Trophée Hassan II. Cañizares Collects Title.

dragon logo darkClassy Alejandro Cañizares collects the Trophée Hassan II title in Morocco.

Alejandro Canizares  (Getty Images)

Alejandro Cañizares / Getty Images

Alejandro carded a final round -2 under par 70, for a winning total of -19 under par, at  Golf du Palais Royal. Alejandro finished this wire to wire win with a five shot winning margin, to pick up only his second European Tour victory.

Alejandro would have won by an even greater margin if it had not been for a piece of bad luck on the 18th hole in regulation, where his approach rolled back off the green and came to rest up against a clump of turf from a divot that had not been properly replaced.

The referee told him he was not allowed to move the turf, and from that position could only advance the ball a few yards with his third shot before it again rolled back down the slope almost to his feet. He then duffed his next pitch shot but at least allowed himself a wry smile before eventually getting up and down for a double-bogey six;

“It was a pity it ended like that, but who cares? I won the tournament so I am very happy. It’s been a long time since the last win, it felt like it was never coming but this week I played great, some of the best golf of my career. I hit good shot after good shot and kept my focus.”

“I was very accurate and solid with my irons. I left myself lots of chances and although I did not make all of them, the first day was the key. I putted great the first day, shot ten under and just kept pushing on. Hopefully this is the first step for a little bit of improvement in my career. I have some stuff to work on and hopefully I improve little by little to the point where I can play golf as naturally as I did this week.”

In second place was England’s Andy Sullivan, his final round of -9 under par 63, rocketed him up the leaderboard to claim second place on his own at -14 under par.

Seve Benson birdied the 18th for a final round -1 under par 71 to claim a share of third place on -12 under par  with  Magnus A Carlsson, who had completed with a -4 under par 68, by holing out from off the green on the last for par after a left-handed escape shot from the trees.

Trophée Hasan II. Commanding Lead for Cañizares.

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Alejandro Cañizares has a commanding lead at the Trophée Hasan II in Morocco, and will take a sizeable six shot lead into the final round.

Alejandro Canizares  (Getty Images)

The White Knight, Alejandro Cañizares / Getty Images

Alejandro shot a third round -3 under par 69 to increase his advantage at the top of the leaderboard at -17 under par on the Golf du Palais Royal course. His nearest rival is still Seve Benson, who could only post a miserable third round score of +2 over par 74. It was good enough to keep him alone in second spot, but he is now way too far back to mount a challenge for this title at -11 under par.

Alejandro spoke about how tough it was today, especially putting;

“It was tough today, especially on the front nine the pins were difficult to get close to and some even difficult to two-putt. It’s a good round, I kept it going. I was a little not so sharp off the tee today, my misses were right quite a bit so I have something to work on but overall I’m happy to shoot a round in the 60s and hopefully tomorrow I will keep it going.”

“My idea was to get to twenty under, that was my focus. I was trying to look forward all the time not behind me. It was a pity I started missing some shots right at the end and I could not take advantage of the par fives on the back nine.”

“Hopefully I will keep calm and keep my rhythm and focus on every shot tomorrow. In this game anything can happen. Everybody saw that you can go low on this golf course, I have to keep going forward and do the best I can on every shot.”

Seve admitted he struggled today, but was happy with a good finish to the round, and not given up hope just yet;

 “I struggled really today just to get the ball pin-high.I was happy with the way I came back with five or six holes to go so there are positives going into tomorrow.”

“I always know that if I am not playing well that my best golf is just around the corner so I was just trying to stay patient. Tomorrow is another day and I am feeling confident. The key will be to try to get a couple of shots back on Alejandro on the front nine, because that is the most difficult part of the course.”

 Robert-Jan Derksen is another stroke back after his third round -5 under par 67,  the only bogey-free round of the day, giving him third place at -10 under par.

Only a mishap of calamitous proportions can stop Alejandro from winning this tournament from this position.


Trophée Hassan II. Cañizares is Cruising.

dragon logo darkAlejandro Cañizares is cruising along in the Trophée Hassan II event in Morocco, maintaining his position at the top of the leaderboard at the half-way stage.

