GOLF: Germany’s Bernhard Langer wins 2014 Senior British Open


July 28, 2014

http://www.sbnation.com/golf/2014/7/27/5942297/2014-senior-open-championship-results-scores-bernhard-langer

GOLF: Bernhard Langer wins 2014 Senior British Open

By on Jul 27 2014, 3:04p

Berhard+Langer+Senior+Open+Championship+Round+Psak-spWjlolThe 2014 British Senior Open Winner by 13 shots

If Rory McIlroy’s multi-shot win last Sunday felt like a cruise to the Open Championship, what should we call Bernhard Langer’s dominance one week later at the Senior Open? This was Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach in 2000 dominant, where a player overwhelms a field and course and is simply playing a different tournament than everyone else. It seemed Langer would have challenged and beaten anyone, Champions Tour or not, this week at Royal Porthcawl in Wales.

A total of five players finished under-par. Colin Montgomerie, who had just won the U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA, made another impressive run this week to finish 5-under. He was 13 shots worse than Langer, the German machine grinding everything down in much the same way Martin Kaymer did at the U.S. Open. Kaymer’s eight-shot win at Pinehurst, however, had to feel tense compared to this laugher, which was the largest margin at any Champions Tour event ever, major or not

 

GOLF: Rory McIlroy wins The 143rd Open at Hoylake


July 21, 2014

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/20/sport/golf/golf-british-open-mcilroy-wins/

GOLF: Rory McIlroy wins The 143rd Open at Hoylake

From Chris Murphy, CNN
July 20, 2014 — Updated 2156 GMT (0556 HKT)

Hoylake (CNN) — Rory McIlroy is one step away from golfing immortality, but it didn’t come easily. Perhaps that is the way it should be, given the 25-year-old’s two-shot victory at the British Open has elevated him into exalted company.

Rory-McIlroy win The Claret JugRory McIlroy wins The Claret Jug at The OPEN 2014

Only two players have completed three legs of a grand slam by that age — Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods — a potent pair with 32 majors between them.Victory at Hoylake means it is only the U.S. Masters that eludes him, a tournament which inflicted such a cruel fate back in 2011.

When McIlroy wins majors, he usually wins big. His previous pair — the U.S. Open in 2011, and the U.S PGA Championship in 2013 — had both been secured at a canter, eight shots the margin to second best. But not this time.

Out in front by six shots at the start of the day McIlroy stumbled round the links, scrapping and clawing away at the course to maintain his advantage.His main challenger wasn’t playing partner Rickie Fowler but friend and Ryder Cup comrade Sergio Garcia, of Spain, who charged round the first 10 holes in five-under par.

At one stage, McIlroy’s lead had been whittled to a mere two shots, but while the Spaniard’s nerve wobbled, McIlroy’s held. Just. Garcia took two shots to get out of a green side bunker on the 15th and McIlroy made a birdie on the 16th to stretch his lead to three.He could even afford to find a bunker on the last for a par-five to finish on 17-under for the championship. Garcia and Fowler finished tied for second on 15-under. “There was a better player,” Garcia said after shooting an impressive 66. “It’s as simple as that.”

Perhaps this leg of the hat-trick is the one that will give McIlroy greatest satisfaction, given he had to grind his way to the finish line amid the constant strain of pressure and expectation. His celebration was one that betrayed the relief he felt at getting the job done. Now all that is left is to conquer those demons at Augusta.

After being presented with his prize, McIlroy told reporters: “It feels absolutely incredible.I’m happy I gave myself a cushion because there were a lot of guys coming at me especially Sergio and Rickie Fowler. Just to be sitting here and looking at this thing, (The Claret Jug) and having my name on it, is a great feeling.It hasn’t sunk in yet and I’m going to enjoy it and let it sink in tonight in the company of my friends and family.”

As the 25-year-old himself acknowledged on Saturday, there will be a mountain of hype when he heads to Augusta next April, but for now it is all about McIlroy’s transformation on the links.

Justin Rose returns to form to win the Scottish Open 2014


July 14, 2014

GOLF: Justin Rose returns to form to win the Scottish Open 2014

by Ewan Murray, The Guardian, Sunday 13 July 2014 18.54 BST

Justin Rose at the Scottish 2014 OpenJustin Rose has not laid down an Open Championship marker, he has battered one into the ground with a sledgehammer. Rose’s credentials for this week at Hoylake were already strong, courtesy of his victory at the Quicken Loans National, before he took to the podium again, this time at the Scottish Open. A 65 from Rose at Royal Aberdeen on Sunday was sufficient to win the event by two strokes from Kristoffer Broberg and five from Marc Warren, with whom he was tied at the start of the final round.

At 16 under par, Rose conquered Royal Aberdeen’s stern test, albeit with wet Sunday conditions having a generally positive impact on scoring. He receives €627,000 (£500,000) for his efforts but an even more substantial boost to confidence at a crucial juncture in the season.

Rose heads to the Open having won on each of his previous two starts. To make it three, including a major championship, would represent both a remarkable achievement and as close to a streak as is possible in modern-day professional golf.

“I couldn’t have scripted it better,” said Rose, who dropped just a single stroke in his closing 49 Scottish Open holes. “I’ve never won two in a row and I’ve certainly never won three in a row so I’m in uncharted territory.

“It is unbelievable, really, to be back in the winner’s circle so quickly. I am feeling great. I don’t think these wins have taken a lot out of me. I will enjoy the moment but my mind will be, as of tomorrow, back in the game.”

