Qatar Masters. Paul Lawrie Has Half-Way Lead in Doha.

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Paul Lawrie has the Qatar Masters half-way lead at the Doha Golf Club.

Qatar Open

Paul Lawrie / Getty Images

Paul will take a one shot into the third round of the Qatar Masters after carding -6 under par 66 in the second round for a -11 under par 36 hole total.

Paul is a two-time Champion here, and would love to make it a hat-trick of victories in the Mother of Pearl Trophy tournament, no one has done that before. It was calmer for the early starters, with the wind picking up in the afternoon, which made it much more difficult for the later starters;

“It all helps. You see your name on the board a couple of times, you walk past it every day at the range. It’s got to help that you know you’ve won this tournament twice before.”

“It’s just nice to go back to places that you know you can play well on and you have done in the past.”

“It was pretty much the same as yesterday, I played nicely tee-to-green, hit a lot of good shots.”

“I only made one mistake, which was a three-putt from 20 feet at fifteen.”

“They put the tees forward today, obviously thinking that the wind is going to blow pretty hard, and this morning it was dead calm.”

“So I got a little frustrated after 15 because I thought, ‘you’re not taking advantage of the conditions today’. Then I played some nice golf and made a few birdies.”

“But you’ve just got to do your game plan and kick on, and it’s going to change every now and again with the weather.”

“My attitude is normally pretty good when it gets blowy because if you get a bit grumpy and a bit grizzly, as I tend to do, when it’s windy, you’re going to struggle.”

“So I tend to accept things a bit better when it’s windy, and that’s what you’ve got to do.”

“There’s a long way to go, a lot of golf to be played, a lot of top players still up there. But so far, so good.”

Big hitting Nicolas Colsaerts is in second place, that one shot back at -10 under par for the competition, he was -4 under 68 today.

Sharing third position, at -9 under par are Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Grégory Bourdy, both shooting -4 under 68 today, and Andrew Johnson, -3 under 69.

Another of the previous winners here, Sergio Garcia, is in the large group at -8 under par and T6. Sergio equaled the low round of the day, -6 under par 66, matching the leader Paul.

Qatar Open. Two at the Top.

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There are two players tied at the top of the Qatar Open leaderboard, Louis Oosthuizen and  Pablo Larrazábal.

Qatar Open

Louis Oosthuizen / Getty Images

Louis and Pablo both mastered the windy conditions at the Doha Golf Club, to post bogey free first round scores of -7 under par 65 for the Qatar Open tournament.

Louis stated that he likes the windy conditions, and he made some good putts;

“I like windy conditions, if it gets really strong, then it gets difficult.”

I think patience is the big thing when it really blows hard, but today was just a good wind, and a lot of flighted shots.”

“There are a lot of cross-wind shots, where you’re not sure if it’s in or a little down, so you need to have that wind map out and handy.”

“Bogey-free is always good, there were two occasions where I looked like I was going to make bogeys but recovered well, and the rest was just pretty solid.”

“It was good ball-striking today, and I made one or two putts.”

Pablo is hitting the ball nicely, and was happy with the seven birdie putts  today;

“I’m very happy, I hit it very well tee-to-green, 17 greens in regulation which with these conditions is very good.”

“I gave myself a lot of birdie chances and that was key.”

“To always have a birdie putt is key in these conditions because you know with these kind of greens, you’re not going to hole too many, but I holed seven, so it was very good.”

“I played very well last week. I made a few silly mistakes every day and that’s why I didn’t go lower. I felt very well last week. I’m hitting the ball very well.”

Sharing third place is Andrew Johnson and Bjõrn Åkesson, both at -6 under par. These guys are followed by eight players all tied together at -5 under par.

Looks like this is going to be a really tight contest, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

Sergio Garcia is in the field, he managed an opening round -2 under 70, and will have to do better if he wants to make his mark here.

115th U.S. Open. Gruesome Greens Grab Attention.

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The gruesome greens at Chambers Bay Golf Club grabbed everyone’s attention in the first round of the U.S. Open. At the end of the day Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson shared the lead, while at the other end of the table, Tiger Woods +10 over and Rickie Fowler +11 crashed spectacularly. The fescue grass experiment is not off to a great start, especially as the older greens have never really taken hold properly, and they have been infiltrated by poa annua clumps. The early morning starters had the best of the day.

