Tag Archives: leaderboard

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.

Rory McIlroy solid start in Texas Open 2013

He's not out of the woods yet! McIlroy fails to hit top form but posts solid start in Texas in his final preparation ahead of The Masters

, including a
second major at the US PGA Championship.

Lost ball: Rory McIlroy, looking in the woods for a wayward shot, has had just one top-10 finish in 2013

Lost ball: Rory McIlroy, looking in the woods for a wayward shot, has had just one top-10 finish in 2013

Back in form McIlroy hits his second shot on the 14th in the first round of the Valero Texas Open today

Back in form McIlroy hits his second shot on the 14th in the first round of the Valero Texas Open today

But with caddie JP Fitzgerald advising him that he needed more competitive rounds under his belt, McIlroy travelled to San Antonio and carded an opening level-par 72 to lie five shots behind Matt Bettencourt, who carded a 67 to overtake long-time clubhouse leaders Padraig Harrington and Billy Horschel.

Starting from the 10th on the difficult Oaks Course – the fourth most difficult on the PGA Tour last year – McIlroy opened with four pars before picking up a birdie on the par-five 14th and another on the short par-four 17th.

However, a bogey on the 18th after finding the water was the first of three in succession which dropped him back to one over par, not what the world No 2 was looking for after speaking of the need to cut out 'silly mistakes' in his rounds.

The 23-year-old stopped the rot with pars at the third and fourth and then birdied the next two holes after pitching to five feet each time, but carded his fourth bogey of the day on the ninth.

Comeback: McIlroy, chipping onto the 18th green, took part in the Texas Open in a bid to reverse his poor form

Comeback: McIlroy, chipping onto the 18th green, took part in the Texas Open in a bid to reverse his poor form

THE FULL LEADERBOARD

The PGA Tour is back in San Antonio this week for the Texas Open, where Rory McIlroy will be hoping to fine-tune his game ahead of the Masters.

Ben Curtis took the title last year and you can keep track of all the latest scores right here.

Three-time major winner Harrington had
also bogeyed his final hole, the 18th; the only blemish on his card
caused by three putts from 35ft.

The 41-year-old won the Open Championship in 2007, successfully defended
it the following year and then won the US PGA Championship a few weeks
later, but has not tasted victory on one of the major tours since – his
last win came on the Asian Tour in 2010.

Harrington admitted he had enjoyed his fair share of good luck in cold
and blustery conditions, with his only bogey caused by three-putting the
18th.

'It was cold and that really does affect the ball,' the Dubliner told
reporters. 'I didn't have a great ball-striking round but my misses were
either in the right places or I got slightly fortunate and then got up
and down.

'I'm not walking away from this round thinking “wow, I hit a number of
pure golf shots”, or anything like that. It was more mental fortitude
than ball striking.

Right alongside: McIlroy's playing partner, 19-year-old Jordan Spieth, went round in one under par

Right alongside: McIlroy's playing partner, 19-year-old Jordan Spieth, went round in one under par

'This morning, early on, it was a battle of survival. Last week back in
Ireland it was snowing and I didn't feel this cold. There was a feeling
of “let's just hang in there and stay in the tournament”. Sometimes that
lets you play a little bit more within yourself.'

Anyone winning this week will have to defy the odds if they want to also claim a Green Jacket at the Masters, however.

Only two players have won the week prior to the Masters and then gone on
to win in Augusta; Sandy Lyle in the Greater Greensboro Open in 1988
and Phil Mickelson in the BellSouth Classic in 2006.

Getting to grips: McIlroy, teeing off at the second hole today, needed to get used to his new Nike equipment

Getting to grips: McIlroy, teeing off at the second hole today, needed to get used to his new Nike equipment

Tshwane Open – European Tour: Dawie van der Walt wins by two shots

Against the odds: World No 436 Van der Walt wins Tshwane Open on home soil

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

15:51 GMT, 3 March 2013

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UPDATED:

16:11 GMT, 3 March 2013

EUROPEAN TOUR LEADERBOARD

Click HERE for the Tshwane Open leaderboard

Dawie van der Walt claimed the biggest victory of his career to win the Tshwane Open by two shots ahead of fellow South African Darren Fichardt.

Another South African Louis De Jager was third a further shot back as Van der Walt picked up his first tour win of the season.

Van der Walt finished with a five under par 67 as he picked up his first win on the European Tour.

