Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Casey’s ace voted Shot of the Month for March

Paul Casey’s majestic hole-in-one in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship has been voted by fans as The European Tour Shot of the Month for March. Having recovered from a shoulder injury which kept him out of action for three months, the Englishman marked his first appearance of the season with a 166-yard ace at the par three 15th at Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Florida. Casey’s effort continues the rich run of par three accuracy following Sergio Garcia’s hole-in-one at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which won the January Shot of the Month, and Martin Kaymer’s ace – the first of his life – in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, which was voted Shot of the Month for February. The shot was particularly memorable for the banter which ensued between Casey and his caddie, Craig Connelly. As he stepped up to play his shot, Casey agreed with Connelly that if he made a hole-in-one, he would share the prize car on display behind the tee. As the ball rolled in, Connelly leapt around joyously, but his celebrations were short-lived as he was quickly told that the car was only on offer for hole-in-ones on the 13th – much to Casey’s amusement. More than 25 per cent of voters on My European Tour chose Casey’s perfect eight iron, which bounced twice and rolled into the cup, as The European Tour Shot of the Month for March, and one lucky fan won a customised pair of MyJoys. It was an extremely close-run competition however, and Casey’s shot fended off strong competition from superb efforts by Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Frenchman Julien Quesne, in second and third place respectively. Donaldson holed his second shot at the par four 18th in the last round of the Trophée Hassan II in Morocco, remarkably for his third eagle in a magnificent round of 61, while Quesne played the “shot of his life” into the daunting 18th green on the final day of the Open de Andalucía Costa del Sol. The 31 year old ripped a four iron to five feet and holed the putt for birdie – a fitting way to close out a stunning final round 64, which gave him a two stroke victory for his maiden European Tour title. Casey’s ace will go forward to the Shot of the Year competition, a title held by Rory McIlroy for his brilliant tee shot on the par three tenth at last year’s US Open Championship, en route to his first Major triumph.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Rory roars to the Top

Rory McIlroy has been named The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month for March after reaching the Number One spot on the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time following his victory in the Honda Classic in the United States.The Northern Irishman had just missed out on becoming World Number One after losing to Hunter Mahan in the final of the WGC – Accenture Match Play, but he only had to wait seven days to overtake Luke Donald at the world’s summit, holding off the challenge of Tom Gillis and the charging Tiger Woods by two shots at PGA National Resort and Spa for his third victory on American soil.In doing so, McIlroy, at 22 years and 305 days, became the second youngest player after Woods to hold the World Number One spot.The US Open Champion, who will attempt to win his second Major Championship at this week’s Masters Tournament, then capped a memorable month by finishing third in his first event as the leading player on the planet, the WGC – Cadillac Championship. Those two performances meant that McIlroy was named The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month award for the fourth time in his career, winning the vote by the narrowest of margins from Englishman Justin Rose in what the panel comprising golf media said was one of the most closely contested monthly award to date. Rose was highly commended by the panel for his first World Golf Championships title in the WGC – Cadillac Championship, while the achievement of his compatriot Donald in regaining the World Number One spot from McIlroy with victory in the Transitions Championship was also praised by the panel. McIlroy said: “It’s always nice to receive these plaudits and honours. There were a couple of guys in with a great chance last month – Luke winning the Transitions to go back to World Number One and Justin playing great at Doral to win. So it’s nice to come out on top of those two and win the Golfer of the Month award.” Panel Member Iain Carter, BBC Five Live’s Golf Correspondent, said: “This was one of the very toughest Golfer of the Month decision we have had to make, but Rory reaching World Number One with a fine performance in Florida, where he held off a resurgent Tiger Woods, just gave him the edge ahead of Justin Rose and Luke Donald.” The panel also commended the performances of Frenchman Julien Quesne, who claimed in maiden European Tour title in the Open de Andalucía Costa del Sol to become the 400th different European Tour winner; Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey who captured his fourth European Tour victory in the Trophée Hassan II and Dane Thorbjørn Olesen, who claimed his own maiden title in the Sicilian Open. McIlroy follows South African Branden Grace (January) and Paul Lawrie (February) as monthly winners so far in 2012. All three players will join the subsequent award recipients who will be considered for The 2012 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year, which was won last year by Donald.