Volvo China Open. Wu Ashun Wins

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History was made today in China as Wu Ashun wins the Volvo China Open, the first Chinese player to win an European Tour event on home soil, at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club. Quite ironic really as the Chinese Government recently banned Golf in the country, and instantly closed down many golf courses.

Volvo China OPen

Wu Ashun / Getty Images

Wu enjoyed the moment, and his winning total of -9 under par;

“It’s a wonderful day today.

“Everyone knows it’s very tough today, I played very good today and I’ve enjoyed this week.”

“It’s been a wonderful week with wonderful weather and I’d like to thank everybody.”

“It’s very special winning the China Open and it’s very exciting.”

“I have many friends here, and they helped me a lot and pushed me to play well.”

Wu and David Howell both started the day in a four-way tie for the lead with last week’s runner-up Li Hao-tong and  defending champion Alex Levy.

David was tied with Wu as he played the last hole, a par five, but missed his par putt to get into a play-off and handing Wu his history making European Tour win. David was alone in second place at -8 under par, and said it was tough to take;

“It’s obviously tough to take. I was in very good shape to win the tournament for most of the day, and didn’t get the job done. So it’s going to hurt for a while, but I didn’t do a lot wrong.”

“I holed a lovely putt on 17 to save par to give myself every chance coming down the last.”

“It felt like I was already in a play-off, because Ashun was in the clubhouse on nine under, so if I birdie the last I win the tournament, and if I make bogey I lose it. Unfortunately it was the latter.” 

Defending champion Alex Levy finished tied in third place with Emiliano Grillo and Prom Messawat, all at -7 under par.

SWINGING SKIRTS LPGA CLASSIC. Brooke Has Advantage.

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Brooke Henderson has an advantage going into the final round of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco.

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic

Brooke Henderson / Getty Images

Brooke shot an even round of 72 in the third round of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at Lake Merced Golf Club, but remained at the top of the leaderboard with her -9 under par total and a one shot lead going into the final round tomorrow. There was a fierce Northern California wind blowing which got the attention of all the ladies;

“It was a great day out there. It was really tough conditions, and I was able to play really well.”

“Couple times my short game needed to bail me out, and it was able to do that, especially the first 16 holes.”

“If someone told me at the beginning of the week I would be leading going into the final round, I would’ve taken it.”

“They know they can do it. They step up to that tee and there is no fear. I mean, look at how strong Brooke played yesterday and today.”

“Not to say that a few develop, but as you play out here more and more, I think sometimes the younger you are the more naïve you are to all the pressure and everything else that goes with it.”

“I mean look at how strong Brooke played yesterday and today.”

 

Morgan Pressel and Min Seo Kwak are tied in second place at -8 under par for the competition, Morgan with a wonderful -5 under par 67 and Min with-3 under 69. They were the only two players in the field to shoot below 70 on Saturday.

Morgan knows the chasing ladies have the ability to put up a challenge;

“They know they can do it. They step up to that tee and there is no fear. I mean, look at how strong Brooke played yesterday and today.”

“Not to say that a few develop, but as you play out here more and more, I think sometimes the younger you are the more naïve you are to all the pressure and everything else that goes with it.”

“I mean look at how strong Brooke played yesterday and today.”

Min has her own fan club, they chant Kwak, Kwak, Kwak, and she is hoping to hear that chant all day tomorrow;

“Yes, yes a lot, because I know how to win like in Symetra Tour.  So I’ll try to do same thing here.”

World number one Lydia Ko, -1 under par 71 today is alone in fourth place at -6 under par, and if the conditions are just as tough tomorrow, at three shots back, she must have a decent chance;

“I just got to play the holes that are birdieable, give myself a good chance, and then try and put some pressure, but it’s not easy because of the wind. Every hole is playing so tough.”

“Now I’m not the 17-year-old that they’re talking about right now, we’re similar in age and played some tournaments together as amateurs. We’re all really friends out here.”

“I’m feeling the pressure. I feel the nerves when it’s there, but, I mean, people say when you’re younger, you’re not afraid. You’re kind of fearless. Maybe I’m not the case.”

 

Volvo China Open. 4 Tied at the Top.

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There are 4 players tied at the top of the Volvo China Open at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in China. Alex Levy, David Howell and two Chinese players  Li Hao-tong and Wu Ashun.

Volvo China Open

Alex Levy / Getty Images

Two late bogey’s from Alex in the third round of the Volvo China Open robbed him of a two shot lead and assured us of an exciting dash to the line in the final round tomorrow. In the end he had to settle for a third round -1 under par 71 and a share of the top spot at -8 under par for the tournament.

Alex got off to a flier carding four straight birdies, but then the birdies dried up and the bogey’s crept in;

“It was the perfect start for me, but after that I got a little bit nervous, because I haven’t played well for three months now so I haven’t been in this position for a while.”

“It’s nice to be back at the top of the leaderboard, but I have to get used to it again.”

“I’m just really happy to be playing some good golf again, that’s more important than me worrying about winning the trophy again.”

“I’ll need to have a good round again tomorrow, but it’s not easy on this course because you can’t be too aggressive.”

