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Ballantine’s Championship. Noren Noses in front

Alexander Noren noses in front of the pack at the Ballantine’s Championship at the Blackstone Golf Club in third round in South Korea.

Alexander Noren   (Getty Images)

Alexander Noren /Getty Images

Alexander has a one shot lead going into the final round of the Ballantine’s Championship after a hectic third day, where some players had to  make up for lost time after delays on Thursday and Friday, half the field had to complete their second rounds early this morning. Eventually, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and José Manuel Lara got up to join Wade Ormsby and Arnond Vongvanij at the top of the leaderboard at the completed halfway stage, all on -7  under par.

Alexander had a -3 under par third round, for a tournament total of -9 under par, which was good enough at the end of the day to keep him on top of the board. Alex said it had been a long tough day;

It was a nice way to finish, and it was a long, tough day, a lot of wind. My short game I think held it together, and I didn’t have that many chances but I took care of them when I got chances for birdies and made the important pars when I needed.  So it was a big fight day.  I’m just trying to play well tomorrow, and it’s going to be a really fun day.  I haven’t been in the lead in a long time, and I’ve had some good finishes, but it will be a lot of fun.  But I’m just trying to play good and make birdies and try to make more birdies than the other ones. It’s easier for a player to come back when you’ve done something good in the past, you know you can score well around the track and good memories are always nice to have with you.”

Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal and Scot Peter Whiteford are tied in second place at -8 under par. Pablo had the lowest round of the day at -4 under par 68.

Pablo said he had played beautifully, only missing one green in regulation;

” I hit the ball beautifully today, I’m very happy with the round and to be in the fight again. I only missed one green in regulation which was something special. It will be good to be in the final group again, it’s been a long time.”

Peter had to start the day early, and had to play 28 holes in a long day of golf;

I was on the 5 am bus, first bus in, last bus out it looks like. It’s been a long day but that’s the job every now and then. My form has been pretty average, poor to be honest. I was hitting it half decent on the range and just not taking anything to the golf course, but this week has been better.”

Two Aussies are tied in fourth position, Brett Rumford and Marcus Fraser finished at  -7 under par. Brett rounded off his third round in some style, carding five birdies in succession.  They both agreed that the influence of compatriot Adam Scott was the inspiration of their good play,  following Adam’s victory at Augusta National.

Brett summed it up;

” With Adam winning the Masters it has inspired us all. The last couple of days have been interesting. It’s been pretty frustrating but rewarding at the same time. Hopefully tomorrow I can just eliminate all the silly errors.”

Ballantine’s Championship, More Weather Delay’s.

Lightning on the  Blackstone Golf Course in South Korea has caused further delays during the second round at the Ballantine’s Championship. Round 2 is due to be completed on Saturday morning.

Ballantine's Championship - Day 2 - Arnond Vongvanij (-7)

Arnond Vongvanij / European Tour

 Wade Ormsby and Arnond Vongvanij are the current leaders in the clubhouse on -7 under par for their completed rounds. Wade had a -5 under par effort and -3 under par for Arnond.

Alexander Noren, James Morrison and Jbe Kruger are tied in third position, they are following very close behind on -6 under par. James Morrison had a marvelous -6 under par 66 round to put him in contention.

In a senior moment yesterday I wrongly stated that there were no Americans in this Tournament, due to the political situation between the USA and North Korea. I am grateful to Rodd D Starkey to point out that there are indeed Americans contesting here, despite the absence of the two big names Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson, who decided not to travel. You can catch up with Ross and his blog here;  http://letstalkgolf.co.uk/

Of the Americans who are in South Korea, the best placed player is Berry Henson, a -2 under par round today has him tied in eighth place. Jason Knutzon is tied in 31st spot at -2 under par, with Peter Uihlein currently at +1 over par, tied in 66th place. Peter has four holes left tomorrow in his second round to find a birdie and make the cut, which is at par at the moment. Missing the cut will be American Johnathan Moore, who is sadly at +12 over par.

