The Championship at Laguna National. Felipe Aguilar Wins

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Felipe Aguilar wins The Championship At Laguna National, in Singapore.

Aguilar

 

 

 

 

                           Felipe Aguilar / Getty Images

Felipe stunned everyone as he finished the final round 2-2, and won The Laguna National Championship, firing a final round -10 under par 62. That perfect finish saw him cruise past Anders Hansen and David Lipsky, as he posted -22 under par for the tournament. As usual the time to go low is always more effective if its done in the last round.

Felipe was under no pressure, thinking he was too far behind to catch the leaders;

“Yesterday I didn’t have a good round and you figure that you’re so far back that you have no chance. But today after the front nine I shot two under I knew I had to go deep and I hit the ball one of the best times I ever have and I went for every single pin. Eight under on the back nine to win is pretty strong, especially making the last one on 18 being between clubs. This is something very, very special.”

“I was right in between clubs and with the adrenaline you don’t want to hit a half shot. So I took a hard pitching wedge and it went in,  it was very special finishing like that.”

“On the 17th green I told my caddie if I make a birdie on 18 I might put some pressure on the leader and he said ‘you might make two’. I looked at him and said ‘the way I’m hitting the ball I might make two’, and I did. I didn’t think I had made it until my caddie came back and told me and the others congratulated me. That was the cherry on the cake, definitely.”

Anders and David tied for second place at -21 for the tournament, just one shot off the pace. David carded a -7 under 65 final round, while Anders returned -5 under par 67 to get to his total.

Anders, who was coming back from recent wrist surgery was happy with the way he played, just not too happy with the result;

“What can you say? I heard Aguila finished two, two. It’s just one of those days. It’s just really, really disappointing. He had a good day, played well obviously. I thought I played well. When you are there you want to get the job done and I didn’t, so not particularly happy.” 

“The last two weeks have been really good. I’ve hit the ball really well and putted nicely so there is not much to say. I can’t really blame myself for this.” 

David said he had everything he could to win his first Euro Tour title;

“I was still trying to give it a run even on the last hole,”I was still trying to do everything I can to win.”

Poor Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand couldn’t keep up with the form that saw him leading the tournament after the first two rounds and then sharing the lead with Anders after the third. He somehow slumped to a +2 over par 74 on Sunday carding two bogeys and a double bogey, and falling to joint-11th place, just proving how hard it is to win when you start with a low round.

 

 

 

 

 

The Championship at Laguna National. 1st Round Play Suspended.

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Play in the 1st round of The Championship at Laguna National has been suspended, on the European                       Tour, in Singapore. Clubhouse leader is Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand.

Panuphol Pittayarat / Getty Images

Panuphol shot a bogey free -9 under par 63 to lead The Championship Laguna National, he is currently ranked at 451st in the world. He has missed the last three cuts on Tour, and did not see this sudden burst of form coming;

”I didn’t see it coming, but it did come, I’m feeling good about my game right now. I was just trying to hit straight out there. I managed to hole a lot of putts and a lot of them were unexpected.”

There are four players tied in second place at -8 under par, following their opening rounds of 64. They are; David Lipsky, Byung-jun Kim, Quincy Quek and Scott Jamieson.

Scott’s maiden European Tour win came at last year’s Nelson Mandela Championship, which was shortened to 36 holes due to extremely bad weather. He was to win a proper 72 hole tournament to silence the doubters about his ability;

“You want to win every week but it would be nice if the next one was over four rounds, and if anyone had any questions then it would have answered them. I don’t feel like that myself, given that we knew it was only going to be a two round event and I won in a play-off. But to win over four rounds would be nice.”


“I’ve been hitting the ball well the last couple of weeks, so it was nice to get a round where it all came together. There was just the one mistake with the three-putt on 16, but it was pretty far away and pace putting is always difficult in Asia with the grain. It’s not what someone from Scotland is used to.”

“There’s not much wind out there and apparently there has been a drought here so there is not much rough either. You can still control the ball when you don’t hit the fairway, so I think everyone will have a lot of looks at birdies; the greens a rolling perfectly too. I’ve been hitting the ball really well since we came out to Asia but today was the first time I really capitalised on that.” 

“Golfers strive for perfection so it is always going to feel like you left something out there, but I holed some nice putts so I’m pleased.” 

