Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Gallacher Gate Crashes the Party.

dragon logo dark Stephen Gallacher has gate crashed the party at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club. A brilliant back nine in the third round has given the Defending Champion a two shot lead going into the final day.

Stephen Gallacher  (Getty Images)

Stephen tee’s off, watched by Tiger / Getty Images

Stephen is now in pole position to become the first man to successfully defend the Omega Dubai Desert Classic title following a brilliant round of -9 under par 63 on Saturday, to top the leaderboard at -16 under par. Stephen was actually ten under par for the last ten holes, he now has a two shot lead over Rory McIlroy, who could only manage a -3 under par 69 in his third round, he is at -14 under par.

Stephen did not know where the sudden blast of brilliance came from, he just said what an amazing game golf is;

 “I don’t really know to be honest, it was quite a struggle to start with, especially the first three holes. I was not quite right but if you stay patient and keep focused it’s amazing what this game throws up. I hit it stiff on nine and from then on just kept hitting it close, and if I hit it to 30 feet I holed it. I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could and get a lead because I found the last time it’s easier when you are leading than chasing. There’s a lot of golf left to go but I will certainly be giving it my best shot.”

Rory was not quite 100 per cent fit after a bout of food poisoning, caused by takeaway food on Thursday night. He said his round was just OK, and did not know that Stephen was ten under for his last ten holes;

“It was okay, I bogeyed the first again but birdied two and eagled three which was great. I didn’t drive the ball particularly well, I’m probably going to work on a few things on the range and I felt like I hit a lot of good putts that just didn’t go in. I felt like I left a few out there but it was a tricky day and shooting anything under 70 wasn’t a bad score. Obviously Stephen had a phenomenal round, 63 today is a really impressive effort.”

“I didn’t know that. That’s a great stretch of holes and hopefully he doesn’t continue it tomorrow! I played with him the first two days and he played very well. Obviously he was on fire today, I just need to go out there and try to hit a few more fairways, focus on a few things in my game, not really focus on what he’s doing and make a few putts and see where it puts me. It’s the second week in a row for me going into the last day with a chance to win, it’s a great position to be in.”

There are two players tied in third spot, at -12 under par, Brooks Kopeka and Thorbjørn Olesen, they had very different rounds. Brooks had held the lead midway through the back nine until Stephen’s charge, I don’t know if he was watching the scoreboard but he dropped shots at the 14th and 15th to card a -2 under par 70. Thorbjørn on the other hand  fired a flawless -7 under par 65 to move him up the leaderboard.

World Number One Tiger Woods shot -2 under par 70 to occupy a share of 37th place on -5 under par.

There are obviously low scores to had on this Emirates Golf Club course, so there is still a chance for many players to come from behind and take this title, I am looking forward to it.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Garcia Grabs Title.

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Sergio Garcia grabbed the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters title in a sudden death play-off at the Doha Golf Club.

Gallant Garcia secures thrilling victory

Sergio Garcia / Getty Images

Sergio won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the third play-off hole, after he set the club-house target with his flawless final round of -7 under par 65. He defeated Mikko Ilonen, who fired a last round -6 under par 66 to level the scores and force the play-off.

Sergio said this win feels good;

“It feels good, it’s funny because I started the day thinking if I can shoot six or seven under maybe I can have a chance, and it turns out I had a very similar putt that I had last year to get it to seventeen under on eighteen. I hit a good putt and unfortunately it didn’t break. It’s been an amazing week already and I was definitely more nervous on my tee shot on the eighteenth in regulation than in the play-off. That’s probably why I hit three better tee shots. The up and down from the bunker in the play-off was key and I’m very happy to be able to win it. I almost feel less pressure because you feel like you’ve had a great week already and if you win it’s kind of like a little bit of a bonus.”

Mikko thought he would have to win it with an Eagle, last year England’s Chris Wood made an eagle on the 72nd hole to beat Sergio, but it was poor bunker play that let him down;

“I was expecting one of us would need to make an eagle to win it. I hit two poor bunker shots out of the same front right-hand trap, one in regulation and one in the play-off, and I’m not going to blame anything else. I came up two short of my target in regulation, I thought 64 would do it outright, and Sergio was a bit better than me this time. I needed a strong start and I got it being four under through eight, and I backed it up with a good end to the round with three birdies in the last five. I played good golf this week so I can’t be too disappointed.”

