Monday, March 10, 2014

Patrick posts winning Score

Patrick Reed overcame a late wobble to win the WGC-Cadillac Championship by a single shot as Jamie Donaldson posted his best World Golf Championships finish with a share of second place. Reed was two shots clear overnight at Trump National Doral and doubled that advantage with three birdies and a bogey in his opening four holes. Donaldson and Bubba Watson reduced the gap to three as Reed recorded nine straight pars, before a missed putt from inside five feet cost the American a bogey at the 14th. Welshman Donaldson then got within one shot after a magnificent approach to the 17th left him a tap-in birdie, only to bogey the last after finding sand with his approach. That meant the 38 year old signed for a closing 70 to join former Masters Tournament winner Watson in the clubhouse on three under par, with Reed still needing to negotiate a 55 foot birdie putt on the 17th and the Blue Monster’s daunting 18th, the latter where Martin Kaymer carded the only birdie of the final round. Reed knocked his effort on the 17th to tap-in range to erase any concerns of a three-putt bogey, then laid up at the last and two putted for victory in his first WGC stroke-play event, having made his debut at the recent Accenture Match Play Championship. At 23 years old he also becomes the youngest winner of a WGC event, breaking the record of World Number One Tiger Woods by 26 days. “It means a lot to come out here and play as well as I did, with Tiger close to the lead and Hunter Mahan really close, Jason Dufner, all those great guys that are Major winners who have been on Ryder Cup teams. They are just outstanding players. “I have a lot of confidence in my game. It's one of those things that you build confidence by how hard you work, and I feel like I'm one of the hardest workers out here and it definitely shows,” Meanwhile, Donaldson’s consolation is that he firmly underlined his Ryder Cup credentials courtesy of his best performance on American soil. “I played really well all week,” said Donaldson, whose previous best WGC finish came when he was eighth at last year’s HSBC Champions. “My long game was really good from tee to green. I think in the end, it's come down to not quite holing enough putts, but I hit a lot of good putts this week and sometimes they just don't go in. “I’m happy with the week overall. I've gone out there and played as well as I can, and shot as low a score as I can in the conditions that we've had to play in all week, and that's all I can do really.  “It's nice to come here and have a great week on what is a very tough golf course.”  There were plenty of other impressive displays from European Tour Members on the final day, with South African Richard Sterne sharing fourth place with Dustin Johnson on level par after a closing 71. Thongchai Jaidee and Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner Stephen Gallacher were a shot further back in sixth position after rounds of 68 and 69 respectively, with Major Champions Charl Schwartzel (68) and Graeme McDowell (73) sharing ninth place on two over par.

Friday, March 07, 2014

A Victor in February

Victor Dubuisson gained worldwide acclaim by sensationally extending his WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship final duel with Jason Day to five additional holes, and the Frenchman has received a further tribute by being named The 2014 Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month for February. Dubuisson, who receives an engraved alms dish and a Jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne, won the 17th hole with a birdie and the 18th with a stunning save from a greenside bunker to force a sudden death finish, then halved each of the first two extra holes with astounding recoveries from the desert before finally losing at the 23rd hole to 25 year old Australian Day. Sir Nick Faldo said: “I saw Seve (Ballesteros) pull off some belters, but nothing as good as those from Victor. They were truly amazing, and a privilege to witness.” The 23 year old, who captured his maiden European Tour title in the Turkish Airlines Open presented by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism 2013 last November, is the third recipient in the 30th anniversary year of an award given to the European Tour Member judged to have produced the outstanding performance in each calendar month throughout the season. Dubuisson said: “It is a very nice award to win. It feels amazing. I couldn’t believe even a few months ago that I would be winning something like this. I hope I will prove that I can do it again, and maybe win Golfer of the Month another time. “Hopefully this is the start of something big for me. It was a big performance for me in Arizona and helped really improve my world ranking. I’m still a little disappointed not to have won the final, but I’m sure there will be plenty more opportunities to win more tournaments.” The European Tour Golfer of the Month Panel, comprising members of the Association of Golf Writers as well as commentators from television and radio, focused their attention on winning and exceptional performances in The Race to Dubai on The European Tour International Schedule – South Africans George Coetzee (Joburg Open) and Thomas Aitken (Africa Open) and England’s Ross Fisher (Tshwane Open) all claimed titles in February – while also taking into account events worldwide. James Haddock, Golf Reporter for Sky Sports, said: “The calm and measured way Victor went about playing his golf – in his first WGC event – was impressive enough, but the manner of his two amazing shots from the scrubland in extra holes of the final were invention, risk taking and sheer genius all rolled up together.“The measure of just how good those miracle shots were was supported by the sheer number of players praising him for showcasing European Tour talent and revitalising memories of the great Seve Ballesteros. In fact, even Seve’s son tweeted: ‘I think I have a new hero.’ Who am I to argue?” Michael Harris, Editor of Golf Monthly, said: “Although Victor just missed out on the WGC title, he defeated a trio of Major champions and entertained golf fans with his attacking golf, feats of escapology and smiling, positive approach.” Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher, winners of the December and January awards respectively, and Dubuisson will all be considered with the next nine monthly winners for The 2014 European Tour Golfer of the Year Award, which was won in 2013 by Sweden’s Henrik Stenson following his DP World Tour Championship, Dubai triumph which secured the Number One spot in The Race to Dubai.

Monday, March 03, 2014

A right old Charlie

Former Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel has been voted by My European Tour fans as the winner of the January Shot of the Month after a stunning effort from a cart path at the Volvo Golf Champions. Faced with a shot from the concrete of 198 yards over what looked an impossible wall of trees and bushes, the South African clipped a glorious five iron from the path and pitched it right next to the hole. “I got lucky there, but I’m sure Seve would have been very proud of it,” he said. “I still missed the putt, though, so I might as well have been short and chipped and putted!” It was a spectacular shot from this season’s Alfred Dunhill championship winner, and as such it received 43 per cent of the vote, beating Dutchman Joost Luiten into second place after his magnificent albatross during the same tournament at Durban Country Club received 28 per cent. Sergio Garcia’s chip-in en route to the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters title rounded out the top three, but it was Schwartzel who took the lion’s share of the vote. As a result, one lucky fan will receive £200 to spend on European Tour merchandise, while Schwartzel will join Thomas Björn as the second entrant into the 2014 Shot of the Year competition after the Dane’s spectacular approach in the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in December. The long iron in question set up one of two crucial eagles on the final day at Gary Player CC, in Sun City, that would culminate in Björn taking the title by two strokes from Garcia and Jamie Donaldson. Both he and Schwartzel will now go forward to contest the yearly prize, along with the rest of the season’s monthly winners, as they look to follow in the footsteps of Henrik Stenson, who won last year’s award thanks to a spectacular three-wood to the 72nd hole at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. You can watch Schwartzel’s winning effort here: