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Lydia Ko, New Zealand’s Brightest Golfing Star

Lydia Ko and her Canadian Open Trophy/Getty Images

Lydia Ko is New Zealand’s brightest golfing star again this year, and while she intends to continue with her schooling, everyone his talking about her professional career to come in the future.

New Zealand Golf’s CEO  Dean Murphy said winning the Canadian Open was undoubtedly the greatest achievement ever by a New Zealand female golfer and it was a significant moment both in Lydia’s life and in the annals of New Zealand women’s sport.

“She’s playing the very, very best players in the world and at 15 she becomes the youngest ever winner of a tournament on that tour, so it’s enormously significant. Every time she plays she seems to rewrite history but this is right up there. This will be her most stunning achievement to date by a long, long way.”

This year 2012,  where Michael Campbell and Michael Hendry both improved their performances, and Danny Lee narrowly missed out on his PGA card, Lydia was still comfortably the star sports standout. She was the youngest ever winner on the LPGA Tour,  by more than a year, and the first amateur to win on the tour in 43 years.

Unfortunately Lydia  missed out on a share of the US$2m purse at the Canadian Open, but went on to earn individual honors at the Espirito Santo World Amateur Team’s Championship in Turkey, in October.

We wish Lydia well for 2013, in her continuing studies, and especially out on the golf course, keep knocking those drives straight down the middle.

 

Talisker Australian Masters, Matthew Guyatt proves round one was no fluke.

Golf Australia    

Masters

Matthew Guyatt/ Wayne Ludbey/Herald Sun

Queenslander Matthew Guyatt  is the man to catch in the Talisker Australian Masters after the 37-year-old followed his sizzling opening round of 65 with a composed -3 under par, 69 at Kingston Heath Golf Course on Friday, for a total tournament score of -10 under par.

Matthew said was aware of the charging Kiwi, Michael Hendry, but was not worried;

“I wasn’t worried, I just went back and focused. I was pretty relaxed. Standing on 18 and seeing your name up the top, it’s a pretty good feeling. That’s where everyone playing this week wants to be. I don’t know how it’s going to be tomorrow when I stand on the tee, I know I’m going to be nervous, there’s no doubt about that, I’m not going to say I’m not because I will be. But it’s about hopefully having the routine and all the work we’ve done on my routine and having that hold me in good stead so that I can pull the trigger and really be able to deal with whatever outcome comes. I actually said to my caddie it was looking like Mike Hendry might be the guy I get paired with. I said that wouldn’t be bad because I’ve travelled a little bit on OneAsia this year with Mike and get along well with him. That might be a good initiation into the final group rather than a Poulter or an Adam Scott or someone like that where the crowds are going to be heavily increased.”

 

Michael Hendry also had a second round of -3 under par, 69. to be two shots behind the leader, and alone in second place. Michael said he was playing risk free golf;

“I hit a lot of greens and put myself in position off the tee which is probably the key around here. I wasn’t making it tough on myself to make par. My course management got me round. I had a lot of really solid shots. I was taking clubs off the tee that weren’t going to get me a long way down there, but they were always going to be pretty risk-free.”

Adam Scott, the world number five is in third place, three shots off the lead after his second round of -2 under par 70.

Ian Poulter failed to keep pace with the leaders, shooting a second round of par, 72, which left him five shots adrift of the top of the leaderboard. A very somber Ian told reporters;

“The course plays much different in the wind. It’s a completely different course, I’m frustrated. I’m not going to stand here laughing, am I? I’ve shot level par and I’m disappointed. I’m not going to be standing here very jolly, am I?  I’ve left shots out there on the golf course. I’m five off the lead but I’m pissed off with my round of golf. Simple.”

