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

Australia’s Adam Scott win The Barclays


August 26, 2013

Australia’s Adam Scott win The Barclays

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) (Sunday, August 25, 2013)

Masters champion Adam Scott didn’t think his good round was good enough Sunday at The Barclays.

His caddie had already packed his golf clubs into a travel case. He viewed his visit to the CBS Sports tower as nothing more than a courtesy. His only hope was that the other players still on the course — Tiger Woods and Justin Rose among them — might find it as difficult to close out a victory as Scott has over the years.

Adam ScottAdam Scott

”I’m pretty shocked,” Scott said after his 5-under-par 66 in the final round gave him a one-shot win at Liberty National. ”There were so many guys out there with a chance and I really didn’t think I had much of a chance. If you hang around the lead long enough, you’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some. And this one went my way.’

Scott was watching from the locker room when Rose, who had a 25-foot putt for the outright lead, ran it 5 feet by the hole and three-putted for bogey. Clubs unpacked, Scott was on his way to the range when the groans from around the 18th green told him Woods narrowly missed his 25-foot birdie putt from off the back of the green to tie for the lead. Once on the range, a large video board showed Gary Woodland miss his third straight birdie putt from inside 10 feet.

”I guess it’s different playing an hour-and-a-half in front of the leaders, the guys who have been under pressure all day than when you’re out there,” Scott said. ”I know how they feel. When the pressure is on you to close out, it’s much harder, and the holes become much harder and shots are far more crucial.

”I feel like I’ve been given a bit of a gift,” he said. ”But I’ll take it.”Scott finished at 11-under 273 and moved to a career-best No. 2 in the world.

Woods suffered a back spasm on the par-5 13th hole and hooked a fairway metal so far left that it landed in a swamp on the other side of the 15th fairway. Woods dropped to all fours in pain before slowly getting up. He also dropped a shot on the 15th and then gamely fought back with birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to get within one.

His birdie putt from off the 18th green was one short turn of falling. ”Thought I made it,” Woods said after his 69.

Woods had all four rounds in the 60s for the first time in a year on the PGA Tour, though it wasn’t enough. He battled stiffness in his lower back all week, which he attributed to a soft bed in his hotel room — the second straight year he has had back issues from a mattress at this event.

In a brief interview with CBS Sports, he said it was ”hypothetical” when asked if he would compete in the Deutsche Bank Championship, the next playoff event that starts Friday on the TPC Boston. The tournament gives its charity money to Woods’ foundation. Woods already missed the AT&T National this year, which also benefits his foundation.”I just got off and I’m not feeling my best right now,” he said.

Rose wasn’t feeling that great, either. He was in position to win the tournament with a birdie putt, and the US Open champion did not want to leave it short. Instead, he knocked it by farther than he imagined, the ball stayed on the high side of the cup the whole way.

”I got too aggressive,” said Rose, who closed with a 68. ”I thought it was a putt to win the tournament. It’s tough to take.”

Kevin Chappell had a two-shot lead after a birdie on the 10th hole, but then played the next seven holes in 7 over par and closed with a 76. Woodland had a 73. Matt Kuchar, who shared the 54-hole lead with Woodland, fell back with a triple bogey on No. 9. His only birdie was on the 18th hole, and it gave him a 78.

”I found a way to hang in there and grind it out and gave myself a chance on the back nine on Sunday, which is everything you can ask for,” Woodland said. It was the second time Woods has missed a playoff by one shot at Liberty National.

Graham DeLaet of Canada, whose 65 matched Phil Mickelson for the low score of the final round, also tied for second. DeLaet will move up to No. 9 in the President’s Cup standings, and with one week before qualifying ends, is in good shape to make the International team.

Scott won for the second time this year, and at least put himself into the conversation for PGA Tour Player of the Year if he were to go on to win the FedEx Cup. He is No. 2 in the standings behind Woods, though the $10 million prize does not come into view until the Tour Championship.

