Tag Archives: thunderstorm

Kiradech Aphibarnrat wins Malaysian Open

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

By
Phil Casey, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

08:28 GMT, 24 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:01 GMT, 24 March 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

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

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

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

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

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

Realisation: Aphibarnrat won his first European Tour title in Malaysia

Realisation: Aphibarnrat won his first European Tour title in Malaysia

Kiradech Aphibarnrat celebrates

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

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

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

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

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

Missing out: Edoardo Molinari had to settle for second place

Missing out: Edoardo Molinari had to settle for second place

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

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

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

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

Kevin Pietersen not required as match in Durban washed out

Pietersen not needed as Champions League clash is washed out

|

UPDATED:

22:19 GMT, 19 October 2012

Kevin Pietersen found himself in another storm on Friday – but this one was a thunderstorm which washed out Delhi Daredevils Champions League Twenty20 clash with Auckland Aces in Durban.

The England batsman had returned to South Africa in time to play following the peace talks with coach Andy Flower that smoothed his return to the Test squad to tour India, but found he needn’t have rushed.

Miserable: The Champions League match was abandoned in Durban

Miserable: The Champions League match was abandoned in Durban

Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki beach trip cancelled due to bad weather

Thunder blow to McIlroy's Turkey hopes and soaks beach trip plans with Wozniacki

|

UPDATED:

13:12 GMT, 10 October 2012

Rory McIlroy's plans for a day on the beach with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki were ruined by a thunderstorm – and the outside chance of still being able to win the 1.5million US dollar (940,000) prize.

World number one McIlroy chipped in for birdie on the final hole of his second group match at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final this morning, only to see opponent Charl Schwartzel follow him in from 12ft.

That meant a one-shot victory for the South African (70 to 71) and a second straight defeat for McIlroy, who was left needing to beat Tiger Woods and see Schwartzel beat Matt Kuchar to have any chance of making the semi-finals.

Cancel your plans: McIlroy had been hoping to hit the beach in Turkey

Cancel your plans: McIlroy had been hoping to hit the beach in Turkey

Turkish Airlines World Golf Final

Click here for latest leaderboard

Those final group games were due to be played this afternoon but were called off without a shot being hit after a massive thunderstorm, meaning McIlroy will have to return to Antalya Golf Club for at least 18 holes on Thursday.

'It looks like I'll get to spend a day on the beach tomorrow, which will be nice,' McIlroy said after losing to former Masters champion Schwartzel, only to see those plans change when the rains came later in the day.

'It was actually a decent match,' McIlroy added. 'I felt like I played a bit better today, had plenty of chances and just didn't really hole much.

'I got off to a better start and Charl played solid and then birdied three of the last four so I couldn't really do much about that.'

As for his showdown with Woods, which failed to materialise at last month's Ryder Cup, McIlroy added: 'I'll try and keep him out of those semi-finals. I'm sure that's not what the tournament wants but it's what I'm going to try to do.'

Up against it: McIlroy has it all to do after losing a nail-biter with Charl Schwartzel

Up against it: McIlroy has it all to do after losing a nail-biter with Charl Schwartzel

Up against it: McIlroy has it all to do after losing a nail-biter with Charl Schwartzel

Schwartzel, who has been hampered by various injuries this season, has now beaten the world's top two players back to back and said: 'Any time you can do that it's going to give you a lot of confidence.

'I've not had the best of years and decided to have a better attitude towards the game and this certainly helps.'

Woods had lost to Schwartzel on Tuesday but beat Ryder Cup team-mate Matt Kuchar on Wednesday by five shots with a round of 67, four under par.

'It felt good,' said Woods, who won just half a point from his four games in Medinah and admitted on Monday that he had apologised to the four rookies on the US team for his performance.

'I didn't start great with a double-bogey on the second and a bogey on four, but after that I played well.'

Life's a beach! bad weather called a halt to McIlroy's plans for a trip to the beach with Wozniacki

Life's a beach! bad weather called a halt to McIlroy's plans for a trip to the beach with Wozniacki

Life's a beach! bad weather called a halt to McIlroy's plans for a trip to the beach with Wozniacki

The scoring system – with one point for a win in each 18-hole medal match play contest – means that all eight players remain in with a chance of reaching the semi-finals.

Wins for Schwartzel and McIlroy would see Schwartzel through to the semi-finals on three points with McIlroy, Woods and Kuchar all on one point in Group One.

The lowest aggregate score for each player's three matches would then be used to break the tie, with one player joining Schwartzel in the last four.

