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Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Garcia Grabs Title.

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Sergio Garcia grabbed the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters title in a sudden death play-off at the Doha Golf Club.

Gallant Garcia secures thrilling victory

Sergio Garcia / Getty Images

Sergio won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the third play-off hole, after he set the club-house target with his flawless final round of -7 under par 65. He defeated Mikko Ilonen, who fired a last round -6 under par 66 to level the scores and force the play-off.

Sergio said this win feels good;

“It feels good, it’s funny because I started the day thinking if I can shoot six or seven under maybe I can have a chance, and it turns out I had a very similar putt that I had last year to get it to seventeen under on eighteen. I hit a good putt and unfortunately it didn’t break. It’s been an amazing week already and I was definitely more nervous on my tee shot on the eighteenth in regulation than in the play-off. That’s probably why I hit three better tee shots. The up and down from the bunker in the play-off was key and I’m very happy to be able to win it. I almost feel less pressure because you feel like you’ve had a great week already and if you win it’s kind of like a little bit of a bonus.”

Mikko thought he would have to win it with an Eagle, last year England’s Chris Wood made an eagle on the 72nd hole to beat Sergio, but it was poor bunker play that let him down;

“I was expecting one of us would need to make an eagle to win it. I hit two poor bunker shots out of the same front right-hand trap, one in regulation and one in the play-off, and I’m not going to blame anything else. I came up two short of my target in regulation, I thought 64 would do it outright, and Sergio was a bit better than me this time. I needed a strong start and I got it being four under through eight, and I backed it up with a good end to the round with three birdies in the last five. I played good golf this week so I can’t be too disappointed.”

Third place was shared by Thorbjørn Olesen and Rafa Cabrera-Bello, both finished just one shot back on -15 under par. Thorbjørn  had a very good chance to join the play-off, but missed from 15 feet for an Eagle on the 18th hole. Rafa also needed an Eagle to join the play-off , but saw his chip from over the green pull up just three feet short of the hole.

Euro Tour. Nordea Masters. Mikko Makes It His Trophy

Mikko Ilonen made the European Tour Nordea Masters his trophy with a last round -3 under par 69 for a total score of -21 under par.

Mikko Ilonen  (Getty Images)

Mikko Ilonen / Getty Images

Mikko, from Finland, claimed his first win for six years at the Nordea Masters on the Bros Hof Slott Golf Course in Sweden. He actually won this event in 2007, and said it was special to it again, apart from the bogey at the 12th hole;

“It’s pretty special, I could feel a lot of support from Finland, especially today. I just got ahead of myself with the first putt. I’ve said for weeks now it doesn’t really bother me if I make a bogey because I know I can make it up and it was the first time I went for the 13th in two. To bounce back this soon is really good, it’s really satisfying, but the show I saw in China. I didn’t lose the tournament, Brett won it, so hats off to him.Obviously I’ve been waiting for this moment for a few weeks now. People have been expecting me to win but most of all I’ve been expecting myself to win, so to pull it off here after those second places is very satisfying. It’s been a long time since I won but I haven’t forgotten how it felt. In life there are ups and downs and I’ve found a better balance now. Life is good, my family is good and golf is alright, so I can’t complain.”

Local boy Jonas Blixt. who plays most of his golf on the US PGA Tour where he won last year,  took second place. He was three shots back at -18 under par, a last round effort of -4 under par, 68, just not quite enough for him to get first place for Sweden;

“I’m pretty happy about the way I played this week, I didn’t win but I made a good run at it so that’s what I’m happy about. It’s been fantastic and I’m never going to forget this. It’s been nothing but amazing this week, it is cool to come home and have people screaming and cheering, and I don’t really get that in the States so much, it’s awesome.”

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger was in third place alone on -17 under par for the tournament. Italian Matteo Manassero finished in a tie for fourth place at -16 under par. He shared that score with Dane Thomas Björn and Swede, Rikard Karlberg.

 

Euro Tour. Nordea Masters. Mikko Makes A Move.

Mikko Ilonen, from Finland has made a move, on moving day, Saturday, to lead the European Tour Nordea Masters by two shots at the Bro Hof Slott Golf Course in Sweden.

Mikko Ilonen   (Getty Images)

Mikko Ilonen / Getty

Mikko shot a third round of -7 under par 65 to move to the top of the Nordea Masters leaderboard at -18 under par. He now has the chance to end his six-year wait for another Tour win, and is fully aware of the challenge in front of him. He also spoke about the luck he had with his Eagle at the 15th hole;

 It was a bit of a funny yardage for me, it was raining and I just tried to squeeze it in there and got lucky with it a bit. I need to shoot another low score and I can do it, but we’ve got eighteen holes to go and lots of other guys are still hunting me.”

