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Seve Trophy. Continentals Win At Last.

The Continental Team at last won The Seve Trophy, after a 13 year wait for victory, in a thrilling match in Paris.

The European team celebrate their Seve Trophy by Golf+ victory  (Getty Images)

The Happy Continental Team, with Captain José María Olazábal holding the Trophy / Getty Images

This thrilling event was decided by the result of the final singles match at Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche, after the two teams had entered the last day locked together at 9 points a piece.

Reviving last years Medinah heroics, it was Francesco Molinari in the anchor role who completed victory, beating Chris Wood 3 and 2 to secure a 15-13 win.

Francesco was happy to be on the winning side and inspired by his Captain;

” He’s amazing. He’s one of the most inspiring figures in golf, not only European, but in the world of golf. Every time he speaks, everyone is listening carefully. He’s just as inspiring as anyone can be. It feels great, for us, for all the times that we have lost in the past. I played the last two before this, and it’s never a good feeling to finish on the losing side. We tried really hard, they played great yesterday afternoon to get back into it and it was all to play for today. It was funny yesterday when Olazábal was reading the list, I kind of knew I was going to be last, but I was waiting every name, hoping to hear mine, and I didn’t until the tenth spot.  But it’s great for us and for everyone.I tried to stay away from the leaderboards as much as possible, but then obviously you see everyone coming up to your match and watching you. I tried not to do the math, so I just realized here that I needed a half a point, so I wasn’t going to hit my putts too firmly. It’s good to finish in style with two birdies. You’ve got nine teammates here and the captain, and you don’t want to let anyone down. I’ve done it twice now going last in the singles, I don’t know if I want to do it again!”

International Team Captain José said it was an emotional moment;

“Very emotional, it’s been a tough day, Everything went to the last match. The boys really played well today and I’m very, very happy to have won the Seve Trophy this time. It was going to go down to the last three matches at least. We had a pretty good start, then Great Britain & Ireland took over and we started to see some reds on the board. But the boys kept their composure and played really well, especially these last few matches, they played really great golf. I think the first two matches were crucial, to get a point and a half out of those two, it was big.” 

A very disappointed GB&I Team Captain Sam Torrance had to admit his side lost to a better team o the day;

” They were very strong, we gave it everything, but came out just short.”

Congratulations to the International Team they deserved their win. A sad day for Great Britain and Ireland when you consider all the top stars who declined the invitation to represent their country.

 

Seve Trophy. José María Olazábal Looking For A Win

 Continental Europe Captain José María Olazábal is looking for a win against Great Britain and Ireland, Captained by Sam Torrance. José is acutely aware that they have not won the Biennial Seve Trophy for six straight years.

Jose Maria Olazabal, and Sam Torrance  (Getty Images)

Who Will be holding the Seve Trophy in Victory ? / Getty Images

José is going send his most experienced pair out first, trusting that having  the home advantage at St-Nom-La-Bretèche, in Paris, coupled with his most seasoned campaigners will put the first point on the board for Continental Europe.

José admits that Continental Europe do not have a very good record in the Seve Trophy;

“Our record is not very good in this event, but we are here this week to change that. We are here to win, we have a strong team and that’s our goal this week. We have a little bit of experience in this team, players who have played Ryder Cup, and it is going to be a good match.”

Thomas Björn and Miguel Angel Jiménez will be carrying the burden of early success for José and the Continental Team. Miguel has competed in all seven of the Seve Trophy contests, while Thomas has missed only one. The pair have have a combined total of 59 Seve matches between them. Continental Europe have not won this event since the inaugural contest in 2000.

Facing them for GB&I will be a Scots pairing, the experienced Paul Lawrie and rookie Stephen Gallacher, a baptism of fire for Stephen.

Sam thinks GB&I have a great chance to continue their winning streak;

“It is fantastic to be here and an honor to be Captain. I’ve got a good, young team that are desperate to get out and get some points.  The pairings were pretty easy.  They were all pretty compatible.  I tried to put people I thought were good friends, played practice rounds together, to try to make them feel more comfortable out there and do the job that they do best. It is going to be a great match, exciting, and I think we have a great chance.”

The most experienced player of the GB&I team, is Paul Casey, with five events, he will also be partnered by a rookie, Simon Kahn. they will square up to  Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero. Francesco was in last year’s victorious European Ryder Cup team, and Matteo is the BMW PGA Champion. He was also the youngest ever contestant in this event, two years ago at age 18.

