Andalucia Valderrama Masters Moves to Monday Finish.

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The Andalucia Valderrama Masters moves to a Monday finish as the third and final round got suspended, due to more wet weather. Defending Champion Sergio Garcia, Spain, is still in control of proceedings at -10 under, but has yet to complete the front nine holes.Sergio Garcia  (Getty Images)

Sergio / getty

Lee Westwood, England, is making a charge up the leaderboard, carding four birdies in his first eight holes to be at -7 under.

Shane Lowry, Ireland, and Gonzalo Fernández-CastañoSpain, are in a tie for third place with totals of -6 under par.

Andalucía Valderrama Masters. Sergio Leads.

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Tournament host Sergio Garcia, Spain,  has the 36 hole Andalucía Valderrama Masters lead, with one round left to go.Garcia in pole position to pull off successful Valderrama defence

Sergio / getty

Defending Champion Sergio carded a bogey free second round -7 under par 64 to post -10 under at the top of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters leaderboard, and a four stroke advantage for the final round tomorrow;

“Every time you win is special, and every time you have a chance of winning is special.”

“We have a good shot tomorrow, but it’s not going to be an easy day at all, so we have to keep playing.”

“Obviously we would have loved the tournament to go to 72 holes but unfortunately we can’t control the weather and it’s been a little bit rough for us this week.”

“We tried to make the best decision possible and tomorrow we have to play hard.”

“You don’t expect to shoot this kind of score on this course, even with the conditions we had.”

“I did see a four or five under if you play well but it was one of those days when I struck the ball really, really well.”

“Every time I had to get up and down I did and I was very consistent throughout the whole day, which obviously makes a big difference.”

Ashley Chesters, England, has second place, four shots back at -6 under par, after his second round -1 under 70;

“There’s always a chance. There’s not a lot of pressure on me. I’ve had a decent year, I’ve got my card sorted and I’ve got the last few events to aim to get into if I can have a good week here.”

“I’ve not really got a lot to lose so I can have a go tomorrow and see what happens.”

“I’ll be playing with Sergio, who was always one of my favourite players when I was growing up.”

“I would imagine there will be quite a lot of Spanish people hoping he will win, so I would imagine it will be a bit different tomorrow.”

Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño, from Spain, and Marc Warren, Scotland, share third place at -4 under par.

No one in the World would give Sergio a four shot lead and expect to beat him.

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Arnold Palmer Invitational. Adam Scott Soars.

dragon logo darkArnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard Logo Adam Scott soars at the Arnold Palmer invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

Scott scorches Bay Hill

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Adam scorched round the Bay Hill course in an opening round of -10 under par 62, to easily top the leaderboard. He put his record equaling score down to a good day with the putter;

” I made a lot of putts today, and a lot of putts from considerable length. I hit a lot of nice shots, too, but it wasn’t like I was hitting it four feet. I had a round like this in Australia at the end of last year, in the first six holes, I didn’t hit it outside five feet. There’s a lot of different ways to get the ball in the hole. But it’s good for the confidence. It’s what I wanted. I sat in here yesterday and said I’d like to make some birdies and build the confidence. And today is a good start to that.”

Before the round he was feeling unwell, it has all changed now;

“It’s hard to say that I’m sick, I feel actually better now than when I woke up. Just a bit under the weather. I can’t complain. Hopefully, with a solid round tomorrow I keep myself right in this golf tournament. Like at any event, you want to start and put yourself right in it from the get-go and I’ve done that here.”

Ryo Ishikawa and John Merrick opened their accounts with first rounds of -7 under par 65’s to be tied in second place.  Both of them were a massive 10 shots behind Adam before they even hit their first shot tee of the tournament.

John reckoned that round took the pressure off, and was also celebrating his birthday;

“That took the pressure off, you’re already ten shots behind, so it’s not like you’re protecting anything. But this isn’t the Bay Hill I remember. I don’t usually play golf in Florida without 20 mph wind.”

“I think being my birthday today I kind of just walked out here with a smile on my face, knew it was going to be a good day regardless, and maybe didn’t worry much about how I was going to play. It worked out, I made some putts. I haven’t been doing that lately in my rounds. It was nice to make some putts; that was kind of the difference in my round.”

Ryo was pretty happy with his opening round;

“It was a pretty comfortable round for me.”

