Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Adrian Otaegui Leads.

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Adrian Otaegui of Spain leads the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters after 36 holes at Doha Golf Club.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Adrian Otaegui / getty

Adrian carded a second round -6 under par 66 at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters to move to the top of the leaderboard at -11 under par for 36 holes, and will take a one shot advantage into the week-end;

“I think it was similar out there today to the first round. There was no wind, it’s a low-scoring course this year so I think there was no real difference in the first two days.”

“I know I’m playing well, I’m confident with my game at the moment and I’m just trying to keep my momentum going.”

“I’m really looking forward to the weekend now. I just wanted to stay patient hole after hole and we’ll see what happens.”

Four players are then tied in second place at -10 under par, Eddie Pepperell, England, -3 under 69 today, Stephen Gallacher, Scotland, -6 under 66,  Grégory Havret, France, -3 under 69 and Erik van Rooyen, South Africa with his second round -6 under 66.

Erik is enjoying his first visit to the tournament, and is putting very nicely;

“I keep hitting it in the fairway and rolling in a couple of nice putts.”

“Mentally I’ve been really good, I haven’t been flustered at all and I’m putting really well so I’m just going to stick with that.”

“I’m in a good spot and looking forward to it. The whole experience has been fantastic.”

Stephen is waiting to see what happens with the weather;

“I think it depends on the elements out here, if it’s windy, you break 70 and you’ve had a good score but if it’s flat calm it’s going to be like the first day, low scoring.”

“We’ll see what the weather’s like and just try and be in contention coming down the stretch on Sunday.”

Grégory, is extremely happy with two clean sheets”

“So far, so good. Another clean sheet. It’s always good to start a tournament like this,” 

“I managed to not make any blue stuff on my card for two days, that’s really helpful, that’s probably why I’m just one behind the leader and feel good for the next two rounds.”

Eddie had a poor day with the putter, saying he holed nothing”

“I played amazing tee to green the first 12 or 13 holes but holed nothing.”

“Then I felt like my swing crept away from me a little at the end and I made the most of the finish so I’ll take that, to be honest.”

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Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Great Gallacher Defends Title.


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Stephen Gallacher defended his Omega Dubai Desert Classic title in great style at the Emirates Golf Club.

Gallant Gallacher defends in style

Stephen Gallacher and his retained Trophy/ Getty Images

Stephen amazingly turned on another tremendous back-nine fight back to make sure he became the first player to ever successfully defend the Omega Dubai Desert Classic title. He started the day with four bogey’s on the front nine, and then produced four birdies on the homeward nine to finish with a final round of even par 72. The scoring was nothing like as spectacular as the seven birdies and an Eagle he produced to cover the same stretch in just 28 shots on Saturday, but the total of  -16 under par was good enough to hold on;

“I never do anything easy I’m afraid, what a day, my emotions are gone. I never really played the front nine that well all week. I don’t know, it was a carbon copy of yesterday apart from I holed a couple of putts for par and got a bit lucky yesterday but today I was in bushes and trees and stuff. I just kept saying to myself, ‘stay patient’. I played the back nine well and no one was really running away with it at the time. To win it on the 25th anniversary, it was a good field with all the champions playing, makes it even more special.” 

Getting into the Worlds top fifty was one of Stephen’s goals this year, he has now achieved that;

“That was my goal at the start of the year. I knew I was only a win away from getting into all the events like the WGC Match Play and the US Open and if you have aspirations of getting into the Ryder Cup you have got to be in them, so I am delighted with that.”

Second place belonged to Argentine Emilliano Grillo who fired a final round of -6 under par 66, which leapfrogged him up the scoreboard, finishing just one shot back at -15 under par overall. He said he was quite happy with the way he played today;

“Apart from the second shot to 18 everything was quite good, the second shot went a little bit further than I wanted and got lucky, then I got lucky with the big putt. I am quite happy with how it went today, it was a good round overall. I left some putts out there but the one on the last gave me the ones I missed.”

Tied in third place at -14 under par were Romain Wattel, who also carded a last round of -6 under par 66, and Brooks Kopeka with a more modest final round of -2 under par 70.

What happened to Rory McIlroy I hear you say. Well poor Rory slumped to a final round of +2 over par 74 to drop out of contention, he finished with a -12 under par score. A poor last round where he started just two shots off the lead.

Rory McIlroy: Too many mistakes

Rory and a one-handed shot / Getty Images

“It was just one of those days, I think anything that sort of could go wrong did. Okay I hit a couple of loose drives, but I didn’t really get away with them or stuff like that. The golf course played a lot differently today, the greens were a lot firmer. On the rare occasions I got the ball close, I didn’t make any putts, so it was one of those days.”