Australian Masters, Mathew Guyatt the surprising leader after 1st Round

 

 

Golf Australia

Matthew Guyatt

Mathew Guyatt/ Getty Images

Mathew Guyatt is the surprising first round leader of the Australian Masters tournament at the conclusion of play on day one. Mathew, from Queensland,  upstaged his more fancied rivals to claim the outright lead by two shots from the big names chasing him down, by firing a superb -7 under par, 65. Another Aussie, Adam Scott , Ian Poulter from England and New Zealand’s Michael Hendry are the players who are just two shots in arrears of  the 57 year-old Mathew on the par 72 Kingston Heath Golf Club lay-out. Naturally t he score board is full of Australians, out of the top forty places there is only one Englishman, Poulter, Graeme McDowell from Northern Ireland, three Kiwi’s and a Frenchman, Victor Riu, to interrupt the flow of Aussie flags on the board.

Ian Poulter

Lone Englishman Ian Poulter/Getty Images

There are a whole host of players tied in fifth place at -4 under par, which includes the Aussie amateur Jake Higginbottom and Kalem Richardson who is in his first full year as a professional has rarely been near the top of the leaderboard before, but is hoping for better things to come. Kalem said of his start to this tournament;

“I set my goals pretty high and my goals are always towards the end of the week now, I know I can start tournaments well. Now it is all about putting four rounds together, I’m ahead of where I thought I would be sitting after the first round and I hope I keep playing well. I’ve played around here a fair few times, so that was really helpful. The front nine I was just hitting it really well and on the back nine I made some more putts, I’m feeling pretty good about my game.”

Kalem will have a tough task on his hands if he is to win here, with the likes of Adam Scott and the inform Ian Poulter keen to add another victory to their bulging CV”s.

 

 

 

European Tour Down Under, Round 2, Sizzling Grillo

 

 

Grillo sizzles Down Under

Emiliano Grillo/Getty Images

Emiliano Grillo, a 20-year-old Qualifying School graduate from Argentina holds a four shot halfway lead at the ISPS Handa International which is being contested at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Perth, after a second round of -5 under par, 67. Emiliano is just playing shot by shot, he is desperate to keep his card for next year;

“I think I hit it better yesterday than today but a couple eagles and a hole-out from the bunker helped a lot. Just go shot by shot, that’s the main goal. You cannot think about the third hole when you’re playing the second hole. It’s the hardest thing in golf probably, but it’s the best thing to do. I had a lot of people following today and I was fine with it. I kind of like the golf course, and it seems to suit my game. I just want to have a good week. My goal this week was having a good one to keep my card for next year. If I can win, awesome.”

Emiliano received congratulatory Tweets from the youngest winner in European Tour history, Italian Matteo Manassero. It is these victorious exploits at such a young age that has inspired Emiliano to play well;

“We try to spend as much time as I can with him because he already won twice on the Tour and he’s the youngest player on the Tour. Everybody wants to have him as a mirror, and he’s one of the few guys that I have as a mirror. I try to copy his putting and his short game. He’s an amazing player and a very good friend. It’s hard for the first win but he’s already done it twice, so why not me?”

Tied in second spot is American Bo Van Pelt, and Jason Scrivener of Australia. Jason had a -3 under par 69 for his total of -7 under par. Bo matched the leader with a second round of -5 under par 67, but is four shots adrift of Emiliano, Bo said of his round;

“It was a solid day, I would say the biggest difference from today from yesterday, I think I played the par fives five under. I think I only missed three greens, so I was driving the ball in play, and was able to take advantage of the par fives.
All in all, seven under, I’m very pleased. I haven’t played a tournament in a few weeks, so I like the golf course a lot. I’m just excited about the opportunity. Last time I was in Australia, I didn’t get to play the weekend, so nice to get to play the weekend. There are a lot of great players here, but I think I was five back going into today, and whenever you’re that far back, you try to shrink it going into the weekend. So hopefully I’ll be closer than five back when the day ends and hopefully after tomorrow do the same thing, get a little bit closer. You try to have a chance to win with nine holes to go on Sunday. That’s something my caddie and I always talk about is just trying to give ourselves a chance on Sunday, and then you just never know what will happen.” 

There are four players currently tied in fourth place; Max McMardle, Jason Dufner, and the two first round leaders Michael Hendry and Alejandro Canizares, who both had second rounds of +1 over par 73.

 

 

European Tour, Down Under, ISPS Handa Perth International

The European Tour has gone down under, to be precise the event is the ISPS Handa Perth International, being contested at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club.