Those who dispute whether winning the Scottish Open and Open Championship in back-to-back weeks is realistic need only glance back a year, where Phil Mickelson will supply a hefty counterpoint. When you throw into the equation that Rose has shown he has what it takes to win a gruelling major, it is little wonder his Hoylake odds have shortened to as tight as 12-1 in places.

A front nine of 31 on Sunday meant the Scottish Open was Rose’s to lose. Warren, who has tasted heartache in this event before, played the same stretch in 35. Eight pars and a birdie on the closing half were enough to ease Rose towards victory, with Bronberg’s 66 rendering him the 2013 US Open winner’s closest challenger.

“I had a 12ft [putt] for birdie on the 1st and misread there and that was the story of the front nine,” said Warren. “Justin was the opposite. He seemed to be putting from outside me most of the time and holing them. Once he was out in front he was difficult to catch.

“Obviously his confidence is high after winning a couple of weeks ago in America, and you could see that today; there were absolutely no mistakes.I think he made two bad swings all day and even they were a fraction out. He relied on his short game when he needed to. Obviously I don’t like being on the end of it, but it was a pleasure to watch.”

Rory McIlroy had set a course record of 64 on Thursday. That was bettered by Felipe Aguilar and Stephen Gallacher during Day Four; both shot 63. Gallacher’s tie for fourth further endorses his claims for a Ryder Cup spot in September.

McIlroy had the consolation of a third sub-70 round out of four, this time a 67, and a top-15 finish. He finished at seven under par, his position after round one.

“I see enough good signs in my game to give me some confidence heading into next week,” said McIlroy. “I’ve had three good rounds here. If I can just string a fourth in there, it would be great and obviously going into next week, that’s what I’m going to try to do.”

Mickelson had cause to be even more upbeat, after a 65 and tie for 11th. The 44-year-old thereby heads for the defence of his Claret Jug in fine spirits.

“I’m going to savour it and enjoy it,” said Mickelson. “I just feel different now when the Open Championship comes up and I’m able to go there as a past champion, as opposed to a foreign player who has never been able to conquer links golf. I will just go there with a whole different confidence level and feel a lot less pressure to try to win it because I’ve already done it. That win last year is something that I will always cherish.”

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/jul/13/justin-rose-wins-scottish-open

 

Mo Martin wins The Women’s British Open 2014


July 14, 2014

GOLF: Mo Martin wins The Women’s British Open 2014

by Golf Channel Digital (07-13-14)

Mo+Martin+Swinging+Skirts+LPGA+ClassicMo Martin made eagle on the 72nd hole to win the 2014 Women’s British Open and claim her first career major. Here’s how it all ended in the whipping winds of Royal Birkdale:

Leaderboard: Mo Martin (-1), Shanshan Feng (E), Inbee Park (+1), Suzann Pettersen (+2)

What it means: Martin, the 36-hole leader, started the day three back following a Saturday 77. She ended up one of only two players who did not finish her final round over par, with an even 72. Martin was 2 over for the day and 1 over for the championship before her second shot on the par-5 18th ran onto the green and hit the flag stick. Martin made her eagle putt to get into the clubhouse at 1 under, with then-co-leaders Inbee Park and Shanshan Feng still twisting in the wind. Martin, 99th in the Rolex World Rankings, had only one prior top-10 finish in an LPGA event in her last three years on tour and had yet to win. Her lead through two rounds was her first lead of any kind in an LPGA event and her three at the last was her first eagle of the year. Martin’s victory also extends a string of success for American women in major championships this year, following Lexi Thompson’s win at the Kraft Nabisco and Michelle Wie’s breakthrough as the U.S. Open.

Round of the day: Martin looked as if she would struggle again, with bogeys at Nos. 1 and 5. But she rebounded with a birdie at the sixth and proceeded to play her final 11 holes with nine pars, one bogey and, of course, one eagle. Anna Nordqvist of Sweden was the only other player who managed to play Royal Borkdale at even par Sunday with a 72 of her own. Nordqvist was actually 3 over through two holes before closing with three birdies and 13 pars to finish 5 over for the championship, in a tie for 12th place.

Best of the rest: It’s tough to pick anything out, considering everyone else in the field was over par, but 50-year-old Laura Davies and 20-year-old amateur both managed 1-over-par 73s. Three decades apart – that’s golf for you.

Biggest disappointment: Park opened the day with a three-shot lead at 4-under for the championship and gave it all away. She made the turn only 1 over for the round before going double bogey on Nos. 10 and 11. Feng held a three-way share of the lead with Martin and Park at 1 under when Martin eagled the last, but promptly made bogey on 16, ending a string of eight straight pars. Park and Feng entered the last two holes, both par 5s, needing just a birdie to tie Martin and force a playoff. Instead, Feng parred out and Park’s errant drive on the final hole resulted in a bogey. Park finished with a 5-over 77 and Feng a 3-over 75. Park was seeking her fifth career major and her fourth win in the last eight major championships, dating back to the 2013 Kraft Nabisco.

Shot of the day: What else? Martin’s second at the 72nd.

Quote of the day: “The second shot is one I’m going to remember. I actually heard it hit the flag. I said ‘Oh my God.'” – Martin

GOLF: Michelle Wie wins 69th United States Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2


June 23, 2014

Michelle Wie wins 69th United States Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2

GOLF: At Pinehurst No.2 Martin Kaymer wins


June 16, 2014

GOLF: At Pinehurst No.2

29 Year 0ld Martin Kaymer from becomes the First German to win US Open (2014)

By on June 15 2014, 7:41p

http://www.sbnation.com/golf/2014/6/15/5812864/us-open-results-2014-martin-kaymer-wins

In one of the more impressive and dominating four-day stretches at the “toughest test in golf,” Martin Kaymer ran away from the field to win the U.S. Open, his second major at just 29-years-old.