The first playoff event was packed with plenty of energy on a spectacular day across from the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. Five players had at least a share of the lead at some point in the final round. Woods put up a great fight despite his back injury. Scott played the final 24 holes without a bogey.

Sunday also had some of the emotions found at Q-school for players whose season came to an abrupt end. And it was just as wild at the bottom.Only the top 100 players in the FedEx Cup advance to the second playoff event next week outside Boston.

Geoff Ogilvy could have joined them except for missing a 2-1/2-foot par putt on the final hole that ultimately knocked him out of the top 100.

Camilo Villegas, at No. 110, thought he needed a 6-foot par putt on the last hole to advance. He missed it and was visibly angry. More than an hour later, Aaron Baddeley appeared to be a lock to advance to Boston despite being at No. 119. Baddeley, however, bogeyed his last three holes, missing a 5-foot par putt on the 18th. That knocked him out and put Villegas back in at No. 100.

Scott missed a 15-foot birdie on the 18th hole that he thought might have been enough for a playoff at best. ”I thought I needed at least one more to even think about hanging around,” said Scott, who stayed long enough to collect his first FedEx Cup playoff win.

Europe Wins Solheim Cup 2013 by a Big Margin


August 19, 2013

Europe Wins Solheim Cup 2013 by a Big Margin

Steve DiMeglio, USA TODAY Sports (08-18-13)

PARKER, Colorado — England teenager Charley Hull and the five other rookies on the European Solheim Cup speak well for the global future of golf. They’re not too bad right now, either.

charley-hull_2635457bCharley Hull

Led by a crop of youngsters, Europe took command of this biennial tussle from the first session Friday and completed a convincing 18-10 win Sunday against the heavily favored USA at hot and humid Colorado Golf Club, retaining the Cup for the first time and capturing its maiden victory on foreign soil. It’s the largest margin of victory in the history of the Solheim Cup.

Following a 55-minute weather delay, Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, 24, playing in just her second Solheim, defeated Michelle Wie with a last-hole birdie from 5 feet to give the Europeans the 14 points they needed to keep possession of the Cup. Hedwall become the first player in Solheim history to go 5-0.

The USA, on the other hand, could never get a handle on the undulated, firm and slick greens throughout the tournament and now has lost their grip on the Solheim Cup. The USA will have to wait two years to try and win the Cup back at the Golf Club St. Leon-Rot in Heidelberg, Germany. The USA, while still leading the series 8-5, once dominated this competition so much that the relevance of it was brought into question.

Now the Americans have lost two in a row. Europe won 15-13 at Killeen Castle in Ireland in 2011.”They played great, and there wasn’t much we could do about it,” Wie said.

“You have to give all the credit to the Europeans,” U.S. captain Meg Mallon said. “They played tremendous golf, making putts, chipping in, hitting it close. They all played well. … We just didn’t get it done, didn’t have the putts drops for us. The team gave it their all. I’m sure I’ll second guess myself but it just wasn’t meant to be.”

After a Saturday afternoon sweep in Fourballs, Europe led 10.5-5.5 going into singles action. And there would be no Rally in the Rockies in singles plays as Hull, at 17 the youngest player in Solheim history, buried stalwart Paula Creamer, 5 and 4, to put the first point on the board and suppress the roars of the home crowd. Hull was 2-1-0 this week.

“I didn’t really feel that nervous, to be honest,” said Hull, who still said the experience was “wicked” and got a signed golf ball from Creamer after the match to give to a friend. “This is how I always look at golf. I’m not going to die if I miss it. Just hit it, find it and hit it again.”

Europe WinsEurope’s Solheim Cup 2013 Champions

European assistant captain Annika Sorenstam, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, was impressed by not only Hull but the other rookies.

“She plays without fear,” Sorenstam said of Hull. “She is relaxed and she has fun out there. And when we looked at the team, wow, we had six rookies, but they might be Solheim Cup rookies but they aren’t really rookies. They have experience and they have won.”

