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.

Ryder Cup 2012; Europe beat USA after record comeback

 

European Ryder Cup Winning Captain Jose Maria Olazabal

The Ryder Cup 2012 turned into a magical explosion of great golf as the European Ryder Cup Team produced a stunning final-day comeback to win the Ryder Cup at a shell-shocked Medinah Country Club on the final day of this wonderful competition, to beat Team U.S.A. I personally have to eat humble pie, after yesterday saying a betting man would not give Europe a chance, you can see why I am not a gambling man.

Team U.S.A.  only required four points from the 12 on offer on the last day, Team Europe somehow secured eight and a half to clinch a historic 14½-13½ win. German Martin Kaymer sank a five-foot putt on the 18th green to get his team to the 14 points needed to retain the Ryder Cup Trophy, before a Tiger Woods bogey in the final match gifted them overall victory.

Etched in the sky during the last day was a message about remembering  Seve,  so I guess it worked. Team Europe wore the trademark Seve Ballesteros colors for the final day, it was a fitting tribute. European Team Captain said,

Seve will always be present with this team. He was a big factor for this event, for the European side, and last night when we were having that meeting, I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing, and I think they did.”

This was the first time in three days that Team Europe had come charging out of the traps, Luke Donald going into an early two-hole lead over Bubba Watson and muting both his opponent and the crowd in the process. Then with Justin Rose also two up on Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy held off the previously unbeatable Keegan Bradley and the unsung hero Paul Lawrie taking early control against Brandt Snedeker. There was an entirely different atmosphere around the course than there had been on the first two one-sided days. Team Europe won the first five matches of the day, and that set the tone, and paved the way to Victory.

In the end  it came down to the last two matches on the final two holes, both matches were all-square and is was all square on the leaderboard.  None of the four, Martin Kaymer, Steve Stricker, Francesco Molinari or Tiger Woods, had won a single point between them all week. Then suddenly Steve Stricker three-putted on the 17th green and Martin Kaymer had a one-hole lead. Tiger Woods went one up on Molinari on the 17th which left Martin Kaymer two putts for the Cup, and he somehow held his nerve as the shadows lengthened to seal an extraordinary triumph. The usually noisy home galleries were silent with disbelief, as a dazed Tiger Woods blew two putts from within eight feet to hand Molinari a half point, and with it victory.

U.S.A. Team Captain Davis Love 111 said in disbelief;

“We know what it feels like now from the ’99 Ryder Cup, it’s a little bit shocking. We were playing so well.”

USA 13½-14½ Europe

Singles matches:

Watson lost to Donald 2&1

Simpson lost to Poulter 2 up

Bradley lost to McIlroy 2&1

Mickelson lost to Rose 1 up

Snedeker lost to Lawrie 5&3

D Johnson beat Colsaerts 3&2

Z Johnson beat McDowell 2&1

Furyk lost to Garcia 1 up

Dufner beat Hanson 2 up

Kuchar lost to Westwood 3&2

Stricker lost to Kaymer 1 up

Woods halved with Molinari

European Tour, KLM Open, Hanson Wins

Rory McIlroy and Peter Hanson have both had the ideal preparation for Medinah after their wins past weekend  (EuropeanTour)

Rory McIlroy & Peter Hanson/EuropeanTour

Peter Hanson won the KLM Open in The Netherlands with a final tournament total of -14 under par, after Peter had produced an eagle on the par-five 18th hole to win at the Hilversumsche Golf Club.  Peter had considered withdrawing from the tournament after his one-year-old son, Tim, was hospitalised with a respiratory virus on Friday, but after receiving some good news concerning Tim, Peter elected to play on;

” It was especially hard yesterday, with having him in the hospital, on Friday night I didn’t sleep a lot. Yesterday was very tough, but I kind of calmed down a little bit yesterday evening when I heard he was over the worst of it.”

With Rory McIlroy winning on the USPGA Tour again the European Ryder Cup Team have had a good few months of wins in preparation for the contest in Medinah. The list includes  Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, and now Sweden’s Hanson in what has been a morale-boosting few weeks for Olazábal’s side.

Nicolas Colsaerts and Martin Kaymer are to be joined by fellow continental Francesco Molinari at this week’s BMW Italian Open, as preparations continue and The 39th Ryder Cup draws another week closer.

U.S. Ryder Cup Captain DL111 & his Team

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Davis Love 111/U.S. Ryder Cup Captain/Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Davis Love 111, the U.S. Ryder Cup Captain had made his wildcard picks and now has his Team to challenge the Europeans at Medinah, starting on September 28th 2012. D.L 111 has included these players in his team as his four wildcard entries, they are; Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker.

Here is the line up of both Teams;

USA                                                                         Europe 

Davis Love III (C)                                                Jose Maria Olazabal (C)
Tiger Woods                                                          Rory McIlroy
Phil Mickelson                                                     Luke Donald
Matt Kuchar                                                         Martin Kaymer
Zach Johnson                                                      Lee Westwood
Webb Simpson                                                    Ian Poulter
Bubba Watson                                                     Nicolas Colsaerts
Keegan Bradley                                                  Paul Lawrie
Jason Dufner                                                       Graeme McDowell
Dustin Johnson                                                  Sergio Garcia
Jim Furyk                                                             Justin Rose
Brandt Snedeker                                                Peter Hanson
Steve Stricker                                                     Francesco Molinari

 

Europe have World number one Rory McIlroy at the top of their lineup, and he is backed up by other consistent players like Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose, the Europeans have a formidable squad.

The U.S. commentators think the American Team offer more consistency from top to bottom than the Europeans, and with the likes of Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner and Webb Simpson, it’s a US squad that’s not to be dismissed easily.

Hunter Mahan said he felt empty when D.L. 111 told him the news of his omission from the U.S. Team;

 

” To not be a part of it, it feels empty right now, it feels more empty being at the course. It didn’t feel that bad when Davis told me because,  it ended up being a two-week trial, kind of a sprint to the finish, who was going to play the best, because I think he stated he wanted Stricker and Furyk, so there was really only two spots left, and Brandt and Dustin just outplayed me at the end of the day. I just didn’t play good enough. And that’s OK. It’s OK to get beat by somebody. That’s part of golf, and that’s part of the game. But like I say, it just feels empty right now.”

Tiger Woods commented on Hunter’s plight;

” It’s tough for Davis and it’s tough for Hunter. Unfortunately it just didn’t go Hunter’s way. I know that he’s pretty down about it, but he’s got two big events to play in. He’ll turn around and he’ll just start playing well.”

European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal said his was surprised that Hunter was left off the U.S. Team;

” They are very solid picks,  all the American players, from nine to 14 on the list, were very solid and Davis could have picked any four. The only question mark as I see it was Snedeker picked ahead of Mahan, but then Davis has gone for form. Snedeker has pretty much been playing well from the start of the summer and all the way to the FedEx series. However, Mahan has not been playing all that well, so Love went for form and in that regard, he has my respect.”

This is going to be a great Ryder Cup, let’s go play golf.

 

 

Poulter and Colsaerts,Euro Ryder Cup Wildcards

Poulter and Colsaerts get Ryder Cup wildcard picks  (Source: Photosport) Ian Poulter/ PhotosportYou're in: Jose Maria Olazabal named Nicolas Colsaerts (right) in his European Ryder Cup team

Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal & Nicolas Colsaerts

Ian Poulter of England and Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium were named by captain Jose Maria Olazabal as Europe’s two wildcard picks for next month’s Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois. Jose spoke at a press conference at Gleneagles, Scotland, he said,

“Every one of you pretty much guessed Ian was going to be there. That was not a difficult pick because he has a great Ryder Cup record and he’s playing well. He had some issues earlier this season when he got ill and couldn’t play as much as he wanted. But his attitude and his spirit in the Ryder Cup has always been great and he is a player that likes to be in that environment. It gets the best out of him. At Valhalla in 2008 and at Celtic Manor in 2010 you didn’t need to motivate him. Just by looking into his eyes you could tell he was going to give everything he had.”

Nicolas is one of the longest hitters on the European Tour, and will become the first Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup. Captain Olazabal explained his reasons for picking the Belgian Bomber;

“Nicolas has shown a lot of heart, a lot of character, and I think he has got the game and the desire to do well. It’s also a long course at Medinah and he can take advantage of that, he will be suited to it. He has had a very solid season and on top of that he has made the extra effort to try and get in the team, that showed me he wants to be a part of it. Nicolas is going to be the only rookie in an experienced team but his match play record is very good, he won the World Match Play Championship in Spain this year.”

