Alstom Open. Three-Way Tie in Paris.

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There is a three-way tie at the top of the Alstom Open leaderboard in Paris at Le Golf National. Home favorite Victor Dubuisson is joined by Martin Kaymer and Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

Alstom Open

Victor Dubuisson / Getty Images

Victor carded a second round -1 under par 70, in windy conditions, to join Rafa and Martin at the top of the Alstom Open leaderboard at -4 under par for the tournament.

Victor,  whose only previous European Tour victory came in the 2013 Turkish Airlines Open, said you can not make a mistake on this course, and he hopes his good putting will help him to win;

“I played very well.”

“On this course, when you start to make one bogey, two bogeys, then you think that it can turn really bad, but I had a great round and I’m very happy about the way I played today.”

“It was really tough out there with the wind this afternoon. You can’t afford any mistakes.” 

“It’s great support but I’m so focused on my game I don’t really look around; I can feel the support.

“I will have to play again very well tomorrow, and if the putting is good it can be a good result.”

Martin, who is an ex Champion here, in 2009, said it has been a while since he was in contention for a win;

“Obviously I enjoy this golf course and have had success here.”

“It’s been a few months since I’ve been in one of the last groups of a tournament.”

“The crowds are behind me and playing with Victor the last couple of days was good fun, too. A lot of people were following our group, so I think it’s going to be an exciting weekend.”

Alstom Open

Martin and Victor / Getty Images

Rafa reported that anything under par on this tough course was good;

“Obviously the scoring has been good, two consecutive rounds under par on this course is very good.”

“It’s a very tough course. There is less rough this year, but it is still hard.” 

“The best thing about it is I haven’t had really much, much trouble. I’ve made some bogeys of course, but never put myself in position of shooting a high number.”

“Obviously some things have been going wrong because my scoring during the first two days, or even Saturday, as well, compared to Sunday is not quite the same. But I’m working on that.

“I’m going to keep knocking on the door and one day it will open.”

Francesco Molinari, Jaco Van Zyl and the English trio of Daniel Brooks, Tyrrell Hatton and James Morrison are all just one shot off the pace on -3  under par for the competition, and in all there are only 17 players under par for their two rounds.

Sadly defending champion Graeme McDowell’s bid for a hat-trick of titles here has ended, with a second round +7 over par 78 which had him miss the cut. He was joined on the way home by the fading star of Lee Westwood.

RBC Heritage. Every & G-Mac Lead.

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Matt Every and Graeme McDowell lead the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, at the end of day 1.

RBC HeritageRBC Heritage

 Matt Every & Graeme McDowell / Getty Images.

Matt chipped in for birdie, twice in a row, at six and seven on his way to his best round ever to share the lead in the RBC Heritage at -5 under par, following his opening round 66.

He did admit that his short game was awesome today;

“Man, my short game was, the best it’s been in a long time.”

“I saved a ton of shots, I probably shouldn’t have shot 5-under, more like even, but I’ll take it.”

“The Harbour Town course wasn’t playing that easy either, but I got a lot out of my game, for sure. It’s nice. I felt like I stole one; I probably stole five or six shots today.”

G-Mac, who has won here at Harbour Town said you have to be patient, and he was good at putting. he also had a -5  under par first round;

“I just felt really good on the greens, you just have to stay real patient.”

“You have to position your ball well at times; you have to be really aware of the wind on this golf course.”

Sangmoon Bae is in third place at -4 under par, and was happy to be back in contention after suffering a bout of poor ball striking recently, but a new coach has changed things around for him;

“I couldn’t play well the last couple of weeks because my ball-striking wasn’t great.”

“Ball-striking was really, really bad the last couple of weeks, but things are a little improved right now.”

“That’s why I played good today and played well last week at the Masters.”

“I couldn’t play well the last four or five weeks. I hit the ball, like, to the left, or very thin or fat.”

“I’m trying to focus on my short game and putting which is really important on this golf course. I’m still working on it, but a little came back.”

“Tee shot is really hard on this course, so I’m just trying to get a little wide space, left or right, not necessarily the center of the fairway, where it may be impossible to hit the green.”

