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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

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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.

The Open 2012: Ian Poulter vents his frustration on Twitter

I want to puke! Poulter vents his frustration at Open form on Twitter

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UPDATED:

17:00 GMT, 21 July 2012

Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter vented his Open frustration by Tweeting an expletive and declaring himself sick after a third-round 73 dropped him back to three-over at Royal Lytham.

The Englishman stomped off the 18th green declining requests for interviews but within the hour he had taken to the social network to offer his thoughts.

'So p***** off right now it's crazy, 2 fairway bunkers in 54 holes & I'm over par,' the world No 28 wrote.

Not a happy man: Ian Poulter vented his frustration on Twitter

Not a happy man: Ian Poulter vented his frustration on Twitter

'It makes me want to puke. Padded cell required please.'

The 36-year-old began the day level par – 10 shots off the lead – and went to the turn in one under after a birdie at the ninth.

Twitter: Poulter

He gave that back at the next but immediately birdied the 11th only to fall apart with two double-bogey sixes at the 15th and 17th holes.

The Open 2012: Brandt Snedeker leads but Adam Scott and Tiger Woods are just behind

The FOURce is with him! Snedeker brilliantly keeps a five off his card, but can't shake off Scott… or the Tiger

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UPDATED:

19:57 GMT, 20 July 2012

For the past two decades Sir Nick Faldo has been alone in the major record books for what he did at Muirfield in 1992.

But now he finally has company – the perhaps unlikely figure of American Brandt Snedeker.

/07/20/article-0-1425377E000005DC-956_634x452.jpg” width=”634″ height=”452″ alt=”Leading the way: Brandt Snedeker on the second hole of his second round” class=”blkBorder” />

Leading the way: Brandt Snedeker on the second hole of his second round

Tiger Woods is three strokes further
back in third after dramatically holing a bunker shot on the last for a
second successive 67, while Paul Lawrie and Graeme McDowell remained at
the forefront of the home challenge six behind as Rory McIlroy fell
back.

Not even McIlroy in his runaway
victory at last year's US Open achieved Faldo and Snedeker's score for
the first two days, although he would have lowered the mark by one if he
had parred rather than double-bogeyed the last of the 36 holes.

Although Snedeker is a three-time
winner on the PGA Tour, including one in a play-off against current
world number one Luke Donald, his Open record was – to put it frankly –
abysmal before this week.
Three trips, three missed cuts and not a round under 70.

Yet on a Lancashire links softened by
a 'summer' of heavy rain he has yet to have a bogey, yet to visit any
of the 206 bunkers and stands 10 under par.

'I call it boring golf,' he said. So
boring it could make him the 10th successive first-time winner in the
majors – not that the 31-year-old is getting ahead of himself.

'A great experience, but it gets you a
whole lot of nothing,' he said after turning in just 30 strokes and
then picking up further strokes at the 598-yard 11th and 198-yard 12th.
'We've got 36 more holes to go – a lot can happen.'

The closest Snedeker has come to
major glory so far was at the 2008 Masters. He was two behind with a
round to go, but while playing partner Trevor Immelman stayed out in
front he shot 77 and cried his heart out.

'I found out a lot about myself today,' he said then, 'so we'll keep working.'

Aussie Rules: Adam Scott plays his tee shot on the 14th hole

Aussie Rules: Adam Scott plays his tee shot on the 14th hole

It is perhaps no surprise to see him
playing so well with a full set of 14 clubs in his bag. At the Volvo
World Match Play in Spain in May he began against Thomas Bjorn with only
10 borrowed ones because his own were delayed en route – and won the
first three holes.

He admits he has been out enjoying
'the local ales' once away from the course, but insists his one late
night earlier in the week was 'to get over the jet lag'.

'It's funny I've never played good
(until now) because I like being over here and having a good time with
it,' he said. He came up with another good answer when told that there
will be lots of British people asking: 'Who's Brandt Snedeker' The
world number 29 said: 'I'm sure there's lots of Americans saying that
too.'