After Hull put up a blue flag on the scoreboard, Anna Nordqvist, who made the first ace in Solheim in a foursomes win on Saturday, earned a halve against Stacy Lewis in the opening match. Moments later, rookie Spaniard Carlota Ciganda, 23, won her third match by beating Morgan Pressel, 4 and 2. It was Pressel’s first singles lost in four matches.

After Hedwall’s victory, veteran Catriona Matthew clinched the outright win with a halve against Gerina Piller. Rookies Jodi Ewart-Shadoff, 25, Caroline Masson, 24, and Beatriz Recari, 26, a two-time winner on the LPGA tour this season who won three points, all contributed for Europe, as well. And rookie Guilia Sergas, 33, earned a halve against Jessica Korda.

In all, the rookies went a combined 12-5-2.”This is the best team I’ve ever been a part of, because of the youngsters and the atmosphere they brought to the table,” said European leader Suzann Pettersen, who went 2-1-1 in her seventh Solheim. “They are so fearless. And Charley Hull is one of a kind.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. stars have had better weeks.Cristie Kerr, Creamer, Pressel and Lewis, the reigning Ricoh Women’s British Open champion, were a combined 4-10-2.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” Lewis said. “(Saturday) afternoon hurt us a lot. We couldn’t build any momentum. We have all learned a lot from this and we get better. Their whole team is getting better every year and making this what it should be. It’s good for the event, it’s good for golf, but we’ll be fired up and ready to go next time.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/golf/2013/08/18/europe-defeats-usa-solheim-cup/2669485/

Thanks for Your Support


August 15, 2013

10 million Plus Hits for This Blog

Dr Kam and I .

Dr Kam and I .

As of this morning, the number of hits has reached 10,002,908.  I started this blog in November 2007. Since then, it has received 110,666 approved comments to 7,042 posts. I am grateful to all of you for the interest and support, without which this blog is insignificant. I also wish to thank wordpress.com and contributors for their excellent service and cooperation.

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I assure you in Malaysia, ASEAN and around the world that this blog remains committed to providing a diversity of views on contemporary issues of the day in Malaysia and around the world. I will try to be fair and balanced in my postings. After all, it is dedicated to the liberal mind. It encourages exchange of views and attempts to promote reasoned discourse.

For my co-moderator and wife, Dr. Kamsiah and I this has been a labour of love. We have spent countless hours to keep this blog continuously updated and relevant. Wherever possible, I do my best to respond to your comments. But I have never missed reading all of them. They have been a pleasure to read them.Most educational indeed for Dr. Kamsiah and I. Please feel free to suggest ways in which this public service blog can be improved. Once again, thank you all.–Dr Kamsiah and Din Merican

Cool Jason Dufner wins 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill


August 12, 2013

Cool Jason Dufner wins 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

August 11, 2013 6:48 pm ET

Jason Dufner at Oak Hills-The 2013 PGA ChampionJason Dufner- PGA Champion 2013

Usually at majors there are a half dozen storylines to follow as the back nine unfolds on a Sunday. Think back to the first three majors of 2013 — each one of them had so many rabbit trails it took hours to sort through all of it.

On Sunday at Oak Hill, there was only one: Jason Dufner shot an incredible 68 to beat Jim Furyk by two and win his first major championship.He was locked in from start to finsih. Nobody lost this tournament — not Jim Furyk, not Henrik Stenson, not Adam Scott — Dufner took it by the throat and squeezed the life out of it.

His iron play was good enough on Sunday to make the ghost of Ben Hogan a little bit moist around the eyes — it’s a good thing too because his putter was as shaky as my hands after nine cups of coffee during the British Open.

It didn’t matter though because Dufner only had to hit two and three-foot birdie putts — only on one or two occasions did he need to sink anything longer than that. Tiger Woods‘ kid could have kicked in 90 percent of Dufner’s pars.

