Alstom Open. Bernd Wiesberger Wins

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Bernd Wiesberger wins the Alstom Open in Paris, at Le Golf National.

Alstom Open

Bernd Wiesberger / Getty Images

Bernd got back to winning ways with a final round -6 under par 65, to collect the Alstom Open title posting a total of -13 under par.

Bernd really set the pace after the horns had halted play when lightning threatened;

“It’s been a great first half of the year for me so far.”

“I’ve had a lot of great success but just couldn’t pull it quite off. To stand here with the trophy right now, it’s pretty sweet.”

“This tournament has always been close to my heart.”

“I just hit a great shot down the fourth before the horns were blowing and they took us off the course. I liked my yardage, and had a good shot in there and had some momentum building, chipped in, holed a long putt.”

“I felt really comfortable out there. I had a great weekend, only one bogey, and 66, 65, that’s not a bad score.”

Second place went to James Morrison a last round -4 under par 67 giving him a tournament total of -10 under par, and three shots off the pace. He admitted that Bernd had played too well to be caught;

“My game is improving every day; I’m doing all the right things.”

“Bernd played too perfectly today. He won the golf tournament, it’s as simple as that. He played fantastic.”

Jaco Van Zyl finished third at -8 under par, a sad final round of +2 over par ending any hopes he had of winning. A consolation was he will be joining Bernd and James in The Open.

Martin Kaymer was in fourth place, -7 under par, and because Martin had already qualified for  The Open, the final place on offer for St Andrews this week went to Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who finished in fifth place at -5 under par.

 

Irish Open. Søren Kjeldsen is Champion.

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Søren Kjeldsen is the Irish Open Champion, which was hosted by the  Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club in Northern Ireland.

Irish Open

Champion Søren & Rory / Getty Images

Søren won the Irish Open with a birdie on the first a play-off hole, against Bernd Wiesberger and Eddie Pepperell. In the tough cold and windy conditions only four players shot under par rounds today , and of the three leaders only Eddie was under par.
Søren carded a +5 over par round which left him with a -2 under par total, to equal the scores of Eddie and Bernd.

In the treacherous conditions Søren dropped four strokes on the opening nine, and his nervous winning putt in the play-off did a 360 round the cup before falling;

“The last breath I took was on about the 14th.”

“I have never been as nervous as this in the other tournaments I have won.”

“I had decided not to look at leaderboards but once I started dropping shots I started looking because it gave me a little pleasure that I wasn’t the only one struggling because it was such a brutal day.”

“I was leaking shots left, right and center but made a great up and down on 15 and the three-wood second shot in the play-off was pretty special.”

Eddie produced a bogey free -2 under par 69 round today, to get himself into the play-off on that score. Second place also gets him into the 144th, The Open Championship, at St Andrews;

“It’s great.  It didn’t cross my mind until I walked off the 18th and my caddie told me.”

“That’s a real bonus, and I know my dad and a few friends had already planned to go up there regardless. So I’ll be looking forward to it already.”

“I had a good weekend, good day today and put myself into a position where I had a chance to win.”

“On the whole I’m very pleased I think.”

Bernd thought he had also reached in the par five 18th in two, in the play-off;

“I thought I hit a really good three iron, it was right online.”

“I don’t know how it came up that short.  It was like 15-20 yards short from what I expected from that lie.”

“Just two bad chips on 18 that kind of cost me in the end to go to another extra hole.”

“But all in all, especially after last week, the way I played there, I have to be very proud and I’m quite happy with second place, and especially going into my favourite event in a couple weeks, I hope I can go one better.”

Joining the top three in The Open will be Tyrell Hatton, who edged out Rafa Cabrera-Bello for a place after they finished in a tie for fourth place on -1 under par.

 

 

Volvo China Open. Three-Way Tie at the Top.

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There was a three-way tie at the top of the Volvo China Open leaderboard at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in Shanghai, China. Kiwi Michael Hendry, England’s David Howell and Bradley Dredge from Wales share the top spot after round one.