Scott had gone from one in front to four behind by the time he resumed and in the circumstances a 67 was no mean performance.

'I didn't take on any unnecessary risks and kept the ball in play pretty well, so it was kind of stress-free,' he said.

'Why I've played good this week is a culmination of everything I've done over the last couple of years.

'I feel like this is the path I've
been going down and it just happens to have happened here that I've put
myself in a good position after two days.'

What a finish: Tiger Woods chips out from a bunker alongside the 18th green (above) and celebrates as the ball flies in the hole (below)

What a finish: Tiger Woods chips out from a bunker alongside the 18th green (above) and celebrates as the ball flies in the hole (below)

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Woods said of his closing piece of
drama: “It wasn't as hard as it may have looked. I just threw it up
there, played about a cup outside the left and it landed on my spot and
rolled to the right.

'Overall I'm very pleased at where I'm at – I'm right there in the mix.'

Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, who grabbed
his first European Tour win in April and qualified in a play-off, also
birdied the last to move into fourth place on his own at five under.

McIlroy had been joint sixth with his
opening 67, but found a lot of bunker trouble – many with water in them
after yet more rain – as he stumbled to a 75. He is now 12 back.

World No 1 Luke Donald shot 68 to
improve to two under, but third-ranked Lee Westwood only just made it
through to the weekend on three over.

A look of determination: Luke Donald walks across the third green

A look of determination: Luke Donald walks across the third green

Alongside him is 62-year-old Tom
Watson. Last year at Sandwich he became the oldest player to make the
cut in The Open, so he has extended his own record.

Among those to miss the cut were
Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, defending champion Darren Clarke, Phil
Mickelson and the only two amateurs in the field, Northern Irishman Alan
Dunbar and Austria's Manuel Trappel.

HEADER HERE

The 18th green at Royal Lytham has witnessed some of The
Open’s most iconic moments. It was the scene of a rare English victory in 1969
when Tony Jacklin triumphantly held his arms aloft.

In 1988 a delicate chip from the back of the green by Seve
Ballesteros completed perhaps the greatest round of his career and sent the
crowd into raptures.

Now, we’re faced with a prospect from the other end of the
scale, and a man clinching victory with a long-handled putter that ought to
have no place in the modern game. What were the Royal and Ancient Golf Club
thinking of in allowing it in the first place

If truth be told, they’d now ban it in a heartbeat if they
could. They’re on record for admitting their ‘concern’ at the proliferation
among young players of putters that make the black art easier and eliminate
much of the skill and nerve.

The putters are currently under review, but even if they are
deemed illegal retrospectively, nothing will be done until 2015.

A lot of players, like Tom Watson, Lee Westwood and Tiger
Woods, take an admirable stand and refuse to countenance using them. Many
others, like Adam Scott, see nothing wrong in taking full advantage.

And so, after Scott’s opening two rounds of 64 and 67, the
dreaded prospect has arisen, following on from victories in the US Open and
USPGA Championships, for players wielding belly putters. Will we have cause to
hold our noses come the final putt

Adam Scott

Adam Scott

Great Scott: Adam's putting style divides opinion, and he is right in the hunt at The Open

The Open 2012: Luke Donald gets going but Lee Westwood falters

Luke finally gets out of first gear but Lee stalls while Rose's iron game was 'minging'

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UPDATED:

22:26 GMT, 19 July 2012

Luke Donald tends to start at majors like a dicey old Austin Allegro on a freezing January morning before the engine gradually purrs into life — normally when it is too late to catch the leaders.

Happily this was not one of those days, but last night he still admitted to having a ‘bitter taste in my mouth’ after dropping a shot on the last that prevented him from beginning The Open with an under-par score.

The late slip that saw him leave his final putt centimetres short and finish on level par was more representative of his fellow illustrious Englishmen such as Justin Rose and Lee Westwood, who ended up frustrated by their failure to take advantage of the benign conditions.