The same scenario could also unfold in Group Two, with Justin Rose top with two points after beating Lee Westwood (66 to 69), and Webb Simpson (65) joining Westwood on one point by beating Hunter Mahan (67).

Rose faces Simpson and Westwood takes on Mahan in the remaining matches.

Euro 2012: Stormy weather unlikely for Ukraine v England

Repeat of Donetsk storms unlikely as England prepare for Ukraine clash

|

UPDATED:

11:22 GMT, 18 June 2012

A Ukrainian weather expert has quelled English fears of a repeat of the stunning summer storms that forced the temporary abandonment of France's match with the co-hosts on Friday.

The last match played in Donetsk was halted for almost an hour due to a thunderstorm and a huge downpour which drowned the pitch at the Donbass Arena.

Next up on Tuesday, Ukraine face England in the eastern city in a match both sides have to win to guarantee a place in the quarter-finals.

Dark clouds: Ukraine v France was halted in the midst of a spectacular storm

Dark clouds: Ukraine v France was halted in the midst of a spectacular storm

Dark clouds: Ukraine v France was halted in the midst of a spectacular storm

Euro 2012 email button

Neither team has been allowed to train at the stadium ahead of the crunch clash to avoid doing any further damage to the pitch.

The storms hit shortly before kick off and despite starting the match, players were hauled off by referee Bjorn Kuipers within minutes.

Fork lightning lit up the night sky above the stadium as one stand was cleared as a security measure.

However, sections of Ukraine and France supporters revelled in the weather and danced in the stands despite being drenched while others rushed for cover.

Getting ready: Roy Hodgson's England play Ukraine on Tuesday in Donetsk

Getting ready: Roy Hodgson's England play Ukraine on Tuesday in Donetsk

Despite fears the game would get abandoned and rescheduled for Saturday, it was given the go-ahead to resume at 6pm as conditions appeared to ease.

And there appears to be no concern of a repeat this week.

'The situation in Donetsk is good, unlike the last match,' said Mykola Kulbida, head of the Ukrainian meteorological centre. 'Temperatures will not be too high – about 25-27 degrees centigrade and then falling.'

For Sweden's game with France at the same time in the capital Kiev the same night, Kulbida foresaw a little rain and thunder but said this would be over before the match starts.

Oleg Blokhin slams Ukraine players for France defeat

Blokhin slams Ukraine players for lethargy in France defeat

|

UPDATED:

15:54 GMT, 16 June 2012

Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin criticised
his players for basking in the glory of their opening Group D victory as
defeat against France on Friday left them struggling to qualify for the
quarter-finals.

Second-half goals from Jeremy Menez
and Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye, with his first international
strike, gave the French a comfortable win to put them top of the group.

And, after the euphoria of their win over Sweden the co-hosts now have to beat England to progress.

Point made: Oleg Blokhin slammed his players after France defeat

Point made: Oleg Blokhin slammed his players after France defeat

Euro 2012 email button

'As I said, the win against Sweden didn't mean anything, so if we thought we were through, we were wrong,' said Blokhin after a match which was halted after five minutes because of a severe thunderstorm and was not restarted for almost an hour.

'I think some players thought that and we'll have a serious conversation with them.

Relief: Laurent Blanc

Relief: Laurent Blanc

'This European Championship isn't the Ukrainian league we have to play at a higher level and game after game.

'I didn't like how my team stopped playing after the second goal but we lost and France are one of the best teams in the competition.

'Everything went wrong from the break and that led to first goal.

'After that, we conceded the second and it was all over.

'We will analyse this. Of course, we are not happy. The fans aren't happy and nor am I. But I can't change anything; I can't change the result.

'We still have one game left against England and we need to prepare properly for that.'

France coach Laurent Blanc was relieved his side ended their record-breaking winless run at major tournaments after eight games without victory in finals.

'We'll enjoy this one. As the French know very well, it's been a long time since we won a game at a major tournament,' he said.

'We're very happy to have won. Six years in major competitions and to not win a game is a long time.

'I hope our next win isn't in six years. If it is, then I want be here to talk about it because I'll have been fired long before.'

Laurent Blanc delighted to end French drought after storm

Blanc delighted to end French drought after storm… but takes new swipe at England

|

UPDATED:

21:32 GMT, 15 June 2012

On the ball: France coach Laurent Blanc

On the ball: France coach Laurent Blanc

Ukraine's players were first drenched by a thunderstorm, then swamped by France's clever passing football.

The French ended a six-year drought
for a win at a major tournament by beating Ukraine 2-0 in match delayed
for nearly an hour because of a huge downpour, thunder and lightning.

Jeremy Menez and Yohan Cabaye scored
early in the second half to help France's to its first win in a major
match since the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup.

'I hope the next win won't take another six years because I will be
long fired by then,' France coach Laurent Blanc said. 'We dominated the
game right from the start in terms of shots on target and possession.'

Zinedine Zidane's head-butt and red card in the 2006 World Cup final
brought the curtain down on France's golden generation – and the French
then failed to win a match at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.

Blanc hopes Friday's win is a sign France can finally be a contender again.

'We scored twice and could have had more,' Blanc said. 'We have a lot of potential.'

Friday's match at the Donbass Arena had only been going for five minutes when, the atrocious conditions forced the players off the field until the rain let up.

After a 1-1 draw with England in its opening match, France has four points in Group D, the same as England and one more than Ukraine. The French also extended their unbeaten run to 23 games.

Delight: Blanc celebrates victory

Delight: Blanc celebrates victory

'I congratulated my players and the Ukrainian players,' Blanc said. 'It was a good match with both teams trying to attack.'

The fate of both teams will be decided on Tuesday, when France plays Sweden and Ukraine faces England. The Swedes were eliminated after losing to England on Friday.

For the French fans, it was finally something to cheer about after being eliminated in the group stage at both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2008.

'France is probably one of the favorites,' Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin said through a translator.

'Some players thought we were already in the quarter-finals. We will have a serious conversation with them. … It is not possible to win the first game and play the second like this.'

Both France goals were the product of the one-touch passing and movement that was once the team's hallmark.

Net gains: Cabaye tucks home the second goal for Les Bleus

Net gains: Cabaye tucks home the second goal for Les Bleus

For the first, Franck Ribery gathered the ball on the left, sprinted forward and then set up Karim Benzema near the penalty area. The Real Madrid forward stroked the ball to Menez, who then cut inside and drilled a low shot inside the near post with his left foot.

The goal justified Blanc's decision to replace veteran midfielder Florent Malouda with Menez, although the Paris Saint-Germain winger had two earlier chances denied by the legs of Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.

'Menez is a player who needs confidence,' Blanc said. 'He is a quick player and it was a very encouraging game from him.'

France's second goal was another example of exquisite teamwork, with Ribery and Samir Nasri combining to find Benzema. He cushioned the ball and then split the Ukraine center halves with a superbly weighted pass that allowed Cabaye to run on and finish with an angled shot.

With France's confidence peaking, Cabaye almost added a third midway through the second half with a half-volley that hit the middle of the right post.

Party time: Cabaye celebrates scoring with Karim Benzema at the Donbass Arena

Party time: Cabaye celebrates scoring with Karim Benzema at the Donbass Arena

The exasperated whistles from the frustrated home fans at the Donbass Arena grew in intensity, and by the time Nasri forced a late save from Pyatov with a curling free kick, the home fans were already leaving.

'If we are not winning, whistle at me, not the team,' Blokhin said.

Moments before kick off, the rain intensified as about 49,000 soaked Ukrainians gave a searing rendition of their national anthem after a clap of thunder had interrupted France's 'La Marseillaise.'

When crackles of lightning lit up the sky, referee Bjoern Kuipers made a quick decision in the fifth minute that the players' safety and the drenched field made it impossible to continue.

'We were afraid that the match wouldn't start again,' Blanc said. 'We really wanted to play (and) despite all the rain, the field was in good condition.'

Menez should have given France the lead in the 28th. Ribery intercepted a dreadful back pass from midfielder Anatoliy Tymoschuk and hit a quick cross that ball rolled behind Benzema and fell to Menez – but Pyatov kicked his effort away.

Ukraine's only clear chance of the match fell to Andriy Shevchenko in the 35th, but his firm strike was blocked by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Euro 2012: ITV sparks deluge of complaints over thunderstorm shambles

ITV sparks deluge of complaints over thunderstorm shambles

|

UPDATED:

22:22 GMT, 15 June 2012

ITV Sport came under fire for their coverage of the storm which caused a temporary suspension of Ukraine's game against France.

The network received a deluge of
complaints from angry viewers on social network sites after they failed
to focus on the stunning scenes in Donetsk.

Off you go: Referee Bjoern Kuipers, left, and players leave the pitch

Off you go: Referee Bjoern Kuipers, left, and players leave the pitch

Although the thunderstorm and suspension was unprecedented, the absence of any live footage clearly left bosses unsure what to do.

