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 leaderboard, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Spain,  has been joined by Sam Brazel, Australia.

UBS Hong Kong Open

Rafa Cabrera Bello / getty

Rafa could only manage a third round of even par 72 in the UBS Hong Kong Open, which allowed Sam Brazel to catch him at the top of the leaderboard. Sam carded -3 under par 67 to be tied at the top with a -11 under par total, at the Hong Kong Golf Club.

Rafa admitted it had been a colorful round;

“Today my score has all colors of the rainbow in it.”

“There’s been a lot of positives and a lot of negatives.”

“I was trying to find a stable day where I was just playing solid like I had these past two days. Staying patient, waiting for the birdies to come and I end up going up and down all day.”

“The best thing is I’m still in it. I’m still leading.”

“Of course it would have been nicer to have a few to spare but I still would have needed to play great tomorrow and I’m still in a position.”

UBS Hong Kong Open

Sam Brazel / getty

Sam is looking for his maiden Tour victory;

“It would mean the world to win.”

“But there’s 18 holes to go and I’m just going to approach it one shot at a time and try and enjoy the moment. Just learn from the experience.”

“I started a little nervous on the first but I guess that’s the situation you’re in. I felt the nerves a little bit at lunch time and just sort of grounded it out and it was fun out there.”

Tommy Fleetwood, from England, is in third place, he scored a third round -3 under par 67, to be at -9 under for the tournament;

“It would be great to win tomorrow, I haven’t won for a long time and it almost feels like I have had a year out of the game because I was playing dreadful from mid-2015 to the middle of this year.”

“I’ve sort of been on a path since August, if you like, getting my game back. I was just playing dreadful. Just rubbish. My game’s been coming back and I’ve had some good results towards the end of the year.”

“I went back to my old coach and I’ve had one of my best mates on the bag since July. Things have just turned around. I’ve worked hard.”

“We had to make some changes and we had to put a lot of hours into it. It began to show and I’ve been having a nice time on the course.”

“Caddie and coach have made the biggest difference and I’ve been enjoying my job again.”

Franklin Templeton Shootout. Matt & Harris Take Over at the Top.

White Dragon GolfFranklin Templeton Shootout

Matt Kuchar and Harris English take over the top of the Franklin Templeton Shootout leaderboard at -21 under par at the end of the second round in Florida.

Kuchar, English pull ahead

Matt Kuchar / getty

The second round consisted of Modified Alternate Shot,  Each player hits a drive on every hole and one drive is selected. The player whose drive is NOT selected hits the second shot, and they alternate shots until the ball is holed.

That format suited Matt and Harris, -6 under par 66 today, they have a unique team;

“It’s a unique pairing that way and there’s a decent rivalry, but I think both of us look at it as more respecting each other’s game.”

“We have very similar laid back, easygoing personalities. Just kind of we let that bit slide and just try to play some good golf together.”

“Nice to have a one-shot lead, but that’s no great cushion against guys like Stricker and Kelly that can really do some scoring.”

First round leaders Jerry and Steve are just one shot back at -20 under par, -4 under 68 today, to be in second place.

Jerry explained why they were behind the leaders, length off the tee;

“He was 50 yards past me.”

Steve added;

“There’s just a lot of offense on that team.”

Charles Howell 111 and Rory Sabbatini -3 under 69 today, are tied in third position with Kevin Chappell and Kevin Kisner, -4 under 68, both teams at -16 under par.

The final round tomorrow is  Better Ball, where each player plays through every hole using his own ball.

The player whose score is the lowest on each hole will be the team score for that hole.

 

Franklin Templeton Shootout. Jerry & Steve Lead.

White Dragon GolfFranklin Templeton Shootout

Jerry Kelly & Steve Stricker lead after the first round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout  at Tiburon Golf Club, Florida.

Franklin Templeton Shootout

Jerry & Steve / getty

Each player hits a drive on every hole and the best drive is selected. Each player then plays a second shot from the spot where the selected drive lays, and the best second shot is selected. This process is repeated until the hole is completed.

Steve Stricker returned to golf from a long layoff,  to team up with Jerry Kelly and take the first-round lead in the Franklin Templeton Shootout with a Scramble of -16 under par.

Steve said it was a great team effort;

“It was just a great team effort today, we both played well. We both kept the pedal down all the way around, we never let up.”

“We made a lot of good birdies, threw in an improbable eagle at the sixth hole, but other than that, it was just good, solid golf all the way around, all the way to the end.”

“Usually we have little hiccups here and there or a little lull period, and today that never happened. We just continued that good play every hole really.”

Jerry said it is really about rolling in the putts;

“We know everybody’s going to get in the fairway and get on the green in this format, so it’s really rolling in the putts.”

“I just need to do my job and hit solid putts, so he can see where the line is and make it like he does.”

Harris English and Matt Kuchar are in second place with a -15 under par total.

Charles Howell 111 teamed up with Rory Sabbatini, to claim third place at -13 under par.