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano had his best round of the year with a -6 under par 66 round, for fourth pace alone. Brandt Snedeker and Paul Casey were among a group of six players at 67 after completing rounds of -5 under par.

There is a long way to go, but if Adam records another low round tomorrow, the pressure will be on the others.

Bubba Watson has been forced to retire from the competition, his allergies have taken over his body, he tweeted via @BubbaWatson.;

“Just wanted to tell my fans I’m sorry I had to withdraw from @APinv this week. My allergies have taken over! “It’s hard to focus when you’re heads all discombobulated from medicine and pollen.”

BMW Masters. Gonzo Grabs The Title.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, nickname “Gonzo” grabs the BMW Masters Title at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China.

Fernandez-Castaño takes the spoils in Shanghai

Gonzo / Getty

Gonzo carded a final round -64 under par 68, to win the BMW Masters with a -11 under par total. Gonzo had six birdies on his card and no bogey’s until the last hole. He somehow managed to bogey the par 5 18th hole when he was seemingly cruising along. He said it was definitely a fighting six after finding two bunkers en-route to the green;

“I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy round, especially the way I started. I started hitting the ball pretty bad, but my caddie kept me cool and told me how good I had been hitting the ball through the week and I played fantastic after that. On the last I played too conservative and it was a fighting six at the end for sure.”

Just one shot adrift In second place at -10 under par are Francesco Molinari and Thongchai Jaidee, Francesco finishing strongly with -8 under par 64 final round. Thongchai was not far behind with a -6 under par 66 last round.

The leaders at the start of play today, Luke Guthrie and Rafael Cabrera-Bello, could not maintain their good play, Luke scoring a final round of -1 under par and a tournament total of -9 under par, four shots off the pace, and alone in fourth place. Rafa fared worse, carding a last round +2 over par and falling back into a tie for 11th place at -6 under par.

Best round of the day went to Peter Hanson, a marvelous -9 under par 63, which lifted him up the scoreboard into a tie for 8th place at -7 under par. From nowhere to eighth in one round, golf is a strange game, Peter joked that he was trying to impress the next Ryder Cup Captain, who was his playing partner for the day;

“I was playing with Paul McGinley, the Ryder Cup Captain, and I guess I wanted to impress him. I had no expectations on coming back from injury and I was obviously very rusty on Thursday. But I have felt better and better throughout the week and to finish with a round like that is very pleasing. As a defence, it wasn’t bad!”

The Race to Dubai Final Series remains in China for next week’s WGC-HSBC Champions, before heading to Turkey and then Dubai, where the top 60 will compete for the DP World Tour Championship.

BMW PGA Championship. Play Suspended, Kingston Claims Lead.

 

Play in the first round of the BMW PGA Championship has been suspended due to darkness on a dramatic opening day on the West Course at Wentworth Club. Currently James Kingston of South Africa has claimed the lead.

 

James Kingston   (Getty Images)

James Kingston / Getty Images

James Kingston has completed his first round at the BMW PGA Championship with a leading score of -6 under par, 66 at the Wentworth Club in England.

A 90-minute delay at Wentworth, due to the threat of lightning meant the last group, who had only just then teed off, could not complete the course in daylight hours. They will return early on Friday morning to complete their first rounds, and with second round tee times unchanged, all should go smoothly.

In second place is Mikko Ilonen at -5 under par, with Scott Henry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño a shot further back at -4 under par. All of these players have completed their rounds.

Also at -4 under par is Austrian Martin Wiegele, Martin has only completed 13 holes, so has a chance tomorrow of climbing further up the leaderboard. There were five groups still on the course when play was suspended.

James recieved an invitation to play in this event, he lost his card for the Tour and currently has to survive on these kind of opportunities. He was feeling pretty upset about losing his Tour card;

“I never felt like I played poorly enough to lose my card and that’s what makes it even more frustrating. I felt like I played half decent throughout the whole season, but just never managed to put a score on the board. It does make it a little harder to accept. Getting an invite into this event, what a great feeling to be back here. I think I’ve made the most of it today.”

Mikko was happy to survive in the very cool Wentworth temperatures;

” It was pretty nippy when we started and stayed that way, “all day I was thinking ‘Can I get these waterproof trousers off?’ and never managed it. We even had hail on the ninth tee. I said to a friend last night it was going to snow today and she laughed at me. It’s British summer and we have proof of that.”

