Tag Archives: miguel

Jose Maria Olazabal in Ryder Cup captain"s buggy at Spanish Open

Olazabal has best drive at Spanish Open with signed Ryder Cup captain's buggy

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

15:01 GMT, 17 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:55 GMT, 17 April 2013

Jose Maria Olazabal has a cool set of wheels at the Spanish Open with the former Ryder Cup captain cruising around in his skipper's buggy.

Olazabal masterminded Europe's win over the United States at Medinah last year and all 12 of his players signed the front of his cart.

Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari are the only two of Olazabal's troops teeing it up in Valencia this week – the former the bookies' favourite and the latter the defending champion.

Home hopes: Jose Maria Olazabal (right) and Sergio Garcia at Parador de El Saler for the Spanish Open

Home hopes: Jose Maria Olazabal (right) and Sergio Garcia at Parador de El Saler for the Spanish Open

Garcia, who finished in a tie for eighth at The Masters on Sunday, was all smiles as he hitched a lift with Olazabal during Wednesday's practice at Parador de El Saler.

Meanwhile, Miguel Angel Jimenez will put his recovery from a broken leg to the test on his return to action in Valencia.

Jimenez, who surpassed Des Smyth as the oldest winner on the European Tour when he lifted the Hong Kong Open aged 48 years and 318 days last November, suffered the injury a month later while skiing near his home in Malaga.

'My leg is improving daily,' the 49-year-old told reporters. 'I work out every morning in the gym and I'm actually a little ahead of schedule on my rehab. I am not one hundred per cent fit, but I want to test myself and see how I feel.

Good to be back: Miguel Angel Jimenez is making his return to action after recovering from a broken leg

Good to be back: Miguel Angel Jimenez is making his return to action after recovering from a broken leg

'I can't wait to be back on Tour with my friends and I'd hate to miss the chance of playing at El Saler.'

Jimenez made his tour debut in the Spanish Open 30 years ago and will be making his 599th career appearance this week.

'Javier Arana's wonderful design blends beautifully with its natural surroundings, both in the pine trees area and in the dunes area. For me it's the best course in Spain and I love all the holes,' Jimenez added.

'It's a beautiful layout with a strong finish; the 17th is a good par three towards the dunes and the 18th is spectacular. Once you play at El Saler you get hooked. It's such an enjoyable course that you keep wanting to come back.

'I have many fond memories of El Saler. We used to play many tournaments in the 80's and I won an Under-25 event in 1986. We also played two or three Campeonatos de Levante, and later on a few European Tour events. The last I played was the 2003 Seve Trophy.'

Different ball game: Garcia and his dad Victor watch former tennis ace Juan Carlos Ferrero during the pro-am

Different ball game: Garcia and his dad Victor watch former tennis ace Juan Carlos Ferrero during the pro-am

Ricky Burns fights Jose Gonzalez May 11 Glasgow

Scotsman Burns to defend world title against unbeaten Gonzalez in Glasgow

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

12:04 GMT, 26 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:19 GMT, 26 March 2013

Ricky Burns will defend his WBO lightweight world title against Jose Gonzalez at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on May 11.

The Scot, who recently defected from Frank Warren to rival promoter Eddie Hearn, has been out of action since beating Kevin Mitchell last September.

Burns, 29, had been due to face IBF champion Miguel Vazquez in London before switching promoters.

On home soil: Ricky Burns will defend his world title in Glasgow in May

On home soil: Ricky Burns will defend his world title in Glasgow in May

Burns had little choice but to face Gonzalez after the WBO threatened to strip him of the title if he looked elsewhere.

The governing body set a deadline of midnight last night and Eddie Hearn and Gonzalez’s promoter Peter Rivera agreed terms and contracts were signed.

'I’m really looking forward to May 11,' said Burns. 'He’s a big puncher with a great KO record, but I’ve been in with big punchers before and that doesn’t worry me in the slightest. It’s great to have the date and name sorted now so I can just focus on getting myself in great shape for a big night in Glasgow.'

