Tag Archives: birdie

Guan Tianlang fires fine 69 in New Orleans

Guan steals the show again as teenage sensation makes cut in New Orleans while Rose is hot on heels of leader Glover

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

21:10 GMT, 26 April 2013

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UPDATED:

09:02 GMT, 27 April 2013

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Lucas Glover took his place at the top of the leaderboard at the midway point of the Zurich Classic as Chinese teenager Guan Tianlang once again caught the eye.

American Glover carded a 67 on the second day to add to his opening round of 65 to sit 12 under par overall, one stroke ahead of his countryman Boo Weekley.

But just as many eyes were focused a little further down the leaderboard, where 14-year-old Guan matched his achievement at the Masters by making the cut with nothing to spare, carding a 69 to finish three under for the day and for the tournament in a share of 57th.

In form: Guan Tianlang reacts as his birdie putt just misses on the ninth green

In form: Guan Tianlang reacts as his birdie putt just misses on the ninth green

'I think I played a very good round
today and I made a lot of birdies and a couple of good up and downs,' he
told www.pgatour.com. 'So I think I had a pretty good round.

'Making the cut is one of my goals.
I'm having fun these couple of days, and I hope to play my best and go a
little further into the weekend.'

Guan's round, which contained five
birdies and two bogeys and was watched by huge crowds from start to
finish, took some of the spotlight away from Glover at the top of the
leaderboard.

Teenage kicks: Guan Tianlang playing a tee shot in his second round

Teenage kicks: Guan Tianlang playing a tee shot in his second round

Glover sunk eight birdies against
three bogeys to take over at the top from overnight leader Ricky Barnes,
who undid much of his good work on day one by carding a four-over 76,
12 shots worse than his opening round.

Weekley got his second eagle in as
many days, at the par-four 10th, to sit a shot behind Glover and one
ahead of DA Points, while Morgan Hoffmann was fourth on nine under and
Ernie Els fifth on eight under.

Meeting the fans: Guan signs an autograph for a young fan after finishing the for the day

Meeting the fans: Guan signs an autograph for a young fan after finishing the for the day

Hoffmann, a relative youngster on
tour who, at 23, is till nearly 10 years older than Guan, said of the
achievement of the young Chinese: '[It] is unbelievable. You know, The
Masters and then here, it's awesome…

'I hope he understands what he's doing, because everybody out here is following him.'

Parental guidance: Guan wipes his face after taking water from his mother, Liu Hongyu

Parental guidance: Guan wipes his face after taking water from his mother, Liu Hongyu

England's Justin Rose and Brian Davis
led the European challenge in a group of six men on seven under, one
ahead of Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts.

Defending champion Jason Dufner just made the cut, like Guan, at three under.

THE MASTERS: Hole-by-hole guide

THE MASTERS: Hole-by-hole guide to Augusta National

PUBLISHED:

08:55 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 8 April 2013

The waiting is over for the year's first Major as the best players in the world arrive at Augusta National for The Masters.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy stroll down Magnolia Lane as the top two in the world while Bubba Watson is defending the Green Jacket he won 12 months ago.

Woods is the man to beat with three wins under his belt already in 2013 while McIlroy looks like he's finally getting used to his Nike clubs following a fine display finishing second at the Texas Open.

But this is Augusta National where anything can happen and here, Sportsmail has everything you need to know in our hole-by-hole guide.

The Masters: Hole by hole

Hole-by-hole guide to Augusta National – everything you need to know ahead of the season's first major

*Holes ranked from 1 (most difficult) to 18 (least difficult) based on how the course played in 2012

1st (Tea Olive), 445 yards, par four: A deep bunker on the right of the fairway and trees both sides make for a daunting start, while long and left of the undulating green both spell big trouble. Unsurprisingly played the hardest hole on the course last year. 2012 average: 4.39 (rank 1)

2nd (Pink Dogwood), 575 yards, par five: Driving into the trees on the left cost Padraig Harrington a nine in 2009, but Louis Oosthuizen memorably holed his second shot for an albatross in the final round last year before losing in a play-off to Bubba Watson. Important early birdie chance.
2012 average: 4.64 (rank 18)

3rd (Flowering Peach), 350 yards, par four: Shortest par four on the course but a pear-shaped green with steep slope in front allows for some wicked pin positions. 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel pitched in for eagle in the final round. 2012 average: 3.90 (rank 14)