The obvious narrative for Dufner is that this PGA Championship is redemption for the one in 2011 when he lost to his buddy (and prank-pulling partner) Keegan Bradley in a playoff.

Dufner’s card on Sunday was as clean as they come as he went out in 32 and came home with only two bogeys — but the tournament was over by then. It was pretty much the exact opposite of 2011.

Dufner’s scores for this year’s PGA Championship look like this:

Thursday: 68
Friday: 63
Saturday: 71
Sunday: 68

With that record-tying 63 Dufner becomes just the fifth man to shoot 63 in PGA Championship Trophy one of his first three rounds of a major and go on to win. The other four are Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, and Tiger Woods.

According to Justin Ray of ESPN Dufner is the 15th different first-time major winner since Lucas Glover won the 2009 US Open.

That’s fitting too since the PGA Tour has seen 11 different first-time winners this year. It’s not Dufner’s first ever win but it is his first of 2013 after winning twice in 2012.

It’s a bit strange, too, that Dufner is 36-years-old (just 14 months younger than Tiger Woods) and that his career is blooming this late. He’ll take it though and (as Shane Bacon noted) he’ll take those three top fives at the PGA Championship in the last four years and run away with them.

He’ll take that Wanamaker Trophy too — the one he thought his name was going on in 2011 but will have it instead in 2013.

http://www.cbssports.com/golf/blog/eye-on-golf/23106263/jason-dufner-wins-pga-championship-

Stacey Lewis wins the 2013 Women’s British Open


August 5, 2013

Stacey Lewis wins the 2013 Women’s British Open

2013 British Open Champion Stacey Lewis of the USAStacey Lewis of the US

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Stacy Lewis had another big week at St. Andrews and left with an even bigger prize — a major championship at the home of golf.

Lewis finished a marathon Sunday with exquisite birdies on the last two holes of the Old Course to close with an even-par 72 and win the Women’s British Open by two shots. It was her second major on the LPGA Tour, ending a record streak of 10 straight majors won by Asian players.

LEADERBOARD: Women’s British Open

The last time the 28-year-old Lewis was at St. Andrews was in 2008 for the Curtis Cup, and she went 5-0 to lead the Americans to victory. This was even sweeter, and it required no less than her best golf in conditions so blustery that Lewis was the only player at par or better in the last 21 groups. Three shots behind on the back nine, Na Yeon Choi gave her a chance with consecutive bogeys, and Lewis took it from there.

“It’s unbelievable,” Lewis said. “It all happened so fast at the end. You’re afraid for every shot, and all of a sudden you make a couple of birdies and it’s over.”

On the par-4 17th, the famous Road Hole, Lewis drilled a 5-iron that tumbled onto the green and settled 3 feet below the cup for a birdie to reach 7-under and give her a share of the lead when Choi three-putted the 14th hole from about 80 feet.

Walking off the green, Lewis said she told her caddie, “One more.” A driver left her some 40 yards short of the green, and the Texan used a putter to whack the next shot through the Valley of Sin about 25 feet past the hole. She made that for another birdie to post a score at 8-under 280 and see if anyone could catch her.

Choi, who won the U.S. Women’s Open last year, was trying to salvage pars to give her a reasonable shot at birdie on the final hole. It all came undone on the 17th. Choi’s hybrid from the fairway was too strong and settled in a clump of rough, just inches from going down the slope onto the road. She chipped to 6 feet, but pulled the par putt. When she failed to holed out from the fairway, Lewis had the title.

Inbee Park’s bid to become the first pro golfer to win four straight majors in one season ended early — very early.

Park returned to the Old Course first thing in the morning to resume the third round, which was suspended Saturday because of 40 mph gusts. In calm conditions, Park couldn’t cut into a large deficit and shot 74 to fall nine shots behind. Then, she began the final round by four-putting for double bogey. Park closed with rounds of 74-78 and finished 14 shots behind.

