British Masters. Four-Way Tie at the Top.

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There is a four-way tie at the top of the British Masters after the first round at The Grove in EnglandTommy FleetwoodRichard SterneMarc Warren and Mikko Ilonen all recorded first rounds of -5 under par 66.

British Masters

Tommy Fleetwood / getty

Tommy said putting was the key to his great bogey free round;

“It was just one of those days where every putt I hit felt lovely and overall, five under is a great score out there.”

“The wind was up this afternoon and then it got cold later on in the day, but definitely when we first went out, it was clear that it was going to be quite a tough day.” 

“You have to make the most of your chances. I hit it really well. I very rarely hit it out of position and putted lovely.”

Richard said it was his best performance of the year;

“I played probably the best tee-to-green I have done all year really.”

“I had so many chances and it was just good to feel that control over the ball.”

Marc has secured his card for next year, and just enjoyed his golf today;

“I wasn’t really under too much stress at any time during the round, so it was a really enjoyable round of golf.”

“It’s tough when you’re in that sort of situation when you’re trying to secure your playing rights and everything else.”

“I felt as if I handled that quite well last week and gave myself a nice boost of confidence after a pretty tough summer. So I’ve carried that confidence into today and hopefully the next three days, as well.”

Mikko was happy to make two birdies towards the end of his round;

“It was a perfect start. I played some of my best golf on the front nine.”

“I sort of lost my rhythm a little bit there halfway through, but came back strongly and made two birdies at 16 and 18, which was nice.”


French Open. Rory McIlroy Makes His Mark.

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Rory McIlroy makes his mark at the French Open moving into a share of the lead, with Mikko Ilonen, Thongchai Jaidee, Brandon Stone and Jeunghun Wang.

French Open

Rory McIlroy / getty images

Rory shot  a second round -5 under par 66 to join the leaders at the top pf the French Open leaderboard on that score. Jeunghun also had -5 under today, to share the low round of the day score, while Brandon and Mikko shot -3 under 68, and Thongchai recorded -1 under at Le Golf National course in Paris.

The difference for Rory today was the putting;

“I putted well, I felt like I putted nicely. There were still a couple of putts that didn’t quite drop but it felt good out there.”

“Today was a good day, I played well. I kept the ball in play, I drove it well, hit fairways, hit a lot of greens. That’s sort of what you need to do around this golf course.”

“There were good shots but I’m not really just focusing on the target. I’m focusing on what I’m doing here.”

“In a way it’s nice to go into contention and not really be thinking about the result.”

“It’s a nice thing to have to just be thinking about your swing and thinking about what you need to do here to obviously get the ball close to the hole out there.”

“It’s a work-in-progress.”

“I need two more days like that over the weekend to have a chance and try to win. But I’ve put myself in a good position.”

Defending champion Bernd Wiesberger, level par 71 today, shares sixth place with Nicolas Colsaerts and Anders Hansen, who both carded -3 under 68 today, all at -4 under par, and just one shot off the lead.



Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Garcia Grabs Title.

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Sergio Garcia grabbed the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters title in a sudden death play-off at the Doha Golf Club.

Gallant Garcia secures thrilling victory

Sergio Garcia / Getty Images

Sergio won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the third play-off hole, after he set the club-house target with his flawless final round of -7 under par 65. He defeated Mikko Ilonen, who fired a last round -6 under par 66 to level the scores and force the play-off.

Sergio said this win feels good;

“It feels good, it’s funny because I started the day thinking if I can shoot six or seven under maybe I can have a chance, and it turns out I had a very similar putt that I had last year to get it to seventeen under on eighteen. I hit a good putt and unfortunately it didn’t break. It’s been an amazing week already and I was definitely more nervous on my tee shot on the eighteenth in regulation than in the play-off. That’s probably why I hit three better tee shots. The up and down from the bunker in the play-off was key and I’m very happy to be able to win it. I almost feel less pressure because you feel like you’ve had a great week already and if you win it’s kind of like a little bit of a bonus.”

Mikko thought he would have to win it with an Eagle, last year England’s Chris Wood made an eagle on the 72nd hole to beat Sergio, but it was poor bunker play that let him down;

“I was expecting one of us would need to make an eagle to win it. I hit two poor bunker shots out of the same front right-hand trap, one in regulation and one in the play-off, and I’m not going to blame anything else. I came up two short of my target in regulation, I thought 64 would do it outright, and Sergio was a bit better than me this time. I needed a strong start and I got it being four under through eight, and I backed it up with a good end to the round with three birdies in the last five. I played good golf this week so I can’t be too disappointed.”