Opening Fourballs:
EUR Thomas BJÖRNMiguel Angel JIMÉNEZ vs Paul LAWRIEStephen GALLACHER GBI

EUR Mikko ILONENThorbjørn OLESEN vs Tommy FLEETWOODChris WOOD GBI
EUR Francesco MOLINARIMatteo MANASSERO vs Paul CASEYSimon KHAN GBI
EUR Joost LUITENGrégory BOURDY vs Jamie DONALDSONDavid LYNN GBI
EUR Nicolas COLSAERTSGonzalo FDEZ-CASTAÑO vs Marc WARRENScott JAMIESON GBI

Scottish Open. Chris Doaks Cruises To the Top

Chris Doaks cruised to the top of the leaderboard st the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links, Inverness, Scotland.

Chris Doak  (Getty Images)

Chris Doaks / Getty Images

Chris fired a second straight round of -6 under par 66, to take the halfway lead on 12 under par at the Scottish Open, and gave credit to his coach Bob Torrance;

” It’s absolutely phenomenal to shoot 66-66 in the first two days, you start the week thinking you want to go low but to actually do it is fantastic. I just feel it has been coming all year but just maybe haven’t put it all together. These two days, I’ve definitely put it together. It helps Bob being here, as well. He’s not at many tournaments now, so it definitely helps, makes a difference. It’s fantastic, to hear all the highland accents up here cheering you on, it’s fantastic. I’m sure there will be a big following at the weekend, people are up for it so hopefully there’s a lot more people.”

There are four players tied in second spot, just one shot back at -11 under par, they are, J.B. Hansen, Ross Fisher, Peter Uihlein and Matthew Southgate.

Matthew, who was working was working in Pockets snooker club in Southend just three years ago, equalled the lowest round of the day with a flawless -8 under par 64, and said he was nervous, but liked it that way;

I like getting a bit nervous and a bit tingly, that’s what I live for, if I am shaking like a leaf on the first tee tomorrow I will be enjoying it. It’s been a tough season, coming out of the Tour School you are thinking about making cuts but that’s a bit negative. I have been looking over my shoulder the whole time rather than playing to get into contention. I’ve done a lot of work on my putting and Robert Rock has been helping me out, but it’s a shame I can’t lie down on the green and use a snooker cue to knock them in! Every player needs a big break so if this can be mine bring it on.”

Peter is concentrating on playing at a pace he is comfortable with;

” It’s all about trying to get into contention and slow everything down and work at my own pace. I feel like a couple of times I just keep getting too quick and my mind races a little too fast. I feel the more I can get myself into that position, the slower I can make things.”

The Worlds Number Eight, Phil Mickelson, is four off the lead on -8 under par after a second round of  -2 under par,70. Phil will be hoping to improve his position tomorrow, to put himself in position to make a run at it on Sunday.

Missing the cut was Open Champion Ernie Els, just a week before his title defense at Muirfield. Joining Ernie on the early bird flight out of Scotland is Padraig Harrington and Jose Maria Olazabal.

The leaderboard is still bunched, will be interesting to see who breaks away on moving day, tomorrow.

Euro Tour. The Irish Open. Luiten Likes It.

Joost Luiten likes the way he is playing at The Irish Open on the European Tour, giving himself a one shot lead to take into the final round.

Joost Luiten   (Getty Images)

Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Joost fired a flawless bogey free round of -6 under par, 66, to take him into a clear lead going into the final round. Good approach play, all birdies were from ten feet or less, coupled with good putting put him into this precious position. He also likes this course;

” It was good to-day, a round in this wind with no bogeys is always good. It looks like I’m playing good, playing consistently. I don’t make a lot of silly mistakes, the game feels good. I like the course , obviously after three rounds if you’re leading you like it. The key is to stay out of the fairway bunkers. It’s always great to go into the last round of the tournament as the leader, but this is The Irish Open and perhaps bigger than some other events. I don’t really care who is behind me, as long as they stay behind me. You still have to go out and make some birdies, be patient and take it one shot at a time. It’s always good to have a win under your belt, you can go a little bit more for the win. You have nothing to lose so that’s how I am going to go out tomorrow. I’ve been working on my swing for a long time and am finally fully fit after a shoulder problem which meant I couldn’t practice as much on the range. It has been good for a couple of months and feels really good now.”

Pablo Larrazábal is alone in second place at -14 under par, he also had a third round of -6 under par 66, and at just one shot back is certain to mount a charge for the title. He is hoping he will strike the ball as well tomorrow as he has done the other three rounds, and continue making the putts.

