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

 

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Jacquelin Jumps Into Half-way Lead.

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Raphaël Jacquelin jumped into the half-way lead at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, in the wind and rain on Friday.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Raphaël Jacquelin / Getty Images

Raphaël shot a second round -2 under par 70 at Kingsbarns to lead the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a tournament total of -9 under par.

The wind and rain made things more difficult on Friday, but Raphaël was happy with his performance, especially the birdie, birdie finish;

“I’m pretty happy, especially the way I finished, I birdied 17 and 18, so it was good before having dinner and going to rest.” 

“I didn’t play that well, and not as well as yesterday, but it was not that easy, a bit of wind, a bit of rain, a bit of cold as well. I feel good, it’s a long weekend, a lot of golf to play, so the game of golf it’s not that easy.”

There are four players tied in second position, all at -8 under par, three of them played Kingsbarns. Padraig Harrington had a -2 under par 70, Oliver Wilson shot par, while Alexander Levy put together a second round -4 under par 68. That is back to back  rounds of 68 for Alexander.

Padraig wants to get into the Olympics and has set himself that target;

“I think the big one for me, I’ve got to get inside the top 15 in the world to make the Olympics in 2016.”

 “I’ve got 22 months to go. I’m starting at absolute zero probably at the moment. I really feel good about my game, so I believe I can do it.”

Shane Lowery kept himself in touch with the leader carding a -2 under par 70 on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Shane was the only player in the top 12 to play at St Andrews on Friday, which means he will face Carnoustie on Saturday before the final round is contested over The Old Course on Sunday

Shane played well and said the weather was not as bad as the forecast had predicted;

“To be honest, the way I played to shoot two under was quite good. The forecast was pretty bad today and everyone was expecting the worst, but it wasn’t actually that bad.”

“It played quite easy toward the end and I could have picked up a couple more, but I’m happy with the position I’m in with two rounds to go. Hopefully I can go out to Carnoustie tomorrow and hopefully the weather is not too bad over there and I can shoot a decent score.”

World Number One Rory McIlroy carded a -5 under par 67 at Kingsbarns and now has a -4 under par total, five shots off the lead. He would still like to win on Sunday at St. Andrews, but would not mind waiting until next year when he defends his Open title on The Old Course.

“I think the eagle on 16 kick-started something for me, I just went from there, started to knock a few putts in. I felt like I struck the ball pretty well for the first couple of days, but just to see a few putts roll in sort of gave me a little bit of confidence and played well after that.”

“It would mean an awful lot to win at St Andrews. But if I didn’t, I wouldn’t mind waiting until July next year.”

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. St. Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie

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The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is played over three of Scotland’s finest courses, St. Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie, at the end of play on day one Oliver Wilson emerged as  the leader, shooting -8 under par 64 at Carnoustie.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Oliver Wilson / Getty Images

Oliver carded his -8 under par 64 with 9 birdies and one bogey at Carnoustie to give him a one shot lead in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Oliver was happy to play Carnoustie on a good day, and thinks that might be an overall advantage;

“It’s nice to just get out there and take advantage, looking at the forecast, getting Carnoustie out of the way is theoretically the best thing, but you’ve still got to go and play and shoot a good score to take advantage of it, and I’m delighted that I have.” 

“Dunhill Links is always one of the best tournaments of the year. I’m obviously grateful to be here, but just trying to work on my own game to try to get a chance to get back on that team. It’s a great tournament. It’s good fun, and you think everyone’s attitude is a little different, it’s a little different to the cocoon of a normal tournament. You have your caddie and amateurs to spend time with and look after.” 

“We had a good fourball and it was fun, and that helps in this format because you’re out there for quite a long time. It’s nice to be on that board – like I said, I was really pleased with how I played. I’ve been working hard and the game is improving all the time.” 

Actually the top three players all came from the group who started the tournament on the Carnoustie links, Raphaël Jacquelin is in second place after his opening Carnoustie round of -7 under par 65, going bogey free with five birdies and an Eagle.

Padraig Harrington fresh from his duties as a Vice Captain at the Ryder Cup is sharing  third place with Shane Lowery, both carding  first rounds of -6 under par 66. Padraig at Carnoustie and Shane at Kingsbarns.

Robert Rock and Adrian Otaegui were the highest placed players from the Old Course at St. Andrews,  scoring -5 under par 67, and are currently tied in 5th position for the overall tournament.

European Team Captain Paul McGinley shot an even par 72 at Carnoustie in just his second European Tour event since July, while the best-placed of the Gleneagles quartet in the field ,Steve Gallacher, returned a -4 under par 68 on the same course.

Victor Dubuisson scored a -1 under par 71, World Number One Rory McIlroy carded a +1 over par  73 and Martin Kaymer +2 over par  74, all of them also on the Carnoustie course.

Rory reported that he felt flat after the jubilation of the Ryder Cup;

“A little bit flat, if I’m honest, obviously with the crowds and everything we were playing in front of last week, to come here it seems a little quiet out there, but it was fun to get to play with my dad.”

“I wish I had played a bit better and made a few more birdies but hopefully that will happen over the next couple of days. I want to win every week and I want to play well this week and at least give myself a chance. It was not the best score out there for me but we got the hardest course out of the way.”

Good also to see Nick Faldo playing, he returned a respectable -1 under par 71 at Carnoustie.

 

 

The Ryder Cup. European Glory at Gleneagles.

Ryder Cup Gleneagles The Ryder Cup

The European Ryder Cup Team tasted Glory at Gleneagles by lifting the trophy once again.

World number one Rory McIlroy lead by example as he put the first point of the day on the board when he defeated good friend Rickie Fowler 5-4.

Rory was full of praise for Captain McGinley;

“I can’t say enough about the Captain. Paul McGinley has been absolutely immense this week. He has left no stone unturned. He has given this week a lot of thought over the last two years. I am just glad it worked out for him.”

Ryder Cup

Jubilant Rory / Getty Images

Graeme McDowell then recovered from three down to hand rookie Jordan Spieth his first defeat at this Ryder Cup, G-Mac won 2-1.

There was a brief interlude as Team USA fought back, Patrick Reed beat Henrik Stenson on the 18th, Phil Mickelson took down Stephen Gallacher and Matt Kuchar beat Thomas Bjørn.

The European Team responded to the challenge, Martin Kaymer chipped in to complete a 4 and 2 win over Bubba Watson and Justin Rose snatched a half from Hunter Mahan at the 18th to take Europe to 13 ½ points.

Jamie Donaldson capped of an impressive debut, having the honor of claiming the winning point with a 5 and 3 victory over Keegan Bradley.
Jamie felt over the moon with his experience;

“I hit the wedge shot of my life to close the game out. I can’t really put words to it. It is unbelievable. I knew it was getting tight there at the end and everyone was building on my group. I just tried not to spend too much time looking at the scoreboard.”

“I was able to do it well enough to close it out.The lads have got on so well all week. It is an incredible week. It is hard to describe how good it is , there is nothing else like it in golf.

“It has been amazing to be a part of it.”

European Captain Paul McGinley applauded the Team effort;

It has been a real honor to captain these 12 players, our backroom team, it has been a huge team effort.” 

“We had three or four big ideas which we kept feeding back to and they came off. I have a great sense of pride giving happiness to everyone.”

The two sides will square off next time at Hazeltine in 2016, will the European’s make it four in a row ?

Ryder Cup Gleneagles

Tour Championship, FedExCup, Billy Wins It All

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Billy Horschel wins it all, the Tour Championship and the FedExCup.

The Tour Championship   The FedExCup

Billy and Two Trophies.

Billy described it one word;

“Unbelievable.”

He cruised through the final round in -2 under par 68 to finish with a total of -11 under par, and a three shot victory. He spoke about his pregnant wife and how they had discussed this tournament;

I remember flying home and talking with my wife and she said, ‘You’re probably just waiting for the season to be over and start a new season.’ I sort of was.”

 “But at the same time, I knew my game was in the right shape and I just needed to get out of my own way. I needed to allow my golf game to show.”

“Hopefully, she’s not going into labor right now.”

I was able to rise to the occasion and get the job done, and it just gives me so much confidence, such a thrill to accomplish something like this, especially with the guys I was going up against.”

Rory McIlroy failed to fire in the final round, carding a +1 over par 71, he finished the tournament tied in second place with Jim Furyk, at -8 under par.

Rory had to admit that Billy played the best golf;

“Billy deserved it, he played the best golf this week. I was making bad swings at the wrong time and getting punished for them.”

“When Billy was making bogey on ten I thought I had a decent chance and then I three-putt there for the second day in a row and I felt like any chance I had to win the golf tournament went.”

“To win two Majors, my first WGC event and give it a real good run in these FedEx events, I’m really proud of myself the way I hung in there and dug deep the last few weeks.”

“When I look back on the year as a whole it’s been my best year to date so I can’t complain.”

Rory and Jim will be heading off to the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland, the European Team will be happy that Billy Horschel will not be there, especially in the form that he is in right now.

Tour Championship. Rory Right Alongside Billy.

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Rory McIlroy is right alongside Billy Horschel as the pair are tied together at the top of the Tour Championship leaderboard at East Lake Golf Club

Tour Championship

Rory and Billy / Getty Images

Rory Eagled the par five 15th on his way to scoring a -3 under par 67 and catch Billy at the top of the Tour Championship leaderboard, which going to make it an epic battle in the final round. Both golfers are tied at -9 under par for the tournament and both are looking forward to the challenge.

Rory is happy to be there;

“To be tied for the lead with 18 to play, the way I have played this week, thats all I could hope for. My short game really saved me today. I think the par putt on 11 was a big momentum putt in the round after three-putting 10 and Billy being in there pretty close and just narrowly missing for birdie. I think being able to hole that par putt was big.”

“Thats the great thing about the play-off’s, if you just get yourself in, with a good stretch, you have a chance at it all”

“I’ve come here with the ultimate goal of trying to cap it off and trying to put an exclamation point on it or the icing on the cake or whatever you want to call it. Would it be poetic justice? I’d feel really good about it.”

“I just want to win.” 

Billy wanted to go at it straight away;

” Can we go tee it up right now ? I”m serious, that would help me out a lot.”

“Your not going to play a perfect 72 hole event, hope I got my bad nine out of the way, and I have a great 18 left” 

” It’s going to be an exciting day.”

These two have a two shot lead over third placed Jim Furyk who matched Rory’s -3 under par 67 round and is alone in third at -7 under par.

There are three dangerous players just one shot further back at -6 under par, Justin Rose, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler.

Rickie shot -3 under par 67 and Justin went one better with -4 under par 66, while Jason stood still with his even par 72 third round.

Rickie thinks he is in a position to make a go of it;

” Really all you can ask for going into the week is to be in a position to win Sunday.”

“The tournament is really going to start tomorrow on the back nine. I know pretty much most of the scenarios for me. I know if I win I’ve got a pretty good chance. I know there’s some possibilities of some extracurricular activities if certain things line up properly.”

Gary Woodland fired the low round of the day, a -7 under par 63, but after his earlier troubles it only got him to -1 under par for the tournament.

It’s all go for an exciting finale tomorrow.