Trophee Hassan II. Richie Romps Home.

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Richie Ramsay romps home to win the Trophee Hassan II on the Golf du Palais Royal course in Morocco.

His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid / Getty Images

Richie & HRH
Prince Moulay Rachid / Getty Images

Richie managed to recover from four dropped shots in just two holes to claim a dramatic one shot victory at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco, with a final round -3 under par 69 and a tournament total -10 under par.

Richie, from the home of golf, Scotland, spoke about the dramatic turn of events in picking up his third European Tour title;

“I made six, as simple as that. I just didn’t execute the shot the way I wanted too,  hit a poor chip, it came back in the divot, wouldn’t come out, chipped on and two putts, easy six!

“I knew I was still in the mix and I made great putts on nine and ten just to keep the momentum going.”

“I stood over the putt on the 12th hole and I just thought my putter feels absolutely great, I could see all the lines.”

“I thought ‘just go for it, this is your time’. Pretty much took it by the scruff of the neck the next two holes and the seven iron on the last is probably one of the best shots I’ve ever hit in terms of visualisation and execution, it was just perfect.”

Romain Wattel finished in second place, just one shot back at -9 under par, his final round -2 under par 70 not quite enough to give him his maiden European Tour win.

There was a six way tie for third, all on -8 under par, Jaco Van Zyl, George Coetzee, Pablo Larrazábal, Mikael Lundberg, Kevin Phelan and Chris Wood.

Former Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal is going to The Masters, he is a two-time winner there, and a top ten finish here has set him up nicely for Augusta;

“I didn’t expect this earlier in the week.”

“The first day I put together a decent score and struggled Friday, then yesterday it all fitted in on the back nine. Today was a bit like yesterday and I was really happy with my score.”

“I saw the leaderboard on 18 and knew I had a putt to lead in the clubhouse. It’s nice to have a round like this and a tournament like this for confidence.”

“It is a different course at Augusta, it is really long there for me now. It’s much better to have a score like this than not, but I know how tough Augusta is these days.”

Tshwane Open. Adrian Otaegui from Spain Leads.

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Adrian Otaegui from Spain leads the Tshwane Open at the half-way stage at the Pretoria Country Club in South Africa.

Tshwane Open

Adrian Otaegui / Getty Images

Adrian, who is mentored by José María Olazábal, came close to recording a 59, but in the end settled for -8 under par 62, and a mid-way total of -11 under par, and a two shot lead going into the week-end. It could have been better, he needed to par the last two holes to make 59, but made par on the 17th, and sadly bogey on 18, which is normally a par five, but was reduced to a par four in this tournament.

Adrian spoke about that last hole, and the early morning start;

“It’s a tough par four and it’s normally a par five.”

“I was focused and didn’t know that I had made five birdies in a row.” 

“I was playing well and made a few putts, that’s all I was thinking about. The best golf is when you think as little as possible, and this was one of those days.”

“Yesterday in the afternoon the fairways were a bit harder, so the ball was rolling a bit more. This morning the ball was flying less, because it was cool at 6.40 in the morning.” 

“The course is in good shape and it’s getting warm now, but I think it will hold up at the weekend.”

“I just have to be patient tomorrow. Let’s see if I’ve learnt something from these last two rounds.”

In the afternoon there was a delay due to the threat of lightning, but South Africa’s Merrick Bremner shot -4 under par 66, to move into second place on his own with a -9 under par total.

Yesterday’s co-leaders fell back with David Horsey scoring -1 under par 69, and tied in third place at -8 under par, with Edoardo Molinari, Keith Horne and Trevor Fisher Jnr, while Morten Ørum Madsen settled for a second round +2 over par 72 and is now tied in 13th position.

Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke made the cut, with a second round -3 under par 67, which left him T34.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Kaymer 1st Round Leader.

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Martin Kaymer is the 1st round leader of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, proving that he always plays well here.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Martin Kaymer / Getty Images

Martin carded an opening round of -8 under par 64, to hold the first round lead by one shot at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. He won here in 2008, 2010 and 2011 and was also the runner-up in 2009. Martin said he had putted very well, and was very pleased with his great start to the tournament;

“I putted well. I made ten birdies. I’m not sure if I have ever done it on a golf course, hit ten birdies. I hit a lot of fairways, my irons were quite sharp and I putted well.”

“It’s very difficult to shoot a bad score when you play like this.”

“Now the goal is not to compare myself tomorrow to the round what happened today. Tomorrow will be a new start but it’s a brilliant start to a great tournament.”

Thomas Pieters is in second place, just one shot adrift of the leader, a -7 under par 65 opening round giving him that place on his own. Thomas said he liked everything about the golf course;

“It was nice to start out the season with a seven under, so, I’m happy.”

“I like the greens here. They changed a couple of the greens around, like four, it’s going to be a really good pin and they put it front right and I think two is really good, too.”

Five players are tied in third place, all at -6 under par following their first round scores of 66; Branden Grace, Grégory Bourdy, Tyrrell Hatton, Alexander Levy and Mikko Ilonen.