Ballantine’s Championship. Another Golfing Weather Delay.

The Ballantine’s Championship at Blackstone Golf Club in South Korea has started with a weather delay in the first round, wonder if its the same storm clouds that interrupted Harbour Town.

Louis Oosthuizen   (Getty Images)

Lewis Oosthuizen / Getty Images

There are currently five players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the Ballantine’s, all at -5 under par, with completed rounds of 67. there are still some players who could impact the top of this board, including Lewis Oosthuizen, who actually started his round with four birdies. Lewis still has two holes to complete, along with Tommy Fleetwood, both currently at -4 under par.

Lewis said he was happy with his start;

” It’s a good start, I’m hitting it really well. I made nice putts, hit it fairly close the front nine, and probably made one or two longish birdie putts. Then teed off on ten and the wind came in, with the weather coming in, and I probably just missed two shots and put myself in really tough spots to get up and down and then made bogey. But I’m feeling good, spinning it well, I haven’t hit it that well in a while like I did on the front nine.”

At the top are, Jean-Baptiste GonnetKieran PrattJohan EdforsMatthew Baldwin and local player Kim Gi-whan all completed their rounds after the delay of  two hours and ten minutes, due to rain and poor visibility.

Unfortunately there are no Americans contesting this tournament, the political tensions with North Korea have turned the competition into a no go area for them.

Jean-Baptiste was happy to be at the top;

” It was good to put my name up right away, because I haven’t played like this for more than a year. I played pretty straight off the tee, and my putting was great; five under is a good score.”

Another happy camper was Johan Edfors;

” I was really happy I came out of the block pretty good there on the front nine and played some really, really good golf.”

The first round will be completed tomorrow, before the start of the second round, lets hope for some better weather.

 

Ballantine’s Championship @ Blackstone GC Seoul South Korea, Wiesberger Wins

Bernd Wiesberger  (Getty Images)

Bernd Wiesberger (Getty Images

Bernd Wiesberger won the Ballantine’s Classic at the  Blackstone GC in Icheon,  Seoul, South Korea on Sunday to record his first European Tour victory.  Bernd cruised through a bogey free last round of -4  under par 68 and a winning tournament total of -18 under par, to give him a deserved five shot victory. It was a majestic tournament from Bernd with rounds of  72, 65, 65, 68.

Richie Ramsay finished alone in second spot after a final round -7 under par 65, and a tournament total of -13. Tied in third place was Victor Dubuisson, and Marcus Fraser. Victor had a last round of -6 under par 66 to give him a total of -11 under par for the tournament. Marcus finished on the same score after a disappointing final round of -2 under par 70. He had been hoping to put some pressure on Bernd at the start of play but the Austrian cruised along while he struggled.

Miguel Angel Jimenez,  and Anthony Wall finished the tournament with a total of -10 under par and tied for fourth  spot.

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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.

Ballantine’s Championship, Blackstone GC Seoul South Korea

Bernd Wiesberger  (Getty Images)

Bernd Wiesberger (Getty Images)

The Ballantine’s Championship from Blackstone GC, in Seoul South Korea was all change at the top in the second round.

Clubhouse leader is Bernd Wiesberger who carded a brilliant bogey free -7  under par 65 in the second round for a tournament total    of  -7 under par. He said in interview;

“Today I couldn’t really do anything wrong really. It felt like everything was going in the right direction. I’m just trying to hit a lot of greens and try and hit on the right spots, which is important here. It’s a tricky golf course when you hit into the wrong places.”

In second spot is Australian Marcus Fraser, who won this title on Jeju Island in 2010, he shot  a five under par 67 to move to six under at the halfway stage of the tournament. The two-time European Tour winner commented on the better golfing conditions today;

“Obviously yesterday was very windy, pretty tricky for everybody. And then today was completely different. We basically had no wind for most of the day and then it kicked up a little bit over the last maybe five, six holes. But overall, I’m very happy and very pleased with the way it’s going at the moment.”