Improving: Luke Donald got it together as the day progressed

Improving: Luke Donald got it together as the day progressed

World No 1 Donald saw more of the wind than they did and until the 18th looked like he was going to break 70 for the first time in 20 opening rounds at majors, a sequence that dates back to the US PGA in 2006 at Medinah, just outside his adopted home city of Chicago.

He had played an admirably steady round, threading his way through the bunkers with delicate iron play and reeling off par after par to add to his one birdie on the third.

Donald denied that the 70 figure had been playing on his mind: ‘I was just trying to play a round without making a bogey,’ he said. ‘It’s human nature to focus on that last hole but I hit a lot of good shots as well. It’s an improvement on the last major and something that I can build on.’

Westwood enjoyed the best of the conditions and when he birdied the first two holes it looked like the rest of the field might be left standing.

A double bogey followed and four hours later he had subsided to three over thanks to 40 on the back nine.

Trouble: Lee Westwood was far from his best

Trouble: Lee Westwood was far from his best

‘I’ve been struggling a little bit at the moment and the start was a bit of a lie really,’ he said.

‘It was nice to birdie the first two but I don’t feel in control of the ball at the moment.’

Rose has been in excellent form but ended up another shot back having failed to recover from going five over after the first eight.

He took to Twitter later to describe his performance as ‘rubbish’ before going on to explain: ‘Hit loads of fairways which should have been the hard part. Iron game was minging.’

Ian Poulter is, like Donald, better placed to make a move today after finishing one over par, but as an early starter on a calm morning will have felt he should have done better after going out in 34.

The Open 2012: Officials voice bunker fears as major contenders face rough first round

Open officials voice bunker fears as major contenders face rough first round

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UPDATED:

13:16 GMT, 18 July 2012

Open Championship officials have admitted a number of bunkers at Royal Lytham were causing concern after the ongoing bad weather – but made no apologies for the rough described as 'almost unplayable' by Tiger Woods.

An overnight downpour left areas of standing water around the course and added to the already high water table level, which could particularly affect some of the course's 206 bunkers when play gets under way on Thursday morning.

On a roll: Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, centre, putts on the 7th green during a practice round

On a roll: Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, centre, putts on the 7th green during a practice round

Jim McArthur, chairman of the R&A's championship committee, said: 'Obviously the weather has caused us some problems, and perhaps some more to come.

'The course is at the moment perfectly playable thanks to the huge and time-consuming efforts of the greenkeeping staff. The greens are fine. They're a bit soft and a bit slower than we'd probably like at this stage of the Championship.

'There are some bunkers which are causing us some concern because of the water table and the level of the groundwater, but we're confident that the rules of golf will help us cope with any situations which develop there.

All smiles: A relaxed Ian Poulter hits out of the bunker

All smiles: A relaxed Ian Poulter hits out of the bunker

'Based on the course conditions, we're not intending to play preferred lies. We'll have some issues off the golf course with spectator walkways, which we're dealing with at the moment, and these are gradually improving.

'And we're really hoping that the improving weather forecast which we've been promised will take some of the pressure off and problems off the golf course.'

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson revealed that the bunkers causing concern were on the second, 14th, 16th and 17th holes, but added: 'When I came here 10 days ago it was much wetter then after the cloudburst than it is now. And two days later of good, drying weather you would think the golf course was in normal summer condition.

'It was very firm and there was no standing water anywhere.

Popular: Sergio Garcia of Spain signs autographs

Popular: Sergio Garcia of Spain signs autographs

'This course does dry extremely quickly I'm delighted to say. The weather forecast we have is that whatever rain we're going to get overnight tonight will stop around 4:00am, and then the forecast is dry for the rest of the Championship.'

Tony Jacklin, who won his Open title at Lytham in 1969, warned players to stop whingeing about the conditions if they hoped to lift the Claret Jug on Sunday after Woods's comments following a practice round on Sunday.

However, Dawson added: 'I think Tiger may have been taken somewhat out of context, given my discussions with him. Certainly if you stray a long way off these fairways, the rough is brutal, as it is on every links course in the British Isles at the moment with the summer weather, if you can call it summer weather, that we've had.

Sand trap: Course officials are concerned about the sodden bunkers

Sand trap: Course officials are concerned about the sodden bunkers

'The champion on Sunday I doubt will have won from the rough. I think he'll be winning from the short grass, so there's a premium on hitting fairways this week, obviously. The fairways are reasonably generous, [but] if you stray a long way off, then you're going to be penalised.

'As we always say with the rough, we leave it to nature, and nature this year has given us the thick stuff.'

Contingency plans are also in place to avoid the issues with spectator parking which saw fans urged to stay away from practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with as-yet unused car parks and park-and-ride schemes on standby.

US Open 2012: Tiger Woods shares lead, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald out

Heaven beckons for Tiger but McIlroy and Donald fail to make cut at Olympic Club

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UPDATED:

02:11 GMT, 16 June 2012

Is Tiger Woods halfway to paradise, and his first major championship victory for four long years No doubt redoubtable veterans Jim Furyk and David Toms will have something to say about that this weekend and let’s hope another major champion in Graeme McDowell will do so as well.

But there was something ominous about the way Tiger fended off outrageous fortune to place himself right where he wanted to be at the halfway stage of the 112th United States Open at Olympic.

Nothing could knock him off his stride on Friday, not a couple of funky spots in greenside bunkers nor a desperate break at the par five 17th hole.

Half way to heaven Tiger's taken a share of the lead heading into the third round

Half way to heaven Tiger's taken a share of the lead heading into the third round

US Open at the Olympic Club

Click here for the full leaderboard

At the end he signed for a level par
round of 70 and on this brutal test it earned him a tie for the lead
with Furyk, US Open winner in 2003, Toms, who won the USPGA in 2001,
with G-Mac, champion two years ago at Pebble Beach, a further two
strokes adrift.

This is the 10th time Woods has led or had a share of the lead after 36 holes of a major. Of the previous nine, he won eight.

'It was some kind of test out there but I feel good about what I am doing and about my game plan,’ said Woods.

Major number 15 has appeared on the
distant horizon, therefore, but Furyk, Toms and McDowell, of course, are
quite capable of obstructing his view. The one thing you can be sure of
with this trio is they won't be scared of the prospect over the next
two days.

Furyk admitted one of the reasons for
his poor form last year was a touch of laziness. As one of the hardest
workers in the game, that’s probably too brutal a dose of self-analysis
but even if true it doesn’t apply anymore.

This is the perfect course for the 42
year old, with its emphasis on finding fairways and greens. As it is
for Toms, now 45 years old, who has played some of the best golf of his
career in the last 18 months.

McDowell was disappointed with a
finish that saw him drop three shots in his last four holes but, as his
manager Conor Ridge said, maybe that is a blessing in disguise. He is
equally at home on this venue as he was at Pebble Beach, just a couple
of hours’ drive away.

Swing the zone: Toms (above) and Furyk (below) share the lead with Woods

Swing the zone: Toms (above) and Furyk (below) share the lead with Woods

Swing the zone: Toms (above) and Furyk (below) share the lead with Woods

'The worst round he played at Pebble
was the third round when he was in the lead,' said Ridge. 'It can be
better to be just a couple of shots back, without the spotlight on you.'

Woods was unlucky when his ball
finished on the edge of a bunker at the 6th, and he had to chop it out
with his hands gripped on the shaft of the club. He had to play a bunker
shot at the 16th with one leg in the bunker and one leg out.

Then, at the par five 17th, a
seemingly perfect approach destined to finish snug to the hole somehow
raced through the back and down a steep hill.

No problem to Tiger. As twice former
US Open Champion Andy North said: ’I think he is comfortable in his own
skin for the first time in three years.’