Rory McIlroy, who is making his first appearance of the year, and Ryder Cup rival Rickie Fowler are among half a dozen players on -5 under par, making it a very compacted top of the leaderboard.

Rory executed a brilliant shot from the edge of the rough and bunker on the third hole to secure an unlikely birdie, one of five gains he made in six holes to complete his 67, and said it was not the sort of shot you practice;

“It’s definitely a boost. It’s not a shot I would practise too much, that’s for sure.”

“But from looking like you’re going to make a bogey to making a birdie that gives you a little bit of momentum and you can go on from there and luckily I was able to make a few birdies after that.”

Shots of the day came from Tom Lewis and Miguel Angel Jiménez they both recorded holes in one. Tom’s shot on the par three seventh winning him a Cadillac Escalade, while his father watched on.

Miguel’s came on 177-yard par three 15th, which pleased him;

“It’s very nice when you make a hole-in-one. I’m happy I finished level par today.”

Wales Open. Lowery Leads at Half-Way Point.

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Shane Lowery leads the Wales Open at the half-way point at The Celtic Manor Resort.

Wales Open

Shane Lowery / Getty Images

Shane shot a second round -6 under par 65 to lead the Wales Open at -9 under par after 36 holes. He admitted his lofty position was a bit of a surprise, as he had never played that well before at Celtic Manor;

“I’m pretty happy. I’ve never, ever done well here before, so to be leading after two rounds is nice.There is still a long way to go in the tournament but I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”

“I didn’t drive it that good yesterday but still shot a decent score. I drove it a lot better today, drove it a lot straighter and gave myself a lot of chances and rolled in a few putts, so it was nice.”

“I felt like coming over that I could give it a go this week. I was around tenth going into the back nine on Sunday last week, and similar the week before in Switzerland. If I can get myself in a good position come the back nine this weekend, again, hopefully I can give it a go.”

First round leader Joost Luiten is tied second place, carding -2 under par in the second round for a -8 under par tournament total. Joost said the course played much tougher today, overnight rain being the main factor;

“I’m happy. It was tough today because the greens were very soft compared to yesterday with all the rain they had last night, and with the back pins, even seven irons spun back four or five yards, and it was tough to fly them all the way to the back.”

Big hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts is also tied in second at -8 under par, and would love to win again, his last victory was in 2012;

“It would mean a lot to win again after two years and struggling the first few months of the season.”

“Today I started very nicely but made two silly mistakes in the middle of the round and I almost lost it but it was nice to hole that putt on the last. It was about 35 feet with eight feet of break.”

The two Gleneagles Ryder Cup wild cards, Stephen Gallacher and Lee Westwood experienced differing results but similar emotions.
Steve shot -1 under par 70, and went home, missing the cut; Lee scored -2 under par 69 and made the cut. He was happy to have two more rounds of golf before heading to Gleneagles;

“I needed a couple more rounds, I was not particularly competitive yesterday, it was pretty scratchy, but today was more solid. A few iffy shots but it was nice to finish with two birdies in the last four holes to ensure being here for the weekend and two more competitive rounds.”

“I have been working on my game and been in the gym quite a lot, but I’m not quite match fit. I had three weeks off and you lose your sharpness.”

Steve was in a relaxed and philosophical mood as he left Celtic Manor;

“Yesterday was quite tough, it was tough to get going and get my head around it but today was a lot better. I was maybe trying a wee bit too hard yesterday and still thinking about next week.”

“I feel good, I’m physically and mentally good so I am really looking forward to next week. I’ll get up the road this afternoon and relax this weekend and maybe play nine holes with Thomas (Björn) on Monday morning.”

“I’ve done my preparation for it and I just want to get up there and get going.”

Wales Open. Joost Luiten Leads on Day 1.

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Joost Luiten leads  at the end of day 1 of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor Resort.

Wales Open

Joost Luiten / Getty Images

Joost shot an opening round at the Wales Open of -6 under par 65 to sit on top of the Celtic Manor Resort course leaderboard.

Nicolas Colsaerts and Andrew McArthur are tied in second place at -5 under par following their first round scores of 66. Nicolas hit the longest drive in European Tour history , mighty a 447-yard bombshell that left him with just a gap wedge into the 613-yard par five 18th hole at Celtic Manor, to set up the Eagle. Even that record could not console him as he rued not having the chance to play once again in the Ryder Cup, in his previous outing he carded eight birdies and an eagle in a four-ball win alongside Lee Westwood at Medinah two years ago.;

“I saw them having dinner and thought ‘I wish I was in that room. It’s their adventure and I am not part of it, but once you play in one Ryder Cup, you don’t want to miss another one.”

Of the longest drive, “The muscles from Brussels” only mentioned the wind assistance and some heavenly help;

” I thought it was too far right but it’s all downhill and downwind and it must have luged down the fairway. If all the stars align you can hit it a long way.”

Tied in fourth place are Justin Walters, Robert Rock and Sam Walker, these three carded rounds of -4 under par 67.

Robert admitted he had not played well this year;

“Probably for the last month I’ve been playing good, the rest of the year has been pretty horrific. I’ve been driving the ball well for months, and wasting every opportunity that brings.”

