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DP World Tour Championship. Sweet Success For Stenson.

DP World Tour Championship proved to be a sweet success for Henrik Stenson, becoming the first man to win The Race to Dubai on the European Tour and FedExCup on the US PGA Tour

Sweet success for Stenson

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik with new Rolex watch / Getty Images

Henrik won the DP World Tour Championship by six shots, carding a flawless final round -8 under par 64, and in doing so also won The Race to Dubai at the Jumeirah Golf Estates Earth Course. His winning total score was -25 under par;

“It has been an incredible summer for me, the autumn in America was great and now this. I played so well this week. I knew the guys would try to catch me, especially Ian who never gives up. I wanted to stay ahead of him and I managed to do that. I don’t know how I am going to be able to top this next year but I am going to give my best in the Majors and that becoming the first male Swedish player to win one would be the icing on the cake.”

In second place, and losing his bet, was Ian Poulter, a good final round of -6 under par 66 was not good enough to catch Henrik, but was a commendable effort. Ian finished with a -19 under par tournament total. He said of Henrik’s score;

 “I have to take my hat off to him, unbelievable. I tried to run him down as hard as I could but even with a sore wrist he has pressed on and I just could not get close enough. Henrik has not made a mistake all week and I just had to make sure of second place and some valuable Ryder Cup points. I have thrown a lot at him and given him so much stick, but he is the best player on the planet right now.”

Victor Dubuisson picked up third place, playing alongside Henrik today he could only manage a -1 under par round of 71. He looked shell-shocked out on the course as Henrik constantly bombed drives off the tee with a three wood, still out distancing his efforts with a driver. Victor was alone in third spot at -17 under par.

 Joost Luiten was in fourth place at -16 under par, and a trio of former World Number Ones,  Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, shared fifth spot on -15 under par. It was a welcome return to form for these three as they have not had good results this year.

 

DP World Tour Championship. Henrik Holds Lead At Half-Way.

 Henrik Stenson holds the lead at the half-way stage in the DP World Tour Championship, and also strengthens his grip on the title in The Race To Dubai.

Henrik Stenson   (Getty Images)

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Super Henrik Stenson shot a second round -8 under par 64 to lead the DP World Championship at the Jumeirah Golf Estates Earth Course, with a total of -12 under par. He is determined to become the first man to win The Race to Dubai and FedExCup in the same season and is firmly on course.

Henrik remarked that his game-plan is working;

“I have my game plan cemented on this course and it’s been working out great the first two days. It could have been a bit better but there is no point being greedy. I am delighted with the first two days’ work. I keep track of what’s happening with the other players, I’m too curious not to. I saw both Justin and Ian are seven under so they are chasing me as hard as they can. They are not going to back down so I better keep my foot and my head down, play another two good rounds and see where that takes me. I am in a great position to have a shot at winning and hopefully I will be there on Sunday afternoon.”

Just one shot back in second place is Alejandro Cañizares at -11 under par, who managed to save par on the 18th after finding water with his approach shot;

“I pull hooked it in the water, it was a terrible shot. I gave myself a chance and I really wanted to make that putt, because I haven’t dropped a shot in the whole day and I didn’t feel like I should have. I made that putt and it felt great. I played with Henrik on Sunday, and he’s a fun guy to play with, and tomorrow I’m just going to go out there and enjoy it and focus on my game. That’s all I can do.” 

Tied in third spot at -8 under par are Marcus Fraser and Victor Dubuisson.

Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell can still deny Henrik the title, with victory here. Justin is best placed on -7 under par under after a second round -5 under par 67 and Graeme shooting a -4 under par 68. Justin thinks this course is tailor-made to suit both Henrik and Rory McIlroy, with their extra length off the tee.

Rory shot a second round of -5 under par 67, which included an Eagle on the par five 14th hole. He said he needs a couple of rounds of 65 to get into contention;

“I think somewhere around 20 under par will win so I will need a couple of 65′s. I finally feel I have got to the stage now when I can contend week in, week out and on the rare times I have got into contention this year I feel like I have played my best golf.”

 

DP World Tour Championship. It’s Alejandro Cañizares Leading On Day 1

It’s Alejandro Cañizares Leading On Day 1 the DP World Tour Championship, the finale of The Race to Dubai.