Among those who missed out on selection were Padraig Harrington of Ireland, Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson. Jose said he had called the disappointed players;

“I talked to the next few guys on the points list, David Lynn, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Alvaro Quiros and Padraig. I made those phone calls and it wasn’t easy. They were disappointed not to make the team but they all took my decision well. Padraig played well at the US Masters, finishing eighth, he also had a good US Open and a good Irish Open, but he is 19th on the points list and he was just a little bit too far down. I know he’s a great player and I would have loved to have him in the team, in the same way I’d have loved to have Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson, Henrik Stenson, but you need to be playing well too,”

Jose has stated that the European Team  and the American Team, captained by Davis Love III, are evenly matched for the contest  at Medinah, even though Europe won 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 in the previous edition of the competition at Celtic Manor, Wales.

“Both teams are strong and I don’t see that there is a favorite. But the support of the home crowd will be massive to the U.S. They will also set up the course the way they want and we are going to have to play really well to have a chance to win.The atmosphere will be electrifying so I need to prepare my players for that and make sure they don’t allow themselves to be bothered by it. Luckily the guys have the experience to make that easier. We are playing great opponents but anything can happen.”

European team are: Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Justin Rose (England), Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland), Paul Lawrie (Scotland), Francesco Molinari (Italy), Luke Donald (England), Lee Westwood (England), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Peter Hanson (Sweden), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Ian Poulter (England), Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium).

US captain Davis Love will announce his four wildcard picks on September 4 in New York, I love the Ryder Cup, and match-play.

The Open, Snedeker in 36 hole Open Championship history

Snedeker enters record books with brilliant 64

Brandt Snedeker (Getty Images)

Brandt Snedeker claimed his place in The Open Championship history and in the process set a commanding clubhouse target at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Brandt shot a second round -6 under par 64, for a total of -10 under par. He leads by one shot from Adam Scott who had a -3 under par 67 on Friday, and is comfortably placed at -9 under par. Brandt now joins Sir Nick Faldo sharing the lowest 36 hole score of 130, Faldo also shot rounds of 66 and 64 at Muirfield in 1992.

Brandt said was only thinking of trying to keep a bogey off his card as he played the 18th, not about joining Nick Faldo in the record books.

” That was not even on my radar coming into Thursday morning, I was just hoping to make the cut. The golf course is playing more Americanised now, its soft with not a lot of wind, and I have a different mentality this time, I’m playing away from a lot of pins. I tried to just get the ball on the green all day, even if it was 100 feet away. When you’re putting the way I have been the first two days you want to get it on the green as fast as you can.”

Tiger Woods finished the day birdie,par,birdie, for a tournament total of -6 under par and four shots adrift of the lead, not an unsurrmountable mountain for him to climb, especially over two rounds.

Thorbojorn Olesen of Denmark is in fourth spot at -5 under par and Scotland’s Paul Lawrie is also still in contention, tied in fifth place at -4 under par.

Paul thinks he still may have chance, despite being six shots behind;

” What am I now, six shots at the moment? So you’re looking to claw a few of them back tomorrow and give yourself a chance. There’s 36 holes to go and obviously Brandt has played phenomenal golf to be ten under par, that is world-class to be fair.You’ve got to keep going and keep grinding away and keep doing what you’re doing. Hopefully you have a couple of under par scores over the weekend and you’re in there roughly with a chance.”

World number one Luke Donald, at -2 under par, still thinks he still has a chance;

“I’m certainly feeling more and more comfortable. It’s nice to string a couple of solid rounds together in a Major.Obviously where I am in my career I need to be contending and this was a good solid two rounds and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

Big names failing to make the cut include; Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Sergio Garcia, Stewart Cink, Darren Clarke, Martin Kaymer, Davis Love 111, Ben Curtis, and a very sad Phil Mickelson, who finished at +11 over par. You have to wonder if Phil’s career is over, he seems more interested in big business deals these days, time will tell.

The Open Championship, Royal Lytham & St Annes G.C.

