KLM Open. Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Lee Slattery Lead.

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Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Lee Slattery have the 54 hole lead at the KLM Open in Holland.

KLM Open KLM Open

Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Lee Slattery / Getty Images

Rafa and Lee both carded third rounds of -7 under par 63, to lead the KLM Open at Kennemer Golf & Country Club with -16 under par totals.

Rafa had a day of tap in birdies, in a mixed bag he also recorded a bogey;

“I sunk a very long putt on the first hole and after that all the other birdies were pretty much tap-ins.” 

“Even the bogey I had was a three-putt from five feet, so it could’ve been better, but I’m really pleased that everything went my way.”

“It was a bonus to hole my third shot for eagle on the seventh. I just threw my club up in the air because I didn’t know how to celebrate! I wasn’t expecting that.”

“It wasn’t frustrating making nine pars in a row. The only hole I felt I gave a shot away was the 12th.

“I hit a perfect drive in the middle of the fairway and had a six iron into the green but made a really poor shot. It’s a par five so I was expecting to make birdie there.”

“The rest of the holes I played well but the putts didn’t drop. It could’ve been one or two better but I’ll take 63.”

“It’s very exciting for tomorrow and it looks like I’ll be in the last group with Lee. Being in the final group on the last day is always an honor and very exciting.”

“I’ve felt this year I’ve been in this position more often than ever before in my career. It’s not always worked out, but I’m learning from my mistakes and working on them.”

“The more I put myself in that position the more comfortable I’ll be and the better I’ll play, simple!”

Lee, last week’s M2M Russian Open champion, also had a bogey on the day, but was very happy with his position, and a bit of luck coming his way;

“It’s like a dream come true at the minute. I went into last week with a lot of pressure on and won, and then I’ve come here with no pressure whatsoever and just been trying to play good golf.” 

“It’s a fabulous feeling and I feel a lot more relaxed this week than I was last week.”

“My first win in 2011 took a lot out of me because it was after years and years and years of hard work, and it was a lifetime ambition to win a European Tour event.”

“That was a special moment for me, but last week meant a lot to several other people as well, so that made it more special in some ways. It’s just been a lot of hard work and it’s finally paying off.”

“A lot of things went my way today. At 12 it looked like it was going to stay at the back of the green, which would have been a really difficult putt, but it rolled back down to about 15 feet and I managed to knock it in for eagle.”

“You need bits of luck when you do well in tournaments, so I’ll take them.”
Paul Lawrie is in third position, just one shot back at -15 under par, he had a bogey free -7 under par 63.

The leaderboard is very compacted, with five players within three shots of the lead, so it is really all up for grabs tomorrow, a great low round will win it.

M2M Russian Open. Lee Slattery Wins

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Lee Slattery wins the M2M Russian Open at Skolkovo Golf Club in Moscow.

M2M Russian Open

Lee Slattery / Getty Images

Lee won the M2M Russian Open, this was his second European Tour title. A final round -2 under par 69 giving him a tournament total of -15 under par. Lee carded all four rounds in the 60’s, and with pressure coming from behind chipped in for an important birdie at the 17th;

“To chip one in at such an important time meant so much and it shows that practice pays off eventually.”

 “It’s funny, the thing that has been letting me down most has probably been my short game in the last few months, so I’ve worked so hard at that.”

 “It has been a difficult year.

“It’s just nice to be able to finish the year off like this, with a win, knowing that I can plan next year now and hopefully get myself going again to where I belong, I feel.”

“Holing the long putt at 14 was crucial. I know that Tano (Estanislao Goya) bogeyed 13 and the other two guys hit good shots into the next and I thought, ‘if I can hole my putt on top of these two here, I’ll have a chance’, and I managed to do that and I just pushed on really. That chip in was massive.”

“It’s always nice to know you can hole a three-foot putt on the last to win a tournament, so that meant a lot.”

Estanislao Goya, from Argentina, finished in second place, just one shot off the pace at -14 under par. He birdied the last two holes to really keep the pressure on the Englishman;

“I played great the last three or four days.”

“After how I have started the year, this tournament gave me a real taste of it again and even though I was leading and I finished second, Lee played great and finished great to chip in at 17.”

“I did the best I could. I think I played great and he beat me by one. I’m pretty happy anyway.”

Defending champion David Horsey finished  a stroke further back on -13 under par, saying he just needed to hole some more putts and he would have been there again;

“It’s always nice to come back and do well, and put in another good performance.”