Alejandro Canizares  (Getty Images)

Alejandro Cañizares / Getty Images

Alejandro shot a first round -6 under par 66, to lead the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. He was more concerned about his girl-friend being there than talking about his golf;

“My girlfriend is from the Czech Republic and I always forget she doesn’t have a Spanish passport and needs a visa. I only remembered when we got to the check-in desk at the airport in Turkey on Sunday evening and handed over the passports. Fortunately we had help from a lot of people and the tournament director Nick Tarratt was waiting with Dubai’s captain of immigration when we got to Dubai at 3am on Monday morning.”

Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Marcus Fraser are tied in second place, just one shot adrift of the lead at -5 under par.

Of the main contenders for the Race to Dubai title, Henrik Stenson has made the best start with a -4 under par 68, even though he managed to three putt the last hole today;

“It has been a lot of hard work all season and I just let my focus slip on the last. That sucks, but I am still in good shape and playing nicely. The guys are running on fumes so everybody is looking forward to getting done. You can’t win a tournament on Thursday but you can certainly play your way out of it. I would have taken four under at the start of the day so I just have to let the disappointment of the last slip away.”

Justin Rose, Henrik’s playing partner, is suffering from an inflamed shoulder that required an MRI scan recently. Justin shot -2 under par 70. He said Henrik is going to make it hard for them;

“Henrik is making it hard for the rest of us but that’s why I wanted it in my own hands and that’s still the case, so my goal remains the same for the rest of the week.”

Ian Poulter, -3 under par 69, carded four birdies and one bogey in his opening 69, but was frustrated at missing a number of chances to be higher up the leaderboard. He reflected on the missed opportunities;

“I am annoyed, I made two putts which were outside birdie chances and took a couple more but the rest were missed. I am frustrated but happy to be only three behind. I need to continue to be aggressive and see if I can nick it at the end. It’s a good mix to be really angry being three under par and still being in there for the next three days.”

 Rory McIlroy had to settle for an opening round of -1 under par 71, after being three under for his first four holes. But he reported his focus had improved.

” It’s much better than it has been the last few months and I am playing better, which is important. It’s good that the game is back on track. I have this event and two more so it would be great to get a win before the end of the season.”

Turkish Airlines Open. 4 Way Tie At Half Way Point.

There is a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard in the Turkish Airlines Open at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal course.

Henrik Stenson   (Getty Images)

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik, the current leader in the Race to Dubai, is now joint leader in the Turkish Airlines Open after his second round score of -4 under par 68, for a total of -12 under par at the end of day 2.

Henrik spoke about the challenge Ian Poulter poses;

“I’m trying my hardest, I know he’s not going to back down.  He’s not that kind of guy so I’m going to have to keep on making birdies.”

Joining Henrik on that score is Ian Poulter who is at number four in the Race to Dubai. Ian had another superb round of -6 under 66, this one was bogey free. He said he is looking forward to a fun week-end;

“I’m right there at the top of the board, and that’s always good fun. There are some great names at the top of the board, as well, so it’s certainly going to be a fun weekend. Henrik has definitely got fired up this week.  He’s a great player and he doesn’t need a lot to get fired up, but he obviously is this week.”

Victor Dubuisson and Justin Walters are also at -12 under par for the tournament, both of these players will be targeting a maiden European Tour title this week. It will be a hard task to beat the likes of Henrik and Ian, not forgetting Tiger Woods, who is now just one shot back at -11 under par following his stellar second round of -9 under par 63.

Tiger actually said he missed some putts today;

 “I’m right there, and that’s the whole idea, I’ve got two more days of hopefully making a lot of birdies. I hit a lot of good shots and made some putts, but I missed quite a few putts today that were within ten feet. So it could have been one of those really low, special rounds, but I’ll take it.”

Tomorrow is moving day, could Tiger up-stage the Race to Dubai contestants, and top the leaderboard himself. We will have to wait and see.

BMW Masters. Luke Guthrie Leads, Big John Daly Right Behind.

Luke Guthrie leads the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China, but Big John Daly is right behind him.