Alexander Noren, a home favorite, is in second place after shooting a marvelous third round of -8 under par, 64 and is now just two shots back at -16 under par.

Alex was amazed by his putting prowess;

” I got lucky, I hit a lot of good putts and I holed a lot of them. I don’t know where it came from, amazing putting. I’ve played here a lot, I’m from an hour away, it’s the best course in Sweden and it is a beautiful place.”

A countryman of Alex, Jonas Blixt, and Italian Matteo Manassero, who had a quiet day, are tied in third place at -14 under par for the tournament.

Matteo looked to have overcome his slow start to the round when he had a hat-trick of birdies on the back nine. All that good work was undone on the 18th, going from rough to water and carding a double bogey six on the last.

Jonas fired in a bogey free round of -6 under par , 66 to give himself a chance of victory here. The crowd will be hoping one of the home boys will lift the trophy.

 

BMW PGA Championship. Play Suspended, Kingston Claims Lead.

 

Play in the first round of the BMW PGA Championship has been suspended due to darkness on a dramatic opening day on the West Course at Wentworth Club. Currently James Kingston of South Africa has claimed the lead.

 

James Kingston   (Getty Images)

James Kingston / Getty Images

James Kingston has completed his first round at the BMW PGA Championship with a leading score of -6 under par, 66 at the Wentworth Club in England.

A 90-minute delay at Wentworth, due to the threat of lightning meant the last group, who had only just then teed off, could not complete the course in daylight hours. They will return early on Friday morning to complete their first rounds, and with second round tee times unchanged, all should go smoothly.

In second place is Mikko Ilonen at -5 under par, with Scott Henry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño a shot further back at -4 under par. All of these players have completed their rounds.

Also at -4 under par is Austrian Martin Wiegele, Martin has only completed 13 holes, so has a chance tomorrow of climbing further up the leaderboard. There were five groups still on the course when play was suspended.

James recieved an invitation to play in this event, he lost his card for the Tour and currently has to survive on these kind of opportunities. He was feeling pretty upset about losing his Tour card;

“I never felt like I played poorly enough to lose my card and that’s what makes it even more frustrating. I felt like I played half decent throughout the whole season, but just never managed to put a score on the board. It does make it a little harder to accept. Getting an invite into this event, what a great feeling to be back here. I think I’ve made the most of it today.”

Mikko was happy to survive in the very cool Wentworth temperatures;

” It was pretty nippy when we started and stayed that way, “all day I was thinking ‘Can I get these waterproof trousers off?’ and never managed it. We even had hail on the ninth tee. I said to a friend last night it was going to snow today and she laughed at me. It’s British summer and we have proof of that.”

Scott Henry, who graduated from the Challenge Tour last season, only found out he was in the tournament as he boarded a flight from Madeira on Monday morning. He is another player who has grabbed an opportunity, and played well;

“It was nice to see my name on the leaderboard on the back nine, it was a bit surreal. I was pretty nervous this morning, it’s a big tournament and the first time I have been here. It’s a great test of golf and for the first time this year I could put everything together.”

All but one of last year’s victorious Ryder Cup team are in the 150-man field, but several of them fell victim to the closing stretch at Wentworth Club’s famous West Course.

Justin Rose at even, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, last weeks winner started with rounds of 74, Ian Poulter 76 and Luke Donald 78.

 

Volvo China Open. Broomstick Brett Wins Again.

Broomstick Brett Rumford won the Volvo China Open, the first Australian in 42 years to win back to back Tour titles.

With this win - Brett Rumford

Brett Rumford / Getty Images

Brett Rumford cruised to victory with a final round of  -4 under par 68, on the Binhai Lake Golf Course on Sunday in the Volvo China Open. His winning total was -16 under par, four shots clear of the field.

Brett said that he was more than happy;

” As with last week I’m kind of speechless at the moment. It’s quite surreal, it’s the first time I’ve actually played the week after a win so I’m more than pleased. It’s hard to get my head around it at the moment. I managed to get up and down when I really needed to. There are some very tight lies round the perimeters of the greens, so it was tricky. My putter was also really on song, as it was last week. It puts a lot of pressure on your opponent when you’re saving par all the time.”

