DP World Tour Championship. Henrik Has Half-Way Lead.

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Henrik Stenson has the half-way lead in the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course in Dubai.

 DP World Tour Championship

Henrik Stenson / Getty Images

Henrik posted a second round -6 under par 66 to lead the DP World Tour Championship at the half-way point by two shots on -10 under par.

He reported that he felt like he was running on empty, after a long season;

“Around the 12th hole I felt like I was running out of steam. It was difficult mentally from there on. I had to really focus hard and drag myself over the finish line.”

“It’s hot and sticky and even though I’m drinking well and getting plenty of energy, I just felt like I hit the wall on 12.”

“If it’s one or two holes left, you normally feel like, ‘okay, I can hang on’. But it was a bit of an uphill struggle from there. I managed to finish in good style anyway so I’m pleased with that.”

“There’s still a lot of golf to play and I’m really happy with how I closed this round.”

Rory McIlroy is just two shots behind at -8 under par, sharing second place with Richie Ramsay and Danny Willett.

Rory said he will try to close the gap on the leader tomorrow;

“I’m in a good position and there is a lot of golf left, I’ve definitely been in worse positions after two rounds and still won.”

“It could have been worse but it probably could have been a little better. I definitely didn’t have it like I did yesterday. I had to dig in a little bit so hopefully that’s the bad one out of the way and I have 36 holes now to make some ground up on Henrik.”

“Henrik’s very comfortable on this golf course obviously. I can’t let him get too far ahead tomorrow. I have to get off to a fast start and try and put a bit of pressure on him. Hopefully I can do that.”

Shane Lowry, aided by a hole-in-one on the 13th, and former US Open Champion Justin Rose are among the five-strong group of players another stroke back at -7 under par.

Shane spoke about his first ever Ace in tournament play, on the 204 yard par three 13th, and how good it felt;

“It was a beautiful shot, a perfect number for my six iron.”

“It’s my first in tournament play and only my second ever so it was pretty exciting. It was hard to go on and play the next hole after that.”

“I am still in the tournament and I suppose if you had given me that on Thursday I would have taken it.”

L.E.T. Xiamen Open. Connie Chen 1st Round Leader

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Connie Chen is the 1st round leader at the Xiamen Open at Orient Golf and Country Club in China.

Xiamen Open

Connie Chen / Getty Images

Connie had a first round -4 under par 68 to hold the lead in this inaugural Xiamen Open. She had played at this course as an amateur and said that experience had helped her;

“Knowing the greens better than most of the other girls helped me.”

“I was hitting it great. I hit it quite long on the eighth hole so I had a short second shot in on the par five and a chip and a putt. Then on nine, I hit a brilliant tee shot and then a great shot in and a chip and a putt.”

Nikki Garrett, Liz Young, Beth Allen and Noora Tamminen are the ladies who are a stroke behind on -3 under par under par.

 Nikki, from Australia is playing in her last tournament of the year, and is just out to have fun;

“It’s my last tournament of the year so I’m just out to enjoy myself.”

Englishwoman Liz said she had putted well on the these very quick greens;

“I didn’t have a three putt, so that was good on these greens because they are very quick downhill.”

“I had two bogeys and five birdies and I only holed one long putt so four tap in birdies. I was striking the ball better last week but I putted well which is crucial on this course.”

Noora got a boost from seeing her friends name up on the leaderboard early on in her round;

“After that I made a lot of birdies. Then I had a birdie on eight and nine and added three more on 12, 13 and 16.”

The highest ranked player in the field, Charley Hull, had a nightmare of a day, and finished +1 over par 73, five shots off the lead. She can still win the LET order of merit with a win in Dubai.

 

 

CME Group Tour Championship. Julieta Granada Leads

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Julieta Granada leads the CME Group Tour Championship after the first round at Tiburon Golf Club in Florida.

CME Group Tour Championship

Julieta Granada / Getty Images

Julieta carded a bogey free first round -6 under par 66, to lead the  CME Group Tour Championship by two shots on the opening day. Julieta said course management was the key for her today, and admitted that her million dollar payday was actually a bad influence on her, she just relaxed too much;

“I just managed my game really well at the beginning where I was playing really conservative, just hitting the greens, and two putting for par.”

“The start is really tough out here, but once you get going you can make some birdies out there.”

I wouldn’t take it back, but, you’re 20-years-old and it’s your first year out here and life becomes really good so you think you can relax a little bit.”

“It’s really exciting and fun and you win $ 1 million. Life becomes really good. You think you can just go relax a little bit.”

” But everybody else out here is still grinding and going at it. I kind of sat back a little bit and relaxed, and I didn’t have the same hunger to play well and to make money, I guess. So, yeah, it was a learning curve, but I wouldn’t take it back.”

Sandra Gal is in second place, a -4 under par 68 for her first round, and said she had to play some special shots in the wind today;

“I had to hit a lot of knock down shots, then again downwind you got to have really good control. So I hit lots of different types of shots today.  It was pretty crazy.  The difference between into and down was enormous.”

“Not going to change anything, just going to play solid and have good pace with your putts.  Hopefully hole a couple. I’m not going to change anything.”

Three ladies are tied in third spot on the leaderboard, Caroline Hedwall, Stacy Lewis and Belen Mozo are all at -3 under par for the competition.

Stacy reported that the golf course is playing tough, and she is happy to be where she is on the leaderboard;

Just kind of kept me in there, to make some birdies there at the end and make a few putts.  The golf course is playing so hard.  You just got to hang in there, and that’s what I did today.”

“I think we were all kind of a little bit nervous, a little bit hesitant there at the beginning, but we seemed to all kind of settle in. It’s one good round.  We got a long, long way to go, but it’s nice to get off to a good start.”

Lydia Ko finished with a -1 under par 71, and admitted she was nervous about giving her speech for winning the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year award;

“I’m a little nervous, I’m not a very good speaker in front of a large crowd, so I’m definitely going to be nervous. Hopefully everybody will be nice, and even if I make a mistake they’ll be like, yeah, whatever.”

Congratulations Lydia, how about knocking them dead with a Haka.

DP World Tour Championship. Rory & Shane Share the Lead.

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Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowery share the first round lead in the season ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

DP World Tour Championship

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory and Shane both carded first rounds of -6 under par 66 to sit on top of the DP World Tour Championship leaderboard on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Rory already has The Race to Dubai title in his pocket, but has stated he will contest here, he wants to win;

“It was a great way to start, you never expect to start like that, but I’ve been hitting the ball well for the last couple of weeks that I’ve been practicing and it was just a matter of trying to take that good range play on to the course, and I was able to do that today, which I’m really happy about.” 

“I feel like it really suits my style of play. I can be aggressive with the driver, and that can set me up to hit shorter irons into greens and obviously give myself a lot of birdie opportunities like I did today. 

“I didn’t feel like I took as many of them as I could have but it still added up to six under and I’m very happy with that.”

Shane proved he is still in good form, he birdied four of the last six holes, but said he was thinking about his poor final round last Sunday in Turkey;

The whole day Sunday and the flight down here you’re thinking about it, it’s one of those things. But I gave myself a chance to win last week. If I can give myself a chance to win again this week, maybe I’ll do it.”

“I have been playing well for most of the year. I’ve been very consistent. I’ve been shooting some great scores, making a lot of birdies and I did that today again.”

Richie Ramsay and Thorbjørn Olesen are a shot off the pace on -5 under par under, with defending champion Henrik Stenson another stroke back sharing fifth place with Emiliano Grillo.

Richie was also happy with his opening round;

“I’m really happy. Obviously it was a great start, three birdies on the spin, and then played lovely in the middle, had a lot of chances but just didn’t take a few.”

“But most important was I stayed patient, stayed with it. I kept on hitting good shots and then took a couple of chances on 14 and 15 and then finished off pretty solid coming down the stretch.”

“I played great in the middle part of the season. I know the game is there, just a matter of staying out of my own way and committing to it.”

Thorbjorn has been in contention a few times this season, and won the  ISPS Handa Perth International;

“It feels like a second home golf course for me really.”

“I played lovely, hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. Hit a few really close, and the putter was working nicely. It was a really solid day.”

“When you’re seven under going to 16, and you know you have 18 which is a possible birdie chance, also, of course it’s a little bit disappointing, but I took a chance and it didn’t work out very well.” 

“I felt like it was going so well and I felt like I could pull it off – that’s what happens in golf.”

Lorena Ochoa Invitational, Wire to Wire Play-Off Winner Christina.

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Christina Kim has a wire to wire win, after a play-off at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico.

Lorena Ochoa Invitational

Christina Kim / Getty Images

Christina could only manage a final round of -1 under par 71 to total -17 under par at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. That let Shanshan Feng in with a chance of catching her, which she duly did via a last round -6 under par 66. The play-off lasted two holes, on the 18th, Christina finally winning with a par, and Shanshan made bogey.

Christina said she was lost for words, but did manage to put on a Sombrero;

“I can’t put into words how I’m feeling right now, I’m still riding so many emotions. It feels surreal. I can’t explain. I’m so overwhelmed right now. I’m so proud and honored to be a champion for such an incredible tournament. I can’t, I can’t, I just can’t.”

Lorena Ochoa Invitational

Christina and Sombrero

Christina also spoke about how much she loves this tournament;

“I can’t speak on behalf of other players, but I just know how much I love this tour and how much this game means to me. And how I’d love to leave it a better place than I found it.”

“But Shanshan, she’s an amazing young woman. She was the first major winner from mainland China, and she has very much like Lorena did when she was on the LPGA tour, an entire country riding on her shoulders. To hear the wonderful things that were said, it fills my heart with joy.”

Shanshan originally thought there was no way she make up the five shot deficit and catch Christina;

“I thought other than Christina, the rest of us were competing for second place because I never thought I could catch up.”

“So I said that my goal was that I want to get to fifteen under. It doesn’t matter if I win or not if I get to fifteen under, I’d be really happy, which I did. So I had a really solid run.”

Inbee Park finished in third place, at -11 under par, with a last round -4 under par 68.

 

Sanya Ladies Open. China’s Xi Yu Lin Wins

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China’s new rising star 18 year-old Xi Yu Lin won the Sanya Ladies Open at Yalong Bay Golf Club.

Sanya Ladies Open

Xi Yu Lin / Getty Images

Xi Yu Lin carded a last round -5 under par 67 to win the Sanya Ladies Open with a -14 under par total. She had two birdies and an eagle on the back nine to finally break away from the chasing pack, to win her first trophy on the Ladies European Tour;

“I think this is the biggest win of my career because it’s my first win on the Ladies European Tour.”

 “My mum was with me this week and she always brings me good luck, because in 2012, she came to watch me for the first time in two years when I won my first professional career win on the CLPGA.”

“This time she came and I earned my first win on the Ladies European Tour, so I think she’s kind of my lucky star.”

“These last two years, women’s golf has developed very fast and all the young players like Shi Yuting, Zhang Yu Yang and Zhang Jienalin, they are having more and more good results on the golf course.”

Another 18 year-old finished in second place, England’s Charley Hull, a last round -3 under par and a total of -9 under par for the tournament. She reported that she was playing well, and her putting is in excellent form;

“It was a good day and I’m happy with how I’m playing. It was windy out there again today.”

“I nearly holed so many long putts today, 30 footers, but they were all on the edge. I’m pretty happy with the way I’m putting and I’m not missing any short putts like I did here last year so I’m happy and looking forward to next week.”

Aussie Nikki Campbell and Huei-Ju Shih of Chinese Taipei finished in a share of third place, both on -8 under par for the competition following their final rounds of -3 under par 69.

Turkish Airlines Open. Brooks Koepka Wins.

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Brooks Koepka wins the Turkish Airlines Open at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course in Turkey.

Turkish Airlines Open

Brooks Koepka / Getty Images

Brooks won his first European Tour trophy at the Turkish Airlines Open, shooting final bogey free round of -7 under par 65, to post a total of -17 under par. This result made sure that Rory McIlroy won The Race to Dubai, for the second time in three years, as no one can now catch him.

Brooks was absolutely delighted with his win, saying he had been knocking on the door for some time;

“It’s awesome, I played well. This field is first class, some of the best players in the world, and it’s nice to get the win.”

“It’s a special week obviously, these four events and The Race to Dubai are ones you prepare for all year, and to win one of them is very special.”

“I feel like I’ve been playing really well. I’ve been knocking on the door, and these last maybe two, three months, I’ve been very close over here and in the States, I felt like I should have won a couple.” 

“But I’ve been knocking on the door and I’ve learned something every time, and used that today. I was very relaxed, very calm today, and it showed I guess.”

“To look where I was a year and a half ago on The Challenge Tour and now to be a winner on The European Tour is incredible, especially winning four times there and winning out here, it’s very special. So I’m excited to get to next week and hopefully carry my form over.”

“To jump into the top 50 in the world and be in all the Majors and I guess some of the World Golf Championships events, it will be special.”

Ian Poulter finished in second place at -16 under par, a last round -5 under par 67 not good enough, and he lamented his very poor round on Saturday;

“The damage was done on Saturday. That, for me, is really disappointing. To have played three great rounds of golf, and just one blip on Saturday, which is a real shame.”

“So you know, it’s frustrating, is what it is. There’s no other word for it. Yes, I’m going to be angry. I’ll be angry for a good few days. But that’s fine. I’ll keep myself in my own little room and have a little chat with myself and come out and win next week.”

Henrik Stenson climbed up into third place with a final round -8  under par 64, to give a -14 under par total for the tournament.

You have to feel sorry for Marcel Siem, who revealed he had dislocated a rib while warming up in the gym before his round. Some medical attention gave him the opportunity to play, but it obviously affected his swing. He finished at -12 under par and T 12;

“My physio tried to crack it back in, it didn’t work and then we went so see the chiropractor and they pushed it back in. I couldn’t have a proper backswing but I played all right. I don’t want to blame it on anything to be honest.”