Defending champion Brett Rumford and  Alex Levy, the winner in China last week, both signed for -2  under par rounds of 70. Looking at the amazing first round scores, this tournament could set a record for the lowest scoring event on Tour. Second round play will commence at 0740 local time tomorrow, once the twenty or so players have completed their first rounds. They are all a way off the lead so the top of the leaderboard will not change. 

Natalie Gulbis Has Malaria

Natalie Gulbis

Natalie Gulbis

The LPGA and Natalie’s agents, IMG, confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that she  has withdrawn from the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup that begins Thursday in Phoenix, because she has been diagnosed with Malaria.

Natalie first became ill at the HSBC Champions in Singapore, an event from which she withdrew. The early reports suggested she was suffering from flu.

David Livingston, Natalie’s’ IMG agent told the Golf Channel.

” She’s not feeling well. She does have flu-like symptoms, but, to be clear, she has not been hospitalized and there is no diagnosis of malaria.”

Luckily for Natalie she has not contracted the fatal form of the disease, the LPGA doctors have been consulted and they believe she is on appropriate medications, under great care, and her prognosis is excellent. She is expected to be at full strength in three weeks.

Lucky girl, Malaria is a potentially fatal tropical disease that’s caused by a parasite known as Plasmodium. It’s spread through the bite of an infected female mosquito. The infected person may have feverish attacks, tiredness, diarrhoea or a whole range of other symptoms.

Malaria is one of the leading causes of disease and death in the world. It is estimated that there are 300 to 500 million new cases every year, with 1.5 to 2.7 million deaths worldwide.

We wish you well Natalie, and a full and speedy recovery.

LPGA, HSBC Women’s Champions. Stacy Lewis Wins

 

 

 

 

Stacy Lewis

On the LPGA Tour, Stacy Lewis returned to her winning ways at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore at the Sentosa Golf Club, with a -15 under par scoreThe Rolex Player of the Year held on to win her first Victory of the 2013 season, a one shot win over Na Yeon Choi, at -14 under par. The final few holes were a tough stretch for Stacy as she watched her three shot lead evaporate to just one as she stood on the 18th tee at the  The Serapong Course. Stacy had unfortunately bogyed 15 and 17, but managed to hang on with a par at the last following a great drive and a second onto the green at the par five, both eagle and birdie putts missed, but pat was good enough for the Title.

Stacy said afterwards that she had played the last all week as a three shot hole;

“All week, I played it as a three-shot hole, laying back short of the bunker and then laying up from there. And I saw where Paula Creamer hit her drive past the bunker and I turned to my caddie, and we both at the same time said driver, and I let it rip and that thing got so far down there.  I think I was actually in between a 4-iron and a hybrid. So we erred on the long side and hit hybrid up on the green, and I thought I made my second putt, but just to have an inside ten feet for birdie, that’s all I was asking for. The last four or five holes, I was pretty nervous, I’m not going to lie, that golf course is hard and it can jump up and get you at any second, and to have to play with two great players on your tail all day, and they played unbelievable, and none of us really, we just couldn’t get any putts to fall on the back nine.  I don’t know what it was.  Edges just seemed a little bit tighter.  Paula had a couple on the edge. I don’t know, I just played hard and put my head down and tried to make as many putts as I could, and fortunately I came away with the win.”

Stacy is projected to move back into the No. 3 spot in the Rolex Rankings, but both she and Na Yeon Choi can now see Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng is within reach.

Yani thinks it is more fun now they are closer;

 “I think this is more fun than like only one player play well, like clear-cut, because there is not really a clear-cut No. 1 right now. I think everybody, you know, is a good competitor with each other and motivate each other, and if someone wins, and I feel like, oh, I need to win next week, that kind of motivates.  So, I feel like very excited.”

Paula Creamer finished in third place, at -13 under par, a fine effort  following a horrible car accident she was involved in on Sunday night in Thailand.

Paula was more than happy with her placing;

Geez, this is much more than what I ever expected, and to have a chance and really have a good chance to win this event, it felt good. It was nice to be in contention and have just a good attitude out there.  I think that’s the biggest thing that I take away from this week.”

