HP Byron Nelson Championship.

dragon logo darkHP Byron Nelson Championship Logo

Peter Hanson leads the HP Byron Nelson Championship at the TPC Four Seasons Resort.

Peter Hanson shot a 5-under 65 to take the lead at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Peter Hanson / Getty Images

Peter has a one shot advantage after his opening round of -5 under par 65, at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. He joined the PGA Tour last year and is looking for his first win, he was suffering from travelling and a sore back;

“Always nice to get off to a fast start. I still have quite a bit of pain, but I really wanted to play this week. “Heading over to Europe the next two weeks. We have a big tournament, Wentworth, and then my national open back in Sweden the week after that. This is a bit of a test.”

David Duval is in the group of three players at -4 under par, although he very nearly did not play due to an injury problem, his right elbow making it hard to swing;

“I’m just glad I chose to tee off today because I was seriously considering not to, can’t use my right arm. I’m tickled pink it feels as good as it does right now. I’m not getting to play a whole lot right now and it would have been a hard thing to swallow not to be able to tee off.”

“A little disadvantage when you don’t get to play consistently, but I have the utmost confidence in what I’m trying to do right now, and I feel like I can succeed even with that sporadic schedule.”

Marc Lieshman and Tim Wilkinson are the two players tied with David at -4 under par.

Last weeks winner Martin Kaymer is a whole bunch of players at -3 under par, while last weeks adversary Jordan Spieth could only manage an opening round of even par 70.

Jordan was upset at his performance;

“I kept myself in it, it was a difficult day. I was upset today, I get upset out here when things aren’t going my way because I want them to so bad. Michael did a great job of calming me down, putting things in perspective, and we got a couple birdies to finish to get back in it.”

“I’m really happy with the way I’m keeping myself in it around the greens, I feel very confident and comfortable around the greens. Once I hit a few fairways, my iron play will be there and hopefully get back on track and make a run.”

There is a lot of golf still to play here, and I am sure that Martin Kaymer, given his current form, will be in contention come Sunday.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Magic 62 to Start for Ben Martin.

Ben Martin recorddragon logo darkZurich Classic of New Orleans Logo

Ben Martin shot a course record, a magic 62 in the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.

Ben Martin, 26, will attempt to become just the fifth first-round leader to win this season on TOUR. (Chris Greythan/Getty Images)

A happy Ben Martin / Getty Images

Ben has shot a 62 before, but that was on his home course, Greenwood Country Club, this one was in the big league;

” I think back, and that round and this round were two of the best rounds I’ve ever played, It was everything, the shots were going where I was looking and the putts were going in just like I was seeing them.”

The wind really picked up during the day, but Ben seemed oblivious to the conditions;

 ” I hate the cliché, one shot at a time, but when it gets windy like that, that’s really what you have to focus on. We played in the wind every day last week, so I was probably a little bit used to it. Really, everything was working well, I had a pretty good start and just kept it rolling. It was just one of those days, just like you draw it up.”

Something else that is going his way is history, six of the past nine winners of the Zurich Classic have been first-time PGA TOUR winners. Ben has no idea why that should be, but said he does play well on Pete Dye designed courses;

“I don’t know what causes that, I know that for myself, I like most Pete Dye courses. We played one last week and I was successful there. I guess whatever he does kind of fits my eye.”

Andrew Svoboda is in second place, wonderful round of -8 under par 64, and he is still two shots behind the leader.

Peter Hanson and Seung-Yul Noh are tied in third place, both recording opening rounds of -7 under par 65. Peter thinks he tries to over think what he is trying to achieve;

” We want to do this so exact and be so precise, I over-read putts and over analyze the shots, trying to figure this game out. I think sometimes you have to let the score come to you instead of you going after it.”

Eric Compton, Chad Collins and Michael Thompson are tied in fifth place at -6 under par, following their tidy rounds of 66.

Eric, a two-time heart transplant recipient, took part  in a junior golf clinic earlier in the week, with youngsters who also have heart problems. He said he enjoyed meeting with the kids and it always gives him a lift;

“It seems to really relax me and really puts things in perspective. I seem to play better during the weeks where I have hospital visits.”