” I’ve been playing good. The last month I didn’t play as good as the three months before, so I feel that I’m hitting the ball good, and I have to fight for the tournament. I hope tomorrow I can hit the ball as good as these days and hole as many putts.”

Robert Rock occupies third place, just three shots off the lead after his disappointing -1 under par round, leaving him on -10 under par for the tournament. He is still very much in this competition, and maybe Paul Casey can make an impression tomorrow. Paul is showing some form here and at -9 under par in total can not be ruled out of contention. Sharing that position with Paul is Scot Henry.

Another shot further back at -8 under par is former Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal, sadly halfway joint-leader Peter Uihlein slipped back to -7  under after a poor round of +2 over par 74.

UBS Hong Kong Open, Javi Colomo Leads, Rory McIlroy Languishes.

UBSydragon logo

Javier Colomo  (Getty Images)

Javier Colomo (Getty Images)

Javier Colomo from Spain, qualified for this event via his Asian Tour ranking, and produced an amazing -6 under par 64 to lead by one shot at the UBS Hong Kong Open on the Fanling Golf Course in Hong Kong. On the other hand the tournament favorite, World number one, and money winner on the European Tour and the U.S. PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy, also the defending champion here could do no better than a +3 over par 73.

Javier, who had his wife on the bag, was delighted with his play;

‘”I’m only here with my wife, the first six months it was very hard for me, and my wife, but now we are more comfortable and more happy, perfect. I played really, really good today from the tee, on the greens, everything,  I was very relaxed after the first nine holes, and I had opportunities for birdies and I had luck on the greens.Last year I lost my card on The Challenge Tour and my category in The European Tour, so there’s only one way to go to The European Tour. I had luck to get the card at the Q School on the Asian Tour and now I am 33 in the rankings. That’s perfect, because next year I will play the co-sanctioned tournaments with The European Tour. It’s a very good chance to improve, and why not to win a tournament and go to The European Tour?”

 

Rory said he felt lethargic;

“I just lacked a bit of energy out there, I felt a bit lethargic and mentally more than physically, if I am being honest. I bogeyed the first, but then just got more frustrated as the round went on. I just felt like I was hitting some decent shots and just not really converting any chances for birdies and I just let it go a little bit. I suppose after last week, and winning the Race to Dubai title, it was always going to be a bit of a letdown, I feel as though I am playing well enough, but I just need to get my head and the golf to match up and I’ll be OK.”

Struggles: Rory McIlroy found himself off the beaten track in the first round of the Hong Kong Open

Rory, playing left-handed from the  tree’s.

Rory has a lot of work to do tomorrow if he is to make the cut, unbelievable really, thinking that he could miss the cut, after the year he has had. It would be a sad end to the beautiful year.

Miguel Angel Jiménez, another Spaniard, is sitting in second place at -5 under par, he is tied there with Australia’s Andrew Dodt. Miguel, with a wry smile on his face,  joked about his age;

I am like a good bottle of Rioja, because I just get better and better with age. I’m putting very well and it’s a pity I missed a fairway on the ninth and then on the last got a big flyer. It’s an old-fashioned course, not very long, but you need to be very precise.”

Miguel was playing with another of those good golfers from Spain, Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal who is in the group at -4 under par after his round of 66,  José said he hit three poor shots on the day;

I hit three poor shots, but apart from those the rest of the game was pretty solid. Obviously I have to consolidate this the next few days, but it’s nice to have some signs like this one.”

Aussie Andrew Dodt reported he had just fired his round of the year;

“Possibly one of best rounds of the year, solid tee to green and rolled the ball nicely, it was very gusty in places, the wind. You really had to know where you were hitting it. It’s kind of similar to back home in Australia, it’s just a fun course to play.”

Leading Asian player is Lian-wei Zhang from China, who is very handily placed at -4 under par with the popular score of 66. Good Luck to Rory, I hope he plays well tomorrow and makes the cut.

Euro Tour, BMW Masters, China

 

Peter Hanson  (Getty Images)

Peter Hanson/ Getty Images

Peter Hanson has the second round lead in the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China, after shooting -8 under par 64 to secure the top spot at -14 under par for the tournament. Peter is two shots ahead of Rory McIlroy who surprisingly has not won a regular European Tour event since last year’s Hong Kong Open. Rory shot a second round -7 under par 65, but it was not enough to catch Ryder Cup teammate Peter, who unfortunately started the day with a bogey at the first;

It’s amazing how many good rounds come together after a bogey on the first. It’s pretty soft so you can see yourself shooting some low scores here. I’m happy with the way I played so far and I know it’s going to be a tough one coming up against the World Number One these last couple of days on a golf course he obviously loves.  He won here last year.” 