Australian PGA Championship, Young Gun Daniel Popovic Leads

Family heartache driving Popovic

Daniel Popovic

Young Gun Daniel Popovic leads the Australian PGA Championship after the opening round  at the Palmer Coolum Resort course, with a blistering first round of -8 under par 64. Daniel leads by two strokes from Scott Strange who finished with -6 under par 66. Daniel earned his playing privileges by winning the 2012 PGA of Australasia qualifying school, and is playing with his father in mind. Radi, Daniel’s father who introduced Daniel to golf, was diagnosed with leukaemia earlier this year, but has insisted his son play in this event. Daniel spoke of his father’s condition;

” My father found out that he has cancer earlier on in the year and it really shook me around a lot and it still sort of does when I think about it. But I find a lot of strength in him with how he’s fighting that and how he really wants me to push forward with my golf and find happiness through him. It’s called multiple myeloma, it’s leukaemia in his bones and it’s one that’s unable to cure. It is a slow growing cancer. I mean you’re unsure of when the actual day will come but he is a strong man and a very stubborn man so I think he’ll be here for a little while longer.”

Daniel was very proud of his round today anf thinks his parents will be too;

“My mum and dad will be over the moon. My dad will be in tears and so will my mum. They are very sensitive people, my mum would have been balling her eyes out all day. “I want to think of tomorrow as a new day, I want to go out there and play every shot on its merit … and I think if I hit it as good as I have done in the last two months it’s going to be pretty hard for me to shoot a bad score. I’m standing over it this week thinking they’re all going in. I’ve never felt this confident over a putter in my life.”

A practice round with Geoff Ogilvy on Tuesday has proved to be invaluable, a phone call from a friend set up the game;

“I played with him on Tuesday, my good friend Ryan Lynch, his father, Dale, coaches Geoff , and he called me up on Monday night and he said ‘hey mate I’m going to be playing with Geoff tomorrow morning, do you want to come on down?’  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and I came here super early at quarter-to-six in the morning and played 18 holes with him and it was one of the best experiences of my life. He was so nice and so down to earth and gave me so much advice , it was like I’d known him for five years.”

I wonder if Geoff is thinking he may have given out too much good advice to Daniel, now that he is playing catch up in the second round of this tournament. Geoff  is tied in third place, three shots adrift of the leader,  after he and  Zhang Xin Jun from China, and Tze-huang Choo  from Singapore had opening rounds of -5 under par 67.

Dramatically,  Greg  Norman was forced to withdraw from the tournament after just two holes due to illness. He started his round  at the 10th hole at 7.00 a.m.  local time, Greg battled to consecutive bogeys before shaking hands with playing partners Stuart Appleby and Jake Higginbottom on the 11th green.

PGA of Australia CEO Brian Thorburn said;

“Greg Norman has been diagnosed with food poisoning and has been attended to by Dr. Barry Whelan at Mt. Coolum Medical Centre, who spent the morning with him and treated Greg’s symptoms with appropriate medication. Dr. Whelan expects Greg to make a full recovery and has advised Greg to rest in his room in the meantime. While we’re obviously disappointed for the fans who love to see Greg play in Australia, we wish Greg a speedy recovery.”

Get well soon Greg

 

Queen Sirikit Cup, NZ finishes runner-up in Singapore

Defending champions South Korea triumphed over the rest of the field on the final day of the 34th Queen Sirikit Cup, easily winning their sixth consecutive crown in the event.  New Zealand finished as runners-up in the tournament in Singapore at the Tanah Merah Country Club. South Korea have extended their lead as the most successful team in the Queen Sirikit Cup having won a total of 15 times over the Cup’s 34-year history.

The South Koreans finished with a three-day total of 413 strokes, 25 strokes in front of runners-up New Zealand  on 438 strokes, bit of a non contest really. Seems like South Korea just has to turn up to win, the women of Asia are far and away the best around. Ironic then that World number one Lydia Ko was actually born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand at an early age. One can only wonder what the score would have been if  Lydia was playing for the South Koreans. Lydia, who celebrated her 15th birthday on day one of the tournament, completed a  -4 under par 68 in the final round at the Tanah Merah Country Club to help New Zealand win the close battle for second place. She said after the tournament;

“I felt good playing the final round at that time of day, and just stumbled with a lone bogey. As for Kim [the Korean winner], she really played well today, as she had the whole week. She’s really in top shape, as is the whole Korean team.”

The premier women’s amateur team tournament will be held in Taiwan next year.