Luke Guthrie   (Getty Images)

Luke Guthrie / Getty Images

Luke required just 19 putts in his opening round -7 under par 65 at the  BMW Masters presented by SRE Group as the Final Series began in Shanghai. The 23-year-old American, who only turned professional last year and is playing his first regular European Tour event, carded five birdies and an Eagle, a chip in on the par five 15th hole.

Not surprisingly Luke said it was a great day;

“It was a great day, I had 19 putts, and that was definitely the key to my round. I had about five weeks off before I played the last two weeks over on the PGA Tour, and I’ve been playing solid, hitting it a lot better and just been getting a lot out of my rounds again, which is nice.

“I love Shanghai. This is my first time over in China and Asia, and I just wanted to challenge myself to come travel abroad and get used to this, and just keep gaining experiences and get better at becoming a global player. I was really looking forward to this tournament on my schedule and I just can’t be more happy to be here.”

Big John Daly  had been recovering on the sidelines for four months, following elbow surgery, and the 47-year-old was delighted with his return. A round of -4 under par 68 announced his return to golf;

“When you don’t play competitive for a while, especially against all these guys out here, as good as they are, you want to execute and hit solid shots. Luckily I got a lot of shots that came out right today.”

“My elbow has been ailing me for probably six years, and the last four have been really just brutal and finally to get the surgery done, it’s nice to be able to pinch chips, which I haven’t been able to do in a long time, so that’s encouraging.”

Completing an American top three is Peter Uihlein, an opening round of -3 under par is another good start to his first European Tour season. Peter has been in contention all season long , and has a win in Madeira and finished runner-up to at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Peter said it had been really tough out there today, and was amazed at the effort of Luke;

“That was tough today, that was really hard, that was some round by Luke. I don’t know what course he played, but that was really difficult today. I got off to a bad start and I was able to grind it out and finish well, so it was nice.”

In the contest to be European Number One, Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson carded a level par 72, while his nearest challenger Graeme McDowell shot a -2 under par 70, helped by an Eagle from around 100 feet on the par five 13th hole.

ISPS Handa Perth International. Hedblom Still Hoping.

Peter Hedblom is still hoping he can avoid the trip to Q School, he is now alone at the top of the leaderboard in the ISPS Handa Perth International.

Peter Hedblom  (Getty Images)

Peter Hedblom / Getty Images

Peter shot a second round -3 under par 69, at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club course, giving him a tournament total of -7 under par, a two shot advantage over his nearest competitor.  He admits he loves the idea of a fairy tale victory;

 “Definitely, I love fairy tales, my best friend on Tour, Michael Jonzon, in 2009 he was like me, way back and needed to win. I think he needed top three in Castellón in 2009, which was his last tournament, and he won it, beat Martin Kaymer. That was a fairytale story. It’s been two great days, But my golf is strange right now, because I hit really good shots, and some really poor shots, but my putting has been good. So it’s great right now to be leading. It’s been a while, 2009 was my last win, but I know I have the game to do it. Right now would be good. We’ll see, I think the closer you get to Sunday it’s going to be harder. I don’t really have anything to lose. If I want to play another full year on Tour, I need to win. You just have to go for it and have fun.”

In second place on his own at -5 under par is Ross Fisher, who carded a second round of -5 under par following his open even par round. Ross has his own agenda, he is currently 65th in The Race to Dubai and looking to break into the top 60, the players who will earn a place in next month’s DP World Tour Championship;

“I want to try and get in the top 60, It would be for me a great achievement having played the first half of the year in the States. My first tournament in Europe counting wise wasn’t till May. 
So I’ve always been playing catch up, but I can be really proud of how I’ve played the second half of the year. A good week here, hopefully that gets me into next week in China. Not out of the question if I won this week, hopefully that would put me into the HSBC, that would be huge. There are some big tournaments left. Obviously this week first and hopefully I can do enough here to get myself into next week, possibility the HSBC, Turkey and Dubai. 
The ultimate goal would be to get myself into Dubai, but I need to play very well this week to allow myself to try and get into next week.”

Sóren Hansen was a member of Nick Faldo’s Ryder Cup team in 2008, he is one of five players tied in third place at -4 under par. Sóren  is in the top 40 career earners and thus exempt for next year, he is in a safe position;

“Obviously that relaxes me a little bit and I feel for the guys who are playing for their privilege to play on The European Tour. I played with Oliver Fisher and he’s played really, really good the last two days, shot level par, but should probably have been a lot better really. I feel for him and hope he can have a good week.”

ISPS Perth International. Hedblom Hopes Are High.

Peter Hedblom has made a good start to the ISPS Perth International at Lake Karrinyup Country Club and his hopes are high that he can avoid another trip to Q School.

Peter Hedblom  (Getty Images)

Peter Hedblom / Getty Images

Peter is one of four players tied at the top of the leaderboard in the ISPS Perth International at -4 under par after the opening round. The others are James Nitties, Clint Rice and Jin Jeong, all had rounds of -4 under par 68.

Peter has endured 10 trips to Q School in his career and finds himself at number 179 on The Race To Dubai list, and he needs to be inside the top 110. That basically means he needs a win here;

” I’m so far back I need a win or to finish second really, you have nothing to hold back,  you just have to go for everything. You’re not happy to finish third or fourth or fifth or sixth or tenth, just play as good as you can. The tension is nothing really. Today it felt like any tournament, if I will be leading playing the last day, then maybe I’ll feel the tension, but right now it’s just one round out of four. It’s good to at least have a chance to do it. The game is there, you just need a little bit of confidence.”

Jin has been playing on the Challenge Tour this year and has recently elevated himself into the second stage of Q School. He said he is not getting carried away with his good start, even though he chipped in for eagle two on the ninth hole;

“It’s only the first day and still three rounds to go and plenty of great players out here, so you never know what’s going to happen. I’ve just got to do what I’m doing and just keep hitting good shots and hopefully that’s good enough.”

The headliner here is Ryder Cup competitor American Dustin Johnson, he opened with a -3 under par 69, just one shot off the lead.

Dustin was pretty satisfied with his first round;

” I played pretty well, I missed a couple short putts, but other than that, I hit it pretty well.” 

The boys chasing The Race To Dubai rankings not only have the pre-tournament favorite Dustin to worry about, another talented American Bo Van Pelt is also in the field, he opened with a -2 under par 70. Bo is also the Defending Champion, so he will be keen to hold onto the title.

In a very compacted leaderboard there are eight players T5, just one shot off the leading group, and sixteen within two strokes, it is going to be fun.

It’s Seven Up at the Portugal Masters.

There are seven players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the Portugal Masters on the Oceânico Victoria Golf Course.

Alvaro Quiros   (Getty Images)

Alvaro Quiros / Getty Images

Alvaro, who now lives in Portugal, recovered from two early bogeys at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course to storm home in 29 strokes and share the lead at the Portugal Masters with a  -6 under par 65 opening round.  Felipe Aguilar, Jamie Donaldson, David Lynn, Max Kieffer, Graeme Storm and Simon Thornton also carded -6 under par 65′s. Spaniard Alvaro won every year on The European Tour from 2006-2011, including this event in 2008. He then underwent surgery for a wrist problem, and has missed five months of golf.

Alvaro is one of the game’s longest hitters, and said it was a good recovery from his poor start;

“It was a good fight after being two over after five holes, I was putting beautifully and that was the key. This is my second home tournament and now that I’m living here I have to consider Portugal home. It’s always good, this event has been special since I’ve been coming here.” 

Of the seven players at the top only Max Kieffer had a bogey free round, and he also managed to throw in an Eagle as well, at the par 5 twelfth hole.

Max is  in contention for the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award, and reported he had played well again;

” It was a good round today, it was good fun, I played really good. I had so many shots close and there were a lot of good putts that didn’t go in. I’m surprised nobody shot really low.” 

Seve Trophy  team-mates Jaime Donaldson and David Lynn swiftly banished any disappointment from Great Britain & Ireland’s 15-13 points loss to Continental Europe.

Jamie had got to -7 under par before three-putting the eighth, for his only bogey of the day,

“It was good playing under tough competitive conditions so it’s nice to play well and just bring it on to this week. Those team events were fantastic, we had great fun all week.”

 David managed to pick up three shots over his last five holes. He talked about the Seve Trophy, team games, ailments and the need to improve in The Race To Dubai;

” I keep taking medication but a 65 cures any ailments, if I don’t pull my finger out this week I’m not going to make The Race to Dubai.”

