DP World Tour Championship. Henrik Successfully Defends Title.

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Henrik Stenson successfully defended his DP World Tour Championship title on the Earth Course in Dubai.

DP World Championship

Henrik Stenson and Trophy / Getty Images

Henrik won the DP World Championship, and defending his title for the first time in his career. A final round -2 under par 70 gave him the winning total of -16 under par, and a two shot victory.

He said how good it felt to get his first win of the year, the win also took him to number 2 in the World, but he would have liked to have been number 1;

“It feels great.”

“I’m exhausted to say the least. It was hot out there and tricky on the back nine. I did not play my best and had a shocking hole on eleven.”

“I walked up to the tee with too much club in my hand and instead of changing I tried to cut a two-iron but hit a push, slice, shank straight into the buildings.”

“That knocked me back but I did not give up. I just had to dig in there and wait for something to happen. I had a couple of close calls this year to get my win and it was not to be. It’s been close but eventually you get something if you stick around and I surely did that.”

“It would be nice to have been ranked the world’s best at some point, but if I had the choice I would go for a Major Championship so I am going to try and be in good shape for them next year.”

World Number One Rory McIlroy, with Ryder Cup team-mates Justin Rose and Victor Dubuisson tied in second place at -14 under par. Rory made a challenge in the final round, shooting -4 under par 68, but it was not enough to upset Henrik. But he was very happy to have won the Race to Dubai;

The Race to Dubai

Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy

“It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve played the best golf throughout the season of any of the guys for the second time in three years, it’s really nice.”

“I never expected 14 under to have a remote chance of winning this golf tournament.”

“It just seemed like no one really took the tournament by the scruff of the neck and went with it. The two guys, Rafa and Henrik, were on 16 for quite a while, and sort of stayed there.”

“I saw Rafa went back to 15 under as I birdied 15 to get to 14 under and I thought if I could post 16, I might have a chance. 16 would have been good enough for a play-off in the end.”

“I just didn’t play well enough to win this week, and if I had of won by playing like that, it would have been a bit of a surprise.”

“A lot of positives heading into 2015 and something I’m really pleased about this year is that consistency that I’ve shown in my golf. I haven’t finished outside the top 25. My last few results have been very consistent, very good, and a lot of good stuff going into next year.”

“I feel like, as you said, this year has been full of up-and-downs, mainly ups, which is a great thing.I learned a lot from it and I feel like I came through this year stronger and wiser, and I can go into 2015 in a much better place.” 

“I’m happy with the success that I’ve had, and I feel like there’s been a lot that I’ve learned this year, as well, and that’s a great thing going into the future.”

 

 

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik & Rafa Pull Clear.

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Henrik Stenson and Rafa Cabrera- Bello pull clear of the field in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course in Dubai.

DP World Tour Championship

Rafa Cabrera-Bello / Getty Images

Rafa shot a great third round -7 under par 65, to share the DP World Tour Championship lead with Henrik at -14 under par, the pair of them now have a three shot advantage going into the final round tomorrow.

Rafa said it had been a very special day for him;

“Obviously it’s been a very special round for me today,” he said. “I’m really, really pleased with the score, and obviously with the good finish.”

“The short game and putting has been unbelievable, probably the best day of my life for short game.”

“I think that that’s what helped me hang in there on the front nine and I did play better on the back nine. I was playing more aggressive going for it, hitting good shots, and giving myself a lot of chances and I did make some of them.”

Henrik did nothing wrong today, a bogey free -4 under par 68, and reported he had recovered from hitting the wall yesterday, he put it down to old age. He has never successfully defended a title, and wants to win here;

“I felt a little stronger today but I wasn’t exactly jumping out of bed this morning, but what do you expect at 38 years old? I’m a little low on energy but when the mind wants something you can pull through.”

“It would be great to win. It’s a great championship and it would mean a lot to defend a title and get the win. It’s been a good year but when you assess it you always look at the trophies and there hasn’t been one yet.”

“All in all it was a good day and we’re still at the races so I am pretty pleased.”

Justin Rose scored a -4 under par 68 today to move himself into third place alone, at -11 under par. He played alongside Rafa and could only admire what he saw;

“I watched an incredible round of golf today, Rafa was unbelievable. He really struggled with his game the first few holes, up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down, and then got some flow going.”