Martin KaymerMartin Kaymer of Germany wins 2014 Open Championship at Pinehurst No.2

http://snpy.tv/SZshHr

The USGA could have packed things up for the men’s national championship on Friday night in the Sandhills of North Carolina. Martin Kaymer, built on the back of his record-setting 130 strokes through 36 holes, strolled around Pinehurst No. 2 on Sunday and walked away with an eight-shot U.S. Open win. His final mark of 271 is the second-lowest total in U.S. Open history.

With the course toughened up on the weekend, there was no way Kaymer could approach those first two rounds of 65. But he didn’t need to after matching the largest midpoint margin in the 114-year history of this event. The USGA made conditions particularly brutal on Saturday, but Kaymer did not relent and only dropped two shots and reduced the advantage to still five shots. If an implosion or meltdown was coming, it was likely happening in Saturday’s third round but Kaymer just kept on churning, grinding out one of the great bogey “saves” after finding an unplayable washout lie at the 4th and then rolling in an eagle on the very next hole.

The weekend unraveling would have happened with that lie on Saturday, but Kaymer mitigated the damage to just a bogey and then totally deflated the field’s hopes with that eagle on the very next hole.

There was some spottiness on Sunday, but it was rare and none of the chasers, who included Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton, ever put a scare in him. The closest it ever got was four shots, and that was only for a matter of minutes. It was over when he went out in 1-under 34, with Fowler making a mess of the front side and Compton unable to put any kind of birdie run together on a typically tough U.S. Open setup that inhibits that kind of charge. By the time Kaymer got to the 17th tee, he’d pushed the margin back to eight shots and was on track to match that McIlroy masterpiece at Congressional.

Kaymer is just the 8th player to win the U.S. Open wire-to-wire with no ties, and just the third in the last 40 years. The other two to accomplish such a dominating start-to-finish feat are Tiger Woods (2000) and Rory McIroy (2011). That’s the kind of company this showing deserves, even if Kaymer is not the same marketable or accomplished star.

Kaymer is now a full-time resident in the Phoenix area, but he becomes the first German and first continental European to win the season’s second major. He said he’d been texting with German legend Bernhard Langer during his week at Pinehurst, and he’s elevated himself into that kind of historic company at just 29-years-old. In the states, his first three official PGA Tour wins are a PGA Championship, a Players Championship, and now a U.S. Open — three of the five biggest tournaments in the world and best fields of the year.

Four or five years ago, this kind of performance would not have been so surprising but Kaymer went wandering in search of a new swing in the intervening years from his first major, the 2010 PGA, to this title. He rose to No. 1 in the world, but for just several weeks and then started working on hitting a better draw (right-to-left shot), largely to compete at Augusta National. Kaymer hits one of the best high fades (left-to-right) in the world, and was already a major winner and had risen to No. 1 in the world. But the experimentation with the swing did not go well, and he completely fell off the map, rarely showing up on the first page of leaderboards and not contending on the Tour. The Ryder Cup clinching putt in 2012 added to his already impressive resume, but it came at a time when he was searching and not the all-world player that won the PGA in 2010.

Kaymer said he heard and listened to all the criticisms as he struggled with the swing changes. Now, he’s back in total control, winning the two biggest events in the world in the last two months to rocket back up the world rankings. Everyone else was in a “B group” playing a different tournament on a different course this week. He’s still only 29 years old, and perhaps those struggles in between the last major and this one were worth it in the end. Because right now, he’s a fine German machine who’s going to be heard from again.

McIlroy wins BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth


May 26, 2014

McIlroy wins BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

May 25, 2014 — Updated 1846 GMT (0246 HKT)

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/25/sport/golf/golf-bmw-pga-masters/index.html?hpt=isp_c1

rory-mcilroyCongratulations on Winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, UK, May 25

(CNN) — Rory McIlroy put a very public week from hell behind him to win the PGA Championship at Wentworth, his first European Tour title in almost 18 months.

The 25-year old had been seven shots behind tournament leader Thomas Bjorn going into the final round, after the Dane had earlier hit a course record ten under par 62.

But a dramatic collapse by Bjorn and a stunning final round of 66 by McIlroy saw him finish top of the leader board at 14 under par, one shot ahead of close friend, Irishman Shane Lowry.

“I played well, I played solid but I struggled Friday,” McIlroy admitted afterwards. “I was fortunate today a few people made mistakes ahead of me, and I took advantage of that,” he added, referencing Bjorn’s collapse from taking a five shot lead into the final round to finishing joint third.

Yet the tournament had been overshadowed by the media storm that followed McIlroy’s announcement he was to split from his fiance, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.

The on-off relationship had been followed as keenly in gossip columns as it had on the sports pages, but the announcement, coming shortly after the wedding invites had been sent out, had created a cloud of publicity that stubbornly followed McIlroy around Wentworth.

“The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realize that I wasn’t ready for all that marriage entails,” McIlroy said in a statement released to the press.

“There is no right way to end a relationship that has been so important to two people … I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we’ve had. I will not be saying anything more about our relationship in any setting.”

Putting the heartbreak of the past week behind him, McIlroy had enjoyed a solid few days at Wentworth.But it took Bjorn’s spectacular implosion to open the door before McIlroy completed the back nine in 32, beating Lowry and Luke Donald, who had also been in contention, to the title.