Irishman Simon Thornton, who won earlier this year at Saint Omer, said he had played lovely;

“I played lovely, it’s always nice to get off to a good start, I hit it straight off the tee and had lots of chances. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been playing much more consistently.”

In a tightly packed leaderboard there are then nine players tied at -5 under par, it looks like this is going to be a fiercely contested tournament.

Johnnie Walker Championship. Relaxed Ricardo Leads At Half-Way.

Ricardo Gonzalez leads at the half-way stage of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Ricardo Gonzalez  (Getty Images)

Ricardo Gonzalez / Getty Images

Ricardo compiled a second consecutive round of -7 under par 65, to top the leaderboard on The Gleneagles Hotel course at -14 under par. This is the Centenary Course which will host next year’s Ryder Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel.

Ricardo managed to  birdie his last five holes to card his second consecutive 65 on the course, the 43 year-old currently lies 109th in The Race to Dubai, with only the top 110 at the end of the year retaining their playing privileges for 2014.

He reflected on a tough couple of years on Tour, and if he wins this week he dedicate the victory to Mum and Dad;

” The last two years have been very difficult personally, if I win I would like to dedicate it to my mother and father, that’s my target this week. It’s a very important week for me because I have not played well at the start of the season. To shoot two rounds of 65 is amazing. I had five weeks’ rest to recharge my batteries. It’s strange because I’m a professional golfer and I need competition, but I’m feeling great after five weeks off. It has made me more relaxed and I think that’s the key to making a good score.”

 Bernd Wiesberger could not quite match the brilliant finish of Ricardo, but he still covered the back nine in 31 strokes to add a -6 under par 66,  to his opening 65 and finish the 54 holes at -13 under par, just one shot back and firmly in second place alone.

Bernd is hoping to play in the Ryder Cup, and said that Captain Paul McGinley thinks he could represent Europe;

” I played with Mr McGinley in the final round of the Scottish Open and afterwards he said he was very happy with my game and thinks I can play myself into the team, that’s something I really enjoyed hearing. It’s good that I have my name up there and even though qualifying has not started yet it’s important to play well at The Ryder Cup venue and make a statement that way.”

 Mark Foster and Tommy Fleetwood are at -11 under [ar after rounds of 67 and 65 respectively, to occupy third place. Mark admitting his search for a second European Tour victory ten years after his first is always on his mind.

“At the time it was not too bad,, but as it went on I thought about it more, especially every time I step onto the 18th tee here now, I’m not one for regrets. I stayed positive and hit drives and just made a bad swing rather than choosing a bad club.”

Defending Championship Paul Lawrie is at -7 under par after two rounds,

“I hit it lovely today and I am in there again, I think I will probably need a low weekend with the way the scoring is going but as long as you are in there you have a chance.”

Alfred Dunhill Championship, Charl Schwartzel Wins

 

Charl Schwartzel won the Alfred Dunhill Championship by a massive 12 shots at Leopard Creek Country Club in South AfricaSublime Schwartzel completes mammoth win

Charl Schwartzel / Getty Images

The last round may have been interrupted by thunderstorms, but noting interrupted Charl Schwartzel cruising to an easy victory setting a target of -24 under par. An amazing twelve shots clear of Kristoffer Broberg in second place.

Charl has a remarkable record at this course, which is situated on the border of the Kruger National Park, he won his first European Tour title there in 2004 and has had four runner-up finishes. He said it has always been special for him;

“It’s always been a special place for me, this is where I can almost say my career started and it’s always stayed close to my heart. It’s nice to have continued my form from last week. I was saying a month and a half ago it’s been a pretty disappointing year. Slowly and surely I started to swing the club a lot better, back to how I did when I won The Masters, and I actually got excited to play again. It started at the South AFrican Open and from there got better and better. It’s been a pretty good year now!”

Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg, four times a winner on the Challenge Tour last season, finished in second place, after  Grégory Bourdy suffered a double-bogey seven on the final hole.  Grégory had been the main challenger to Charl for the best part of the weekend, but slipped up on the last hole to give Kristoffer the second place on his own. Kristoffer was of course delighted with his first earnings on the European Tour;

“It’s amazing to get off to such a good start in The Race to Dubai in my first season as a European Tour Member and it sets me up pretty good for the new season.”

 

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