March 2011

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Yang what's in the bag angel cabrera What's in the bag ernie els what's in the bag Justin Rose what's in the bag Kenny Perry what's in the bag nick dougherty what's in the bag Rory McIlory what's in the bag ross fisher what's in the bag simon dyson what's in the bag stuart appleby What’s In The Bag 2010 Rickie Fowler winter golf special offers witb witb 2010 Ross Fisher witb edoardo molinari 2010 witb Francesco Molinari 2010 witb Jim Furyk 2010 witb matt kuchar 2010 witb Peter Lawrie 2010 witb rory mcilroy 2010 witb rory mcilroy 2012 Women's British Open Awards woody austin Y.E. Yang Yang's Hybrid

Sergio-Garcia-Padraig-Harrington-pandas_2587510 It promises to be a new smiling Sergio Garcia on Tour from now on after he gave birth to a baby Panda yesterday in China.

Proud new mother Sergio with El Nino Junior and a delighted “Dr.” Harrington just hours after the birth.

The Spaniard went into labour late yesterday evening whilst sharing a taxi with Ireland’s Padraig Harrington.  Though heavy traffic prevented the fully dilated Garcia from reaching the labour ward, luckily Harrington was on hand to expertly deliver the baby Panda christened El Nino Junior.

“I’m delighted, just delighted for Sergio” said Harrington after.  “I’ve read several books on gynaecology and anatomy and it was great to put the theory into practice.  We all knew Sergio had something gestating inside him for the past year or so, his hormones were all over the place.  Nobody could have guessed it would be a panda!” added the triple major winner.

The question now being asked is who the father is, with many suggesting it may well Sky’s Bruce Critchley who shares the same basic genetic code as the endangered bear and is known to eat 99% bamboo. Eyes are also now turning to Tommy Bjorn who its thought may also have succumbed to Critchley’s charms and may himself have a few pandas up his jumper.

Everybody’s been asking what make of belt Lee Westwood was wearing in the uber cool Sky Sports Masters in 3D advert.

We can now reveal it to be from Druh Belts & Buckles.  Aswell as Westwood, Druh belts hold up the trousers of Tommy Bjorn and now even the skinny guys like Robert Karlsson and Thongchai Jaidee are donning them too.  No greater endorsement can a belt company get than to have the complete trust of an elite Thai paratrooper.  Ireland’s own Paul McGinley is latest player to have his tummy neatly tucked inside a Druh belt.

Lee Westwood on Druh Belts: “I am delighted to be joining the Druh stable of ambassadors as I am a huge fan of the belts. I like to look smart, professional and well-coordinated when playing golf and wearing a Druh belt helps me achieve that as they have a fantastic variety of colours, from funky to traditional, as well as huge range of interchangeable ‘db’ buckles,” says Westwood, who will be playing most of his golf on The European Tour in 2011 with forays to the US and Asia throughout the year.  What we didn’t get a chance to ask Westwood though was will he be wearing the belts with his traditional Sunday transparent trousers!

Druh celebrated more than a dozen prestigious tournament wins around the world in 2010 where the winners have been wearing one of their distinctive belts.  Each belt purchased comes with a choice of Druh buckles and a standard ‘db’ buckle that is easily interchangeable. The buckles are produced in brushed nickel, polished silver or gold with some featuring sparkling diamante, bright enamel and flower motifs especially for the ladies.

Available through the internet at www.druhbeltsandbuckles.com allows golfers to design their own unique belt by choosing their own belt and interchangeable buckle combination. Druh Belts retail at around UK£160/US$200 for snakeskin and around UK£80/US$125 for leather and guarantees that the snakes used in production are not a protected species.

 

Our prize this week is a fourball on the famous County Sligo Golf Club aka Rosses Point . Rosses is the home of the West Of Ireland Championship, one of Ireland’s amateur majors where our top amateurs will compete this weekend.

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To enter answer the question and enter your details in the widget on the right.

Question: What score did Kevin Na clock up on the 9th in the first round of the Texas Open?

Congrats to last weeks winner Eoin Dowling 12 Cabinteely Ave D18 who answered JP Fitzgerald.