David carded a nice -4 under par 68 to get himself into the tie for the top place, he said he was able to take advantage of the conditions today, that suited him better;

“It was a very nice day for me.”

“I felt like there was a score to be had out there, and I adapted to the conditions much better than I did yesterday, when I struggled with the comparative softness of the course. I knew what to expect today, and took advantage.”

“I really got it going nicely around the turn. I had a few chances early on which I didn’t take, but I managed to stay patient and eventually the birdies came.”

Li Hao-tong and Wu Ashun face the pressure of trying to become the first Chinese player to win a European Tour event on home soil. They both recorded third rounds of -3 under par 69, and Li said he will just stick to his game plan;

“I will just stick with my plan and play the best I can do out there without thinking about the finish.”

Volvo China Open

Li Hao-tong / Getty Images

Magnus A Carlsson carded the low round of the day, -7 under par 65 , which moved him 37 places up the leaderboard to share fifth with Seve Benson, Richie Ramsay and Prom Meesawat on -6 under par.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat’s attempt to win back to back titles became derailed today as he shot +4 over par 76 and dropped down the leaderboard to T25.

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, Brooke Henderson with Half-Way Lead

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Brooke Henderson leads the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at the half-way point at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco, California.

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic

Brooke Henderson / Getty Images

Brooke tore the Lake Merced golf course apart, shooting -7 under par 65 in the second round, to top the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic leaderboard at -9 under par for the tournament.

In interview she mentioned another teenager on the circuit world number one Lydia Ko;

“I think I’m ready, yeah, 17 is young. As you’ve seen with Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson and even Jessica Korda, there are a lot of great names that have been able to do it. I’m hoping that I’m one of them.”

“You know, I’m really loving where I am right now, and it’s awesome to wake up every day and do something I love.

“In my amateur career I loved when I had the lead, and I just want to continue to build it. This thing is far from over.”

“There are tons of great players out there. The day is not even over yet. I’m excited for the position I’m in and really excited for the next couple days.”

Na Yeon Choi is in second place, at -7 under par, her second round -4 under par 68 lifting her up the leaderboard.

Third position is shared between Sakura Yokomine and Cindy Feng, both at – 6 under par for the competition.

Cindy was happy that she did not do anything silly during her round;

“I played great today, made a lot of birdies, which always helps.  Made some putts. Just didn’t do anything too stupid.”

Overnight leader, defending champion, world number one, and birthday girl, Lydia Ko suffered some 18th birthday blues, returning an even par second round, dropping her to T5, and four shots off the lead, with two rounds to go;

“Yeah, you know, I got two celebrations, the first one on the 10th tee and then coming off 9. Really cool to share that birthday with a lot of people out here.“

“You know, I really didn’t get anything going.  When that happens it’s really hard.”

“You know, I would say the par fives, you kind of need to take advantage of them. I didn’t position myself well in any of them, and that just makes it tough.”

” Kind of feel like you’re already losing shots there.”

“We’re doing a birthday dinner, so have Korean barbecue.  Go to the original roots. Yeah, should be good.”

“Couple of the players are coming, family and friends. But, yeah, I think it’s just great that this year I can have a really good birthday dinner with a lot of close friends and we can have some fun.”

Joining Lydia on that -5 under par score is Ha Na Jang, Min Seo Kwak and Julieta Granada.

Ha Na benefited from using new irons, put in her bag on Wednesday;

“No problem, change my irons, new irons Wednesday, I think a little bit more confidence and it’s really good.”

 

Volvo China Open. Julien Quesne has 36 Hole Lead

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Julien Quesne has the 36 hole lead at the Volvo China Open at the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in China.

Volvo China Open

Julien Quesne / Getty Images

Julien shot a second round -5 under par 67 to sit on top of the Volvo China Open leaderboard with half way total of -8 under par, and a one shot lead over compatriot, and defending champion Alex Levy, and America’s Peter Uihlein

In the calm morning conditions Julien made the turn in 32 strokes, saying he had played much better today, and joked that he would not be talking tactics with his friend Alex over their evening meal;

“I played much better today, so that was the main reason for my good score. I felt very comfortable and hardly missed any shots, so it was a very good day all round.” 

“My performance last week definitely helps build the confidence, so I felt good at the start of the week and I’m still feeling good now, but there’s a long way to go.” 

“There are so many good golfers in France now, so it’s logical that you see lots of French players up near the top of the leaderboard. I hope we can keep it going over the weekend.”

 “We don’t really talk about golf when we go out for dinner at night. We try to talk about other subjects, because just speaking about golf gets very boring!”

Alex would have been leading but he took a trip into water on the par four 16th, for a double bogey, and followed that with a bogey on 17;

“It’s a shame to make a double because I played really good today.”

“Maybe next time I do a different thing, a more safe play out of the bunker on the right, but it’s OK.”

Peter had a -5 under par 67 today for his -7 under par total, and Alex -4 under for his -7 under total to share second place.

Last weeks winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat is in a bunch of players at -5  under par, and is comfortable with the tougher weather conditions that prevailed in the afternoon. He is full of confidence as he looks to become the first player to win back-to-back European Tour titles since Rory McIlroy did that last summer.