“I didn’t try to shape shots a lot, no, these greens are really small, so I hit the ball to the center of the green, then make more birdies chances.”

It doesn’t matter where the pin is, I’m trying to hit it center of the green. Course management.”

Hometown boy Kevin Kisner is in a five-way tie for fifth place at -3 under par.

Kevin does not like poa annua greens, it makes it difficult for him to putt well;

“I’m glad to be back in the Lowcountry, my home state tournament, so excited to perform in front of family and friends.”

“I always struggle on the West Coast, a good ol’ Southern boy doesn’t putt on poa annua too well. I’m getting back to some grass that I like.”

“I started a trend Thursday in the right direction. This is probably about where I start playing my best in the previous years. Last year I did okay here, and then got on a run at Charlotte,Wells Fargo Championship, and the Byron Nelson. Hopefully, it’s going that way again.”

“Days like this, with blustery breezes in the morning round, you want to make all those birdie chances you get, because you know you’re not going to have that many opportunities.”

 

 

R&A Renegades Close The Open.

The Royal and Ancient have closed the door for many people in England on seeing The Open on national television. This is a national disgrace, the people have bought a TV licence but will now have to subscribe to SKY TV if they want to watch the national tournament.

The BBC golf presentation team, who give the best golfing coverage to be found, will become redundant. A sad end to anyone who enjoys the quirky quips and great knowledge of the game of Peter Alliss, the commentary team leader, Peter had this to say about the sad announcement;

“I know they (the R&A) do lots of lovely, lovely things but now when it comes down to the nitty-gritty they have dipped their hands into the money and that’s it. I don’t think there will be a golfer that won’t be bitterly disappointed at the news today.”

The Open

Peter with the BBC Team

Lee Westwood, who is currently leading the Malaysian Open, could not believe what the R&A have done;

 I cannot believe the Open isn’t protected as one of the crown jewels, that is an absolute disgrace.”

Graeme McDowell, who is also in Kuala Lumpur right now, feels sorry for anyone who expects to see The Open on national TV;

“I feel bad for anyone sitting at home with their TV licence and who will be robbed of Peter Alliss and the boys. The coverage from 7.30am to 7.30pm at night is special.”

For certain SKY will not be transmitting The Open for 12 hours a day, like the BBC do, and also you know the Sky coverage will be constantly interrupted by advertising.

Rory McIlroy knows it is all jut about the money;

 “I guess it’s just the way it’s gone, money talks, you know.”

The Open

Rory winning The Open

The people of England can put down The Open in July 2016 as the last one before golf stops being one of the major sports in the country and begins a long and agonising retreat to the margins.

Sky cannot be trusted, down here in New Zealand they have recently stopped transmitting the Premier League football, and have also removed Golf entirely from the program, so we basically get nothing.

The Open

The Open 2015 will be at St Andrews, the last one to be televised by the BBC.

BBC AND THE OPEN, A HISTORY IN NUMBERS

60 years since The Open was first broadcast on BBC — 1955 was the 84th edition of the competition.

1969 The first Open to be shown in color, with Tony Jacklin taking the Claret Jug.

267 The lowest 72-hole score, carded by Greg Norman in 1993 — his second victory at The Open.

6 British winners since 1955 — Tony Jacklin (1969), Sandy Lyle (1985), Nick Faldo (1987, 1990 and 1992), Paul Lawrie (1999), Darren Clarke (2011) and Rory McIlroy (2014).

£12m Total winners’ prize-money in BBC era. First prize in 1955 was £1,000.

1 in 5 people in the UK watched McIlroy win in 2014.

 

Malaysian Open. Westwood & Cañizares Lead at Half-Way Point.

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Lee Westwood & Alejandro Cañizares lead the Malaysian Open at the half-way point in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian Open

Lee Westwood / Getty Images

 Lee and Alejandro have a three shot lead at the top of the Malaysian Open leaderboard in Kuala Lumpur. Lee is putting up a sterling defense of his title, shooting a second round -5 under par 67, to reach his -11 under par tournament total.