“He had 15 one-putts today. His short game was Seve-like. It was awesome.”

“He was chipping it to a foot and it was awesome. Chipping around this golf course is difficult, very grainy, very tough, very sandy underneath the ball. It was a masterclass.”

Tied in fourth place at -10 under par are; Rory McIlroyVictor Dubuisson, Tyrrell Hatton and Thorbjørn Olesen.

Rory had another off day, -2 under par 70,with a couple of double bogey’s thrown in, and is now four shots off the lead;

“It makes life a little more difficult for me tomorrow. I need to be aggressive, I need to go at pins, hit it close and make some putts.”

“I felt a little better out there today than yesterday so knew if I stayed patient the birdies would come. I got on a nice run with three birdies in a row from the fifth and another one at ten, but unfortunately the back nine was not quite as good as the front.”

“It was annoying to follow one double bogey with another. I was a little frustrated but it was nice to get a couple back and at least keep myself in touch.”

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik Has Half-Way Lead.

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Henrik Stenson has the half-way lead in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course in Dubai.

 DP World Tour Championship

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik posted a second round -6 under par 66 to lead the DP World Tour Championship at the half-way point by two shots on -10 under par.

He reported that he felt like he was running on empty, after a long season;

“Around the 12th hole I felt like I was running out of steam. It was difficult mentally from there on. I had to really focus hard and drag myself over the finish line.”

“It’s hot and sticky and even though I’m drinking well and getting plenty of energy, I just felt like I hit the wall on 12.”

“If it’s one or two holes left, you normally feel like, ‘okay, I can hang on’. But it was a bit of an uphill struggle from there. I managed to finish in good style anyway so I’m pleased with that.”

“There’s still a lot of golf to play and I’m really happy with how I closed this round.”

Rory McIlroy is just two shots behind at -8 under par, sharing second place with Richie Ramsay and Danny Willett.

Rory said he will try to close the gap on the leader tomorrow;

“I’m in a good position and there is a lot of golf left, I’ve definitely been in worse positions after two rounds and still won.”

“It could have been worse but it probably could have been a little better. I definitely didn’t have it like I did yesterday. I had to dig in a little bit so hopefully that’s the bad one out of the way and I have 36 holes now to make some ground up on Henrik.”

“Henrik’s very comfortable on this golf course obviously. I can’t let him get too far ahead tomorrow. I have to get off to a fast start and try and put a bit of pressure on him. Hopefully I can do that.”

Shane Lowry, aided by a hole-in-one on the 13th, and former US Open Champion Justin Rose are among the five-strong group of players another stroke back at -7 under par.

Shane spoke about his first ever Ace in tournament play, on the 204 yard par three 13th, and how good it felt;

“It was a beautiful shot, a perfect number for my six iron.”

“It’s my first in tournament play and only my second ever so it was pretty exciting. It was hard to go on and play the next hole after that.”

“I am still in the tournament and I suppose if you had given me that on Thursday I would have taken it.”

DP World Tour Championship. Rory & Shane Share the Lead.

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Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowery share the first round lead in the season ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

DP World Tour Championship

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory and Shane both carded first rounds of -6 under par 66 to sit on top of the DP World Tour Championship leaderboard on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Rory already has The Race to Dubai title in his pocket, but has stated he will contest here, he wants to win;

“It was a great way to start, you never expect to start like that, but I’ve been hitting the ball well for the last couple of weeks that I’ve been practicing and it was just a matter of trying to take that good range play on to the course, and I was able to do that today, which I’m really happy about.” 

“I feel like it really suits my style of play. I can be aggressive with the driver, and that can set me up to hit shorter irons into greens and obviously give myself a lot of birdie opportunities like I did today. 

“I didn’t feel like I took as many of them as I could have but it still added up to six under and I’m very happy with that.”

Shane proved he is still in good form, he birdied four of the last six holes, but said he was thinking about his poor final round last Sunday in Turkey;

The whole day Sunday and the flight down here you’re thinking about it, it’s one of those things. But I gave myself a chance to win last week. If I can give myself a chance to win again this week, maybe I’ll do it.”