“It’s nice to be back in contention more consistently, so hopefully I can continue this for the rest of the season.”

“If I had holed a few more putts this week, it might have been a different story but sometimes you have those sort of weeks and you’ve just got to take the positives and move on.”


M2M Russian Open. Lee Leaps Into Lead.

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Lee Slattery leaps into the lead at the M2M Russian Open after 54 rain affected holes at  Skolkovo Golf Club in Moscow.

M2M Russian Open

Lee Slattery / Getty Images

Lee had a -4 under par 67 in the rain delayed third round at the M2M Russian Open, giving him a -13 under par total, and a two shot lead heading into the final round tomorrow.

Lee is one of only three players who have shot three rounds in the 60’s in this tournament, and another one tomorrow should see him lift the trophy;

“It’s very similar to my last win actually, I had a two shot lead there on the final day.”

“I remember losing the lead quite early but it pushed me on to play well again so it’s similar, similar feelings, and I’m just going to go out and enjoy it tomorrow.”

“It’s the old cliché, take it one shot at a time, that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.”

“I hit a really nice drive at 18, one of the best of the day, and then a three iron rescue which has been carrying all week.”

“It’s been a great club for me this week, especially on a lot of the par threes that play long. It was a nice way to finish the round off.”

Argentinian Estanislao Goya and Scotsman Craig Lee share second place, two shots back at  -11 under par for the competition.

Estanislao had a bogey free -4 under par 67, and was pretty happy with that;

“I’m very pleased, it’s a bogey free round again so I’m very happy about that.”

“It was tougher definitely, it was wet and played longer. The wind changed a little bit at times and the ball wasn’t flying as much.”

“I have a chance for tomorrow too so I’ll make the most of it. It’s the place I want to be, in the last group, to try to put some pressure on and hopefully I can have a good tournament.”

Craig said he got lucky with the draw, the delay did not affect him at all;

“I’m delighted with five under. I certainly would have taken it before we went out.” 

“Obviously the weather has been tough for the morning groups and we got the lucky end of the draw.”

“I had left my hotel when play had been suspended so I didn’t have to warm up in the rain but it’s been very testing.” 

David Horsey is in fourth place, and did what he was supposed to do on a Saturday, move up the leaderboard;

“Saturday is moving day so it is always nice to make a move up the leaderboard.” 

“I played nicely out there and I’m very pleased with my position going into the final day.”

“The delay was actually a bit of a blessing because it was hammering it down beforehand so that extra hour and a half helped me out a little bit and we hardly had any rain this afternoon.” 

“I’m playing nicely at the moment so I just have to stick to my game plan again tomorrow and see where I am coming down the stretch.”

Yesterdays leader Bradley Dredge dropped down the leaderboard, a +1 round of 72 was not what he wanted, now T5 at -9 under.


Volvo China Open. Magical Mikko In Front by Three.

A magical round of -9 under par, 63 has put Mikko Ilonen three shots clear of the field at the Volvo China Open.

Mikko Ilonen  (Getty Images)

Mikko Ilonen / Getty Images

Mikko put together a stunning second round at the Binhai Lake Golf Course to give himself a three shot breathing space between himself and second placed Brett Rumford and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Amazingly the two-time Tour winner managed to throw in a bogey on the round, at the 17th hole. Mikko now has a tournament total of -12 under par, with Brett and Kiradech sitting three behind on -9 under par.

Mikko reported that it had been a stress free round, with good putting being the key;

“I hit the ball better than yesterday, I gave myself a few more chances on the greens, especially on the back nine, and managed to take quite a few of them, so it was a very stress-free round today. I didn’t put myself in any trouble at all, which is always nice, and it’s nice to be three ahead going into the weekend. I’ve had a couple of other 63’s on the Tour before, but it’s difficult to compare. For example, I may have played better and only shot a 69. I’ve probably struck the ball better this year, but I don’t think I’ve putted better. It’s a good number of birdies definitely, I felt really good with my putter.”

Aussie Brett, who won last week, is enjoying his time in the limelight;

” This is a new week and another tournament. I feel good, my fitness is good and my energy levels feel nice and high, so hopefully I can ride the wave over the weekend and keep the good feelings going. It’s a nice feeling when you’re holing putts and seeing your name up near the top of the leaderboard. You’ve got to make the most of these moments when they come along, and I’m managing to do that at the minute.”

