BMW PGA Championship. Rory’s Great Win

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Rory’s great win at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth proves that he is back in form.

BMW PGA Champion Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory came from seven shots back to win by one stroke in a remarkable round at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. He carded a -6 under par 66 final round, only taking the outright lead for the first time with a birdie on the 71st hole and then made another birdie on the last to finish the tournament at -14 under par.

Rory spoke of his time in the wilderness and how good it feels to win again on the European Tour;

“It’s been 18 months since I won on The European Tour and to win the flagship event, I could not have asked for any more.I knew coming in here I was playing well. I struggled a little on Friday but played great over the weekend. I was a little fortunate that some of the guys ahead of me made mistakes and I took advantage of it.”

“My caddie JP Fitzgerald set me the target of 15 under today. I didn’t quite get there but 14 under was enough. I really wanted to win before going into the second Major of the season (the US Open from June 12-15) and I could not have asked for a better way to prepare.”

“It’s been a great day, going out seven behind I did not really expect to be in this position. Thomas was playing very well and I thought I would need something really spectacular to catch him but walking off the 11th tee I saw I was only two behind and thought I had a chance.”

Shane Lowery took second place at -13 under par, making it an all Ireland affair, he shot a last round -4 under par 68 for a decent result for him. He actually felt unlucky not to win;

“I feel very unlucky. I know I hit a poor tee shot on 13 but found myself in probably the only bush like that on the course and was struggling from there. But to hole the birdie putt on the last and to finish second on my own is really nice.”

Luke Donald and Thomas Björn finished tied in third position, both coming up a little short on the closing holes, ending with scores of -12 under par.

 Thomas had led this tournament for most of the time but sadly took two attempts to get out of a fairway bunker and then finding more sand with his fourth shot. Luke ran up a double bogey at the 6th hole, which really scuppered his chances;

“Obviously I would love to take that sixth hole back today, as would Thomas, but I was proud of the way I came back and fought back after that to be five under for the last 12.”

“I gave it a shot at the last but came up about a couple feet short, but I’m happy for Rory. We all know what he’s been going through and sometimes making those tough decisions maybe takes a weight off your mind in a way and he can engulf himself in the golf.”

The celebrations!  (Getty Images)

Rory and a Champagne moment / Getty Images

 

 

BMW PGA Championship. Shane Joins Thomas At The Top

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Shane Lowery has joined Thomas Björn at the top of the BMW PGA Championship leaderboard at Wentworth.

Shane Lowry   (Getty Images)

Shane Lowery /Getty Images

As so often happens Thomas followed his sparkling 62 with a more mundane 72, allowing Shane to catch him at the top of the leaderboard at Wentworth. Both players are now on -10 under par for the tournament, Shane scoring a second round -2 under 70, while Thomas stood still with his even par 72 round. Thomas was upset at the length of time they had to wait today, it got to him, but not Shane who said he played good golf today;

“I was good out there today,”I was mentally there and really enjoyed it. It was tough for the front nine with the rain and stuff but it was a nice back nine and I managed to take advantage of it.”

Thomas was more reticent;

“Those were tough conditions for everybody out there today, especially on the front nine it was extremely difficult to get into a rhythm. We played those first four holes in I don’t know how long, and we had a couple of rulings in front of us. It was just impossible to find a good rhythm and Retief  left us with a back injury after five holes, so we got caught in a two-ball.”

“It just seems like all day we were waiting and waiting for a long time on a lot of these shots. It was a tough ask today so I was pretty pleased with the way I finished the round.”

Tied in third spot are Rafa Cabrera-Bello and a resurgent Luke Donald, both players are at -6 under par, four strokes back of the leaders.

Luke carded the lowest round of the day with six birdies and an Eagle for -5 under par on the day and he reported that good putting has put him in contention to win again;

“When we were warming up the rain was coming down pretty heavy and the wind was blowing hard. It was wet for six or seven holes but for the rest of the day it was pretty nice. I’m happy with the way I played and I holed some long putts which is always a bonus.”

“Being nine behind after the first day seems like a big mountain to climb but now I’m back in position to try to win this championship again.”

