Volvo China Open. It’s tight at the Top, Play Suspended for the Day.

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It’s very tight at the top of the Volvo China Open at the Genzon Golf Club in ShenzenAlvaro Quiros and Simon Dyson share the clubhouse lead at the end of day one. Play was suspended due to bad light, with some players still to complete their first rounds.

Alvaro Quiros  (Getty Images)

Alvaro Quiros / Getty Images

Alvaro and Simon both shot opening rounds of -5 under par 67, to top the leaderboard on the Volvo China Open. Alvaro is coming back from injury and said things are slowly getting better;

“It was a good round of golf. It was a bit of a shame on the last par five because I was half a metre away from having a great chance to make another eagle but I ended up on the lip of the bunker and had to settle for a chip and two putts. You can’t see it yet on the rankings but I have been playing better. The Middle East swing was a good three weeks for me then I had a good result in Joburg and the last couple of weeks have been better.” 

Simon started on the tenth tee, and played well. He has won here before and that gives him a good feeling;

“I started on the tenth today and the first nine holes I played was the best I have played for quite some time. I really didn’t miss a shot. I missed two fairways just, and didn’t miss a green so gave myself a lot chances which is always nice and then I managed to make a couple of birdies on the other side for a tidy five under. It was a good start and very pleasing.”

“I have to say that because I was absolutely horrendous in the pro-am yesterday. I just went on the range for a couple of hours and managed to find something which I took out on to the course and it seemed to work for me. I’ll tell you what, it is an unbelievable finishing hole. If you need to make par on that hole to win on Sunday and you manage to get it done then you will deserve everything you get because it is a very tough finish.”

“I have had a bit of success here and really enjoy playing in China. Obviously I have won this tournament before so that always gives you a good feeling and like I said, I just played nicely today so hopefully I can continue to do that over the next three days.”

In third place, just one shot off the lead are English rookie Tyrell Hatton and Spanish Challenge Tour graduate Adrian Otaegui, David Horsey and Brett Rumford, who have all compiled completed first rounds of -4 under par 68. Alexander Levy and Il-hwan Park were still on the course when play was suspended, having played seventeen holes, and are also at -4 under par.

There is a posse of players at -3 under par, including Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter, they all signed a card for 69. Defending Champion and World Number Three Henrik Stenson was way down the pack at T38 with a completed opening round of -1 under par. There are currently 55 players within four shots of the leaders. A very compacted leaderboard.

Tshwane Open. Fisher Catches Big Lead on Day 3.

dragon logo darkRoss Fisher catches a big lead at the Tshwane Open on Day 3 of the competition at Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate.

Ross Fisher  (Getty Images)

Ross Fisher / Getty

Ross fired a third round -5 under par 67 to  take a five shot lead into the final round of the Tshwane Open at -18 under par as he tries to secure his first European Tour title for four years. This the best he has played for some time;

“I feel like I’m playing as good as I ever have, probably similar to when I was contending in Majors and getting myself into the Ryder Cup team. If I were to win here it would be a massive confidence boost and a step in the right direction. My primary goal is to get back in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking. I’ve been there before and I feel like I belong there.”

“I got to seventeen in the world because of my Major performances, but like a few other guys I had a big comedown after the Ryder Cup having achieved the second pinnacle of golf outside of winning a Major and so early in my career. Maybe I suffered a bit from Ryder Cupitus, as I called it. You see guys like Henrik Stenson who got to the top of the game, disappeared, came back, disappeared, and now he’s back where he belongs.” 

“You see guys like that come through adversity, drift off and come back. Lee Westwood is another one, I wouldn’t say my slump was anywhere near as drastic as theirs, but I’ve missed being in the top 50 and playing in the Majors and that’s where I want to be. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction for me.”

“I want to win this by a couple of shots, it would be nice to win in a good fashion because I feel like the game is good enough to win by a good number of strokes. I want to go out there and shoot a low number and somebody’s going to have to come out and shoot a ridiculous score to catch me.”