“I’ve done something amazing this season,” Park said. “I won three straight majors. I don’t know if I can do that again.”

NY Choi, who had a three-shot lead with six holes to play, had back-to-back bogeys from about 80 feet, and her bogey on the 17th led to a 73. He tied for second with Hee Young Park, one of four players who had a share of the lead at one point in the final round. Park also had a 73.

Morgan Pressel, who had a one-shot lead going into the final round, was tied one shot behind Choi until getting into trouble off the tee at the 12th and taking double bogey. Her last hope was a birdie-birdie finish, just like Lewis, only her shot into the 17th went over the green and onto the gravel path separating the putting surface from the road.

Pressel, a major champion at 18 in 2007 at the Kraft Nabisco, closed with a 76 and had to settle for her consolation prize. She tied for fourth with Suzann Pettersen (74), enough to boost her world ranking and grab one of the last two spots on the Solheim Cup team. The other spot available through the ranking went to Lizette Salas, who finished alone in sixth place.

It was the second time the Women’s British Open was played at St. Andrews, and Lewis provided another quality winner. Lorena Ochoa won in 2007.

Stacy-Lewis-Womens-British-18_r640In Action on the 18th Hole@ St Andrews

Lewis last year became the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win LPGA player of the year, which is based on a points system. Then, she won twice early this season to reach No. 1 in the world. That only lasted until Park won the first major and kept right on going.

Sunday was another stage for Lewis to show her grit.She was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was 11, so severe that she wore a back brace for 18 hours every day from age 11 until she got out of high school, and then had to have surgery when that didn’t correct the curvature in her spine.

She went on to win an NCAA title at Arkansas, star at St. Andrews for the Solheim Cup and then take the 54-hole lead in her first U.S. Women’s Open as a pro. Lewis won the Kraft Nabisco in 2011, the last American major champion in women’s golf until her remarkable performance on Sunday.

Nothing was more impressive than her 5-iron on the 17th, one of the toughest par 4s in golf that starts with a blind tee shot over the corner of the Old Course Hotel. Lewis drilled it in the middle of the fairway, and couldn’t remember how far she had for her second shot. With the wind, it didn’t matter. This is the kind of shot that must be felt, and her 5-iron was hit with the right trajectory and line to catch the slopes perfectly and feed toward the hole.

“That might be one of the best of my career,” Lewis said. “I was trying to hit it 160 yards in the air. It worked out perfectly.”

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Women’s British Open 2013 Round 3: Play suspended due to strong winds


August 4, 2013

Women’s British Open 2013 Round 3: Play suspended due to strong winds

Women's British Open 2013Inbee Park wanted tough conditions at St. Andrews to try to make up an eight-shot deficit in her pursuit of a fourth straight major.

It turned out to be too tough for anyone.The third round of the Women’s British Open was suspended Saturday by gusts that topped 40 mph and kept golf balls from staying put on the greens. After waiting six hours for the wind to calm, players were told to return Sunday morning for a marathon finish.

Na Yeon ChoiWhether that becomes a huge break for the leaders — Na Yeon Choi (right)at 10-under 134 was an hour away from teeing off — won’t be known until Sunday.

“It’s still going to be windy tomorrow — not, hopefully, as windy as it’s been today, but there’s no letup in it,” said Susan Simpson, head of operations for the Ladies Golf Union. “It’s still going to be very breezy and equally difficult conditions.”

How difficult? Nine players who completed the third round had an average score of 78.2. Cristie Kerr and Lydia Ko each had a 75, the best of those who finished. Rikako Morita shot 86. The cumulative nine-hole scores for the 20 players who at least made the turn was 54-over par.

There were 508 holes played, and only 26 birdies.Park is trying to become the first golfer, male or female, to win four straight professional majors in the same season. Her hope was for a steady round in raging wind and for the leading players to lose ground. Park was 1 under through four holes, making a 30-foot birdie putt at No. 3.