 

Adam Scott/ getty images

Birthday boy Adam Scott lead The Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes G.C. by just one shot after the first round on Thursday. Adam celebrated his birthday a couple of days ago, receiving a strange present from his family, he said;

“I was given an interesting present from my family, a golf bag. A very nice golf bag, I have to say. And I will use it at home, if I carry my clubs. But, a golf bag ! “

Adam spoke about the possibility of shooting a 62, he actually finished at -6 under par for round of 64.

“I know there has never been a 62, I was waiting to use the bathroom, going to the 17th tee, and had a look up at the leaderboard. I realised then that it was a par 70, and also probably that I wasn’t going to be the guy to shoot 62. It’s one of those things that you don’t want to go through your mind, thinking about your final score.”

“I would say I haven’t achieved what I wanted until I win a major, or more. It’s something that at any time could help me, a guy with experience like Steve. We have talked about my mindset because I was playing well at the time of all the majors this year, then shooting myself in the foot in the first round. I was leaving myself too much work to get back in. Steve wanted me to go to the 1st tee today like it was the 72nd hole and I needed three to win, to switch myself on from the 1st hole. That was a good trigger he helped me with it.”

Paul Lawrie is tied in second place with a -5 under par round of 65, and that despite a poor start where he  chipped in twice and holed a putt from off the green within his first six holes, then topped of the round using only 23 putts. The 1999 Open champion said of his start;

“It was probably the strangest start of my career, I didn’t really hit many good shots and I was three under. I heard my name quite a lot today. Down in England, you can be a wee bit surprised at that, I guess. It’s nice; it’s The Open and everyone is here to support the British players. I have won a couple of tournaments when the weather has been particularly nasty, but I can play when it’s flat calm and play when it’s nasty. Nowadays the bad weather doesn’t just suit the British or Scottish players, all of these American boys can play in the wind, it doesn’t make any difference.”

Joining Paul on that -5 under score is American Zach Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts from Belgium, Nicolas happily reported;

“It’s really cool, but then we’ve only played one round. So being in contention, that word wants to be used only when you get to Saturday and Sunday. I hit a lot of very good shots in succession early on, so it really got the momentum of the round going, and I just didn’t really hit any bad shots today. When you play that way, you go through the elements without thinking how hard they get.”

Most of the big name players are at par or better and should all make it to the weekend, those who are struggling include;

Ian Poulter and Davis Love 111, who are at +1; Sergio Garcia, John Daly, Louis Oosthuizen and Jim Furyk at +2. Lee Westwood +3 and Justin Rose +4.

Sadly the defending champion Darren Clarke definitely looks to be missing the cut, he said he was ” Disgusted” with his opening round of 76.

I have a soft spot for Darren, he and I share a liking for Irish Whiskey, although I can not afford 25-year-old Bushmills.

BMW PGA Championship, Luke Donald wins, and Regains World #1 Ranking

Luke Donald BMW PGA Champion  (Getty Images)

Luke Donald BMW PGA Champion (Getty Images

Luke Donald successfully defended his title and retained his BMW PGA Championship title at the Wentworth Club in Surrey England, on Sunday. In doing so he also returned to the number one spot in the World Golf Rankings. This victory makes him only the third player, Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie are the other two,  who have won The European Tour’s flagship event two years in a row.

Luke had a last round of -4 under par, 68 for a tournament total of  -15 under par. Justin Rose put up a good fight, and even drew level with Luke after four holes of the last round on Sunday. That event seemed to galvanize Luke’s thinking, and he then accelerated away to go clear once more.

This was Luke’s first ever successful title defense, he was very pleased with everything today;

 “What a great one to do it at. This is our biggest event on The European Tour. To come and defend and get back to number one is very sweet indeed. I was just trying to keep my head down and plug away. I was swinging well and I’ve putted well all week. I just needed to settle down a bit. This is a big week and I felt some of the pressure. After the fourth I didn’t give him (Justin) another hole where he was teeing off first other than the 18th. I got the job done.  I take a great amount of satisfaction. It means I am doing the right things, the hard work is paying off and I have a great team around me.”

Luke’s next meeting with Rory McIlroy will be at the Memorial tournament in Ohio starting on Thursday, but it is the US Open Championship in San Francisco on June 14 that his sights are now on. If he continues to play like this there is a good chance a first Major could well be his.