With top Irish amateur and TPI certified fitness instructor Robbie Cannon and John Kelly of Harrington Golf. To book a session call Robbie on 086-6002432.

hip flexor stretch Hip Flexor Mobility

One of the most common mobility issues affecting the modern amateur golfer is tightness in the hip flexor muscle. This can be caused by a typical day at work or in the car where you are sitting down for hours at a time putting your hip flexor muscles in a shortened position. Tight hip flexors can lead to an S posture in your golf swing which can lead to chronic lower back pain before during or after your round. It will also limit the range of motion required for the rotational movement of your hips in the golf swing which means loss of power and distance and badly directed golf shots. So by improving your mobility in this area can definitely help your golf swing.

Hip Flexor Stretch

To perform the hip flexor stretch place your left knee on the ground. Activate your glutes (or tense up your butt) and place your left hand on your left glute and right hand in the air to activate your core. Tilt your pelvis skywards and you should feel a big stretch down the front of your hip flexor. Do this a number of times every day and you will increase the range of motion in your hips and eliminate back pain from your golf game.

Have you ever fallen foul of what I call the phenomena of ‘the turn’. By the turn, I mean what often happens to us as we cross from one nine to another in a medal round. Let’s say you play off 10 handicap, how many times have you played great golf on the front nine, let’s say you have only dropped ONE of your ten shots after nine holes. You make ‘the turn’ and then somehow, someway, you manage to find a way of dropping ALL of your ten shots in the remaining nine and perhaps a few more for good measure?! The converse is also probably quite familiar whereby you play the front nine like you have never held a golf club in your life but, then as you cross over from one nine to the next, some alien being swoops down to inhabit your body and you play the back nine in level par!! How is that? It just doesn’t make any real sense because, as we know, your golf swing can’t change that much. What is going on?
It doesn’t make much sense on the surface but if we dig a bit droger_bannistereeper we find some interesting thoughts emerging. Basically, as human beings, our brains are wired in part for ‘familiarity’, it goes back to the days when we roamed around in caves and each and every day was a success if you survived that single day. To know things around you were familiar and could be trusted meant your chances of survival increased. A part of us is definitely wired to explore and seek out new experience BUT in a lot of people, the need for familiarity is probably the strongest pull. We can see this in many things we all do in everyday life. One good example is what I call the Korma Phenomenon! We go into an Indian Restaurant and we tell people we just love Indian food, we get hold of the menu, have a look at the 380 different options on that menu - and then what happens?

The Heritage 2011 Betting Preview and Tips

Aaron Baddeley 26/1

aaron_baddeley Badds makes his return to the regular Tour this week after a week off following a poor showing at Augusta. The Aussie wont mind too much as his 2011 season to date has been excellent. Sixth at Pebble Beach followed by a win at Riviera in the Northern Trust Open and fourth in Houston before the Masters, Baddeley will be brimming with confidence on a course he loves. Winner here in 2006 and tied second in 2008, he’s sure to be on the leaderboard Sunday night.

 

Luke Donald 13/1

donald Surely a regular PGA Tour event win must be in the offing for Luke. It has been six years since his Honda Classic victory. He did of course claim the WGC Accenture matchplay in February but many believe this season the world number three will add to his two PGA Tour wins. Since his matchplay win Donald finished tenth at the Honda, sixth at the WGC Cadillac and fourth at The Masters. Donald has been in the top three in Hilton Head for the last two years and has to have a great shout this time around.

 

Bo Van Pelt 46/1

vanpelt.625 Bo Van Pelt had his 30 seconds of fame during the Masters a couple of weeks back and an eighth place was his best Tour finish since last October when he came second at the Frys.com Open. That was one of eight top 10’s last season. He also finished tied third at this event last year.

 

Jason Day 25/1

maar03_onthetee Another man returning after a thrilling Masters performance is Jason Day. The Aussie showed true grit on way to tying second there and let’s hope there a little adrenalin left in the tank to contend again this week. Last year was Day’s first Heritage and he finished in respectable 22nd.

 

Brandt Snedeker 34/1

maar01_snedeker There’s a lot of chatter inside the ropes lately about Brandt Snedeker. His fourth place finish last week on a really tough course in San Antonio was his fourth top 10 of the season. Snedeker also managed a very respectable 15th at Augusta (after tying third in 2010) and despite suspect nerves is tipped by many to soon add to his sole Tour victory in the 2007 Wyndham Championship.