“I was struggling to read the greens for some reason, so I got  JP  to read them for me on the back nine and holed a couple more. When the greens get this firm they change color a little bit and it was very hard to see. Everything I read was straight even though it wasn’t, I just couldn’t see any movement at all.

“I thought if I could get to sixteen under it would be good enough and it turned out that it was as that’s what Stephen got to. I just wasn’t able to play well enough to get there.”

Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Gallacher Gate Crashes the Party.

dragon logo dark Stephen Gallacher has gate crashed the party at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club. A brilliant back nine in the third round has given the Defending Champion a two shot lead going into the final day.

Stephen Gallacher  (Getty Images)

Stephen tee’s off, watched by Tiger / Getty Images

Stephen is now in pole position to become the first man to successfully defend the Omega Dubai Desert Classic title following a brilliant round of -9 under par 63 on Saturday, to top the leaderboard at -16 under par. Stephen was actually ten under par for the last ten holes, he now has a two shot lead over Rory McIlroy, who could only manage a -3 under par 69 in his third round, he is at -14 under par.

Stephen did not know where the sudden blast of brilliance came from, he just said what an amazing game golf is;

 “I don’t really know to be honest, it was quite a struggle to start with, especially the first three holes. I was not quite right but if you stay patient and keep focused it’s amazing what this game throws up. I hit it stiff on nine and from then on just kept hitting it close, and if I hit it to 30 feet I holed it. I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could and get a lead because I found the last time it’s easier when you are leading than chasing. There’s a lot of golf left to go but I will certainly be giving it my best shot.”

Rory was not quite 100 per cent fit after a bout of food poisoning, caused by takeaway food on Thursday night. He said his round was just OK, and did not know that Stephen was ten under for his last ten holes;

“It was okay, I bogeyed the first again but birdied two and eagled three which was great. I didn’t drive the ball particularly well, I’m probably going to work on a few things on the range and I felt like I hit a lot of good putts that just didn’t go in. I felt like I left a few out there but it was a tricky day and shooting anything under 70 wasn’t a bad score. Obviously Stephen had a phenomenal round, 63 today is a really impressive effort.”

“I didn’t know that. That’s a great stretch of holes and hopefully he doesn’t continue it tomorrow! I played with him the first two days and he played very well. Obviously he was on fire today, I just need to go out there and try to hit a few more fairways, focus on a few things in my game, not really focus on what he’s doing and make a few putts and see where it puts me. It’s the second week in a row for me going into the last day with a chance to win, it’s a great position to be in.”

There are two players tied in third spot, at -12 under par, Brooks Kopeka and Thorbjørn Olesen, they had very different rounds. Brooks had held the lead midway through the back nine until Stephen’s charge, I don’t know if he was watching the scoreboard but he dropped shots at the 14th and 15th to card a -2 under par 70. Thorbjørn on the other hand  fired a flawless -7 under par 65 to move him up the leaderboard.

World Number One Tiger Woods shot -2 under par 70 to occupy a share of 37th place on -5 under par.

There are obviously low scores to had on this Emirates Golf Club course, so there is still a chance for many players to come from behind and take this title, I am looking forward to it.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Rory Has Half-Way Lead.

dragon logo dark Rory McIlroy has the half-way lead at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.

Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)

Rory in the desert / Getty Images

Rory followed his first round 63 with a more pedestrian second round of -2 under par 70, but he still maintained top position on the leaderboard at -11 under par. His round today contained three bogey’s, which prevented him from building a commanding lead in the competition. He gave a blow by blow account of his wobbly back nine, but still expects to win this tournament;

“Making a few birdies on the front nine and turning two under par was a good effort, especially as the wind started to get up. I birdied ten, played eleven and twelve okay but then missed that little one (a par putt from inside two feet) on thirteen. Had a chance on fifteen and didn’t convert and made bogey on sixteen, but it was nice to birdie the last and at least give myself a one shot lead going into tomorrow.I will just go back tonight and regroup and realise that I am still leading the tournament. I hit a couple of loose drives which I haven’t done the last couple of weeks but I still feel like I’m playing well enough to go and win the tournament.”

“I have led from the front quite well in tournaments that I have won. I feel like I am still playing well, I know the course as well as anyone else and I expect to go out there and shoot two good scores over the weekend and hopefully lift the trophy.”

Second place belongs to American Brooks Koepka, whose flawless -7 under par 65 equalled the lowest score of the day and elevated him up the leaderboard to -10 under par overall.