The Players Championship 2014: Germany’s Martin Kaymer in dramatic win


May 12, 2014

The Players Championship 2014: Germany’s  Martin Kaymer in dramatic win

By , Golf Correspondent, Ponte Vedra–May 12, 2014

Martin KaymerGermany’s Martin Kaymer wins The Players 2014

Mother Nature threw her best at Martin Kaymer, as did Jim Furyk, but the German somehow survived to win a dramatic Players Championship here on Sunday night.

When Kaymer tapped in for a 71 and a one-shot victory on 13-under, his smile shone through the gloom of the Stadium Course. A 90-minute storm delay had so almost derailed what had appeared to be an unstoppable charge from Kaymer.

There was barely any daylight left and Kaymer’s nerves were clearly frayed after seeming so composed before the siren had sounded. Before the interruption he made 10 pars and three birdies to take himself three clear; after the resumption, he double-bogeyed the 15th.

Then, in excruciating scenes, only the rough halted Kaymer’s ball from visiting the water on the par-three 17th. In the clubhouse Furyk was watching after his 66 and must have believed that, at the very least, he would be returning in the morning for a three-hole play-off.

Kaymer was left with a 30-footer for par on the notorious island green, but with a big, swinging right-to-left putt, he outrageously holed it to keep his advantage. It was not over. Kaymer needed to make an up and down for his first title in 19 months.

No, it was not pretty but it was a thing of absolute beauty for the former world No 1 who re-establishes himself in the top 50, as well as hurtle himself into tantalising contention for the Ryder Cup. Only 29, Kaymer, who radically changed his swing two years ago, is on the rise again.

In third, on 11-under came Sergio García after 70, while in a tie for fourth came Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose. It was a harsh learning experience for Spieth, who shared the overnight lead. The American 20-year-old finally made a bogey on the 59th hole (the fifth) and in the next 10 holes, four more appeared.

Rose’s tale was bizarre. Before he teed off in a final round in which he shot a 69, the Englishman was handed back two shots taken off him by rules officials the previous evening. Rose would have every right to be furious with the officials, who should never penalised him in the first place.

Decision 18-4 came into effect this year and it basically states that players will not be penalised if slow-motion, HD replays show that their ball has moved but that the “movement was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time”. That is exactly what happened to Rose.

In a tie for sixth, Rory McIlroy finished with a 66 for nine-under, so ensuring his seventh top-10 in eight stroke play events. The Northern Irishman will rue the front nine, on which he was eight-over the week. In complete and ridiculous contrast, McIlroy was 17-under for the back nine, shooting 31 on both weekend rounds. Lee Westwood finished on the same mark, after a 70.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods remains world No 1, as Adam Scott failed to achieve the top 16 he required, the Australian finishing outside the top 30 on one-over. However, the vagaries of the rankings system mean Scott will move above Woods next Monday, despite not playing this week.

Lee Westwood wins 2014 Maybank Malaysian Open


April 20, 2014

England’s Lee Westwood wins 2014 Maybank Malaysian Open

The Guardian, Sunday 20 April 2014 13.05 BST

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood’s Malaysian Open victory was his 13th win in Asia. Photograph: Azhar Rahim/EPA

Lee Westwood bounced back from a third-round blip to win the Maybank Malaysian Open by seven strokes after a storm delay. Play was held up for nearly four hours on Sunday owing to the threat of lightning in Kuala Lumpur but the Englishman, who had seen a four-shot lead cut to one by Andy Sullivan in Saturday’s third round, responded with a closing 68 to finish on 18 under par.

His nearest challengers trailed in on 11-under as Sullivan, the former Walker Cup player seeking a first European Tour win, plummeted down the field with a six-over-par 78. Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger shot 67, the South African Louis Oosthuizen 68 and Westwood’s Ryder Cup colleague Nicolas Colsaerts 70 to move to the head of the chasing pack.

Westwood’s fellow Englishman Danny Willett double-bogeyed the last to drop to 10 under alongside Rikard Karlberg and Julien Quesne. Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal, who made headlines earlier in the week when he jumped into a lake to avoid a swarm of hornets, shot 67 and finished in a share of ninth place with Thomas Pieters on nine-under.

Westwood, who claimed his 13th win in Asia with this victory, said: “I started working with a new coach a few weeks ago, Mike Walker, and Billy Foster came back on the bag at the end of last year, so I was going back to what I had done before because it had worked.

“It’s started to work already – the last couple of weeks I’ve played well in Houston and at the Masters and this week I’ve obviously played very well. It’s a golf course that suits my game; it’s very tight in certain areas. I played well, I putted well and the short game is good.”

When asked if he is approaching his best form, the 40-year-old added: “It’s got the potential, although now I feel like I’ve got a short game and starting to roll a few putts in. It makes a hell of a difference if you can get up-and-down if you miss a few greens and keeps the momentum going.”

 

 

The 2014 Masters at Augusta: Bubba Watson wins in a Spectacular Fashion


April 14, 2014

The 2014 Masters at Augusta: Bubba Watson wins in a Spectacular Fashion to don a 2nd Green Jacket

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/apr/14/bubba-watson-wins-masters-green-jacket

Bubba Watson-2014 Masters ChampionThe 2014 Masters Champion

Nobody can claim Gerry Lester “Bubba” Watson won his second Masters in three years the easy way. Not with a straight face, at least.

Watson let a three-shot lead fritter away on Saturday. As Jordan Spieth brilliantly holed out from the bunker at the front of the 4th green during round four, Watson trailed the 20-year-old by the same margin. Watson matched Spieth’s birdie two, moments later; the battle between eccentric major winner and fresh-faced pretender had commenced.