 

Betting Preview And Tips: Volvo China Open

Luxehills International Country Club

YE Yang 14/1

yang 2009 PGA Champion YE Yang came to the China Open last season on the back of a top 10 at Augusta and dominated the event. Key to his success 12 months ago was the putter with just 21 putts in round two and average of 26.5 per round. This time around he finished 20th in Augusta but has shown good season form with a top 10 in Phoenix, a good showing in the WGC Accenture match play and then a second place finish at The Honda Classic. Favourite with the bookies for all those reasons.

 

Simon Dyson 25/1

simon dyson[3] Having fallen somewhat in the pecking order of the European Tour after a poor 2010, Simon Dyson makes the trip to China on the back of some improving recent form. The Englishman has won four times on the Asian Tour, including three wins in 2000. One of those was the China Open before it became co sanctioned with the European Tour. Fifth in Sicily a couple of weeks back and seventh last week, Dyson knows that if he could eliminate the one poor round such as his Saturday 76 last week, he could be adding to his four European Tour wins.

Rafael Cabrera Bello 34/1

rafel cabrera bello How Rafa hasn’t added to his 2009 Austria Open success is a mystery to me. The man from Gran Canaria tied fourth again last week in Malaysia, his third top 10 of the season to date. That result marked his tenth cut in a row (South African DQ excepted) and he has finished under par in every one of those events. Putting will be key in China this week and if Cabrera Bello can maintain his excellent stats in that category he could contend again.

 

Alex Noren 46/1

Alexander-Noren-d1-Abu_2553369 The Swede made an impressive return to form in Malaysia last week with a tied fourth finish. Noren credits an intensive practice period over the last number of weeks for his good showing and he will travel to this new venue of Luxehills in expectation of another good payday after tying for eighth in last season’s staging. Noren’s weakness has been his putting and he will need to improve from 30th in the field last week if he is to add to his 2009 wins in Crans.

Johan Edfors 48/1

edfors A man who you may be able to get some real value on this week is Johan Edfors after he missed the cut in Malaysia with rounds of 73, 76. I’m not letting that bother me though; he did the same thing in Sicily before coming second at the Open de Andalucia the following week. Edfors carded excellent greens in regulation and putting stats on his way to tied fourth last season and I expect bouncebackability from the colourful Swede this week.

Matteo Manassero, not yet 18, claimed his second Tour title, the 2011 Maybank Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur.  The Italian shot a final round of 68 holding off Gregory Bourdy.  Massero holed out his third shot on the par five 10th hole to kick start his round.

Rory McIlroy got himself into contention by birdieing the 17th, but needing to hole his birdie putt on the last to force a playoff he three putted to fall down to third.

matteo card

PowerPlay Golf today announced plans to increase golf’s appeal to a wider sporting TV audience, and the first stages of its strategy to roll-out an innovative nine hole, two-flag golfing format to invigorate the sport.

Colin Montgomerie and Paul Casey with PowerPlay Golf’s new-look flagsTaking place next month, POWERPLAY GOLF: IGNITION is the first of a series of three unique televised professional golf tournaments, to be broadcast live worldwide in 2011. In POWERPLAY GOLF: IGNITION, sponsored by automobile manufacturer Saab, golf’s global ambassador Gary Player will headline the field. Reigning US Open Champions Graeme McDowell and Paula Creamer, Ryder Cup stars Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, and Major Championship winners John Daly, Ian Woosnam and Helen Alfredsson will also be among the stellar field of 12 players competing at The Celtic Manor Resort, City Of Newport, Wales, on Bank Holiday Monday May 30th 2011 at 1700 BST.

Golf’s Twenty20?
Hailed as golf’s equivalent to Twenty20 Cricket, PowerPlay Golf is played over nine holes, with two flags on every green, golfers use a limited number of ‘PowerPlays’ to score extra points when aiming at the harder Black Flag, creating  risk-and-reward decisions on each tee.  The international field contains no fewer than six Major-winners with 15 Major wins and over 300 Tour victories between them. The winner of the nine-hole tournament in May will receive £100,000 from a £350,000 prize fund.

Casey and Montgomerie at the PowerPlay Golf: Ignition press conference

Paul Casey and Monty looking “excited”.  Actually I think Paul Casey looks like the guy in the ad who just came out of the hair restoration clinic!