Charles spoke about the old boys at the top;

“I think both of their biggest concern is that they have a big enough wheelbarrow for the Senior Tour.”

“They’re going to need some good tires and make sure they last the whole year.

 

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]

Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, 1st Round Finally Completed, Florentyna Parker Leads

 

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The Omega Dubai Ladies Masters 1st round has finally been completed, and Florentyna Parker leads at the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club.

Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.

Florentyna Parker / getty

Play resumed after the untimely death of a caddie yesterday, and the suspension of the round, and Florentyna, from England, shot -5 under par 67 to lead the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.

Florentyna, after starting well, sadly finished with a double bogey six, which included a three putt;

“Yesterday I started so well. I had seven birdies on the front nine and gave myself nine chances.”

“The last three years I’ve missed the cut in Dubai and it’s been very disappointing.”

“I was thinking back to 2010, when I finished fourth. I think I started with a five or six-under on the back nine, which was my front nine.”

“And I said, I need to get that feeling back and somehow do the same.”

“It was good that I made back-to-back birdies and obviously I struggled on the last two holes.”

Sophie Giquel-Bettan and Cheyenne Woods share second place, at -4 under par, after their opening rounds of 68.

Cheyenne was extremely happy with her putter performance;

“I thought I played really well, the two nines were a little different.”

“I thought I played a really solid round, hit the ball well and gave myself a lot of chances for birdies and my putter felt great, so I’m really happy with today.”

The Defending Champion, and world number four, Shanshan Feng went round in even par 72, the same score as poor Anne-Lise Caudal, whose caddie,  Max Zechmann, who was only 56 years old, passed away on the course yesterday.

Anne-Lise Caudal's caddie, Max Zechmann (seen at far right), passed away after an apparent heart attack Wednesday. (Associated Press)

Anne-Lise with caddie  Max Zechmann.

This event has been reduced to 54 holes, because of the sad events of yesterday.

Omega Dubai Ladies Masters. Caddie Dies on Course.

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Fist round play of the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters was suspended after a caddie collapses and dies out on the Emirates Gold Club course.

Ladies European Tour CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh announced to the media;

“Everyone at the Ladies European Tour is extremely shocked and saddened today by this sudden death and therefore we have taken the decision to suspend first round play as a mark of respect.”

“On behalf of our membership, we offer heartfelt condolences to the individual’s family and loved ones.”

Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAI said;

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of this caddie.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time. May his soul rest in peace.”

Round one play will resume on Thursday morning, with the tournament now to be played over 54 holes.

Hero World Challenge. Hideki Easily Wins.

White Dragon GolfWorld Challenge

Hideki Matsuyama easily wins the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

Matsuyama wins Hero World Challenge

Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki carded +1 over par 73 in th final round of the Hero World Challenge, but his -18 under par total was still good enough for the trophy;

Hideki recently won  the Japan Open, and named some of the great Japanese players;

“There’s been some great golfers in Japan.”

“Just to name a few, Jumbo Ozaki, Isao Aoki, Shigeki Maruyama, Tsuneyuki Nakajima.”

“And to be able to follow in their footsteps is a great honor. And then to come to the PGA TOUR and learn from really the best golfers in the world, it’s really helped my game.”  

“I’m grateful for all of their help. But to answer your question, I’m not the greatest golfer from Japan.”

“Jumbo won a hundred times, so unless I win a hundred times, I wouldn’t be greater than Jumbo.”

“Starting next week all my focus and preparation will be for the Masters.”  

“Hopefully, along the way I can play well on the PGA TOUR, but the Masters is my next goal.”

Henrik Stenson was second with a -16 under par total, his final round -4 under 68 was decent, but it did not create any pressure on the man in front of him.

Henrik mentioned the eight shot gap at the start of his round;

“I was miles away and it reminded me of the final round at Pinehurst in 2014 when Kaymer was miles ahead and you were just kind of walking in a bit of a vacuum.”

“I started picking up a few shots, made a nice eagle on 9. Then Hideki ended up in a bit of trouble.”  

“Unfortunately, I three putted from long range on 10, but I still picked up a shot there and then it was the double swing on 14 when he made a bit of a clumsy bogey and I made a good up and down for birdie.” 

“Now all of a sudden it felt like, okay, three back with four to go, there’s an outside chance if I keep on pressing on.”

Matt Kuchar, -2 under 70 today, Rickie Fowler, -3 under 69, and Dustin Johnson, -1 under 71, all shared third place at -13 under par.

Tournament host Tiger Woods could only manage a last round +4 over par 76, for a -4 under total, he was full of praise for Hideki;

“It’s going to give him a boatload of confidence going into next year and he’s going to be one of the top guys to beat for a very long time.”  

“Look at his swing, look at his game and look at the body that he has, it’s built for a workload and it’s built to handle the test of time.”  

“He’s going to be one of the players that we’re going to have to beat for a long time.”