4th (Flowering Crab Apple), 240 yards, par three: The back tee – not always used – turns it into a beast with the green sloping from back to front. Phil Mickelson took six here in the final round last year and finished two shots outside the play-off. Jeff Sluman's ace in 1992 remains the only hole-in-one here in Masters history. 2012 average: 3.22 (rank 6)

5th (Magnolia), 455 yards, par four: Jack Nicklaus twice holed his second shot in 1995 and Colin Montgomerie did it in 2000, but it is another devilishly difficult green. To clear the fairway bunkers requires a 315-yard carry. 2012 average: 4.21 (rank 7)

6th (Juniper), 180 yards, par three: From a high tee to a green with a huge slope in it. Four holes-in-one, but Jose Maria Olazabal took seven in 1991 and lost by one to Ian Woosnam, while Arnold Palmer has also run up a seven. 2012 average: 3.17 (rank 8)

Say your prayers: Amen Corner claims many victims each year - the 11th green is on the left with the 12th in the distance towards the back right

Say your prayers: Amen Corner claims many victims each year – the 11th green is on the left with the 12th in the distance towards the back right

7th (Pampas), 450 yards, par four: What used to be a real birdie chance has been lengthened by 35-40 yards, while trees were also added and the putting surface reshaped. More bunkers – five – around the green than any other hole. 2012 average: 4.17 (rank 9)

8th (Yellow Jasmine), 570 yards, par five: The bunker on the right, about 300 yards out, pushes players left and from there it is harder to find the green in two up the steep hill. Still a good birdie chance and Bruce Devlin made an albatross two in 1967. 2012 average: 4.86 (rank 15)

9th (Carolina Cherry), 460 yards, par four: The tee was pushed back 30 yards in 2002. The raised green, with two bunkers on the left, tilts sharply from the back and anything rolling off the front can continue down for 50-60 yards. 2012 average: 4.25 (rank 4)

10th (Camellia), 495 yards, par four: A huge drop from tee to green on this dogleg left and over all the years of the Masters the most difficult hole. It was here that Rory McIlroy began to fall apart in 2011 with a seven, while Watson clinched the title 12 months ago by making par in the play-off from the trees. 2012 average: 4.249 (rank 5)

11th (White Dogwood), 505 yards, par four: The start of Amen Corner. Toughest hole in 2011, with the water front and left scaring many. Best remembered for Larry Mize's chip-in in 1987 and Nick Faldo's back-to-back play-off wins. 2012 average: 4.32 (rank 2)

12th (Golden Bell), 155 yards, par three: Probably the most famous par three in golf. Narrow target, water in front, trouble at the back, it has seen everything from a one to Tom Weiskopf's 13 in 1980. McIlroy four-putted it in 2011. 2012 average: 3.06 (rank 13)

Dangerous: The 12th hole at Augusta National - measuring just 155 yards - is probably the most famous par three in golf

Dangerous: The 12th hole at Augusta National – measuring just 155 yards – is probably the most famous par three in golf

13th (Azalea), 510 yards, par five: The end of Amen Corner. Massive dogleg left with scores ranging from Jeff Maggert's albatross two in 1994 to Tommy Nakajima's 13 in 1978. Watson's crucial run of four birdies in succession last year started here. 2012 average: 4.72 (rank 16)

14th (Chinese Fir), 440 yards, par four: The only hole on the course without a bunker, but three putts are common on the wickedly difficult green. Course record holder Nick Price took eight here in 1993, while Phil Mickelson holed his approach en route to 2010 victory. 2012 average: 4.09 (rank 12)

15th (Firethorn), 530 yards, par five: Often a tough decision whether to go for the green in two across the pond on the hole where Gene Sarazen sank his 235-yard four-wood shot for an albatross in 1935. There have also been three 11s here. 2012 average: 4.67 (rank 17)

16th (Redbud), 170 yards, par three: Tiger Woods' memorable chip-in in 2005 came the same year as 73-year-old Billy Casper's 14, while Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter are among 15 players to record holes-in-one. 2012 average: 3.11 (rank 11)

17th (Nandina), 440 yards, par four: Tee shot is played over the Eisenhower Tree on the hole Justin Rose double-bogeyed when one off the lead in 2007. Jack Nicklaus birdied here to take the lead as he won his 18th major in 1986. 2012 average: 4.16 (rank 10)