Gonzalez, 29, has won all 22 of his professional contests, with 17 coming inside the distance.

'I'm very glad for this opportunity and it’s a dream come true fighting for the world tittle as the mandatory challenge,' he said. 'I'm not worried about fighting in Burns’ homeland. I'm preparing greatly for this fight and I'm sure I will bring the world title to my country.'

Hearn added: 'It’s been a tough few days and we’ve had plenty of obstacles to overcome, but I’m delighted to bring Jose Gonzalez to Glasgow for what I feel will be the beginning of a new era for Scottish boxing.

'Gonzalez is ranked No 1 in the world, undefeated and comes with a dangerous reputation. It’s imperative that we deal with our mandatory challenger to pave the way for big unification clashes but I believe Ricky will face his toughest test yet on May 11.

'We need the support of all the Scottish people as we begin a new journey and cannot wait to raise the roof of the stunning new Emirates Arena.'

Ricky Burns versus Miguel Vazquez rescheduled

Burns' title clash with Vazquez rescheduled for April after Mexican eats dodgy seafood

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

01:10 GMT, 4 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:05 GMT, 4 March 2013

Ricky Burns' world title unification fight against Miguel Vazquez has been rescheduled for April 20.

The Scot was due to tackle the IBF lightweight champion at Wembley Arena on March 16 but the Mexican has been suffering from a severe viral infection after contracting food poisoning from seafood.

Nathan Cleverly's mandatory world light-heavyweight title defence against Robin Krasniqi has also been moved to the later date.

Disappointed: Ricky Burns' fight with Miguel Vazquez has been rescheduled for April 20 at Wembley Arena

Disappointed: Ricky Burns' fight with Miguel Vazquez has been rescheduled for April 20 at Wembley Arena

A doctor's report dated February 25, seen by Sportsmail, revealed that Vazquez presented with a temperature of 40C along with sickness and a fast heart rate. He was advised to rest for at least 10 days.

Promoter Frank Warren said: 'It’s very unfortunate that Vazquez has had to withdraw so close to the fight, but it is on medical grounds, which is beyond my control, due to his viral infection, and we have his doctor’s certificate confirming this.

'Therefore I have had to postpone the fight, not canceled as stated in some media reports, to Saturday April 20 at Wembley Arena. Everybody is disappointed by this postponement, but we have worked hard to ensure that Ricky’s unification fight still goes ahead.'

Burns, who holds the WBO belt, had earlier revealed his disappointment at the news.

He tweeted: 'Absolutely gutted this fight ain't happening, another training camp n it's fell through! Not only that, feel sorry for the fans, my friends and family who have now booked tickets, flights and hotels for 2 fights for it to fall through. Sorry every1!'

Switch: George Groves will announce his move to rival promoter Matchroom

Switch: George Groves will announce his move to rival promoter Matchroom

The 29-year-old had been due to fight first Liam Walsh and then Jose Ocampo last December but both pulled out at short notice.

His fight with Vazquez was announced in January but last month the Mexican cast doubt over whether it would go ahead.

'There
is nothing concrete,' he said. 'I am waiting on the response from the
promoters. If they come to an agreement, there will be a fight.'

The announcement follows the shock defection of George Groves to rival promoter Eddie Hearn which is expected to be confirmed on Monday.

The super-middleweight was also due
to fight on the London card but will instead fight a week earlier at the
same venue on Matchroom's 'London's Finest' bill.

Last man standing: Nathan Cleverly's title defence against Robin Krasniqi has also been rescheduled

Last man standing: Nathan Cleverly's title defence against Robin Krasniqi has also been rescheduled

A statement from Warren Promotions
confirmed: 'George Groves has withdrawn from the Wembley Arena show
promoted by Frank Warren on Saturday March 16.