Alejandro Canizares  (Getty Images)

Alejandro Cañizares / Getty Images

Alejandro compiled a second round of -4 under par 68 to stay at the top of the leaderboard with a total of -14 under par, at the end of day 2 at Golf du Palais Royal. He achieved that result despite a cold putter on the day, and said he was excited to be leading going into the week-end;

“I felt really confident so I was not thinking too much, I needed to let the golf happen. In some cases my putter was a little cold today but I kept it going on the back nine. It was a pity I bogeyed the 17th because that is a birdie hole but overall I am very happy to be leading at the moment and very excited for the weekend.”

Seve Benson stays in second place, just one shot back after he equalled Alejandro on the day, carding a second round – 4 under par 68, for a -13 under par total.

 “I managed to keep the momentum going early doors through the tough holes and once I got through those I could press on a bit.There was no wind for the first eight or nine holes, which made it a totally different golf course compared to yesterday. It picked up a little on the back nine but nothing to what it was yesterday so it was a lot easier today.”

Rafael Cabrera-Bello occupies third place on -9 under par after a second round -5 under par 67, which should have been even better after  he charged through the  first nine holes in just 30 shots.

The best round of the day came from David Horsey, who won this event in 2011, he carded a flawless -8 under par 64  which left him T4, alongside Magnus A Carlsson and Connor Arendell.

The front two have opened up a gap at the top, and unless someone gets creative on moving day they will run away with it.

Trophée Hassan II. Alejandro Cañizares Leads on Day 1

dragon logo dark Alejandro Cañizares is cruising at the top of the leaderboard in the Trophée Hassan II event at Golf du Palais Royal, in Morroco.

Alejandro Canizares  (Getty Images)

Alejandro Cañizares / Getty Images

Alejandro carded a brilliant first round-10 under par 62 to claim the lead after the first round of the Trophée Hassan II in Morocco  in the windier afternoon conditions.

He recorded just one bogey, and said it was just one of those days;

“It was one of those days for me, my swing felt great, I started putting well and the putts went in, it was a lot of fun, when golf is like this it’s easy. After today the confidence is great but it wasn’t there for the last month. After Dubai I started losing a little bit of form but this game is up and down so you can’t expect the best all the time.”

“I was lucky that after a couple of sessions with my coach and a putting session with Phil Kenyon this week it’s started getting a lot easier so I am very happy to perform well this week. I think I played one of the best rounds I’ve played. I missed a couple of drives and from the fairway I missed one shot that cost me a bogey, but that was about it I think.”

Seve Benson is just one shot back after his bogey free opening round of -9 under par 63, and is looking to win his first Tour tournament. Today he finished with four birdies on the last four holes in the windy conditions

“It felt pretty good to be honest. It was so windy out there on the back nine pars were a good score, but I just managed to play the tough holes well and sink some putts. Capitalising on my chances is the big thing for me. I have been working really hard with my putting coach and it paid off today.”

“Going out there in the morning you’d fancy your chances for the best round of the day, it’s never easy playing in a 15mph wind so I am really proud of myself. When it all comes together it’s great, it’s not how good your good shots are, it’s how good your bad shots are and today that was key. It’s what gets you up into contention.”

American Connor Arendell, who finished eighth at Qualifying School in November, is tied in third place with  Magnus A Carlsson with both of them scoring -7 under par 65 to open their accounts.

Connor followed in the footsteps of Peter Uihlein  in swapping America for Europe;

“I spoke to Peter a little online asking what to expect when I came over. They have done great so far and I think you will see more Americans on The European Tour. It’s a great start, I gave both tours a try, Q-School wise, but I just think this is the best thing for me now that the PGA has done away with getting your card through qualifying.” 

“I think it’s huge, coming over here getting that experience, the travelling. Week to week the courses vary quite a bit compared to the US so you are working a lot on getting used to the greens and the courses. It’s tough, but I think over time it will make it that much easier when I’m in the US.”

DP World Tour Championship. It’s Alejandro Cañizares Leading On Day 1

It’s Alejandro Cañizares Leading On Day 1 the DP World Tour Championship, the finale of The Race to Dubai.