But it was her par on the fourth hole that helped make officials realize it was time to stop. The ball moved from its position from a gust, and Park called for a ruling to make sure she could replace it as long as she didn’t address the ball.

Simpson said it wasn’t Park’s ruling alone.”The time frame for the balls actually moving was very short,” Simpson said. “We got five calls, all in the space of a few minutes. … So I can’t actually say which one was the last one that made the difference because it all happened so quickly. There was a gust of almost 40 mph, and with that singular gust, all the balls started to move on the five calls that we had. And we suspended play immediately.”

Impressive round

The most impressive round belonged to Anna Nordqvist (right), who was 1 under throughAnna+Nordqvist 15 holes. Danielle Kang was even through 11 holes.

Everyone was to return at 6:15 a.m. Sunday to resume the third round. That means the last group of Choi and Miki Saiki is expected to tee off about 7:30 a.m. The draw will not change for the final round — players will head right back out, and if everything goes according to plan, the Women’s British Open should finish around 6 p.m. Choi had a one-shot lead over Saiki. Morgan Pressel was another shot behind.

Most of the trouble was around the loop — Nos. 7-11 on the far end of the Old Course that is exposed to the elements. Simpson said the wind reached a sustained speed of 30 mph, and during the suspensions, one gust was recorded at 50 mph.

Because more than half of the 69-player field did not finish, there is an option to scrap the third round and start over. Eighteen players had not even started the third round. Simpson said starting over was considered, but not for long.

“We had five groups complete the round, and while we took that into account and it was part of the discussions, it was quite quickly ruled out,” she said. “Because we don’t feel that’s fair to the players who have also competed and already played their rounds. We want to try to continue. Tomorrow, the conditions are meant to be difficult in the morning, as well.”

She said she spoke to all the players and their response was mixed.”Some are delighted and some are not delighted,” she said. “And I think that’s the way it works.”

Wind is the main defence of links courses, and St. Andrews is among the toughest of the British links in these elements because the Old Course is exposed. Simpson said officials prepared for a big blow Saturday by not cutting the green on the par-3 11th hole and being mindful of hole locations, making sure they were not on ridges. The greens were 9.4 on the Stimpmeter, compared with 10 the previous two days.They just weren’t prepared for this much wind.

Liselotte_NeumannSimpson said the tournament could be extended to Monday, if necessary, which would lead to chaos for the Solheim Cup captains, Meg Mallon and Liselotte Neumann (left). This is the final qualifying event for the Cup, which starts August. 16 at the Colorado Golf Club. They were to announce their captain’s picks two hours after the Women’s British Open is over, and Mallon said her 12-player team was to fly to Denver on Monday for a practice round.

© The Associated Press, 2013

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/golf/story/2013/08/03/sp-golf-womens-british-open-3rd-round.html

The Women’s British Open Golf 2013: Na Yeon Choi leads after Round 2


August 3, 2013

The Women’s British Open Golf 2013: Na Yeon Choi leads after Round 2

Na Yeon ChoiNa Yeon Choi (NYC)

South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi carded a fine five under par 67 in windy conditions to move into a one shot lead at the halfway stage of the 2013 Ricoh Women’s British Open over the Old Course at St Andrews.

The 25 year-old from Seoul goes into the third round on ten under par 134 and with a one shot lead over Japan’s Miki Saiki who took advantage of the calmer morning condition by posting a 66 for a 36-hole aggregate of 135.

Joint first round  leader, American Morgan Pressel, added a two under par 70 to her Suzanne Pettersonopening 66 to finish the first two rounds on 8-under par 146, while South Korea’s Jee Young Lee and Norway’s Suzann Pettersen (right) both carded five under par 67s to share 4th place with Nicole Castrale one shot further back on 137.