Newlands’ Cian Curley was the top Irish qualifier in the 54-hole PGA Europro Tour Q-School finals at Frilford Heath.

The 25-year old, who won last year’s East of Ireland Amateur Open before turning professional, closed with a one under par 70 on the Blue Course to finish tied for fifth on six under, just two strokes behind winner Paul Grannell of England.

Douglas’ Peter O’Keeffe saved the best for last, firing a bogey free, four under 67 to move up to tied 20th on three under. St Margarets’ John Kelly finished two shots further back in tied 30th on one under after a closing 69 that featured a hat-trick of birdies at the start of the back nine.

 

Rory McIlroy produced a superb eight under par 64 to move into a share of the clubhouse lead during the second round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.

Just five days after missing out on the Masters Tournament title after leading for 63 holes, and having flown halfway across the globe since, the 21 year old Northern Irishman joined Swede Alex Noren (69) on 11 under par at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

rory malaysia McIlroy had suggested after his opening 69 - the first time he had seen the course after his clubs failed to arrive on time, denying him a practice round - that others were more upset about his disappointing final round at Augusta National than he was.

And the World Number Nine certainly didn't seem too hung up as he reeled off three birdies in his first four holes after teeing off at the tenth.

He added back-to-back gains at the 16th and 17th, the first from 12 feet, to turn in a five under 31, and three more birdies on the way in completed a bogey-free round.

Highlights to be inserted here when available

computerSaysNoWe’ve had our resident computer wiz Carol  feverishly crunch the numbers and solve a few theorems to bring you our 2011 Valero Texas Open Tips.  After saying “No” 12 times Carol reckons Martin Laird will take the win with an 85.3% chance of winning. 

 

Predicted finish

Name

Odds

Avge Finish

Last 5 events

World

rank

Scoring Avge

Cuts

Made

Events

Since

win

% Chance

1

Martin Laird

16/1

26.56

13.80

23

70.08

6

1

85.3

2

Adam Scott

11/1

49.83

55.60

17

71.51

2

6

82.7

3

Geoff Ogilvy

13/1

29.29

22.20

29

70.49

4

28

81.0

4

Bo Van Pelt

25/1

50.67

39.80

44

71.30

3

47

74.1

5

Anthony Kim

25/1

40.00

46.60

41

71.03

0

20

73.0

6

Charley Hoffman

40/1

57.09

29.00

63

72.12

5

14

72.8

7

JB Holmes

28/1

26.71

23.80

61

70.51

12

83

72.7

8

Anders Hansen

70/1

31.57

38.00

45

70.51

0

58

72.0

9

Scott Verplank

40/1

23.00

23.00

66

69.98

7

89

71.3

10

Ryan Palmer

25/1

47.90

49.40

52

71.53

1

38

68.4

lee valley odds Paddypower has published the odds for the Lee Valley scratch cup.  Last year they lost an unprecedented €14 million in bets during the event resulting in the firm having to receive a bailout from billionaire Paul Keohane.

Topping the odds again is Paul Dunne at 9/1 but everyone knows the Lee Valley Scratch Cup is like the Grand National; the favourite isn't a shoe-in.  Throw in the thundering hooves of Seanie Barry coming up behind you and its even more like Aintree.  Alan Dunbar is in there at 12/1 but the worries of jet lag after travelling 4 degrees latitude south to Cork exists for the Ulsterman.

Copy of keith crowley 1 doc The bookies wont be stung again by Rory Leonard who won in Lee Valley and the West last year, he’s only available at 18/1.  The word is he’s still using a set of ancient x14’s, and was refused entry into last week’s World Hickory Golf Championships at St Andrews after the committee deemed his clubs to be “prehistoric”.

The word in the backstreets of Ballincollig is all about Andy Hogan 18/1, Grandson of Ben Hogan, a Dublin Bus driver, who shares a name with a famous US golfer.  Andy’s been down to Ballincollig at least 20 times for practice rounds and is rumoured to be hiring out of work caddy Dave McNeilly for the weekend.  One local said that Hogan has been around so much he’s become “more rebel than the rebels themselves”.

Pic: Keith Crowley- Jaysus that looks more like a skirt to me….