Volvo China Open

David Howell / Getty Images

David, Michael and Bradley all fired opening rounds of -4 under par 68 to occupy first place in the Volvo China Open.

David, who won the last of his five European Tour titles at St Andrews in October 2013 said he was delighted with his progress with his golf game;

“I’m delighted, it’s a really different test this week.”

“We knew it was firm in practice, but it was hard to work out how difficult it was going to be. The scoring showed people are finding it tricky.”

“I drove the ball beautifully today, really found my rhythm on the range and took it out onto the course so I kept the ball in play well and did a lot of things right.”

“There was a decent breeze out there, but really it’s the firmness of the greens that is making it difficult for everyone. The greens are in great condition and you’ve really got to think your way round.”

“The greens were really firm so the big thing was if you were hitting fairways you had chances.”

“It was never easy getting the ball close to the hole with slopes on the greens and the firmness; it was quite tricky round there.

“This afternoon the wind is going to get up and it will be firmer still, so I’d be surprised if four under was beaten.”

Kiwi Michael won on the Japan Golf Tour last week, and he admitted that the win had provided a welcome confidence boost.

“It makes the game a little easier I think, it’s always nice to play tournaments when you’re in good form.”

The defending champion Alex Levy was one behind the leaders after a -3 under par opening effort, sharing fourth spot with Julien Quesne and Marcus Fraser.

Last weeks winner in China, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, opened here with a -1 under par 71, in his quest for back to back wins on the European Tour.

 

R&A Renegades Close The Open.

The Royal and Ancient have closed the door for many people in England on seeing The Open on national television. This is a national disgrace, the people have bought a TV licence but will now have to subscribe to SKY TV if they want to watch the national tournament.

The BBC golf presentation team, who give the best golfing coverage to be found, will become redundant. A sad end to anyone who enjoys the quirky quips and great knowledge of the game of Peter Alliss, the commentary team leader, Peter had this to say about the sad announcement;

“I know they (the R&A) do lots of lovely, lovely things but now when it comes down to the nitty-gritty they have dipped their hands into the money and that’s it. I don’t think there will be a golfer that won’t be bitterly disappointed at the news today.”

The Open

Peter with the BBC Team

Lee Westwood, who is currently leading the Malaysian Open, could not believe what the R&A have done;

 I cannot believe the Open isn’t protected as one of the crown jewels, that is an absolute disgrace.”

Graeme McDowell, who is also in Kuala Lumpur right now, feels sorry for anyone who expects to see The Open on national TV;

“I feel bad for anyone sitting at home with their TV licence and who will be robbed of Peter Alliss and the boys. The coverage from 7.30am to 7.30pm at night is special.”

For certain SKY will not be transmitting The Open for 12 hours a day, like the BBC do, and also you know the Sky coverage will be constantly interrupted by advertising.

Rory McIlroy knows it is all jut about the money;

 “I guess it’s just the way it’s gone, money talks, you know.”

The Open

Rory winning The Open

The people of England can put down The Open in July 2016 as the last one before golf stops being one of the major sports in the country and begins a long and agonising retreat to the margins.

Sky cannot be trusted, down here in New Zealand they have recently stopped transmitting the Premier League football, and have also removed Golf entirely from the program, so we basically get nothing.

The Open

The Open 2015 will be at St Andrews, the last one to be televised by the BBC.

BBC AND THE OPEN, A HISTORY IN NUMBERS

60 years since The Open was first broadcast on BBC — 1955 was the 84th edition of the competition.

1969 The first Open to be shown in color, with Tony Jacklin taking the Claret Jug.

267 The lowest 72-hole score, carded by Greg Norman in 1993 — his second victory at The Open.

6 British winners since 1955 — Tony Jacklin (1969), Sandy Lyle (1985), Nick Faldo (1987, 1990 and 1992), Paul Lawrie (1999), Darren Clarke (2011) and Rory McIlroy (2014).

