October 2010

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Wagner Miguel Angel Jimenez It’s been a hectic month for singing Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez as he has had to divide his time over the last few weeks between playing on Tour and appearing on Saturday night entertainment show, The X Factor.

Pic: Jimenez disguised as alter ego “Wagner”

Jimenez, barely recognizable with his hair down and operating under the Alias ‘Wagner’ on the hit ITV show has increasingly found the strain tough as the Tour moves into its end of season Asian swing.  After last Saturday’s third round, Jimenez boarded a lear jet bound for London and arrived just in time to sing Viva Las Vegas for Simon, Cheryl, Danni and Louis.

“I berry happy” said JImenez aka Wagner.  “I love de music, de wines, de cigars. I sing on de range. Padraig Harrington, he no like it.  He like Mary Byrne”.

Next Saturday, Jimenez will again jet in, this time from Singapore to sing Bonnie Tyler’s epic hit “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”. According to ITV sources he has at least another two weeks on the show, as Katie Waster and Aiden Lockjaw the guy who sings out of the corner of his mouth are due to be booted out first.

Its another big week on the European Tour’s Asian swing with the Barclay’s Singapore Open 2010.  Here’s our betting preview and tips for the event.

Barclays Singapore Open 2010

The Tanjong & The Serapong, Sentosa GC

Singapore, Singapore 11 Nov 2010 - 14 Nov 2010

Ian Poulter 16.5/1

Poulter and Spindoc Munster A poor third round of 63 did for Poults challenge last week but in truth Francesco and Lee were too far away regardless. However his tied 13th finish served as a good warm up for his defence of the title in Singapore this week. Its going to be tough for the Hitchin pro this week being as the event is to be be staged over two courses at Sentosa with a field of over 200. But something tells me he wont be too far off the pace.

 

Adam Scott 21/1

adam-scott-best-dressed-golfer Adam Scott has had a better year this time around even throwing in a win at the Valero Texas Open. Impressed with a fifth at the Deutsche Bank at the end of the US Tour regular season and has come back after a month off with decent showings at the Asia Pacific event and last week in China. Scott forgoes the Aussie Masters to play in Singapore this week and why not? The venue has been kind to him in the past with third place finishes in two of the last three stagings.

 

Padraig Harrington 26/1

padraig and donalIt’s one of those strange anomalies of golf but Pod’s tied 16th place last week in China in no reflected the way he played. Harrington’s driving stats were respectable and his distance, putting and sand saves numbers exemplary.Bar a couple of disasters the Dubliner would have had a podium finish without doubt. I’ve seen this phenomenon many times in the stats and its rare that the player in question does not feature in the following event. A winner at the Johor kebab- something open recently, watch out for Padraig next Sunday morning.

 

Fredrik Andersson Hed 95/1

30917_Eddie_the_Head Fredrik Andersson-Hed is like a man with a new, well, head this year! After two years spent the wrong side of the Tour School cut off, the Swede is having his best season ever on Tour and can spend early December relaxing as opposed to slogging it out over eight tension filled rounds at the Q-school in Catalunya. Andersson-Hed lies 21st in the Race To Dubai thanks to some big cheques at the Italian Open where he won and at the PGA Championship where he tied second. Tied sixth again last again and sure to be high in confidence. Pic: “Eddie The Head”…..well its close enough

Charl Schwartzel 28/1

It’s sharpen the blades on his clubs and his cessna time for Charl as the South African contingent on Tour gear up for the most important stretch of their season. Charl has become a world player this year and it has taken its toll on his high-season results but those two wins in his homeland back in January still looks mighty impressive. I expect him to play every event from now through to next January and after a gentle reintroduction in China could challenge this week in Singapore where he tied fifth last season.

 

Seung Yul Noh 26/1

This young Korean seemingly has it in the technical department even if the experience side of his game still needs work. Noh leads the Asian Tour money list coming into this week and performed well last week before fading to 16th at the death. He’s only been out on Tour full time less than a year and has already clocked a win in Malaysia. The current pick of the Asian talent on Tour.   Pic: Doctor No….also close enough!

 

tiger woods mother's homeland

Tiger Woods made a fleeting visit to his mother’s homeland in Thailand today supposedly to take part in the rather oddly titled “World Golf Salutes King Bhumibol Skins Tournament” at Amata Spring Country Club.  kultidawoods However we have it on good authority that Woods was actually running an errand for his mother who needed to stock up on unfeasibly large sun hats for next years major season.  Apparently Kultida noticed a worrying single beam of sunlight glaring through the visor of her old hat at the USPGA Championship.  Good man Tiger, always look after your Mam!

 

francesco molinari ghost putter It seems Francesco Molinari may have put the days of missed four footers firmly in his past as he won the WGC HSBC Champions Event yesterday with a centre shafted Taylormade Rossa Ghost Monte Carlo putter.  The Italian made the switch from his old Odyssey White Ice IX9 following the Ryder Cup and had also toyed with the Nike Method 3 putter this year.

cook and langer Bernhard Langer wrapped up the Charles Schwab Cup on the Champions Tour and made off with a cool $1 million annuity at Harding Park yesterday.

The Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship was won by John Cook who beat Bay Area native Michael Allen by two strokes.  With rain falling and crowds down, Cook shot a 4-under 67  and sealed the win in style with a 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole for his fifth career title.

Langer (69) tied for third with South African David Frost (71) and secured the Charles Schwab Cup from nearest rival Freddie Couple who tied for 10th at 9 under. Couples took home $500,000 and a pat on the back.

charles scwahb cup "Looking back it's been an unbelievable year," said Langer, who won the Senior British and U.S. Senior Opens in consecutive weeks. "The thing I (hadn't) done so far is winning the Schwab Cup, so this was a big deal for me. To come out on top is a great feeling and it's worth all the hard work over the years."

Pic: Yuk! Looks like someone’s barfed up last night’s stir-fry all over the Charles Schwab trophy!

jiyai shin South Korean Jiyai Shin won the Mizuno Classic yesterday claiming her second LPGA Tour victory of the season and eighth overall.  Shin shot a closing 5-under 67 for 18 under and a two-stroke victory over Yani Tseng.  The event was held on the Kintetsu Kashikojima course and co-sanctioned by the Japan LPGA.  Shin season total is now $1,779,768 and just $3,535 short of leader Na Yeon Choi with two events left.                                                         Pic: Should’ve Gone To Specsavers?

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molinari hsbc wgc final round Francesco Molinari has won the HSBC WGC Champions event in near darkness in  China.  Molinari could feel the breath of Lee Westwood on his back throughout but his final round but sublime iron play helped him compile a final round of 67 to finish on 19 under and better Westwood by one shot.  It’s the Italian’s first win in over four years.

The key moment of the final round came on the short par four  16th. After Westwood went for the green, Molinari laid up.  Ironically it was the Italian that emerged with birdie, while Westwood dumped his second in the bank of the bunker after attempting a delicate lob.  That gave the Italian a two shot cushion with two to play.

Richie Ramsay and Luke Donald shared third, whilst a charging Rory McIlroy climbed to fifth.

Francesco was greeted on the 18th green  by brother Edoardo and Matteo Manassero.

Italy V England Final In Prospect

wgc hsbc champions 2010 third round molinari Francesco Molinari still leads Lee Westwood by one shot at the World Golf Championships - HSBC Champions 2010.

Both players shot five under par rounds of 67 to see the Italian move to 14 under for the week at Sheshan International and pull the leading duo clear of nearest challenger Luke Donald.

Padraig Harrington is tied eighth on six under after a 70 while expected moves from Mickelson, Woods and Poulter never materialised as all shot over par rounds.

wgc hsbc champions 2010 third round highlights

WGC HSBC Champions 2011 Round Three Highlights Report from European Tour site

Dolmio Its as you were at the top as Francesco Molinari maintained his two shot  lead over Lee Westwood at the World Golf Championships - HSBC Champions with a second round 70.

Pic: Francesco calling his Mama after his second round “You gonna be so-a happy Mama!”

The Englishman also recorded a two under par 70, holing a six foot birdie putt on the eighth after seven consecutive pars.

Big mover of the day was Ernie Els.  The big South African shot 65 to move into contention in an event he knows he should have won last year.  He now stands on seven under, two behind Molinari

On the slippery slope today was Henrik Stenson  who blew out two tyres on landing after his brilliant opening round. He’s back on three under, one shot behind a group including Woods, Mickelson, Harrington and Ian Poulter.

wgc hsbc champions 2010 second round highlights

The Golf Digest Top 100 Irish courses has been announced and as always it has regurgitated up some controversial choices.

Royal County Down (have they put down yardage markers yet?) is the undisputed heavyweight champion of Ireland according to the judging panel.  Indeed links courses dominate the top-10 in the rankings with Adare the only parkland course to squeeze in there at number 8.

Great to see new courses getting some recognition in the list. Barry O’ Connor from red cardsKilleen Castle (Solheim Cup 2011 venue) and Lynn McCool’s Lough Erne are the top two New courses coming in at 14 and 22 respectively. Mick Fee in Concra Wood in Castleblayney also has reason to crack open the champers with a deserving 39th place listing.

Further down the rankings the controversial choices appear.  It seems like the Old Head have been rolled out the two fingers again by the panel with 47th on the list.  Is Baltray 39 places better than the Kinsale venue? Jaysus lads, not to sure about that one!

Pic: Harsh red cards for Dromoland, Slieve Russell and Old Head.

And what about Dromoland Castle who many regard as giving Adare a run for its money only making 65th on the list?  Dave Foley and his team need to take this one to the European Court of Justice after getting the hump.

Bet hey its a hard job picking Ireland’s Top Courses and at the end of the day its all a bit of fun.  Its not as if millions of people are going to read the list and just head for the top courses on the list.  And sure the employment prospects of the countless staff of brilliant courses like the Slieve Russell who have been given a kick up the arse ranking of 42nd wont really be affected by the list. Or will they?

Here’s The Top 25 Irish Courses according to the 2011 Golf Digest Rankings

Rank

Course

1

Royal County Down

2

Portmarnock GC

3

Royal Portrush

4

European Club

5

Ballybunion

6

Waterville

7

Lahinch

8

Adare

9

Baltray

10

Tralee

11

Rosses Point

12

The Island

13

Mount Juliet

14

Killeen Castle

15

K Club Palmer

16

Ballyliffin - Glasheedy

17

Enniscrone

18

Royal Dublin

19

Murvagh

20

Portstewart -Strand

21

Rossapenna- sandy Hills

22

Lough Erne

23

Killarney-Killeen

24

Carlow

25

Belmullet

Report from European Tour website

“Lee Westwood made an impressive return to action in China to lie just one shot behind Ryder Cup teammate Francesco Molinari at the World Golf Championships - HSBC Champions.

Italian Molinari produced a masterclass in iron play as he shot a bogey-free seven under par round of 65 at Sheshan to lead from newly crowned World Number One Westwood.

Molinari began on the back nine and carded consecutive birdies at the 13th and 14th before picking up another shot at the short par four 16th twgc hsbc champions 2010 round 1 highlightso turn in 33.

But the highlight of the 27 year old's round came in a run of four successive birdies, which began with a chip-in at the third.

He then hit a string of approach shots close, highlighted by his tee shot at the par three sixth which was struck straight at the flag, before he confidently holed a difficult eight foot downhill putt.

"It was a great start and I'm happy with the game," said Molinari.

"I hit three great iron shots into four, five and six and holed the putts. It was a very good round, very consistent."

Westwood ended Tiger Woods' five-year reign at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking without hitting a ball on Monday as he recovered from a calf injury, but was well aware in the build-up to this week that he would need to maintain his excellent form from the last two years in order to remain there.”

 

stephen sweeney tour golf academy Are you a talent young golfer who dreams of one day playing on the European Tour?  If so check out Stephen Sweeney’s new page on Facebook.  A professional based in St. Andrews and great friend of Rory McIlroy, Stephen knows exactly what it takes to get on Tour.                                    Pic: Stephen at Augusta with friends Rors and Harry

was set up in order to cater for juniors who are highly skilled golfers with a dedication and drive to further their development in order to be the best they can be. aim to offer juniors a high intensity and top level holistic coaching experience which is used by some of the very best golf federations around the world.
Tour Golf Academy is not just aimed at improving your swing. They look at the entire game of golf and find ways for you to improve in each and every aspect from diet and nutrition to how the mind works to physical fitness and of course the technique required for all the different aspects of the game.

The first event takes place on Sunday, January 2, 2011 at Arcos Gardens, Spain. Full details on the Facebook page.

 

  Tom Kennedy from is inviting society golfers and organizers to participate in two very special events this weekend.  To celebrate the launch of their 2011  catalogue, are laying on free golf and grub in Castlemartyr Resort this Friday and again in Dromoland Castle on Sunday.  There are absolutely no terms and conditions but places are filling up fast so if you want to play just call or text Tom on 087-6644344. Its fourball better-ball on both courses with a few prizes and plenty of fun gauranteed.

I’m hoping to get to get to Dromoland on Sunday (if my Anthony Kim thumb flare-up goes away) so hope to see you all there!

westwood and woods cross swords

Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood show  gangsters, robbers and drug dealers all over the world the correct way to wield a perfectly legal yet lethal Samurai Sword at the HSBC Championship photoshoot.  Notice Lee is using the overlapping or Vardon Grip whilst Tiger is using the decapitating interlocking grip.  The legendary sword maker Hattori Hanzo is said to have spent 6 months making Westwood’s sword and a half hour on Tiger’s.

Eagle eyed golfcentraldaily readers have today sent us in an exclusive pics of legendary Tour starter Ivor Robson guesting at last weeks Nationwide Tour event in the USA.  The pic has sparked worry all over this office abivor robson funnyout our man.  It appears that the lure of cash has not only attracted our best players across the pond, but now our starters also.

In the image, Ivor appears quite pale, is sporting a long beard and has ditched his dapper green suit in favour of a white gown favoured by the PGA Tour.  Well wishers warned Robson, who turned 154 last week, as to the dangers of working in the United States and the possibility that US TV cameras may not be able to portray his best side in the scorching heat.  On behalf of everyone in Golfcentraldaily, I would like to urge our American friends to give us our Ivor back.  Might I suggest taking Rob Lee as an exchange? And Bruce Critchley?

After coming in for some criticism for some over exuberant marshalling at this year’s Irish Open in Killarney, designers at golf clothing giant GCD have answered the brief of European Tour bosses by coming with a new ultra discreet design for volunteer marshals at the 2011 event.  62261054

A spokesman for GCD said “these new outfits are designed to have Irish Open marshals blending in seamlessly with fans whilst at the same time not catching the eye of players.  We have replaced “Quiet Please” on the marshals boards with “Hush” on one side and “Or We’ll Shoot” on the other which should go someway towards insuring the high levels of threat expected from a European Tour Marshal.

The new design which incorporates a variegated leaf themed hat and dodgy check shirt is loosely based on outfits worn successfully by Guerilla groups since the seventies.

 

 

The winter is the perfect time for weapons testing and from now until the new year I’m going to alert you to some of the best bargains available from trawling through the equipment rooms of Castle .

This week I’ve uncovered a cracking set of irons from TaylorMade. They are Burner XD irons which came out in 2008. You know the “click” sound the pro’s make when they hit the ball, well these irons are the boss when it comes to clickability. These babies are the Frank Bruno of irons; they look the part, pack a serious punch and yet are surprisingly easy to hit!

clip_image004On close inspection of the face you’ll notice a slightly different coloured insert. It’s a sliver of titanium fused seamlessly on the steel that delivers guaranteed extra distance. On test our average 7 iron carried 155 yards, with the Burner XD’s it’s a trampoline assisted 165 yards. Of course there’s the big cavity back and progressive offset that gives comfort and consistent strikes and if all you low handicappers aren’t too proud to be seen with them, you too will be rewarded.

If your swing speed is slowing down and your third lumbar vertebrae is niggling a little look out for the Burner XD’s with a stiff graphite shaft. They are an excellent set of irons for all handicaps. If I had any criticism I would argue that the Sand Wedge is possibly a bit clunky looking and actually tough to hit from the beach but since most people take those out now anyway in favour of custom wedges, it’s not an issue.

I’m not sure how long titanium inserts like these are going to be allowed in iron sets but for now I suggest taking advantage of the luxury of pulling out a 4 iron for a 200 yard approach over water while your mates turn to putty with a cutty hybrid. Grab a set now from £249 on . Here’s the link http://www.golfbidder.co.uk/models/3197/Taylor_Made_Iron_Set_Burner_XD.html

Know wha’ I mean Arry!

