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.

 

 

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Peter Perfect Pulls Clear.

Perfect Peter Uihlein pulls clear at the top of the leaderboard in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, on the Old Course at St Andrews.

Peter Uihlein  (Getty Images)

Peter Uihlein / Getty Images

Following on from his -12 under par 60 at Kingsbarns, Peter fired a third round -7 under par 65 on the Old Course at St Andrews, to top the leaderboard at -20 under par, two shots clear of the field. A chip in from 47 yards on the par four 18th hole giving him an Eagle 2, to finish his first ever round on the Old Course at St. Andrews in style.

Peter had this to say about his round, and the amazing chip in at the last;

“It was not quite what I was trying to do but it worked out. I carried it a bit too far but got a bit lucky and it’s pretty sweet, a cool finish and a great way to sign off. I felt I missed quite a few putts coming down the stretch so it makes up for it a little.I don’t know if it gets easier but the more you do it the more comfortable you get. St Andrews is the Home of Golf and the greatest course in the world. Any time you can win at St Andrews would be special. It’s every golfer’s dream to win out here.”

Sharing second place are Joost Luiten, David Howell, Ernie Els, Richard McEvoy, Martin Kaymer and Shane Lowery, all on -18 under par for the tournament.

Joost, -4 under par 68 on the Old Course, has the Ryder Cup on his mind, his playing partner Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley gave him some advice during their round;

“The Ryder Cup is on my mind and Paul said it might be better to focus on The European Tour to try to win a couple more times to qualify for The Ryder Cup.”

David Howell carded a 63 at St Andrews and would love to lift the trophy on Sunday, after seven years without a victory;

“I’m in the mix again and that’s all you can keep doing. Tomorrow might be my day, it might not. But if I keep putting myself in with a chance to win I’m sure some silverware will come my way, and it will be a real thrill when it does.”

Ernie Els, who will compete for the International Team in next week’s Presidents Cup, wants to win the individual title, and is also pleased that he and his father Neels have made the cut in the Pro-Am event.

Ernie shot a 64 at St. Andrews;

“I needed a change, I’ve been in a bit of a rut playing in the FedEx Cup in the States, playing week to week and kind of going brain dead. You don’t know exactly what you’re playing for. To come here and play with my dad, who turned 70 this year, at these beautiful links courses makes a change and that’s what I needed. It would mean a great deal to win this event especially with our close connection with (tournament promoter) Johann Rupert and his family. I’ve come close quite a few times and I feel I need to get my name on that trophy. I’m in a great position but there’s a lot of guys in there. It will be a great shootout tomorrow, depending on the weather. If it’s like this, it will be amazing.”

Richard McEvoy needs a win to climb back into the top 110 in The Race to Dubai, he had a -5 under par 67 at Kingsbarns;

” To be honest I’m thinking about winning at the moment. I’m in a position to go out and try and give it a go and try and win, that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow. That’s all I’ve been thinking about all week really is trying to get out there and finish as high up as possible, but obviously after day one, it was a key to try and keep making birdies and try and be aggressive like I was the first day. It’s paid off so far, so that’s what I’ll be doing again tomorrow.”

Martin Kaymer loves St Andrews, and also playing with his brother Philip in the Pro-AM, the family affair is completed with his father carrying the bag;

“You tell me if there’s any better or different golf course you want to play under those conditions. Perfect weather, and I played with my brother and we made the cut for tomorrow, my dad is caddying; I don’t know if it gets any better. You have a good day of playing and it’s almost impossible not to enjoy it. It’s a really nice day. A performance like yesterday and today is very nice and helps a lot in the confidence.”

Shane Lowery also had an Eagle 2 today, and equalled the Carnoustie course record of -8 under par 64;

“I didn’t know what the record was but Richard told me in the scorers’ hut afterwards, but any score under par at Carnoustie is usually good so I am delighted with eight under. I knew I needed a good score to have any chance and didn’t think I was going to shoot 64. I didn’t see the eagle go in but my dad was watching and he let me know pretty quickly!”

 Paul Casey also equalled the course record at St Andrews with a 62, but he is still seven shots off the lead on 13 under par.

It is going to be a fantastic shoot-out tomorrow to determine the winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

 

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Lewis Leads

Tom Lewis leads the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the conclusion of the second round in Scotland.

Tom Lewis  (Getty Images)

Tom Lewis / Getty Images

Tom Lewis, who currently stands at 155 in the Race To Dubai, and only has three weeks left to climb back into the top 110, has helped his cause by leading the Alfred Dunhill Links championship at the half way stage. Tom recorded a -7 under par 65 in the second round, played on the Old Course at St Andrews, to top the leaderboard at -15 under par.

Tom said the lack of wind today made it easier;

” Seven under is a good score at St Andrews but there was no wind today so I think you would be disappointed if you did not shoot better than five under. I feel like I am home again. Links golf suits me, I won the St Andrews Links Trophy here in 2011 and it’s great to come back. I knew I had good form coming in but Friday has been my enemy this year so it’s good to get it out of the way.”

Joost Luiten is alone in second place at -14 under par, he carded a second round -9 under par on the Kingsbarns course, starting on the tenth tee.

There are six players all tied in third place at -13 under par, Tommy Fleetwood, Mark Foster, Oliver Wilson, Richard McEvoy, Hennie Otto and Peter Uihlein.

