UBS Hong Kong Open. Rafa Remains at the Top.

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Rafa Cabrera Bello remains at the top of the UBS Hong Kong Open leaderboard at Hong Kong Golf Club.

UBS Hong Kong Open

Rafa Cabrera Bello / getty

Raffa, from Spaincarded -5 under par 65 today to still be leading the UBS Hong Kong Open, with a -11 under par total, and will take a three shot advantage over the field into the week-end.

Rafa has yet to win on Tour since 2012, but has the confidence he will do it soon;

“I know I will win again, I’ve won before. I just need to keep giving myself chances.”

“I have been working on some mistakes that maybe I have done on other occasions.”

“I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong not to get the win, so it will happen. Hopefully it will happen in two days’ time.”

“I managed to play well again, I played solid and put myself in very few risky positions. I felt in control again and just managed to keep up the good work like yesterday.”

“I felt I paid my dues here other years as well, from not knowing the course and not playing it smart enough.”

Sam Brazel, from Australia holds second place at -8 under par, signing for a second round -4 under 66.

Sharing third place at -6 under par are, Tommy Fleetwood, -2 under 68 today, Justin Walters,-3 under 67, Paul Peterson, -2 under 68 and Danny Willett -4 under 66.

Masters Champion Danny had given his aching back a rest recently;

“It’s nice to be in this position after the last few months, but it was nice last week, after DP World we obviously took a couple of weeks off because of the back and stuff and rested it well.”

“Actually took some proper time off, which I’ve not been able to do for a while. That was really nice.”

“Then came out here, probably as fresh as I’ve been for a month and a half, which is nice, and it’s probably showed mentally more than anything. The frustrations, even when you hit bad shots, you don’t let it get to you as much as I did probably in the previous couple of months.”

“We played pretty well yesterday and didn’t take loads of chances and played just nice and steady again today.”

“It’s a golf course where you’ve got to put your ball in position off the tee. You can take a few things on but as soon as you get in the rough around here, you’ve not got much control of your golf ball.”

“The greens are a bit firmer this year and obviously then with a few tight pins, it makes it more difficult.”

UBS Hong Kong Open. Rafa Cabrera-Bello Leads.

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Rafa Cabrera Bello leads the UBS Hong Kong Open after the first round at the  Hong Kong Golf Club.

 Hong Kong Golf Club

Rafa Cabrera-Bello / getty

Rafa shot -6 under par 64 to lead the UBS Hong Kong Open after the first round, a good turn of play that has not seen him miss a cut in 2016.

An Eagle on his last hole was the icing on the cake for Rafa, along with some good putting;

“That was nice, I had perfect distance, hit a really good shot and was surprised to see it go in. But I had never really finished a round like that and it felt nice.”

“I played really smart today, made very little mistakes. I hit every green, didn’t get myself in trouble off the tee.”

“I was in control of the round all day and putted nicely too, so it was nice work out there.”

“It’s all about position, position, position and rolling one or two putts and I did that very well today.”

Sebatian Gross holds second place at -5 under par after his opening 65.

There are then ten players tied in third place at -4 under after first rounds of 66. Defending Champion Justin Rose, is still struggling with his golf, even par 70 today, and he has now switched to the feeble claw grip for putting. Watching his putting performance today any sane man would tell him that to get a positive putt, he needs a positive grip.

Get in the Hole: Master Putting Manual by [Robbins, Pete]

UBS Hong Kong Open. Rose Reaps His Reward

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Justin Rose reaps his reward of good play by winning the UBS Hong Kong Open. This win was completed with him sporting a beard.

UBS Hong Kong Open

Justin Rose with beard and Cup / Getty Images

Justin carded a final round -2 under par 68 to win the UBS Hong Kong Open with a -17 under par total. I can’t remember seeing him with a beard before. It was not an easy win as Lucas Bjerregaard pushed him all the way;

“Lucas played incredible golf.”

“It was the first time I had the chance to play with him. I was thoroughly impressed, not just his game but his temperament and how he is as a person.”

“When you separate yourself from the field like we did, it’s probably a tough one for him to lose.”

“But he didn’t lose it, just both of us played incredibly well and separated from the field.”

“I’m very happy to get the job done. I had a chance to win in Napa last week, I was tied for the lead going down the tenth hole and let that one flitter away a little bit. I wanted to hang onto this one.”

Lucas enjoyed the tense rivalry with Justin, a -1 under par 69 giving him a -16 under par total, just one shot back;

“It was fun to battle with Justin these last two days.”

“It’s guys like him that I want to go out and compete against, and at least I gave him a little bit of a scare.”

“Early on today, that double-bogey on 14 really cost me. Got a lucky break there on 13 and made birdie, which was nice.”

That double-bogey on 14 really ruined it for me but all in all, happy the way I’ve played. Happy how I played this weekend, especially”

“The last time I was out in the final group on a Sunday, I shot 89. So 20 shots better today, I’ll take that.”

South Korea’s Soomin Lee produced the round of the day, -6 under 64, which gave him a share of third place with, Matt Fitzpatrick, Patrick Reed and Jason Scrivener, all at -11 under par.

The winning margin not as great as Lydia’s triumph in Taipei, but very impressive all the same.

 

UBS Hong Kong Open. Two Tied at the Top.

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There are two players tied at the top of the UBS Hong Kong Open after 54 holes. Justin Rose has been joined by Lucas Bjerregaard, and they will take a four shot lead into the final round tomorrow.

UBS Hong Kong Open

Justin Rose / Getty Images

Justin carded a third round -6 under par 64, but has to share top spot in the UBS Hong Kong Open with Lucas who went one better, -7 under par 63. Both players have -15 under par totals and a four shot cushion over the field.

Justin could only admire the effort of Lucas today;

“Lucas played unbelievable golf today, I actually didn’t know much about his game and first, he’s a lovely guy and second, he can really play.”

“I hung with him and what impressed me today was the couple of par saves that I had to make and rolled.”

“The first hole, I didn’t play the hole particularly well but made a nice 15-foot putt for par there and then eagling the third kind of got me up and running.”

“It was just a really fun day playing with Lucas and flip-flopping birdies and eagles and really stretching away from the field. It was a lot of fun”

Lucas also had some fun out there today;

“It was great. I really enjoyed it out there with Justin. He’s a really good guy and we kept making birdies, especially around the turn.”

“I played some good golf today and it was nice to get off to a good start, as well, to take some of the pressure off. So I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

 “Obviously it’s not fun to finish off any round with a bogey and especially not today. I hit a bad tee shot on 18 there, pretty much my only bad shot of the day.”

“So not the way I wanted to finish, but still, I’m very happy with the round today.”

These two are so far in front of the rest that one of them will be the winner tomorrow. For the record Anirban Lahiri is third at -11 under par following his -5 under 65 today.

UBS Hong Kong Open. Justin Rose Tops The Table.

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Justin Rose tops the leaderboard table at the end of day 2 at the  UBS Hong Kong Open.

UBS Hong Kong Open

Justin Rose / Getty Images

Justin fired a second round -4 under par 66 to top the UBS Hong Kong Open leaderboard at -9 under par, and a one shot lead over the field.

Looking back over his shoulder Justin can see an old foe lurking two shots back, in the form of Ian Poulter;

“Poulter is a past champion and he’s on the leaderboard.”

“He’s always good when he’s got something to prove, and he’s probably a dangerous guy now that he’s outside the Top 50 in the world, and I know that he’ll be desperate to get back in it.”

“He always plays well when he has motivation, so he’s obviously going to be tough to beat too.”

“Very happy with that, I felt like I struggled with the recovery overnight. I just felt like body was sore this morning, and today was definitely more of a struggle than yesterday.”

“Yesterday I played such a clean round, I guess it was always going to be more of a struggle. I made a few more mistakes today but salvaged par very well quite a few times.”

“Finally the bogey that threatened a few times reared its head on number nine but I guess I played 34 holes without making a mistake. It’s almost; you know it’s inevitable you’re going to make one mistake.”

“It’s out of the way. Don’t have to think about it now. So continue to try and play good golf over the weekend, make some birdies, and keep moving forward.”

“I again hit a lot of good putts today, and my putts that aren’t going in are pretty much threatening the cup, I feel that’s good.”

“I feel good about my game and I feel like my chances are good, and if I stay in my process, things should work out well, but you can’t afford to get ahead.”

Dane Lucas Bjerregaard is in second place, that one shot back at -7 under par, after his second round -4 under par 66.

Ian Poulter also carded a -4 under par 66, and is tied in third pace with  Lu Wei-chih, -1 under 69 today, both with -7 under par totals

World Number Eight Dustin Johnson missed the cut which was made at +1 over, after he signed for a +2 over par72 today.