Jordan at thr 2014 MastersThis slugging match continued until the crucial period of this, the 78th Masters. Spieth (left) stumbled from eight to five under from the 8th tee to the 12th green. As Spieth left his tee shot at the 12th short and in Rae’s Creek, Watson had claimed a level of initiative that he didn’t look of a mind to throw away.

Watson sat at seven under by the end of the same stretch, with his score and advantage improved further with a birdie on a 13th hole which a combination of power and technology allows the left-hander to butcher.

At nine minutes to seven local time, Watson confirmed his aggregate total of 280, Jonas Blixteight under par and three better than both Spieth and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt (right). A three-stroke lead on the 72nd tee was comfortable enough, even for this jittery and emotional character. Watson still took three-wood, just to be safe.

He has been re-acquainted with the Green Jacket. Augusta National has been witness once again to Watson’s victory tears. Starting with Mike Weir, there have now been six left-handed winners of the Masters since 2003.

So Watson joins an illustrious list. The stellar names who have won this famous tournament more than once include Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Sam Snead, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Seve Ballesteros. Just like Horton Smith, the very first Masters victor, Watson’s three-year run here reads: win, loss, win. And all this, for a man who has never had a single golf lesson, let alone a coach.

For all the intensity and drama of day four, and there was plenty, a glance back to Friday is necessary in the context of Watson’s success. Then, he embarked on a run of five back-nine birdies in a row which kick-started not only the champion in waiting but the event itself. At the time, Watson’s spell looked ominous for the remainder of the field; it ultimately proved precisely that.

Even in defeat, Spieth emerges with immense credit. He was seeking to become the youngest ever winner of the Masters. Only three players in history had claimed the first major of the year on their debut.

Instead, the Texan fell narrowly short but displayed a spirit and maturity in defeat which many of his professional elders should take note of. He simply refused to give up, as a superb chip from the right of the 17th green which almost dropped into the cup illustrated.

Spieth won the hearts of the golfing public in Georgia and identified himself as this sport’s brightest young star. More importantly, he proved both to himself and others that he can go toe-to-toe with the best without feeling in any way inadequate. “It still stings, as any close call in a major would do,” Spieth admitted.

JimenezGiven Spieth’s showing, there would be an argument for experience being overrated, but for the exploits of Miguel Ángel Jiménez (right). The 50-year-old pot-bellied, chain smoking Spaniard recorded his best ever Masters finish of fourth. Never mind thoughts of a vice-captaincy role at the Ryder Cup in September, Jiménez has every chance of playing in it.

“Yes, technology helps me,” Jiménez said. “Of course. But if you don’t know how to hit the ball then technology doesn’t do anything.”

Blixt, too, is worthy of immense praise. The 29-year-old Swede carded four sub-par rounds on his maiden Augusta appearance. He’ll be a force, here and elsewhere, in the near future.

rory mcllroyAs ever on the Sunday of a major championship, there were early charges. Rory McIlroy (left) made one, with the Northern Irishman clawing back to level par from a starting point of plus three by the time he reached the 13th tee. However, McIlroy’s second shot to that hole, a generous par five, fell agonisingly into the water hazard and that was that. McIlroy can file this tournament firmly in the category of what might have been. Still, there was a first ever place inside the top 10 as a consolation.

“I played the par fives in even par this week, which you just can’t do out here,” McIlroy admitted. “I’m even par for the tournament and even par for the par fives. You are looking to play the par fives somewhere around 10 to 12 under par. Obviously if I had done that it would have been a different story.”

KucharMatt Kuchar (right) held more legitimate aspirations of glory. Kuchar chipped in for a dramatic birdie from the back of the 3rd green and tied for the lead but then four-putted the next hole and was never a threat thereafter.

Lee Westwood, who finished seventh, used the putter three times from 10ft on the 4th to trigger a double bogey. He was only ever going to make up the numbers after that. “I had a chance and didn’t put any pressure on,” admitted the Englishman. It is an all-too familiar major story, as Westwood knows all too well.

Watson’s narrative, specifically in relation to Augusta National, is one of stunning success. If you are going to be a horse for a particular course, where better to choose?

EurAsia Golf, 2014: Asia and Europe share Honours


March 29,2014

EurAsia Golf, 2014

Congrats to Thongchai Jaidee and his Men for for a strong comeback to share the Inaugural EurAsia Cup

Asia's Team for 2014 EurAsia Cup, 2014EurAsia Cup, 2014: Captain Thongchai Jaidee and his Magnificent ASIA Team

Asia rallied from a 5-0 whitewash on the opening day to share the inaugural EurAsia Cup with Europe with a strong performance in Saturday’s singles matches in Kuala Lumpur.

Thongchai JaideeAsia Captain Thongchai Jaidee in Action

Trailing 7-3 after Friday’s foursomes, the Thongchai Jaidee-captained Asian team won six and halved two of the 10 singles matches to tie the scores at 10-10 for a share of the spoils.

Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Hideto Tanihara of Japan were the last men on the course and both had a chance to wrap up the tie on the final hole but after missing tricky birdie putts, their match and the teams finished all-square.

Thai duo Thongchai and Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Indians Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar, South Korea’s Kim Hyung-sung and Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh all won their singles matches for Asia.

“Every part of my team was unbelievable to come back, fantastic,” an elated Thongchai told reporters. “Everyone played really well. I think the match is unbelievable, it was a good finish.To end on the last, and on the 18th hole, it’s fantastic. I have never seen a match like this. It’s very close and amazing.We had a good draw and good pairings, I think that’s the key point.”