” My iron play has been good for two weeks, the putting has been hit and miss, but the past two weeks have been good, so I hope I can drag that on for a little bit longer.”

Of the four Team Europe players competing at The Celtic Manor Resort, Jamie Donaldson’s -1 under par 70 was the best score, with Thomas Björn returning with level par, Lee Westwood +2 over par and a rusty Stephen Gallacher signing for a +7 over par 78, Steve had this to say afterwards;

“I did half expect it, generally if I’ve got something to play for I’ll play pretty well. When I go through the motions I’m useless.’

“All eyes are on next week and it’s hard to put it out of my mind when I’m already in. Once you’re in it, I just want it happen. Next week it’ll be different, you’re in a heightened mood and I’ll be better.”

“One swallow doesn’t make a summer, so I’m not really bothered to be honest. I’ll just go out tomorrow and try and make a few birdies, see what happens. I’ll give it my best shot, I shot 63 around here once (in 2010).”

The longest drive this season on the PGA Tour was hit by Bubba Watson, who sent one 424 yards on the 16th hole at Firestone Country Club. He was the only player to eclipse 400 yards this season.

Italian Open. Molinari Flying The Home Flag.

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Francesco Molinari is flying the home flag in the first round of the Italian Open in Torino Italy.

Italian Open

Francesco Molinari / Getty Images

Francesco shot an opening round of -6 under par 66, he was joined at the top of the leaderboard on that score by Bernd Wiesberger.

Francesco has a Ryder Cup spot on his mind after European Team Captain Paul McGinley admitted Francesco is “very much in my mind” for one of the three wild cards that he will announce on Tuesday;

I had a chat with Paul when he got here and I think the good thing is that he knows what I can bring to the team because he has seen me as vice-captain on the last two teams.”

But it’s up to me to prove that I really want it and am playing well enough. I think anything less than a win would not be enough so I have to aim for that.”

Bernd, a two-time European Tour winner has plenty of Gleneagles experience, capturing fourth place in the Johnnie Walker Championship their last year, he also spoke about the Ryder Cup;

Paul knows I play well at Gleneagles and I like the course, but I am pretty far down the list (23rd) and even if I win it would be a surprise to get that call on Tuesday.” 

“The first three days at Valhalla gave me a lot of confidence knowing I could get into that position and be in the last group in a Major. I probably should have tried to make more of a move in the final round but I didn’t drive the ball that well that day and couldn’t really get it going.

“It was actually the first time I have had a really good performance in America as well so it was a big, big week for me and a pretty cool experience to be out so late on a Sunday in a Major.”

There are five players all tied at -5 under par for the tournament; American John Hahn, Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay, England’s Richard Bland and South African Hennie Otto.

Stephen Gallacher, another Ryder Cup hopeful headed straight to the range after an opening round that featured four birdies and four bogeys, posting an even par round of 72;

“I’m a bit disappointed because I threw away a couple of shots midway through my round, but it’s okay for the first day and I am only one good score away from the top of the leaderboard.” 

“I know I have to finish first or second, that’s not going to change, so I’m not putting any pressure on myself. Once you get out on the course you just try to birdie every hole. That’s the easy part. It’s when you finish you think about the Ryder Cup.”


Sony Open. A Walk in the Park for Walker.

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It was a walk in the park for Jimmy Walker as he won the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

Walker's run continues

Jimmy Walker / Getty Images

Jimmy fired an amazing last round of -7 under par 63, to lift the trophy at the Sony Open on Hawaii with a -17 under par total. Added to that sweet success is the fact that although  it’s still only the middle of January, he is also No. 1 in the FedExCup standings and Ryder Cup standings.

Jimmy said it took him a while to get there, but he played some real cool golf;

“It took me a long time to do it, I felt very calm and controlled. That’s what you’ve got to feel and do when it’s time to win. It’s easy to say, hard to do, but today was awesome, really cool golf. I’ve always felt like I belonged, and you need affirmation every now and then. The other win was like, `Yeah, OK, I can do it.’ I did it, and I was supposed to be able to do it. Everybody told me I was supposed to do it, and I finally did it. And then it’s, `Well, are you going to be the guy that won that you never hear from again?’ It’s nice to get it done and do it again today.”

Chris Kirk finished in second place at -16 under par, his last round -4 under par 66 not good enough to win the trophy. He felt he had played well enough to win;

“I feel like I hit the ball well enough to win this week, but it doesn’t always work out that way.”

Jerry Kelly finished alone in third place, at -15 under par, with Harris English on his own in fourth at -14 under par.

Jerry finishing strongly with a -5 under par 65, but Harris was not so good again carding another round of -3 under par 67, to slip out of contention.

World number two Adam Scott completed his tournament in -10 under par, and is now taking a six-week break, to work on his game which was lacking a little something here in Hawaii;

“I was liking my position there, I was making today a lot of fun, but I didn’t play very well on the next nine. I just was in the rough too much, unfortunately. It’s just such a hard course to get it going around here. I’ll work on my game a lot, I think there’s plenty of work on after the last couple weeks.”