Alejandro carded the round of the day, a -7 under par 65 to equal that -11 under par total and put himself firmly in contention, and said he was having fun, apart from his poor driving off the tee. It was the putting that saved him;;

“It was a lot of fun and I played really well, I wasn’t so good off the tee today, but I putted really well.” 

“I made some great up-and-downs when I missed a shot, and I’m very happy overall. I can’t wait for the weekend, it will be a lot of fun. 

“It’s a great position to be in and I couldn’t ask for any better; hopefully I can keep it going.”

Lee confirmed that he had played nicely again, and is feeling comfortable out on the course;

 “I played nicely again, it was pretty solid again and I probably only hit one poor shot all day, from the middle of the fairway on the fifth hole. I was going in with a five iron and blocked it right into the water.” 

“Other than that it was very good and I felt very comfortable out there. I hit a lot of fairways and some good iron shots and made some nice putts.”

“It was great to birdie two of the last three and go from one in front to three in front.”

These two are are three shots clear of the  in-form Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who occupies third place on his own at -8 under par, a second round of -6 under par 66 keeping him in touch with the leaders;

“Sometimes you get in a groove and play well and things happen for you, and I just hope it lasts a long time.” 

Peter Lawrie and  Paul Waring are tied for fourth on -7 under par, Paul carded a hole in one on the 199 yard par three 15th. Graeme McDowell is two shots further back in eighth place on -5 under par for the competition.

 

Malaysian Open. Two Tied at the Top.

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Lee Westwood and defending Champion Graeme McDowell are the two players tied at the top of the Malaysian Open leaderboard a the end of day 1 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

Malaysian Open

Lee Westwood / Getty Images

Lee and Graeme, Ryder Cup team-matesboth had opening rounds of -6 under par 66 to sit on top of the Malaysian Open leaderboard, a one shot advantage.

Lee was happy with his round, especially his putting;

“I’ll take that,I putted very nicely and started the ball on line well, I left a couple short in the middle when I was fooled by the grain, but overall I’m very happy.”

“It’s probably the toughest I’ve ever seen this golf course play.”

“It’s in very similar condition, the wind just made it that little bit harder, not the fact it’s blowing particularly hard, but that it’s changing direction. It gets very confusing.”

Defending Champion Graeme was also very happy with the start to the defense of his title;

“ I’m pretty happy, I hit the ball great today, drove it well and gave myself a lot of looks for birdie.” 

“Generally I’m very, very happy with that start. I’ve liked the way this golf course looks from the start and I enjoyed playing it this morning with good company from the boys; it’s a solid start.”

“This morning I was really trying not to over-react to any mistakes I made. It really is too hot to get mad out there, so you have to keep your emotions under control and obviously stay hydrated and cool and try to embrace it.”

“I work off the course over the winter improving some things physically and in my swing, and things seem to be clicking really well.”

“It is early days, but I’m feeling relaxed and my attitude’s good too. If I can continue that for the rest of the year then good things will come.” 

Tied in third place at -5 under par following their first rounds of 67 were Tommy Fleetwood and local favorite  Danny Chia.

Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley was among those on -3 under par after his impressive round of 69, in his first European Tour outing of the 2015 season.

 

Omega Desert Classic. Rory Romps to the Top.

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Rory McIlroy romps to the top of the Omega Desert Classic leaderboard in Dubai.

Omega Desert Classic

Rory in the Pink / Getty Images

Rory was in the pink as he carded a -8 under par 64 to lead the Omega Desert Classic at the half-way point with a -14 under par tournament total. Victory here in 2009 at the Emirates Golf Club was the catalyst that set Rory on his way to  three wins, two of them Major Championships followed with a hat-trick of runner-up finishes in his last six European Tour tournaments.

The World Number One reported that he had not played his best, but going bogey free was a bonus;

“I couldn’t ask for much more: bogey free, made birdies, and set myself up for a good run over the next couple days.”

“I didn’t play my best but I definitely improved from tee to green out there and was able to make some putts. It was a great round and I’m going to need something similar over the next couple of days to stay in the position that I’m in.”

“I’m in a great position, obviously. But there are so many people that are close to the lead and it’s so bunched up there. ” 

“Even though I’m in the lead, there’s so many people still in with a chance if they shoot a good round tomorrow. I’ve just got to go out there, stay aggressive, stick to the game plan and try to make as many birdies as I can.”

“I saw a stat yesterday, that since the first round of The Open, I’ve played 45 rounds and a third of them were 66 or better, which just shows you the level that I am at. I’ve put the work in and I’ve worked hard; I continue to work hard and this is the result, which is nice.” 

In second place at -13 under par for the competition is Marc Warren, he scored a -7 under par 65, and is happy that things appear to be going well;

“It seems to be going well, at this moment in time I’m comfortable in my swing and pretty free mentally, so I just hit the shots that I see: it’s a nice place to be.”

There is a two-way tie for third place between Seve Benson and Graeme McDowell, both players at -12 under par and by no means out of it. Defending champion Stephen Gallacher, former World Number One Lee Westwood and overnight leader Bernd Wiesberger are a shot further back at -11 under par.

The standard of play here at the Emirates Golf Club is exceptional, and there will be many twists and turns in the next two days on the tightly compacted leaderboard.

 

Hero World Challenge. Jordan Jogs Along

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Jordan Spieth jogs along at the top of the Hero World Challenge tournament, in what was a rain delayed second round, and he has yet to complete the round tomorrow morning.

Hero World Challenge

Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

The rain delay, which eventually caused the suspension of round two, did not bother Jordan, he got to -5 under par for the day, with a hole still to complete, with a tournament total of -11 under par. 

He said he was glad he did not hit that last shot;

“It was a good idea to hit that pitch tomorrow.”

Play was initially halted at 2.54 pm, and restarted at 4.20 pm. The delay caused most damage to Henrik Stenson who before the stoppage was on cruise control, he go it to -11 under par. After the break he made bogey on two holes and struggled all the way to the end, finishing in second place at -9 under par.

Patrick Reed and Justin Rose had the best two rounds of the day, a 63 for Patrick and 64 for Justin, they are tied in third place on -8 under par.

Patrick was playing alongside Tiger, a new experience for him in tournament play. It worked well for him, a -9 under par 63 set a new course record;

 “I was thinking in the 50’s after 10, for sure.”

“I never played with Tiger before besides in a practice round at the British. It was good to finally be able to play with him, especially in competition.”

“Back when everyone was really struggling when they were playing with Tiger, that was when he was also just absolutely dominating the game.”

“I feel like now, because of how mentally strong he was, and us growing up watching that, and how he played, I feel like a lot of young guys now have the same mentality. Don’t really care who they’re playing with.”

Henrik was not too disappointed at his position;

“You’re not winning anything on a Friday, we’re still at the races.”

“Thinking about Santa Claus gets me energized, I guess, I think every player can have stretches where you feel like you’re playing better.”

“I guess in previous years I’ve done pretty well late in the year.”

These guys played their last few holes in the dark, and it cost them, Graeme McDowell was running to the last tee, to get his ball into play before the horn went. The tee shot found the bunker, and it ended up costing him a shot.

Tiger had a better round today, a -2 under par 70, but that still left him at the foot of the 18 man leaderboard, he unfortunately is still chunking chip shots;

“It really didn’t feel that much different than yesterday, I hit probably two less worse shots than I did yesterday, but I struck the ball solid yesterday and I did again today.”

“That’s also part of going through the swing changes, chip shot is a smaller version so this is a different pattern than I have been using and it’s showing up. It’s not quite ready yet. Just going to take more time, more practice.”

“I think that I would like to shoot two really low rounds this weekend and get a W out of here, but if that’s not the case, then that’s not the case.”

It is strange how the mass media elevate anything about Tiger to the top story, even on the PGA TOUR website the headline is Jordan leads, but they show a picture of Tiger with a story about how he is playing. Someone on the internet posted this about the TV coverage: Jordan is -8 through 10 holes, and you show a highlight of Tiger. Pitiful.