Europe’s Spanish captain Miguel Angel Jimenez and Dutchman Joost Luiten were the only two winners for their team.Jimenez needed to dig deep to beat local favourite 23-year-old Nicholas Fung with a birdie on the 18th hole.

“It’s an amazing day of golf,” the 50-year-old said. “It’s been very tough. At the end of the week, the European team did not win the tournament but the Asian team, they played very well. As I said in the prize giving presentation, Asia, Europe, they both win, nobody loses.”

Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who partnered Graeme McDowell to victory in the fourballs and foursomes, gave up a four-hole lead over Prayad Marksaeng and had to be satisfied with a half point.

“I played so well at the start,” said the unbeaten Donaldson, whose tally of two-and-a-half points in the tournament was matched only by Jimenez.

“I flushed it for nine holes and then I don’t know if the heat got to me a little bit, but I hit some shocking shots and gave him a few holes.It was good to get a half in the end. It was important to hole that putt for the team and for my match, but I made it very difficult.”

The tournament will return to Malaysia in 2016 but the course for the second running of the event has yet to be finalised.–Reuters

Ryan Moore wins 2013 CIMB Classic Playoff


October 28, 2013

Ryan MooreRyan Moore–The 2013 CIMB Classic Champion

BREAKING NEWS: Ryan Moore is the CIMB Classic 2013 champion beating Gary Woodland in a sudden death playoff this morning at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, Malaysia. He birdied the first hole of the playoff with Gary Woodland this morning to win the CIMB Classic after an overnight wait caused by thunderstorms.This is a well deserved victory for Moore who was among leaders during the 4-day championship.–Din Merican

CIMB Classic 2013: Moore Vs Woodland in Playoff

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Gary Woodland survived two waits. Now he must survive another.

Woodland carded a 3-under 69 in fading light Sunday to finish the CIMB Classic tied for the lead with Ryan Moore at 14 under par. The two will begin a sudden-death playoff at 7:30 a.m. Monday (6:30 p.m. Sunday in Topeka).

Woodland had a left-breaking, 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have given the Shawnee Heights and University of Kansas graduate his third PGA Tour win, but the ball slid just underneath the cup.

“I hit it where I wanted to,” Woodland said. “Hit a good putt, it just broke a little more than I thought, which happens.I played good today and we’re excited about tomorrow.”

Moore, who also is seeking his third tour win, had to scramble for par on the 18th to match Woodland and cap a round of 2-under 70. After hitting his second shot on the par-5 hole into the right rough and leaving his third shot well short, Moore knocked a wedge shot to about 4 feet and made the putt to keep his hopes alive.

Asked how he felt standing over that putt, Moore said: “Less than fantastic, I’ll tell you that much. Any time you face a putt you know you have to make, it makes it that much harder, but you just try and step up and hit it like you normally do.”

The 18th hole at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club is lined with floodlights from tee to green, prompting speculation that Woodland and Moore might play at least one playoff hole on Sunday. The players, however, seemed satisfied with the decision to call it a day.

“It was just tough,” Woodland said of darkening skies. “There’s too many shadows, too much going on.”

Woodland and Moore were the last two standing following a round that featured two lightning delays and a rainy closing stretch. Playing in a final threesome that also included Chris Stroud, their last six holes took more than five hours to complete.

Woodland one-putted his first two holes after the initial weather delay – a three-hour stoppage — saving par from 8 feet at No. 13 and making birdie from about 6 feet at No. 14 to give him sole possession of the lead at 14 under.

Moore tied Woodland by birdieing the 16th hole when play resumed following the second postponement, which last about 40 minutes.

By reaching the playoff, Woodland secured his third top-two finish in the past three months. He won the Reno-Tahoe Open on Aug. 4 and was runner-up to Adam Scott at The Barclays later that month.

A win at the CIMB Classic would catapult Woodland into a tie for second place in the FedEx Cup standings through three events in the 2013-14 season.

Stroud and Kiradech Aphibarnrat tied for third at 13 under, missing the playoff by a single stroke. Aaron Baddeley took fifth, posting a 6-under 66 Sunday to reach 12 under.

http://cjonline.com/sports/golf/2013-10-27/woodland-face-moore-cimb-classic-playoff

CIMB Classic 2013: Grandstand Finish Today


October 27, 2013

CIMB Classic 2013: Grandstand Finish today

by Jugjet Singha and K.M. Boopathy| nstsport@mediaprima.com.my

CIMB CLASSIC: Stroud, Moore lead but race too close to call

Ryan  MooreRyan Moore–Joint Leader after Round Three

AMERICANS Chris Stroud and Ryan Moore claimed a one-stroke lead going into the final round of the CIMB Classic at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, but hot on their heels is Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Stroud returned a four-under 68, while Moore had three-under 69 in yesterday’s third round for combined totals of 12-under 204 to share the lead.But Kiradech and United States golfer Gary Woodland, who had three-under 69 and five-under 67 respectively for a three-day combined total of 11-under 205, are within striking distance for a big payout in the RM22 million tournament.

And it looks like its going to be anybody’s title today, as Jerry Kelly of the United States is alone at 10-under, while three other players are at nine-under.

CIMB-CLASSIC-Master-LogoThe winner today will receive a handsome cheque of US$1.26 million (RM4 million), playing rights on the PGA Tour for essentially the next three years, a place at the Masters Tournament next April plus a host of other invitations.

Moore was disappointed with a poor stretch on the back nine where he dropped four shots over five holes after turning in 31.