Champion: Dawie van der Walt lifts the trophy after winning the Tshwane Open by two shots

Champion: Dawie van der Walt lifts the trophy after winning the Tshwane Open by two shots

Champions: Dawie Van Der Walt lifts the trophy after winning the Tshwane Open by two shots

He was part of a four-way tie for the
lead at the start of the day with Fichardt, compatriot Charl Coetzee and
Chile's Mark Tullo

Coetzee and Fichardt went clear after
they birdied the second and third holes, but Van der Walt drew level
after he eagled the par four fourth.

Fichardt retook the lead after another
under par score on the fifth, but by the turn Van der Walt was in front
after consecutive birdies.

Dawie Van Der Walt

Dawie Van Der Walt

Winner: Van der Walt embraces second-placed Darren Fichardt (left) before celebrating with his caddie (right)

Tullo and Coetzee were out of the
picture after fading on the last nine, while a bogey on the 10th for Van
der Walt was negated by birdies at the 12th and 15th put him two clear.

It proved vital as he closed with three consecutive pars to seal the title.

'You can only imagine what it's like
to win such a big one,' Van der Walt told europeantour.com. 'I'm just
really happy that I played well and won, because you can play well and
not win.'

In the mix: England's David Howell finished tied for 10th on -14

In the mix: England's David Howell finished tied for 10th on -14

He added: 'You start doubting yourself and at
30-years-old you start to wonder if you're good enough and this shows me
that I am. I would have liked to win before 30, but I'll definitely
take this.

'Golf is a game where you don't get a lot of chances to win, and to do it is fantastic.

'I don't know what I'll do yet. The
purses are a lot bigger in The European Tour, so I'll have to rethink
some things. You can make your own schedule, which is important.

'I hit the ball really good and I
never really had to chip, which is not my strength. If you hit a lot of
greens and don't three-putt then you're going to do well.'

Luke Donald two shots behind leaders at the halfway stage of the Northern Trust Open

Donald remains in the hunt in California after rising to fifth at halfway stage of Northern Trust Open

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

07:22 GMT, 16 February 2013

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UPDATED:

11:27 GMT, 16 February 2013

World No 3 Luke Donald put himself firmly in contention as Bae Sang-moon and Fredrik Jacobson shared the lead at the halfway stage of the Northern Trust Open in California.

England's Donald, playing his first tournament since November, produced a five-under 66 to sit seven under overall, two off the leading pair of South Korea's Bae and Sweden's Jacobson on nine under.

Donald, 18th overnight, carded seven birdies against two bogeys to end day two fifth – and he could have been in a share of third alongside Americans John Merrick and John Rollins but for a dropped shot on his penultimate hole, the par-four eighth.

Climbing the leaderboard: Luke Donald hit five under par to rise to seventh

Climbing the leaderboard: Luke Donald hit five under par to rise to seventh

NORTHERN TRUST OPEN

Click here for the latest leaderboard

Donald told www.pgatour.com: 'Happy with my score, obviously coming off a pretty good break, you never know with how you're going to deal with being back in competition again but certainly a big improvement today, ball striking wise and my short game has been very sharp.

'I've been excited about that. It's been a big key to my score so far, and, yeah, excited to be in the mix again.'

On the top of the pile though were Jacobson and Bae, both of whom were six under for the day to climb from sixth to joint first.

Surveying the scene: Donald and his caddie John McLaren walks up to the sixth green

Surveying the scene: Donald and his caddie John McLaren walks up to the sixth green

For Jacobson it was a continuation of the form which saw him finish seventh at Pebble Beach last week.

'Obviously I take a lot out of that, just being in contention again,' Jacobson said. 'I've had some good practice sessions before, but to bring it on the course and play under pressure, that's what it's about.'

There was no room to relax, though, with a number of notable names on the heels of the top five.

Leading the way: Fredrik Jacobson shares the lead at the halfway stage

Leading the way: Fredrik Jacobson shares the lead at the halfway stage

World No 8 Lee Westwood headed up a group of three players on six under, which also included major winners Charl Schwartzel and Webb Simpson.

Overnight leader Matt Kuchar was among the players on five under having carded a two-over 73, as was defending champion Bill Haas, while Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson were all four under.

Out in front: Sang-Moon Bae is going well in California

Out in front: Sang-Moon Bae is going well in California

Among the remainder of the British contingent, Brian Davis (three under), Greg Owen (two under), David Lynn (one under) and Ross Fisher (one over) all made the cut, but Martin Laird and Graeme McDowell missed out.

