Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, 2nd Round

Branden Grace  (Getty Images)

Branden Grace/getty images

Branden Grace cemented his place at the top of the leaderboard in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland on Friday with a 2nd round score of -5 under par 67, on the St Andrews Old Course. Branden now has a total tournament score of -17 under par, 5 shots clear of the two players tied in second place on -12 under par. Branden suffered his first bogey, on the fourth hole at the home of Golf, but then bounced back with six birdies on the day;

” As soon as I made the birdie at the fifth I settled down and got things going and the form of yesterday kicked in. The putts kept going in and I made three 25 footers which was nice.I think the way I’m playing and hitting the ball I’m looking forward to playing Carnoustie. The putter is going and I’m looking forward to it.”

The two players who are five shots back are Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and Sweden’s wonderfully dressed Joel Sjoholm, his plus fours outfit is totally in keeping with Scotland and Links courses.

Joel Sjoholm  (Getty Images)

Joel Sjoholm/getty images

Joel played himself into contention on day two of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a second round -5 under par 67 on the Old Course at St Andrews. Joel said he loved the course at St Andrews;

“It was a pleasure, this was the first time I have played 18 holes at St Andrews, so it’s been an absolutely fantastic adventure for me.
It has been a really good day.  Now I honestly understand why everybody’s talking so much about it, and I don’t know the history, so you cannot quiz me on that, but I guess that on a course like this a lot of things can happen. I can see myself that today I’ve been a little bit lucky, I’m hitting drives, they might be in the bunker or all these bushes everywhere and we find them and some guys might just stripe it in the fairway.  This course is absolutely amazing.”

Thorbjorn, an equally strikingly dressed golfer, usually in very bright dazzling colors, remained near the top of the leaderboard for second day with his round of -3 under par 69 on the challenging Carnoustie Championship Course. Thorbjorn was happy with his good play over the two days. He spoke about the good friendship his has with Joel and how that rivalry inspired him on his last hole of the day, to go for a birdie and tie Joel for second spot;

“It’s been good the last two days, definitely, I hit a lot of solid drives and good irons too.  I actually thought I left a few out there today,         it could have been a few more but three under is still a good score at Carnoustie. I was standing on the last three holes and I thought, ‘I need to make a birdie just to tie him, It was quite funny. We have a really good friendship and I think that’s good for our games also.”

Paul Casey had some fun with a stray dog on the course at Kingsbarns;

Paul Casey  (Getty Images)

Paul Casey/getty images

Paul said of his encounter with the dog;

” The wee dog was roaming around this morning on the first tee when we teed off 10, so we got to the 12th fairway, the dog is running around, and to be honest it just looked like it was a little bit lost. So I went over and made friends with it on the back of the 12th green and next thing I know, the thing runs over and picks up my ball.  I had about 30 feet for eagle.  I was trying to get him to put it in the hole, but then he ran off with it up the hill toward the 13th tee. There was a moment when panic set in when I was wondering if I would have to play it where I found it!”

Another aside to a splendid day was from American Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 22 medals. Michael can add to his tally of records with his first record of his  new career sport of golf. He has entered the record books for making the longest putt ever televised, with a 159 foot putt at the 6th hole on the Kingsbarns course in this tournament.

BMW Italian Open, Rd1 Joel Sjoholm Leads

Sjöholm stars on opening day

                                                                Joel Sjoholm /Getty Images

Swede  Joel Sjoholm put behind him his last two tournaments with missed cuts, to lead the BMW Italian Open in Turin by one shot, his -8 under par opening round of 64 gave the 27-year-old that advantage. Joel said afterwards that he felt he could have played better;

” I want revenge, the last two weeks I actually played quite good golf. Normally when I score well, I have to putt well. The last few weeks I’ve putted quite poorly and missed the cut by one stroke. Both times I felt like I had a good chance to make the cut, but you have to forget and keep moving on. I hit it basically everywhere. I was in the woods a lot and made some funny birdies today. It was a big, fighting 64 rather than a solid 64, but it’s great fun to be eight under. I know that I have to play better golf tomorrow, I’m not going to make these sort of birdies four rounds in a row.”

Joel has a one shot lead over England’s Lee Slattery, whose opening effort of -7 under par 65 gave him second place on his own.                 Lee said he tends to play well on this course at  Royal Park I Roveri;

“It’s a place I always play well for some reason, I think I’ve had two 65s round here before. Last week in Holland, although it’s a great golf course, I tend to struggle on it, whereas this week I can see the shots. It’s nice to open the shoulders a little bit, which you can do here because the rough is not thick.”