After a brief discussion between host Adrian Chiles and studio guests Gareth Southgate and Gordon Strachan, it was decided by producers that a re-run of England's draw with France should be aired.

The moment the heavens opened: Ukrainian fans prepare to look for cover from the wet conditions as their game against France was suspended just after 5pm today

The moment the heavens opened: Ukrainian fans prepare to look for cover from the wet conditions as their game against France was suspended just after 5pm today

Within minutes, Twitter was full of comments from irate viewers, upset that they were unable to witness the dramatic events unfold in the Ukraine. Several complained that they had to listen to the radio for a live update on whether the game had been abandoned.

World Match Play: Nicolas Colsaerts beats Graeme McDowell

Belgian Colsaerts edges out McDowell to claim Match Play glory in Spain

|

UPDATED:

18:10 GMT, 20 May 2012

.

Europe's biggest-hitter now has a big title to his name – Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts is the new Volvo World Match Play champion.

And by beating Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell on the last green in the final, the 29-year-old from Brussels, whose 316-yard average off the tee is longer than that of America's number one bomber Bubba Watson, is also into both the world's top 50 and a Ryder Cup qualifying position.

It all came his way after a week of living dangerously at Finca Cortesin in Spain.

Watch not drop it! Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium won the Volvo World Match Play Golf Championship

Watch not drop it! Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium won the Volvo World Match Play Golf Championship

Like last year's winner Ian Poulter, Colsaerts did not win either of his group games and survived only after a play-off with Charl Schwartzel.

His semi-final with Paul Lawrie this morning began with him losing the first four holes, but he then launched a fightback and after an hour-long thunderstorm delay won at the 20th.

That set up a clash McDowell, who beat Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello on the last, and a year after beating him 2&1 in the quarter-finals he took the 559,865 cheque.

In increasingly difficult conditions, with winds gusting over 30mph, McDowell, without a victory since he beat Tiger Woods in California 17 months ago, was hoping to become the first Irish winner of a championship dating back to 1964.

He had to be content, though, with just being their first finalist and with giving his Ryder Cup prospects a healthy boost – plus 287,930, of course.

Colsaerts led on four separate occasions and only at the fourth time of asking did he turn that into a two-up advantage.

McDowell fought, but could not get back on terms.

Sizing it up: Colsaerts takes his time over a putt as he edges towards glory in Spain

Sizing it up: Colsaerts takes his time over a putt as he edges towards glory in Spain

The turning point for Colsaerts before lunch came when Lawrie, with a chance to go second in the Ryder Cup points race, hit his second to the long eighth into the bushes.

He bogeyed that hole, lost the next to birdie to turn only two ahead, then let Colsaerts off the hook at the long 11th as the wind really picked up.

The Belgian lost his ball right, but Lawrie twice had to take penalty drops himself and eventually halved it in double-bogey sevens.

Colsaerts then birdied the 13th and 14th to level, bogeyed the 16th, but after the one-hour rain delay birdied from a bunker on the last to force sudden death and won it at the second extra hole when he got up and down again.

'I could see Paul was not very happy – he wanted the match to finish a little earlier,' he said.

'I was probably feeling a lot better than he did and I thought I was going to capitalise on that.

'I probably deserved a place in the final last year, but I've got one now.'

Falling short: McDowell was unable to replicate his form from earlier in the week

Falling short: McDowell was unable to replicate his form from earlier in the week

He had lost at the 19th to Poulter in last May's semi-finals.

McDowell would have been as angry as Lawrie if he had lost to Cabrera-Bello after winning three of the first four holes – and for a while it looked as if he might.

With two to play there was only one in it and the Canary Islander was the closer of the pair to the par five final hole in three, but three-putted to lose.

'It was a tough one. I've simply not putted well enough – I just need to get my putting boots on,' said McDowell, as relieved as he was when Sergio Garcia three-putted the same green to go out in the quarter-finals.

He could have no complaints about the way he started the final, making an 18-footer on the first and nine-footer at the short second.

However, he then fell behind at the fourth, sixth and eighth, only for Colsaerts to lose the next each time – the ninth when he duffed his pitch after McDowell had done the same.

Well played: Colsaerts recovered well to beat Paul Lawrie in the semi-finals

Well played: Colsaerts recovered well to beat Paul Lawrie in the semi-finals

That took them into the back nine level and with the wind gusting over 30mph McDowell found the bushes at the 11th and bogeyed to go one down for a fourth time.

He could have levelled once more on the next, but missed from three feet and then hit what looked dangerously like a shank down the 13th to bogey again and fall two down for the first time.