Third place was shared by Thorbjørn Olesen and Rafa Cabrera-Bello, both finished just one shot back on -15 under par. Thorbjørn  had a very good chance to join the play-off, but missed from 15 feet for an Eagle on the 18th hole. Rafa also needed an Eagle to join the play-off , but saw his chip from over the green pull up just three feet short of the hole.

Euro Tour. Nordea Masters. Mikko Makes It His Trophy

Mikko Ilonen made the European Tour Nordea Masters his trophy with a last round -3 under par 69 for a total score of -21 under par.

Mikko Ilonen  (Getty Images)

Mikko Ilonen / Getty Images

Mikko, from Finland, claimed his first win for six years at the Nordea Masters on the Bros Hof Slott Golf Course in Sweden. He actually won this event in 2007, and said it was special to it again, apart from the bogey at the 12th hole;

“It’s pretty special, I could feel a lot of support from Finland, especially today. I just got ahead of myself with the first putt. I’ve said for weeks now it doesn’t really bother me if I make a bogey because I know I can make it up and it was the first time I went for the 13th in two. To bounce back this soon is really good, it’s really satisfying, but the show I saw in China. I didn’t lose the tournament, Brett won it, so hats off to him.Obviously I’ve been waiting for this moment for a few weeks now. People have been expecting me to win but most of all I’ve been expecting myself to win, so to pull it off here after those second places is very satisfying. It’s been a long time since I won but I haven’t forgotten how it felt. In life there are ups and downs and I’ve found a better balance now. Life is good, my family is good and golf is alright, so I can’t complain.”

Local boy Jonas Blixt. who plays most of his golf on the US PGA Tour where he won last year,  took second place. He was three shots back at -18 under par, a last round effort of -4 under par, 68, just not quite enough for him to get first place for Sweden;

“I’m pretty happy about the way I played this week, I didn’t win but I made a good run at it so that’s what I’m happy about. It’s been fantastic and I’m never going to forget this. It’s been nothing but amazing this week, it is cool to come home and have people screaming and cheering, and I don’t really get that in the States so much, it’s awesome.”

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger was in third place alone on -17 under par for the tournament. Italian Matteo Manassero finished in a tie for fourth place at -16 under par. He shared that score with Dane Thomas Björn and Swede, Rikard Karlberg.


Euro Tour. Nordea Masters. Mikko Makes A Move.

Mikko Ilonen, from Finland has made a move, on moving day, Saturday, to lead the European Tour Nordea Masters by two shots at the Bro Hof Slott Golf Course in Sweden.

Mikko Ilonen   (Getty Images)

Mikko Ilonen / Getty

Mikko shot a third round of -7 under par 65 to move to the top of the Nordea Masters leaderboard at -18 under par. He now has the chance to end his six-year wait for another Tour win, and is fully aware of the challenge in front of him. He also spoke about the luck he had with his Eagle at the 15th hole;

 It was a bit of a funny yardage for me, it was raining and I just tried to squeeze it in there and got lucky with it a bit. I need to shoot another low score and I can do it, but we’ve got eighteen holes to go and lots of other guys are still hunting me.”

Alexander Noren, a home favorite, is in second place after shooting a marvelous third round of -8 under par, 64 and is now just two shots back at -16 under par.

Alex was amazed by his putting prowess;

” I got lucky, I hit a lot of good putts and I holed a lot of them. I don’t know where it came from, amazing putting. I’ve played here a lot, I’m from an hour away, it’s the best course in Sweden and it is a beautiful place.”

A countryman of Alex, Jonas Blixt, and Italian Matteo Manassero, who had a quiet day, are tied in third place at -14 under par for the tournament.

Matteo looked to have overcome his slow start to the round when he had a hat-trick of birdies on the back nine. All that good work was undone on the 18th, going from rough to water and carding a double bogey six on the last.

Jonas fired in a bogey free round of -6 under par , 66 to give himself a chance of victory here. The crowd will be hoping one of the home boys will lift the trophy.


BMW PGA Championship. Play Suspended, Kingston Claims Lead.


Play in the first round of the BMW PGA Championship has been suspended due to darkness on a dramatic opening day on the West Course at Wentworth Club. Currently James Kingston of South Africa has claimed the lead.


James Kingston   (Getty Images)

James Kingston / Getty Images

James Kingston has completed his first round at the BMW PGA Championship with a leading score of -6 under par, 66 at the Wentworth Club in England.

A 90-minute delay at Wentworth, due to the threat of lightning meant the last group, who had only just then teed off, could not complete the course in daylight hours. They will return early on Friday morning to complete their first rounds, and with second round tee times unchanged, all should go smoothly.

In second place is Mikko Ilonen at -5 under par, with Scott Henry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño a shot further back at -4 under par. All of these players have completed their rounds.

Also at -4 under par is Austrian Martin Wiegele, Martin has only completed 13 holes, so has a chance tomorrow of climbing further up the leaderboard. There were five groups still on the course when play was suspended.

James recieved an invitation to play in this event, he lost his card for the Tour and currently has to survive on these kind of opportunities. He was feeling pretty upset about losing his Tour card;

“I never felt like I played poorly enough to lose my card and that’s what makes it even more frustrating. I felt like I played half decent throughout the whole season, but just never managed to put a score on the board. It does make it a little harder to accept. Getting an invite into this event, what a great feeling to be back here. I think I’ve made the most of it today.”

Mikko was happy to survive in the very cool Wentworth temperatures;

” It was pretty nippy when we started and stayed that way, “all day I was thinking ‘Can I get these waterproof trousers off?’ and never managed it. We even had hail on the ninth tee. I said to a friend last night it was going to snow today and she laughed at me. It’s British summer and we have proof of that.”

Scott Henry, who graduated from the Challenge Tour last season, only found out he was in the tournament as he boarded a flight from Madeira on Monday morning. He is another player who has grabbed an opportunity, and played well;

“It was nice to see my name on the leaderboard on the back nine, it was a bit surreal. I was pretty nervous this morning, it’s a big tournament and the first time I have been here. It’s a great test of golf and for the first time this year I could put everything together.”

All but one of last year’s victorious Ryder Cup team are in the 150-man field, but several of them fell victim to the closing stretch at Wentworth Club’s famous West Course.

Justin Rose at even, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, last weeks winner started with rounds of 74, Ian Poulter 76 and Luke Donald 78.


Volvo China Open. Broomstick Brett Wins Again.

Broomstick Brett Rumford won the Volvo China Open, the first Australian in 42 years to win back to back Tour titles.

With this win - Brett Rumford

Brett Rumford / Getty Images

Brett Rumford cruised to victory with a final round of  -4 under par 68, on the Binhai Lake Golf Course on Sunday in the Volvo China Open. His winning total was -16 under par, four shots clear of the field.

Brett said that he was more than happy;

” As with last week I’m kind of speechless at the moment. It’s quite surreal, it’s the first time I’ve actually played the week after a win so I’m more than pleased. It’s hard to get my head around it at the moment. I managed to get up and down when I really needed to. There are some very tight lies round the perimeters of the greens, so it was tricky. My putter was also really on song, as it was last week. It puts a lot of pressure on your opponent when you’re saving par all the time.”

In second place was Finn Mikko Ilonen, a final round effort of -1 under par left him with a total of -12 under par, just one shot ahead of third place. Mikko was disappointed he did not take the opportunity to win, but was full of praise for Brett;

” I had a chance to win, disappointed not to do so but I couldn’t do much more, you saw what Brett did there on the back nine for three holes. I’m speechless, I couldn’t force the issue. I had a number in my mind, which is what Brett finished on. It’s my second second place this year, so hopefully there’s a win round the corner. The confidence is building.  I’ve been hitting the ball nicely most of the time this year. Today I drove the ball really well, and I feel a lot more confident all round. Brett did so well not to make more bogeys, his short game, bunker play and wedges were unbelievable today. I don’t see too many better players than him in the world in that area of his game. So he definitely deserved to win today.”

Third place went to Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, a last round of -4 under par helping him to achieve a tournament total of -11 under par, and third position to himself.

I guess this win will encourage more players to change to the long putter, Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington have already made the change. They said if it gives them an edge to win a tournament, it can only be good. Unless the R&A and the USGA actually get around to banning it, it which case they will have to change back again.