He then joked about why he always plays well at the Ballantine’s Championship;

 “It’s obviously just the alcohol, I can’t really survive without it. It’s obviously one of our premiere events now on The European Tour, and Ballantine’s have been such a great sponsor and product. We have a great venue this year, same course as last year, and I think the brand, Ballantine’s, suits very well with the exclusive club, and it’s just a great week and somewhere I love coming back.”

Ryder Cup star Miguel Angel Jiménez, England’s Anthony Wall and Chile’s Felipe Aguilar were all in the clubhouse on four under.

Yesterdays first round leaders all fell away today, including Paul Casey who could only manage a par round of 72 in the second round and is now five shots off the pace. Ian Poulter enjoyed a good round of -5 under par, and is also -2 for the tournament. Adam Scott the highest ranked player in the field struggled to make the cut, shooting a +3 over par 75, to actually make the cut with a total of +2 for the tournament.

Victor Dubuisson leads Ballantines Championship in Seoul

Dubuisson stars in Korea

Victor Dubuisson (Getty Images

Victor Dubuisson leads the Ballantine’s Championship at Blackstone G.C. Seoul in South Korea. Play was suspended due to darkness and will resume tomorrow morning. None of the players still waiting to conclude their rounds can affect the top of the leaderboard standings. Victor had a good first round of -4 under par 68 and leads by two shots from Richie Ramsay, Mark Foster, Paul Casey, Jamie Donaldson and Ji-ho Jung.  All of these chasers had rounds of -2 under par for 70.

Victor was certainly very happy with his opening round, and looking for his first Europen Tour win;

“Very pleased with playing four under today.  My putting was really, really good today and I think it’s the only way to achieve good scoring in these conditions.  On the third hole the wind was from the left, and so on the fourth tee I thought the wind was going to be sort of left to right, but the wind was turning all the time.  The wind just turned right to left and it went into the water. So I was not really upset after this double bogey because I didn’t hit a bad shot.  I did my best to get back my concentration, and I made two birdies, good putts on five and six, and that was the good turn today.”

Only Victor and  England’s Paul Casey played in the more blustery afternoon conditions, of those at the top pf the board. Jamie Donaldson, Mark Foster, Jung Ji-ho and Richie Ramsay all took advantage of more benign morning conditions to move into contention.

Paul Casey knows he has the ability to contend here in Korea, in his quest to return to form after his snowboarding accident;

“I know if I play the golf I’m capable of, I’ve got a very good chance to win. The way I played today, I need to keep that form going, because there’s a long way to go.”

Jamie Donaldson rued bogeying the easiest hole on the course;

“I played nicely. It is tricky. I made a lot of good up and downs but overall a pretty tough day.  You’ve just got to put it in position off the tees and see where it falls. One of the easiest holes was 18, and I bogeyed. You have to play well and put it in position.”

Richie Ramsay said it was a tough day, even though he played in the quieter part of the day;

“I putted beautifully. The greens are really, really nice. It still is tricky because you get gusts of wind.  When I made a mistake, I got up and down and I managed to convert a few opportunities. All in all it was a good day, but it was really getting tough out there. There’s lots of positives from it, and I drove the ball well. But ultimately, I putted nicely, which is great to see and long may it continue.”

Mark Foster also commented on the wind;

“I’ve not seen any scores, but the wind is wicked. It is just all over. It’s not the strength of the wind, it’s funneling, and you just hit it out there and hope it does what you want. Ball flight is everything, really.”

Ji-ho Jung said of his round;

“My iron shots went very well. I had one bogey and three birdies, and the one bogey came from a three putt, so overall I thought the game went very well.”

Highest ranked player in the field, World Number 12 Adam Scott was with the bunch that included Ryder Cup stars Paul McGinley and Ross Fisher, they all finished  in 71 as just 17 players finished under par.

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