18th (Holly), 465 yards, par four: The drive through an avenue of trees was made much harder when the tee was moved back 60 yards in 2002. The fairway bunker from which Sandy Lyle got up and down to win in 1988 is now 300 yards away. 2012 average: 4.31 (rank 3)

The Masters: Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in our five of the best at Augusta National

The Masters: An old Golden Bear and a young Tiger plus Faldo, Mickelson and Crenshaw – five of the best at Augusta

PUBLISHED:

08:59 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:59 GMT, 8 April 2013

The Masters almost always produces dramatic golf worthy of the beautiful backdrop of Augusta National.

Here, Sportsmail picks out five of the most memorable tournaments starting with the legend that is Jack Nicklaus way back in 1986.

1) 1986 – Jack Nicklaus

Nicklaus was 46, had not won a tournament in two years or a major in six, and was being written off as a spent force. But the Golden Bear produced one more back-nine charge in the 50th Masters, coming home in 30 for a final round of 65 to beat Greg Norman and Tom Kite by a single shot.

Nicklaus went eagle-birdie-birdie on the 15th, 16th and 17th as Seve Ballesteros squandered the lead by hitting his approach to the 15th into the water short of the green.

Dry Spell: Jack Nicklaus' win in 1986 was his first victory in a major in six years

Dry Spell: Jack Nicklaus' win in 1986 was his first victory in a major in six years

Handing over: Bernhard Langer (left) hands Nickalus his sixth Green Jacket

Handing over: Bernhard Langer (left) hands Nickalus his sixth Green Jacket

2) 1997 – Tiger Woods

Kite was again the runner-up 11 years later, but this time by an incredible 12 shots as Woods tore up the record books to claim his first major title. That had looked distinctly unlikely as the 21-year-old played the front nine of his opening round in 40, but he came back in 30 to lie just three shots off the lead.

A second-round 66 took Woods three clear of Colin Montgomerie, a lead he extended to nine shots after round three and a record 12 after a closing 69 made him the youngest ever winner at Augusta.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Passing the torch: Tiger Woods tore up the record books to win his first title at just 21-years-old

3) 2004 – Phil Mickelson

'I don't think any Masters will ever compare to the '86 Masters but, for me, this one does.'

That was the verdict of an emotional Mickelson after he had broken his major duck at the 47th time of asking. Mickelson had shared the lead with Chris Di Marco heading into the final round, but struggled to a front-nine 38 before a brilliant back nine of 31, culminating in a decisive birdie on the 18th, was enough to beat Ernie Els by a shot after the South African's excellent 67.

Crowd Pleaser: Phil Mickelson broke his major duck at the 47th time of asking

Crowd pleaser: Phil Mickelson broke his major duck at the 47th time of asking

Only just: A decisive birdie on the 18th hole gave Mickelson the title by just a single shot

Only just: A decisive birdie on the 18th hole gave Mickelson the title by just a single shot

4) 1995 – Ben Crenshaw

At 43, Crenshaw was not quite as old as Nicklaus in 1986, but his second Masters title in 1995 was equally remarkable and emotional.

Harvey Penick, who was Crenshaw's golf coach since he was seven years old, had died the week before and Crenshaw spent the Tuesday of Masters week at Penick's funeral in Austin, Texas.

The image of Crenshaw doubled over in grief and happiness after his final putt dropped – he did not have a single three-putt in 72 holes – has become an iconic Augusta image.

Ben Crenshaw

Ben Crenshaw

Emotional: Ben Crenshaw is hugged by his caddy Carl Jackson after winning for the second time at AQugusta National. Harvey Penick, who had coached Crenshaw since he was seven, died a week before the tournament

5) 1996 – Nick Faldo

Greg Norman had finished third behind Crenshaw in 1995, but it was the manner of his second-place finish to Nick Faldo the following year which was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Norman led from the outset after an opening 63, the joint lowest score ever in a major championship and only the second 63 ever at Augusta, and after adding rounds of 69 and 71 he was six shots clear of Faldo heading into the final round.

However, his lead was down to two shots by the turn and a back nine of 40 – despite two birdies – meant a closing 78 to Faldo's 67 and a five-shot winning margin for the Englishman.

Nick Faldo

Nick Faldo

Picking up the pieces: Nick Faldo took advantage of an awful final round from Greg Norman to win in 1996

Kiradech Aphibarnrat wins Malaysian Open

Smokin! Aphibarnrat holds nerve to win Malaysian Open after thunderstorm delay

By
Phil Casey, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

08:28 GMT, 24 March 2013

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UPDATED:

14:01 GMT, 24 March 2013

Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat today held his nerve after an untimely weather delay to claim his first European Tour title with a wire-to-wire victory in the Maybank Malaysian Open.

The tournament had been reduced to 54 holes following thunderstorms on each of the first three days, and another arrived just after the final group had teed off on the 16th hole today.

That meant a two-hour delay with Aphibarnrat one shot ahead of Italy's Edoardo Molinari, who had completed his 67 just before the delay and was safely in the clubhouse.

Smokin: Kiradech Aphibarnrat takes a puff on a cigarette on his way to victory

Smokin: Kiradech Aphibarnrat takes a puff on a cigarette on his way to victory

Hands on: Kiradech Aphibarnrat poses with the trophy after winning the Malaysian Open

Hands on: Kiradech Aphibarnrat poses with the trophy after winning the Malaysian Open

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

But Aphibarnrat made light of the disruption, hitting his approach to the 16th to three feet for birdie and then saving par on the next after almost finding water over the back of the green.

The 23-year-old former junior world champion therefore had the luxury of taking six on the 634-yard par-five 18th to complete a closing 70, sealing a a one-shot win over Molinari and claiming the first prize of 303,000.

Denmark's Anders Hansen (66) was third on 11 under, with France's Victor Dubuisson (70) and South African Charl Schwartzel (71) joint fourth a shot further back.

'This means a lot to me,' Aphibarnrat said. 'I had been struggling a lot after getting sick with my thyroid, but I fought and worked hard with my dad and my coach to have today.

'I have to thank my family, my mum and dad have always supported me and I am sure they are in front of the TV watching.'

Realisation: Aphibarnrat won his first European Tour title in Malaysia

Realisation: Aphibarnrat won his first European Tour title in Malaysia

Kiradech Aphibarnrat celebrates

The leaders started the day on the third hole and Aphibarnrat pitched to three feet for a birdie before holing from 15ft for an eagle on the par-five fifth.

At that stage his nearest challenger was Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who had eagled the same hole and also picked up three birdies, but the three-time major winner carded three bogeys in succession on the back nine to fade to sixth.

Bogeys at the seventh and 12th then saw Aphibarnrat joined at the top of the leaderboard by China's Wu Ashun, but as Wu also faded – shanking a pitch on the 16th into the crowd – Aphibarnrat birdied the 14th to edge ahead of Molinari, who was by now in the clubhouse.

The thunderstorm which arrived soon after looked to have come at a bad time for Aphibarnrat, but he added: 'I think it was good for me, I have time to rest and there were a lot of things going through my head. After I birdied the 16th I thought I had a good chance to win.

'The 18th hole I've played 10 times before, but today it was the toughest hole I have ever played, even though I could make six to win.'

Missing out: Edoardo Molinari had to settle for second place

Missing out: Edoardo Molinari had to settle for second place

Molinari was left to rue a number of missed chances, despite having previously missed the cut in all five of his appearances this season.

'It's mixed emotions because I'm very happy to have a good week for the first time in a long time,' said the former Ryder Cup player, who changed coach in December after missing three months following wrist surgery.

'The swing changes (under Sean Foley, who also coaches Tiger Woods and Justin Rose) are starting to pay off which is surprising because I thought it would take a lot longer, but I'm disappointed because I had a lot of chances on the back nine. The 18th is only the second fairway I missed all day which is very disappointing.

'I felt if I birdied the last I might have won outright because it puts a lot of pressure on the guy coming up behind, but unfortunately I think I'll be one or two short.'

Scott Langley and Russell Henley share the lead at the Sony Open heading into the final round

Rookie pair Langley and Henley still setting the pace at the Sony Open in Honolulu

By
Aidan Mccartney

PUBLISHED:

11:13 GMT, 13 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:18 GMT, 13 January 2013

Rookie duo Scott Langley and Russell Henley share the lead at the Sony Open in Hawaii with the pair on 17 under par heading into the final round.

After starting the day two shots behind, Langley managed to draw level after making his fifth birdie of the day on the par four tenth before pulling ahead on 13.

A bogey on the 14th brought Langley back level, before a birdie on the next hole once again gave Langley the lead.

Joint leader: Scott Langley follows his shot off the first fairway during the third round of the Sony Open.

On song: Scott Langley follows his shot off the first fairway during the third round of the Sony Open

Russell Henley, left, and Scott Langley are tied for first place at 17 under going into the final round Sunday.

Leaders: Russell Henley (left) and Scott Langley are tied for first place at 17 under going into the final round

In contrast, his 23-year-old rival had a unremarkable round with three birdies including a four on the par five last to become the first player to reach 17 under par after 54 holes, while he also maintained his record of not dropping a shot in the tournament.

Sony Open leaderboard

Click here to see all the latest scores

Langley could have moved to 18 under but could not putt his birdie attempt from 11 feet on the 18th and had to settle for a share of the honours.

South African Tim Clark is three back as he went four under in his third round, while Charles Howell III and rookie Scott Gardiner are a further shot back.

It’s Gardiner’s first tour start and the 36-year-old Australian, who is the oldest rookie on the circuit, was more than pleased with his performance over the first three days.

Rookie: Scott Gardiner of Australia

Rookie: Scott Gardiner is four off the lead after hitting -13 during his first PGA Tour start

“It’s amazing what happens when expectations are not there,” he said. “I only hit balls once in the two weeks before the tournament because we had snow at Christmas and a couple days after.”

He played 195 Web.com Tour events for the last eight years, winning once before graduating, thanks to a 15th-place finish on last year’s money list with 234,000.

“I’ve been trying to remember some of the times I’ve played well on the Web.com Tour and that’s helped me a little,” he added. “All the years on the Web.com Tour have been fantastic so this is not as unfamiliar as it might be for other rookies.”

Rory Sabbatini follows his shot off the 18th fairway during the third round

Looking on: Rory Sabbatini watches his shot off the 18th fairway during the third round in Hawaii

Charl Schwartzel fires moves into joint lead of Alfred Dunhill

Schwartzel fires brilliant 64 to move into joint lead of Alfred Dunhill

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UPDATED:

17:35 GMT, 14 December 2012

South African Charl Schwartzel could claim to be the consistent player in golf right now.

The 28-year-old shares the halfway lead with France's Gregory Bourdy after a sparkling second round 64 in the Alfred Dunhill Championship on home soil at Leopard Creek.

After finishes of fifth, third and second in the past month Schwartzel won the Thailand Championship by 11 shots last Sunday against a field that included Bubba Watson, his successor as Masters champion this April, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.

Charl Schwartzel

Scott Jamieson

Looking good: Charl Schwartzel (left) is in the joint lead, while Scott Jamieson (right) is also in the hunt

He was 25 under par there and is now already 13 under on a course where his record includes one win and four second places.

'It was there for the taking and luckily enough I took advantage early on,' Schwartzel said after grabbing an eagle and six birdies and keeping a bogey off his card for the second day running.

'I could have made a few more, but we can't get too greedy. All in all a very good round and I've put myself in a very good position.'

Schwartzel is 73 under for his last 4 1/2 tournaments and even after adding a 65 to his pacesetting opening 66 Bourdy did not under-estimate the size of the task facing him over the weekend.

'Charl is a great player, one of the best in the world,' the 30-year-old world No 184 said. 'You have to do the job over four rounds and that is difficult. But I'm feeling great and I've played two good rounds.'

In the swing: Robert Rock plays out of a bunker on the 13th hole

In the swing: Robert Rock plays out of a bunker on the 13th hole

After being overtaken when Schwartzel played his first 11 holes in seven under, making his eagle at the 541-yard 18th, three-time European Tour winner Bourdy pitched in for an eagle two on the sixth and converted curling 25-foot birdie putts at the fifth and eighth.

Darren Fichardt's 68 left him in third place four strokes adrift of the leading pair, with fellow South African Louis De Jager and England's Steve Webster one further back.

Webster lost a play-off for the rain-shortened Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban last weekend and the player who beat him there, Scotland's Scott Jamieson, is also going well again at six under.

Louis Oosthuizen climbed from one over to five under, but the 2010 Open champion went in the lake at the last for a bogey six and 67.

