Maybank Malaysian Open. Westwood Out In Front.

dragon logo dark  

Lee Westwood is out in front of the Maybank Malaysian Open at the half-way stage on the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club course.

 

Lee Westwood  (Getty Images)

Lee Westwood / Getty Images

Lee added a second round -6 under par 66 to his opening score of 65 to open up a gap of four shots at the top of the Maybank Malaysian Open leaderboard, posting a -13 under par total for the tournament.

The second round did not go without incident,  a bizarre occurrence took place involving Pablo Larrazábal, who had to dive into a lake after being attacked by hornets. Despite the unnerving attack Pablo still carded -4 under par 68, a remarkable effort under the circumstances.

Pablo explained;

“I hit my tee shot just right of the bunker and chipped it out quite well. So I’m walking along and suddenly I felt something on my nose. I swatted it away and suddenly, they were not bees, they were three times the size of bees. They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time. I didn’t know what to do. My caddie told me to run, so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake.”

“There are a lot of stories around the golf courses around the world but looks like I always have the crazy ones. Maybe I start to write a book.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=W5uV-usCmEk

Back to the golf:

 Lee reported that his new coach, Mike Walker is making a good impact on his game;

“I started with Mike six or seven weeks ago and I felt an almost immediate improvement on the range, but it was difficult to take it onto the golf course. But the last three weeks I have managed it. I played well in Houston, last week at the Masters I started playing a lot better and this week I am gradually grinding it back in.”

“I played well, on the front nine I shot five under, for the second day running,  and I think the longest putt I holed was from four feet on the first. It was solid stuff. I got a little unlucky at eleven I thought, it was one of the best shots I hit all day and the wind just gusted on me and it came up short in the water. But I rallied after that and ended up shooting 66.”

“I have always played well in Asia, my strike rate is really good. It must be the heat or rice or something, I can’t put my finger on it.”

Nicolas Colsaerts and Antonio Lascuna share second place at -9 under par, four shots adrift of the leader. England’s Danny Willett is in fourth place on his own at -8 under par for the tournament, while compatriot Andy Sullivan shares fifth spot with Eduardo De La Riva and Julien Quesne, all at -7  under par.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Two Tied At The Top.

dragon logo dark    Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Steve Webster are the two players who are tied at the top of the leaderboard in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters tournament heading into the final round tomorrow.

Webster catches Cabrera-Bello as exciting finish beckons

Steve Webster / Getty Images

Steve had a -2 under par 70 third round to join Rafa at the top of the leaderboard at -12 under par at the Doha Golf Course. He admitted that his golf was not very pretty, this from a man who started this tournament with an Albatross on the very first hole;

“That wasn’t pretty, I don’t know what happened the first six or seven holes. I hit it really well on the range and I think I got a bit cocky on the course and hit so many bad shots the first six or seven holes, it was like I had never played golf before.”

” On the back nine I gave myself a few chances and I knocked in a really good putt on 11 which made things feel a little better. But the pins were tucked away a bit today and that’s why the scores have pretty much stayed the way they were.”

Rafa started the day with a two shot lead, but had an even poorer round, a +1 over par 73, which allowed Steve to catch him;

“I still feel as though I played okay, I just did not manage to score as well. It was tough with the wind, I didn’t quite make the putts and struggled here and there with my chipping, but overall I got the not-so-good round out of the way and I am still in a fantastic position going into Saturday.”

Three players are tied in third position, just one shot back at -11 under par. One of these golfers is Adrien Saddier who easily shot the best round of the day, carding a bogey free -8 under par 64;

“It was a great round, I played very well, I played the first two rounds with Steve Webster  and in the long game we were pretty similar but he putted better, so I thought if I can make some good putts I can do the same as him.

“Coming from the Qualifying School I need some good results so it’s great to shoot 64 today. I finished 2013 very well and I am starting 2014 well too. I only turned professional in July so my only aim this year is to keep my card.”

Frenchman Adrien is joined in third place by Thomas Aiken and Thorbjørn Olesen, Thomas had a -2 under par 70, while Thorbjørn signed for a -4 under par 68 third round.

On this tightly packed  leaderboard there are seventeen players within four shots of the lead, including two-time winner Paul Lawrie on -10 under par and his Ryder Cup team-mate Sergio Garcia on -9 under par for the tournament. This should provide for some exciting entertainment in the final round for the spectators at the Doha Golf Club.

Pablo Larrazabal, who won last week sadly missed the cut here, the euphoria of winning quickly doused.

Abu Dhabi. Pablo Larrazábal Lifts The Trophy

 dragon logo dark

Pablo Larrazábal lifts the  trophy in the desert at Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Pablo Larrazabal  (Getty Images)

Pablo Larrazábal / Getty Images

Pablo won the title by one shot from Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. He held his nerve, rolling in a five foot birdie putt at the last hole after leaving his eagle effort well short,  carding a final round of -5 under par 67, giving him a tournament total of -14 under par.

Pablo remembered his first two wins, and was elated to have beaten the two big guns here;

“The first win in France my brother says was the win of talent. I had 100 putts in 72 holes, not even the best Tiger Woods could have beaten me that week. The second win in Munich (in a play-off with Sergio Garcia) was one of belief. This is the win of hard work and team work. I worked so hard for the last two years and over the winter and I beat two of the three most talented guys in my era.”