U.S. Open

Dustin Johnson on his way to par the 10th / all pics Getty Images

Dustin and Henrik shot open rounds of -5 under par 65 at the 115th U.S. Open at the much maligned Chambers Bay Golf Club in Washington.

Dustin reported that he is playing with confidence, hitting good irons shots;

“Hit a lot of quality iron shots, the confidence is definitely there.”

Henrik said he had a good day on the greens;

“It was a good day on the greens in all, but especially the last five holes.”

 “I hit some beautiful putts and managed to slip a few in there.”

Patrick Reed, with a -4 under par 66, for third place alone reported that he definitely missed a few putts;

” All I had to do was get the ball to the hole and it had a chance of going in. I made some long putts, but I also feel like I missed a lot of good opportunities.”

Matt KucharBen Martin and the amateur Brian Campbell are tied in fourth place at -3 under par. They are followed by a group of payers at -2 under par.

Phil Mickelson was happy with his start, -1 under par 69 and T14, as he chases the career Grand Slam this week, but did criticize the greens;

“The first round was the round I was going to be most nervous at, getting started.”

“You don’t want to have to fight to come back all the time. You want to get off to a solid start around par.”

“I think the biggest challenge is that the green speeds are different from green to green, that’s going to wreak havoc on our touch.” 

“What I found is that they’re not the most true surfaces downhill, because you can’t hit it hard enough to hold the line. But uphill they seem to hold the line just fine.”

“I might have to factor that in, in how I play some shots now, because I think the percentage of made putts uphill from three to nine feet is going to be quite a bit higher than downhill.” 

US Open

Rory McIlroy, at +2 over par was not quite so outspoken;

“I just didn’t quite have it with the putter today, and that’s something that I need to get right over the next three days if I want to have a chance.”

“I still feel like if you make a good enough stroke and you have the right speed, there’s a good enough chance the ball will go in.”

US Open

Sergio Garcia, who started with an even par first round and T26, took to twitter to post;

“Happy with my Even par round today although it could’ve been a bit better by the way I played but this greens are as bad as the look on TV.”

 

Spanish Open. Two Tied at the Top.

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There are two players tied at the top of the Spanish Open leaderboard, English pair David Howell and James Morrison.

Spanish Open

James Morrison / Getty Images

James and David will take a two shot lead into the final round of the Spanish Open at Real Club de Golf El Prat, both sharing the top spot at the end of 54 holes on -7 under par.

James carded a third round -4 under par 68, and David with a -3 under par 69 to reach the -7 under par totals, on another day of strong winds and fast greens in Barcelona.

James, who won his only European Tour title to date in Madeira five years ago, spoke about today’s up and down round, including a seven;

“It’s been three very silly days, the first day I was three over after five holes and today made a seven at the second out of nowhere and fought my way back again.”

“It’s what you’ve got to do really , it takes one good shot to get back in it.”

“I’ve done that all week; I’ve really maintained my process and my game plan.”

“It’s always a great week , it’s always really well run and it’s great fun.”

David came close to winning again last month in China, and is very happy to be maintaining his good form, and to be in contention once again;

 “I’m delighted to be in the mix again.”

“I haven’t managed to win this year but I’ve given myself three chances and this is going to be a fourth chance, hopefully I’ll do it tomorrow.”

“It’s a real challenge and the course is really firm. But it’s very fair,  you’ve got to be on the fairway.”

“As the week’s gone on it’s felt like a really, really good championship. It’s got tougher and tougher as the week has gone on and the crowds have come out so it’s just the way it should be.”

Francesco Molinari lies third alone on -5 under par for the competition, after a third round of 70, he is one shot clear of  Emiliano Grillo and Darren Fichardt on -4 under par, on a day when only three players in the field broke 70, and only 15 of them are under par for the tournament.

Biggest mover on the day was last week’s joint runner-up at TPC Sawgrass, Sergio Garcia, who carded a third round -5 under par 67 in the windy conditions, and it could have been better. He is now five shots behind the leaders, and in these difficult conditions could easily catch them;

“I obviously needed a great round today, and it would have been if I hadn’t made those two bogeys on 12 and 13. But to be able to birdie 14 and 15 with two very nice shots and good putts got me back on track.”

“I didn’t play much different than the first two days. I managed to make a couple of nice putts early on, and a couple of things went my way. I missed my drive on 18 and managed to get away with it and make birdie. That made the difference between today and the first two rounds.”

“The course is playing similar. The wind is not as strong but it’s still gusty. If you play well you can post a decent score, but if you’re a little bit off, you can struggle on this course.”

“If the leaders don’t go much lower than what they are, with another great round tomorrow I have a chance. If it doesn’t rain the course is not going to play any easier.”

 

Spanish Open, Edouard Espana Leads

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Edouard Espana leads the Spanish Open at the half way point at Real Club de Golf El Prat, bringing shouts of Viva Espana from the gallery.

Spanish Open

Edouard Espana / Getty Images

Frenchman Edouard carded a second round -3 under par 69 to claim top spot at the Spanish Open with a -7 under par total.

He is still seeking his first win on the European Tour, saying how difficult it was;

“The level of tournaments is high on Tour so it’s difficult, but I will try and keep going.”

“I played really well today because it’s very windy. I played really good and I’m really happy.”

“My family is from Spain, that’s why my name is Espana. It’s really good, my cousins are here this week.”

In second place is Ricardo Gonzalez, at -6 under par following his second round -3 under par 69, the 45 year-old Argentine was happy to have played well in the tough conditions;

“I’m happy with my game; two rounds of 69 in these windy conditions is a great score.”

“I would prefer to have it playing tough over the weekend because it advantages the longer hitters and those who are striking the ball well; I find myself in that category this week.”

“I love playing in Spain, I have good friends here, and the food is good, like in Argentina, so I feel at home.”

“I get on very well with all my Spanish colleagues, so it would be nice to make the youngsters work a bit. Many people support me here, so I will try to give them a good show.”

“I had a wonderful week in Q-School and it gave me the chance to be here today. Last year was a hard year, that’s golf when your mind is not there. This year I’m focusing more on my game.” 

Michael Hoey and Darren Fichardt share third place at -5 under par for the tournament, Michael with the low round of the day, -4 under par 68, and Darren, like so many others today could not break par in the tough blustery going, he carded a +1 over par 73 second round.

Yesterday’s leader Trevor Fisher Jnr, who shot -7 under par in the first round, did not do so well today, +6 over par 78 saw him drop dramatically down the leaderboard.

Defending Champion Angel Jiménez posted a hole in one Ace, at the 180 yard par three 8th, winning him  288 bottles of beer, and it also equalled the European Tour record of Colin Montgomerie.

Angel is languishing down the leaderboard at -1 under par, which was his score for today, at least the beer will cheer him up.

World Number Seven Sergio Garcia was two shots outside the projected cut mark on +3 over par over after he had completed his second round of even par 72 in the morning, but made the weekend with a shot to spare.

Spanish Open. Trevor Fisher Jnr Catches the Lead.

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Trevor Fisher Jnr catches the first round lead at the Spanish Open at  Real Club de Golf El Prat in Barcelona.

Spanish Open

Trevor Fisher Jnr / Getty Images

Trevor shot a first round -7 under par 65 to sit on top of the leaderboard at the Open de España, and a one shot advantage over the field.

Trevor arrived after a long haul flight from Johannesburg on Monday, and only able to practice nine holes on Tuesday, before getting into Pro/Am action on the Wednesday. He said he managed to keep his momentum today, and played well overall;

“I hit one or two loose shots but felt I kept the momentum going, which is key to any good round of golf.”

“I sank one or two good putts for par and overall putted really well today, which helped.”

“It’s nice to be out here. I can play a full schedule now which is good. It’s nice to play with some of the best players in the world. Hopefully we can put a few more good rounds together.”

Three players are tied in second place at -6 under par, local favorite Eduardo de la Riva, is joined by Darren Fichardt and Tommy Fleetwood.

Eduardo and his family are attached to the tournament venue of Real Club de Golf El Prat and he features, along with his father and grandfather, on the honors board for winners of the Barcelona Championship in the clubhouse.

He started the day on the 10th, with an Eagle, and thinks his knowledge of this course will stand him in good stead;

“It’s my best score in a tournament here.”