'Groves was due to challenge for the vacant European super-middleweight title against Mohamed Ali Ndiaye that Mr. Warren won the purse bid for on January 11.

'Groves has stated that he is not interested in boxing for the EBU title at this moment and would like to take his choice of fights in another direction.

'Mr Warren would like to wish George all the best with his career and looks forward to working again with him in the near future.'

Cleverly is also reported to have been suffering from a virus which left him unable to train for five days while Dereck Chisora remains hopeful of returning to the ring next month but has yet to have his hearing with the British Boxing Board of Control after his license was revoked last year.

Ricky Burns versus Miguel Vazquez cancelled

World champion Burns 'guttted' after unification title fight against Vazquez is called off

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

01:10 GMT, 4 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:07 GMT, 4 March 2013

Ricky Burns' world title unification fight against Miguel Vazquez is off.

The Scot was due to tackle the IBF lightweight champion at Wembley Arena on March 16 but the two parties were reportedly unable to agree terms.

Burns, the WBO belt holder, has not fought since he stopped Kevin Mitchell in Glasgow last September.

Disappointed: Ricky Burns' fight with Miguel Vazquez has been called off

Disappointed: Ricky Burns' fight with Miguel Vazquez has been called off

The 29-year-old was told the news by
promoter Frank Warren at the end of an already difficult week in which
super-middleweight George Groves split from his promotional outfit.

Burns tweeted: 'Absolutely gutted this fight ain't happening, another training camp n it's fell through! Not only that, feel sorry for the fans, my friends and family who have now booked tickets, flights and hotels for 2 fights for it to fall through. Sorry every1!'

His manager, Alex Morrison, told The Scottish Sun: 'While there is talk of it being rescheduled within 30 days, Ricky and I are very unhappy.'

Burns had been due to fight first Liam Walsh and then Jose Ocampo last December but both pulled out at short notice.

His fight with Vazquez was announced in January but last month the Mexican cast doubt over whether it would go ahead.

Switch: George Groves will announce his move to rival promoter Matchroom

Switch: George Groves will announce his move to rival promoter Matchroom

'There
is nothing concrete,' he said. 'I am waiting on the response from the
promoters. If they come to an agreement, there will be a fight.'

The news follows the shock defection of George Groves to rival promoter Eddie Hearn which is expected to be confirmed on Monday.

The super-middleweight was also due
to fight on the London card but will instead fight a week earlier at the
same venue on Matchroom's 'London's Finest' bill.

Of the three title fights scheduled for March 16, only Nathan Cleverly's mandatory defence against Robin Krasniqi remains.

A statement from Warren Promotions
confirmed: 'George Groves has withdrawn from the Wembley Arena show
promoted by Frank Warren on Saturday March 16.

Last man standing: Nathan Cleverly faces Robin Krasniqi on March 16

Last man standing: Nathan Cleverly faces Robin Krasniqi on March 16

'Groves was due to challenge for the vacant European super-middleweight title against Mohamed Ali Ndiaye that Mr. Warren won the purse bid for on January 11.

'Groves has stated that he is not interested in boxing for the EBU title at this moment and would like to take his choice of fights in another direction.

'Mr Warren would like to wish George all the best with his career and looks forward to working again with him in the near future.'

Dereck Chisora, the shamed
heavyweight who was stripped of his licence last year after brawling
with David Haye, was due to return on the same night but is yet to have his hearing with the British Boxing Board of Control.

Jose Maria Olazabal lose to Asia team in Royal Trophy in Brunei

Tables turned on Olazabal as Spaniard watches Europe throw away lead and lose Royal Trophy to Asia

|

UPDATED:

13:28 GMT, 16 December 2012

Jose Maria Olazabal might now feel an inkling of Davis Love III’s pain after his Europe side threw away a lead at the Royal Trophy and crashed to defeat against Asia in the Sultanate of Brunei.

If Love, Olazabal’s victim during the Miracle at Medinah, was watching at home in Georgia, one would forgive him a vengeful smirk.