“It feels great, only me and my team know how much we’ve worked during the last three years. I want to thank so many people starting with my brand Callaway,  they set up a driver I hit 20-25 metres further. Then I want to thank my team and my girlfriend. It’s just unbelievable. The birdie at thirteen gave me the confidence to keep it going and I hit great shots coming in. The five wood at eighteen is maybe the best shot of my golfing career.”

World Number Seven Rory tried hard to recover from the silly two shot penalty,  producing a final round -4 under par 68 to finish tied for second at 13 under par. He said it was frustrating about the penalty but it was a good week overall;

“It’s frustrating, I’ve played well the whole week.  It’s a very positive start to the season so I’m not going to let one little negative ruin that. I came in here telling everyone that I’m really happy with my game and done some good work and felt like it was coming together for me at the end of last year. I’ve continued that on, so I’m really excited for the rest of the season.  I’ve got a week off now to prepare for Dubai and give it another run there and see if I can get the win there.”

Sharing second place at -13 under par was Phil, who recovered brilliantly from a triple bogey seven on the unlucky 13th hole, to birdie three of his last five holes, for a last round of -3 under par 69.

Tied in fourth spot were George Coetzee and Rafa Cabrera-Bello, the pair of them on -12 under par.

Craig Lee limped home, eventually signing for a +5 over par 77 final round, to finish in a tie for tenth. His dreams of a maiden tour win cruelly dashed, after putting together three good rounds to lead the tournament starting the final day, he collapsed under the pressure.

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. The Irish Open. Luiten Likes It.

Joost Luiten likes the way he is playing at The Irish Open on the European Tour, giving himself a one shot lead to take into the final round.

Joost Luiten   (Getty Images)

Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Joost fired a flawless bogey free round of -6 under par, 66, to take him into a clear lead going into the final round. Good approach play, all birdies were from ten feet or less, coupled with good putting put him into this precious position. He also likes this course;

” It was good to-day, a round in this wind with no bogeys is always good. It looks like I’m playing good, playing consistently. I don’t make a lot of silly mistakes, the game feels good. I like the course , obviously after three rounds if you’re leading you like it. The key is to stay out of the fairway bunkers. It’s always great to go into the last round of the tournament as the leader, but this is The Irish Open and perhaps bigger than some other events. I don’t really care who is behind me, as long as they stay behind me. You still have to go out and make some birdies, be patient and take it one shot at a time. It’s always good to have a win under your belt, you can go a little bit more for the win. You have nothing to lose so that’s how I am going to go out tomorrow. I’ve been working on my swing for a long time and am finally fully fit after a shoulder problem which meant I couldn’t practice as much on the range. It has been good for a couple of months and feels really good now.”

Pablo Larrazábal is alone in second place at -14 under par, he also had a third round of -6 under par 66, and at just one shot back is certain to mount a charge for the title. He is hoping he will strike the ball as well tomorrow as he has done the other three rounds, and continue making the putts.

” I’ve been playing good. The last month I didn’t play as good as the three months before, so I feel that I’m hitting the ball good, and I have to fight for the tournament. I hope tomorrow I can hit the ball as good as these days and hole as many putts.”

Robert Rock occupies third place, just three shots off the lead after his disappointing -1 under par round, leaving him on -10 under par for the tournament. He is still very much in this competition, and maybe Paul Casey can make an impression tomorrow. Paul is showing some form here and at -9 under par in total can not be ruled out of contention. Sharing that position with Paul is Scot Henry.

Another shot further back at -8 under par is former Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal, sadly halfway joint-leader Peter Uihlein slipped back to -7  under after a poor round of +2 over par 74.

Euro Tour. Nordea Masters, Magical Manassero Tied For 1st Round Lead

 

Magical Matteo Manassero is in a tie for the first round lead at the European Tour, Nordea Masters, just a week after his win at Wentworth.

Matteo Manassero   (Getty Images)

Matteo Manassero / Getty Images

Matteo shot a first round of -6 under par 66 at the Nordea Masters on the Bro Hof Slott Golf Course in Sweden. He is tied at the top of the leaderboard with  Pablo Larrazábal.

Matteo said he was impressed with his unusual fast start, not showing any signs of tiredness after weeks effort:

” I’ve never started that well, it was a great start, I was making putts and to start like that was strange because I’m not used to it. I’ve been tired but I woke up and I felt good. It’s a tough course when the wind picks up so I think every afternoon is going to be hard.”

Pablo sunk a 40 foot birdie on his way to a 66;

” I played great, I was five under after ten. I made birdies on the par fives and held my score  it wasn’t easy. The golf course is playing okay this morning but you can make a double or triple bogey. I played safe when I had to and more aggressive when I could.”

The best of the scores all came from the morning session, before the wind got up. Jamie Donaldson completed a flawless 67 to sit alongside one of the home favorites, Fredrik Andersson Hed.  Chris Lloyd and Simon Wakefield matched that score and they are all in the clubhouse T3  at -5 under par.

The afternoons best score came from another home favorite, Alex Noren, the 2011 winner of this tournament. He also had a -5 under par, 67 to join the morning players at T3.

Alex stated that it was a tough front nine:

” It was a tough front nine, I hit the driver good but didn’t hit the greens I wanted. Then I made birdie on 11 and mentally it was a very nice birdie so it gave me a very nice rhythm. To the eye it looks like you can go for everything and what I’ve learned from this course is if you play a bit more conservatively on the par fives, if you’re on the green you will probably make a birdie.”

So it appears that the afternoon winds, and who manages them the best will have a good opportunity to win here in Sweden.

 

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.