“I had a great start; I hit a good drive, a safe second shot and I knew the third was perfect since the moment I hit it. Holing from 100 metres for an eagle is a big boost, and then I kept it going. It has been a great day of golf.”

“I know the course perfectly, the greens and the strategy, but it’s a strong course and you need to hit good shots and keep very calm.”

“It’s great to play at home and to sleep in my own bed. I don’t feel any extra pressure; I just need to play my game and keep doing the same things.”

“I enjoy playing in front of my family and all my friends and I will try to make them enjoy watching me.” 

Tommy is on a high after his great Masters performance and is hoping to improve on his world ranking here, and  next week at the BMW PGA Championship, in order to qualify for next month’s US Open.

“I was gutted to miss out on the Masters but at the moment my golf is in a good place so I’ve just got to keep my head down and keep going.”

“I did not play well in the pro-am on Wednesday then did some good work on the range and came out this morning and hit it really good. I did not miss many fairways and it was just a case of holing a few putts.”

“The greens are tricky and we had to make the most of them this morning. Yesterday was firm, fast and tough and this morning was softer and the greens were a bit slower.”

“Having the conditions like we did you had to go out and try to make a score.”

Darren was happy to have played so well in the tough afternoon conditions;

“I’m very, very happy,conditions were tough in the afternoon.”

“I was very impressed with myself because I got into trouble a few times and managed up-and-downs to keep the momentum going.”

“I’m definitely glad to have shot this score with tougher weather. I prefer to have tricky conditions in my first round, so I’m glad I’ve a morning round tomorrow, it should be pretty calm.”

Also in the field from The Masters is Sergio Garcia, he could only card a +3 over par 75 opening round.

 

WGC Cadillac Championships, J.B. Still In Charge.

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J.B. Holmes is still in charge of the WGC Cadillac Championships at the Doral Golf Club in Florida.

HSBC Cadillac Championship

JB taking punishment / Getty Images

J.B. carded a +1 over par 73 in the second round of the WGC Cadillac Championships, but still held onto the lead by two shots at -9 under par for the tournament and is very happy with that result;

“I’ve got a two‑shot lead, not too bad.’

“If you had told me that at the beginning of week I would have a two‑shot lead after two rounds, I would have said, alright, sounds good.”

Ryan Moore is in second place, a second round score of -1 under par 71 keeping him in sight of the leader at -7 under par, just two shots adrift.

Third place goes to Adam Scott, he is at -6 under par after his -4 under par 68 today. So good to see Adam using a conventional putter, although that claw grip will do him no favors. The grip is too fragile, and is the main reason Sergio Garcia has not been successful in Major’s.

Rory McIlroy had an up and down day, which included him showing off his club chucking skills, a 3 iron into the lake, following his ball. He ended up at -1 under par and T11 after his -2 under par second round.

Rory said of his club throwing incident;

“Must have went a good 60, 70 yards I think, felt good at the time.”

“Look, I just let frustration get the better of me. It was heat of the moment, and I mean, if it had of been any other club I probably wouldn’t have but I didn’t need a 3‑iron for the rest of the round so I thought, why not.”

“Looking back, it isn’t one of my proudest moments, but you know, walked away with a bogey and regrouped and did OK.”

“What happened after the second shot on eight I wouldn’t encourage anyone to do, especially if there’s kids watching at home.”

“First of all, it’s expensive. Second of all, you shouldn’t do it. It was one of those things that was heat of the moment, and you know, we’ll move on.”

HSBC Cadillac Championship

Rory and Lake bound 3 iron / Getty Images

Rory was playing alongside Bubba Watson and Henrik Stenson, both of whom are at -4 under par for the competition.

Henrik is no stranger to outbursts himself, he actually admired the length of Rory’s throw;

“It was a good release, yes.”

“He’s a strong fellow for not the tallest guy, and he had good speed on that one, too. You know, gets to the best of us, or to all of us.”

“I’ve done my fair share of those kind of things over the years, so I’m not going to judge anyone on anything.”

“Well, if you can’t get on `SportsCenter’ with your play, at least you can do it with something else.”

Bubba commented on the incident, with tongue in cheek;

 “I thought it was a practice swing and the grip was wet.”

“I just don’t have any comments for that because we all get frustrated, so there’s no reason to say anything negative about it.”