Scott Henry, who graduated from the Challenge Tour last season, only found out he was in the tournament as he boarded a flight from Madeira on Monday morning. He is another player who has grabbed an opportunity, and played well;

“It was nice to see my name on the leaderboard on the back nine, it was a bit surreal. I was pretty nervous this morning, it’s a big tournament and the first time I have been here. It’s a great test of golf and for the first time this year I could put everything together.”

All but one of last year’s victorious Ryder Cup team are in the 150-man field, but several of them fell victim to the closing stretch at Wentworth Club’s famous West Course.

Justin Rose at even, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, last weeks winner started with rounds of 74, Ian Poulter 76 and Luke Donald 78.

 

Arnold Palmer Invitational, Tiger Triumphs

Tiger Woods triumphed at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, on Monday. The win equalled Sam Snead’s record for winning the same tournament eight times, it also took Tiger to the top of the FedExCup standings, not to mention elevating him back to World number one.

 

The eighth wonder

Tiger Woods with Arnold Palmer / Cannon / Getty Images

Tiger strolled round the course, with a final round of -2 under par 70, and a tournament total of  -13 under par, giving him a two shot win over Justin Rose. It has been a long time since Tiger was last World number one, actually it was late October 2010. When the collapse came it was pretty devastating, he fell as low as 58th in the world rankings before making his remarkable recovery.

Tiger said it was all down to hard work;

“It’s a byproduct of hard work, patience and getting back to winning golf tournaments.”

Arnold thinks Tiger’s record will stand for a long time;

“I don’t really see anybody touching it for a long time. I had the opportunity to win a tournament five times, and I knew how difficult that was.”

Justin Rose also finished with a last round of -2 under par 70, securing him second place alone. Not what Justin would have had in mind when he was leading the tournament by two shots before his uncharacteristic melt down at the end of the third round.

Rickie Fowler had to settle for a +1 over par 73 and a tie for third place with Mark Wilson (71), Keegan Bradley (71) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (72).

Congratulations to Tiger, it will be interesting to see if the other players on tour can mount any sort of challenge to Tiger’s dominance.

 

Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, Rory and Tiger Miss Cut

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods  (Getty Images)

Tiger & Rory / Getty Images

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both missed the cut after the second round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, played on the Abu Dhabi Golf Course.

Rory McIlroy collapsed to a second successive round of 75, to bow out of the event in which finished as runner-up last year. Guess the new clubs are not working yet. He put it down to the speed of the greens and even changed putters for the second round, to no avail;

“I just felt the greens I have been practicing on were much faster. It was just a weight issue. I’ve got four weeks to work on it. I knew it was going to be a tough week. I hit the ball really well in Dubai last week, but it just got worse for some reason. I’m very disappointed, you never want to get off to a poor start, but I’ve got to realize it’s only the start of the season.”

Tiger Woods thought he had finished safely inside the cut mark on one over, but his bogey five was changed to a triple-bogey seven after discussions with European Tour Senior Referee Andy McFee. Tiger had taken a drop from an embedded ball on the 5th hole after his tee shot had gone way right. Tiger asked Martin Kaymer about the embedded ball and they both agreed that he could get relief, citing rule 25/2 Embedded Ball. Tiger explained;

“I called Martin over to verify the ball was embedded. We both agreed, but evidently it was sand. It’s tough, I didn’t get off to a very good start and I fought hard. I battled back and got it to where I thought I could play the weekend, and thought I might have a chance, just post two low rounds. But I won’t be able to do that.”

As no referee was involved at the time, some spectators later asked a referee why Tiger was allowed a free drop, because the ball was in sand. The referee involved and Andy McFee investigated the incident, this is how he explained it;

“Tiger hit his tee shot on the fifth way out to the right and when he got over there to the ball, he called Martin Kaymer over and said, ‘look, I’ve got an embedded ball here’. So Martin came and had look at it, agreed the ball was embedded;  Tiger proceeded under the embedded ball rule, dropped the ball and played on.  No referee was involved in that situation.  It was only later that a couple of spectators walking past the referee who had seen that asked, ‘Why did Tiger get a drop there?’  and the referee didn’t know.  Obviously no referee was involved but we suspected it might have been embedded ball.  So we went and had a look at the area and thought, well, embedded ball rule just does not apply in that rule. The embedded ball rule is for a closely mown area, only.  There’s a note to that rule, which all the major tours in the world use, which extends embedded ball relief to through the green, but that is very specific in that it says, in ground other than sand. So wherever you are, you do not get a relief for a ball which is embedded in sand, and that’s just a bad lie and you have to play it. Obviously we want people to deal with rules issues themselves, providing they get it right, but unfortunately in this one, they didn’t, and it incurred a two-stroke penalty.”

Meanwhile Justin Rose is the tournament leader, adding a second round  69 to his opening round of 67 and at -8  under par was one shot ahead of Welshman Jamie Donaldson, Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen.

Justin Rose  (Getty Images)

Justin Rose / Getty Images

Justin said he had to play a patient game;

“I felt like my game definitely sharpened up, when you have perfect distance control you know you are swinging it well. I thought it was a decent enough score to keep the momentum going. I was pin-high probably eight times, but kept leaving myself awkward distances and had to keep patient.”

BMW Italian Open, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano Wins

Fernandez-Castaño storms to victory

                                                  Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano/Getty Images

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño  finished with an -8 under par round of 64, and a BMW Italian Open  score of -24 under par total to hold off the challenge of Garth Mulroy to win by two shots.

Sunday’s final pairing were neck-and-neck for much of the final round, but Garth unfortunately suffered a  5-5 finish, which ultimately proved decisive at Royal Park I Roveri in Turin. Although Gonzalo was happy with the win he was still disappointed at not making the European Ryder Cup team;

“Not making the Ryder Cup was disappointing, I had a victory, two second-placed finishes and one third, and it hasn’t been good enough. It’s tough. You have to play well in the big events, and that’s what I didn’t do this year unfortunately. I have talked to Olly about The Ryder Cup many, many times. I can laugh about it now, but it hasn’t been easy. I just needed to believe in myself and put The Ryder Cup out of my head, which I’ve done this week. I changed my schedule a little, I normally travel on a Tuesday but I arrived here on Wednesday, mainly because I wanted to see the kids start school. It was a completely different frame of mind for the week. I didn’t know the course, so everything was new to me. I just followed my caddie’s instructions and it worked. The main thing was my attitude. I didn’t get to frustrated out there or try too hard. I just let it happen. It felt like match play out there and I’m delighted to have come out on top, it feels very special to win this tournament again. I thought maybe 22 under par would have been good enough, but the way Garth and I were playing it was crazy. We kept holing putt after putt and it had a match play feel, which was fun. I have to congratulate him because he has played great. We had a great battle.”

Garth Mulroy’s last round of -5 under par  67 was enough to finish two shots clear in second place, with Gregory Bourdy and home favourite Matteo Manassero sharing third after matching 65’s and a tournament total of -20 under par. Garth said he felt he played well;

“I played well, but Gonzo’s putter was a little hot for me today, we were making birdie after birdie and it was fun. The 17th got me in the end there, but I’m happy and I played well. He went through a seven hole stretch where he made six birdies. It forces the other player to make birdies too. The last two days have been very fun.”

Nicolas Colsaerts finished in a share of fifth with Medinah bound teammate Martin Kaymer, Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and England’s Gary Boyd. Nicolas said he is in good shape and playing well ahead of the Ryder Cup at Medinah;

“I feel pretty good, I had a fantastic start which was just what I wanted, to go deep under par after only a few holes. Two bad swings broke my momentum, and on a course like this where everyone makes birdies everywhere, momentum is very important and it feels like you’re losing ground. But I finished well again, which was what I wanted. It helps being able to go through the week in a very cool, calm way, without thinking about qualifying for The Ryder Cup. My goal was to play these two events and to keep going, keep playing and keep the good dynamic I’ve had all year. I wish I could’ve done a little better here, but it’s fulfilled the goal of continuing to play well before going to Medinah. I have a lot of good vibes.”

Gary Boyd produced the shot of the day when he holed his six iron second shot to the eighth green for an albatross, his spectacular round of 63 propels him into the top 115 on The Race to Dubai, and serves as a timely boost to his hopes of keeping his card;

“That’s probably the best I’ve ever played in my career. It was a nice start and then I really got the round going with an albatross at the eighth. At that point I was thinking that maybe I was back in the tournament with a chance to win. There’s a lot of pressure at this time of year and to have practically got over the line this week, with still a few tournaments to go, is a good feeling.”

BMW Italian Open 3rd Round in Turin

Garth Mulroy  (Getty Images)

                                                             Garth Mulroy/Getty Images

Garth Mulroy of South Africa  will take a one shot lead into the final round of the BMW Italian Open at  Royal Park I Roveri golf course in Turin, after his -6 under par third round of 66. Garth had seven birdies and only his second bogey of the week in moving to -17 under par and top spot on the leaderboard. Earlier in the week Garth had spoken about the South African feel to the  Royal Park I Roveri golf course, and yesterday said how comfortable he was playing it;

” I said on the first day the course reminds me a lot of a South African course, the trees, the shape, and the ball goes a little further too.
I haven’t played so well this year. It would be a big thing to win on mainland Europe, especially with the purse here and the two-year exemption. I don’t win very often so I’d take any win.  I’ve played quite a bit with Gonzalo. We’ve been drawn together a few times and have played together a few more at the weekend. I enjoy it and I like his caddie too, he’s a funny guy. I feel very comfortable out there.”

In second place, just one shot adrift is Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, he managed to birdie the last two holes for a round of 67, and to be 16 under, the highlight  of his round was undoubtedly a 70 foot eagle at the long eighth hole. Gonzalo was not happy with his unforced errors, two of which were due to putting his ball in the water;

” I played well but I had a few unforced errors which cost me a few shots, but two birdies to finish on the last two holes has put me back in contention and I’m in a great position for tomorrow. It’s not going to be an easy task. There are a lot of players within four shots, and this is one of those courses where you can go really low if you have a good day. So I will need to play well again tomorrow and go low, especially to put some pressure on Garth, who is playing great. He’s hitting the ball beautifully and his putting is fabulous. It’s going to be hard to beat him tomorrow.”

European Ryder Cup stars Nicolas Colsaerts and Martin Kaymer remain firmly in contention on -13 under par. They are joined by the home town favourite Matteo Manassero, overnight leader Richard Bland, Welshman Phillip Price and France’s Grégory Bourdy.

BMW Italian Open, 2nd Round

BMW

Richard Bland  (Getty Images)

Richard Bland /Getty Images

Richard Bland birdied the last three holes of his second round to put himself into the halfway lead at the BMW Italian Open at Royal Park I Roveri  in Turin. Richard is unfortunately yet to win on The European Tour despite ten years of trying,  he now has a fantastic chance to break his duck here at the BMW Italian Open  after a -6 under par second round of 66 took him to -12 under par in the tournament. Apart from  trying to secure a first title, Richard is also in need of a good week to retain his place on The European Tour for 2013. He currently lies 126th on The Race to Dubai, and only the top 115 keep their cards. Richard commented;

” I’ve had a tough couple of years, but that’s behind me now and I’m just trying to move forward and improve every day. When it wasn’t going my way on the front nine, I didn’t panic. I knew there were chances out there and it was just a question of waiting. I don’t go for the panic button which I might’ve done five or six years ago. There’s still 36 holes to go, all it is right now is a great position. There are great players behind me, its low scoring, so two 70s isn’t going to get it done. I’ll probably have to shoot ten under from here, but that’s a good thing. You’ve got to keep making birdies, you have to keep your foot on the accelerator. It was a strange day because I birdied the first then struggled to get anything going, I missed a couple of chances and struggled to get the pace of the greens.

” But I holed a nice putt at the 14th for birdie, then hit a couple of shots really close at the 16th and 17th, then hit two great shots at the 18th. It all happened at once really. You’d expect in a 66 that you’d hit a lot of really good shots, but I’m hitting a lot of okay shots. I’m not putting myself in any problems, which is great, but on this course you have a lot of short irons and you feel like you should be hitting it close all the time. I’m leading and I’m not going to complain, but I feel there’s a lot of room of improvement. When you don’t feel like you’ve got your A-game and you’re 12 under and leading, it’s fantastic. If I can get my swing clicked into place, it should be a good weekend.”

There are four players in second place at -11 under par, and just one shot behind the leader, they are;  Grégory Bourdy,  Gonzalo FernandezCastano, Garth Mulroy and Marc Warren.

Fernandez-Castaño admitted the advice of Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal had helped his putting in a round of 65.

” Olly  helped me with my putting two years ago, when he recommended that I putt with my feet together. Last year I had another tip from a fellow Spaniard, telling me to use the claw grip, and it has made a massive difference. I’ve been working with psychologists too, but it’s not until you see the ball rolling into the hole on a regular basis that your confident levels go up and you believe you can putt.”

Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal made the cut on the mark at four under, as did defending champion Robert Rock.