Alejandro Canizares  (Getty Images)

Alejandro Cañizares / Getty Images

Alejandro shot a first round -6 under par 66, to lead the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. He was more concerned about his girl-friend being there than talking about his golf;

“My girlfriend is from the Czech Republic and I always forget she doesn’t have a Spanish passport and needs a visa. I only remembered when we got to the check-in desk at the airport in Turkey on Sunday evening and handed over the passports. Fortunately we had help from a lot of people and the tournament director Nick Tarratt was waiting with Dubai’s captain of immigration when we got to Dubai at 3am on Monday morning.”

Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Marcus Fraser are tied in second place, just one shot adrift of the lead at -5 under par.

Of the main contenders for the Race to Dubai title, Henrik Stenson has made the best start with a -4 under par 68, even though he managed to three putt the last hole today;

“It has been a lot of hard work all season and I just let my focus slip on the last. That sucks, but I am still in good shape and playing nicely. The guys are running on fumes so everybody is looking forward to getting done. You can’t win a tournament on Thursday but you can certainly play your way out of it. I would have taken four under at the start of the day so I just have to let the disappointment of the last slip away.”

Justin Rose, Henrik’s playing partner, is suffering from an inflamed shoulder that required an MRI scan recently. Justin shot -2 under par 70. He said Henrik is going to make it hard for them;

“Henrik is making it hard for the rest of us but that’s why I wanted it in my own hands and that’s still the case, so my goal remains the same for the rest of the week.”

Ian Poulter, -3 under par 69, carded four birdies and one bogey in his opening 69, but was frustrated at missing a number of chances to be higher up the leaderboard. He reflected on the missed opportunities;

“I am annoyed, I made two putts which were outside birdie chances and took a couple more but the rest were missed. I am frustrated but happy to be only three behind. I need to continue to be aggressive and see if I can nick it at the end. It’s a good mix to be really angry being three under par and still being in there for the next three days.”

 Rory McIlroy had to settle for an opening round of -1 under par 71, after being three under for his first four holes. But he reported his focus had improved.

” It’s much better than it has been the last few months and I am playing better, which is important. It’s good that the game is back on track. I have this event and two more so it would be great to get a win before the end of the season.”

Euro Tour. Lee Leaps Into The Lead With A Lovely 61.

Scotland’s Craig Lee leaps into the lead at the Omega European Masters tournament in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland,with a lovely third round of 61.

Craig Lee  (Getty Images)

Craig Lee / Getty Images

Craig came close to shooting the European Tours first sub sixty round, but was happy to sign his card for superb third round score of -10 under par,61. I said yesterday that someone would have to do something special to separate themselves from the log jam at the top of the leaderboard, and Craig has done just that, even with carding a bogey on the 12th hole. He now takes a two shot lead going into tomorrow’s final round, with his tournament total of -16 under par;

 ” It was comfortably my best round ever. Even as an amateur or in a bounce game, I’ve never managed to get to double figures. So this is my best round by far, you just try to focus on each shot you play though. When you hit it and it is executed properly and you see it flying down the pin, it is pretty special. For the first 12 or 13 holes that was what was happening. It was pretty surreal to see all these good golf shots coming out in the same day. I’ve been playing quite nicely for a while so it has all come together. I would like to have had a heart rate monitor on, from the first I don’t think my heart got under 100 beats per minute. There were certain crucial putts that got the heart going and I don’t think it ever slowed down. I’m still not really ready to relax.”

There is a trio of players in second place at -14 under par, including the defending Champion Thomas Bjørn, who carded a third round -4 under par 67.

Joining Thomas on the -14 under par score are Victor Dubuisson of France and Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares.

Alejandro was happy with his back nine, which saved the day for him;

” I made birdie on the 10th and from there on, everything just happened the right way. I’m very happy to finish the way I finished although there were a couple of tough putts in the end but I still managed to save the round.”

In another memorable moment on the day England’s Richard Finch scored a hole in one on the par three 13th hole, Richard played a six iron dead weight to win an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Co-Axial in red gold.

The winner of this tournament will come from one of the top four players today, everyone else is too far adrift to make a serious challenge, unless of course they shoot a sub sixty final round.

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.”