One of the sub-plots of the week is George Coetzee's bid to stay in the world's top 50 and so earn a US Masters debut next April.

Coetzee will resume three under, but Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, one of the players who could have denied him, crashed out on 10 over after an 80.

Martin Kaymer enter Nedbank Golf Challenge final round with one-stroke lead

Kaymer holds nerve at Sun City to take one-stroke lead into final round

PUBLISHED:

17:56 GMT, 1 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:56 GMT, 1 December 2012

Martin Kaymer will take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City after holding his nerve in testing conditions at the Gary Player Country Club.

A windy, overcast day made for a low-scoring third round, but Kaymer tallied three birdies and just one bogey to post a two-under 70 and move to five under overall.

Steady start: Martin Kaymer putts on he first green during the third round

Steady start: Martin Kaymer putts on he first green during the third round

Kaymer, who began the day a shot behind overnight leader Paul Lawrie, was required to hold his nerve at the last to maintain the outright lead, the German sinking a tickly putt from around 10 feet to make par.

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen went round in 69 to sit one off the lead, while compatriot Charl Schwartzel is in the mix in third place, two shots off Kaymer after a 70.

Tough day: Paul Lawrie hits out of a bunker on the sceond hole

Tough day: Paul Lawrie hits out of a bunker on the sceond hole

Lawrie suffered a trying day as the Scot carded a three-over 75 to drop back to sixth place, while England's defending two-time champion Lee Westwood (70) is in a share of fourth place on two under alongside America's Bill Haas.

Kaymer knows he is there to be shot at tomorrow with such a slender lead and some real quality in the chasing pack, and insists the only option is to go on the attack.

'I think a mistake would be if I try to defend my lead,' he said on europeantour.com.

One behind: Louis Oosthuizen acknowledges the crowd

One behind: Louis Oosthuizen acknowledges the crowd

'You cannot approach the last round like that.

'You hit fairways and greens and that is the most important, then think you will have a few more chances to make birdie.

'You cannot play too aggressive at certain holes, but you must take your chances. That is my goal.'

Oosthuizen is bidding to become the first South African winner of this event since 2007 and set five birdies against two bogeys to give his chances of claiming the title a huge lift.

And he admits the final round will be all about staying in touch until the final holes with conditions forecast to remain difficult.

'I would not be surprised if it is seven under winning it tomorrow,' he said. 'I think tomorrow you just need to stay very patient and give yourself a shot with four to five holes to go.

'It will be a great finish to a good season. I have played really well the whole season, one or two came really close to a few as well and I think winning it here would mean everything.'

Rory McIroy, Luke Donald and Marc Warren lead DP World Tour Championship

McIlroy v Donald battle still on as Warren joins big two at top of Dubai leaderboard

|

UPDATED:

14:22 GMT, 23 November 2012

There's some storm brewing here in the desert with Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald disputing the halfway lead with Marc Warren in the DP World Tour Championship.

McIlroy defied an overnight bout of sickness to post a 67 for an 11-under-par total of 133.

Ten minutes later, Donald struck a trademark nine iron to 4ft for a birdie at the last to tie the world No 1.

Share the joy: Rory McIroy is in a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard

Share the joy: Rory McIroy is in a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard

DP World Tour Championship

Click here for the full leaderboard

Then Warren tapped in for a par to make this season finale an England-Scotland-Northern Ireland affair at the top after 36 holes.

Next come the South Africans Branden Grace and former Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen.

How easy it would have been for McIlroy to come here and take his foot off the pedal, with the Race to Dubai already sewn up, but no-one got to be the world's best player thinking like that.

Indeed, McIlroy handed out a warning to everyone else seeking to deny him making it a notable double here on Sunday.

'I came here as motivated as I have been all season and I am determined to end the season with a bang and win here in the desert,' he said.

There didn't appear much chance of that when he looked like he was coming down with a sickness bug on Thursday night.

A cup of lemon tea from girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki and a couple of pills, however, and he was feeling much better on Friday.

Where he wants to be: Luke Donald has a share of the lead at the DP World Tour Championship

Where he wants to be: Luke Donald has a share of the lead at the DP World Tour Championship

Driving the ball imperiously, he gave himself a host of chances in another accomplished round.