Francesco Molinari’s -4 under par, 68 was the best score of those heading to The Ryder Cup in a fortnight’s time. Francesco was the 2006 winner of this event, and he was two shots better than German Martin Kaymer and Captain José María Olazábal, while Nicolas Colsaerts was a shot further back on one under.

“It’s fun playing in front of the home crowd, but there’s a lot of pressure and everyone wants you to do well. It would be nice to give them a nice week, but it’s quite tough. It was nice to spend some time together with Nicolas Colsaerts and Martin Kaymer and I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun in America as well. We talked a little about a few things, but not too much.”

European Tour, BMW International Open, Willett with One Shot Lead

Danny Willett (-12) - BMW International Open day 3  (Getty Images)

Danny Willett -12, BMW International Open  Getty Images

Danny Willett of England is gunning for his first European Tour win at the BMW International Open on the Gut Larchenhof golf course in Cologne. Danny leads by one shot after a third round -3 under par, 69 for a tournament total of -12 under par.Compatriot Chris Wood is just behind, and he is joined at tied in second place at -11 under par by the second round leader Joel Sjoholm of Sweden.

Danny was very talkative in interview, pleased with the way he had the ball under control all day;

“I got the ball under pretty good control most of the day. The wind was whipping around a bit but I drove the ball great which makes it a lot easier around this golf course. If you want to be in contention, you have to have things go your way a little bit. It’s good to be back in a position where I feel like I should be. Tomorrow is just a case of making sure you go through everything properly, make sure you get the right numbers in your hand and you have the right feeling for the shot and see what you can do. Regardless of tomorrow, we have got a spell of four really good weeks, Open Qualifying Monday, and then we go Ireland, France, Scotland and then there are some great events at the end of the season. So I’m just looking forward to being able to play probably another 12 or 13 events on my schedule this year, fairly fit, lots of training and get on a really good leap forward from where I’ve been.”

Aussie Marcus Fraser has been hovering around the top of the leaderboard all tournament, and at only two back is still in contention;

“I played really well at the start and gave myself a lot of chances. I missed a couple of putts but overall pretty happy. I scrambled pretty well from the start of the back nine and managed to birdie the last which capped off a good day. Yesterday was good in my mind in that I didn’t put myself out of the tournament, because I didn’t play great, and could have quite easily been well back but made a few putts and stayed in there. Today I played well and got back into it, so it was a good day.”

Tomorrows final round will be a good contest, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

European Tour BMW International Open 2nd Round. Swede Joel Sjoholm Leads.



Joel Sjoholm (-11) - BMW International Open day 2  (Getty Images)

Joel Sjoholm / Getty Images

Joel Sjöholm of Sweden has a two shot lead at the halfway stage of the BMW International Open as he eagerly seeks his first European Tour title. Joel had a wonderful second round at the Gut Lärchenhof golf course, with two eagles and four birdies for a  -6 under par, 66, and a tournament total of -11 under par. The snappily dressed Swede is happy to be at the top of the leaderboard;

” Now I saw that I’m up there, and of course it’s going to be a new situation for me. But then I watched a lot of Euro Cup the last two or three weekends, I’ve seen what happens after four or five minutes, and I’m happy to be on top at the moment, but I would rather be on top on Sunday. I’m just enjoying this so much, I don’t really think too much about it. It’s just a great feeling and a fantastic tournament. I’ve always played here in Germany, and it was good to play well at the new venue.”

Chris Wood is one of the four players tied for second spot at -9 under par, he is happy to be in contention;

“It’s always nice to put yourself in contention. Nothing beats it really, and the more and more you can do it, the more chance you have to win and hopefully one will come along. The results haven’t really backed up the way I’ve played. I’m finishing top twenty with what I feel is top ten, top-five form really. I’ve just got to stay patient and wait for that to happen.”

The others joining Chris are; Danny Willett, Paul McGinley and Fabrizio Zanotti, and all have a real chance to go on and win this title, I personally would like to see the elegantly dressed Joel Sjoholm step up and take the win.

The highest ranked player in the field this week, Martin Kaymer, has missed the cut. It seems he could not recover from the jet lag he suffered on the trip back from the States to Europe. Martin missed the -1 under par cut line by just one shot, finishing his two rounds in par.