In second place was Finn Mikko Ilonen, a final round effort of -1 under par left him with a total of -12 under par, just one shot ahead of third place. Mikko was disappointed he did not take the opportunity to win, but was full of praise for Brett;

” I had a chance to win, disappointed not to do so but I couldn’t do much more, you saw what Brett did there on the back nine for three holes. I’m speechless, I couldn’t force the issue. I had a number in my mind, which is what Brett finished on. It’s my second second place this year, so hopefully there’s a win round the corner. The confidence is building.  I’ve been hitting the ball nicely most of the time this year. Today I drove the ball really well, and I feel a lot more confident all round. Brett did so well not to make more bogeys, his short game, bunker play and wedges were unbelievable today. I don’t see too many better players than him in the world in that area of his game. So he definitely deserved to win today.”

Third place went to Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, a last round of -4 under par helping him to achieve a tournament total of -11 under par, and third position to himself.

I guess this win will encourage more players to change to the long putter, Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington have already made the change. They said if it gives them an edge to win a tournament, it can only be good. Unless the R&A and the USGA actually get around to banning it, it which case they will have to change back again.

 

Volvo China Open. Broomstick Brett Anchor’s Himself Atop the Leaderboard

Broomstick Brett Rumford has anchored himself to the top of the leaderboard at  the Volvo China Open.

Brett Rumford   (Getty Images)

Brett Rumford / Getty Images

Brett Rumford completed his third round in the windy conditions at Binhai Lake Golf Course in -3 under par 69, to take a one shot lead at the Volvo China Open, with his total score of -12 under par.

Brett admitted it had been a very tough day, but he remained bogey free;

” That was a tough day, I really started to feel things on the back nine. I did really well to hang in nicely with some tired golf swings, I mentally stayed with it, physically not so much but mentally I hung in there. The wind was really starting to dry things out so you’ve got to be very precise.”

Mikko Ilonen, the overnight leader, started the day three shots clear, but pulled a three-foot par putt at the first hole and then saw his lead diminish to one when Kiradech Aphibarnrat birdied the long second hole. He finally succumbed to the pressure when his tee shot at the last hole found the water, resulting in a bogey finish.

” It was a good fight out there, his short game today was incredible, and his confidence is obviously very high, especially on the greens, so I’m going to have to play very well to beat him tomorrow. It’s good to be in the final group tomorrow. In Morocco earlier in the season, I had a bad round on the Saturday and dropped out of the last group. So I’m pleased with the way I ground out a score today, even though I didn’t maybe play my best golf.”

Pablo Larrazábal very briefly joined the leaders with an absolutely sensational run of four straight birdies, starting at the tenth hole, but amazingly managed to miss a couple of short par putts, and finished with a 69,  that leaves him two shots back in third place.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat had four birdies on the day, only to match it with four bogeys, to finish the round at level par 72, with a total score of -9 under par, three shots off the lead in  fourth spot.

If the wind continues to blow tomorrow, expect Brett to anchor his way to another victory.

Volvo China Open. Magical Mikko In Front by Three.

A magical round of -9 under par, 63 has put Mikko Ilonen three shots clear of the field at the Volvo China Open.

Mikko Ilonen  (Getty Images)

Mikko Ilonen / Getty Images

Mikko put together a stunning second round at the Binhai Lake Golf Course to give himself a three shot breathing space between himself and second placed Brett Rumford and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Amazingly the two-time Tour winner managed to throw in a bogey on the round, at the 17th hole. Mikko now has a tournament total of -12 under par, with Brett and Kiradech sitting three behind on -9 under par.

Mikko reported that it had been a stress free round, with good putting being the key;

“I hit the ball better than yesterday, I gave myself a few more chances on the greens, especially on the back nine, and managed to take quite a few of them, so it was a very stress-free round today. I didn’t put myself in any trouble at all, which is always nice, and it’s nice to be three ahead going into the weekend. I’ve had a couple of other 63′s on the Tour before, but it’s difficult to compare. For example, I may have played better and only shot a 69. I’ve probably struck the ball better this year, but I don’t think I’ve putted better. It’s a good number of birdies definitely, I felt really good with my putter.”

Aussie Brett, who won last week, is enjoying his time in the limelight;

” This is a new week and another tournament. I feel good, my fitness is good and my energy levels feel nice and high, so hopefully I can ride the wave over the weekend and keep the good feelings going. It’s a nice feeling when you’re holing putts and seeing your name up near the top of the leaderboard. You’ve got to make the most of these moments when they come along, and I’m managing to do that at the minute.”