“I’m very happy, especially as it’s playing tough, there are lots of slopes on the greens and the course is very firm.” 

“I’m not driving the ball as well as I did last week, but the rest of my game is in pretty good shape, especially my short game.”

“I’m still feeling good; I’ve been getting lots of rest and eating well, so I’m feeling fine and ready to go. Mentally I’m still sharp and my confidence is high, so I just have to keep it up.” 

“My Mum is still here with me and she told me to keep going and win back to back, so hopefully I can do it for her. She’s my good luck charm.”

Joining the -5 under club were last week’s runner-up Li Hao-tong, his fellow Chinese home favourite Wu Ashun, with two more Frenchmen Jérôme Lando Casanova and Romain Wattel, with the improving Italian  Matteo Manassero.

 

 

 

SWINGING SKIRTS LPGA CLASSIC. Birthday Girl Lydia Leads

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Lydia Ko, the world number one, leads the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic  at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco, California. She will be 18 on Friday, Happy Birthday Lydia.

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic

Lydia Ko / Getty Images

Lydia shot an opening round -5 under par 67 to lead the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic by one shot at the end of day one in California.

Lydia said she had holed some good putts today and tomorrow’s birthday girl said nothing would change just because she is older;

“Holed some good putts and ended up with a 67 today.”

“It’s a really good start, but I know I’ve got three more long days to go. Hopefully I can continue hitting solid shots.”

“This is a very tough golf course. You need to position yourself well, I hit the ball pretty good where I wasn’t in too much trouble. If I did miss it a little bit, I did get away with it, too. It’s a really good start but I know I’ve got three long days to go.”

“The first couple holes were playing down wind, so that made it a lot easier.”

“A lot depends on the wind. It really depends on the conditions of the day and the scores are really good.”

“Juli’s a legend, a Hall of Famer. It’s so cool she still plays well at her age.”

“What she’s done for the tour is pretty amazing.”

“I won’t change it just because I’m one year older. Really I’m only one day older tomorrow.”

Ha Na Jang, Juli Inkster and P.K. Kongkraphan are tied in second place at -4 under par after their first rounds of -4 under par 68.

Juli admitted that her competitors were younger than her daughters, and offered a free ticket to anyone who would come out and support her;

“Yeah, they’re a lot younger than my daughters, they’re 25 and 21.”

“Out here that’s a seasoned veteran. You know what, that’s the beauty about golf. I mean, age matters in a lot of things as far as how your body feels and how far you hit the ball and how much time you can put into it. You can still go out there and compete at 54.”

“Good friends come up and support me.  So free ticket, everybody wants a free ticket. Yeah, so it’s good.“

Stacy Lewis, last year’s runner-up to Lydia at Lake Merced, was two strokes back at -3 under par with her first round 69;

“It was probably one of the craziest rounds of golf I’ve ever played, it was all over the place.”

Bay Area fan favorite, Paula Creamer, was at risk of missing the cut after a +10-over par 82. She had four bogeys and a pair of double bogeys.

Another teenager making her way in the game is Canadian Brook. M. Henderson, she shot an opening round -2 under par 70, and is hoping to improve on that position;

 “I hit a lot of great shots out there and was able to make a few putts on the front nine.”

“My back nine were all pars, which I can’t complain too much with conditions the way they were today.”

“Would’ve liked to capitalize on a few more birdies. I am hoping I will get the chance the next couple days.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volvo China Open. Three-Way Tie at the Top.

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There was a three-way tie at the top of the Volvo China Open leaderboard at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in Shanghai, China. Kiwi Michael Hendry, England’s David Howell and Bradley Dredge from Wales share the top spot after round one.

Volvo China Open

David Howell / Getty Images

David, Michael and Bradley all fired opening rounds of -4 under par 68 to occupy first place in the Volvo China Open.

David, who won the last of his five European Tour titles at St Andrews in October 2013 said he was delighted with his progress with his golf game;

“I’m delighted, it’s a really different test this week.”

“We knew it was firm in practice, but it was hard to work out how difficult it was going to be. The scoring showed people are finding it tricky.”

“I drove the ball beautifully today, really found my rhythm on the range and took it out onto the course so I kept the ball in play well and did a lot of things right.”

“There was a decent breeze out there, but really it’s the firmness of the greens that is making it difficult for everyone. The greens are in great condition and you’ve really got to think your way round.”

“The greens were really firm so the big thing was if you were hitting fairways you had chances.”

“It was never easy getting the ball close to the hole with slopes on the greens and the firmness; it was quite tricky round there.

“This afternoon the wind is going to get up and it will be firmer still, so I’d be surprised if four under was beaten.”

Kiwi Michael won on the Japan Golf Tour last week, and he admitted that the win had provided a welcome confidence boost.

“It makes the game a little easier I think, it’s always nice to play tournaments when you’re in good form.”

The defending champion Alex Levy was one behind the leaders after a -3 under par opening effort, sharing fourth spot with Julien Quesne and Marcus Fraser.

Last weeks winner in China, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, opened here with a -1 under par 71, in his quest for back to back wins on the European Tour.