The ultimate test as to how comfortable he is, of course, will come this weekend.

Three Englishmen remain on the
fringes of contention. Justin Rose had to be disappointed with a round
of 75 but, at four over par, is only five off the pace. Lee Westwood and
Ian Poulter began their third rounds on Saturday a further shot adrift,
and by no means out of it.

Not so the two best players in the
world. What a desperate disappointment this tournament was for Luke
Donald and Rory McIlroy. For Donald, without a single top ten finish in
this event, it was an all too familiar feeling of disappointment when
leaving the year’s second major.

For defending champion McIlroy,
however, the frustration was plain. No need to ask him whether this was
the worst moment of his career. It was writ large on his face.

'Any idea how many majors Tiger had
won by your age' his manager Ridge asked him. Perhaps it cheered the 23
year old up a little to learn it was the same as he owns – one.

McIlroy ate a sandwich in the locker
room while Ridge and caddie JP Fitzgerald packed his golf bag. He sent a
text to girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki and then talked to a small scrum
of golf writers about his fourth missed halfway cut in five events and
what happens next.

Heading home: It was a day to forget for McIlroy (above) and Donald (below)

Heading home: It was a day to forget for McIlroy (above) and Donald (below)

Heading home: It was a day to forget for McIlroy (above) and Donald (below)

'I guess it is a reminder you’ve got to keep working hard and that the game doesn’t come easy,’ said the Northern Irishman.

'But I've seen enough good signs over
the past two events. Now it's time to go home, play some links golf and
get ready for the Irish Open at Portrush.'

As he indicated, McIlroy didn't play
that badly during his second round 73. At his third hole he missed the
fairway by six inches and finished in a spot so bad he couldn't get the
ball on the green with a sand wedge.

At his last hole he had a putt for a
birdie to make what he thought would be the halfway cut on the limit. He
grazed the right edge and, adding insult to injury, missed the one
back.

Donald improved greatly on his
opening round – not difficult, given he shot 79 – and talked after his
72 about feeling uncomfortable with his swing coming into the event.
‘It happens,’ he said.

Alas, it happens all too often at the
majors. Statistics might be open to all sorts of interpretation, as the
old saying goes, but here’s one that is neither a lie nor a damned lie.
Donald has now played in 20 consecutive majors stretching back to 2006
since he last broke 70 in an opening round.

Why does a man in contention at
virtually every other tournament struggle out of the gate on the biggest
weeks of all It’s known in the trade as getting in your own way, and
Donald might well be its prime victim at present.

The first and last rounds are the
ones where players get most uptight. There’s an obvious need to post a
good number for openers, so you're not playing catch-up.

Amateur dramatics: Hossler briefly led and remains in contention heading into the third round

Amateur dramatics: Hossler briefly led and remains in contention heading into the third round

Amateur dramatics: Hossler briefly led and remains in contention heading into the third round

Donald last found himself in that
position at the 2006 USPGA at Medinah, where he opened with a 68. The
value of a good start was emphasised when he found himself paired with
Tiger in the last group on the final day.

Since then, he’s barely been in
contention to win a major. Sure, he’s posted a couple of top five
finishes but through making up ground as the tournament progressed,
without really being in the thick of it at the death.

It remains a mystery why a man can be
a rock at the Ryder Cup, play like a born winner at the European Tour’s
flagship event three weeks ago and clearly be too uptight here. At 34,
he needs to find a solution quickly.

At Wentworth recently Donald talked
candidly about the subject. 'I want to win one so badly that sometimes
gets in the way and it is all about learning to just relax and deal with
that,' he said.

Clearly, there's a still some learning and relaxing to do.

One of the best stories of the day
was provided by 17 year old American amateur sensation Beau Hossler.
With seven holes of his round to play he actually led his national Open
by a stroke. At that point in the whole wide world of Twitter, he was
one of the two biggest trending subjects.