Henrik Stenson could replace Adam Scott as World Number One this week depending on their respective results, with a missed cut for Adam in the Crowne Plaza Invitational meaning Henrik would need just a top-30 finish at Wentworth. Henrik joked about the possibility;

“I will be sitting at home biting my nails all evening. I don’t expect Adam to miss the cut but I played fantastic golf for four or five months last season and made more points than anyone. If I can get to number one it’s on the back of that.”

  Adam has completed his second round at Colonial at -1 under par, well inside the projected cut line.

 

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, Wood Carves out a Lead

Chris Wood   (Getty Images)

Chris Wood / Getty Images

Chris Wood of England has carved out a decent chance of his first European Tour Title win at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in Doha.

Chris has previously had nineteen top ten finishes, but now has an excellent chance to secure his first win after his third round of -8 under par 64, for a tournament total of -15 under par, three shots clear of the field. Chris said he was very excited to be in this position;

“I’m very excited. I wouldn’t say it was one of my best rounds, but I played very solidly and was giving myself loads of chances. Going out today I thought as long as I kept myself in the mix going into tomorrow, then I was going to be really looking forward to it. Leading gives me a bit of a cushion, obviously it’s going to be hard, it’s hard to win any tournament on The European Tour, so it’s going to be difficult.”

There are three players at -12 under par for the tournament, Simon Khan, Alexander Noren and New Zealand’s Michael Campbell. Michael is continuing with his recent good form, and a win here would complete his come-back to perfection. Currently at 264th in the World Golf Rankings, 40 year-old Michael has not won since his HSBC World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth in 2005. He is amazed at the feelings he is experiencing right now;

“It’s been a tough couple of years since winning at Wentworth and it’s amazing that the feelings start to come back quickly.  The confidence is increasing every day. Six months ago, I was desperate, I think I made two cuts in about two years, 18 months or something, and now I have a chance of winning a couple of times last year and maybe tomorrow. We are just going back to what is working and what worked before, and going back with my coach Jonathan Yarwood six months ago definitely helped. That’s really one thing I’ve been working the last six months is just smile after each round of golf, whether it’s a good one or a bad one, and it’s working so far.  It’s really simple stuff. It’s just nice to be out here and having some fun at the same time and maybe have a chance of winning.”

Michael Campbell  (Getty Images)

Michael Campbell / Getty Images

Tied for fifth at -11 under par are Branden Grace and Sergio Garcia. Sergio slipping back down the leaderboard after going in the water with his third shot to the par five last and taking an undignified six.

Good Luck to Chris Wood, I hope he gets his first European Tour Win.

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.

 

 

BMW PGA Championship, Luke Donald wins, and Regains World #1 Ranking

Luke Donald BMW PGA Champion  (Getty Images)

Luke Donald BMW PGA Champion (Getty Images

Luke Donald successfully defended his title and retained his BMW PGA Championship title at the Wentworth Club in Surrey England, on Sunday. In doing so he also returned to the number one spot in the World Golf Rankings. This victory makes him only the third player, Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie are the other two,  who have won The European Tour’s flagship event two years in a row.

Luke had a last round of -4 under par, 68 for a tournament total of  -15 under par. Justin Rose put up a good fight, and even drew level with Luke after four holes of the last round on Sunday. That event seemed to galvanize Luke’s thinking, and he then accelerated away to go clear once more.

This was Luke’s first ever successful title defense, he was very pleased with everything today;

 “What a great one to do it at. This is our biggest event on The European Tour. To come and defend and get back to number one is very sweet indeed. I was just trying to keep my head down and plug away. I was swinging well and I’ve putted well all week. I just needed to settle down a bit. This is a big week and I felt some of the pressure. After the fourth I didn’t give him (Justin) another hole where he was teeing off first other than the 18th. I got the job done.  I take a great amount of satisfaction. It means I am doing the right things, the hard work is paying off and I have a great team around me.”

Luke’s next meeting with Rory McIlroy will be at the Memorial tournament in Ohio starting on Thursday, but it is the US Open Championship in San Francisco on June 14 that his sights are now on. If he continues to play like this there is a good chance a first Major could well be his.

Justin Rose had to settle for share of second place, on -11 under par, with Paul Lawrie, who finished his tournament with a sizzling -6 under par 66, for the same Sunday total.