Rory was pleased he played better today than he did in the first round, the U.S. PGA Champion said;

It was a very good day, I played very well , a little better than I did yesterday. I hit the ball a lot better, and gave myself plenty of opportunities. When I did need to make a par putt here or there, I was able to save those, and overall it was just a very good round of golf and obviously in a great position going into the weekend.” 

Yesterday’s first round leader Jamie Donaldson could not repeat anything like his brilliant first round 62, slipping to a +2 over par 74 in the second round, and is now six shots behind the leader. Jose Maria Olazabal also struggled to a second round of 72, plunging from fourth position to twenty-first.

Robert Karlsson is in third spot with a second round -8 under par 64, and a tournament total of -9 under par, five shots from the top. There are four players on -8 under par, with Justin Rose are Shane Lowery, winner of the Portugal Masters two weeks ago, Noren Alexander and first round leader Jamie Donaldson.

Luke Donald had a better second round, a -5 under par 67, to move into a tie for eighth place, with a posse of seven other players, which includes other Ryder Cup players Martin Kaymer and Nicolas Colsaerts. Luke will need a really good third round if he is to contest this title. It has been another tournament where Luke has started slowly, he has made a bad habit of that this year.

European Tour, BMW Masters, China

 

 

Jamie Donaldson  (Getty Images)

 

Jamie Donaldson/ Getty Images

Jamie Donaldson leads the field after the first round of the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club, in Shanghai China, shooting a -10 under par 62, to lead by four shots from the chasing pack. Jamie who had a victory at the Irish Open in July, it was his first win in 255 European Tour events. Jamie was well pleased with his great round;

“It was one of those rounds where you hit every shot where you want to and every putt where you want to. I played great from the word go, hit a lot of fairways and put myself in really strong positions and capitalised when I had putts. I didn’t have many long putts, just played really well, and one of those days where everything went for me. It’s been a really good day. The course suits me. The fairways are quite generous and if you miss the bunkers you can play aggressive golf. It’s an awesome field, so I need to keep playing like that to stay ahead of them. The strength and depth across The European Tour nowadays seems to be very strong , it’s just particularly strong this week. I’m just going out there trying to play my own game and whoever I play with, I’m just trying to do what I do and control what I can control. I’ve just got to play well for the next three days to finish on top.”

There are two players tied in second place at -6 under par, they are Peter Hanson and Francesco Molinari, they are just one shot ahead of winning Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal, who is without a top ten finish since January, World Number One Rory McIlroy and  Michael Hoey, they all signed cards for -5 under par, 67s. José said he needed to improve his driving;

“It’s great to shoot a low round, hit a lot of good iron shots and had quite a few birdie chances, that’s why I managed to score well. Tomorrow and the next few days if I want to score well I will have to improve the driving.”

Justin Rose was round in -4 under par, 68, and Branden Grace shot a -2 under par, 70. Rory McIlroy can be leapfrogged by either Rose or Grace this week, but was delighted to steal a march on the pair after an impressive first round. Rory was especially pleased with his 9 iron shot to the last green;

Definitely a nice way to finish, I hit probably my best drive and my best iron shot of the day into the last, so always nice to finish like that.”

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood were in the group on -2 under par. Jamie has a real march on the rest of the field, but there is still a long way to go, it will be interesting to watch him and see if he can survive at the top for the next three days.

 

Ryder Cup 2012; Europe beat USA after record comeback

 

European Ryder Cup Winning Captain Jose Maria Olazabal

The Ryder Cup 2012 turned into a magical explosion of great golf as the European Ryder Cup Team produced a stunning final-day comeback to win the Ryder Cup at a shell-shocked Medinah Country Club on the final day of this wonderful competition, to beat Team U.S.A. I personally have to eat humble pie, after yesterday saying a betting man would not give Europe a chance, you can see why I am not a gambling man.

Team U.S.A.  only required four points from the 12 on offer on the last day, Team Europe somehow secured eight and a half to clinch a historic 14½-13½ win. German Martin Kaymer sank a five-foot putt on the 18th green to get his team to the 14 points needed to retain the Ryder Cup Trophy, before a Tiger Woods bogey in the final match gifted them overall victory.

Etched in the sky during the last day was a message about remembering  Seve,  so I guess it worked. Team Europe wore the trademark Seve Ballesteros colors for the final day, it was a fitting tribute. European Team Captain said,

Seve will always be present with this team. He was a big factor for this event, for the European side, and last night when we were having that meeting, I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing, and I think they did.”