Thai Kiradech is full of confidence with his driver;

” My driver has done very well for the first two days, when you have the chance to hit it long and get on the greens in regulation then you have a good chance to do well. I think I made 17 greens today. I plan to play as much as I can in Europe this year. Winning in Malaysia gave me a lot of confidence, and I hope to keep that as I carry on this year. I will always try to do my best.”

The overnight leader of the tournament, Robert-Jan Derksen was a shot further back in fourth spot after a second round of -2 under par,70.  Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal and England’s Lee Slattery shared fifth place on -7 under par.

Missing the cut here at the Volvo China Open was the 12 year-old amateur Chinese player and Tour debutant Ye Wo-cheng, to his credit at +14 over par he was not the last player in the field. By complete contrast, sixteen year-old amateur Dou Ze-cheng not only made the cut, at -2 under par, but to the delight of the home crowd is the leading Chinese player in the 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.”

Handa Wales Open @ Celtic Manor, Ross Fisher Leads after 2nd round.

Ross Fisher  (Getty Images)

Ross Fisher (Getty Images)

Ross Fisher of England shot a -5 under par, 66, to lead the Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor by two strokes from yesterday’s first round leader Lee Slattery. Lee had an ordinary second round of just par following his 66 yesterday, while Marcel Siem had an awful +4 over par, 75 after his good start in the first round with a 68.

Ross likes this course, he said in interview;

“It’s always nice to come back to good hunting ground, familiar turf. The Ryder Cup was a great experience, I played really well that week and enjoyed it. There are certain spots that you think, yeah, the pin was there in The Ryder Cup, or I hit it here and holed this putt, or hit that shot from here.  You do try and remember those memories, and feed them into a positive outcome for this week.  I have some fond memories and I’ve had some decent results here, but it’s a course that I feel should suit me.

He explained about his shot into the par three third;

” I hit a nice six iron below the hole to about 12 feet, 15 feet and made that. I actually felt like I was going to hole that because I think either I had that putt or Poults had that in The Ryder Cup, so I knew exactly where I was going to hit it. There was no way I was missing that one.”

Lee Slattery had an eagle on the eleventh hole, which helped him recover from a wobbly start to the second round;

“I think the eagle on 11 was  the turning point in the round. The swing certainly didn’t feel as good as yesterday. I hit a lot of shots left but just managed to bounce back well.”

Ross is now at -6 under par for the tournament, with Lee Slattery at -4. Still in the hunt are three players on -3 under par, the are; Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay, Jaidee Thongchai from Thailand and England’s Chris Wood. Another name in the frame after the first round Tim Sluiter from the Netherlands also had a poor second round, a +1 over par effort that leaves him with a tournament score of -2 under par.

Dutchman Tim Sluiter remained upbeat despite bogeying three of his last five holes.

“On this course, anything around par is a good score. I’m very pleased where I am, and I kept myself in it.”

Handa Wales Open @ Celtic Manor, Lee Slattery leads after 1st Round

Lee Slattery leads the Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor after his opening round -4 under par ,67 on this par 71 layout in Wales. He leads by just one shot from Germany’s Marcel Siem and Tim Sluiter of the Netherlands. Marcel is the only German in the field this week and after a good start is in position to contend for the title. Strangely enough a Welshman has never won his National title, although they usually figure strongly in the event.

Alex Noren is bidding to make history by becoming the first player to successfully defend the ISPS Handa Wales Open, but at +10 for his opening round it is pretty safe to say he will not be around at the weekend.

Lee Slattery  (Getty Images)

Lee Slattery (Getty Images)

The thirty-three year old Lee Slattery’s performance comes just three days after shooting 66 at Walton Heath to earn himself a US Open Championship debut. Today he had only one dropped shot, but nobody got round unscathed, Lee  spoke of his day;

 “It was very difficult. The wind was stronger than anticipated and if you get round without a bogey it’s an amazing achievement.”

Lee is planning for a trip to San Francisco for the US Open;

I know Olympic Club is going to be difficult, but I’m really looking forward to it. It’s more the atmosphere. I remember The Open at Hoylake (his only previous Major was there in 2006) and I thrived on it.”

In-form German Marcel Siem,  who has already had five top-12 finishes this season and was in the lead going into the final round here two years ago, said:

“It was gusty, windy and there were firm greens, so three under was good.  It’s really nice to play out here. I love the course and I’ve had a lot of very good rounds here already. The greens are firm, which suits my high ball flight. You have to think a bit more around the course now because it’s a lot firmer and the traps are in play all of a sudden.”