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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. The Irish Open, Rock and Uihlein Lead. McIlroy Misses Cut

Robert Rock and Peter Uihlein lead the European Tour, The Irish Open at Carton House Golf Course in Kildare, Ireland at the conclusion of the second round.

Peter Uihlein  (Getty Images)

Peter Uihlein / Getty Images

Peter was happy to play in the strong breeze that came up in Kildare for the second round. He won the Madeira Islands Open last month in another blustery event, and said he had played in stronger winds when at college in Oklahoma;

” In college in Oklahoma it was quite windy all the time, so I quite enjoy the wind and knew it was tough out there. It was gusting at times, and it was a good, solid day. The Irish fans live up to the reputation of being very knowledgeable and supportive, so it’s been good. I spent three and a half years in Oklahoma where we would play in a tornado. It was a good experience there, and I feel like in the wind, you don’t have to be perfect, which is what I struggle with. I would try and be too perfect sometimes and in the wind, you just play golf, you hit shots and you just try and manoeuvre it a little bit. I feel like when it gets windy, you have almost a little more room, so I enjoy it. I’ve had a very good support group with Chubby ( his manager) and my coach Butch Harmon and my dad ( Chairman of top equipment company Acushnet). Those guys have been around the game a long, long time. If they say this is the right route, then I’m going to listen to them. And I look at a guy like Adam Scott, somebody I’ve always looked up to, and he came over to Europe and started off his career. Rory did the same thing, start in Europe before heading to the States. There have been a lot of guys who have done it and had great success. It’s just different me being an American and doing it.”

Robert has missed six out of nine cuts and has been not playing to the form that saw him beat Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship last year. He has recently received some putting lessons and thinks that tactic is paying off;

” I’ve been putting a little bit better lately so to start the day with even a five foot putt for a birdie was nice, and I drove it well for the rest of the round really. I was frustrated in Munich, played really quite well for three days but putted awfully and I played on Saturday with Richard McEvoy and he had a little suggestion but also gave me Jonathan Yarwood’s number, and he kindly sent me an e mail, a V1 email golf lesson and told me really a few things to change in the setup. I sent him a video back about quarter six Sunday morning and shot seven under. Unfortunately it didn’t work at The Open qualifying quite so well on Monday, but it’s been better. I’m feeling quite awkward doing it, so on some putts I’m hitting average putts because I’m confusing myself a little bit but on the whole it’s been good. I didn’t have my arms and putter shaft set at the right angle or in line and I was holding a little too far up the putter to achieve that. So I tried to align all that, and if you see me over the weekend during the round, that’s what I’m going to do, and if it’s not in line, I might miss. I think I had 26 putts today which is as good as I’ve done in a long while. I’ve had 26 putts over the past few weeks but generally all tap ins so didn’t really count. I’ve been failing to set the ball on line for a long time, and that did it.  played well in Dubai at the start of the year but before that it seems to go back a good while. A few off course things that distracted from practice and then that kind of spirals into your game later down the line and you realise, yeah, should have put the time in that you should have done and have to put more time in to correct that and that takes a while for it to work.”

Missing the cut were local boys, Rory McIlroy, who will surely begin to tumble down the World Golf Rankings soon, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley.

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.”

 

The Volvo World Match Play Championship

 

 

Poulter sees off Lewis to top group

Ian Poulter (Getty Images)

Defending Champion  Ian Poulter recorded his second win in the Volvo Match Play Championship in Spain, but 21 year old Tom Lewis, the man he beat, is also through to the last 16. Ian won it  comfortably at 4 and 3 after they had made the turn at all square.The champion  Poulter now faces Alvaro Quiros, while Tom Lewis is also up against Spanish opposition in Sergio Garcia.

Alvaro Quiros will be a tough task according to Ian;

“I don’t think either of us were 100 per cent switched on. I guess it was hard to get that adrenaline rush you normally get in match play.
It’s always nice to play well over the first couple of days, and I’ll be going into the weekend with that mind set and rather than obviously playing okay. Sergio, or Alvaro, are both two tough matches. It’s in Spain, they feel at home, they are going to have a lot of support and are both good players. Either one is going to be a tough match. I’ve driven the ball nicely and holed key putts at the right time, and that’s obviously what I did last year throughout the weekend. I holed nice putts and hit good shots but I definitely holed putts at the right time, and that’s obviously the key to playing well in match play.”