Other big names to miss the cut included Dustin Johnson, Padraig Harrington, Mike Weir, Zach Johnson, Geoff Ogilvy, Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover.

Justin Rose in contention at Australian Open

Rose in contention in Sydney but blows chance to share lead with Senden

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UPDATED:

11:28 GMT, 8 December 2012

Justin Rose will head into the final round of the Australian Open two strokes off the lead after a late stumble cost him a share of the overnight lead at The Lakes in Sydney.

Rose had held a two-shot advantage in the afternoon but spoiled his round with consecutive bogeys on the final two holes to finish the day on five under overall.

Despite that the world No 4 remains firmly in contention to end 2012 on a high with his third-round two-under-par 70 leaving him in second place behind local hopeful John Senden.

In with a chance: Justin Rose is two shots behind the leader at the Australian Open

In with a chance: Justin Rose is two shots behind the leader at the Australian Open

It is the second consecutive year Senden has held the 54-hole lead at the tournament and Rose is expecting a tough battle when they are paired tomorrow with high winds expected.

'I hear the wind's going to switch and blow just as hard,' Rose said.

'Whoever literally stands up could win the golf tournament, it could be last man standing.

'I think it's going to be a battle – but I'm excited, as long as it doesn't get out of control and blow too hard, it's going to be a fun day to try and hit some shots.

'It's going to be my last round of the year and I'd like to go out on a high note.'

Senden, who had led after the opening round, had to withstand a shaky start today as he bogeyed his opening two holes to fall behind a cluster of seven players who briefly held the lead.

Leading the way: John Senden is top of the leaderboard going into the final round

Leading the way: John Senden is top of the leaderboard going into the final round

But the 2006 Stonehaven Cup winner made his charge on the back nine, producing an eagle on the par-five 11th and adding consecutive birdies from the 13th to card a two-under 70 and sit at seven under overall.

'It was a day of just trying to do my best to stay up there and it's nice to be leading the golf tournament,' Senden said.

'I thought the last two holes were pretty much close to the edge – it was so windy out there it was hard to hit the ball straight.'

Matt Jones (69), Peter Senior (69) and Kieran Pratt (70) are level in third place a shot behind Rose.

Pratt stole the outright lead with spectacular eagle at the 11th but his stint at the top of the leaderboard ended on the very next hole with a bogey.

Champion in 2001, Stuart Appleby and his American playing partner Kyle Stanley both posted two-under 70s to be three under for the tournament alongside Cameron Percy (72).

Home favourite: Adam Scott ponders his options during the third round

Home favourite: Adam Scott ponders his options during the third round

Pre-tournament favourite Adam Scott is a shot further back among a group of nine players in a share of ninth after posting his second straight 71.

Scott burst out of the blocks with consecutive birdies but had given both shots back by the fifth hole to make the turn in level par.

He mixed two bogeys and three birdies on the way home and will need something special on Sunday to claim his second Australian Open title, trailing by five shots.

Scott Gardiner fired the low round of the day, a four-under 68, to sit a further shot back alongside amateur Cameron Smith (69) and defending champion Greg Chalmers (69).

Geoff Ogilvy is also at one under after carding an adventurous 70 that included an eagle and a double bogey.

Struggling: Tom Watson had a round to forget in Sydney

Struggling: Tom Watson had a round to forget in Sydney

Meanwhile, veteran Tom Watson made a move in the wrong direction with a six-over 78.

'It was ugly out there today for me, very ugly,' Watson said immediately after his round.

'I struggled on the practice area warming up, I didn't have any feel for the club and didn't put the clubface on the ball.

'I'm not blaming anything but I woke up at 3 o'clock this morning and couldn't go back to sleep and I'm jetlagged pretty good coming back from South Africa.'

Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald set for Sunday showdown in Dubai

Duel in Dubai! McIlroy and Donald set for Sunday showdown on European Tour season finale

|

UPDATED:

15:39 GMT, 24 November 2012

It is hard to think of a more fitting climax to this fabulous golfing year than the two best players in the world going head-to-head in the final group of the final event, the DP World Tour Championship.

For No 1 Rory McIlroy, it is the chance to put yet more gloss on a season that has seen him win the money list titles on both sides of the Atlantic and claim his second major, the USPGA Championship, in record-breaking fashion.

For Luke Donald, it is an opportunity to close the gap at the top and claim an impressive fourth title for the second consecutive season.

Driving seat: But Rory McIlroy is not alone at the top of the leaderboard

Driving seat: But Rory McIlroy is not alone at the top of the leaderboard

DP World Tour Championship

Click here for the full leaderboard

The odds favour McIlroy. Not only is
he the better player but, with its extravagant length and considerable
carries, this course offers a considerable advantage to anyone who can
hit it miles off the tee – and McIlroy can outdrive Donald by up to 75
yards.

But don’t rule out the stylish Englishman, who completed one incredible feat on Saturday and is closing in on another.

Donald, if you can believe this, has
now played 100 holes on this Earth Course measuring over 7,500 yards
without a single bogey.

The fabulous ton is made up of 68 pars and 32 birdies.

He finished last year’s tournament
with three 66s and has followed it here with rounds of 65, 69 and 66 to
tie McIlroy on 17 under par.

f Donald goes bogey-free on Sunday,
he will also become the first man to complete a European Tour event
without a blemish since the Swede Jesper Parnevik won the Scandinavian
Masters in 1995.

Just to emphasise its rarity, no man in America has played 72 holes without a bogey since Lee Trevino won in Tampa in 1974.

The future's bright: Luke Donald has been in superb form at the DP World Tour Championship

The future's bright: Luke Donald has been in superb form at the DP World Tour Championship

‘I guess that’s my game, to keep the ball in play and then, when I make mistakes, I save myself with a pretty good short game,’ said Donald.

‘It is still a statistic of which I am very proud. I think my previous longest run would probably be about 40 or 50 holes, so that puts it in perspective.’

On Saturday, as ever, the two men shot 66 in vastly different ways. Donald, dressed in a luminous orange shirt – ‘if you’re going to dress like an Easyjet pilot you better play well,’ he joked – made most of his gains on the front nine and closed with a trademark pitch and 4ft putt at the 18th.

There was a moment of good humour as he called in his caddie John McLean, who was standing about 20 yards away, and asked for help in reading the short putt.

As the excited Mclean pulled alongside him, Donald broke into a broad smile and said: ’No, you’re ok, I’ve got this.’

McIlroy had a slow start for the second day running, perhaps because he was still feeling a little under the weather.

‘I think the adrenaline got me through,’ he said.

Glamour game: Caroline Wozniacki was there to support McIlroy in Dubai

Glamour game: Caroline Wozniacki was there to support McIlroy in Dubai

There was certainly some adrenaline on show at the 12th. Here he hit such a long drive he had just a sand wedge for his approach. Donald, by contrast, was hitting a six iron.

But, as McIlroy acknowledged: ’It is one thing having such an advantage but you have to make use of it otherwise it can work the other way, and you start getting frustrated.’

As for Sunday’s duel, neither man tried to hide their excitement nor lessen its importance.

Said McIlroy: ‘I know I am going into next year as world No 1 and that’s great, but I badly want to win here and to do it playing with the world No 2 would certainly put an exclamation point on the season.’

onald believes he has the chance to gain psychological brownie points.

‘Anytime you go head-to-head against the best player in the world and win, you’re going to feel good about your game,’ said the 34 year old.

‘Up to last week it had been a solid season but if I follow up my win in Japan with a win here against Rory I’d have to rank it as a very good year.’

All to play for on Sunday, then. Oh, and good luck to South African’s gifted major winners, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen.

They start three behind and are desperate to prove this is not how it appears – a two-man show.

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.

Luke Donald aiming for 499 puts out of 500

In short, Donald is supreme: Golfer closes in on almost-perfect putting milestone

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 22 November 2012

Last year, Luke Donald went 449 holes without a three-putt. This year’s amazing illustration of the Englishman’s prowess on the greens isn’t bad either.

Sometime on Friday, if all goes to plan at the Dubai World Championship, Donald will complete 500 putts inside 3ft, with 499 of them successfully holed.

Think about that for a second. All those putts of smelly length on devilishly fast greens with the flags usually located in mischievous spots. And he has missed just one

How about that Luke Donald is close to an astonishing 499 out of 500 holes putted within 3ft

How about that Luke Donald is close to an astonishing 499 out of 500 holes putted within 3ft

DP WORLD TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP

Click here for the full leaderboard

‘One of the things that both those stats
show is how hard I’ve worked on my lag (long) putting, and making sure I
don’t leave myself too many difficult second putts,’ he said.

It is not only from short distance
that Donald is so good, of course. Give him greens as pure as these at
the Earth course and he will invariably hole more than his fair share
from any distance.

Out in front: Donald is the leader after round one of the DP World Tour Championship

Out in front: Donald is the leader after round one of the DP World Tour Championship

That was certainly the case on Thursday
as he followed up the three 66s with which he finished last year’s
event with a 65 to take the first-round lead.

This time last year Donald was fending
off Rory McIlroy to clinch the Race to Dubai.

That title has already
been sewn up this time by the latter, of course, but given the form of
the world’s top two there must be a chance of a thrilling duel on Sunday
for the other trophy on offer here, after McIlroy opened with a fairly
effortless 66 to be tied second with Scot Marc Warren and Spaniard
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

Strolling: Donald (right) Francesco Molinari of Italy walk to the 17th green

Strolling: Donald (right) Francesco Molinari of Italy walk to the 17th green

As for the rest of the Ryder Cuppers,
Lee Westwood shot a useful 67 with Justin Rose and Nicolas Colsaerts a
further stroke behind. Ian Poulter, however, could only manage a 72.
His reponse: ‘Completely disgusted with myself, I’ve finally hit the
wall and jetlag has hit me for six.’

Finally, as for the answer to the day’s big question… Donald’s miss came on the 12th hole during The Open at Lytham.

Rory McIlroy and Peter Hanson set for BMW Masters duel in final round

McIlroy and Hanson set for Sunday duel at Shanghai noon over BMW Masters title

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UPDATED:

09:11 GMT, 27 October 2012

Peter Hanson has world No 1 Rory McIlroy breathing down his neck with a day to go at the BMW Masters in Shanghai.

A third-round 70 took Hanson to 16 under par, but his Ryder Cup team-mate shot 69 and is now only one behind as he chases a fifth victory of the season.

South African George Coetzee's 66 brought him only three behind and then comes a further two-stroke gap to a chasing pack which includes Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Irish pair Michael Hoey and Shane Lowry.

Frustration: McIlroy throws his club on the seventh green

Frustration: McIlroy throws his putter on the seventh green

Frustration: McIlroy throws his putter on the seventh green but still trails leader Hanson by just one shot

BMW Masters Leaderboard

Click here to see all the latest scores

Hanson was caught first by McIlroy
and then by Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts – another of the European stars in
Chicago last month – when he followed a birdie on the second with three
bogeys by the eighth.

But the Swede regained control with
birdies at the ninth, 11th, 13th and 15th. McIlroy matched two of those,
made a 14-foot putt to narrow the gap to one again on the 16th and then
lipped out from nine feet at the next.

'The wind was blowing from the
opposite direction, which made some of the holes trickier,' Hanson said.
'It was not as easy to go low and my driving was not great, but it was
still a good round.

Daunting: McIlroy hits his tee shot over water on the seventh hole of his third round on Saturday

Daunting: McIlroy hits his tee shot over water on the seventh hole of his third round on Saturday

Centre of attention: Northern Ireland's world No 1 hits an approach at the Lake Malaren Golf Club

Centre of attention: Northern Ireland's world No 1 hits an approach at the Lake Malaren Golf Club

'I need to play better, but if I can get back to how I was the first two days I think I have a good chance.

'To win would mean a lot. This is the start of a big stretch and it's nice to find a bit of form.'

He was the only member of Jose Maria
Olazabal's side at Medinah not to contribute anything to the points
total and was angry not to be given more than two games in the week.

McIlroy, winner of the Shanghai
Masters on the course a year ago, dropped his only shot at the long
third and had to wait until the 11th for his second birdie of the day,
but he remains favourite for a first prize of over 720,000.

Out in front: Sweden's Peter Hanson leads the way after three rounds of the BMW Masters

Out in front: Sweden's Peter Hanson leads the way after three rounds of the BMW Masters

Colsaerts was only one behind when he
came to the 420-yard 16th, but driving into thick rough and then going
over the green with his third led to a double bogey and he followed it
immediately with another, pushing his tee shot to the 17th into the
lake.

That enabled Donald, Rose, Hoey,
Lowry, last year's Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Swede Alex
Noren all to move into a tie for fourth on 11 under, five back.

The highlight of Rose's round was
driving the green at the dogleg 380-yard 11th and sinking a 30-foot putt
for eagle. He came home in 32 for a 69, but is in danger of falling
further behind McIlroy in the race to be Europe's money list winner this
season.

Plenty to smile about: South Africa's George Coetzee is in contention after a Saturday 66 left him three shots back

Plenty to smile about: South Africa's George Coetzee is in contention after a Saturday 66 left him three shots back

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman has
already sealed the PGA Tour title in America and can take a huge step
tomorrow towards emulating the double achieved by Donald last year.