“I have been playing well for most of the year. I’ve been very consistent. I’ve been shooting some great scores, making a lot of birdies and I did that today again.”

Richie Ramsay and Thorbjørn Olesen are a shot off the pace on -5 under par under, with defending champion Henrik Stenson another stroke back sharing fifth place with Emiliano Grillo.

Richie was also happy with his opening round;

“I’m really happy. Obviously it was a great start, three birdies on the spin, and then played lovely in the middle, had a lot of chances but just didn’t take a few.”

“But most important was I stayed patient, stayed with it. I kept on hitting good shots and then took a couple of chances on 14 and 15 and then finished off pretty solid coming down the stretch.”

“I played great in the middle part of the season. I know the game is there, just a matter of staying out of my own way and committing to it.”

Thorbjorn has been in contention a few times this season, and won the  ISPS Handa Perth International;

“It feels like a second home golf course for me really.”

“I played lovely, hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. Hit a few really close, and the putter was working nicely. It was a really solid day.”

“When you’re seven under going to 16, and you know you have 18 which is a possible birdie chance, also, of course it’s a little bit disappointing, but I took a chance and it didn’t work out very well.” 

“I felt like it was going so well and I felt like I could pull it off – that’s what happens in golf.”

Turkish Airlines Open. Jiménez Jumps into the Lead.

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Miguel Angel Jiménez jumps into the lead in the Turkish Airlines Open at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal golf course.

Turkish Airlines Open

Miguel Angel Jiménez / Getty Images

Miguel shot a bogey free first round of -9 under par 63 to give himself a one shot lead at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Miguel was happy to turn things around after a couple of months playing indifferent golf;

“Nine under par on this course, only first round, it’s a good start, it’s nice, making a low score.

“I hit a nice lob-wedge on the green [at the tenth]. You play very well, you just try to enjoy yourself, and it’s the way to shoot very low, it’s still exciting and I managed today to do that.”

“I like the golf course with trees on it. It feels nice and you have everything, you have some long holes, you have some short holes and you have a mix. I feel comfortable on this golf course.”

“It’s special because I’ve been struggling a little bit the last few months and you shoot under par, you feel good. Everything is getting close. I started to roll the ball better on the green and everything starts to go close and that helps.”

He has some good company at the top of the leaderboard, Ian Poulter carded a -8 under par 64 opening round to secure second spot. He too has not been performing well recently and said he now feels confidant;

“I’m right there, within the space of a couple of weeks, I feel really good about myself. I don’t have any aches or pains, which is really nice.”

“I feel strong and that means I can practice. And when I practice and start holing some putts, then I’m going to be full of confidence like I am right now.”

There are three players tied in third place, at -7 under par; Tyrrell Haytton, Wade Ormsby and Brendon De Jong sharing the place after their first rounds of 65.

Sergio Garcia, Ryder Cup team-mate Jamie Donaldson and Germany’s Marcel Siem can still overtake Rory McIlroy at the top of The Race to Dubai competition, but to do so they need to win here in Turkey, and next week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

Sergio has not made a good start, scoring a first round +3 over par 75, while Jamie returned an even par 72. Marcel made a better effort, -2 under par 70, but these three will have to go some to catch the leaders and win this tournament and deny Rory his glory.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Wilson Wins.

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Oliver Wilson wins his maiden trophy, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, in Scotland.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Oliver, Trophy and Swilcan Bridge / Getty Images

Oliver claimed his maiden European Tour title, with a final round of -2 under par 70 on The Old Course at St. Andrews, which enabled him to lift the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship trophy with a -17 under par score.

Naturally he had a lot say after waiting all those years;

“I don’t have words for it. It’s been ten years, 11 years coming. There were nine runners-up and I hadn’t done a whole lot to lose those, but nothing had really gone my way and this week. To be given a big opportunity by Dunhill to play, I can’t thank them enough to give me an opportunity to do this, I guess it’s what golf’s all about.”

“Before I went out today I thought about how I’ve never gone out and won a tournament. I’ve played alright coming down the stretch and not lost it and other guys have just got over the line ahead of me and today I was just trying to be patient.”

“I got off to a good start ball-striking wise but a couple of three-putts and you think ‘here we go’ but I stayed patient. The course was tricky with the wind, Rory was in front and I could keep an eye on what he was doing and Tommy was playing good as well.”

“I played some great shots on the back nine, you feel like when you turn back into the wind that your opportunity has probably gone because it’s hard to make some birdies. I made a great save at 14 and the shot I hit into 16 was probably the best shot of my life. 17 was hard work and at the last Tommy had putted well and I thought he was going to make that.”

“I’ve been playing pretty well. Robert Rock, I went to see him two weeks ago and I shot a course record in Kazakhstan. He’s worked with me all week, spent a lot of time with me, helped me a lot with my swing and given me the confidence to go and play.”

“When I came into the week I was almost just trying to make the cut! I got going and played good in practice and knew I was capable of putting a good tournament together but you’re never sure if it’s going to happen.” 

“Carnoustie, shooting eight under round there gave me some confidence and my confidence grew each day. I’ve got good memories round here, I finished second a few years ago alongside Rory when Simon Dyson won. So I knew what I had to do and I stood up and hit some really good shots today. So my confidence from where it’s been the last few of years is in a very different place right now.”

“I could be drunk for a while, I’ve had a lot of champagne on ice over the years!”

There were three players tied in second position, Richie Ramsay, Tommy Fleetwood and World number one Rory McIlroy, all just one shot back at -16 under par.

Rory said he only made two mistakes today, but they were costly, he ended up recording a -4 under par 68;

“Where I feel like I cost myself the tournament today was probably in the space of about 20 yards at the front of the green at the first and over at the Road Hole bunker. They are not too far away from each other and they are the two things, the only mistakes that I made all day.”

“I love this golf course. I feel like I play well here every time I tee it up, so I’m looking forward to obviously coming back here in July and defending The Open Championship.” 

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Oliver Wilson Looking for Maiden Tour Win

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Oliver Wilson is looking for his maiden Tour win at The Old Course at St. Andrews , taking the lead in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Oliver Wilson / Getty Images

After a rain delay, followed by preferred lies, Oliver shot a bogey free -7 under par 65 on The Old Course to post a -15 under par three round total at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and is now in a good position to win his maiden European Tour title. He will go into the final round, at St. Andrews tomorrow with a three shot lead, and he is pretty happy about that;

“I’m pretty happy with that, I played good today. Left a lot out there, as well, which is a bit frustrating but obviously I’m pleased with how I played, especially coming down the stretch, hit a lot of good shots.”

“The way I’ve driven the ball the last couple of years, to stand up and hit some tee shots like I did on the back nine, I was very pleased, it was a good day. I got ahead of myself a couple times today but managed to just bring the head back in gear and focus on the shots.” 

“I expect Rory to shoot lights out every time he tees it up. The other names that are on the board don’t really affect me. I’m just doing my thing, trying to shoot as good a score as I can, get it in play, one shot at a time, all the boring stuff, but it’s true. I managed to do that really well. “

“There’s 18 holes, long holes, and it’s going to be a long day tomorrow, but it would mean a lot. I love this tournament and I’ve done well here before. I love coming to the Old Course, all the courses, but that walk up 18 is pretty cool.” 

“I’ll be nervous. It’s a big day for me. Last year I got off to a great start and kind of fizzled out in a similar kind of position really.”

Sharing second place, and three shots adrift are Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, Alexander Levy and Raphaël Jacquelin,  all at -12 under par for the tournament.

Tommy shot one of the best rounds of the day, a magnificent -10 under par 62, which was level with the Old Course record but not enough to earn him a share of the honor in the record books as after the overnight and early morning rain, which had delayed play by an hour this morning, meant preferred lies were in play.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Tommy Fleetwood / Getty Images

 

World number one Rory went one better than the leader with his -8 under par 64, which could have been even better. He is looking forward to the final round with Pro/Am partner dad, Gerry;

“I got off to a really fast start and was trying to keep it going, and I sort of did through the turn.” 

“But as you said the last four holes weren’t really what I wanted. But any time you shoot a score like that around St Andrews, you have to be happy.”

“Dad and I are going to get to play St Andrews on his birthday tomorrow which will be a huge treat for both of us.”

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Rory and Gerry / Getty Images