Brooks is looking forward to going round with Rory tomorrow;

“I’ve never played with Rory, so it’s going to be fun. I know him a little bit from seeing him around, so hopefully I’ll be able to play as well as I did today. I putted really well today. Yesterday I didn’t putt very well, but today my putter came through for me. I’m striking the ball really well, and I also chipped well today. So everything’s going well, I can’t complain.”

Three players are tied in third place, Danny Willett who also shot -7 under par 65, Damien McGrane and Julien Quesne are at -8 under par for the competition.

European Number One Henrik Stenson and defending champion Stephen Gallacher among seven players another shot back at -7 under par in total.

Henrik was happy with his putting, and is hoping to put in a good challenge here;

“I think there is still a little way to go but today was the best I have putted for a long, long time. I was threatening on every putt and kept the score together with no bogeys, which is always a good sign.”

Danny started the week by jumping out of a plane, he thinks it could have been a good idea, made the first tee shot less terrifying;

“It was a different way to start the week, but if you are standing on the first tee trying to hit a drive onto the fairway it seems a little less nerve-racking than jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet, so it might have prepared me quite well. As soon as you jump out you think ‘What are we doing?’, but after that you level out and start to feel like you are just floating down and it’s unbelievable.”

He also mentioned his 0700 local time start;

 “A half-four alarm is never great but it’s a great time to play golf in the desert. The back nine is the scoreable nine and I was really, really clinical, didn’t miss a green, hit a couple of par fives in two and it was a real easy six under. The front nine gets a little trickier with the breeze and the doglegs but all in all it’s two good days’ work.”

World Number One Tiger Woods, playing alongside Rory, could only manage a second round of +1 over par 73 to make the cut with just one shot to spare on -3 under par.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Marvelous Mac is Back.

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Marvelous Rory McIlroy is back, he leads the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.


Brilliant McIlroy back to his best

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory  carded seven birdies and an eagle, in his opening round of -9 under par 63 at Emirates Golf Club to lead the competition by two shots. He said it was good and that he was close to his best, and how comfortable he feels right now;

“It was good, it was really nice. I played really well from tee to green, drove the ball great again. I think I only missed a couple of fairways and only missed one green where I had to really get it up and down. I took advantage of how I am driving the ball and just need to do more of the same the next three days. It’s close, obviously, this year I’ve shot a couple of good rounds. This is a little lower than I went in Abu Dhabi and I feel very comfortable with my game.”

Sitting two behind is Italian Edoardo Molinari, who shot a first round -7 under par 65, with a bogey on the last hole, a six on the par five.

Edoardo kept telling us how well he hit the ball;

“It was a good day. I played a couple of practice rounds in the morning and in the afternoon it’s definitely more difficult, especially the back nine was quite tricky, but I hit the ball really well. I missed a couple of putts but I’m hitting the ball really well. I’ve been hitting the ball very well lately, and especially off the tee. The only blemish on the card was eighteen today, and I actually didn’t commit to the shot. But apart from that, I think I hit every fairway all day. Tomorrow I’ll be able to play in the morning with softer greens, and I think that’s going to be a big help tomorrow, because surely the greens will be firmer and firmer as the week goes by.”

There is a group of five players on -6 under par in third spot, they are; Stephen Gallacher, Richard Sterne, Julien Quesne, Damien McGrane and Matthew Baldwin, who all carded rounds of 66.

Stephen played alongside Tiger and Rory and had this to say of the Worlds number one;

” Me and Tiger had a couple of holes where we had great saves of par but it was one of those days where we took advantage of the conditions, it was quite benign. It was great to play with Tiger and Fred Couples in the Champions event on Tuesday, that eased me in and I knew what to expect.”

Tiger Woods opened with a -4 under par 68, tied in tenth place. Tiger said he played OK;

“I played all right today. I probably could have got a couple more out of it. I didn’t hit a bad putt today which was nice, it was just that sometimes the grain grabbed it pretty hard at the end.”

Rory also thinks Tiger is playing well;

“He’s a true pro, he knows there are no pictures on a scorecard. He was hitting it a lot better at the end of the round but to shoot the score he did on our front nine was a good effort.”

Lets see how well Tiger plays tomorrow, and for that matter lets see if Rory can put four great rounds together.

Euro Tour. Its Cramped At Crans-sur-Sierre, Omega European Masters.

It’s extremely cramped at the top of the leaderboard in the Omega European Masters at picturesque Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland. Two tied at the top and five sharing third place and another five tied at eighth spot.

Thomas Bjorn  (Getty Images)

Defending Champion Thomas Bjørn / Getty Images

Thomas Bjørn, the defending Champion at Crans-sur-Sierre is tied at the top of the leaderboard with Stephen Gallacher, at -10 under par. It was a strange day where several players claimed the outright lead, but were unable to hold on to it. At  the conclusion of the second round Thomas and Stephen were the proud leaders.