UBS Hong Kong Open. Andrea Pavan and Lu Wei-chih Lead

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 Andrea Pavan and Lu Wei-chih lead the UBS Hong Kong Open after the first round at Hong Kong Golf Club.

UBS Hong Kong Open UBS Hong Kong Open

Andrea Pavan and Lu Wei-chih / Getty Images

Andrea and Lu both carded -6 under par 64 in the opening round of the UBS Hong Kong Open, to lead by just one shot.

Andrea has to finish in second place, or better, to avoid heading to the Qualifying School to try and get his card. He told reporters of his troubles this year;

“This year has been a struggle to say the least, I’m just trying to big deep and really look forward to every week.”

“Obviously this is the last of the year, and then I’m looking to go to Q-School. So it’s all about just giving myself chances.”

“I’m just really trying to get my game in better shape. It’s good on the range. I still feel like I’m lacking a bit of confidence.”

“Today I’ve managed to play very well for about 15 holes and then I had the occasional bad shot. So today I got away with it a couple times.”

It’s all about just waiting. I know I have what it takes.”

“It’s been tough last year and this year, but it’s all a learning curve and I really hope I can make the next step soon.

Lu has had some problems of his own, coming close to retirement three years ago after undergoing brain surgery, he said today was a very good day;

“Today, the first three holes, I was not feeling very focused on the golf course.”

 “And then after the third hole bogey, I just told myself that I can’t do this because if I don’t try to get back to my form, it might not be a good round.”

“Fortunately, starting on number four, I birdied four, five and six, and I started feeling much better and getting into the flow. Then the back nine, I felt very comfortable.

“Today is a really good round for me.”

There are some big names in this field, Justin Rose is the best ranked player and is currently tied third with  CT Pan and Jeev Milka Singh, all just one shot back after their first rounds of -5 under par 65.

Justin said he was happy with the way he played the course today;

“Really happy with the start, more happy with how I played today.”

“Happy with how I swung the club, struck the ball, how patient I played.”

“Got to grips with the golf course, for the first time.”

Also in the field are Ian Poulter, -3 under 67, Graeme McDowell -4 under 66, Patrick Reed -2 under 68 and Dustin Johnson -1 under 69.

 

Could Miguel still win an Open ? Big John Has To Open His Cheque Book

Miguel Angel Jimenez  (Getty Images)

Miguel Angel Jiménez/ Getty Images

Three time winner of the UBS Hong Kong Open Miguel Angel  Jiménez, could still win a Major, especially The Open, that is according  to Des Smyth. Miguel took away the title of oldest player to win on the European Tour from Des at Fanling, Hong Kong on Sunday. Des himself was neither upset or surprised to watch  the 48 year-old  Miguel beat his record, he believes that the Olive Oil and Rioja wine are keeping Miguel fit and flexible.

Not quite sure where the cigar smoking fits into those categories; Miguel Angel Jimenez Cigar Man Miguel/getty images

Des was full of praise for the Spanish veteran;

” He’s a top quality player, naturally, the clock is ticking but Miguel clearly still can compete, especially on courses that suit him. I think he could even win an Open at this stage. Miguel has that type of game, he’s very controlling and straight-hitting. It’s a great boost to your confidence to know you can still go out there and beat the talented young guns on tour.”

 

Another vet in the news is Big John DalyJohn Daly  John/getty image

Big John was playing in last week’s UBS Hong Kong Open, and was reported for throwing his putter into the trees during the second round, after being annoyed by fans using cellphones and cameras. Clearly upset, John went on to miss the cut after rounds of 72 and 75.  The  European Tour confirmed that it would fine John Daly, 46, an undisclosed amount. The Tournament director Mickael Ericsson gave a statement to reporters, he agreed crowd behavior was a problem, but that is no excuse for bad manners;

“Yes, the circumstances regarding crowd manners and behavior will be considered, but when it all boils down there is still no excuse for throwing his putter.”

Last year at the Australian Open John, a two-time Major Champion, threw his most  infamous meltdown of all time, when he proceeded to hit six balls in the water on one hole, and then stormed off the course. That prompted the then tournament director to remark;

” I would say this is the last time we will see John Daly.”

When questioned later about the incident John simply said he had run out of balls, and could not continue. In 2010, a PGA Tour personnel file revealed that John Daly had been cited 11 times for “conduct unbecoming of a professional” and another 21 times for “failure to give best effort.” Over the years, his fines have totaled more than $100,000, a piffling amount compared to Big  John’s earning potential.