Choi – who is known on Tour as NYC or the Big Apple – missed the cut at last year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open at Hoylake but showed she is more than capable of handling treacherous links conditions with a battling round in which she carded six birdies and dropped just one shot on the 353-yard par-4 7th.

The 2012 US Women’s Open champion began her round with birdies on the 370-yard par-4 3rd and the 561-yard par-5 5th where she holed from 40-feet across the green. She went on to post further birdies on 369-yard par-4 6th and the 254-yard par-3 8th to go out in three under par 33 and then against the wind coming home recorded 7 pars and a brace of birdies on the 314-yard 12th and the 414-yard par-4 15th where she sank a 35-foot putt from the fringe.

“I’m very satisfied with the last two rounds,” said Choi. “Yesterday was good and today was even better because the course was playing at least 3 or 4 shots harder.

“I’d say the par out there was 74 or 75,” she added. “I don’t think I could have shot lower than 67. I missed a couple of birdie putts today but I also made some long ones. My focus was very good and my caddie helped a lot.”

Choi’s caddie this week is Irishman, David Jones, and the Irish connection is strengthened further by the fact that she has been coached since childhood by another Irishman, Robin Symes, who she met seven years ago in Korea.

“We met when I was still in high school,” Choi confirmed. “He was a teaching pro in Korea, still is. Right now, he works just outside Seoul. He has a big academy there and a lot of students. David is his friend, they grew up together in Ireland, and they helped me a lot. I trust them a hundred percent.”

Saiki came into this championship with two wins behind her on this year’s Japanese LPGA Tour and having closed with a five under par 67 to finish tied 7th the last time the Ricoh Women’s British Open was staged on the Old Course back in 2007.

The 29 year-old from Hiroshima was three under par after an opening 69 and she quickly got to four under after three holes before two spectacular eagles on the 406-yard par-4 4th and the 353-yard par-4 7th plus a birdie on the 347-yard par-4 9th helped her reach the turn in six under 30.

The first of Saiki’s eagles came when she hit an 8-iron 127-yards into the hole on the 4th and three holes later she repeated the feat with a 108-yard pitching wedge before coming home in level par 36 to set the early pace on nine under par 145.

“It’s incredible,” she said the Japanese player whose grandfather and father were both scratch handicap golfers. “It’s the first time I have ever had two eagles on par-4s in one round.

I would rate it as the best round I’ve ever played because it’s a Major and because of the fact I shot it here at St Andrews,” she added. “When you take all that into consideration it’s got to be the best.”

Pressel began the second round with a share of the overnight lead alongside Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth on 66 and consolidated her place in the top-5 with a solid two under par 70 which consisted of 16 pars and birdies on the 370-yard par-4 3rd and the 340-yard par-4 10th.

“I played very well today,” said the 25 year-old American, who qualified for her first US Women’s Open at the age of just 12 and won her first Major title at the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship while still an 18 year-old teenager.I gave myself a lot of chances and they were scaring the hole but didn’t go in.”

Inbee+ParkFurther down the leaderboard Inbee Park’s quest for the fourth leg of the Grand Slam will continue after she added carded a one over par 73 to finish the second round on two under par 142.

The World No. 1 dropped a shot at the 376-yard par-4 first but got it back at the 369-yard par-4 6th to get to the turn in 36. She went on to come home in one over par 37 but is adamant that she can still challenge at the weekend.

“I grinded really well out there today,” Park said. “I was a little bit unlucky with the draw, getting the afternoon today, not playing in the morning when it was lovely, but that’s the way it is.

“I’m a bit behind but not out of it,” she added. “You never know what’s going to happen the next two days, especially if the conditions get tougher. I think anything could happen out there”

The leading amateur going into the last two rounds is 17 year-old English international, Georgia Hall, the 2012 British Girls’ champion, who carded rounds of 68 and 75 to go into the weekend on one under par 143, one shot ahead of France’s Celine Boutier and two shots in front of World No. 1 amateur, Lydia Ko, from New Zealand. Ko is bidding to win her second Smyth Salver, having also claimed the amateur prize at Royal Liverpool 12 months ago.