Watch out too for Keith Crowley for 40/1.  A massive ACDC fan, and the one they call “girlie legs”, Crowley will be easily recognisable by his dodgy public schoolboy shorts/skirt.  He’ll be joined on the start line by dodgy footwear wearing, and GCD resident TPI expert Robbie Cannon at 33/1.  sean barry Cannon arrives fresh from winning the Turkmenistan leg of the World’s Strongest Man Series, defeating Žydrūnas Savickas in the dead lift after hoisting a family of four in a Skoda 25 times in a minute.

Pic: Seanie Barry- Partial to a lovely jumper.  He got this one from Ebay on the Nick Faldo collectables shop.

And what about the organiser Seanie Barry at 28/1?  Apparently he went up to Dublin (all by himself on the bus) and camped outside the paddypower offices demanding that they slash his odds from the original 500/1 quoted.  During a practice round recently he carded 18 straight pars and has started dressing in Pringle sweaters like a 90’s Nike Faldo. If the heaven’s open, lump on Barry, he’ll need divine intervention!

Whatever happens, it’s set to be a cracker.

 

Fit and Able: With top Irish PGA pro John Kelly of Harrington Golf and St Margaret's Golf and Country Club. To book a session call John on 086-8155248 or +353-86-8155248 from outside Ireland.

Theory

The key to hitting big accurate powerful tee shots is developing a good inside path on your downswing. To test your swing path place a stick just outside the ball pointing in the direction you want your ball to go. Simulate your swing checking that your downswing passes inside the line of the stick. A very common mistake is where a player goes “over the top” on the downswing, this type of swing passes over the outside of the stick resulting in a weak shot.

Practice Drill

Here’s a great drill to help you develop a constant inside path. Place your drive cover just a couple of inches away from the ball. Play your drive as normal making sure you don’t hit the cover. This will help you develop a consistent inside path, resulting in more power and greater accuracy off the tee.

Filmed on location at

LeeValley12th Our prize this week is a fourball in the Christy O’Connor designed Lee Valley Golf and Country Club near Ballincollig in Cork. The course is in immaculate condition in the build up to the Lee Valley scratch cup this coming weekend where Ireland’s top amateurs will compete for top honours.  Check out their website www.leevalleygcc.ie/ for more info

To enter email your answer plus your name and address to examinerspindoc@eircom.net.

Question: Can you name Rory McIlroy’s caddy?

Congrats to last weeks winner Ray Sheehan, Waterville, Co. Kerry who answered Nike.

 

Mind Funk with Karl Morris Consequence

A critical key to improving through practice and that is the concept of CONSEQUENCE. Golf is a unique game in the sense every single time you make contact with the ball there is a CONSEQUENCE to that action. Whether we like it or not, each shot we make has a consequence because it is going down on that scorecard.

So, if we are playing a game which is high in consequence, then surely a BIG portion of our practice should involve the same principle. Yet , consider what we see on every range up and down the country and across the world. How many balls carry a consequence? How many shots carry any pressure?

For most golfers, the only ball that carries any sort of pressure is the last one! And far too many times I have seen a golfer hit ball number 48 out of 50 like a bullet, then actually kick the last two balls out onto the range! That isn’t practicing - that is CHEATING!!

Usain-Bolt If we practice in a way which creates consequence, then we will get better at dealing with the very same situation out on the course. Understand the person, a human being, who he is most competitive with is HIMSELF, so then if you devise strategies which create a score and a consequence, then you can let human nature do the rest for you.

Also tied in closely with consequence, we also need to understand that confidence needs to be based on FACTS not FEELINGS! If a 100 metre sprinter like say Usain Bolt was working each day with his coach and the coach kept telling him he was improving but had no means to actually prove it, how do you think the confidence levels of the athlete would be?

The great beauty for an athlete is the CLOCK will give him a FACTUAL example of his improvement. For too long now in golf people have been basing their confidence on feelings as opposed to facts. Hit it great on the range this morning FELT great! However, as soon as that first ball travels offline on the course, where do all of those good feeling go?

When you are building your confidence on FACTS then you are building a process which will stand up over time and build UNSHAKABLE self confidence. Facts not feelings. Build CONSEQUENCE into your practice by playing games that involve a SCORE that you have to RECORD. As soon as a score is involved we create pressure.