Justin Rose had to settle for share of second place, on -11 under par, with Paul Lawrie, who finished his tournament with a sizzling -6 under par 66, for the same Sunday total.

Justin was asked what he felt the difference was between him and Luke on the day, he replied;

“Luke’s putter really. He buried a lot of putts in the middle of the round and there were no loose shots coming down the stretch.”

Paul Lawrie has moved up in the rankings from world number 272 a while ago, to now probably being in the top thirty, and for the first time he can call himself Scotland’s top player. Paul said of his round;

 “You’re never unhappy when you shoot 66, but really it should have been a few less. When you get on a bit of a run the confidence goes up and right now it’s probably never been better.”

Volvo World Match Play Championship, Poulter out

Defending champion Ian Poulter has been knocked out of the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship by Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, with what looks like an easy win at 4-3. Another Englishman,Justin Rose is also out, beaten by Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium by the same 4-3 score. In fact there are no Englishmen competing on day four of the tournament. Tom Lewis went down to Sergio Garcia, Richard Finch to Graeme McDowell and Robert Rock  fell to Retief Goosen.

In the quarter finals G-Mac eased out local boy Sergio Garcia, and Paul Lawrie had an easy time of it despatching Retief Goosen 6 and 5. Brandt Snedeker and his borrowed clubs finally fell to Nicolas Colsaerts, while Alvaro Quiros lost to countryman Rafael Cabrera-Bello 3 and 1.

Paul Lawrie will now face Nicolas Colsaerts, and Rafael Cabrera-Bellow will play Graeme McDowell in the semi finals.

Rafael said of his match against Alvaro Quiros;

“I got to play with a friend in Alvaro. I’m very happy for me but I feel sorry for him, and he’s such a good guy. We had a good match today. I feel like I’m playing really good.  This morning I recovered in a tough game, being two down with five to play, and now this afternoon, three down after nine and being able to win, I feel really proud of that. I have to play G Mac, and he has a lot of experience and is a Ryder Cup hero, so he’s obviously going to be a very, very tough guy to beat.  I’m going to try my best and I’m playing good. Hopefully I can start as good as I did on my first two matches and if I don’t, I know I can come from behind and make it through. So we’ll just see what happens.”

Graeme thought he was pretty lucky to get past Sergio Garcia;

“It wasn’t exactly El Classico and I feel like I dodged a bullet there. I kind of resigned myself to the fact that I was going home, but sometimes you have to win ugly and sometimes to win you need what just happened to me. I count myself lucky.”

Sergio was disappointed but said he was not quite playing well enough;

I’m playing so badly this could happen at any moment.  Making it to the quarter finals having played so badly means it was a good tournament. I had no good quality shots.  He gave me some chances that I could not take and I have been saying it from the first day that I have not felt comfortable and I am not happy with my game.”

 

Paul Lawrie Wins Qatar Masters

Paul Lawrie shot a smooth round of 65 to win the Qatar Masters for the second time with a four-shot win over Jason Day and Peter Hanson at the Doha Golf Club on Sunday. This flawless performance, a last round of 65 for a total of – 15 under par, elevates ‘Chippy’   into the worlds top 50 for the first time since 2003. Just a year ago the 1999 Open champion was down at 272nd in the rankings, now he is part of golf’s elite group again. Chippy said after his last round;

“I don’t think I can play much better than that, I’ve been playing well for a long, long time, but it’s just nice to come out one ahead and shoot seven under.’When you’ve got a chance to win a tournament you don’t sleep as well the night before and things go racing through your mind. You’ve got to get back to basics and I did that. I hit some nice shots coming in.”

Paul Lawrie of Scotland

When he was prompted that after his last Qatar Masters win he then went on to win the Open and raise the Claret Jug in 1999  he smiled and said;

“Now wouldn’t that be nice to get that again?’

The Ryder Cup question was asked;

“I’ve been trying to keep that to the back of my mind.  If I keep playing as I am I will get in, there’s no question, but there’s a long way to go and I know as well as anyone that there are a lot of good players.”

 

American John Daly finished in 4th position at -9 under par, his best finish since 2009 and his 2nd place in the Italian Open.