Archive for the ‘Pro Golf’ Category

I didn’t play well admits Fleetwood

SOUTHPORT’S Tommy Fleetwood lies four shots adrift of Aaron Rai, Jason Scrivener and Yusaku Miyazato who lead the way at the Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi after benefiting from favourable afternoon conditions today.

Fleetwood admitted: “It’s okay. You can’t press too hard and to be fair, I didn’t play very good. I was fine getting off the tee. Drove the ball lovely which is the really important part to do, but yeah, my iron play was like way off. One under around there is not bad, but yeah, we had chances there but I mean, I didn’t play very well.”

After India’s Arjun Atwal had set the early clubhouse target with a flawless 66 on a cool and windy morning in Fanling, calmer weather opened the door for later starters Rai, Scrivener and Miyazato to produce opening 65s and move to the top of the leaderboard.

Three-time European Tour winner Atwal, Challenge Tour graduate Jack Singh Brar and American Micah Lauren Shin were the leaders’ nearest challengers on four under after they all carded four birdies and no bogeys in their opening rounds.

Rai began his round with a birdie at the first but had to wait until the 12th to pick up his second shot after a string of pars. He was rewarded for his patience with an eagle at the 13th, sending a stunning approach to within a few inches of the cup before tapping in.

Australian Scrivener only managed one birdie on his front nine before picking up four shots in five holes from the 12th to get to five under, meanwhile Japan’s Miyazato started from the 11th tee and carded birdies at the 13th and 15th, before making further gains on the fourth and seventh to join Rai and Scrivener at the summit.

Leading Round One Scores

65 J Scrivener (Aus) , Y Miyazato (Jpn) , A Rai (Eng) ,
66 M Shin (USA) , A Atwal (Ind) , J Singh Brar (Eng) ,
67 T Aiken (RSA) , D Boonma (Tha) ,
68 A Quiros (Esp) , N Colsaerts (Bel) , Y Liu (Chn) , A Chesters (Eng) , T Jaidee (Tha) , D Drysdale (Sco) , S Brazel (Aus) , K Joshi (Ind) , T Pilkadaris (Aus) , S Hend (Aus) , H Park (Kor) , H Porteous (RSA) , J Wang (Kor) , B Henson (USA) ,
69 T Fleetwood (Eng) , A Johnston (Eng) , J Morrison (Eng) , A Cañizares (Esp) , W Lin (Tpe) , D Lipsky (USA) , S Fernandez (Esp) , C O’Toole (USA) , A Karlsson (Swe) , C Bezuidenhout (RSA) , S Sharma (Ind) , J Janewattananond (Tha) , M Schwab (Aut) , K Koivu (Fin) , J Higginbottom (Aus) , J Harding (RSA) , J Kruyswijk (RSA) , S Kim (USA) ,

 

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Fleetwood fired up for Hong Kong challenge

THE 2019 Race to Dubai has not even started yet but Tommy Fleetwood already has his sights set on maintaining the form that saw him rise to the top of world golf when he tees it up at the HONMA Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi this week.

The Englishman  sits ninth in the Official World Golf Ranking, a career high for the 27 year old, and arrives at Hong Kong Golf Club in excellent form with 15 top 20 finishes pushing him to third on the season-long Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.

The Ryder Cup star would dearly love to be crowned European Number One once again and has an impressive track record in this event, finishing in the top six in both of his previous appearances.

Meanwhile, Rafa Cabrera Bello is hoping to make it third time lucky this week. The Spaniard has finished second in his last two starts at the event, losing out by a single shot to Australians Sam Brazel and Wade Ormsby in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

His runner-up finish last term was his best result of another incredibly consistent campaign that saw him record a further five top tens, four of the them in Majors, World Golf Championships and Rolex Series events.

Despite being one of the best performers in golf week in, week out, he has just two wins in the last nine years and would love a victory at a course that has seen countrymen José María Olazábal, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and José Manuel Lara share six victories between them since the turn of the century.