“It was almost two different days out there. I really got going, really hot early, making a lot of putts and making a lot of birdies. And then just kind of hit a pretty rough stretch there in the middle,” said Moore.

“I’ve obviously been playing some pretty good golf this week. It’s been a little up and down these last couple days, but I have enough positives that I’ve just got to kind of keep doing exactly what I’m doing.”

Stroud hit four birdies in a row from the fifth hole to launch himself into contention on a day when the leaders came back into the field through dropped shots on the more challenging back nine on the West course.

“I really hung in there, gave myself a lot of good looks and I got on a good tear there. There’s a lot of wedges, but I’ll tell you what, if you do not hit a fairway, you’re going to struggle to make par, and that’s really my focus,” he said.

Kiradech, the current Asian Tour No 1, ended his game with an anxious wait at the end of his round to review television footages of an incident at the 13th hole when his ball moved. But after being cleared by the rules’ officials, the 24-year-old will now shoot for his biggest career victory yet, and also his second title on the West course after winning the Malaysian Open in March.

“I feel really pleased with the way I’m playing. It was a good start, three days in a row on the front nine, but struggling a bit on the back. Three rounds, kind of mixed golf on the back nine. But I’m working on my putting a lot, and that helped.

“I’m happy with three under, and just a good chance which I’ll try to catch up in the final round,” said Kiradech, who made three birdies and an eagle in his opening 10 holes before dropping a double bogey on 14.

American Keegan BradleyKeegan Bradley still in contention after Round 3

Overnight leader Keegan Bradley struggled to a 76 to fall three shots off the pace while World No 3 Phil Mickelson shot his week’s best round of 68 to lie five behind the leaders alongside South Korea’s K.J. Choi in equal 11th place.

Lexi Thompson wins 2013 Sime Darby LPGA Championship


October 13, 2013

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sime Darby LPGA Championship 2013

Lexi Thompson wins  2013 Sime Darby LPGA Championship

LEXI THOMPSON ended a two-year winless streak when she won the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia by a record four strokes today.

The American teenager’s only victory on the LPGA Tour was at the Navistar LPGA Classic in 2011.

She bogeyed the second hole, but recovered with birdies on the 10th, 11th, 12th and 16th holes before dropping a shot on the 17th to finish on 19-under 265.

Thompson started the day with a three-stroke lead ahead of South Korea’s Lee Il Hee, but that was slashed to one by the seventh hole.

Lee, however, added bogeys on the ninth, 13th and 14th holes to end her challenge.

China’s Feng Shanshan finished second while Lee and Norway’s Suzann Pettersen were equalled third on 12-under 272.

Thompson’s four-stroke victory was the largest winning margin in the four-year event and she became the first non-South Korean winner. Kang Ji Min, Choi Na Yeon and Park In Bee won in 2010, 2011 and last year.

Ji Min and Na Yeon both one by one stroke while In Bee recorded a two-stroke win last year.

Thompson’s victory was worth US$300,000 while Feng, who won in China last week, took home US$185,159.

Leading final round scores
265: Lexi Thompson (United States) 67-63-66-69
269: Feng Shanshan (China) 67-65-70-67
272: Suzann Pettersen (Norway) 67-68-67-70, Lee Il Hee (South Korea) 64-65-70-73
274: Amy Yang (South Korea) 72-62-74-66
276: Sandra Gal (Germany) 69-70-71-66, Chella Choi (South Korea) 72-66-71-67, Alison Walshe (United States) 67-71-69-69, 69-68-70-69, Beatriz Recari (Spain) 66-71-70-69, Karine Icher (France) 70-66-68-72

- See more at: http://www.sports247.my/2013/10/thompson-storms-to-victory-in-malaysia/#sthash.rRdNL2Qh.dpuf

Lexi Thompon wins the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia championship 2013 by a record four strokes today. It was an impressive performance by the 18 year old American teenager. This is a second victory on the LPGA Tour, the previous one being as at the Navistar LPGA Classic two years ago (2011) when Lexi was just 16 years old.

Lexi Thompson at Sime Darby LPGA, 2013Lexi Thompson at Sime Darby LPGA, 2013

She bogeyed the second hole, but recovered with birdies on the 10th, 11th, 12th and 16th holes before dropping a shot on the 17th to finish on 19-under 265.

Thompson started the day with a three-stroke lead ahead of South Korea’s Lee Il Hee, but that was slashed to one by the seventh hole.Lee, however, added bogeys on the ninth, 13th and 14th holes to end her challenge. China’s Feng Shanshan finished second while Lee and Norway’s Suzann Pettersen were equaled third on 12-under 272.

Thompson’s four-stroke victory was the largest winning margin in the four-year event and she became the first American winner. South Korea’s Kang Ji Min, Choi Na Yeon and Park In Bee won in 2010, 2011 and last year. Ji Min and Na Yeon both won by one stroke while In Bee recorded a two-stroke win last year.

Thompson’s victory was worth US$300,000 while Feng, who won in China last week, took home US$185,159.

Leading final round scores
265: Lexi Thompson (United States) 67-63-66-69
269: Feng Shanshan (China) 67-65-70-67
272: Suzann Pettersen (Norway) 67-68-67-70, Lee Il Hee (South Korea) 64-65-70-73
274: Amy Yang (South Korea) 72-62-74-66
276: Sandra Gal (Germany) 69-70-71-66, Chella Choi (South Korea) 72-66-71-67, Alison Walshe (United States) 67-71-69-69, 69-68-70-69, Beatriz Recari (Spain) 66-71-70-69, Karine Icher (France) 70-66-68-72

Report by M. Ramayah and Din Merican in Kuala Lumpur.