Then he woke up. A succession of
bogeys and a double bogey followed before he righted the ship with a
glorious chip-in at his 17th hole to finish on two over par.

Beaudelicious, as the Americans might say.

Up late: The 14-year-old Andy Zhang enjoyed his first taste of major tournament golf

Up late: The 14-year-old Andy Zhang enjoyed his first taste of major tournament golf

MASTERS 2012: Hole-by-hole guide to Augusta National

MASTERS 2012: Sportsmail's hole-by-hole guide to Augusta National

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UPDATED:

07:51 GMT, 2 April 2012

Augusta National is the home of The Masters. Here, Sportsmail gives you the rundown on each hole ahead of the 76th playing of golf's most famous tournament.

This guide contains information on how the course has played in Masters history (key to ranking 1=hardest, 18=easiest) and how some of the greats have tackled these famous holes in years gone by.

Home to The Masters: Augusta National

AUGUSTA NATIONAL

1st (Tea Olive) 445 yards, par four

Deep right bunker and trees both sides, while long and left of the
undulating green both spell big trouble.

Reigning champion Charl
Schwartzel chipped in from the right on the final day last year.

2011
average: 4.24 (rank 2)

2nd (Pink Dogwood) 575 yards, par five

Driving into the trees on the left cost Padraig Harrington a nine in
2009. Reachable in two and Nick Faldo once holed a 100-foot eagle putt,
but bunkers short of the green see a lot of action.

2011 average: 4.67
(rank 16).

3rd (Flowering Peach) 350 yards, par
four

Shortest par four on the course and a real teaser. The pear-shaped
green with steep slope in front allows for some wicked pin placings.

Schwartzel pitched in for eagle here.

2011 average: 3.89 (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. Jeff Sluman's ace in 1992 remains
the only hole-in-one here in Masters history.

2011 average: 3.22 (rank
4)

5th (Magnolia) 455 yards, par four

Jack Nicklaus twice holed his second shot in 1995 and Colin Montgomerie
did it in 2000, but it's another devilishly difficult green. To clear
the fairway bunkers requires a 315-yard carry.

2011 average: 4.16 (rank
8)

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.

2011 average: 3.09
(rank 10)

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.

2011 average:
4.16 (rank 7)

8th (Yellow Jasmine) 570 yards, par
five

The bunker on the right, about 300 yards out, pushes players left
and from there it's harder to find the green in two up the steep hill.
Bruce Devlin made an albatross two in 1967.

2011 average: 4.75 (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 go down for 50-60 yards.

2011 average:
4.03 (average 12)

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 last year with a seven.

2011 average: 4.17
(rank 6)

11th (White Dogwood) 505 yards, par four

The start of Amen
Corner. Toughest hole last year, 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.

2011 average: 4.33 (rank 1)

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's seen
everything from a one to Tom Weiskopf's 13 in 1980. McIlroy four-putted
it last year.

2011 average: 3.23 (rank 3)

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. Rae's Creek runs down the left and then in front of the green.

2011 average: 4.58 (rank 18)

14th (Chinese Fir) 440 yards, par four

No
bunkers, 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.

2011 average:
3.94 (rank 13)

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.

2011 average: 4.59 (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 13
players to record holes-in-one.

2011 average: 3.08 (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.

2011 average: 4.17 (rank 5)

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.

2011
average: 4.13 (rank 9)

Golden Bell: Rory McIlroy and Jason Day walk to the 12th green during the third round of the 2011 Masters

Golden Bell: Rory McIlroy and Jason Day walk to the 12th green during the third round of the 2011 Masters

Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer in world"s biggest bunker

Donald and Kaymer hit bunker bother as pair tackle world's biggest sand trap in Abu Dhabi desert

Luke Donald sits proudly at the summit of the world rankings and topped the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic in 2011 but the Englishman met his match ahead of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Fortunately for Donald the bunkers at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club are unlikely to offer as stiff a challenge as the massive sand dune in the Liwa Desert – the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass.