Player Quotes

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Tommy Fleetwood: “It is nice seeing places, and I think as golfers and just the nature of what we do, we don’t get to see places as much as we’d like to, so to do the odd nice little touristy thing is really nice, especially somewhere like Hong Kong. It’s one of my favourite places, so the more I get to see of it, the better.

“I think it was a great follow to what was the season of my life. I would have liked to have won another time after starting so strong and winning, and I think I played well enough to win a lot of the time, but always sort of had one round that cost me or

made me fall just short.

“It’s a brilliant year. You have to remember how well you’ve done, and the two guys that finished above of me in the Race to Dubai were two Major champions. But the good thing to look forward to is I feel like there’s a lot many of improvement out there, so that’s still the exciting part.

“I think just over the course of four days my game just needs to stay a little bit more consistent. I said it a couple times last week, I’ve always fallen like one round short. I’ve always had one round that’s been poor, and I just need to make those rounds better.

“You’re always improving your game and you’re all looking at ways to improve it, so that’s the same.  Week in, week out, everybody does that, and you just have to do that in the smartest way possible.  But my consistency level was brilliant last year, and especially playing two different Tours, as well, so I was very proud of that. But aga

in, winning is what we all want to do, so to do that I need to put four rounds t

ogether.

“We’ve already spoke about the city, but the course, I feel the last two years, it’s set up nicely for me. It is quite a big patience game because you feel like there’s a lot of chances, but the course actually doesn’t give you that much in the end. Especially if the wind is swirling, it makes it very difficult. But in general, ball striking is pretty key. You can’t really play this golf course from off the fairways. You have to be on the fairway to score, and that’s obviously one of my strengths, so hopefully I can keep that up for just one more week.”

Tommy bids to ‘gun down’ pal Molinari

TOMMY  Fleetwood is relishing the opportunity to chase down his friend and Ryder Cup team-mate Francesco Molinari at the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, as the European Tour season reaches an exciting climax at this week’s DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

He entered the final event of the 2017 campaign in the lead and managed to hang on to be crowned European Tour Number One for the first time, but his role is reversed this time around at  the eighth and final Rolex Series event of the season, as he sits in second place behind the 2018 Open Champion from Italy.

A victory for Fleetwood, paired with Molinari finishing outside the top five, would be enough for the 27 year old to become just the second player to win the Race to Dubai in successive seasons – following Rory McIlroy in 2014 and 2015.

Fleetwood said: It’s different for me this year. The biggest difference is it’s not in my hands. It’s just great to have that excitement surrounding the event again, it really is. You’ve come this far and to have a chance, as little as it is – and it’s not a big chance and it’s not in my hands at all – but you know it’s there and you’re teeing off on Thursday with a chance at winning the biggest prize of the year.

“It was a lot closer last year. I had never experienced anything like that playing for a year-long event. I was nervous Thursday, then it changed for Friday, Saturday, and then Sunday again. I think it showed last year, I kind of stumbled over the line but got over the line.

“Hopefully, come the back nine on Sunday this year, I have a chance and I end up having a great week and I’m playing well, and I can give Frank something to think about. But just knowing that you have a chance and you’re in a tournament to win it – I am chasing and there’s a lot of freedom in that.”

Ashton-under-Lyne pro dies aged 60

PGA North is sad to report the death of former Ashton-under-Lyne professional Colin Boyle at the age of 60.

He retired on health grounds in 2016 after working for 29 years at the Lancashire club.

Boyle began his career as assistant at Withington then was appointed head pro at Fairfield for seven years before settling at Ashton-under-Lyne.

His son Michael, who succeeded him, said: “He made quite a big impact on golf in the local community and although he did not play a great deal he was a big Manchester United fan.”

Boyle is survived by his wife Karen and daughters Lisa and Laura who works behind the scenes in Coronation Street.

The funeral has been arranged for Tuesday, November 13, at 12pm at Dukinfield Crematorium.

Belfry here we come!

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READY FOR ACTION: Ryan O’Neill (left) with Simon Lucas after their success at Pleasington. Colin Maroney is missing from photograph 

PGA North Region Lancashire County earned their passport to this week’s annual inter-county championship at the Belfry when their three-man team qualified after a region shoot-out at their Pleasington headquarters.