Justin was asked what he felt the difference was between him and Luke on the day, he replied;

“Luke’s putter really. He buried a lot of putts in the middle of the round and there were no loose shots coming down the stretch.”

Paul Lawrie has moved up in the rankings from world number 272 a while ago, to now probably being in the top thirty, and for the first time he can call himself Scotland’s top player. Paul said of his round;

 “You’re never unhappy when you shoot 66, but really it should have been a few less. When you get on a bit of a run the confidence goes up and right now it’s probably never been better.”

BMW PGA Championship 3rd round, Luke Donald in control.

Donald in pole position to defend his title

Luke Donald (Getty Images)

Luke Donald is in control of the BMW PGA Championship title at Wentworth after overcoming testing conditions with a third round – 3 under par, 69,  at the Wentworth Club in front of record Saturday crowd of 25,176. Luke showed his class with a joint-best round of the day in strong winds, the 34 year old is now eleven under par for the tournament, and two ahead of Justin Rose in second place.

Luke is attempting to follow Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie as the only players ever to make a successful defence of The European Tour’s flagship event. Nick Faldo did it in 1980 and 1981, while Colin Montgomerie had three wins in a row from 1998 to 2000.

The overnight leader James Morrison had a very difficult day, even though he started four clear of the field after a sparkling second round 64. The world’s number 236 cracked under the pressure and  signed for an 81 and will go into the closing eighteen holes eight strokes behind after, a quadruple bogey eight, a triple bogey eight and three bogeys on his card.

Luke said of his day;

 “The tougher the better. The good players that can be patient and deal with it are always going to rise to the top usually. That was by far my best round of the three. The wind was swirling and I hit a lot of solid shots. There were a couple of loose ones coming down the stretch, but I’m very pleased with that finish, it was hugely important for me. Physically and mentally it was tough and it’s going to be a grind tomorrow.”

Justin Rose was also pleased with his effort in the windy conditions;

“I’m delighted. It was one of those where I didn’t realise how good a round it was until I saw that the course had taken its toll.”

BMW Championship, Wentworth 2nd round, Morrison leads, Donald lurking with intent.

James Morrison leads the BMW Championship at Wentworth after a sparkling second round of -8 under par and 64. He leads by four shots from two players, yesterdays leader David Drysdale who had a second round score of -2 under par, 70, and the man seeking to retake the #1 spot in the world golf rankings, Luke Donald. Luke repeated yesterdays score with a -4 under par, 68, and with Rory McIlroy missing the cut in this years event, he must surely have his eyes set on the #1 ranking.

Luke Donald  (Getty Images)

Luke Donald (Getty Images)

The  current World Number Two is looking to regain top spot from Rory McIlroy at the venue where he dethroned Lee Westwood 12 months ago, Luke had three bogeys on his card, but two of them were followed by birdies and he eagled the twelfth  after dropping a shot at the eleventh. Luke said after his round;

Obviously I’m very pleased with that round,” he said. “This is a tricky course, and the scores are reasonably good. Obviously James Morrison had a great round – there are scores out there because the greens are holding.

“When I made bogey on 15, to finish with a couple of birdies on 16, 17, really will make me feel a lot better going into the weekend. I’m feeling very strong on the greens. I feel like something that has been not as consistent for me over the last couple of months, but felt very comfortable on the greens the last two days. Every time I’ve had opportunities, I’m seeing the line, and got the speed down and making some good putts.”

Asked if he was focusing on a top eight finish to give him the coveted #1 spot, Luke replied;

 ” To be honest, the focus is always to try and win the tournament.”

David Drysdale said he is desperate to win a tournament;

“I expect a lot, but if I shoot 80 or 65 I’ll take what I can from it. I desperately, desperately, desperately want to keep going forward and that’s my problem sometimes, I’m too eager, too keen, too determined I guess. I’ve been playing great, but been getting in the way of myself. I’m going to do my best and that’s all I can do.”

Along with Rory McIlroy, other notables missing the cut were; Graeme McDowell, Nicolas Colsaerts, Robert Karlsson and Retief Goosen.

I am anticipating a really good finish from Luke Donald, it will be interesting to see if James Morrison can live with the pressure of life at the top of the leaderboard.