Third place was shared by Thorbjørn Olesen and Rafa Cabrera-Bello, both finished just one shot back on -15 under par. Thorbjørn  had a very good chance to join the play-off, but missed from 15 feet for an Eagle on the 18th hole. Rafa also needed an Eagle to join the play-off , but saw his chip from over the green pull up just three feet short of the hole.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Two Tied At The Top.

dragon logo dark    Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Steve Webster are the two players who are tied at the top of the leaderboard in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters tournament heading into the final round tomorrow.

Webster catches Cabrera-Bello as exciting finish beckons

Steve Webster / Getty Images

Steve had a -2 under par 70 third round to join Rafa at the top of the leaderboard at -12 under par at the Doha Golf Course. He admitted that his golf was not very pretty, this from a man who started this tournament with an Albatross on the very first hole;

“That wasn’t pretty, I don’t know what happened the first six or seven holes. I hit it really well on the range and I think I got a bit cocky on the course and hit so many bad shots the first six or seven holes, it was like I had never played golf before.”

” On the back nine I gave myself a few chances and I knocked in a really good putt on 11 which made things feel a little better. But the pins were tucked away a bit today and that’s why the scores have pretty much stayed the way they were.”

Rafa started the day with a two shot lead, but had an even poorer round, a +1 over par 73, which allowed Steve to catch him;

“I still feel as though I played okay, I just did not manage to score as well. It was tough with the wind, I didn’t quite make the putts and struggled here and there with my chipping, but overall I got the not-so-good round out of the way and I am still in a fantastic position going into Saturday.”

Three players are tied in third position, just one shot back at -11 under par. One of these golfers is Adrien Saddier who easily shot the best round of the day, carding a bogey free -8 under par 64;

“It was a great round, I played very well, I played the first two rounds with Steve Webster  and in the long game we were pretty similar but he putted better, so I thought if I can make some good putts I can do the same as him.

“Coming from the Qualifying School I need some good results so it’s great to shoot 64 today. I finished 2013 very well and I am starting 2014 well too. I only turned professional in July so my only aim this year is to keep my card.”

Frenchman Adrien is joined in third place by Thomas Aiken and Thorbjørn Olesen, Thomas had a -2 under par 70, while Thorbjørn signed for a -4 under par 68 third round.

On this tightly packed  leaderboard there are seventeen players within four shots of the lead, including two-time winner Paul Lawrie on -10 under par and his Ryder Cup team-mate Sergio Garcia on -9 under par for the tournament. This should provide for some exciting entertainment in the final round for the spectators at the Doha Golf Club.

Pablo Larrazabal, who won last week sadly missed the cut here, the euphoria of winning quickly doused.

Arnold Palmer Invitational. Tiger Trounces the Course. Justin suffers the Jitters.

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Tiger Woods trounced the Bay Hill course in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, shooting a third round -6 under par, 66. Meanwhile Justin Rose, who seemed to be cruising with a two shot lead, suddenly suffered a severe case of the jitters.

Can he be stopped?

Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler / Greenwood / Getty Images

Tiger putted like a champion today, it helped him to his -6 under par round and a tournament total of -11 under par, a lead of two shots over the field. The man looking most likely to mount a serious challenge to Tiger is Rickie Fowler, no slouch himself today, with a third round of -5 under par, which elevated him to -9 under par and in a tie for second place. He will also play with Tiger for the final round, something that he could not handle last year when he faced the same task. He shot a last round 84 that day, compared to the winner Tiger Woods, who came home in 67.

Tiger said he now knows how to fix his game while out on the course;

” I just understand how to fix my game, it’s taken me a while. I was hurt for a long time. The changes to make the swing from where I was to now is a pretty big change.I hit a bad shot here and there, and that’s easy to fix. I know what my fix is going to be and that makes a big difference. I’m much more comfortable, but also I think that I’m feeling pretty good physically, that was huge. I’ve had one more year of working on my game, and here I am. Just because I’ve won here doesn’t ensure that I’m going to win the tournament, the conditions are different. The game might be different. But the objective is still to put myself in position to win the golf tournament and somehow get it done on Sunday. Over the course of my career, I’ve done a pretty decent job of that.”

Rickie remembers that bad day at Memorial;

” After Memorial, I’m looking for a little redemption, I’m feeling good about the pairing, about my game. I’m going in there with the attitude that I have nothing to lose and we’ll see what happens from there. He’s definitely the guy to beat but I’ll be right there to see what’s going on. With him having leads on courses he loves like this and Torrey Pines and Doral, and I’m sure there are others, he’s basically never lost with a lead in the final round. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow and seeing if we can go do that.”

Tied in second place with Rickie are jittery Justin Rose and John Huh, Justin with an even par round and John a -1 under par round.

There are five players another shot back at -8 under par for the tournament, they are; Thorbjorn Olesen, Gonzalo Fedez- Castano, Jimmy Walker, Ken Duke and Bill Haas.

To be honest I can not see anybody challenging Tiger for this title, it is his for the taking. Winning would move him to the top of FedExCup leaderboard, becoming the first player to hold the top spot in five different seasons. Additionally, he’d match Sam Snead as the only other player to win the same tournament eight times and of course he would move back to No. 1 in the World, for the first time since Oct. 30, 2010.

Nobody is going to stop Tiger.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Stephen Gallacher Wins

 

Eagle swoops Gallacher to victory

Stephen Gallacher / Getty Images

Stephen Gallacher won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Course in Dubai on Sunday, with a final round of -1 under par 71, for a -22 under par total. Stephen won by three strokes from Richard Sterne who also had a last round of -1 under par and a tournament total of -19 under.

The defining moment came when Stephen holed his approach to the par four 16th, for his fifth eagle of the week to finally shake off the strong challenge of Richard. Obviously Stephen was delighted with his second European Tour win;

“I’m obviously delighted. I’ve holed four shots this week, but you’ve got to do that these days to win, you need that little bit of magic.”

Stephen is now  set to climb into the top 60 of the Official World Golf Ranking in time for the WGC-Accenture Match Play, and has a great chance to move into the top 50 in time for a Masters Tournament debut at Augusta National. It’s the only Major he has not competed in;

” It’s the only Major I’ve never played, I sit and watch it in the house with the kids every year and obviously it would be a dream to play there.  My plan at the start of the year was to try and get into the top 50 to try and make The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014.”

Richard Sterne was understandably upset at not being able to clinch victory here, but took some positives out of the week, he said the chip in Eagle at the 16th took the wind out of his sails;

” Second place is obviously pretty good, but when you’re tied for the lead and there’s one shot in it here and there. Everything swung around on 16 really, that took the wind out of my sails. I gave it as good a run as I could, I’m not too disappointed.”

Chile’s Felipe Aguilar and Dane Thorbjørn Olesen finished tied for third and England’s Lee Westwood was joint fourth after hitting his second shot into the water on the par five last hole.

 

Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Gallacher leads

Stephen Gallacher   (Getty Images)

Stephen Gallacher / Getty Images

Stephen Gallacher has a three shot lead at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic after the conclusion of the third round at the Emirates Golf Club. His round of -10 under par 62 included a  40 yard bunker shot on the last hole, that went in for an Eagle, and in doing so broke a 12 year-old record at this tournament set by Tiger Woods, for the lowest three round total. Stephen who is a  nephew of former Ryder Cup Captain Bernard Gallacher, has won only once in more than 400 European Tour events and that was nine years ago on home soil at St Andrews.

Stephen recalled the moment the bunker shot holed out;

“The moment I hit it it was either stiff or in, I’m excited and looking forward to tomorrow. I’m pretty familiar with his course, I come out here on holiday with the family. I struggled last week in Qatar and my driver cracked, but with the new one I’m hitting more fairways and I’ve putted really good.”

Richard Sterne who led by one stroke after the first two rounds, he opened this tournament with a 62, might have expected a 66 to keep him out in front, but he had to be content with second place at -18 under par.

Thorbjorn Olesen, from Denmark, is in third position, he is at -16 under par for the tournament, but at five shots back of the leader has a huge task if he wants to lift the trophy.

The title will belong to one of these three players, everyone else is too far back to make a serious challenge. Would be nice to see Stephen Gallacher claim his second European Tour title.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Richard Sterne Leads after Round Two

 

 

 

Richard Sterne   (Getty Images)

Richard Sterne / Getty Images

Richard Sterne birdied the final hole at Emirates Golf Club to secure a one shot halfway lead standing at -12 under par for the tournament, in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Richard said the course was tough;

“The course was a lot tougher with the wind and the greens definitely firmed out a bit. I think it’s going to be quite tricky coming to the weekend. There’s a lot of guys bunched up and you’re going to have to play pretty well to be there on Sunday. I had a long time sitting at home watching all the guys and especially the South Africans winning, so it’s nice to be back in the action and to have a chance.”

Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and two of The European Tour’s rising stars, Dane Thorbjørn Olesen and England’s Tommy Fleetwood, are just one shot back at -11 under par.

Former Challenge Tour winner Tommy Fleetwood, 22, has yet to drop a stroke and after a second round of 68 said;

“It’s just nice to be up there with all these great names.”

Stephen Gallacher is also delighted to be in the hunt for the title;

“It was a lot trickier with the wind switching all over the shop and I’m delighted to be still in the hunt.”

 

Foot-note:

Apparently Dubai has no proper sewerage system, this report is from FeedingTruth.com:

The glittering supercity of Dubai has no sewage system. At least no underground sewage system…(VIDEO)

Posted By: MrFusion [Send E-Mail]
Date: Thursday, 16-Aug-2012 22:56:48

[Credit to lamamaba of STA for finding this...]
Rather than a sewage system, Dubai has more of a sewage caravan. Hundreds and hundreds of 10,000 gallon sewage trucks lined up for their turn to dump their loads into the ocean. Swimming on the beaches of Dubai is not recommended.
http://www.boreme.com/posting.php?id=31361

 

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Jamie Donaldson Wins

Donaldson wins desert thriller

Jaime Donaldson / Getty Images

The Abu Dhabi Championship was won by Welshman Jaime Donaldson, giving him his second European Tour Title. Jaime finished at -14 under par for the tournament, just one shot better than  Justin Rose and Thorbjorn Olesen who had to settle at tied for second place with at -13 under par.

Both Justin and Thorbjorn needed to birdie the last to get into a play-off, but they bother managed to miss their respective attempts. Thorbjorn’s effort slid by the hole, while Justin’s attempt from twelve feet lipped out.

Jaime was amazed at the end, believing one of the boys would have birdied the last, and forced a play-off;

” It’s pretty surreal really, I’ve played really good all week although I’ve got away with murder up the last. I thought one of them would hole if not both, but when both putts slipped by it was my week. I’m very happy to be stood here holding the trophy. It’s like buses isn’t it. I played the pro-am on Wednesday and thought the course was too difficult and I had no chance. I thought if I could get a decent finish I would be chuffed.To be holding this trophy is just mad.”

Justin closed the tournament with a -1 under par 71, not what he was hoping for, but his second placed finish was enough to move him back up the World Golf Rankings, regaining fourth spot from Louis Oosthuizen after his win in South Africa last week;

“It was definitely hard work today, for some reason it was hard to see the breaks on the front nine, but I pulled it together really well and felt I got into a really good competitive mode. When I birdied 14 I didn’t realise Jamie had had a hot round. I had actually expected to be one ahead at that point and I was one behind, so every credit to Jamie. I didn’t do a lot wrong. It’s hard to beat yourself up about it. I felt like I brought my best stuff on the back nine rather than the front nine, so that’s encouraging. I don’t think I need to do anything different , just need to keep chipping away and keep swinging well. But was a long, hard week to end up finishing second.”

Thorbjorn said in retrospect he wished he had not tried to reach the green at the sixth hole, from a bad lie;

” I was trying to go for the green but I knew the lie was bad and I tried anyway. Maybe I should have just laid up, but you can always say that after. I tried to make birdies today, and I didn’t make that many unfortunately.”

 

 

Genworth FinancialBMWRolexTitleist

 

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Justin Jogs Along

 

Justin Rose  (Getty Images)

Justin Rose / Getty Images

Justin Rose jogged through the third round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship with a -4 under par round of 68. He now has a two shot lead over the field. Jamie Donaldson is in second place at -10 under par after his third round score of -3 69, he shares second spot with Thorbjorn Olesen.

Thongchai Jaidee is alone in fourth place at -9 under par following his marvelous round of -6 under par, 66. New Zealand’s Michael Campbell is still showing some interest in this tournament, he now at -7 under par, five shots off the pace going into the last round.

Justin was pretty candid with his comments;

“I came here with no expectations, I came here to see where my game is at. Anybody who wins this week, they have beaten the Number One and Number Two in the world. You can say you’ve beaten the best. I believe that any tournament I tee up in I can win.”