” This is a course that I feel very comfortable on, you have to hit a lot of long iron shots and drive it well here, and those are some of the strengths of my game.”

Michael used to live in the area, but decided to move away to help jump start his career;

“I haven’t played here much, but I’m starting to get more comfortable playing this course. At first, I thought it was a really long, big course and I felt like I had to overpower everything, but I’m starting to play more within myself and when I do that, I have rounds like today.”

“I loved New Orleans, being in the city and always having a lot to do. But I’ve always told everybody that if I would have stayed at Tulane, I probably wouldn’t have developed into the golfer that I am today as quickly. Transferring to Alabama was great for me.”

Marvelous Manassero Wins Barclays Soggy Singapore Open

Matteo Manassero with his third European Tour trophy  (Getty Images)

Matteo Manassero/ Getty Images

Marvelous Matteo Manassero  the nineteen year-old from Italy won the rain affected Barclays Singapore Open, after a long hard day on the Sentosa Golf Course in soggy Singapore. Matteo beat South African Louis Oosthuizen on the third play-off hole, the par five eighteenth, with a marvelous Eagle, to win his third European Tour Trophy.

Lengthy storms on Thursday and Friday meant the third round had not been completed at the start of play on the final day, and Matteo first finished his third round with a score of -7 under par 64, to lead by two shots beginning the final round. Matteo spoke about the long day’s play;

“It’s been an extremely long day, the adrenaline kept me going and the key was starting really well this morning. Starting with some birdies gave me a lot of adrenaline to go forward. The play-off was just a great honor to play with Louis, it’s been amazing really. This year has been a tough year for me going through a few swing changes, but it has been amazing this week. I’m glad this came in such a great tournament.” 

The win for Matteo, and the resulting second place for Louis meant that the Race to Dubai title was handed  to Rory McIlroy, the Worlds number one ranked golfer, after Rory eventually finished third place alone with his last round of -6 par, 65, the best round of the day,  Rory collected ,296 for finishing in third place at the Barclays Singapore Open, took his season’s earnings to €3,696,597 and with his closest Race to Dubai rival Peter Hanson not playing again until the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Rory has now established an unassailable lead at the top of The Race to Dubai.

Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy/ Getty Images

 

Euro Tour, WGC-HSBC Champions, China. It’s Oosthuizen and Scott

Louis Oosthuizen  (Getty Images)

Louis Oosthuizen/Getty Images

Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott lead the World Golf Championship, HSBC Champions event at Mission Hills, China, with opening rounds of -7  under par, 65, in the calm and excellent low scoring conditions. Both players finished with Eagles on their last hole, the par 5 ninth.

Louis said he did not think that there was a low score to be had;

“I don’t think I saw a really low number out there but once you look at the leaderboard and see the guys are firing it up, all of a sudden you started seeing birdies. I played well, I made five birdies on the par fives, and that got the round going, and then I made two more birdies. I hit a few bad iron shots, but made good up and downs for pars and just glad to have a bogey-free round. I’m always happy with that. There are three rounds left and a lot of golf to be played. The main key is to try to put myself in a spot to win it on Sunday. If I can keep doing what I’m doing on the par fives and hitting fairways, you’ve got a good chance.” 

Adam Scott, he of the long putter, which could be banned shortly, is seeking a win before the ban arrives. Adam, the eight-time European Tour winner said he was having a solid day, that turned into a good day;

It was a solid day that all of a sudden turned into a really good day. I hit a lot of good shots, and they ended up finishing close on the last couple holes and I took advantage of that. With five par fives, it sets up well for my game, and the plan is to just take advantage of the fives and hopefully hang in there with the leaders all week.”

Phil Mickleson, who also managed to eagled the ninth, says his game feels really good. Phil joined the group at -6 under par, with his round of 66;

 “My game feels really good, It’s gotten better each week since the PGA Championship and hopefully I can carry on. I certainly feel confident that I will be able to.”