Robert Karlsson played with Hanson and
McIlroy, but fell 10 behind with a 75, while Welshman Jamie Donaldson,
who led by four after his opening course-record 62, is now eight back
after disappointing rounds of 74 and 72.

Rory McIlroy shines in BMW Masters second round in Shanghai

McIlroy charges through the field to put heat on Hanson as Ryder stars shine in Shanghai

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UPDATED:

10:57 GMT, 26 October 2012

Peter Hanson, the one European to draw a blank at the Ryder Cup, now has 10 of his team-mates chasing him at the top of the BMW Masters leaderboard in Shanghai, including a certain Rory McIlroy.

While Welshman Jamie Donaldson crashed from four ahead to six behind with a second round 74 – 12 worse than his opening course record – Hanson moved onto 14 under par with a nine-birdie 64.

The 35-year-old Swede, far from happy about being given only two games by captain Jose Maria Olazabal in Chicago a month ago, goes into the weekend two ahead of title favourite McIlroy.

Sign of the times: Rory McIlroy waits for a marshal to rule on his ball's lie on the seventh hole

Sign of the times: World No 1 Rory McIlroy waits for a ruling on his ball's lie on the seventh hole, before the obstruction is moved (below) so he can continue with his fine round, which ended with a seven under par 65

Good news: The sign is removed for McIlroy to play his shot
BMW Masters Leaderboard

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'I'm really looking forward to it,' Hanson said. 'Playing with the world No 1 is always fun – it used to be Tiger, now it's Rory.

'I like to test myself and there's no better way than head-to-head. It's a good way to test your mental abilities and if you can play well it makes it so much nicer.

'I'll be playing 30-40 yards behind him and he's going to be tough to beat, but hopefully I can give him a match.'

McIlroy added a bogey-free 65 to his first day 67 and that opened up a three-stroke gap to third-placed Robert Karlsson, who burst out of the pack with a 64.

Looking good: McIlroy watches his tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the BMW Masters

Looking good: McIlroy watches his tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the BMW Masters

'I played very well and gave myself a lot of opportunities,' said McIlroy, seeking a fifth victory of the season on the same Lake Malaren course where he won the Shanghai Masters a year ago.

'I saw Peter was going well and wanted to stay in touch. When I needed to get up and down I was able to make those and then got on a nice little run (he had a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th).'

Donaldson's golden touch of 24 hours earlier deserted him with five bogeys in nine holes either side of the turn.

'There were too many sloppy shots,' he commented. 'It was a tough day and slightly frustrating, but that's golf sometimes.

Leading the way: Peter Hanson hits an approach during his brilliant second round of 64

Leading the way: Peter Hanson hits an approach during his brilliant second round of 64

'I started pretty good and didn't capitalise, then my iron play was poor, but you never know what you are going to get with me – it's like a box of chocolates.

'Hopefully I'll sort it out and hit it close again – if I shoot a good score I'll be right in the mix of things.'

On eight under he is in a share of fourth place with another Swede, Alex Noren, England's Justin Rose and also Irishman Shane Lowry, winner of the Portugal Masters only two weeks ago.

Lowry dropped plans to go the PGA Tour qualifying school afterwards and admitted after his 64: 'I did a bit too much celebrating – it was a bit mental – but I came here early and did a good bit of practice'.

Fashion victims: John Daly (second left) is watched by a group of local fans at Lake Malaren

Fashion victims: John Daly (second left) is watched by a group of local fans at Lake Malaren

Karlsson might have to enter the Tour school in America to keep his card there. With one event to come next month he is down at 161st on the money list and only the top 125 retain membership.

At least he is back playing well after the horrors of the summer. He was having such problems with his swing that he even pulled out of The Open just before it started.

Rose is second to McIlroy on this season's European Order of Merit – the Northern Irishman has already secured that title in the States – and a second successive 68 kept alive his hopes of reeling him in.

In the hunt: Justin Rose is clinging on to McIlroy's coat-tails in the European Tour's Race to Dubai

In the hunt: Justin Rose is clinging on to McIlroy's coat-tails in the European Tour's Race to Dubai

Luke Donald, who did the trans-Atlantic double last year, is in joint eighth place on seven under, Scot Paul Lawrie one further back and both Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter five under.

Disappointed to be alongside them is Olazabal. Freed of the pressures of the captaincy, he began with a 67 to be joint fourth, but followed it up with only a 72 on another day of low scoring.