Check out Karl’s website www.golf-brain.com

Hybrids

yang hybrid Hybrids are not just dodgy looking cars that can go tot the moon and back on one tank of petrol you know? Over the last 10 years hybrids have played some of the most critical shots in major golf. How about Y E Yangs stone dead approach on the final hole at Hazeltine to beat Tiger to the 2009 PGA Championship? That was played with the TaylorMade Rescue TP hybrid. Seven years ago Todd Hamilton used a Sonartec MD on almost every hole in Royal Troon when he won the 2004 British Open.

Last week at Augusta National where approach shot accuracy is critical, K.J. Choi alternated between four and three hybrids in his bag. The longest iron in Choi's bag during the first round was a seven iron, but put back in his six iron from then on and went with only three hybrids.

His aforementioned countryman YE Yang carries four hybrid clubs all the time, namely a two, three, four and five hybrid. The longest iron in his bag is a six iron. His coach calls him “Grandpa” because his bad resembles that of an old man.

"Three weeks ago, I felt that to contend at major championships, I had to be able to get the ball up in the air, higher, and to stop the ball on the greens better," Choi said through his interpreter Friday afternoon. "That's why I put the hybrids in the bag. When I tried it, it made playing the par 3s much easier. I still don't feel that I'm 100-percent comfortable with those hybrids, but I still plan to continue using them."

Phil’s Drivers

Houston Open Golf Phil Mickelson has been fairly going through his drivers recently. After cracking the face of his Callaway FT tour in Houston last week, rumours are that the same thing happened during the first round of the Masters. He was carrying two drivers at the time. Some say it was to shape shots, other just say it was “contingency”!

Scotty Headcovers

clip_image004It seems you’re a nobody in the pro ranks these days unless you have a custom designed putter headcover. Titleist head putting guru Scotty Cameron may be the pound for pound king of the short stick but he’s not shabby with the covers aswell. Here’s his latest 2011 Masters commemorative putter. The cover is set to be sold to members of website for, wait for it, $116 bucks. And that doesn’t even include a putter!

The more immersed I become in this great game of golf the more my eyes are opened to the machine churning away in the background that consistently churns out top amateurs. Twenty years ago who could have believed we would have Major champions in Harrington and McDowell and even a new breed in McIlroy who played so well in Augusta and seemed destined for even greater things.

Before Padraig Harrington won his Irish Open in 2007, it had been 22 years since an Irish player won their home championship. If that was a great achievement in itself, the victory by amateur Shane Lowry two years later at Baltray was truly remarkable. Ireland is rapidly becoming to golf what the All Blacks are to rugby and both countries have quite similar populations.

But of course we didn’t just magic up these great players and prospects. Every weekend at my home club, GUI coaches Hughie O’Neill and Leslie Robinson are busy coaching Connacht’s top prospects; Freddie Twomey is doing the same in Munster and it’s a scene replicated across all four provinces. There are no political divides in Irish golf. Those not involved in the elite panels still have some of the finest PGA pros on hand to provide the very finest instruction.

There are also characters in Irish golf around whom people gravitate to produce great things. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting one such man, Seanie Barry of Lee Valley. With a great community effort Seanie and his friends at the club have developed of one the finest scratch cups in the country on the eve of the first amateur major of the season. It’s testimony to the event that the cream of Irish amateurs will all congregate in Lee Valley to compete just days before travelling across the country to Rosses Point in Sligo. Part of the schedule which has reinvigorated the scratch cup scene around the country, the event even has a live scoring system on plasma screens for instant score updates. Indeed last years West winner Rory Leonard won in Lee Valley the previous week, cementing its reputation as a must-play event in the Irish amateur calendar.

On the day of my visit two of the new generation of Irish professionals, namely Shane Lowry and Dara Lernihan had returned to lend their support to the Lee Valley Scratch Cup. Joined by Sean Barry and top amateur Andy Hogan the fourball put on an exhibition of golf for the locals with Lowry easing through the gears with a five under back nine to take the spoils.

Pic: Doc with Dara Lernihan, Keith Crowley and Freddie Twomey

If you’re a keen golfer living in the Cork area or have kids who golf try to make sure you put some time aside this weekend to see the top Irish amateurs in action at Lee Valley. You almost got the impression the two pros were longing to be back in the amateur ranks for just one week, so they could compete!