Bubba Watson, Peter Hanson and Shane Lowry are the other players who completed their opening  rounds in 66. It certainly looked like Shane was going to be the clubhouse leader after he bounded into a clear lead when he holed a six footer for birdie at the 15th and gained another shot from ten feet at the 16th. Unfortunately Shane failed to save par from the green-side bunker on seventeen, and then also hit it into the sand on the last, finishing with two bogeys for his 66.

Shane said he was disappointed to finish like that, but he was happy with his position;

I’m happy with six under and I’m in a good position with three days to go. Obviously was very disappointed bogeying the last two, I felt like I had the ball on a string all day and felt like it came very easy to me today.  Just to bogey those last two was disappointing but six under is a good score out there, and I’m looking forward to the next few days.”

Luke Donald has made a good start to this tournament, a -4 under par 68, a good solid start, Luke has a good record in the WGC, and could figure in this one.

BMW Masters, China, Peter Hanson Wins

Peter Hanson  (Getty Images)

Peter Hanson/Getty Images

Ryder Cup player Peter Hanson won the BMW Masters at  Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China, shooting a last round of -5 under par 67, to lift the title with a tournament total of -21 under par. He held at bay another Ryder Cup player, World number one, Rory McIlroy who also had a last round of -5 under par 67, and was beaten by just one shot.

Members of the 2012 European Ryder Cup Team filled the first four places with Luke Donald finishing alone in third place after his final round of -6 under par 66, and he must be ruing his customary slow start to a tournament. Best round of the day came from another Ryder Cupper, Ian Poulter, who fired in a final round -7 under par 65, to end up in fourth spot on his own. Ireland’s Shane Lowry finished in fifth place alone on -15 under par.

It was nice to see a return to form from England’s Paul Casey, who finished the tournament at -14 under par, he was tied for sixth place along with, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen, Noren Alexander and the man from Zimbabwe, George Coetzee.

Jamie Donaldson, who led the tournament after his amazing first round 62, finished tied in sixteenth place, his first round was followed by rounds of 74, 72 and a 69.  A really sad end to a brilliant start to the tournament.

Euro Tour, BMW Masters, China, Hanson Heads McIlroy

Peter Hanson  and Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)

Peter Hanson and Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

Peter Hanson heads Rory McIlroy by one shot after the third round at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai China. Peter had a -2 under par third round to stay on top of the leaderboard at -16 under par, while Rory shot -3 under par 69 to claim second place, just one shot adrift of his Ryder Cup Teammate at -15 under par. Peter said he enjoys Rory’s company on the golf course;

” The wind was blowing from opposite direction today which made it a little bit trickier, and some of the pins were tucked away. It’s great to play with Rory, every time you get the chance to play against the World Number One it’s a fantastic thing to do. Hopefully I can stay ahead of him but I think it’s going to be a tough one tomorrow and I need to play a little bit better than I did today.Winning on The European Tour is always massive and this is the start of a big stretch for us. If I can get it back to the first two rounds I think I’ve got a good chance.”

Rory has already captured the U.S. PGA Tour money list over in the States, and a win here would put him in position to also gaining the European money title, emulating Luke Donald’s achievement of last year. Rory said he is in a great position and will really go for it tomorrow;

” I’m one behind and in a great position, I’ll try to go out and shoot the best score possible and see what happens. As long as you’re up there near the lead, it’s a good position to be in. Whether I’m one ahead or one behind or level, I can go out there tomorrow and give it my all and hopefully that’s good enough.”

South African George Coetzee conquered the breezy conditions at Lake Malaren Golf Club, to shoot an impressive third round of -6 under par 66, to move into third place alone with a tournament total of -13 under par. There is a whole host of players, six to be exact, who are at -11 under par, and probably out of contention. Luke Donald, last years double money list double winner, is joined by Justin Rose, Michael Hoey, Charl Schwartzel, Noren Alexander and Shane Lowery. One shot behind these guys, at -10 under par is Graeme McDowell who equalled today’s best score of -6 under par 66 with George Coetzee. If one of the chasing pack goes really low tomorrow, and the players at the top have a big score to chase, it could make it very interesting.

