L.E.T. Buick Championship. Shanshan Stretches Lead.

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Shanshan Feng stretches her lead in the Buick Championship to seven shots at Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club in China.

Buick Championship

Shanshan Feng / Getty Images

Shanshan carded a third round -3 under par 69 to extend her lead in the Buick Championship to a massive seven strokes going into the final round tomorrow with a -15 under par total.

After the cut was made the leading 50 players and ties on Friday evening, the professionals were drawn with amateur partners for the additional team better ball competition being played simultaneously over the weekend,  a somewhat novel format on the Ladies European Tour which has excited both the professionals and amateurs.

Shanshan said she was initially apprehensive about playing alongside an amateur;

“I would say at the beginning I was a little bit nervous. It was my first time playing with amateurs in the same group in a professional tournament, so that was fun.”

“After a few holes I thought my amateur did really well, because he saved me maybe two shots on the first three holes.”

“He did very well and then I started to be more relaxed and make birdies. The bogey on the last hole was a little sad but I still did pretty well overall.”

Sharing second place are Hyeon Seo Kang and Marianne Skarpnord, they are both at -8 under par for the tournament.

Marianne said she had been putting very well, on the front nine;

“I’ve been putting well on the front nine, both yesterday and today but on the back nine it’s like it goes cold and I don’t make anything.”

“I had four or five putts within three and a half metres on the back nine and didn’t make any of them, so it was not completely useless but could have been a lot better.”

Charley Hull is in a large group back at -5 under par, with all thoughts of winning gone, she was happy to have some fun playing with the amateurs;

 “I played a lot better because I hit more fairways with my driver so it was easier for me to hole putts because there was less pressure on myself.”

“I enjoyed the format, because it was nice and not too intense playing with an amateur, so that was fun.”


L.E.T. Buick Championship. Stacy Keating Shoots 1st Round 63.

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Stacy Keating shoots 63 in the 1st round of the Buick Championship at Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club in China.

Buick Championship

Stacy Keating / Getty Images 

Stacy Keating, from Australia, posted a new course record of -9 under par 63, which included one bogey, at Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club in the first round of the Buick Championship, to lead the tournament by two shots.

Stacy  actually carded 10 birdies, including seven in eight holes from the seventh, with her only bogey coming on the par four 7th hole. She reported that she had played very nicely, including putting very well;

“I hit the ball nicely from tee to green but I holed a lot of putts and got a bit lucky at times.”

“When it’s your day, it’s your day I guess, I had a bunker shot at the last and it hit the pin and finished right next to it whereas on any other day it probably would have run off the green.”

“I love the course, it’s in great condition and it feels like nobody has played it. I like China and it’s very easy from Australia with not much time difference.”

Shanshan Feng is in second place following her bogey free -7 under par 65, which was the new record until Stacy came along.

Shanshan was happy that they decided to water the greens the night before the start of the competition;

“I feel very lucky that they watered the greens last night because the greens were not as firm.”

“When we were playing in the Pro-Am and practice round, I could not stop the ball on the greens, even with my wedge.”

“I think today it really helped and I had a lot of birdie chances so overall I did pretty well.”

Xiyu Lin shot an opening round of -6 under par 66 to take third place on her own.

Lin said she was just trying to play conservatively, and putted very well;

“Today I didn’t really think I could have that many birdies: I was just trying to have a good strategy and trying to hit the ball to the widest place.”

“My putting was really good and I made all the birdies from three to five yards, because I didn’t hit really close to the hole.”

“There weren’t many mistakes. I made an 18 yard birdie putt on 16, so it was a good round apart from the last hole.”

There was some excitement on the course when  Victoria Lovelady .from Brazil, made a hole in one at the par three 16th,  using a hybrid 5 club to ace the hole from 187 yards, winning a Buick GL8.

Another feat on the day came from  Stacy Lee Bregman, who holed her second shot for an Eagle on the par-four 18th hole.

Strange fact is she actually called the play before she hit the shot;

“I didn’t play too badly and the score never reflected it. I said to my caddie, let’s finish strongly, because it would be nice not to putt.”

“I hit a gap wedge the perfect distance, 107 metres, and saw it roll into the hole. It’s always great to have an eagle to hole out for two on a par four.”

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.

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.




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.


Shenzhen International. Kiradech Wins In A Play-Off

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Kiradech Aphibarnrat wins the inaugural Shenzhen International at Genzon Golf Club in China.