 

 

WGC - HSBC Champions Betting Preview and Tips- Early odds Betfair

Sheshan International GC

Shanghai, China PR 04 Nov 2010 - 07 Nov 2010

Tiger Woods 9/1

tiger Next season starts now for Tiger Woods. Jilted yet again, this time from the world number one spot, you sense there has to be a Tiger backlash. Signs were that Woods was beginning to trust his new “Mick Foley” swing in the Ryder Cup singles and if he has progressed at the same pace in the period since then wo betide his competitors. To give an indication of how dangerous Woods was even without a swing consider his last three results at the Barclays, Deutsche Bank and BMW. His worst finish? 15th. Odds of about 9/1 could come back to bite the bookies in the ass on a course he tied sixth on last year.

Rory McIlroy 21/1

rory mcilroy All the talk this week will be about Westwood, Kaymer and Woods so if there is to be any event where Rory McIlroy is to escape under the virtual radar, this would be it. Last season, the HSBC Champions event came in the middle of Rory’s incredible nine top-10’s in 10 events so his fourth place finish here has to be taken in that regard. This season Ror’s has been off since the Dunhill Links (or Ryder Cup hangover event) so there may be some halloween cobwebs. However such foibles are not something we associate with a 21 year old so watch out Asia there could well be a Mac attack of a different kind this week.

Nick Watney 34/1

Nick-Watney-round-pixel My value tip this week is Nick Watney. The California native has developed into one of the most consistent players on Tour this year. Since July 1st this year Watney’s worst finish is 36th and though he hasn’t won, he has clocked up four top-10’s. Two of those have come in his last two events, the Tour Championship and the recent Justin Timberlake event. Watney shot a 64 in his opening round in Sheshan last year on his way to sixth and another podium finish is on the cards for one of the most in-form players in the field.

 

Ian Poulter 55/1

ian poulter funny Ah yes, the pink one that tweets. A hero yet again at the Ryder Cup, this week marks the return of the Hitchin pro to the world’s stage. Poults won his comeback event (the Singapore Open) after taking September off last season, and if his tweets are anything to go by, he’s soooooooo excited about the next few weeks. Is sure to have his little say if questioned about the world number one spot this week!

Pic: IJP Autumn Winter Range to be unveiled at PGA Show 2011!

 

Y.E. Yang 85/1

yang The bookies have lost faith with former USPGA winner YE Yang after he suffered a horrid run of missed cuts between the US Open and USPGA majors this year. However I have it on good authority that YE has turned the corner and an encouraging 24th at the Asia Pacific event will help his confidence levels. Not forgetting too that Yang has won in China already this year at the Volvo event in April. He’s also a HSBC winner from November 2006 when he outpointed Tiger in England. Now when a cocktail of stats such as these are coughed up for a player at 85/1 I take notice. Do you?

62269411 Ultra slow American Ben Crane won the inaugural Asia Pacific Classic by canning an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole to beat perennial  nearly-man Brian Davis (who finished birdie-eagle-birdie) by a stroke.

Pic: Happy Crane with His Lucky Dicky Bird Umpire Hat

Crane finished at 18 under and earned $1 million in the first experimental PGA Tour event in Southeast Asia.  The highlight of his round was a clutch eagle on the 15th where he holed for eagle after driving the green on the par four.

Luke Donald tied for third with Scotland's Martin Laird at 16 under.  It could have been so much better for Donald but for a Halloween triple bogey on the ninth.

The workings of the world golf rankings are about as complicated as Ireland’s NAMA but the upshot of it all is that Lee Westwood has ended Tiger Wood’s reign of 281 weeks at the top.  Martin Kaymer could have taken the top spot in Sotogrande but in truth he needed a miracle round in gale force conditions.

Pic: Objects in the mirror are World Number One’s.

Westwood, Kaymer and Woods now head to the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai China this week where the $7 million pot could catapult any of the three into the Number One Spot.  At least, that’s how I understand it.

