Volvo China Open. Levy Lifts the Trophy

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Alexander Levy lifts his first European Tour trophy, winning the Volvo China Open at the Genzon Golf Club.

Alexander Levy  (Getty Images)

Alexander and Trophy / Getty Images

Apart from a wobble during the final round, carding a double bogey six on the fifteenth hole Alexander cruised to victory. A last round -3 under par 69 was enough to see off the challenge of Tommy Fleetwood, at one point the lead was only one shot. Alexander replied to his double on 15 with birdies at 17 and 18, to post the winning score of-19 under par;

“I didn’t feel pressure, it was a difficult putt, difficult pin position, my ball was in the divot. It was a difficult shot, I made double bogey but I knew I was playing well and I was only thinking about my game.”

“I hit one of my best shots on 17. I didn’t feel pressure on the golf course because I’m confident. I just played my golf and focussed on the target. I saw Tommy made a birdie on the 17th but I like the pressure.”

Of the smile that he has been wearing all week, Alexander had this to say;

“You need to take the pleasure on the golf course and keep the smile because if you are upset about a missed shot or not lucky because you make a lip out or something like that, it’s not good to have this feeling on the golf course. You need to enjoy and have the smile.”

Tommy Fleetwood fired a last round -4 under par 68, but in the end it was not good enough to catch the runaway leader. He congratulated Alexander on great play;

“We aim for wins, but today I didn’t really have a chance. I had to play outstanding golf, but Alex has led from Friday, and that’s one of the hardest things you can do. What a performance from him.”

Alvaro Quiros finished third, his expected charge in the last round did not materialize, he carded a par round of 72, and final score of  -13 under par. Six shots behind his playing partner, and the man he was trying to catch, Alexander.

Henrik Stenson, who needed to win here to overtake  Tiger Woods at the top of the World Golf Rankings carded a final bogey free round -7 under par 65, to finish T5. He really wants that number one spot;

“It’s really tight and I just need to play better if I want to get to that spot. And I should have to play better than I have done earlier on this year if I want to get to world No. 1, that’s for sure,”

Low round of the day went to Anders Hansen, a -9 under par 63. He finished alongside Henrik and Ian Poulter.

Volvo China Open. Levy Hangs Tough, Still Top.

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Alexander Levy hangs tough in the Volvo China Open third round and stays in the top position.

Alexander Levy  (Getty Images)

Alexander Levy / Getty Images

Alexander had to scrap for a score today in the rain, carding a third round -2 under par 70, a long way from yesterdays 62. He carded three bogey’s to end the day with a tournament total of  -16 under par, and will have the luxury of a three shot lead going into the final round.  He said it was tough conditions and he found it difficult to focus;

“My target was to do a good job, like the first two rounds, but it was difficult with the rain coming. It was tough to stay focused, but I kept my mind in good condition and played some good shots. I’m happy with my round today.”

“I’m going to play good golf and take some pleasure from the golf course, because it’s a very nice course to play. I want to continue to play like I have for the first three rounds and to enjoy the moment. I will be nervous, but because you’re nervous doesn’t mean you can’t play well.”

Someone will have to go low to beat Alexander, maybe second placed Alvaro Quiros could step up. Alvaro shot a third round -4 under par 68, for a -13 under par total. He would have been a lot closer except for a couple of sloppy bogey’s right at the end of the round, on 16 and 18. Those two dropped shots would have put the pressure on tomorrow, and he had plenty to say about his performance, and his chances for the title. His putting has also improved;

“It has been a tough day, especially with that finish. I have played well with a lot of heart and passion but unfortunately I made three putts on the 15th, I didn’t birdie 17 and then bogeyed the 18th from the middle of the fairway. I am three shots back going into the final round but that is nothing in this game. The only thing that I can say is that I am trying with all that I have. Tomorrow I have a chance and that is good to know.” 

“It depends on a few things and not just me. If Alex plays really well then we might not be able to catch him but it is good to know that I have a chance to be in the top positions because it is a long time since I have won a tournament and you have to consider that too. It has been two and a half years since I won so I have not had those feeling for a long time. We will see if I can get them back tomorrow.” 

“I have been playing well all week and as I said before I have started to putt better and that is the key for me. I have been starting the ball on line which is the positive for me but there is a dark side to my game this week too because I have been missing quite a few easy shots. You saw on the 18th that I am in the middle of the fairway and I manage to miss the green and make bogey which should never have happened, so I have to be careful of that.” 

Mikko Ilonen is in third place at -12 under par for the tournament, with Tommy Fleetwood and Adrian Otaegui  a shot further back on -11 under par.

 

 

 

Volvo China Open. Alexander the Great.

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Alexander Levy fired a great round of 62 to lead the Volvo China Open at the Half-way stage.

Alexander Levy  (Getty Images)

A casual Alexander Levy / Getty Images

Alexander recorded a -10 under par 62, a course record which put him in command of the Volvo China Open at Genzon Golf Club, with a four shot lead. He has a desire to follow the lead of the other French players into the winners circle, especially his friend Victor Dubuisson;

“It is a great round for me, I played unbelievably today and it’s the first time I have played like that. I really like the course and it is in great shape. I played really well and made a lot of putts to make the lowest score of my career. I shot 63 at Kingsbarns during the Dunhill Links in Scotland last year but this course is a lot tougher and I am only starting to realise how good that score is. “

“I played the right strategy today and I just have to try to do that over the next couple of days. I hope that I can play with Ralph tomorrow because he is a great friend and it would be funny if we could play in the last group together tomorrow.”

“I just tried to play one shot at a time. I didn’t realise how good the score was to be honest because I was focussed on playing shot by shot. I am very happy to be here, this is my first time in China and I feel great to be playing so well in what is a really big event for me.” 

“I think the French players are all very close and Victor’s performances over the last few months is helping all the French players and inspiring them to try to do the same. I am friends with Victor. It is mainly through golf that we have a relationship but we are friends. What he has done over the past few months has been amazing and it has really had an effect on all the French players so hopefully I can try to emulate that.” 

Adrian Otaegui, from Spain, is in second place, a -6 under par 66 for a -10 under par total kept him in touch with the leader. Fellow countryman Alvaro Quiros is a further shot back at -9 under par following his more modest second round of -4 under par 68.

Fourth place belongs to Raphaël Jacquelin, his second round of -5 under par 67 gives him a tournament total of -8 under par, and maybe a slim chance of catching Alexander. He was pretty happy to be where he is, saying he is not playing too well;

“I played a bit better today compared to how I was hitting the ball yesterday, so I feel pretty good. Still a few bad shots, but overall, five under, I’ll take it, definitely.”

Ian Poulter just managed to make the cut, a -1 under par total was due to some poor play and a rules infraction, on the 13th hole. he had driven the ball into trees off the tee, and took the penalty two clubs length relief. The drop left him on a cart path, so he was entitled to relief from that position. A free drop is only one club length, but Ian took two, which incurred a one shot penalty. He finished the hole with an eight on his card.

Volvo China Open. It’s tight at the Top, Play Suspended for the Day.

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It’s very tight at the top of the Volvo China Open at the Genzon Golf Club in ShenzenAlvaro Quiros and Simon Dyson share the clubhouse lead at the end of day one. Play was suspended due to bad light, with some players still to complete their first rounds.

Alvaro Quiros  (Getty Images)

Alvaro Quiros / Getty Images

Alvaro and Simon both shot opening rounds of -5 under par 67, to top the leaderboard on the Volvo China Open. Alvaro is coming back from injury and said things are slowly getting better;

“It was a good round of golf. It was a bit of a shame on the last par five because I was half a metre away from having a great chance to make another eagle but I ended up on the lip of the bunker and had to settle for a chip and two putts. You can’t see it yet on the rankings but I have been playing better. The Middle East swing was a good three weeks for me then I had a good result in Joburg and the last couple of weeks have been better.” 

Simon started on the tenth tee, and played well. He has won here before and that gives him a good feeling;

“I started on the tenth today and the first nine holes I played was the best I have played for quite some time. I really didn’t miss a shot. I missed two fairways just, and didn’t miss a green so gave myself a lot chances which is always nice and then I managed to make a couple of birdies on the other side for a tidy five under. It was a good start and very pleasing.”

“I have to say that because I was absolutely horrendous in the pro-am yesterday. I just went on the range for a couple of hours and managed to find something which I took out on to the course and it seemed to work for me. I’ll tell you what, it is an unbelievable finishing hole. If you need to make par on that hole to win on Sunday and you manage to get it done then you will deserve everything you get because it is a very tough finish.”

“I have had a bit of success here and really enjoy playing in China. Obviously I have won this tournament before so that always gives you a good feeling and like I said, I just played nicely today so hopefully I can continue to do that over the next three days.”

In third place, just one shot off the lead are English rookie Tyrell Hatton and Spanish Challenge Tour graduate Adrian Otaegui, David Horsey and Brett Rumford, who have all compiled completed first rounds of -4 under par 68. Alexander Levy and Il-hwan Park were still on the course when play was suspended, having played seventeen holes, and are also at -4 under par.

There is a posse of players at -3 under par, including Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter, they all signed a card for 69. Defending Champion and World Number Three Henrik Stenson was way down the pack at T38 with a completed opening round of -1 under par. There are currently 55 players within four shots of the leaders. A very compacted leaderboard.

BMW PGA Championship. Cañizares Claims Lead.

Alejandro Cañizares has claimed the lead after the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, played on the West Course at the Wentworth Club in England.

Alejandro Canizares   (Getty Images)

Alejandro Cañizares / Getty Images.

Alejandro Cañizares has a one shot lead at the BMW PGA Championship, shooting a third round of -4 under par 68, and claimed top spot of the leaderboard. He had been taken ill on the flight from Korea to China and had to withdraw from the Volvo China Open, being diagnosed with viral meningitis. He came here with little ambition;

” This week I was just happy to be able to swing the club,  after the practice round on Tuesday I felt really tired because it was the first 18 holes I had walked in three weeks. I had no idea how I was going to feel so I am very pleased that it’s working out for me. Every now and then I get a little weird feeling in my head, but the doctors say that is normal.”

Sitting right behind him on the leaderboard is Lee Westwood, his third round score of -5 under par 67 has put the Englishman firmly in contention for this title. This his first tournament in England since his move to Florida in the States, and this is his 20th attempt at winning the BMW PGA Championship. Lee thinks it would be ironic if he won now;

” I’m still far from holding the trophy but it would be ironic,  it would be great and I am after as many wins as I can get, but it’s a crowded leaderboard and I will have to play as well if not better than I did today. I felt much more in tune with my swing and had a lot better distance and direction control with my irons and set up a lot of chances. It was one of the most fun days I have ever had on a golf course. It was good to see a lot more smiling faces and a lot more people prepared to take their hands out of their pockets and applaud. I get great support here but even more so today.”

Matteo Manassero (69) and Mark Warren (70) share third place on seven under par, Mark said it would be huge for him to win:

” It would be huge to win, this is our premiere event, this is the biggest event we play outside the Majors for us, it doesn’t get any bigger. Career-wise it would mean the world to me.”

Sergio Garcia, who has had a rough time with the media this week, has enjoyed the support of the crowd at Wentworth, and thinks he could finish strongly tomorrow, he is in a group of eight players just four shots off the lead:

“I think it’s been a tough week but we’ve been getting better every day, so hopefully we can finish on a high note tomorrow. There’s no doubt that everybody has made it so much easier for me. The crowds here, I don’t have words to explain what I feel towards them. They have been amazing, every single tee, every single green, cheering me on. I can never pay them back.”

Volvo China Open. Broomstick Brett Wins Again.

Broomstick Brett Rumford won the Volvo China Open, the first Australian in 42 years to win back to back Tour titles.

