he really wants to defend his title here;

 “I hope I can keep hitting the ball the way I’m hitting it and knock in some putts to get the victory here, I would love it. I love this golf course.”

There is still a lot of golf to be played here, the man with the strongest will has an advantage.

Hong Kong Open. Jbe Kruger Cruising At The Top.

Jbe Kruger, from South Africa, is cruising along at the top of the leaderboard at  the Hong Kong Open in China.

Jbe Kruger  (Getty Images)

Jbe Kruger / Getty Images

Jbe required only 30 shots to complete the back nine and in so doing grabbed the halfway lead at the Hong Kong Open, with his -4 under par round and -7 under par total. He said of the days events;

“Our country lost a real-life hero. I played well, I probably swung it the best I’ve swung it in a long time. I’m excited and I’m playing better for a change. It’s fun to play relaxed golf for a change and see what unfolds.”

Qualifying School graduate Stuart Manley is in second place, shooting consecutive rounds of -3 under par, for a respectable  -6 under par total. He was on course for a share of the lead until he hit his approach into the water at the tenth, his last hole, and signed for a bogey;

“It’s really enjoyable, I started a bit scrappily but after the first few holes I played lovely. It’s 36 holes, there’s a lot of golf to go and a lot of good players around me so I’ll have to play well this weekend.”

Alex Cejka, Shiv Kapur and Wade Ormsby are tied for third place on -5 under par, with defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez just outside the top ten.

Miguel said the greens were tricky and his magical round ground to a halt;

“I played very well with birdies on the 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th and a birdie on number three, but then the magic stopped. The greens are very fast, you have to take care. I three-putted the fifth, but I am happy, I don’t feel like I putted badly but it happens. I thought about a low score after the first few holes, but you have to respect this golf course. It’s not very long but you have to get the ball in place every single time and you have to be very careful with the greens because they are firm and fast.”