Sergio also wins his group, besides admitting he did not play his best;

 “I wasn’t hitting the best of shots, but somehow I found a way of getting the ball in play and hitting a couple decent iron shots, gave myself good birdie chances on 11 and 12 and 15, and rolled a good putt in to get things going.  I obviously got a little bit fortunate because neither of my playing partners played great the first two days. I got on a good run today after starting poorly the first seven holes. Overall I think it was a mix of hitting a couple of good shots at the right times, and getting a little bit lucky. Throughout my career, I’ve been fairly good at match play. As a professional, maybe not as good but as an amateur I was usually pretty good. It’s nice to get a couple of wins and hopefully we’ll play well tomorrow and have a chance of winning again.”

Afternoon results;

PLAYER ENG Ian POULTER 4&3 Tom LEWIS ENG
McCORMACK USA Brandt SNEDEKER 4&3 Branden GRACE RSA
NORMAN SWE Peter HANSON 6&4 Camilo VILLEGAS COL
WOOSNAM ESP Sergio GARCIA 4&2 Tetsuji HIRATSUKA JPN
LARSON NIR Graeme MCDOWELL 4&3 Jbe KRUGER RSA
PALMER RSA Charl SCHWARTZEL 4&3 Retief GOOSEN RSA
GABRIELSSON ENG Justin ROSE 6&4 Darren CLARKE NIR
BALLESTEROS GER Martin KAYMER 1 Hole Richard FINCH ENG
A/S S Garcia 06:45 T Lewis A/S
A/S G McDowell 06:55 R Finch A/S
A/S P Lawrie 07:05 T Bjorn A/S
A/S R Goosen 07:15 R Rock A/S
A/S B Snedeker 07:25 C Villegas A/S
A/S J Rose 07:35 N Colsaerts A/S
A/S I Poulter 07:45 A Quiros A/S
A/S R Cabrera Bello 07:55 R Karlsson A

Last 16 matches are above.

The Volvo World Matchplay Championship

Ian Poulter  (Getty Images)

Ian Poulter (Getty Images)

Ian Poulter started his defense of The Volvo World Match Play Championship with a 3 and 2 victory over Australian John Senden in the first round. Ian now faces Portugal Masters champion Tom Lewis in his second and final group game tomorrow. Ian was in reflective mood when interviewed afterwards;

“I said John was going to be a very steady opponent, and he was on front nine. I think he made nine straight pars. I took advantage of the par five third hole, and I think if anything, on the next hole with driving it in the water, I think he played a little bit too safe. It’s a driveable par four and he should have tried to knock it on.”

Poulter admitted that the half gained on the fourth was a turning point in the contest.

“I think there’s a way to play, which it puts you under pressure, but sometimes you have to stand up and hit a shot that you probably wouldn’t think about hitting. Prime example, I hit it in the water on four. If it was me, I would have had a go at the green. It’s a good target and a good yardage for him, I would have thought, but he didn’t, he decided to take an easy option, take any mistake out of play. But I’m going to be 120 yards away from the hole, and I’m going to have a good chance to make four. He should have tried to make an easy three and win that hole, so that’s the fun of match play. It doesn’t matter if you are not hitting good shots. If you believe you can hit the next shot good, and hole the next putt, then it doesn’t make any difference. That’s what Seve had.”

Garcia victorious in all-Spanish encounter

Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia started his campaign with a 2 and 1 victory over compatriot Alvaro Quiros. Sergio enjoyed his battle with Alvaro;

“I guess you could say it was a good battle, because it was a battle, that’s about it pretty much. I think the one that has the most credit today is the people that were following us for not walking off after nine probably, because I can’t really imagine that was a lot of fun to watch. We weren’t playing very good. I had a stretch there on ten, 11, 12, where he did hit some good shots. I made a big putt on 11 to stay one down, and then he had a great chance on 12 from about probably five feet, no more than that, to go two up. If he would have made that, the way I was feeling, I would have struggled. You could see that he felt that, because after that hole, he struggled the next couple. He hit a couple bad drives and I managed to win both of them and got one up. I was fortunate enough to hit three really good iron shots coming in on 15, 16 and 17. So that was about it.”