With this win - Brett Rumford

Brett Rumford / Getty Images

Brett Rumford cruised to victory with a final round of  -4 under par 68, on the Binhai Lake Golf Course on Sunday in the Volvo China Open. His winning total was -16 under par, four shots clear of the field.

Brett said that he was more than happy;

” As with last week I’m kind of speechless at the moment. It’s quite surreal, it’s the first time I’ve actually played the week after a win so I’m more than pleased. It’s hard to get my head around it at the moment. I managed to get up and down when I really needed to. There are some very tight lies round the perimeters of the greens, so it was tricky. My putter was also really on song, as it was last week. It puts a lot of pressure on your opponent when you’re saving par all the time.”

In second place was Finn Mikko Ilonen, a final round effort of -1 under par left him with a total of -12 under par, just one shot ahead of third place. Mikko was disappointed he did not take the opportunity to win, but was full of praise for Brett;

” I had a chance to win, disappointed not to do so but I couldn’t do much more, you saw what Brett did there on the back nine for three holes. I’m speechless, I couldn’t force the issue. I had a number in my mind, which is what Brett finished on. It’s my second second place this year, so hopefully there’s a win round the corner. The confidence is building.  I’ve been hitting the ball nicely most of the time this year. Today I drove the ball really well, and I feel a lot more confident all round. Brett did so well not to make more bogeys, his short game, bunker play and wedges were unbelievable today. I don’t see too many better players than him in the world in that area of his game. So he definitely deserved to win today.”

Third place went to Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, a last round of -4 under par helping him to achieve a tournament total of -11 under par, and third position to himself.

I guess this win will encourage more players to change to the long putter, Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington have already made the change. They said if it gives them an edge to win a tournament, it can only be good. Unless the R&A and the USGA actually get around to banning it, it which case they will have to change back again.

 

Volvo China Open. Broomstick Brett Anchor’s Himself Atop the Leaderboard

Broomstick Brett Rumford has anchored himself to the top of the leaderboard at  the Volvo China Open.

Brett Rumford   (Getty Images)

Brett Rumford / Getty Images

Brett Rumford completed his third round in the windy conditions at Binhai Lake Golf Course in -3 under par 69, to take a one shot lead at the Volvo China Open, with his total score of -12 under par.

Brett admitted it had been a very tough day, but he remained bogey free;

” That was a tough day, I really started to feel things on the back nine. I did really well to hang in nicely with some tired golf swings, I mentally stayed with it, physically not so much but mentally I hung in there. The wind was really starting to dry things out so you’ve got to be very precise.”

Mikko Ilonen, the overnight leader, started the day three shots clear, but pulled a three-foot par putt at the first hole and then saw his lead diminish to one when Kiradech Aphibarnrat birdied the long second hole. He finally succumbed to the pressure when his tee shot at the last hole found the water, resulting in a bogey finish.

” It was a good fight out there, his short game today was incredible, and his confidence is obviously very high, especially on the greens, so I’m going to have to play very well to beat him tomorrow. It’s good to be in the final group tomorrow. In Morocco earlier in the season, I had a bad round on the Saturday and dropped out of the last group. So I’m pleased with the way I ground out a score today, even though I didn’t maybe play my best golf.”

Pablo Larrazábal very briefly joined the leaders with an absolutely sensational run of four straight birdies, starting at the tenth hole, but amazingly managed to miss a couple of short par putts, and finished with a 69,  that leaves him two shots back in third place.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat had four birdies on the day, only to match it with four bogeys, to finish the round at level par 72, with a total score of -9 under par, three shots off the lead in  fourth spot.

If the wind continues to blow tomorrow, expect Brett to anchor his way to another victory.

Volvo China Open. Dutchman Derksen Leads.

Dutchman Robert- Jan Derksen leads the Volvo China Open after the first round at Binhai Lake Golf Course in China.

Derksen back to his best in China

Robert-Jan Derksen / Getty Images

Robert-Jan,  a two-time European Tour winner, has not had a top-ten finish on tour for over two years, but he has suddenly found some good form here in China. In his first round he carded eight birdies, and two bogeys for a -6 under par, 66, and top the leaderboard, he said it had been a funny day, but was hoping for a good week;

” It was a funny day, because I started well with a birdie from about five feet, but then three-putted the third and fourth and ended up in three divots on the fairways later in the round. I made a lot of birdies, and I’ve ended the day in a really good position. The wind was difficult to judge, even on the greens. But I started making a few putts and my confidence lifted. I played well here last year, and decided to skip Korea last week to better prepare for this tournament, because the travelling can take it out of you. So it looks like a good decision. It’s only the first day, I know, but I haven’t led a tournament for quite a while, so if I can keep rolling in the putts, hopefully we could be in for a good week.”

Close behind Robert-Jan, tied in second place at -4 under par  are three of  the European Tour’s last five winners.  Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Frenchman Raphaël Jacquelin and last week’s Ballantine’s Champion Australian Brett Rumford all carding matching rounds of 68.

Brett had a bogey free round, but said he was short on sleep;

“I didn’t get much sleep on Sunday night and then I took Monday and Tuesday to recover, Wednesday I just played the pro-am, so that was my practice for the week to give myself a chance to recover and get the body right. Mentally I feel nice and fresh, and obviously it was a bit of a mental grind out there with the wind. You had to be really patient, so it was a good test for the first round back after my victory last week. It’s just a matter of  keep doing what you’re doing.”

Kiradech, won his maiden European Tour title at the Maybank Malaysian Open in March said he was full of confidence following last weeks effort at the Ballantines;

I still have a lot of confidence from how I played last week, and obviously from Malaysia. I have played well for three or four weeks in a row now, and will try to finish high up the leaderboard again this week. In this type of wind you don’t know how you will do, but I’ll just try to do my best.”

Raphaël, who won last month’s Open de España was very happy with his start to this tournament;

It’s a great start, any time you have no bogeys and four birdies, it’s always a good day,” said the Frenchman.

“The wind’s picking up now, so we were lucky to play seven or eight holes without much wind. The course gives you a few birdie chances, but there were some holes, like the fourth, ninth and 17th, which were playing really long into the wind. I’m playing really well at the moment. Obviously my win in Spain was amazing, and I guess it was always going to be hard to keep the same high level in Korea last week.”

China’s newest young player, 12-year-old Ye Wo-cheng struggle on his debut on the European Tour, carding a first round of +7 over par 79. Sixteen year-old Dou Ze-cheng , finished his day by signing for an impressive round of -2 under par 70.

Branden Grace Wins Volvo China Open @ Binhai Lake GC, Tianjin China

Grace maintains advantage

Branden Grace (Getty Images

Branden Grace won the Volvo China Open at Binhai Lake GC, already a two-time winner on The European Tour this season Branden enjoyed a  three shot victory over defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts. Branden’s had a final round of -3 under par 69, for a tournament total of -21 under par. Nicolas also finished with a -3 under par 69 to secure second place by himself, with a total of -18 under par.

With this win Branden Grace joins an elite group, only Ernie Els and Retief Goosen have won three European Tour victories in one year, Branden now makes the count three.

Ian Poulter has a last round -6 under par for a 66 for a tournament total of -10 under par. A full seven shots off the lead, but at last he found some form out here at Binhai Lake GC.

Volvo China Open, Branden Grace in control after 3rd Round

 

Branden Grace  (Getty Images)

Branden Grace (Getty Images)

Branden Grace of South Africa took control of the Volvo China Open at Binhai Lake G.C. shooting a third round score of  -8 under par 64 for a tournament total of -18 under par. Nearest challenger is defending champion Nicolas Colsearts who kept up the pressure on Branden with a round 0f -6 under par 66 for a total of -15 for the tournament, and three shots behind.

As they say in golf, it’s Branden’s title to loose, I am looking forward to the last round tomorrow, the pressure is on.