Stenson Wins Tour Championship and $10M FedEx Cup


September 23, 2013

GOLF: Stenson Wins Tour Championship and $10M FedEx Cup

Henrik Stenson knows better than most players how it feels to go from the depths of a slump to the elite in golf.He’s done it twice now. And the second time was sweeter — and richer — than ever.

Not even among the top 200 players in the world two years ago, Stenson capped off Henrik Stensenthe best three months of his career with a command performance Sunday in the Tour Championship. With a birdie to thwart a late charge by Jordan Spieth, followed by three pars from the sand, the 37-year-old Swede closed with a 2-under 68 on Sunday for a three-shot victory to capture the FedEx Cup.

He walked away with $11.44 million — $10 million for the FedEx Cup ($9 million of that in cash) and $1.44 million for winning the Tour Championship.

“It shows that I never give up,” Stenson said, who also moves to No. 4 in the world. “This is way beyond what I could have imagined.”

Even with a four-shot lead, the final round was a battle. There were two trophies on display on the first tee. He knew he could still win the FedEx Cup even if he didn’t win the Tour Championship. Ultimately, he figured good golf would take care of everything, and it did.

Stenson became the first player to win the Tour Championship wire-to-wire with no ties since Tom Watson in 1987, the first year of this 30-man showcase.

Spieth made him work for it.The 20-year-old Texan left one last impression on his remarkable rookie season by running off four straight birdies on the back nine at East Lake to pull within one shot after Stenson went well over the 14th green and made his long bogey.

Stenson could hear the cheers and knew what he faced over the last four holes.”I’m not just a pretty face. I can put 1-and-1 together,” the Swede said with his dry humor.

He drilled a 3-wood into the fairway on the par-5 15th that set up an 8-foot birdie. Ahead of him on the 17th, Spieth was between clubs and chose to hammer a 9-iron that he caught heavy enough that it plugged in the front bunker. He made bogey and had to settle for a 64.

“I was just looking up and seeing that I needed more instead of being satisfied with what happened,” Spieth said of his four straight birdies.

Spieth wound up No. 7 in the FedEx Cup, the highest ever for a rookie. He began the year with no status on any tour and finished at No. 10 on the PGA Tour money list, and No. 21 in the world.

The last challenge came from Steve Stricker, who rolled in an eagle putt on the 15th hole to get within two. Stricker saved par behind the 16th green, and then missed two birdie chances from about 18 feet on the last two holes for a 65. He tied for second with Spieth.

Stricker didn’t realize that making any of those last two putts would have been worth an extra $1 million for finishing second in the FedEx Cup. He only cared about winning, knowing he needed birdies and for Stenson to make a mistake.

“I knew the putt meant a lot. I didn’t know it meant that much,” he said with a smile. He finished third in the FedEx Cup and received a $2 million bonus.

Stenson, who finished at 13-under 267, became the first European to win the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.

His amazing summer began with a tie for third in the Scottish Open. Stenson followed with a runner-up at the British Open and the World Golf Championship at Firestone, third place at the PGA Championship and a win at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

“Obviously, the work was done before,” Stenson said. “It’s not like I woke up in the middle of July and played fantastic.”The Tour Championship was his second win in three tournaments of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

“Since the Scottish Open, it’s been just an incredible run,” he said. “I’m speechless. It was a tough day out there. To hang in there the way I did, I’m really satisfied. … It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I had to fight hard mentally to keep all this aside, and I managed to do that. It’s going to feel better as the week goes on. I’m pretty sure about that.”

T WoodsTiger Woods, the No. 1 seed going into the Tour Championship, never recovered from his 73-71 start. He closed with a 67 to tie for 22nd, his worst finish ever at East Lake, and wound up second in the FedEx Cup. That still was worth a $3 million bonus.

Woods wrapped up the PGA of America’s points-based award for player of the year, and he captured the PGA Tour money title and the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring title. Next up is a vote of the players for PGA Tour player of the year. He is the heavy favorite with five wins this year.

The award is to be announced on Friday.

For much of the day, no one got closer to Stenson than three shots, and he answered that early challenge with an 8-iron to an elevated green to 2 feet for birdie at No. 7. The Tour Championship came to life in the final hour, though, thanks to the youngest player in the field.

Fearless as ever, Spieth began a run of birdies starting on the 13th hole that not only moved him into second place, it put pressure on Stenson not to drop any shots. Stenson’s only bogey came on the 14th, when he caught a flyer over the green and missed a 20-foot putt.

“Henrik obviously was playing phenomenal golf,” Spieth said. “I felt like once a few putts started falling, we have a shot at it.”

Webb Simpson had the low round of the tournament with a 63 to finish fourth. Stenson, who only last week smashed a driver and his locker at the BMW Championship out of frustration brought on by playing so much golf, finally gets a break. He was headed to his home in Orlando, Fla., for a four-week break before returning in Shanghai.

Next up: A chance to become the first player to win the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour and the Race to Dubai on the European Tour in the same season.What a turnaround.

http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/stenson-wins-tour-championship-fedex-cup-20336809?singlePage=true

Seve–A Golfing Matador


August 27, 2013

Seve Ballesteros–A Golfing Matador and a Creative Genius of the Game of Golf

Seve

Because of Seve, golf is exciting and inspiring, no longer an old man’s game. It is now more than 2 years since he left us. But I will remember him for as long as I live. He was a great sportsman and fine gentleman. I have pleasure in presenting this tribute to Seve for all golfers and fans of this unusual game. Din Merican