Thursday, May 19, 2011

Golf Events from the Weekend 15th May 2011

It was another exciting weekend on both major Golf Tours from around the world.
Darren Clarke (NIR) with the Iberdrola Open Trophy he won

First I will start with the European Tour and the Race to Dubai. This week it was the Iberdrola Open that was played at the Pula GC, Son Servera, Mallorca, Spain. And it was Darrin Clarke (NIR) that took home the trophy. He scored rounds of 65-5, 70even, 70even and a final round of 69-1 for a 72 hole total of 274-6 and won by 3shots. He won € 166,660 for the win and moves to 35th on the Race to Dubai Money List with €261,380 earned from the 9events he has played this year to date. Charl Schwartzel (RSA) is still leading the Race to Dubai Money list with €1,587,333 earned from the 9events he has played this year so far.

It was a great win for Darrin Clarke (NIR) and his 1st win since the 2008 The KLM Open. It was very tough conditions in the final round with a strong wind blowing making scoring difficult. Darrin Clarke (NIR) played a very steady front nine birding the par 4, 3rd hole and paring all the rest to go out in 34-1. On the back nine he made a poor double bogey at the par 4, 11th hole, but made solid birdies at the par 4, 14th hole and also the par 4, 15th hole. And he scored 35even on the back nine for a final round 69-1. On the other hand the 54 hole leader Chris Wood (England) didn’t adjust to the conditions well at all. He bogeyed the par 3, 2nd and the par 4, 3rd. But made birdies on the par 4, 4th hole and the par 4, 9th hole, but had another bogey on the Par 3, 8th hole. So he went to out in 36+1, but had a shocking back nine that ruined any chance he had of winning. He scored 40+5 with bogeys on the 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 17th holes to end up scoring 76+6 to go along with his 3 other rounds of 67-3, 65-5 and 69-1 for a 72 hole total of 277-3.

And he blew a golden opportunity to win his 1st ever European Tour event of his Career. But he did still finish tied for 2nd with David Lynn (England). And he earned himself € 86,855 which places him 32nd on the Race to Dubai Money list with €271,469 from the 11events he has played this year. But he will have to think it was great chance to win that he let slip. Let’s hope he learnt a lot for next time he is in this position. I am sure he will because he is a great talent. It was David Lynn (England) best performance on the European Tour this year and he also earned € 86,855 for his efforts. He has been one of the solid performers on the European Tour over the last 10 years, with finishing inside The European Tour’s top 90 on the Money list for a 11th consecutive season in 2010. I wouldn’t be surprised if David Lynn (England) wins a tournament this year.

Alistair Forsyth (Scotland) finished 4th on his own at -2. Paul Lawrie (Scotland) the 1999 Open Champion finished tied 5th, along with Shane Lowery (Ireland), Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain) had his best finish on the European Tour in a long time also finishing tied 5th, how fitting it was the week after the passing of his best friend Seve Ballesteros (Spain). And the final player to finish tied 5th was Graeme Storm (England), I can remember when I did the walking scoring for him in the 2006 Blue Chip NZ Open at Gulf Harbour Country Club, Auckland, New Zealand, in the 3rd round. And he scored the best round of the day that day 65-6 that bolted him into a share of the lead. I will always remember that awesome round he had. Good to see he is still playing good golf.

In tied for 9th place was Thomas Aiken (RSA) who recently won the Open de EspaƱa. Good to see he is continuing on his fine form. Also tie-in 9th place was Gregory Bourdy (France) and Damien McGrane (Ireland), they were all at even par. Next week there are 2 tournaments on the European Tour with the Volvo World Match Play Championship being played at the Finca Cortesin GC, Casares, Andalucia, Spain and is the 2nd of two tournaments that are solely Match play on the European Tour this year. And one of the biggest purses on the European Tour with €3,400,000 up for grabs. With 24 of the best players in the world competing for the Trophy. It was not played in 2010, but Ross Fisher (England) was the last player to win it in 2009. It starts on Thursday 19th May.

And the other event on the European Tour is Maderira Islands Open BPI – Portugal that is played at Porto Santo Golfe, Madeira, Portugal, all the players that aren’t in the Volvo World Match Play Championship will more than like play in this event and it is also a Challenge Tour event. It gives the Challenge Tour players a chance to play on the European Tour. With only a small purse on offer of €700,000 it may not attract the best players from the European Tour but the Challenge Tour players will jump at the chance to play for that purse because it is the largest on the Challenge Tour all year. And it could be a chance for a Challenge Tour player to jump straight on the European Tour with a win. James Morrison (England) is the defending champion. It starts on Thursday 19th May as well and I will report back who won on both tournaments next week.

K. J. Choi (South Korea) with the Players Championship Trophy and in
the Background hitting his tee shot in the playoff to the 17th green

Now to the USPGA Tour and the FedEx Cup and this week it was the PLAYERS Championship and it is the wealthiest event on the USPGA Tour and it was played at the famous TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. And K. J. Choi (South Korea) scored rounds of 70-2, 68-4, 67-5 and a final round of 70-2 for a 72 hole total of 275-13. But he was joined on that score by David Toms (USA) who scored rounds of 66-6, 68-4, 71-1 and a final round of 70-2 for a 72 hole total of 275-13 also. With 3holes to play David Toms (USA) had a 1shot lead over K. J. Choi (South Korea). David Toms (USA) was -13 and K. J. Choi (South Korea) was -12. But on the Par 5, 16th hole on the TPC Stadium course at Sawgrass K. J. Choi (South Korea) laid up, but David Toms (USA) went for it with his Rescue Wood and his ball just came up short in the water. He took his penalty drop and played his 4th shot to within 30feet of the cup. K. J. Choi (South Korea) had a very difficult chip shot for his 3rd shot. He had to keep it under a tree, and he hit a fine bump and run to within 10feet. David Toms (USA) 2putted for his bogey to fall back to -12 that meant K. J. Choi (South Korea) if he could make his short birdie putt would have a 1shot lead. But he just missed it to the right.

So he and David Toms (USA) headed to the famed 17th hole, Par 3 Island green at the TPC at Sawgrass course all tied up at -12. K. J. Choi (South Korea) hit 1st and hit a great short tee shot to 12feet short of the pin. David Toms (USA) hit 2nd and missed his tee shot just to the right and it rolled off the green just into the 1st cut of rough. David Toms (USA) played his 2nd shot 1st and used a putt from the difficult lie and it rolled about 2feet short of the cup. K. J. Choi (South Korea) then rolled his 12foot birdie putt and it looked like it was going to stop just short of the hole but to his amazement it fell in. David Toms (USA) rolled in his 2foot par putt.

So with the 72nd hole to play K. J. Choi (South Korea) was -13 and had a 1shot lead over David Toms (USA). K. J. Choi (USA) teed off 1st and hit a 3wood in perfect position just on the right side of the fairway. David Toms (USA) hit his best drive of the day. He took it right out over the water and faded it to the middle of the fairway. But he got an extremely unlucky break landing in a sand filled divot. K. J. Choi (South Korea) played his 2nd shot 1st and landed in the rough just short of the green. David Toms (USA) faced with a extremely difficult 2nd shot from the sand filled divot but played it perfect landing it pin high to the right of the pin 25feet from the cup. K. J. Choi (South Korea) played his 3rd shot chip with his 8iron to 4feet from the cup. That meant that David Toms (USA) more than likely had to hole his 25foot par putt if he was to force a playoff. And that is just what he did. So both K. J. Choi (South Korea) and David Toms (USA) were tied at -13 and were headed to the Famous 17th Hole Par 3, Island green for the 1st playoff hole.

The USPGA Tour Official got the players to draw a piece of paper with a Number from a hat. K. J. Choi (South Korea) drew 1st and David Toms (USA) 2nd. K. J. Choi (South Korea) hit 1st and pulled his tee shot and landed about 40feet from the cup to the left on the green. David Toms (USA) then hit and his tee shot and it looked like it was going to roll down the slope next to the pin. But it stayed up to the left of the pin leaving a very fast tricky downhill putt for birdie. K. J. Choi (South Korea) putted 1st and rolled his birdie putt just past the hole.
David Toms (USA) putted his birdie putt just past the hole but slightly further away than K. J. Choi (South Korea). David Toms (USA) putted his 3foot putt for par and it lipped out. That meant that K. J. Choi (South Korea) had to sink his small 2foot par putt to win his 1st ever PLAYERS Championship, and that is just what he did.

He became the 1st ever Asian Player to win the PLAYERS Championship which is a great achievement for him. He was a little disappointed that Y. E. Yang (South Korea) beat him to become the 1st Asian Player to win a Major back in 2009 at the PGA Championship. That really annoyed him so it was great for him to get the win here. He got 600 FedEx Cup points for the win which moves him to 6th on the FedEx Cup points list with 1,161 points earned from the 11 events he has played this year. He is now only 222 points behind the leader on the list Bubba Watson (USA). He has earned 1,383 points from the 12 events he has played this year so far.

He also won the 1st prize Cheque of $US 1,710,000.00 which is the largest 1st Prize Cheque that is on offer on the USPGA Tour this year. He moved to 3rd on the Money List with $US 2,915,049 earned from the 12 events has played to date this year. Luke Donald (England) still leads the Money List with $US 3,344,867 earned from the 8 events he has played this year to date. It was also K. J. Choi (South Korea) 8th USPGA Tour win, and his 1st since the 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii. I look for him to maybe win his 1st major this year now. I wish him luck for the rest of the season.

It was a great result for David Toms (USA) even though he didn’t win. He still won $US 1,026,000.00 for coming 2nd which will do the world of good for his confidence. And he also got 330 FedEx Cup points and he now has earned 729 points from the 10 events he has played this year to date and that places him 22nd on the list. I hope this gives him the confidence to go on and win an event this year. In 3rd place was Paul Goydos (USA) on -11, Tied in 4th = place on -10 were Luke Donald (England) and Nick Watney (USA). Tied 6th place on -9 were Jason Day (Australia), Aaron Baddeley (Australia) who the lowest Australian finishers. Also tied 6th were Hunter Mahan (USA), J. B. Holmes (USA), Alvaro Quiros (Spain), and Jason Dufner (USA). The notable players that had to withdraw due to injury were Tiger Woods (USA) who scored 42+6 on the front nine of the 1st round and in the 2nd round Tim Clark (RSA) the defending Champion also had to withdraw.

Next week the USPGA Tour heads to Texas for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and it is played at Colonial CC, Ft. Worth, Texas. It has a purse on $US 6,200,000 up for grabs and is sure to attract a fine field as it always does. Zach Johnson (USA) will be looking to defend his title. The tournament starts on Thursday 19th May. I will report back who won next week.

Now to the World Golf Rankings this week and Lee Westwood (England) is still number 1 with 8.10 Official World Ranking points, 2nd is Luke Donald (England) with 7.52 Official World Ranking points he is up one place this week from Martin Kaymer (Germany) who is 3rd with 7.25 Official World Ranking points, in 4th place is Phil Mickelson (USA) with 6.41 Official World Ranking points, and rounding out the top 5 is Graeme McDowell (NIR) with 5.62 Official World Ranking points. Tiger Woods (USA) is in 8th place this week with 5.20 Official World Ranking points. Best New Zealander is still Danny Lee (NZL), he has .42 Official World Ranking points and is in 362nd on the Official World Ranking points list.

Well that is about it for this week. So until my next report next week, remember Fairways and Greens hit in regulation means lots of chance for birdies!!


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