£12m Total winners’ prize-money in BBC era. First prize in 1955 was £1,000.

1 in 5 people in the UK watched McIlroy win in 2014.

 

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Oliver Wilson Looking for Maiden Tour Win

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Oliver Wilson is looking for his maiden Tour win at The Old Course at St. Andrews , taking the lead in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Oliver Wilson / Getty Images

After a rain delay, followed by preferred lies, Oliver shot a bogey free -7 under par 65 on The Old Course to post a -15 under par three round total at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and is now in a good position to win his maiden European Tour title. He will go into the final round, at St. Andrews tomorrow with a three shot lead, and he is pretty happy about that;

“I’m pretty happy with that, I played good today. Left a lot out there, as well, which is a bit frustrating but obviously I’m pleased with how I played, especially coming down the stretch, hit a lot of good shots.”

“The way I’ve driven the ball the last couple of years, to stand up and hit some tee shots like I did on the back nine, I was very pleased, it was a good day. I got ahead of myself a couple times today but managed to just bring the head back in gear and focus on the shots.” 

“I expect Rory to shoot lights out every time he tees it up. The other names that are on the board don’t really affect me. I’m just doing my thing, trying to shoot as good a score as I can, get it in play, one shot at a time, all the boring stuff, but it’s true. I managed to do that really well. “

“There’s 18 holes, long holes, and it’s going to be a long day tomorrow, but it would mean a lot. I love this tournament and I’ve done well here before. I love coming to the Old Course, all the courses, but that walk up 18 is pretty cool.” 

“I’ll be nervous. It’s a big day for me. Last year I got off to a great start and kind of fizzled out in a similar kind of position really.”

Sharing second place, and three shots adrift are Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, Alexander Levy and Raphaël Jacquelin,  all at -12 under par for the tournament.

Tommy shot one of the best rounds of the day, a magnificent -10 under par 62, which was level with the Old Course record but not enough to earn him a share of the honor in the record books as after the overnight and early morning rain, which had delayed play by an hour this morning, meant preferred lies were in play.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Tommy Fleetwood / Getty Images

 

World number one Rory went one better than the leader with his -8 under par 64, which could have been even better. He is looking forward to the final round with Pro/Am partner dad, Gerry;

“I got off to a really fast start and was trying to keep it going, and I sort of did through the turn.” 

“But as you said the last four holes weren’t really what I wanted. But any time you shoot a score like that around St Andrews, you have to be happy.”

“Dad and I are going to get to play St Andrews on his birthday tomorrow which will be a huge treat for both of us.”

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Rory and Gerry / Getty Images

 

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Jacquelin Jumps Into Half-way Lead.

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Raphaël Jacquelin jumped into the half-way lead at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, in the wind and rain on Friday.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Raphaël Jacquelin / Getty Images

Raphaël shot a second round -2 under par 70 at Kingsbarns to lead the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a tournament total of -9 under par.

The wind and rain made things more difficult on Friday, but Raphaël was happy with his performance, especially the birdie, birdie finish;

“I’m pretty happy, especially the way I finished, I birdied 17 and 18, so it was good before having dinner and going to rest.” 

“I didn’t play that well, and not as well as yesterday, but it was not that easy, a bit of wind, a bit of rain, a bit of cold as well. I feel good, it’s a long weekend, a lot of golf to play, so the game of golf it’s not that easy.”

There are four players tied in second position, all at -8 under par, three of them played Kingsbarns. Padraig Harrington had a -2 under par 70, Oliver Wilson shot par, while Alexander Levy put together a second round -4 under par 68. That is back to back  rounds of 68 for Alexander.

Padraig wants to get into the Olympics and has set himself that target;

“I think the big one for me, I’ve got to get inside the top 15 in the world to make the Olympics in 2016.”

 “I’ve got 22 months to go. I’m starting at absolute zero probably at the moment. I really feel good about my game, so I believe I can do it.”

