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Joburg Open. Local Lads Lead.

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Local Lads Lead the Joburg Open, with Thomas Aiken and Justin Walters setting the pace at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.

Local lads Aiken and Walters lead in South Africa

Thomas Aiken / Getty Images

Thomas carded a -9 under par 63 over the East Course, which included one bogey, for a total of -17 under par at the end of play on day 3. He said he has been in final groups before and knows how to deal with the pressure;

“I’ve been in a lot of final groups, won twice in Europe and seven times on the Sunshine Tour, so I know what pressures there are going to be. If you just go and do what you do best, stick to your gameplan and take it shot by shot then the best golfer will win at the end of the day.”

I am not sure I believe the best golfer wins, sometimes Lady Luck has a hand, a good bounce or a bad one can make all the difference between winning and losing. As we have seen recently, the best time to put in a 63 is the last round.

Justin shot a -8 under par 64, with one bogey for his -17 under par total, and is aware that the last time he was in this position going into the final round he did not play too well. On the upside he was very happy with his Eagle at the last;

” I hit the ball so well today. Going into the day I just wanted to move forward a little bit, because my last attempt from this position I went quite backwards. I was aware of that and I made a strong effort to be aggressive today. I’ve got one more round tomorrow and I’m so happy that I’ve put myself into a strong position. I’m super excited for tomorrow, because it’s what we play for.”

” To hit a close one in there on the last and to hear the grandstand roar from way back down the fairway gives you the goosebumps, and that’s why we play. It’s nice to give people something to cheer about. Considering the situation I am in it was pretty vital, because giving him  a nice lead on this course will make him hard to catch. Tomorrow is certainly a good opportunity, and I will be nervous, but hopefully I can improve on my record in South Africa.”

Jin Jeong is in third place at -15 under par for the tournament, a winner in Perth at the end of last year. Jin had five birdies, an Eagle and just one dropped shot in his round of  -6 under par 66.

Overnight leaders Edoardo Molinari and Craig Lee could only manage rounds of 72 and 74 respectively and lost ground on the leaders. Edoardo now at -11 under par and Craig -9 under.

There are three Open Championship places on offer tomorrow for those not already exempt so the contest also looks set to go down to the wire.The only player in the top ten already qualified for Royal Liverpool France’s Grégory Bourdy.

Ricoh British Womens Open 2nd Round, Finally.

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It may have been the Best Of British Day at Hoylake when the second round finally got completed in the Ricoh British Open at Royal Liverpool, but it was a South Korean who stole the show, namely Jiyai Shin. 

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                                                                         Jiyai Shin

 Jiyai Shin carded a superb eight under par 64 to move into a commanding five shot lead after the second round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Liverpool. The 2008 Champion started the day a single shot behind her compatriots, Haeji Kang and So Yeon Ryu, but then moved effortlessly through the front nine in 31 strokes and then came home in 33 to leave the rest of the strong international field trailing in her wake, with a tournament total of -9 under par. Jiyai said that could have the best round of her life;

” That might well be the best round I have ever played. I hit a nine under par round when I won last week at Kingsmill, but this is a really tough course so this round might have been even better. Today I was bogey-free and bunker free. I hit all 18 greens and missed just one fairway. This week my goal was to score one under par every day so to hit eight under is very special.I love coming back over here. The win here in 2008 changed my life and I have got lots of fans in England. Today there were a lot of people out there and they kept cheering me on. It has been a fantastic day and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I have got a five shot lead but on this course you never know what’s going to happen. There are a lot of great players out here. I’m just going to keep focussed on myself.”

Another South Korean is alone in second place, Inbee Park is at -4 under par for the tournament, but will need to play some magical golf to catch the leader. The final two rounds will played tomorrow, 36 holes in one day is an exhausting task, so it will be the survival of the fittest, but a five shot start is very comforting. Inbee also loves this course;

” I’ve been playing the back nine well all week, I’m going to need lots of patience tomorrow but I’m looking forward to it. It’s a really great golf course. You can feel the history of the golf course. It’s great.”