These are all the results of the day.

PLAYER ENG  Ian POULTER
3&2
John SENDEN AUS
McCORMACK USA Brandt SNEDEKER 5&4 Thomas BJÖRN DEN
NORMAN SWE Peter HANSON 2&1 Paul LAWRIE SCO
WOOSNAM ESP Sergio GARCIA 2&1 Alvaro QUIROS ESP
LARSON NIR Graeme MCDOWELL 1 Hole Robert KARLSSON SWE
PALMER RSA Charl SCHWARTZEL Match Halved Nicolas COLSAERTS BEL
GABRIELSSON ENG Justin ROSE 7&6 Robert ROCK ENG
BALLESTEROS GER Martin KAYMER 3&2 Rafael CABRERA-BELLO ESP

Reale Seguros Open de España in Seville, 3rd round, Dyson leads

Simon Dyson  (Getty Images)

Simon Dyson (Getty Images)

Simon Dyson leads the Reale Seguros Open de España in Seville after the third round. The highest-ranked player in the field, took over at the top in the rain-delayed third round, there was a delay of nearly two hours to clear flooded greens and bunkers. Simon holds a one shot lead over Pablo Larrazabal in the rain affected third round, completing a round 0f -1 under par 71.

Gregory Bourdy the overnight leader sadly three-putted the first and third holes of his third round, while Robert Rock  bogeyed the opening three holes. Young  Italian Matteo Manassero  bogeyed the second and dropped three more strokes at the fourth after driving into a bush.

The local favorite Jorge Campillo is only two shots behind and is still seriously involved in this competition, and with Pablo also well placed carry the hopes of Spain for a Spanish winner to the tournament.

Robert Rock and Matteo Manassero have fallen back and are at level par for the tournament and at best are now vying for the minor places, unless the leaders really make a mess of their last round.

The final round tomorrow should be an exciting day for players and spectators alike, just bring on the sunshine.

European Tour, 2nd round @ Reale Seguros Open de España in Seville

   

Gregory Bourdy  (Getty Images)

     Gregory Bourdy (Getty Images)

Gregory Bourdy leads after the second round of the Reale Seguros Open de España, in Seville. Gregory’s -6 under par round of 66 gives him just a one shot lead over four players with a tournament total of -5 under par. Right behind him at -4 under the card for the tournament are, Simon Dyson, Matteo Manassero, Robert Rock and local favorite Jorge Campillo. Anyone who is under par in this tournament is still in with a chance to win, the field is that close and so far no one has taken a grip on it.

Gregory said of the tough conditions;

“I’ve just been patient, I’ve not made a score like that for a long time in these conditions. It’s good for the confidence. I’m very happy about this round, particularly in these conditions. I made eight birdies and just two bogeys.  Yesterday one over was not so bad in that wind, but today I played really well, I felt comfortable and very solid, very consistent and I also made some important putts, so I’ll try to keep going like this.”

Simon  polished off  his 69 with a 12 foot putt for eagle, using his new belly putter;

“It appeared to bobble and I started walking, but it kept going and dropped.  I switched because I’ve just not been holing out well. It’s harder to get the pace, but I start it on the right line more consistently.”

Matteo was really very happy with his score, but thought he did not actually play that well;

“It wasn’t an easy day and I’m happy because I didn’t really play that well but managed to score.  Today I took the right side of the draw. Early morning we just had a little breeze and it’s certainly going to be more difficult in the afternoon. I didn’t play really well, but never put myself in serious trouble. I’ve scrambled well, I made some good up and downs at the beginning of my back nine, but the last four or five holes I started playing very good golf well and that gives me some confidence.  I’m really happy to be in contention, to be around the lead, and we shall see what happens.”

Notables missing the cut include; Michael Campbell, Alvaro Quiros, Rich Beam, Colin Montgomery, Paul Lawrie and amazingly Miguel Angel Jimenez, the Spaniard has never won his National title.

Contenders for January Shot of the Month award (EuropeanTour

The European Tour Shot of the Month competition is back,  it is up to you, the fans, to cast your vote and decide the pick of the bunch. Throughout the season the Tour is offering prizes, building towards the European Tour Shot of the Year award. Last years winner was  Rory McIlroy for his brilliant tee shot on the tenth hole in the final round of the US Open.  One lucky fan won himself a fantastic golf break to The London Club and Le Golf National, two of the European Tour Destinations.

The 2012 Shot of the Month competition starts this week with six fantastic shots from January to choose from The prizes this month include European Tour merchandise up for grabs, so it is over to you to cast your vote.

Pick your favourite from these six contenders for the January Shot of the Month award  (EuropeanTour)

Just watch the video montage, log into My European Tour and register your vote and you could win.

Robert Rock Wins HSBC Abu Dahbi Championship

With this win - Robert Rock

Robert Rock has won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship by one shot over Rory McIlroy. Roberts final round 70 earned him a winning total of -13 under par and edged out Rory McIlroy whose last round 69 left him on -12 under par for the tournament.

Tiger Woods final round of 72 left him two shots in arrears at -11 under par, the once legendary last round charge never appeared. Still with his appearance money he still took home more cash than anybody else. As I said in an earlier blog, just a well paid vacation for him. What is evident is that although Tiger is playing good golf, he is still not the world beater he once was.

Finishing with Tiger on -11 under par were Thomas Bjorn and Graeme McDowell, who both showed good form in this tournament and that bodes well for the rest of the season for them.

Lee Westwood finished with -6 for a share of 17th place and world number one Luke Donald could only muster a total of  -1 and finished in 48th spot. The first time for a long time that Luke has not finished in the top ten. I hope that’s not a sign of things to come for him or his position at #1 could be in jeopardy.

Tiger & Rock Lead after Day 3 of Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

Tiger Woods and Robert Rock share the top of the leader board after round three of the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship on Saturday. Both players are -11 under par after shooting super scores of sixty six, Woods round was bogey free. Tiger was very satisfied with his steady round; “I didn’t do a lot of things right, but I didn’t do a lot of things wrong today. It was just very consistent. I made a couple of putts here and there, but it was just a very consistent round of golf.

Expressing his satisfaction with the tournament Tiger commented; “It was a nice atmosphere today; people were into it. Each day, the gallery has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. It was fun and you could see that everyone was excited to be out there. The weather is perfect to come out and watch the event. It’s a great leaderboard, so I think everyone is happy.”

Tiger also acknowledged that he had a fight on his hands to win the trophy; “There’s too many guys up there right now. There’s a ton of guys with a chance to win. We have not separated ourselves from the field. I need to go out there and shoot a solid round of golf, and I can’t go out there and shoot even par and expect to win. I’ve got to go out there and go get it.”

 

Robert was extremely happy that he had achieved a last round pairing with Tiger; “That’s an opportunity not to be missed. I bogeyed the 16th hole and thought it might have cost me. So two birdies to finish put me back in there. I just want to experience it. How many chances I’ll get to do that, it’s not clear.”

Rory McIlroy is at -9 under par, tied for third place with Paul Lawrie, Francessco Molinari and Peter Hanson, all of these players have a chance of winning this tournament if Woods and Rock do not perform at their best on Sunday. Rory said about playing alongside Tiger;

“It’s a great atmosphere, as you can hear, and it’s a great buzz playing with Tiger. “I’ll miss the crowds and miss the buzz tomorrow even though I’ll be in the second-to-last group, so I’ll still get a bit of it.”

He is still feeling confident about his chances; “I feel pretty comfortable, and I’ve been hitting a lot of great iron shots and I feel like the putting has been pretty good. So hopefully I can just keep that going tomorrow and maybe get off to a fast start and put pressure on the guys in front of me.”

Two shots further back on -7 under par are Italian whiz kid Matteo Manassero and Graeme Mcdowell, but they are probably too far back to mount a serious challenge. Golf is a funny game so anything can happen, I look forward to Sunday’s final round.

 

 

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