 

Lake Malaren Golf Club

 

 

Euro Tour, BMW Masters, China

 

Peter Hanson  (Getty Images)

Peter Hanson/ Getty Images

Peter Hanson has the second round lead in the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China, after shooting -8 under par 64 to secure the top spot at -14 under par for the tournament. Peter is two shots ahead of Rory McIlroy who surprisingly has not won a regular European Tour event since last year’s Hong Kong Open. Rory shot a second round -7 under par 65, but it was not enough to catch Ryder Cup teammate Peter, who unfortunately started the day with a bogey at the first;

It’s amazing how many good rounds come together after a bogey on the first. It’s pretty soft so you can see yourself shooting some low scores here. I’m happy with the way I played so far and I know it’s going to be a tough one coming up against the World Number One these last couple of days on a golf course he obviously loves.  He won here last year.” 

Rory was pleased he played better today than he did in the first round, the U.S. PGA Champion said;

It was a very good day, I played very well , a little better than I did yesterday. I hit the ball a lot better, and gave myself plenty of opportunities. When I did need to make a par putt here or there, I was able to save those, and overall it was just a very good round of golf and obviously in a great position going into the weekend.” 

Yesterday’s first round leader Jamie Donaldson could not repeat anything like his brilliant first round 62, slipping to a +2 over par 74 in the second round, and is now six shots behind the leader. Jose Maria Olazabal also struggled to a second round of 72, plunging from fourth position to twenty-first.

Robert Karlsson is in third spot with a second round -8 under par 64, and a tournament total of -9 under par, five shots from the top. There are four players on -8 under par, with Justin Rose are Shane Lowery, winner of the Portugal Masters two weeks ago, Noren Alexander and first round leader Jamie Donaldson.

Luke Donald had a better second round, a -5 under par 67, to move into a tie for eighth place, with a posse of seven other players, which includes other Ryder Cup players Martin Kaymer and Nicolas Colsaerts. Luke will need a really good third round if he is to contest this title. It has been another tournament where Luke has started slowly, he has made a bad habit of that this year.

European Tour, BMW Masters, China

 

 

Jamie Donaldson  (Getty Images)

 

Jamie Donaldson/ Getty Images

Jamie Donaldson leads the field after the first round of the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club, in Shanghai China, shooting a -10 under par 62, to lead by four shots from the chasing pack. Jamie who had a victory at the Irish Open in July, it was his first win in 255 European Tour events. Jamie was well pleased with his great round;

“It was one of those rounds where you hit every shot where you want to and every putt where you want to. I played great from the word go, hit a lot of fairways and put myself in really strong positions and capitalised when I had putts. I didn’t have many long putts, just played really well, and one of those days where everything went for me. It’s been a really good day. The course suits me. The fairways are quite generous and if you miss the bunkers you can play aggressive golf. It’s an awesome field, so I need to keep playing like that to stay ahead of them. The strength and depth across The European Tour nowadays seems to be very strong , it’s just particularly strong this week. I’m just going out there trying to play my own game and whoever I play with, I’m just trying to do what I do and control what I can control. I’ve just got to play well for the next three days to finish on top.”

There are two players tied in second place at -6 under par, they are Peter Hanson and Francesco Molinari, they are just one shot ahead of winning Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal, who is without a top ten finish since January, World Number One Rory McIlroy and  Michael Hoey, they all signed cards for -5 under par, 67s. José said he needed to improve his driving;

“It’s great to shoot a low round, hit a lot of good iron shots and had quite a few birdie chances, that’s why I managed to score well. Tomorrow and the next few days if I want to score well I will have to improve the driving.”

Justin Rose was round in -4 under par, 68, and Branden Grace shot a -2 under par, 70. Rory McIlroy can be leapfrogged by either Rose or Grace this week, but was delighted to steal a march on the pair after an impressive first round. Rory was especially pleased with his 9 iron shot to the last green;

Definitely a nice way to finish, I hit probably my best drive and my best iron shot of the day into the last, so always nice to finish like that.”

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood were in the group on -2 under par. Jamie has a real march on the rest of the field, but there is still a long way to go, it will be interesting to watch him and see if he can survive at the top for the next three days.

 

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.