RORY McILROY had one piece of good news after his Masters meltdown - long-time girlfriend Holly Sweeney was waiting to console him.

McIlroy, 21, was kept in the dark when his management company decided to fly her into Augusta as he led the Masters from day one.

The young Ulster ace saw his dreams of a Green Jacket, eventually picked up by South African Charl Schwartzel, disintegrate with an horrendous final-round eight-over-par 80.

Holly, 18, was kept under wraps for two days to avoid the risk of McIlroy being distracted, as he built an imposing four-shot lead over the first 54 holes.

She had planned to greet him by the side of the 18th green if he clinched his first Major.

Instead, she waited for him in the clubhouse and his face lit up as she hugged him, and helped him come to terms with his heartbreak.

The couple are childhood sweethearts and McIlroy, when he first hit the golfing big time, used to pick her up at the school gates in his BMW. She was by his side when he made his Ryder Cup debut in October.

But McIlory later announced they were taking a "break" in their relationship, as he travelled the world and she concentrated on her studies sports technology student at the University of Ulster.

But within a few weeks he admitted: "Me and Holly still talk every day. We still get on great. I think we both understand what we want."

They flew together to Kuala Lumpur yesterday, where a shell-shocked McIlory is due to compete in this week's Malaysian Open.

And Holly's presence would have been especially welcome as Schwartzel was booked on the same flight.

McIlroy was being paid a reported £250,000 appearance fee to play in that event, but his value would have soared if he had managed to clinch the deal in Augusta.

Betting Preview And Tips

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, 14 Apr 2011 - 17 Apr 2011

Subject to field corrections, expected odds, odds  not posted yet

Kiradech Aphibarnrat 45/1

kiradech aphibarnrat It’s a co sanctioned event this week with the Asian Tour and of the local cast I like the chances of Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The big Thai might not be one for gym sessions but it doesn’t seem to affect his golf. Contended all the way to the death last year tying third (behind Seung Yul Noh) and recently won the SAIL Championship on the Asian Tour. Sure to be smiling come what may.

Rhys Davies 28/1

Rhys-Davies-001 The young Welshman enjoyed a welcome return to form at the Trophee Hassan last time out, narrowly losing out in a three man playoff to David Horsey. That was Davies best result since coming 23rd in Abu Dhabi in January and he will be keen to emulate his tied third finish in Kuala Lumpur last season. A brilliant putter on his day, these greens should be right up his street.

Johan Edfors 35/1

Johan-Edfors-006 The always colourful Swede hasn’t won on Tour since the Barcalys Scottish Open in 2006 but inside the ropes many think a victory is not far away. His second place finish in Andalucia behind Paul Lawrie (who himself bridged a long winning gap) two weeks back is sure to give him the belief that he can win again. Tied for seventh last year and is in arguably better form this time around.

Raphael Jacquelin 28/1

raphael-jacquelin-france What a great start it has been to the season for the Frenchman winning in Sicily and then tying fourth in Andalucia the following week. The break came at the perfect time with a rested Rafa now returning to a course he played well on in 2006 finishing third after the event was reduced to three rounds due to storm delays. Missed the event last year, but one to watch.

Thongchai Jaidee 26/1

thongchai It’s impossible to preview an event in Asia without mentioning the former Thai army paratrooper Thongchai Jaidee. Probably the best record in this event of the field winning in 2004 and 2005 when it was the Carlsberg Malaysian Open. Finished in the top 10 also last year but a word of warning, Thongchai hasn’t played since the Avantha Masters in February so there might be some dust on his parachute.

 charl green jacket

You sense that after a chip in on the first followed by a second shot hole out on the third that this might just be your day.  And so it proved for South African Charl Schwartzel who outpointed Aussie’s Adam Scott and Jason Day.

The day proved heartbreaking for overnight leader Rory McIlory who came a cropper on the 10 hole taking triple bogey, an experience from which he couldn’t recover.

It looked for a time like Adam Scott would take the title but four birdies from the 15th brought Schwartzel to the front.  He shot 66, six under for the day to take the title on 14 under.

Other notable movers were Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy who both shot 67’s to finish in a tie for fourth.

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