Shane Lowery kept himself in touch with the leader carding a -2 under par 70 on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Shane was the only player in the top 12 to play at St Andrews on Friday, which means he will face Carnoustie on Saturday before the final round is contested over The Old Course on Sunday

Shane played well and said the weather was not as bad as the forecast had predicted;

“To be honest, the way I played to shoot two under was quite good. The forecast was pretty bad today and everyone was expecting the worst, but it wasn’t actually that bad.”

“It played quite easy toward the end and I could have picked up a couple more, but I’m happy with the position I’m in with two rounds to go. Hopefully I can go out to Carnoustie tomorrow and hopefully the weather is not too bad over there and I can shoot a decent score.”

World Number One Rory McIlroy carded a -5 under par 67 at Kingsbarns and now has a -4 under par total, five shots off the lead. He would still like to win on Sunday at St. Andrews, but would not mind waiting until next year when he defends his Open title on The Old Course.

“I think the eagle on 16 kick-started something for me, I just went from there, started to knock a few putts in. I felt like I struck the ball pretty well for the first couple of days, but just to see a few putts roll in sort of gave me a little bit of confidence and played well after that.”

“It would mean an awful lot to win at St Andrews. But if I didn’t, I wouldn’t mind waiting until July next year.”

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. St. Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie

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The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is played over three of Scotland’s finest courses, St. Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie, at the end of play on day one Oliver Wilson emerged as  the leader, shooting -8 under par 64 at Carnoustie.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Oliver Wilson / Getty Images

Oliver carded his -8 under par 64 with 9 birdies and one bogey at Carnoustie to give him a one shot lead in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Oliver was happy to play Carnoustie on a good day, and thinks that might be an overall advantage;

“It’s nice to just get out there and take advantage, looking at the forecast, getting Carnoustie out of the way is theoretically the best thing, but you’ve still got to go and play and shoot a good score to take advantage of it, and I’m delighted that I have.” 

“Dunhill Links is always one of the best tournaments of the year. I’m obviously grateful to be here, but just trying to work on my own game to try to get a chance to get back on that team. It’s a great tournament. It’s good fun, and you think everyone’s attitude is a little different, it’s a little different to the cocoon of a normal tournament. You have your caddie and amateurs to spend time with and look after.” 

“We had a good fourball and it was fun, and that helps in this format because you’re out there for quite a long time. It’s nice to be on that board – like I said, I was really pleased with how I played. I’ve been working hard and the game is improving all the time.” 

Actually the top three players all came from the group who started the tournament on the Carnoustie links, Raphaël Jacquelin is in second place after his opening Carnoustie round of -7 under par 65, going bogey free with five birdies and an Eagle.

Padraig Harrington fresh from his duties as a Vice Captain at the Ryder Cup is sharing  third place with Shane Lowery, both carding  first rounds of -6 under par 66. Padraig at Carnoustie and Shane at Kingsbarns.

Robert Rock and Adrian Otaegui were the highest placed players from the Old Course at St. Andrews,  scoring -5 under par 67, and are currently tied in 5th position for the overall tournament.

European Team Captain Paul McGinley shot an even par 72 at Carnoustie in just his second European Tour event since July, while the best-placed of the Gleneagles quartet in the field ,Steve Gallacher, returned a -4 under par 68 on the same course.

Victor Dubuisson scored a -1 under par 71, World Number One Rory McIlroy carded a +1 over par  73 and Martin Kaymer +2 over par  74, all of them also on the Carnoustie course.

Rory reported that he felt flat after the jubilation of the Ryder Cup;

“A little bit flat, if I’m honest, obviously with the crowds and everything we were playing in front of last week, to come here it seems a little quiet out there, but it was fun to get to play with my dad.”

“I wish I had played a bit better and made a few more birdies but hopefully that will happen over the next couple of days. I want to win every week and I want to play well this week and at least give myself a chance. It was not the best score out there for me but we got the hardest course out of the way.”

Good also to see Nick Faldo playing, he returned a respectable -1 under par 71 at Carnoustie.