Cañizares claims share of lead Down Under

Alejandro Cañizares/getty images

Alejandro Cañizares of Spain shares the first round lead at the ISPS HANDA Perth International with Michael Hendry from New Zealand. Both players had opening rounds of -7 under par, 65 on the Lake Karrinyup Country Club course.

Alejandro said he needs a good finish here to propel himself up the board in the Race to Dubai;

“I’m 70th at the moment so this is either my last or my second to last tournament of the year. I need a good finish, if I win it will fix a lot of things. I’m not sure what finish I need because there are still some big tournaments going on at the moment. Singapore is a big tournament and BMW and HSBC, some guys behind me are playing that, so you never know. I’m just going to try to play my best. It was a good round, I hit the ball really well and made some putts, so I’m really happy. I was pretty steady the whole round and gave myself plenty of chances. I think I only missed two greens in the whole round. The year has been a little slow since March. I started pretty well, a couple top tens, a top five in México in the US PGA Tour event, and then finished second in the Spanish Open. Since then, it’s been very slow.  I haven’t played good enough to be in contention, and every week I was falling down the rankings. So I came here from Portugal, I didn’t play very good last week. I hit the ball terribly, but I came here and I felt great. Maybe the 24 hours travelling helped, I feel good with my swing and hopefully the week keeps going like this.”

Michael, who usually plays on the OneAsia Tour, said he just repeated the round of 65 he had in the Pro-Am yesterday;

“I actually shot 65 in the Pro-Am yesterday as well. I think around here, if you can hit your drives in the right place, you can give yourself lots of opportunities to hit it close with wedges. I hit my driver pretty well and wedged it well and putted it well. All in all, just a really solid round of golf. If you’re going to play good golf, you’re going to have a lot of opportunities around this golf course. Luckily enough, I capitalized on them today.”

Emiliano Grillo, a 20-year-old Qualifying School graduate, from Argentina is alone in third place after his opening round of -6 under par, 66. Emiliano said he was pleased with his days work;

“ I hit a lot of fairways out there, that’s very important on this golf course and a lot of greens and then the ones that I missed, I got up and down, so it was a good round overall. There are not many tournaments left, so I’m trying to make as much ground as I can this week. It was very nice to get my card through Q School last year. It’s been a great year so far and I’m enjoying it.”

Paul Casey and English compatriot Andrew Johnston, both had rounds of -5 under par, 67, to be just two shots off the lead.

 

 

Michael Hendry NZ PGA Championship winner

Kiwi Michael Hendry won the NZ PGA Championship Pro-Am at The Hills Golf Club in Queenstown, after surviving a scare at the par three 16th, where he  struggled to make seven on the par 3 hole. Michael had previously worried about the hole, and his concerns proved to be accurate, he said of the hole;

“Quite literally, the only hole I had any worries about was the 16th and, obviously, that proved to be accurate. I can’t really describe it, the ups and downs of the day. It’s going to take a couple of days to appreciate what I’ve achieved here today. Such a high all the way to the 16th, then such a low and I managed to pick myself up at the 17th.”

 

Michael HendryGetty Images

Michael trailed Australian Andrew Martin by two shots at the start of the day, and had built a three shot lead over Andrew with four holes left to play, then suddenly saw his hopes ruined by the quadruple bogey on the par 3 16th and fell a shot behind Andrew. A birdie on his next hole, the 17th got Michael back up to a tie for first and then Andrew, who finished a joint runner-up at the Queensland PGA two weeks ago, dropped a shot on the same hole to hand the advantage to the New Zealander. The Kiwi made the most of the opportunity, a solid par on the final hole helping him claim the title and the $81,000 winner’s cheque.

Michael added;

“It’s a mental game, and people talk about that all the time and it’s so true. I definitely felt like being a New Zealander gave me an advantage today. Just hearing people saying “come on Kiwi, you can do it, it’s fantastic. Maybe that had a little bit to do with the win today ,the relaxed atmosphere. Playing with a good friend. Probably took my mind off the game a little bit.”

 

 

 

 

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