A week under the tropical sun, surrounded by lush rainforest and the South China Sea lapping gently in the distance might sound like a fine way to end the golfing year. But for Olazabal the reality was rather more uncomfortable.

Plagued by an injury that sent shooting pains through his neck and forced his withdrawl from play on Sunday, drenched in sweat from the stifling humidity and beaten by a much-less celebrated Asia team – this was no week in the sun for Ollie.

Comeback kings: Asia Team Captain Naomichi Joe Ozaki of Japan lifts the Royal Trophy after beating Europe

Comeback kings: Asia Team Captain Naomichi Joe Ozaki of Japan lifts the Royal Trophy after beating Europe

Party time: The Asia Team celebrate beating Europe

Party time: The Asia Team celebrate beating Europe

The great Spaniard was hoping to cement his status as a great European captain by following the Ryder Cup with another intercontinental triumph but was forced to withdraw from the final day’s singles after the neck injury he sustained yesterday failed to respond overnight to intensive treatment. The only consolation was that, rather than forfeit the match, competition rules meant the match was halved due to Olazabal’s injury.

That's it: Miguel Angel Jimenez shakes hands with Jeev Milka Singh of India after finishing their round

That's it: Miguel Angel Jimenez shakes hands with Jeev Milka Singh of India after finishing their round

Happy times: YE Yang of South Korea and Japan's Ryo Ishikawa celebrate as the European team look on

Happy times: YE Yang of South Korea and Japan's Ryo Ishikawa celebrate as the European team look on

It might seem more than a little unfair on the Asian team, who would have won before the eventual playoff were he forced to concede, but the same rule applies in the Ryder Cup. Golf remains a gentleman’s game, despite what you might think about the scenes surrounding certain tees at Medinah.

‘I am extremely disappointed,’ admitted Olazabal. ‘Everyone knows how much respect I have for the game of golf, for my opponents, and for this competition. Pulling out of a match is not a decision I would ever take lightly.

Watching it all the way: Jeev Milkha Singh of India putts on the third hole and but sees his effort miss (below)

Watching it all the way: Jeev Milkha Singh of India putts on the third hole and but sees his effort miss (below)

Jeev Milkha Singh

'I am part of a team, with the added responsibility of being the captain, and to risk throwing away a point because of selfish pride would be unthinkable.’

Nicolas Colsaerts had appeared to set Europe on course for a routine victory with a win in the opening singles match against Sang-moon Bae, the Belgian bomber inspired by an eagle on the long 15th thanks to a jaw-dropping 60-foot putt. But Henrik Stenson was Olazabal’s only other winner on the day as Yoshinori Fujimoto, Jeev Milkha Singh and YE Yang took European scalps.

On course for victory: Ryo Ishikawa of Japan watches his tee shot on the fourth hole

On course for victory: Ryo Ishikawa of Japan watches his tee shot on the fourth hole

The Asian fightback forced a four-man, fourball playoff – there is no cop-out of retaining the trophy here in the event of a points tie (bad luck for Olazabal, but what would have transpired had Love been afforded that luxury) And Colsaerts appeared to have landed the knockout blow with a stunning wedge into the 18th green following his umpteenth tracer-bullet drive of the week.

No Euro joy this time: Marcel Siem of Germany watches his tee shot on the third hole

No Euro joy this time: Marcel Siem of Germany watches his tee shot on the third hole

But, ironically, it was ultimately one of Olazabal’s Ryder Cup heroes who let him down at the crunch. Kim sank an eight-footer for birdie, while Colsaerts missed from just five feet to hand victory to Asia, whose captain, Joe Ozaki, danced Gangnam Style in celebration.

It was Olazabal who made famous victory dances, but he will have to return to Spain and console himself, glass of wine in hand, with the memories of those incredible days in Chicago. Although he takes this emerging and promising competition very seriously, one imagines he will do that just fine.