Thomas declared that he was happy with his steady, but unspectacular play;

“I played better today, At the end, it was not the prettiest but I played alright and just kept my patience. I told myself not to make any stupid bogeys this week because everybody’s going to do that. I made one down the last, which is the first one, but it is just one of those things. I am happy with how I am playing, I played steady without being spectacular.”

Stephen is also happy to be in the number one spot;

” First place is not bad, I’m happy with that. It gives me something to work on over the weekend.”

Miguel Angel Jiménez is one of those players tied in third place at -9 under par, he stated that he was upset at making another error on the 18th, but patience is the key;

” I feel comfortable here, I’ve been coming for 25 years and I love to come here. That’s it. You need some fortune on the golf course but you need to think where you are going to place the ball because the greens are hard. I enjoy it here. You have to stay patient. We are still learning after so many years on the Tour that patience is the key. You get your reward. I’m still learning on the 18th that I cannot play for distance. Every year, through the back, through the back. I’m still learning. We will see tomorrow!”

Standing alongside Miguel on -9 under par are a trio of Englishmen, Tommy Fleetwood, Richard Finch and Danny Willett, they are joined by Frenchman Victor Dubuisson.

Danny recording the best round of the day, a -9 under par 64, which propelled him up the leaderboard. Yesterday’s first round leader Anirban Lahri had a very quiet second round of even par 71, but is still  only two shots off the lead, in the group at -8 under par.

Tomorrow is moving day, it will be interesting to see if anyone can separate themselves from the field and take a good advantage into the final round. At the moment there are twelve players within two shots of the leaders at the top of the scoreboard.


Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, it does look nice, doesn’t it.

Johnnie Walker Championship. Tommy Catches Ricardo to Share Lead.

Tommy Fleetwood catches up to Ricardo Gonzalez at the top of the leaderboard at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Tommy Fleetwood  (Getty Images)

Tommy Fleetwood / Getty Images

Tommy looked set to lead on his own but suffered a disappointing double bogey six on the last hole on the Gleneagles Hotel course. His third round of -5 under par , 67 enabled him to catch up to Ricardo who could only post a third round of -2 under par, 70. Both players are at -16 under par for the tournament.

Tommy shrugged his shoulders about the double bogey 6 on the par 4 eighteenth, saying it was a difficult hole;

” The last hole does not really mean anything, it’s a tough hole and the way I hit my tee shot I did well to make six. I carved it into the trees and was lucky to have a chip out. If I hadn’t I would have had to go back 100 yards and could have taken anything up to a ten. The way I played the first 17 holes was fantastic. I have been up there a bit this year and faltered a bit, so it’s nice that I have kept my good golf going for three rounds. I came off the Challenge Tour feeling I was the best golfer in the world, it felt very easy and I could not do much wrong. Last year I was still working hard but maybe not working on the right things.The more you play poorly out here, the easier it is to get into a downward spiral. It was horrible, I didn’t know that many people, and it was very hard.At this tournament last year I’m not sure that I expected to be back on this Tour this season, but I played great the second half of the season and have carried it on.This is what you spend hours and hours practicing for, to be up there in golf tournaments. I always used to watch this tournament as a kid and I love Scotland. My parents, Sue and Pete, would move here in a heartbeat, and we’ve got a house behind the 12th hole this week so I’ll do some practice and walk home.”

Ricardo is still recovering from personal distress, but said he was happy with his third round;

“The last two years have been very difficult personally, if I win I would like to dedicate it to my mother and father, that’s my target this week. I think the first two days, I hit it very well from the fairway to the flag. I’m happy to make two under par on that course.”

Fredrik Andersson-Head is alone in third place after his third round of -6 under par 66 and a -15 under par total.

Stephen Gallacher is just three shots off the lead after charging through the field with a superb -8 under par, 64, for his -13 under par total. He and  Bernd Wiesberger share fourth place at that score.

Stephen has been suffering from a freak injury, washing his car, and said only the guys in the physio truck kept him in the competition;

“A 64 is very good considering I didn’t have a warm-up.I hit two shots and had to go back in for more physio. The boys in the physio truck have been brilliant all week. They put a heat pack on it and gave me some tablets and said as long as I wasn’t having pins and needles it was just a strain and I couldn’t do any more damage. If it had been any other place I would probably not have played but I love this place and the course is set up perfect. The greens are fantastic and it’s a course where I have had a few low scores.”

If Stephen’s back injury does not trouble him tomorrow, he could easily figure coming down the stretch in this competition.