Jaime Donaldson had a victory last year in the Irish Open, so far that is his only triumph, but he is feeling confident here;

“I feel pretty good, I played some great recovery shots out there. It was another tough day out there, even though there wasn’t much wind. I couldn’t have really scored much better than that.”

Thorbjorn Olesen won the Sicilian Open last year, and is also full of confidence;

“I won last year and that gave me a lot of confidence, and I had a few second places. So I’m learning in every tournament, and it’s been a really good process the last three years. Hopefully I can make a few birdies tomorrow and make it exciting.”

David Howell, is at -8 under par, his last victory was  in 2006 at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, but has kind of dropped off the radar since then. David commented about his record in this tournament;

 “I’ve never really played well here, a couple of top twenties I think maybe. But if I can have a great day tomorrow obviously I can post a very good total. I’ve played really consistently for the best part of a year and I’m playing some of the best golf I ever have really. I’m just coming from a low position. It’s hard to fight your way back up there, but I’m doing it bit by bit and a big finish or a win would go a long way to taking me right back to where I want to be.”

I honestly don’t think David, or anyone can catch Justin, with the mood that he is in. He was relegated to fifth in the Official World Golf Rankings by Louis Oosthuizen’s victory in South Africa last week, Justin would take the position back by lifting a title worth €336,725.

 

 

Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, Rory and Tiger Miss Cut

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods  (Getty Images)

Tiger & Rory / Getty Images

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both missed the cut after the second round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, played on the Abu Dhabi Golf Course.

Rory McIlroy collapsed to a second successive round of 75, to bow out of the event in which finished as runner-up last year. Guess the new clubs are not working yet. He put it down to the speed of the greens and even changed putters for the second round, to no avail;

“I just felt the greens I have been practicing on were much faster. It was just a weight issue. I’ve got four weeks to work on it. I knew it was going to be a tough week. I hit the ball really well in Dubai last week, but it just got worse for some reason. I’m very disappointed, you never want to get off to a poor start, but I’ve got to realize it’s only the start of the season.”

Tiger Woods thought he had finished safely inside the cut mark on one over, but his bogey five was changed to a triple-bogey seven after discussions with European Tour Senior Referee Andy McFee. Tiger had taken a drop from an embedded ball on the 5th hole after his tee shot had gone way right. Tiger asked Martin Kaymer about the embedded ball and they both agreed that he could get relief, citing rule 25/2 Embedded Ball. Tiger explained;

“I called Martin over to verify the ball was embedded. We both agreed, but evidently it was sand. It’s tough, I didn’t get off to a very good start and I fought hard. I battled back and got it to where I thought I could play the weekend, and thought I might have a chance, just post two low rounds. But I won’t be able to do that.”

As no referee was involved at the time, some spectators later asked a referee why Tiger was allowed a free drop, because the ball was in sand. The referee involved and Andy McFee investigated the incident, this is how he explained it;

“Tiger hit his tee shot on the fifth way out to the right and when he got over there to the ball, he called Martin Kaymer over and said, ‘look, I’ve got an embedded ball here’. So Martin came and had look at it, agreed the ball was embedded;  Tiger proceeded under the embedded ball rule, dropped the ball and played on.  No referee was involved in that situation.  It was only later that a couple of spectators walking past the referee who had seen that asked, ‘Why did Tiger get a drop there?’  and the referee didn’t know.  Obviously no referee was involved but we suspected it might have been embedded ball.  So we went and had a look at the area and thought, well, embedded ball rule just does not apply in that rule. The embedded ball rule is for a closely mown area, only.  There’s a note to that rule, which all the major tours in the world use, which extends embedded ball relief to through the green, but that is very specific in that it says, in ground other than sand. So wherever you are, you do not get a relief for a ball which is embedded in sand, and that’s just a bad lie and you have to play it. Obviously we want people to deal with rules issues themselves, providing they get it right, but unfortunately in this one, they didn’t, and it incurred a two-stroke penalty.”

Meanwhile Justin Rose is the tournament leader, adding a second round  69 to his opening round of 67 and at -8  under par was one shot ahead of Welshman Jamie Donaldson, Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen.

Justin Rose  (Getty Images)

Justin Rose / Getty Images

Justin said he had to play a patient game;

“I felt like my game definitely sharpened up, when you have perfect distance control you know you are swinging it well. I thought it was a decent enough score to keep the momentum going. I was pin-high probably eight times, but kept leaving myself awkward distances and had to keep patient.”