Shenzhen International

Kiradech Aphibarnrat / Getty Images

Kiradech and Chinese teenage sensation Li Hao-Tong were tied at the top of the Shenzhen International leaderboard at -12 under par at the end of the final round.

Li Hao-Tong had set the clubhouse lead after his last round -5 under par 67, and then at back to see if anyone would catch him. Kiradech did, but his final round of even par only matched the top score, the players then went into a sudden death play-off, starting at the par four 18th. A birdie for Kiradech gave him the inaugural Shenzhen International title, with the best putt of his life;

“Special thanks to my caddie, he was always pushing me.”

“When we were two behind on the last two holes he said you have not lost, we have not signed the scorecard yet and he was completely right and I just got the job done.”

“I had a chance to win in 72 holes but the putt in the play-off is the best putt I have ever made in my life.”

“I’ve been struggling for a year. I lost my coach, changed my equipment. It’s a big changing time after I won.

“It’s been like that for a while. I haven’t been at the top of the leaderboard but finally I had the chance to do it. It was tough to stay there.”

It would have been fantastic for teenager Li Hao-Tong to have won on home soil, he made six birdies in windy conditions, and in the end congratulated the winner;

“I made a lot of birdies again. But the Thai guy played so well. Congratulations for him.”

Tommy Fleetwood was third, one shot behind at -11 under par for the tournament, a last round -3 under par 69 lifting him above the posse of players at -10 under, which included Peter Uihlein.

Peter was happy with the result, saying he had made some changes to his wing;

“It was my first tournament trying to do some new stuff with my swing. I’ll take it. It’s one of those things that might take a little while under pressure to get used to.” 

Low round of the day came from Alvaro Quiros, -9 under par 63, he had a chance to post the European Tour’s first round of 59, but bogeys on the 12th and last holes were the only blemishes of an effort that featured a sensational 11 birdies;

“A 63 in any golf course in the world is a good score.”

Bubba Watson also finished well, carding a final round -7 under par 65, and wished his putting had been better the first three days;

“I wish I would have putted better in the first three rounds.”

“I putted well in the last round. All in all it was a good test. It shows me what I need to work on. It shows me that I can play outside the US, especially today.”



Shenzhen International. Kiradech Lets Slip A Tidy Lead.

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Kiradech Aphibarnrat let slip a tidy lead in the Shenzhen International, although he will still have a two shot lead going into the final round at Genzon Golf Club in China.

Shenzhen International

Kiradech and Peter shake hands / Getty Images

Kiradech had built up a five shot lead during the third round of the Shenzhen International, until he came to the last two holes. He he double-bogeyed the par five 17th and dropped another shot at the last, a par four, to card -4 under par 68, and still be at the top of the leaderboard at -12 under par.

Really poor putting was the main culprit;

“I’ve been striking the ball so well in the first three rounds. It’s a good way to start.”  

“First, I made three straight birdies to jump up at the top. I was still hitting the ball great on the back. Then I made a big mistake on last two holes, not the way to finish.”

“I lost the focus on the short putt on 17, that is the big turn, the big key for me after Peter made birdie, and we swung three shots on that. That’s a big move. But I made a mistake and I lost some concentration.”

Peter Uihlein was the beneficiary of Kiradech’s loss of concentration, he scored a -1 under par 71, which gave him a -10 under par total, to be just two shots adrift. He admitted he played poorly today;

“I just made too many sloppy bogeys. Four bogeys, a bit rough, five birdies and missed a couple pretty easy ones.”

Pablo Larrazábal is in third place, shooting -7 under par 65, to move him up the leaderboard with a -9 under par tournament total;

 “My game was brilliant today. I missed two shots, the second shot on 17 and the second shot on 18, but I played very solid.”  

“I made only one long putt. I made a two putt on 11, and then I made I think five birdies from four feet.”

19 year-old Hao-tong Li, from China, is in a group of five players on -7 under par for the tournament, along with Emiliano Grillo, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Ford and Scott Hend.

Hao-tong played alongside Bubba Watson, and enjoyed the experience;

“He’s pretty nice guy, so I very much enjoyed playing with him.”

“I hit a lot of greens and made a lot of birdies. I was pretty lucky also.”

Bubba did not play as well as his young playing partner, carding +2 over par for the round, but he did give some praise to the young Chinese player;

“He’s hitting the ball really well. He’s making a lot of putts. The key around a golf course is a lot of putts and he made a lot of putts today.”