Donald and German star Martin Kaymer – aiming for his fourth victory in the event and third in a row – tackled the huge 'bunker' on the eve of the tournament.

We're over here: Luke Donald (left) and Martin Kaymer in the Liwa Desert ahead of the Abu Dhabi Championship

We're over here: Luke Donald (left) and Martin Kaymer in the Liwa Desert ahead of the Abu Dhabi Championship

Donald said: 'Well that was no ordinary sand-trap. When you spend the vast majority of your time on the course, it’s easy to forget that Abu Dhabi is surrounded by such an enchanting desert landscape. Truly, I was awestruck at the gigantic enormity of it all.'

Kaymer goes into the tournament as favourite with most bookies but the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Donald and Lee Westwood are just behind him in the betting.

And McIlroy feels ready to make a better start to 2012 than his girlfriend.

At the Australian Open tennis, Caroline Wozniacki's quarter-final defeat to Kim Clijsters has cost her the world No 1 spot.

Well out: Donald manages to get plenty of height on his shot as Kaymer (below) has a blast

Well out: Donald manages to get plenty of height on his shot as Kaymer (below) has a blast

Martin Kaymer

McIlroy kicks off his season paired with Woods and Donald on the opening two days.

The 22-year-old US Open champion has finished 11th, fifth, third and second in the event the past four years and would love to see that improvement continue.

'It's a golf course that I feel suits me,' he said. 'Maybe doesn't suit me as well as it does Martin Kaymer, but I'm getting there.'

Kaymer is out later in the first round with Westwood and Sergio Garcia.

'It's a great way to start the year and I'm excited to get the new season up and running,' added McIlroy, who practised with Woods for nine holes on Tuesday.

'It was good. He seems like he's happy with everything – I know he's definitely happy that he feels like he's back to 100 per cent fitness, which is great for him.

Dream team: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy had a round together on Tuesday

Dream team: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy had a round together on Tuesday

'He hit a lot of good shots out there, so I think he's worked hard in the off-season and looks like his game is in pretty good shape.

'It's definitely not a quiet way to start the year. You're playing with two of the best golfers in the world in the first two days and you're up against one of the strongest fields probably that will be assembled this year.

'You want to try and get off to a good start, so you want to try and play well, but obviously the majors have that little bit extra.'

McIlroy's last appearance in the Middle East was for last month's Dubai World Championship, where he was struggling with suspected Dengue fever.

'I definitely wasn't feeling my best the last couple of weeks of the season. I actually stayed out in Dubai for 10 days afterwards – I was advised not to travel anywhere for at least a week.

Bring it on: Lee Westwood is looking forward to getting his 2012 campaign up and running in Abu Dhabi

Bring it on: Lee Westwood is looking forward to getting his 2012 campaign up and running in Abu Dhabi

'I got home on December 22, spent three or four days at home, then flew to Thailand to spend New Year with my family and Caroline's family as well.'

Westwood will be delighted to start 2012 as he ended 2011, winning in South Africa and Thailand either side of the Dubai event.

'The most pleasing thing was about four weeks prior to that I started working with Phil Kenyon, my new putting coach,' said the world No 2.

'To shoot 62 around Sun City and then 60 and 64 around the course in Thailand you need to start making a few 15-footers, which I've been missing for the previous 17 years.

'Once they start going in all of a sudden you turn what would be a good round of 65 into a 60 or 62.'

Westwood's main aim for the season, of course, is to try to end his wait for a major.

'I think it's very difficult to win a major without making a few (putts) that are surprising or bonuses, so if I can start rolling in a few 25- to 30-footers that's obviously going to make a massive difference.

'The difference with Phil is that my practice is a lot more structured and based around drills to make sure that I do the same thing over and over again.

'And other than saying that I'm not answering any more questions on putting.

'It helps your whole game. It gives you confidence – if you start making putts that you have not been making then it takes the pressure off your long game.'