'I feel this course gives me a good advantage if I'm driving it well because I can clear a lot of the fairway bunkers,' he explained.

'I missed a couple of short putts on the front nine but I've got to be happy tied for the lead going into the weekend.'

Like McIlroy, Donald has just two rounds of his season left to play and enters the final 36 holes with the same focus.

Winner last week in Japan, Donald said: 'I've got 36 holes to go and I really want to sign off with a victory.'

Donald doesn't have the length off the tee that gives McIlroy his advantage but counters that very handily with iron shots like the beauty he played at the last.

As for Warren, he had a golden opportunity to win the Scottish Open on home soil in July and is intent on showing what he has learned from that experience, when he was two ahead with three to play only to lose out in a sudden death play-off to Indian Jeev Milkha Singh.

Making a splash: Marc Warren is on 11 under after a 65 on Friday at the Earth Course

Making a splash: Marc Warren is on 11 under after a 65 on Friday at the Earth Course

All those nervous hopefuls preparing to take part on Saturday in that nerve-wracking experience known as the European Tour's Qualifying School can take great heart from the sight of South African Grace so high up the leaderboard. This time last year, he was one of them.

'It's one of those hard weeks where you don't care if you win it or finish 30th, as long as you secure your card for next year, so good luck to all the guys,' he said.

As it happens, Grace finished 11th before embarking on a season that, as he puts it, is 'beyond a dream.'

Not only has the 24-year-old won no fewer than four times, he is in a great position in this event going into the weekend, and will play with Donald on Saturday.

'I guess you could come here with the attitude of freewheeling and enjoying it but I came here with a couple of goals for the last event and I'm determined to pull them off,' he said.

In contention: South African Branden Grace is just one shot off the leaders

In contention: South African Branden Grace is just one shot off the leaders

'Obviously I can't win the Race to Dubai as Rory has already done that but I could finish second and I want to try for that.

'Then there's obviously lots of world ranking points at stake and I want to push for as many of those as I can.'

No question about the most remarkable round of the day. Sergio Garcia had nine birdies and two eagles on his card, which was just the amount of gains he needed to shoot the European Tour's first-ever round of 59.

Even with a couple of tees pushed forward, what a remarkable achievement that would have been on a course measuring around 7,400 yards.

Up and down: Sergio Garcia had an eventful day as he fired a 64 in his second round

Up and down: Sergio Garcia had an eventful day as he fired a 64 in his second round

Alas for the gifted Spaniard, there were not only a couple of bogeys coming home but a potentially very costly triple at the 16th that leaves him four adrift of the leaders.

'I don't think I have ever had a roller-coaster round quite like that, with so much going on during the back nine,' said Garcia, who eventually signed for a 64 that tied the course record.

The 32-year-old is playing for just the second time since having laser eye surgery and certainly had his eye in on Friday.

There are plenty of gifted shot-makers lurking just off the lead, like former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel on nine under and Justin Rose and Nicolas Colsaerts on eight.

Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, however, are a distant eight and nine shots adrift after rounds of 74 and 70 respectively.

Australian Masters 2012: Adam Scott beats Ian Poulter

Scott pips Poulter for Australian Masters to end trophy drought after final-day surge

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UPDATED:

11:40 GMT, 18 November 2012

Adam Scott edged out playing partner Ian Poulter in a final day shootout to break a 15-month tournament drought and claim his first gold jacket at the Australian Masters in Melbourne.

Scott took on one of the fiercest competitors in world golf and beat him in a head-to-head battle at Kingston Heath, with the world No 5 overturning a one-shot deficit on the final day to win by four strokes at 17 under par.

The Australian's final round score of 67 was five shots better than Poulter's, with the pair finishing well clear of the rest of the field.

Late surge: Adam Scott pipped Ian Poulter to the Australian Master in fron of his home crowd

Late surge: Adam Scott pipped Ian Poulter to the Australian Master in fron of his home crowd

New Zealanders Gareth Paddison and Mark Brown had a close battle for third place, but had to settle for a share of the spoils some eight shots behind Scott.

Scott and Poulter went shot for shot over the first 11 holes, but the Englishman made bad mistakes on the two par fives on the way home that ultimately led to his downfall.

Poulter opted for a hybrid out of a fairway bunker at the 12th and could only move the ball forward 20 metres into more sand, before finding a greenside trap with his approach shot and settling for a bogey.