Simon Lucas (Garstang), Ryan O’Neill and Colin Maroney (both Penwortham) will travel to the PGA National course for the nation-wide final on October 11.

At stake will be £4,000 for the winning team, £2,400 for second and £1,500 for third.

Regional manager Jonathan Paine said: “We believe we have a strong side really up for the honour.”

 

 

 

Close Shave as Whetstone Park win Lombard Trophy

WHETSTONE Park pair Craig Shave and Phil Wright proved aptly-named as well as perfect partners in winning the Lombard Trophy at Pestana Vila Sol, Portugal.

Their victory over Carden Park, who were represented by former European Tour player Garry Houston and his amateur sidekick, consultant orthopaedic surgeon Patrick Laing, was indeed a close shave.

That it was secured by a nett birdie at the final hole on the resort’s Prime course confirmed Shave’s amateur partner was made of the right stuff.

According to Shave, Wright, a 16-handicapper, was a bundle of nerves throughout the two rounds.

However, when faced with that crucial putt on the par-four 18th, he became Mr Ice Man in the Portuguese sunshine.

At that stage, both Carden Park, two holes behind, and Whetstone Park were on 12-under and Wright, faced with two putts from six metres to secure that all important nett birdie, left the first inches from the hole for a tap-in.

Carden Park had their own birdie opportunities to force a play-off and Houston was left to ponder what might have been had his putt on the 17th dropped into the hole as opposed to embarking on a frustrating tour of its rim.

All of which meant the Leicestershire lads had ended up a shot clear of their rivals from Cheshire after starting the final pursuit of the £12,000 first prize on five-under, three strokes behind them.

Dukinfield and Worldham Golf Clubs had also ended the first round of the tournament supported by Pestana Hotels and Coca Cola on eight-under and at that stage Shave felt winning was beyond him and his partner.

“We thought if we could get to 12 or 13-under we might scrape into the top three,” he reflected. “So it’s a surprise to win at 13-under.”

Shave, a winner of Order of Merit events in the PGA Midlands region and victorious in last year’s PGAs of Europe La Manga Club IV Pro-Am, also admitted this was the highlight of his career to date.

“This is my biggest and most prestigious win by far,” he added. “It’s unbelievable. It’s been a great week for both us.

“Phil has really enjoyed it, has been great company and the tournament has been staged at a fantastic venue and run superbly.”

“As for the secret of our success, we get on, have a laugh, and there are no apologies. We just crack on and get on with it. We gelled well – when I had a bad hole Phil was there and vice versa.”

Leading scores: Whetstone Park 131 (-13); Carden Park 132 (-12); Piltdown, Worldham 135 (-9).

 

Great Scott! Howarth passes the test

SCOTT Howarth defied testing conditions in the first round of the James Brearley Lancashire Open at wind-swept Blackpool North Shore to take the overnight lead by a shot.

The 38-year-old from Davenport-attached professional birdied the 10th, his first hole, and never looked back.

“I was three-under-par after four which was a great start. I reached the turn without dropping a shot but I knew the back nine would be tougher because of the weather,” he said as he posted a five-under-par 66.

“I made sure I didn’t short-side myself and I was aware there were a lot of tough pins to negotiate so I played to the middle of the green. I rolled in a good birdie at the 14th and did not make any mistakes on the way in,” added Howarth whose brother Jamie was two-under and still in the reckoning.

Hart Common professional Steve Parry put one hand on the trophy he won two years ago when he reeled off six birdies, offset by a pair of bogeys, to trail by a stroke going into tomorrow’s second and final day.

“Considering the weather I was happy with my score,” he said. “I rolled the ball on the greens pretty well. They and the rest of the course were superb and I fancy my chances tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Chorley’s Andrew Palmer maintained his winning form as he shared third spot with Swinton Park’s David Smith.

FIRST ROUND LEADERS: 66 Scott Howarth (Davenport); 67 Steve Parry; 68 Andrew Palmer (Chorley), David Smith (Swinton Park); 69 Tim Ford (Liverpool DR), Alex Evans, Graham Cox (Lymm); Jamie Howarth .