This was the first time in three days that Team Europe had come charging out of the traps, Luke Donald going into an early two-hole lead over Bubba Watson and muting both his opponent and the crowd in the process. Then with Justin Rose also two up on Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy held off the previously unbeatable Keegan Bradley and the unsung hero Paul Lawrie taking early control against Brandt Snedeker. There was an entirely different atmosphere around the course than there had been on the first two one-sided days. Team Europe won the first five matches of the day, and that set the tone, and paved the way to Victory.

In the end  it came down to the last two matches on the final two holes, both matches were all-square and is was all square on the leaderboard.  None of the four, Martin Kaymer, Steve Stricker, Francesco Molinari or Tiger Woods, had won a single point between them all week. Then suddenly Steve Stricker three-putted on the 17th green and Martin Kaymer had a one-hole lead. Tiger Woods went one up on Molinari on the 17th which left Martin Kaymer two putts for the Cup, and he somehow held his nerve as the shadows lengthened to seal an extraordinary triumph. The usually noisy home galleries were silent with disbelief, as a dazed Tiger Woods blew two putts from within eight feet to hand Molinari a half point, and with it victory.

U.S.A. Team Captain Davis Love 111 said in disbelief;

“We know what it feels like now from the ’99 Ryder Cup, it’s a little bit shocking. We were playing so well.”

USA 13½-14½ Europe

Singles matches:

Watson lost to Donald 2&1

Simpson lost to Poulter 2 up

Bradley lost to McIlroy 2&1

Mickelson lost to Rose 1 up

Snedeker lost to Lawrie 5&3

D Johnson beat Colsaerts 3&2

Z Johnson beat McDowell 2&1

Furyk lost to Garcia 1 up

Dufner beat Hanson 2 up

Kuchar lost to Westwood 3&2

Stricker lost to Kaymer 1 up

Woods halved with Molinari

Ryder Cup Crowds Will Be Hostile, says Davis Love 111

U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III (left) and European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal (right) pose with the trophy in front of the clubhouse at Medinah

Team Captains Davis Love III,  USA and Jose-Maria Olazabal, Europe.

US Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III has intimated that Europe’s players should be prepared to expect a fiery reception from the packed home galleries as the USA Team battle to win back the Ryder Cup. Davis is a veteran of the infamously hostile crowds at Brookline 13 years ago, he said;

“When we travel over there it’s tough on us, and when they travel over here it’s tough on them. Chicago is an incredible sports town, and they are going to be fired up. The first tee could be the loudest any of these guys have ever seen. I expect a lot of passion, if we’re winning holes it’s going to get pretty loud out there, and that’s what home-field advantage is all about. We’ll try to get them going loud in our favour.”

Davis replied to suggestions that he has set the Medinah course up to favour his team;

” How do you get an advantage? we have 24 of the best players in the world, they are all pretty good at adapting to conditions. One thing I’ve never liked is rough. But the fans want to see a little excitement. They want to see birdies. We want to let these unbelievable athletes free-wheel it a little bit and just play. Medinah is such a big, long golf course, and I don’t think we wanted a lot of rough. It’s still going to be tough. But without the deep rough, it saves us the chip-outs and the grinding-it-out style of golf.”

Jose Maria Olazabal Ryder Cup Captain Europe,responded with these comments;

“I don’t see it as a disadvantage. We have always been a close team, and we have been in touch through the phone. They are all going to be there by the time I get to the hotel today. I think the teams are pretty much even, and I think it’s going to be a close match. There are no favorites. It’s obviously completely different to 15 years ago. Now they play over here, they are very familiar with the golf courses over here, with their opponents. They feel more comfortable about the whole situation of coming here to play the Ryder Cup. They realize that over the years they have been able to compete against the players here, and that boosts your confidence, which is a very important thing when you’re playing matchplay. This is a new Ryder Cup, we’re playing here against a very strong team, we’re playing away, the crowds will be rooting for the home team really strong so we have to be prepared for that. I’ve said it all along, I think the teams are pretty much even, and I think it’s going to be a close match. There are no favorites.”

There is a rumor that Jose will a pay a tribute to the late Seve Ballesteros by wearing Seve style trademark navy jumper and trousers and white polo shirt for Sunday’s singles matches, Jose did not confirm this story but simply said;

“I talked to Davis about that and he was very understanding. Seve is going to be there in our team in some way or form. We are going to miss him a lot. It’s the first time he is not going to be with us, and he was a special man.”

 

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.”

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