That put him two behind Scott and when he shot over the back and failed to get up-and-down at the 14th, the Australian's advantage was out to three.

Scott only had to make pars over the concluding stages to hold on and he did so with relative ease, before holing a birdie putt on the last to hammer the final nail into Poulter's coffin.

He did receive a minor scare when his playing partner birdied the tough par-four 16th to get back within two, but Poulter inexplicably missed a simple two-foot putt on the 17th green to give that shot back and put the result beyond doubt.

Such an anti-climatic finish seemed nigh-on impossible earlier in the day as the duo battled back and forth for supremacy over the front nine in a final-round pairing that felt more like a matchplay event.
Scott made a brilliant birdie-birdie start to go from one behind Poulter to one in front, but the Englishman fought straight back.

No cigar: Poulter missed out on the godl jacket

No cigar: Poulter missed out on the godl jacket

Sand trap: Scott battled hard on the final day to pull away from his playing partner

Sand trap: Scott battled hard on the final day to pull away from his playing partner

His approach at the third was stone-dead as he tapped in for birdie to tie it up, before edging one clear yet again when Scott failed to get up-and-down from a tough bunker at the fourth.

Scott then made three consecutive birdies starting at the sixth, with the pick of those coming at the par-four seventh when he rolled in a long putt for three to match Poulter's tap-in birdie and then cheekily mocked the Englishman's reaction from yesterday when he did the same thing to the Australian.

The pair shared birdies at the short par-three eighth and, as the wind increased later in the day, so did their scores.

However, Scott remained steady on the way home, with Poulter's meltdown on the two longest holes on the course proving the difference between the two players.

Queenslander Adam Crawford shot the best round of the day, with his 65 catapulting him up the leaderboard to finish in fifth at six under, while Peter Senior and Michael Hendry were a further two shots back in a share of sixth.

There were no final-round heroics from Graeme McDowell, as the Northern Irishman and third-highest ranked player in the field could only close with a 71.

That was good enough for him to share eighth spot with David Bransdon at two under.

Gracious: Poulter congratulated Scott after his win

Gracious: Poulter congratulated Scott after his win

Hong Kong Open 2012: Miguel Angel Jimenez shares lead with Michael Campbell

Jimenez could become oldest European Tour winner as veteran shares lead in Hong Kong heading into final round

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UPDATED:

10:13 GMT, 17 November 2012

Miguel Angel Jimenez and Michael Campbell share the lead with a round to go in the UBS Hong Kong Open at Fanling.

At 48 Jimenez can become the oldest winner in European Tour history, while 43-year-old Campbell is trying to end a winless drought going back to 2005.

New Zealand's former US Open champion sank an 18-foot par putt on the last for a 69 that matched Jimenez's 10 under par total after the Spaniard played a superb chip to two feet for a 68.

Driving force: The veteran shares the lead in Hong Kong with one round remaining

Driving force: The veteran shares the lead in Hong Kong with one round remaining

Only one behind are 19-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero – he shot 64 six days after winning the Singapore Open – and China's 47-year-old Zhang Lian-wei, ranked only 1,274th in the world.

Two years ago Manassero became the youngest winner in Tour history and he is now seeking his fourth title. He burst through the field with a back nine 30, grabbing an eagle at the long 13th and four birdies.

Campbell led by one overnight and resumed with an 18-foot birdie putt, but was overtaken when playing partner Zhang birdied the next three. That was followed by a hat-trick of bogeys, however, and he could not get back on terms all day.

Eyes on the price: Jimenez could become the oldest winner in European Tour history

Eyes on the price: Jimenez could become the oldest winner in European Tour history

Campbell three-putted the sixth, came back with a nine-foot putt, but dropped another shot on the 11th to find himself in a three-way tie with Manassero and Jimenez.

Again he responded with another birdie, but Jimenez, twice a winner on the course, holed from nearly 20 feet at the 13th and both of them parred the last five holes.

Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed lies fifth, with Irishman Peter Lawrie and Dane Anders Hansen only three off the pace in joint sixth.

Welshman Rhys Davies, needing to stay 119th on the money to keep his Tour card, had survived the halfway cut with nothing to spare and with a 69 is in a tie for 53rd to one over. He is under threat, though, from Australian Andrew Dodt at four under. Dodt is 122nd on the standings.