The leading amateur in the field is World No. 1, Kiwi Lydia Ko.  A couple of weeks ago the 15 year-old from New Zealand won the CN Canadian Open to become the youngest player ever to win an official LPGA Tour title and today she added a one under par 71 to her opening  round of 72 to claim a share of sixth place with Japan’s Ai Miyazato, Sweden’s Carin Koch, South Korea’s Jenny Shin and America’s Vicky Hurst all on -1 under par.

Tomorrow is going to be a really tough day.

 

Ricoh British Womens Open 2nd Round

Play has been suspended for the day at  the Ricoh Women’s British Open on the Royal Liverpool Hoylake golf course due to extremely adverse weather conditions.

Having lost a whole day’s play on Friday, the Championship Committee met to review the format for the remainder of the Ricoh Women’s British Open Championship with the primary objective of retaining the 72 hole format of the event.  With weather conditions for Monday predicted to be similar to Friday (today) the Championship Committee has decided the following;

•    Round Two will be played on Saturday to completion and a cut will be made in accordance with the amended condition published below. The cut will be reduced from 65 plus ties to 50 plus ties, including amateurs.

•    Rounds 3 & 4 will be played on Sunday, with no redraw after Round 3. A two tee start will be utilised.

•    Prize money will be paid as normal to those players who make the cut. In addition, official prize money will be paid to those who would have normally made the cut under the original conditions of play.

A particularly sad end to the last Major competition of the year, with only the top 50 making the cut the second round will be a really tense affair.

Ricoh British Womens Open at Royal Liverpool, Round 1

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Haeji Kang and So Yeon Ryu of  South Korea sit at the top of the Ricoh British Womens Open at Royal Liverpool, with opening rounds of -2 under par 70.

In a packed leaderboard there are nine players at -1 under par, among those are  Jiyai Shin, last weeks winner of the LPGA Kingsmill Championship, Karrie Webb, Stacy Keating and Vicky Hurst.

The Worlds number one Amateur 15 year-old Lydia Ko finished with a round of even par, and is very handily placed, there are 17 players on even par at the conclusion of play on day one. Another teenager up with the leaders is sixteen year-old Charley Hull, of England, with a  1-under 71 in the opening round of the $2.5 million Ricoh Women’s Open. Charley has Ian Poulter as one of her mentors, they are members of the Woburn Golf Club. Charley has never met Lydia but has certainly heard of her. She is impressed by what the Kiwi has done, but she reminded everyone not to focus solely on her younger peer.

” There’s a lot more to come from me.”

Charley Hull fired a 1-under 71 in the first round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

Charley Hull/getty images

Lydia will fave a big test in the second round, She tees off at 11.40am, and with winds expected to approach 50 miles per hour, the young Kiwi could well face the toughest of the conditions. Her daunting task will be to limit the damage tomorrow and give herself a chance to make the cut and contest the trophy at the weekend.

Lydia Ko, Only Kiwi in British Open Field

Lydia Ko with her Canadian Open Trophy/Getty Images

Lydia Ko, the World amateur number one, will be the only Kiwi in the field for the Women’s British Open at Royal Liverpool starting on Thursday, the 15 year-old Kiwi is in the high quality field for the last Major championship of the year. After her stunning win at the Canadian Open on the LPGA Tour last month, Lydia  took some time out, before hooking up with coach Guy Wilson in Liverpool last week.

The pair have been have been preparing at nearby Formby Golf Club, and then had their first glimpse of Royal Liverpool today, at the brutally tough links course, encountering a concoction of sun, wind and rain, as the links course showed some teeth while she played a practice round with Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, a former Major winner.

Lydia is under no illusions as to how tough this assignment is going to be;

” I reckon it’s one of the hardest courses I have ever played and it’s so different to what I’m used to it was very windy. On the first hole I hit my tee shot into the right rough, my second shot into the rough and my third into the right rough. I consider myself quite a straight hitter so it has got to be quite tough. We have a few links courses back at home but nothing like this. I’ll just be trying to play my best and hopeful I’ll be able to make the cut and we’ll go from there.”

For us Kiwi”s the opening round of the tournament starts on Thursday night (NZT). Good Luck Lydia.

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