Thai Kiradech is full of confidence with his driver;

” My driver has done very well for the first two days, when you have the chance to hit it long and get on the greens in regulation then you have a good chance to do well. I think I made 17 greens today. I plan to play as much as I can in Europe this year. Winning in Malaysia gave me a lot of confidence, and I hope to keep that as I carry on this year. I will always try to do my best.”

The overnight leader of the tournament, Robert-Jan Derksen was a shot further back in fourth spot after a second round of -2 under par,70.  Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal and England’s Lee Slattery shared fifth place on -7 under par.

Missing the cut here at the Volvo China Open was the 12 year-old amateur Chinese player and Tour debutant Ye Wo-cheng, to his credit at +14 over par he was not the last player in the field. By complete contrast, sixteen year-old amateur Dou Ze-cheng not only made the cut, at -2 under par, but to the delight of the home crowd is the leading Chinese player in the Tournament.

Trophée Hassan II. Marcel Marches On

Marcel Siem has taken control of the  Trophée Hassan II in Morocco, as he marches towards a much needed victory and his coveted place in the Masters.

Marcel Siem   (Getty Images)

Marcel Siem / Getty Images

Marcel had a third round of  -3 under par 69, to lead the Trophée Hassan II by four shots with a total of -15 under par, and is now in position to win the tournament on Sunday. He needs a victory at Golf du Palais Royal to give himself a chance of climbing into the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 50, just in the nick of time for an Augusta National invite.

Marcel was not too happy with the end of his round, he said he was happy until the 15th;

” Until the 15th I was really happy with the round, I got over a tough start with tough conditions and all the guys just behind me seemed to start really well and almost caught me up. I had to hole a few big putts just to stay ahead and then I managed to pull away a little bit. But then 15 and 17 were disappointing because you are really looking to pick up a couple of shots there but I managed to give one away. There was pressure there so it was great to make a few putts and pick up four in six holes. It is very nice to have the gap back for the start of the final round tomorrow. I am pretty confident at the moment so I know the swing is there when I trust it and just let it go. That will be very important tomorrow.”

Four shots back and tied in second place at -11 under par are Pablo Larrazabal, from Spain, England’s David Horsey and Mikko Ilonen from Finland.

Mikko was also unhappy with his poor finish to his third round;

“I think the momentum changed a lot on 11 when I had the penalty shot for the ball moving at address, I still made four, but after that I hit good and bad shots and I think that affected me. The one thing I did well throughout the day was putt well so I was really pleased with that. I am four back and would rather be a little bit closer but we have three guys four behind that can catch him but one of us will have to go really low tomorrow and I think the golf course will allow that. I have made enough birdies and eagles to know I can do it, but I just have to avoid the mistakes.”

There is no one else that can catch these four, and it looks like this tournament is Marcel’s to lose.

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.

Westy Wins In Sweden @ Nordea Masters

Westwood romps to victory

Lee Westwood (Getty Images)

Lee Westwood easily won his third Nordea Masters title in Sweden, at the  Bro Hof Slott GC, cruising to a five shot cushion over his rivals. Lee had a last round of -3 under par, 69 for a tournament total of -19 under par. Nearest man to him was compatriot Ross Fisher, Ross could only muster a last round of -1 under par and finished with a total of -14 under par, alone in second place.

Although it was a steady last round Lee was not too impressed with some missed chances;

“I missed a few short putts on the front nine, had a lot of chances the first ten holes and could have really put some breathing space between me and the field. Having said that when I needed to on the back nine, when they got a bit closer and put me under a bit of pressure, I managed to make a great eagle at 12, good birdie at 15 and pull away. I hit some really solid shots. It didn’t look like I was hitting it close on the last three holes but I can tell you those last three holes I hit it exactly where I wanted to every time.”

This is first Lee’s first European Tour victory since the 2011 Ballantine’s Championship, but is his 22nd European Tour International Schedule victory in his 408th European Tour event and keeps him in third spot in the World Golf Rankings, behind Rory McIlroy and number one Luke Donald.

Ross Fisher’s brave challenge really went awry when he found water at the 13th and double bogeyed that hole. The Ryder Cup star recovered brilliantly with a hattrick of birdies from the 15th giving him a 71 and solo second place on 14 under par.

The host country, Sweden ,saw their chance winning the trophy for third time in a row disappear, when Peter Hanson ran up a double bogey seven on the back nine at the 15th, and finished his final round at -1 under par, 71. This score saw him finish in a tie for third on -13 under par with Mikko Ilonen from Finland and Sergio Garcia of Spain.

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