 

Born 30 July 1979 (age 30)

Portrush, Northern Ireland

Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)

Weight 168 pounds (76 kg; 12.0 st)

Residence Portrush, Northern Ireland

College University of Alabama at Birmingham

Turned professional 2002

Current tour(s) European Tour

Professional wins 6

What’s In The Bag Graeme McDowell 2010 Andalucia Valderrama Masters Champion

graeme mcdowell andalucia valderrama masters 2010 Graeme McDowell took his third title of the season after emerging best off following a brutal final round on the legendary Valderrama track.  Until the last three holes it looked like anyone’s title with Damien McGrane, GMac and Gareth Maybin all in the hunt. 

As it transpired the pressure took a grip on McGrane who stumbled home and eventually emerged quite happy with a long range putt on the last for bogey to finish joint second with Gareth Maybin and former Volvo Masters winner Soren Kjeldson. Maybin’s challenge effectively ended on the 17th when a nervous chip found the water.

On a day where strong winds made low scoring extremely difficult, McDowell went round in 74 to finish on three under. His victory lifts him into the top ten of the Official World Golf Rankings and closes the gap on Race to Dubai leader Martin Kaymer, as the pair head for the HSBC Champions next week.

lorena-ochoa2 With all the tears now  dried away, and all talk of burnout, well burned out, former world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa is considering playing a handful of LPGA events next year, including perhaps a couple of majors.

"We want to start a family, my husband and I, (so) it depends on the timing. But I will play some tournaments for fun.  I don't think I will play full time but I would love to play maybe the Nabisco (Championship) or the Evian (Masters) or British Open," she said this week while preparing for this week's Mission Hills Star Trophy Pro-Celebrity tournament.

"Every day it appears more to me I've made the right decision at the right time. I'm at peace and enjoying the game in a different way. I play without pressure, practice a lot less hours a day and I have more free time.

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gareth maybin Graeme McDowell and Gareth Maybin are going at it hammer and tongs heading into the final round of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters in Sotogrande.  The European Tour’s site reported on Saturdays proceedings

“McDowell - currently second in the Race to Dubai - held a two-shot advantage over his fellow countryman overnight and saw that extended early on as Maybin recorded bogeys on the opening two holes.

However, the 30 year old showed great determination to get back to five under with birdies at the third and fourth and he then moved into a share of the lead as McDowell double bogeyed the seventh.

The US Open champion got back on track with a fine three at the par four eighth, but Maybin responded by knocking in a 15-footer for birdie at the ninth.

McDowell then bogeyed ten to hand Maybin sole possession of the lead, but the former quickly returned to six under with a birdie at 11.

Thomas Bjorn was at the front of the chasing pack, the veteran Dane picking up birdies at the first, sixth, eighth and ninth on his way to an outward nine of 33.

That put him three behind the leaders on three under, with Miguel Angel Jimenez, James Kingston and Damien McGrane a shot further back.

Sergio Garcia was at one under following an encouraging 69 on day three, but Niclas Fasth had dropped to level par after three straight bogeys on the back nine.”

Graeme McDowell claimed the halfway lead at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters with a classy 67 to move two shots clear of fellow Northern Irishman Gareth Maybin.

The US Open champion could close to within €400,000 of leader Martin Kaymer at the top of the Race to Dubai standings if he manages to scoop the €500,000 first prize in Sotogrande. 
GMac managed six birdies in his second round- four of those coming in the space of six holes on the back nine with only two bogeys.

Gareth Maybin, seeking his maiden European Tour victory, scored his third and fourth birds at the 15th and 17th holes to climb into second place with a resurgent Niclas Fasth looking menacing in third.

Leaderboard after Round Two

gmac valderrama Just back from a trip to Oceanico in Portugal where we got hammered on Captain Morgan in time to watch the pro’s get hammered by Valderrama. 

GMac and Jimenez arguably the best players of the Season are battling for top spot and proving beyond doubt that bellies rock.

Chatting to those inside the ropes, the winning score could be in the region of 8 under, or not much lower.

Sorry for no tips this week, but I’m sure everybody is happy with all the money I made you on Ignacio Garrido last week!  But hey, knowing Valderrama, It gives Gonzalo and the others guys who don’t put so well a better chance than usual. Here’s how we got when we tried to tackle the 18th a couple of years back.

 

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