Michael Hoey carded a third round of -3 under par 69, but at -13 under par for the tournament he is a massive five shots adrift of the lead, but occupies second place.

Simon Dyson was looking to join Michael on -13 under par, but bogeyed the last after a poor approach and had to settle for a -1 under par 71 and -12 under par total. That score was matched by his playing partner Carlos Del Moral, winner of the Qualifying School last November.

Tshwane Open. Fisher Catches The Lead.

dragon logo darkRoss Fisher catches the lead at the Tshwane Open at the Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate.

Ross Fisher  (Getty Images)

Ross Fisher / Getty Images

Ross Fisher came home in just 30 strokes to claim the halfway lead at the Tshwane Open, carding a round of -7 under par 65, for half-way total of -13 under par;

“It was pretty special, any time you can do that is very pleasing. I made a nice birdie on the start of the back side and then hit a lovely shot into 13 to about a foot and that really got me going. Eagling the par five was a huge bonus. It was a shame not to birdie eighteen, but it was nice to cosy that chip up stone dead and walk off seven under. I set high expectations for myself having got to seventeen in the world. I’ve gotten there before and I know I can get back, it’s just a case of working hard.”

I’ve felt ready to win for a long time, it’s just trying to piece all departments of the game together on the same week. I’ve said it many times – the long game has been there for a long time and the putting has let me down. I’m really positive and looking forward to the weekend knowing that the long game is in shape and that I’m putting nicely.”

“I haven’t won for a few years, even though I’ve played well. I’ve had chances and the putter has let me down for a number of tournaments and for quite some time now. To see the ball going in yesterday and holing some nice putts today gives me a lot of confidence and it all bodes well for a good weekend.”

Second placed Morten Ørum Madsen, the South African Open Championship winner, carded seven birdies in a flawless second round 65  reaching -12 under par for the week;

“I got off to a great start this morning. Winning has calmed me down a little bit, just by knowing what to expect. It’s hard to birdie every hole and you’ve got to deal with adversity well, because you’re not going to play perfect golf for 72 holes. “

“Whoever deals with the bad holes and bad shots the best is probably also the guy who’s going to be on top come Sunday. I stayed patient in the beginning of my back nine and made a couple of birdies on six and seven, and then I saved a nice par on nine, so it was a nice way to finish. It’s always fun to see your name up there on the leaderboard and that’s what we play for. I practice to put myself in that position and to have a chance at the weekend is always great and it’s something I really cherish.”

First round leader Simon Dyson maintained his bid for a seventh European Tour title with a second round of -4 under par 68, and is two shots back of the leader at -11 under par. He shares third spot with Carlos Del Moral.

Simon knew it was going to be a tough ask to card another really low round;

“It’s always tough to follow a low score, because you always feel like you’re losing ground on what you had the day before. I’ve been out here quite a while now and I knew there were plenty of chances to come today. I also knew that I was putting nicely, so I just stayed patient and hit good putts and eventually a few of them dropped.”

Tshwane Open. 2 Tied at the Top, Play Suspended.

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Two players were tied at the top of leaderboard at the Tshwane Open when play was suspended on the  1st day at Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate in South Africa.

Simon Dyson  (Getty Images)

Simon Dyson / Getty Images

Simon Dyson birdied his last four holes to grab the clubhouse lead with his completed, bogey free, first round of -7 under par 65. He is joined at the top of the Tshwane Open leaderboard by Trevor Fisher Jnr, who has yet to finish his round. Trevor has completed 16 holes and will return to the course at 0645 tomorrow to finish his first round, with the second round beginning at 0700.

Simon explained how he played, and how his putting has improved;

“It was really nice, it’s a lovely start. It’s my lowest round in a good few years, especially on the first day. It just puts you in a nice frame of mind, a good stead, and sets it up nicely to have a good weekend. I holed a good six footer for par at the first and then about a 40 footer for birdie at the second and that was it, I was off and running.

I had made three really good up and downs on the holes before the 15th. I drove it in the bunker down 12 and then missed the green left and chipped it to about ten feet and rolled that one in for par. On the next I hit a good shot and it just released and rolled into the bunker and I upped and downed that, rolled in about an eight footer for par. I flew the green at 14 and then made a really good up and down. 

“You just kick on after that and next I had the par five, where you always have a chance. Putting has been the let-down for the last few weeks, but me and my caddie had a chat about what I’m doing wrong. We spent about an hour and a half on the putting green yesterday and I managed to get a good feel for it.”

Trevor likes playing at home in South Africa;

“I got into a nice steady run with four birdies in a row on the front nine, which was my back nine, unfortunately I dropped one at the last, but I can’t complain too much with seven under. The course is pretty soft after all the rain we’ve had and it depends on what happens this afternoon, but if you drive it well then you’ll have a lot of looks at birdie. My game feels in good shape coming off the back of a good result in South Africa a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know what it is, I just enjoy playing down here and I seem to play quite well.”

Ross Fisher and four more South Africans, Erik Van Rooyen, Jared Harvey, Darren Fichardt and Danie van Tonder are tied in third position, all on -6 under par under. Darren and Danie have yet to complete their first rounds.

Simon Dyson, A Sensible Sentence.

Simon Dyson

Simon Dyson / Getty

Simon Dyson has been handed a suspended two-month ban from the European Tour and fined £30,000 ($55,000) following his rules violation at the BMW Masters in Shanghai in October. On the face of it a pretty sensible sentence after a section of the golfing community were suggesting he be banned for life from golf.

Simon was summoned to  attend a hearing on Thursday, where he was found guilty of a serious breach of the European Tour’s code of conduct, for inadvertently using his ball to tap down a spike mark on the green in direct line of his short par putt.

His ban will become effective only if he commits another rules breach in the next 18 months.

A disciplinary panel found that Simon’s actions were deliberate but that it was “not a premeditated act of cheating.” They also took into consideration his previous good conduct on the Tour .

A television viewer noticed the infraction, which occurred on the eighth green at Lake Malaraen during the second round, and rules officials met with Simon the next morning.

At the time of the incident he was tied for second, just four shots off the lead. The rules officials disqualified him for not adding the two-shot penalty to his scorecard.

Simon, a six-time winner on the European Tour said in a statement released five days after the incident that the violation was unintentional. The maximum sanction was expulsion from the tour. He returned to action at the start of the 2014 season in November, finishing tied for 52nd in the South African Open and then tied for third in the Alfred Dunhill Championship last weekend.

Welcome Back Simon.

Alfred Dunhill Championship. Schwartzel Repeats Triumph.

Defending champion Charl Schwartzel repeats his triumph at Leopards Creek Country Club by retaining the Alfred Dunhill Championship title.

Charl Schwartzel  (Getty Images)

Charl and his Trophy / Getty Images

Charl completed his retaining mission at Leopards Creek by shooting a final round -4 under par 68 for a tournament score of -17 under par, a comfortable four shot winning margin. After carding a double bogey on the tenth hole of his first round, Charl then went 62 holes without dropping another shot;

“I had that hiccup in the first round through 17 and the first hole, and after that pretty much flawless with no bogeys from there on in. Most of the time if you play 60 holes or whatever it may be without bogey then hopefully you’ll win. It’s always nice to get a win and get some confidence up. It’s been one of those years where I have played well and just didn’t get the wins. Whenever you win and you’re playing well is great, whichever time of the year it happens. I’ve got two tournaments left and last week I played just as well as this week. It shows that I’m playing nicely and I’d like to see if I can continue.”

Richard Finch, from England, finished in second place at -13 under par, he played well but could not match Charl’s flawless golf. His runner-up cheque of €172,500 is likely to go a long way towards helping him getting his card back for the 2015 season. Richard said that Charl started hot;

“He got off to a fantastic start and mine was a little shaky. I know with this golf course, out of experience, that it’s a long way from over and you just have to keep hitting good shots.”

Returning to golf competition for the first time since the officials laid a ridiculous cheating charge against him, Simon Dyson, who is still waiting for the outcome of that charge, finished a creditable third. Simon fired a competitive final round of -5 under 67, to share third place at -10 under par with Ross Fisher and Romain Wattel.

It would be good for the animal kingdom of South Africa if the likes of Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Gary Player Etc, got on the bandwagon for trying to stop the slaughter of endangered species by South African tourist company’s. These people rear Giraffe, Rhino, Leopards and Lions, all endangered creatures, to be shot by so called big game hunters. The animals have no chance, they are kept in enclosed area’s. This practice is Not Illegal in South Africa, the World should put pressure on them to stop what is known as Canned Hunting. Sign the petition HERE.

Tiger vs Simon. Whats Your Thoughts.

Simon Dyson

Simon Dyson

Simon Dyson, World Golf Ranking 174,  faces possible suspension from the European Tour after signing an incorrect scorecard at last weeks BMW Masters in Shanghai.  The whistle blower was another home video referee. Not realizing that had incurred a penalty he failed to add a two-stroke penalty to his card, thus he signed for an incorrect score and was duly disqualified. The European chief referee John Paramor instantly disqualified him from the tournament. As a consequence Simon is now  facing a charge of “misconduct” and if found guilty he could be expelled from the European Tour, for life.

Simon said that it was an accidental mistake;

“My action was in no way a deliberate act with the intention of breaking the rules. It was simply an accidental mistake.”

The Tour officials released this statement;

“If, following the hearing, the panel decides that a breach of the code has been established, it shall impose a sanction that it considers appropriate having regard to the circumstances. Such sanctions may range from a reprimand, a censure, a fine, a suspension of Membership, a suspension from participation in one or more tournaments or for a given period, or expulsion from the European Tour, or otherwise as the panel shall determine.”

Compare that occurrence with some of the violations of Tiger Woods, World Golf Ranking 1.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods / Getty Images

In The Masters, Tiger deliberately took a drop that was contrary to the rules because he wanted to play from a distance that suited him. The Rules of Golf are necessarily severe in their exactitude. A player, when competing under rule 26-1-a, as Tiger was, is required to drop “as nearly as possible”

He duly signed for an incorrect score, the penalty issued by Slugger White, just a two shot penalty, he was allowed to continue in the tournament.

At the Abu Dhabi Championship Tiger illegally took a drop, for what he thought was an embedded ball. All the players were aware that the waste sandy areas around the course were not part of the close mowed course, so no free drop was permitted.

He duly signed for an incorrect score, the penalty, two shots, and no DQ from the tournament.

At the BMW Masters Tiger moved his ball while removing loose impediments, another video infraction. Tiger received a two shot penalty,  the officials stopped him from signing an incorrect card. He still believes to this day that he did nothing wrong.

It appears that the rules are applied differently if you are the world number 1, the penalties are not as severe as when you are down at 174.

There is always the question of phone in calls on violations, but in the rule book under Decision 34-3/9:

”Testimony of those who are not a part of the competition, including spectators, must be accepted and evaluated. It is also appropriate to use television footage and the like to assist in resolving doubt.”

Tiger has also benefited from other rulings, twice he has lost his ball and been given a free drop ?

The one at Firestone was the craziest, Tiger had sliced a shot onto the clubhouse roof, the ball was never found, they even searched the car park beyond the clubhouse, stating that it was not out of bounds. This searching took more than five minutes. The TV commentators announced that the ball had disappeared down an air-conditioning duct, and could not be found.

Who comes to Tigers rescue, Slugger White, giving him a free drop, greenside. Not sure what rule he was using.

Slugger White said the clubhouse has never been deemed to be out-of-bounds. In fact, he said Woods’ ball could have bounced across Warner Road and onto the North Course, and it still would have been in play. The rule book seems to disagree with him stating that

“Out of bounds is beyond the boundaries of the course”

Whatever, it is still a lost ball.

What are your thoughts ? I am interested.