Archive for March, 2011

US PGA Tour Website paints glowing picture of Andalucía

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011


It’s worth a look:

Lawrie returns to winning ways

Sunday, March 27th, 2011


Paul Lawrie achieved his first European Tour win since 2002 – the first leg of what he hoped would be a notable double for Scottish golf. The 42 year old former Open Champion took the Open de Andalucía de Golf in Málaga by one from Swede Johan Edfors just as compatriot Martin Laird prepared to tee off again with a two stroke lead in America. With six runners-up finishes since his last victory Lawrie must have feared it was going to be another near miss when, from one ahead overnight, he bogeyed the first two holes and England‘s Mark Foster birdied them.

But, in a repeat of what happened at last year’s Open de España, Foster could not hold onto a three shot lead. Lawrie, despite dropping another stroke at the fifth, turned things round by starting the back nine with four birdies in five holes. And the six-time European Tour winner – his fifth title came 232 events ago – could even afford a closing bogey to win with a level par 70 and 12 under total of 268. 

Lawrie leads in Andalucía while Ferrie shoots 60

Saturday, March 26th, 2011


An astonishing European Tour record-equalling round of 60 has put England’s Kenneth Ferrie just one behind Scotland’s Paul Lawrie with a day to go at the Open de Andalucía de Golf by Turkish Airlines in Málaga.

After making the halfway cut with nothing to spare the 32 year old was only a few inches away from achieving the magical 59 achieved five times on the US PGA Tour, but never on The European Tour.

After an eagle and seven birdies in the first 17 holes of the par-70 Parador course, Ferrie needed to hole his six iron approach to the 449 yard last and from the right-hand rough it trickled past the edge of the cup.

When he tapped in for another birdie he had charged from joint 45th overnight into a three shot lead with a ten under par round, but 1999 Open Champion Lawrie then shot a bogey-free 65 to take over at the top on 12 under.

That owed a lot, however, to a man in the crowd. Lawrie, without a win since 2002, was heading for big trouble at the short 13th when his pulled tee shot struck a spectator on the back and rebounded onto the green.

Ferrie, who is tied for second with compatriot Mark Foster, wore a Superman belt when he led the 2006 US Open Championship after three rounds, but this is the nearest he has ever come to playing like him.

He becomes only the 14th player to shoot 60 on The European Tour without the help of preferred lies since Italian Baldovino Dassu was the first to do it 40 years ago.

Not one of the halfway leaders managed the par. Dutchman Maarten Lafeber slipped to seven under with a 71 and both Dane Jeppe Huldahl and Swede Rikard Karlberg are one further back.

Leading Spaniard is JoséManuel Lara on eight-under after a fine five-under 65.

Tight at top of Andalucía Open

Friday, March 25th, 2011


More than 20 players are separated by only four strokes at the halfway stage of the Open de Andalucía in Málaga – but the event has already lost many of its big names.

Swede Rikard Karlberg, (above) who does not even have a European Tour card, shares top spot on eight under par with Dane Jeppe Huldahl and Dutchman Maarten Lafeber.

However, Colin Montgomerie, José María Olazábal, Darren Clarke and tournament promoter Miguel Ángel Jiménez all failed to survive the cut, along with Australian Richard Green, who had to win to have a chance of qualifying for The Masters in two weeks.

Karlberg, who is playing on an invite, followed up his opening 65 with a 67 and would have led on his own but for three-putting the 16th late in the day.

Former Wales Open champion Huldahl had set the mark with a second successive 66 while Lafeber, whose only Tour win came in the 2003 Dutch Open, shot 65.

Scotland‘s 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie is one behind along with England‘s Jamie Elson and five-time Japanese Tour winner Tetsuji Hiratsuka, another of the invited players.

Round of the day was from Alejandro Canizares (64) to finish on six under, while Álvaro Quirós had a 65 to be on four under. Olazábal, the Scot’s successor as Ryder Cup captain, and Clarke bowed out on one over and Jiménez on five over.


Five-way tie at top of Open de Andalucía leaderboard

Thursday, March 24th, 2011


Robert Rock is closing in on 200 European Tour events without a win, but maybe a change of caddie is about to bring a change of luck. In his first round with Andy Forsyth on the bag, Rock started the Open de Andalucía de Golf by Turkish Airlines with a five under par 65 in Málaga and shares the lead with fellow Englishman Jamie Elson and Swedes Johan Edfors (above), Oscar Floren and Rikard Karlberg.

The 33 year old said: “I’ve been playing good but not getting on any run of birdies or building any momentum.” That was the way it seemed to be again when he stood level par with eight holes to play, but then came five birdies for a front nine of 29. Rock has had three runners-up finishes in his career and even walked away with the winning cheque at the 2009 3 Irish Open because it was amateur Shane Lowry who beat him in a play-off.

Elson was on the same winning Walker Cup team as Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald, but ten years on does not have a full European Tour card and needed a top-ten finish in Sicily to qualify for this week’s event.

Edfors is still waiting to add to his three wins during the 2006 season, but four birdies in the last seven holes brought him into the picture. And afterwards the former Scottish Open champion admitted it was a late decision to play. “Last year I didn’t play well here and was planning to take this week off. Then I decided to come, and it was a good decision. The course is in great shape, and the weather is lovely.”

Karlberg, meanwhile, is playing on an invitation despite having earned over €240,000 for third place in the Barclays Singapore Open last November. The 24 year old’s effort did not count towards The Race to Dubai because he was a member of The Challenge Tour and failed to play in the required seven events there.

“Last year I finished third in Singapore. I earned quite a lot of money, and I tried to gain a European Tour card. But then I neglected the Challenge Tour. At the end I didn’t make it to The European Tour and lost my Challenge Tour card as I didn’t play enough events.

“Miguel Ángel heard about it and said it was a shame, so he invited me to play at his tournament in Málaga. My target this week is a top ten finish which will allow me to play next week in Morocco. I must try to keep ploughing away week after week. I will also play some Asian Tour events in Malaysia, China and Korea.”

Former Open Championship Paul Lawrie is in the group one behind, while Ryder Cup Captains past and present, Colin Montgomerie and José María Olazábal, had level par rounds of 70.

Quirós wins Euro Tour Shot of Month for February

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011


Álvaro Quirós’ sensational hole in one en route to victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic has deservedly earned the Spaniard the European Tour Shot of the Month Award for February.

Quirós’ ace, which he described as “the perfect shot”, was undoubtedly the highlight of an eventful final day at the Emirates Golf Club which culminated in the big-hitting 28 year old keeping the title in Spanish hands, following Miguel Angel Jiménez’s victory last year.

Having relinquished the lead with a triple bogey seven at the eighth hole, Quirós promptly regained the initiative with a “three quarter wedge” at the 161-yard 11th for an eagle which ultimately helped him seal victory by a single stroke.

He said: “The most memorable moment of the week, without doubt, was the hole in one. It’s always special to make a hole in one, but to do it in a final round when you’re in contention was even more special. It was the perfect shot.”

Oosthuizen forced to pull out of Andalucía Open

Monday, March 21st, 2011


British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen says he will miss the chance to defend his Andalucía Open title later this week because of a viral infection. The 28-year-old South African says “it’s very disappointing, but I can’t risk making the problems worse.”

Oosthuizen recorded his first European Tour win last year on the Costa del Sol. Four months later, he won the British Open— his first major title — at St. Andrews. The Andalucía Open begins Thursday.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez – one of a kind

Monday, March 21st, 2011


Fine tribute to Miguel Ángel Jiménez on the European Tour’s website ahead of this week’s Open de Andalucía, which he promotes. Above is the prize-giving from last year’s event with winner Louis Oosthuizen and GonzaloFernandez-Castaño.

Álvaro Quirós pulls out of Transitions Championship

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011


Big-hitting Álvaro Quirós has pulled out of the Transitions Championship on the U.S. Tour. The Cádiz man, ranked 24th in the world, suffered an injury during the last round of the Cadillac Championship at Doral and has been replaced by John Huston.

Glowing tribute to Miguel Ángel Jiménez

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011


A glowing tribute to Málaga’s Miguel Ángel Jiménez has been penned by Golfweek’s Jim McCabe. It is reprinted on the European Tour’s web site. Check it out: