Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Old Course St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns
Fife, Scotland 29 Sep 2011 - 02 Oct 2011
odds from paddypower
Winner Alright: Last week we scored a third with Joost Luiten in Austria at 18/1
The favourite at pretty much every event he starts these days is Rory McIlroy at 10/1 and I’ll be having a fiver each way on that. Happy in his personal life and just one good putting week away from another win. Third in his last two starts, and three top 10’s in the last four years. Bombed out badly last year, but I don’t expect a repeat of that this time around. After all Rors will be keen to impress the bankers of Santander whose logo he will brandish this week.
A little break couldn’t have come at a better time for Dyson who took last week off after winning the KLM Open. He has been in stunning form since the end of July when he won the Irish Open in Killarney. Dyson has pedigree on the Links too, he won here in 2009 beating Rory McIlroy and carding a record 20 under for the event. Tied fifth last year and my nap of the week.
Nobody knows what mood Tommy will be in this week in Scotland but I have a real feeling he is taking this one very seriously. With exactly a year to go to the Ryder Cup in Medinah Bjorn can almost secure a seat he wins here. He has won on his last two starts, the Johnnie Walker in Gleneagles and the Omega European Masters. Fourth at the British Open and Bjorn knows how to play links golf.
One of my favourite players to watch but sadly Ross Fisher hasn’t had his best of seasons. There were signs of improvement at KLM Open a few weeks back though with two rounds of 66 and one of 67, the problem was the horrid 74 sandwiched in between. However he tied sixth there and will relish a return to the links where he came close in 2008 losing in a playoff to Robert Karlsson.
We don’t see Robert playing in Europe very much these days as he has been playing his trade on the PGA Tour where had some good results at the Crowne Plaza Invitation, the St Jude Classic and not forgetting a top five finish at the US PGA. His last start this side of the pond was his home Nordea Masters. The Swede won the Dunhill Links at the height of his powers in 2008 and I think his character is so well suited to the pro-celebrity format.
The caddies on Tour always say to watch out for a guy with a brand new looper so I will be very keen to see how Dustin Johnson 22/1, who was jilted by Joe LaCava does. Johnson is a powerhouse of a man and he will be out to show Joe, he left the wrong man. Watch out too for Newcastle’s Kennie Ferrie. He nearly won this event back in 2005 when Monty pipped him by a shot. Ferrie won last week in Austria and 80/1 are crazy odds on a man with that form. Another guy at long odds of 60/1 is homeboy Stephen Gallacher who has had a decent season on Tour. His only ever win came in this event in 2004 when it was just played on the St Andrews Links.
The funniest bit of the convoluted mathematical equation that is the Fed-Ex Cup is that Billy Haas had absolutely no idea he had won the $10 million until the award ceremony after the tournament. No PGA Tour official informed him of the result.
“We had some interviews on the 18th green and I noticed both trophies sitting there and there wasn’t another player there, so I asked my wife if I’d won both” Haas said after.
Joe LaCava who caddied for Fred Couples for the best part of 20 years and who in recent times has been on the bag of Dustin Johnson, has been named as Tiger Woods new Caddie. Apparently Johnson had absolutely no idea about the arrangement until LaCava told him he was quitting after the Tour Championship yesterday. Neither did Woods have communication with Johnson to discuss the move beforehand.
Apparently LaCava approached Woods agent Mark Steinberg about the job.
Dustin Johnson was said to be furious and embarrassed on hearing the news. The Woods camp have stated that LaCava is to be his new “full time” caddie. Their first tournament together will be the Frys.com Open in California in a couple of weeks time.
Dead and buried with just a few holes to play, Europe staged one of the most dramatic victories ever seen in team golf.
Caroline Hedwall came back from two down with two play for a stunning half shortly after Suzanne Petterson defeated Michelle Wie in equally remarkable fashion. Christel Boeljon played the match of her life to beat Brittany Lincicome two up.
Then when Azahra Munoz turned her match around against Angela Stanford it became clear that Europe had made it to the magic score of 14.5.
Captain Alison Nicholls strategy of resting players reaped huge rewards, while Rosie Jones was left ashen faced after Christie Kerr was forced to withdraw with injury. It later emerged that Kerr had been on painkillers and anti inflammatories all week, yet was sent out by Jones to play in every match.
Well done Europe!
My sincerest apologies to all the people I had arranged to meet at the Solheim Cup in Killeen Castle.
I had to cancel my visit at the last minute, due to a much bigger issue involving my home beside Ashford Castle in Cong, County Mayo. A greedy property developer called Gerry Barrett is attempting to block my and the residents of Cong travelling through the Castle grounds as we have always done.
Barrett, though owing millions in debt, and with his companies having been taken over by NAMA, still ‘owns’ and maintains control over Ashford Castle.
Ashford is a fantastic hotel with stunning scenery. I have being playing golf there since I was a child, and its where many of our review videos are made. However three weeks ago, Mr Barrett closed two four tonne gates at the Castle blocking the centuries old public right of way used daily by the people of Cong and all residents on the Ashford Castle estate. I was asked to stay by the people of Cong to document a protest against Gerry Barrett and the blocking of the gates. Here is the video of the protest attended by residents, Cong people and Eamonn O’Cuiv TD.
Please take a look. Every view may help Mr Barrett change his mind.
Commenting on Christie Kerr’s battle with an arm injury, which later forced her to pull out of her singles match with Karen Stupples the female Sky Sports commentator came out with the unfortunate line:
“They have ridden her all week, now she needs to sit back and ride them”.
What a superb use of the double entendre! A sackable offence if it came from a male commentator but somehow perfectly acceptable coming from a woman.
Rory McIlroy may be out on the road for a 10 week stretch but he really never needs to bother after signing an eight figure deal with Santander Bank. The new Santander logo, one of six, will appear on Rors shirt from now on, making him the new billboard of the golf world.
Santander also sponsors Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Ana Botin from Santander, herself a former top junior golf, hammered out the deal.
Europe are tied 8-8 with the USA after todays matches.
Click here to view report and scores
Singles draw (Europe names first)
10:10 Catriona Matthew v Paula Creamer
10:20 Sophie Gustafson v Stacy Lewis
10:30 Anna Nordqvist v Morgan Pressel
10:40 Laura Davies v Juli Inkster
10:50 Melissa Reid v Vicky Hurst
11:00 Christel Boeljon v Brittany Lincicome
11:10 Sandra Gal v Brittany Lang
11:20 Maria Hjorth v Christina Kim
11:30 Suzann Pettersen v Michelle Wie
11:40 Caroline Hedwall v Ryann O’Toole
11:50 Azahara Muñoz v Angela Stanford
12:00 Karen Stupples v Cristie Kerr
The Saturday morning foursomes matches are known - and Team Europe skipper Ali Nicholas wants the home fans to make more noise to cheer on her ladies!
Suzann Pettersen earned two points for Europe on the first day
TEAM Europe skipper Alison Nicholas expressed her delight with Europe's 4.5-3.5 lead over the USA after the first day at The 2011 Soheim Cup.
"I'm really pleased. The players played with passion and a purpose I can only say well done to them. They absolutely entertained from start to finish, and I'm exhausted.
"We're a team. It's never about one individual. It's about matching those pairings and getting experienced players to play with rookies.
"All my players are up for it, and they're playing well. It was great but I love the European fans to scream a little bit more.
"I do feel that they're a little bit shy, and I'd like them to really start being more vocal. I think, I don't know, it's maybe our nature in Europe and in this country to be a little bit shy, and I want them to come out of themselves and shout and scream for Europe a little bit more because I'm not hearing enough of that.
"This is a home match. So I want to encourage everyone to scream and shout for Europe and give us some more oomph in the voice. We need some decibels out there to cheer on the girls."
Saturday Foursomes Matches:
7.40am Caroline Hedwall and Sophie Gustafson vs Angela Stanford and Stacy Lewis.
7.52am Karen Stupples and Christel Boeljon vs Morgan Pressel and Ryann O'Toole
8.04am Maria Hjorth and Anna Nordqvist vs Brittany Lang and Juli Inkster.
8.16am Catriona Matthew and Azahara Munoz vs Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer.
A stunning 65 from English man Robert Coles catapulted him to the top of the leaderboard after day two of the 2011 Austria GolfOpen. Four players share the halfway lead, none of whom have won on Tour before.
Coles is joined by India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, Dutchman Joost Luiten and Dane Thomas Nørret; all reached seven under par. Coles, who came close to a maiden win in over 300 starts at the Avantha Masters carded a bogey free round.
Best of the Irish is Gary Murphy, handily placed in the top 10. Padraig Harrington carded a 70 today to make the cut. Unfortunately Paul Cutler’s first week as a pro ended in a M/C. Tom Lewis fared better today, making the cut on level par.
Jeez I know we got our fair share of rain here in Ireland, but the US Solheim Cup ladies went a little over the top with their opening ceremony outfits. Scarves, gloves, salopettes, Spyder jackets and Uvex goggles; they had more layers than an onion!
Ski Sunday indeed! Here’s who is off first
7.40am: Maria Hjorth and Anna Nordqvist v Michelle Wie and Cristie Kerr
7.52am: Karen Stupples and Melissa Reid v Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome
8.04am: Catriona Matthew and Azahara Munoz v Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford
8.16am: Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson v Brittany Lang and Juli Inkster
Dan rattled in eight birds in Oz-tria on his way to a five under par round and tie for second. Here’s link to our recent Dan what’s in the bag.
Watch out for the GolfCentralDaily logo on the inside of Dan’s back pocket tomorrow!
Poor old Padraig Harrington had yet another tough day today in Austria, made worse by the sudden death of his famous old 5-wood. Yep Podge had that old Wilson Fw5 for absolutely yonks. Now it’s toast after yesterday’s pro-am.
Harrington started well today and was two under on the front nine when it came time to hit the replacement 5-wood. He reckons it cost him four shots after finding the water twice. He finished three over.
Paul Cutler also had a baptism of fire posting a 77 in his first ever round on Tour as a pro. Fingers crossed for good things from both tomorrow.
A swarm of bees forced the cancellation of a college golf tournament in Texas yesterday. The “B” tournament had to bee abandoned after a limb from a tree fell and exposing a beehive. Officials said approximately 70,000 bees had swarmed on the 18th green, but until PGA officials arrived to count them properly they could not confirm the numbers.
UTA spokesman Gregg Elkin said neither a beekeeper nor a photograph of Colin Montgomerie could be found at short notice to repel the insects. The event is to bee rescheduled for next week.
2011 Tour Championship Tips, PGA Tour, Fed Ex Cup Final
Odds from Betfair
also check out our 2011 Austria GolfOpen Tips here
It’s just amazing how consistent Luke Donald has been this year. Fourth again last week and when you consider he opened with a 75, that wasn’t half bad! That made it four top-10’s in his last five events. Second behind Furyk last year and now gunning for his fourth title of the year, the Tour Championship trophy would look nice opposite the BMW PGA Championship on the mantelpiece.
Probably the most deserving of the title is Webb Simpson. Of an incredible 10 top-10’s this season, Simpson has bagged two wins in his last four events at Wyndham and the Deutsche Bank. Fifth last week after a tough weekend, but for me Simpson is the one to watch. It’s his first time at East Lake but the leader in greens in regulation should take to this course like a duck with Webb-ed feet!
Considering it’s only a 30 man field this week you can get really good odds on Keegan Bradley. Tied 16th last week but he almost gave up in his final round of 76 and could have finished much higher. Eight under won him the PGA Championship and in the last three stagings the Tour Championship hasn’t had a winning score lower than nine under. Considering he has also won the HP Byron Nelson, those odds are pretty generous.
Squeezed into last week’s event by the back door but by God didn’t he make the most of it. Four rounds in the 60’s grabbed the Aussie a third place and his spot in the final. Tied 16th in 2009 and 13th last season, Geoff hasn’t quite managed to strings four good rounds together at the Tour Championship but if he continues to perform as he did last week, he could well do it this time around.
Went berserk here last year on the weekend shooting a ridiculous 63 on the Saturday and 67 on Sunday to rocket into a tie for fourth. Solid if unspectacular of late but don’t forget Nickers has two wins this season at Aronimink in July and Doral early in the season. The shortened rough should help him too as his greens in regulation stats are not as sharp as they were last season. If he can hit the ground running this week, Watney could post a score that will be hard to beat.
Rory and Caroline with the Yale Football team. Check out the guy over Caroline’s right shoulder. I wonder what he’s looking at!
You just knew the Vivendi Seve Trophy wasn’t going to end without down to earth Jose Maria Olazabal speaking his mind on what was really the story last week. Ollie has stepped into friend’s Seve’s shoes to oversee the event but was left disappointed after a whole host of stars opted out of the event. Not one to give up though, Ollie has organized a new date for the events next staging in 2013, so that nobody can give a lame excuse to doss off.
Pic: Bite down hard Ollie until it’s over!
"In two years time we are hoping this event moves to the week of the Presidents Cup, and after the end of the FedEx Cup, and if that is the case there will be no excuse not to be present," Olazabal said before leaving Paris. He also said those who did come to Paris did so out of respect for Seve.
”Seve was the first man who was instrumental in turning things around on the European Tour for the better and the younger players now on the European Tour need to remember that,” Ollie said before putting the boot in with "They should make a little extra effort and make this event what it deserves to be. So that will be the idea of moving it so that there are no more excuses."
Remember that brilliant The Big Break show before all our Golf Channel got cut off? Drooling over Katherine Roberts. Wanting to pull that tape tight around Don Donatello’s neck? Or Tommy Two Gloves Gainey ripping up St. Andrews?
Well the new series Big Break ireland premiere’s tonight in the US. Shot mostly around the K Club in Kildare this series features an international cast of five men, one Mark Murphy, and six women competing against each other for the ultimate prize, two tournament exemptions on the main European or LPGA Tours.
Of course Irish interest will be in Waterville’s Mark Murphy who having been exiled from the Kingdom now lives in New Orleans! GCD will also be rooting for our facebook friend Andy Walker who is himself hosting a premiere bash this evening.
The shows airs at 9pm in the US but can be watched online by going to www.vipbox.tv/ and clicking on GOLF. Then click Golf Channel. Then click stream 1.
Make sure to close the pop up ads and enjoy. Here’s a screenshot.
Annie Brophy (24, Spokane, Wash.) – A rookie on the LPGA Futures Tour and Notre Dame alum, Brophy is looking to capture the Luck of the Irish.
Joe Campbell (23, Cheltenham, England / Charlotte, N.C.) – The youngest competitor on the series, Campbell also is the longest hitter off the tee. He works at Carolina Golf Club, saving up money for the mini-tourevents in 2011.
Kelly Jacques (25, Thornton, Colo.) – Jacques made her return to competitive golf in 2011 after taking time away from the game following graduation at the University of Oklahoma. Currently competing on a limited schedule on the Futures Tour, Jacques has a new, fresh outlook on the game.
Bennett Maki (26, Orlando, Fla.) – Unlike a lot of his playing competitors, Maki is starting his professional career. A model and actor, Maki has appeared on numerous commercials that have aired on Golf Channel, which has served as a supplemental source of income to achieving his dream of competing on the PGA Tour.
Matt Melrose (27, Mulanje Malawi / Scottsdale, Ariz.) – A veteran of several mini tours and the Gateway Tour, Melrose is competing without ever having watched a previous series.
Mark Murphy (34, Waterville, Ireland / New Orleans, La.) – An Ireland native, Murphy grew up 4 hours south of the K Club in Waterville. Currently residing in New Orleans, La., Murphy’s dream of playing on the PGA Tour is still alive, although the results as a professional golfer have not come to fruition like he hoped.
Nina Rodriguez (27, San Jose, Calif.) – Currently competing on the LPGA Futures Tour, Rodriguez is a late bloomer to the game, deciding to focus solely on golf at age 19.
Nicole Smith (24, Riverside, Calif.) – Currently living out of her car, Smith is competing full-time on the Futures Tour. The alumfrom the University of Tennessee is looking to follow in the footsteps of “Big Break Sandals” competitor Ryann O’Toole, her close friend and travel companion.
Julien Trudeau (30, Montreal, Quebec / Phoenix) – The lone Canadian, Trudeau is looking to continue the recent success Canadians have had on Big Break. A veteran of several mini tours in the U.S. and Canada, Trudeau was ready to walk away from the game when a friend suggested he audition and give professional golf one more try.
Andy Walker (36, Phoenix) – A veteran of several professional golf tours, Walker has yet to have that breakthrough year. In addition to competing on the professional circuits, he also is a professional golf instructor, assistant golf coach at South Mountain Community College.
Whitney Wright (26, Greenville, S.C.) – Girlfriend of “Big Break Indian Wells” competitor Robbie Biershenk, Wright is competing on the Futures Tour and supplements her income by competing in charitable competitions on the golf course.
Mallory Blackwelder (24, Versailles, Ky.) – The daughter of 13-year LPGA veteran Myra Blackwelder and professional caddie Worth Blackwelder. After traveling worldwide with the Ladies European Tour in 2010, Mallory is competing full-time on the Futures Tour in 2011.
Tom Abbott and Stephanie Sparks return as co-hosts for the series.
Paul McLoughlin is the Director of Golf at the Lake Malaren Golf Resort and the man at the wheel of the 2011 Shanghai Masters which is set to feature 30 of the world's top players including countrymen Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington and has a prize fund of $5millon.
Paul, who was head pro in Clontarf in a past life is in charge of a 220-strong golf operations staff at the venue which boasts two championship courses currently being redeveloped by Jack Nicklaus and his design team- the first of which is being unveiled for October’s Shanghai Masters.
Paul McLoughlin, Director of Golf at the Lake Malaren Golf Resort
"It's an 80 hour a week job that involves all sorts of projects but it's a very interesting and challenging role," said McLoughlin who hopes the successful 2011 staging will result in a European Tour sanctioned event at Lake Malaren from 2012-2015.
The state of the art Lake Malaren resort has a three level club house and has just unveiled a dual directional driving range with 30 bays each side and an 18 hole putting green. It also has a 250 bedroom hotel.
Austrian GolfOpen presented by Lyoness, Diamond Country Club
Atzenbrugg, Austria. 22 Sep 2011 - 25 Sep 2011
Early odds on the exchanges
Joost Luiten shot a disappointing opening round 73 to scupper chances of winning his home event, the KLM Open last time out. However he followed it with three rounds in the 60’s to climb into a very creditable tie for sixth to add to his 15th in Switzerland the week before. Finished well down the field here last year after opening with rounds of 69 and 67. Real possibilities of a first Tour win this week with the pressure off.
There has been a mass exodus of regular Tour stars this week with very few opting to travel to this event with a prize pot of €1 million. However the 2008 Volvo China Open champion and Tour cash machine Damien McGrane is travelling in the hope of adding to his only Tour win. The Meath man will be looking to bounce back from a rare missed cut in Holland and this short and tricky 7000 yard par 72 should be right up his alley. A second round 76 last year was sandwich between efforts of 67, 67 and 65 on Sunday giving Damien a tie for sixth. Interestingly of those who finished above him last year, only Lara is in the field.
This tournament seems so close to going down the tubes, at least the defending champion Jose Manuel Lara has joined Miguel Angel Jimenez and Padraig Harrington in supporting it. Lara’s final round of 64 last year was his lowest ever on Tour and got him into a playoff with David Lynn from which he emerged victorious. Lara’s form is much better than last year too after good recent showings in the Czech and KLM Opens.
Boyd has finished 25th or better in his last four events in Ireland, Czech Republic, Scotland and Switzerland and represents some real class in a diminished field. Didn’t go well here last year, but still worth a look. He wont get many better chances to notch a first Tour win.
How close he came at the KLM Open a couple of weeks back but alas 44 year old Gary Orr 60/1 had to settle for fourth. Can the big Scot rally one more time? He hasn’t won since 2000 but hey it’s been all about the forty something’s lately on Tour! Also worthy of consideration is Soren Kjeldsen 24/1, my usual go to man for short tricky tracks. Hasn’t won since 2009 but well worth observing how he does over the opening rounds after showing signs of improvement at the Omega Masters last time out.
Walker Cup heroes Paul Cutler 26/1 and Tom Lewis 55/1 are in the field this week in a bid to earn enough moola to avoid Tour School. Both will play this week and next in Scotland using two of their maximum of seven invites. Cutler will also be boosted by the presence of two time Major winner Phil ‘Wobbly’ Morbey on his bag. Amateurs have a great history of doing well in their first pro tournaments so good luck to both.
Congratulations to Tiger Woods on entering the winners circle again. The US Media always find some angle to get their Tiger story but this week it’s easy. Tiger has won again. And he won at the BMW Championship, which is all the more remarkable since he wasn’t even playing.
However following the conclusion of the BMW Championship and the posting of the latest Official World Golf Rankings, Tiger was celebrating winning. A place in his own event. Well technically he didn’t but without even swinging a club Woods battled his way to 49th position, which makes him eligible for a sponsors exemption to the Chevron World Challenge. Woods beat off Jonathan Byrd in an epic battle for the number 49 slot.
When the Chevron World Challenge (which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation) started receiving world ranking points two years ago, a stipulation was that the two sponsor exemptions for the tournament be among the top 50 in the world.
You just beat that winning feeling.
The Belfast Telegraph, clearly tired of reporting about peace and Martin McGuinness running for President, has jumped at the chance to cover a story about a so called Anglo Irish war again, but this time it’s between Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy.
Lee might have initially be mildly miffed that instead of playing for GB&I in the Vivendi Trophy, Rors was busy doing a real life “Meet The Fockers” impression with Caroline at his home before travelling to Old Trafford to watch United destroy Chelsea. (In fairness both options seemed a lot more exciting than the Vivendi!)
According to the Telegraph, here’s the sequence of events
Furious Row? or just Having The Craic? You decide!
Final Round Highlights from the 2011 BMW Championship.
Justin Rose held his nerve to win the BMW Championship and reach the final of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. A win by Rose at next week’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola would gaurantee the Englishman the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus.
A fantastic chip in for birdie on 17, and scorching drive at the last meant Rose cold enjoy his two shot victory margin over John Senden. Geoff Ogilvy finished third, three shots back. All three men were outside the Playoffs top 30 at the start of the week, and now have secured places in the final. It’s Rose’s third PGA Tour win.
The top five men who can claim the Fed Ex Cup by winning next week are
The 23-year-old, who celebrates her birthday on Monday, fired a two under par 70 at La Quinta Golf Resort in the Costa del Sol on Sunday to end eight under, one stroke clear of Lee-Anne Pace, Tania Elosegui and overnight leader Beth Allen.
It was Reid’s second win this season, following victory at the Deloitte Ladies Open in the Netherlands and she will be full of confidence as she heads straight to The Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle in Ireland.
“It’s my second win of the season which is obviously nice preparation before Solheim Cup. It’s let me know the things I need to sharpen up next week but all in all I’m happy with the way I’m swinging it so I’m a happy, happy girl,” Reid said after the win. “I’m going to have a few beers on the plane but I think I’m pretty much going to go straight to bed. Its Solheim week, so it’s a big week and it’s going to be a tiring week, so not too many celebrations”
A par on the 18th was enough to seal the win after Pace bogeyed the hole and Reid added: “I didn’t think Pacey would three-putt the 18th so I did think going into the 18th that I would need to birdie it to win, so in the back of my mind I was thinking it was going to be a playoff but it was nice that a par was good enough to win.”
South African Pace settled for joint second after a round of 71 and she said: “Obviously I’m quite disappointed I three-putted three times coming down the stretch unfortunately. I still played really well and hit 17 greens. I was really fired up actually and I just left a couple out there but well done to Mel.
She said that she misjudged the speed of the last green. “I thought it would be quicker actually and I spoke to the local pro afterwards and he said coming this way on the green it would be slow because it was way downhill so I left it short and a tricky left edge downhill putt and I just missed it.”
Second round leader Elosegui finished well with a 69, while Allen held her own with a 68 in hot conditions.
Reid will now head straight to Killeen Castle in Dunsany, Co Meath and hopes to get some light practice in on Monday ahead of the biennial clash against the Americans.