Jose Maria Olazabal still loves being captain at Royal Trophy

Olazabal still loves being captain as Ryder Cup hero tees it up at Royal Trophy

|

UPDATED:

10:20 GMT, 14 December 2012

Jose Maria Olazabal is captain of Europe again this week, and it feels good.

The mention of September's Miracle of Medinah still brings a beaming smile to the face of the great Spaniard, and why not

Not many men can say they inspired arguably the most impossible sporting comeback of all time.

Head to head: Jose Maria Olazabal (right) and Asia captain Joe Ozaki were all smiles ahead of the event

Head to head: Jose Maria Olazabal (right) and Asia captain Joe Ozaki were all smiles ahead of the event

Royal Trophy

Click here for the latest from Brunei

Olazabal is once more in charge of his continent for the sixth edition of the Royal Trophy in Brunei, where he and fellow Ryder Cup heroes Nicolas Colsaerts and Francesco Molinari are taking on the might of Asia, including Japanese superstar Ryo Ishikawa, over three days of matchplay amid the tropical rainforest at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Olazabal has had time to reflect on Medinah since Europe's scarcely believable comeback and, speaking to Sportsmail Online in Brunei, sums up the experience as 'an extraordinary moment. Unforgettable. Unique.'

Victory in the Windy City whipped up a whirlwind of publicity for Olazabal and even led to an audience with the King of Spain.

What with getting his feel back for playing ahead of this tournament with trips to the Far East, he has only recently been able to snatch moments of peace to let it all sink in.

'It's true that for a few weeks after it was over I didn't have the chance to reflect on what happened that week. I'm really looking forward to this winter, having more time on my own with a DVD and a nice glass of wine, and just enjoying it.

Nice work if you can get it: European skipper Olazabal lines up a putt as Miguel Angel Jimenez looks on

Nice work if you can get it: European skipper Olazabal lines up a putt as Miguel Angel Jimenez looks on

'Last week I had enough time to go shooting with my father. We go for partridge, quail, duck. We had a couple of nice days. It's nice to go with the dogs, just on your own, that's the beauty of it. You feel like you're the only man in the world. That sense of peace… that's what I really look forward to.'

And did he bring any dinner home for the family

'Yes, both of us did!' he laughs.

Here in Brunei, things are a little different to those incredible few days in Chicago: less hair-pulling, gut-wrenching and tear-shedding, more back-slapping, belly-laughing and mickey-taking.

During the opening ceremony we were even treated to a slapstick comedy sketch from Laurel and Hardy, otherwise known as Olazabal and Joe Osaki, the Asian captain.

When Osaki rubbed Olazabal's nose in the fact he had triumphed the last time the pair led their continents in this format, the Spaniard ran from his seat across the stage to deliver a few playful whacks to his friend's head.

Thankfully, no golfers were harmed in the making of this gag.

Two of his five a day: Our man Chris got a bit fruity with the fans in Brunei

Two of his five a day: Our man Chris got a bit fruity with the fans in Brunei

'Obviously it's not the same intensity as the Ryder Cup, it's a more relaxed atmosphere,' says Olazabal.

'But don't get me wrong, things are going to get serious. We're facing a serious challenge. The Asian team is strong. We're going to have to be on our toes.'

Olazabal's tears for his great friend Seve Ballesteros, who devised the Royal Trophy in 2006, regularly punctuated the Ryder Cup and gave viewers an insight into both the man's genuinely warm nature and his appreciation for life away from the golf course.

Ollie is emotional, and he doesn't care who knows it. He is no relentless golfing machine, focused purely on victory.

'You have to be hard in competition when you're on the course. But outside we cannot forget that this is a game. I've known Joe for many years, since the late 80s playing in Japan. You cannot forget that we're all human beings.

'There are other things in the world more important than what we do today here and you have to be able to separate those things. You have to have the right, friendly atmosphere off the golf course. On the golf course we shake hands on the first tee but that's it. We're going to try to beat each other.'