Peter, playing Kingsbarns backwards, starting on the tenth tee, came close to making history. His Eagle attempt on the ninth just rolled past the edge of the hole, which would have given him a round of 59. It would have been the first 59 ever recorded on the European Tour. Even so a -12 under par 60, is a superb effort around the Kingsbarns course;

“I knew I needed to make an eagle and I thought I hit a good putt. I thought it would come back to the right but it kept going left. I had a lot of good moments today and I drove the ball well and hit a lot of wedges. Today started off with me hitting it close and not making anything and then I started holing it from everywhere. It was just one of those days that went for me. When I made that birdie on the 17th to go 11 under that was the first time 59 crossed my mind. I was in the zone out there and it was cool. I am definitely not as calm underneath as it looked, but I just tried to stay with my routines and keep the same swing thought. I put a lot of work in during the off-season and even on my off weeks I’m still practicing and grinding so it’s nice to see the results so quickly.”

Richard is battling to avoid a second successive visit to Qualifying School, he sits at 171 on the list, a long way from the top 110;

“In a way that kind of helps, because I need to keep pushing, I can’t sit back and think that I can maybe finish top 20 and that will can keep my card, because it won’t. I need to keep pushing and I need to keep making birdies. I need to keep playing the aggressive golf I’ve done the first two days and I think that helps.”

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Five Way Tie on Day 1

There is a five way tie at the top of the leaderboard on day 1 of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. This unique event is held  over three links courses in Scotland, St. Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Day One

Hugh Grant, who is playing in the Pro-Am.

Three of the top five players were on the Old Course at St. Andrews, they are Richard McEvoy, Alexandre Kaleka, and Mark Tullo. These three had opening rounds of -8 under par 64. Matching them on that -8 under 64 total were Oliver Wilson and Tom Lewis, who played the old course at Kingsbarns.

Oliver is happy to be finding some form at last;

“I’m playing a lot better, for the first time in probably over a year actually, I have some control over my shots and am able to hit the shots and trust it under pressure as well. I’m driving the ball way, way better, which is essentially the thing that had disappeared. I wasn’t able to get it in play, wasn’t able to get it on fairways and, in any wind, I was really in trouble. It was nice of Dunhill to give me an invite to this event, because it’s going to be a great test.I just have to keep playing well. Wherever I play, if I play well, it’s only a matter of time before I get to I where want to get to, so that’s the most important thing. The game is improving all the time and everything’s settled down and moving in the right direction. It’s nice because it’s been a while.”

Tom, who won the Portugal Masters in just his third Tour event, said winning early in his career has helped him,

“Winning so early helped me compete at the top-level but at the same time probably hurt me as well by expecting too much, too early. I’m learning and it’s a shame that I haven’t performed better over the last couple of years, but when I’m back at the top, I’ll be ready to be back at the top whereas before I probably wasn’t. You just want to give up half the time. It’s a good job but any job is tough, especially at the level here the guys are playing at. Obviously I’ve been through tough times and been upset a lot of the time, and it’s actually been probably the toughest two years of my life.”

Richard, who along with Tom and Oliver is in danger of losing his card, needs a win;

” Three years ago I finished well (eighth) in this event to keep my card, but at the moment I’m so far down in the back of my mind I need to win, really. But if I go out, I need to go out with a bang, so I’ve got to give it a shot, and that’s what I did today.”

Mark had Alexandre as his playing partner today, and said they had been feeding off each others good play;

” It was good, I played with Kaleka today, and we both got into a quick start, so we were feeding off each other with good shots, good birdies. I have to admit I do enjoy links golf courses. I like to use my imagination around the greens sometimes.”  

Alexandre added;

“No bogeys, eight birdies, so that’s a dream round. It’s always special to play the Old Course, so I’m very pleased with that day and I hope Sunday will be, as well.”

Probably the best round of the day went to Jamie Donaldson, -7 under par 65, on the Carnoustie course, he shares sixth place with  George Murray and English trio Mark Foster, Matthew Baldwin and Tommy Fleetwood, all at -7 under par.

Ricoh Womens British Open. Na Yeon Takes Command at Half Way Stage.

RICOH WOMEN´S BRITISH OPEN*

Na Yeon Choi takes command of the Ricoh Womens British Open at St Andrews at the half way stage of the competition.

Na Yeon Choi / Getty

At a fairly breezy St Andrews Na Yeon shot her second consecutive -5 under par round of 67, to lead the tournament at -10 under par. 

Na Yeon said she was pleased with her two rounds, especially the one today in the windier conditions;

“I’m very satisfied the last two rounds.  You know, especially today, the weather wasn’t good, it was very hard.  But my focus was very good and my caddie helped me a lot, and you know, I had a daily goal every day so I just tried to stick with the goal.  It could be like par is 74 or 75 today, but I didn’t care, like every hole, par 3, par 4, par 5, doesn’t matter for me.  I just try to play one shot at a time and I think that’s why I had great results.”

Mikki Saki is in second place following her magical second round of  -6 under par, 66, which included two two’s. A hole out for Eagle on two of the par fours on the front nine of the Old Course at St. Andrews, holes 4 and 7. Both shots came from over 100 yards as she holed one with an eight iron and the other with a wedge. She was asked if she had ever done that in a tournament before;

“First time, because it is a major and we are here at the Old Course and surrounded by so much history then it must rate as my best ever round.”

Morgan Pressel is in third place at -8 under par, she had a more modest second round, -2 under par, 70. Morgan used not to like links golf, a bit like Phil Mickelson, there could be a link there; he also wants to be on the Solheim Cup Team;

” Everything happens for a reason, and I think that my past struggles here at St. Andrews as well as links golf in general my first two years on Tour taught me a lot. At this point, you know, I’ve played well for two days, and I’m more focused on this tournament”

Treble chasing Inbee Park struggled as the winds picked up on Friday afternoon on the Old Course at St. Andrews, carding a +1 over par 73 to put her at -2 under-par for the championship, a long way back;

“When you experience something big like this, some kind of big pressure like this, you’re just really not afraid of any kind of pressure. How can it get bigger than this?  If you experience something like this, you’re just ready to go and ready to experience something, anything’s going to be less than this.”

Good Luck Inbee.