The cut fell at one over par 145 and among those who missed out were 2010 and 2011 champion Yani Tseng (146), 1986 champion Laura Davies, Japan’s Ai Miyazato and Charley Hull (all 148), three-time champion Karrie Webb and 2004 winner Karen Stupples (150) and amateurs Amy Boulden (150), Gabriella Cowley (156) and  Sarah-Jane Boyd (159).

The biggest casualty of the day was joint first round leader, Camilla Lennarth from Sweden, who opened with a six under par 66 but plummeted to a ten over par 82 in the second round to miss out on 148.

http://www.ricohwomensbritishopen.com/choi-claims-the-half-way-lead-at-st-andrews/

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Snedeker captures the 2013 RBC Canadian Open Golf Championship Title


July 29, 2013

Snedeker captures the 2013 RBC Canadian Open Golf Championship Title

By on Jul 28 2013, 6:18p

One of America’s best comes through again for his fourth win in the last two years.

Brendt SnedekerRBC Canadian Open Golf Champion 2013

Round 1: 70. Round 2: 69. Round 3: 63. Round 4: 70. Total: 272

Brandt Snedeker’s two-year jaunt to the top of the world rankings continued on Sunday, as the No. 7 player clinched his second straight multi-win season with a victory at the 2013 RBC Canadian Open. Snedeker started the season finishing inside the top three in three of his first four starts, before finally breaking through at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. That February win came on the heels of back-to-back runner-up finishes to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, but Snedeker has established himself alongside those two Hall of Famers as one of America’s best.

Snedeker made his first big splash at last year’s FedExCup, where he clinched things in Atlanta to cash the $10 million prize. He’s repeatedly contended at major championships, but has yet to put it all together on Sunday for one of those career-defining wins. The Vandy product had an adventurous week at Muirfield, four-putting for triple bogeys but then getting his putter rolling later on the weekend to finish T11. He’s almost always around the first page of the leaderboard, whether it’s a major or regular PGA Tour stop and he started this week as the favorite of the oddsmakers.

The RBC Canadian Open had a fairly deep field for an event right after a major, but Snedeker took control of the 54-hole lead on Saturday and cruised in Sunday afternoon for the multi-shot win. He was aided by the withdrawal of Hunter Mahan, who held the 36-hole lead, but jetted off to Dallas for the birth of his first born. Even with Mahan gone, the leaderboard was still loaded with some of the top players in the world, including fellow Americans, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

Johnson briefly pulled even with Snedeker after a birdie on the par-5 16th hole, but sailed his drive way out of bounds on the very next hole to relinquish the lead. DJ, who narrowly missed an eagle to take the outright lead, then carded a triple bogey and it was basically Snedeker’s tournament from there. Johnson, Kuchar, William McGirt and Jason Bohn all finished tied for second, three shots back at 13-under.

Snedeker is considered one of the best putters in the world, but as we saw last week, it can sometimes be an adventure on the greens at the majors. He said after the round that he “didn’t have his best stuff” on Sunday, but he rolled it well enough to hang on for the multi-shot win. It’s his sixth career victory, and he now jumps ahead of Phil Mickelson in the FedExCup standings, behind only Kuchar and Tiger Woods.

He’s now off to Akron for an important two-week stretch, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship. He certainly has the game to go back-to-back and win a WGC event with one of the deepest fields all year, but the next big obstacle is getting that major win and he’ll have that chance at Oak Hill in two weeks.

It’s also been a good two weeks for Sneds in these parts — creating a new dance move and now winning another $1 million-plus payday.

http://www.sbnation.com/golf/2013/7/28/4566048/rbc-canadian-open-2013-winner-brandt-snedeker