Glorious: The sun was shining on day one of the Royal Trophy in Brunei

Glorious: The sun was shining on day one of the Royal Trophy in Brunei

Unlike at Medinah, Olazabal will be teeing it up as well as leading his team as a player-captain.

On Friday he partnered compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez in the foursomes against YE Yang and KT Kim.

The mere mention of Jimenez brings a smile to Olazabal's face, although he jokes that the 'old boys' might need to use a buggy or play off the forward tees to compete with the whippersnappers.

Alongside Jimenez and the Ryder Cup stars, Henrik Stenson, Edoardo Molinari, Marcel Siem and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano complete the European team.

Olazabal, a two-time Masters champion, admits he is not as sharp as he once was but now that the Ryder Cup is behind him, he has his sights firmly set on finding form on the course again.

'My game is on and off,' he says. 'I can play a bunch of great holes but all of a sudden I can hit that crooked shot that spoils everything. My goal now that the Ryder Cup is over is to concentrate on my game. I've always worked hard but (I need) to have my frame of mind on practicing and playing.'

Olazabal speaks glowingly of Tom Watson, who was confirmed as United States captain for Gleneagles in 2014.

But is he not tempted to give the captaincy another shot, on home soil The answer is a categorical no.

'The Ryder Cup is over, for sure. If Ivan Ballesteros (Seve's nephew and Royal Trophy organiser) asks me to captain again, I might do it. Most probably I would do it. For Seve, for Ivan, for the family. But the Ryder Cup – that's over.'

It may be over, but it will never be forgotten. Just ask the Princess of Sharjah – her highness herself has made the journey here to speak with Olazabal.

Like his late, great friend, Olly too is now golfing royalty.

Manchester City keep watching Sampdoria"s Pedro Obiang

City stay hot on the heels of Sampdoria's Obiang with Chelsea and Spurs also keen

|

UPDATED:

22:49 GMT, 10 December 2012

Manchester City continue to track Sampdoria’s Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang.

The 20-year-old has been watched by the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea, while a number of other European clubs have expressed an interest.

Obiang, who has made 12 appearances this season, joined Sampdoria in 2008 from Atletico Madrid, and speculation has been mounting since the begining of the season that he could return to his homeland.

In demand: Pedro Obiang has a host of clubs, including Man City, on his trail

In demand: Pedro Obiang has a host of clubs, including Man City, on his trail

But last month his agent claimed his Italian club, who are 13th in Serie A, were under no pressure to sell.

Jose Miguel Gonzalez said in November: 'We know that several Italian, English and Spanish clubs are following him, but Pedro is a mature guy and is thinking only about Sampdoria.

'We are excited about the interest of other clubs, there are many rumours, but we have not spoken to anyone.

'It’s early to talk about the market, Pedro works with humility and wants to help the team to climb up the table. Among February and April we will see what happens.

'Samp is the team which have focused on him and we will always be grateful to them.'

Roberto Mancini is also interested in Corinthians midfielder Paulinho. The Brazil international, 24, is valued at around 16m but City's boss may have to sell first.

Miguel Angel Jimenez becomes oldest winner on European Tour

Jimenez becomes oldest winner on European Tour after one-stroke victory at UBS Hong Kong Open

|

UPDATED:

11:36 GMT, 18 November 2012

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez today became the oldest winner in European Tour history.

Only seven weeks away from his 49th birthday, Jimenez took the UBS Hong Kong Open for a third time with a one-stroke victory over Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed.

The former Ryder Cup player's 19th Tour title – and 12th since he turned 40 – came without a single bogey in his last 54 holes.

Sealed with a kiss: Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest winner of a European Tour event

Sealed with a kiss: Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest winner of a European Tour event

He finished with a 65 for 15 under par, Andersson Hed's 64 having an agonising climax when a 12-foot birdie attempt on the last dribbled down the slope and lipped out.

Australian Marcus Fraser was third and joint fourth came Ireland's Peter Lawrie, Scot Stephen Gallacher and 19-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero, last week's Singapore Open champion.

New Zealander Michael Campbell, joint overnight leader with Jimenez, fell away to joint eighth.

This win marked a hat-trick of Hong Kong victories for the Spaniard, who also won the tournament in 2004 and 2007.

Andersson Hed finished before Jimenez, leaving him needing to par the 18th to secure the win.

Lining it up: Jimenez was consistent on all four days at the UBS Hong Kong Open

Lining it up: Jimenez was consistent on all four days at the UBS Hong Kong Open

Lining it up: Jimenez was consistent on all four days at the UBS Hong Kong Open

Jimenez said: ‘I saw Andersson had a 14-under-par and I knew I just had to concentrate, keep my pace, keep my rhythm and keep hitting the ball the way I was hitting it.’

At the age of 48 years and 318 days, Jimenez was glad to take the record from Des Smyth, who won the 2001 Madeira Islands Open aged 48 and 34 days.

‘It's an honour to make a record,’ he added. ‘And I hope it isn't the last one.’

Jimenez was consistent throughout the tournament, hitting 65, 67, 68 and 65 at the par-70 course.

Smoke screen: Jimenez can't be seen behind as he holds the trophy after sealing victory

Smoke screen: Jimenez can't be seen behind as he holds the trophy after sealing victory

Rory McIlroy struggles at Javier Colomo leads Hong Kong Open

Misery for McIlroy as Spaniard Colomo sets early pace at Hong Kong Open

|

UPDATED:

11:22 GMT, 15 November 2012

Defending champion Rory McIlroy trailed nine shots behind a player ranked 506 places below him after a first-round 73 at the UBS Hong Kong Open.

While a lacklustre McIlroy managed only one birdie to be just inside the top 100 on three over par, little-known Spaniard Javi Colomo produced a superb 64 to lead compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez by one in the early clubhouse lead.

Colomo qualified for the event off his Asian Tour ranking, having failed to come through the European qualifying school on three occasions.

Struggles: Rory McIlroy found himself off the beaten track in the first round of the Hong Kong Open

Struggles: Rory McIlroy found himself off the beaten track in the first round of the Hong Kong Open

The 28-year-old actually began with 10 pars in a row, but five birdies in the next six holes brought him alongside Jimenez and after completing a front-nine 29 he finished his day's work with a four-foot putt for yet another birdie at the 367-yard 10th.

McIlroy was hoping to put even more of a gloss on a season in which he has won his second major title and topped the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic – a feat nobody had achieved until Luke Donald did it last year.

But he began with a bogey, turned in one over, made a mess of his approach to the 14th and three-putted from the fringe of the next.

In contention: Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez is just one of the lead held by countryman Javier Colomo

In contention: Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez is just one of the lead held by countryman Javier Colomo

It could so easily have been Jimenez's day, but after seven birdies the 48-year-old, twice a winner of the title and now trying to become the European Tour's oldest-ever champion, finished with two bogeys and slipped back alongside Australian Andrew Dodt, who still had four holes to play.

'I'm putting very well and it's a pity I missed a fairway on the ninth and then on the last got a big flyer,' Jimenez said.

'It's an old-fashioned course – not very long, but you need to be very precise.'

He was playing with fellow countryman and Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who in a return to form shot 66 and said: 'I hit three poor shots, but apart from those the rest of the game was pretty solid.

'Obviously I have to consolidate this the next few days, but it's nice to have some signs like this one.'

All in the eyes: Thomas Levet enjoyed the Genworth pro putt challenge after round one

All in the eyes: Thomas Levet enjoyed the Genworth pro putt challenge after round one

Scot Paul Lawrie stood three under until going in the water at the last and double-bogeying, while playing partner YE Yang – Asia's only major champion in the men's game – reached five under before also finding the lake and bogeying to be four under alongside Olazabal, China's Zhang Lian-wei and Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed.

Paul Casey overcame two double bogeys for a level-par 70, one better than Padraig Harrington.

Dodt, with the added pressure of needing to climb three places on the Order of Merit to keep his card, joined Colomo with another birdie at the seventh, but bogeyed two holes later and so finished the day in a tie for second with Jimenez.

Not too far away: Paul Lawrie shot a 69 to start his bid for glory at the Hong Kong Open

Not too far away: Paul Lawrie shot a 69 to start his bid for glory at the Hong Kong Open

San Francisco Giants beat Detroit Tigers 4-3 to win Baseball"s World Series

Giants complete sweep to beat Tigers and secure second World Series in three years

|

UPDATED:

07:45 GMT, 29 October 2012

The San Francisco Giants secured a second World Series title in three years on Sunday night, defeating the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in 10 innings at Comerica Park to seal a four-game sweep in the best-of-seven series.

Detroit headed into game four looking to become the first team in World Series history to overturn a 3-0 series deficit, San Francisco having dominated the first three games.

The Tigers produced by far their best account of the series in forcing the game to extra innings before the Giants got over the line, Marco Scutaro singling home the tie-breaking run in the 10th inning before Sergio Romo closed out the win.

Big win: The Giants are improbable champions after spending most of October battling against elimination

Big win: The Giants are improbable champions after spending most of October battling against elimination

Winning feeling: San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean carries the World Series Trophy

Winning feeling: San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean carries the World Series Trophy

Miguel Cabrera’s two-run homer in the third inning had handed the Tigers the lead for the first time in the series, the Triple Crown winner’s blast putting his side 2-1 up after San Francisco had gone 1-0 ahead on an RBI triple from Brandon Belt.

But Buster Posey stepped up three innings later with a two-run homer of his own to get the Giants back in front.

Delmon Young responded with a solo shot to make it 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth on the first pitch from Matt Cain, but that was as good as it got for Detroit.

Power players: The Giants clinched their second World Series title in three years

Power players: The Giants clinched their second World Series title in three years

Let the celebrations begin: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy holds the Commissioner's Trophy

Let the celebrations begin: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy holds the Commissioner's Trophy

Scutaro, in settling the contest with the go-ahead single with two outs in the 10th, became the first player in 15 years to win the World Series with an extra-innings hit.

He struggled for words soon after the game was all over, telling Fox Sports: ‘I don’t know what to say right now. We just won the World Series! It’s hard to explain. It’s priceless.'

Reflecting on the Giants’ tricky path to glory – they won six elimination games in the post-season – he added: ‘That’s what makes it so special – the way we did it. We were always against the wall. We just came through the first series, the second series… and now we’ve swept the Tigers.’

Victors: The San Francisco Giants celebrate on the mound after sweeping the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series on Sunday

Victors: The San Francisco Giants celebrate on the mound after sweeping the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series on Sunday

Losing control: Detroit Tigers' Austin Jackson loses his bat during the seventh inning

Losing control: Detroit Tigers' Austin Jackson loses his bat during the seventh inning

After winning 8-3 in game one at AT&T Park and then posting consecutive shutouts to take command of the series, Posey admitted game four had been by far the toughest test.

'Tonight was a battle,' he said on Fox Sports. 'Tonight was a fitting way for us to end it.

'Those guys played hard – they didn’t stop. It’s an unbelievable feeling.'

We've done: San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo celebrates after the Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 to win the MLB World Series

We've done: San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo celebrates after the Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 to win the MLB World Series

Tears of joy: Pablo Sandoval celebrates with a teammate

Tears of joy: Pablo Sandoval celebrates with a teammate

Closer Romo played down his role in seeing out the victory, saying: “I feel beyond blessed, for sure. These guys let me tag along for the ride.'

The Giants certainly hit form at the right time, finishing this month with seven straight wins to clinch the seventh World Series in franchise history.