McDowell, though, was the one to drive the green at the downwind 14th and an eight-foot birdie putt narrowed the deficit.

Both bogeyed the 15th, but McDowell dropped another on the next and in the process threw down a club in disgust, but Colsaerts three-putted the 17th.

His length paid handsome dividends at the last, though, and that was that.

MASTERS 2012: Lee Westwood leads in Augusta

Westwood takes charge at Masters as Donald suffers Augusta scorecard scare

|

UPDATED:

06:38 GMT, 6 April 2012

Talk about a day of wildly contrasting emotions for England’s two leading golfers at the 76th Masters.

For Lee Westwood, a mood of serene contentment following an opening round of 67 that left him leading a major for the first time after the opening round.

For Luke Donald, a mixture of disappointment and relief as he survived a scorecard muddle that at one point sent talk of disqualification whispering through the pines at Augusta and threatened to turn a 75 into something a lot worse before it was resolved in his favour.

Westwood has been a serial top-10 finisher in the majors in recent years but here was another small landmark on a day that emphasised there’s no one to touch him from tee to green.

Solid start: Lee Westwood finished on five under par

Solid start: Lee Westwood finished on five under par

MASTERS 2012: LEADERBOARD

-5 Lee Westwood
-4 Louis Oosthuizen
Peter Hanson
-3 Paul Lawrie
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Francesco Molinari
Jason Dufner
Ben Crane
Bubba Watson

Click here for the full leaderboard

He was out in the worst of the conditions, as the wind grew during the afternoon in advance of another probable thunderstorm that blessedly did not interrupt play.

But while Phil Mickelson lost a ball with one wild drive and Rory McIlroy found Rae’s Creek with an errant approach, Westwood hit 16 greens in regulation and finally holed his share of putts.

During the course of a long career featuring 37 victories but, of course, no major, Westwood has always been a good frontrunner and this was the start he needed.

Westwood, 39 later this month, was the only one of the five overwhelming favourites to prosper, although watch out for McIlroy, who finished three, three for a 71 to beat Tiger Woods by one, Mickelson by three and Donald by four.

Making his move: Westwood is on his own at the top of the leaderboard

Making his move: Westwood is on his own at the top of the leaderboard

Westwood leads by a stroke from former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and consistent Swede Peter Hanson. Then, following three under par rounds, come a cluster of players just like those two, low-key performers who have been winning majors these past two years, solid golfers who come in under the radar.

Players like Paul Lawrie and the talented continentals Francesco Molinari and the remarkable 48-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.

There was real misadventure on this day, too. As if there had not been enough illustrations over the years of the fine margins separating bliss from torture, poor Henrik Stenson created his own fresh scar.

Mashed Swede: Henrik Stenson suffers at the 15th

Mashed Swede: Henrik Stenson suffers at the 15th

One hole from home, he held the lead on his own at the time. Heck, what was the worst that could happen Four hundred and sixty-five steeply uphill yards from the sanctuary of the clubhouse and, as it turned out, every one loaded with such danger he might just as well have been scaling a mountain. It became one of those Augusta moments that is hard to watch.

It all began with a drive so far off line it was as much as he could do to get his recovery as far as the pine needles leading back to the fairway. Next came a hopeless thrash and a bad-tempered response. On and on the torture went.

The poor man was not on the green in five and needed three more for an eight that equalled the highest score in Masters history on this hole. If it is any consolation to Stenson, one of the others who scored an eight was Arnold Palmer.

In the trees: Rory McIlroy punches out of trouble at the first

In the trees: Rory McIlroy punches out of trouble at the first

Bridge to success: Rory McIlroy is on one under par

Bridge to success: Rory McIlroy is on one under par

Once he had calmed down, there were a couple of examples of dry humour. ‘I thought about trashing my clubs but then I thought I might very well need them again tomorrow,’ he said. ‘I had fun over the front nine with a couple of eagles but I never hit a fairway after the 11th and you’re not going to score well here if you are forever playing from the jungle. I haven’t played well for a while and it showed at the finish.’

It certainly did. Out in 31, he came home in 40. And you thought football was a game of two halves.
As for Lawrie, eight years have passed since he was last at the Masters and in one sense, nothing had changed. ‘Ladies and gentleman, Paul Lawrie,’ said the interview moderator, pronouncing it like the painter Lowry.

In another sense, everything had changed. In five previous visits embracing 14 largely nondescript rounds Lawrie had never broken 70 and never had an eagle.

In the sand: Tiger Woods hits out of the sand on the 17th hole

In the sand: Tiger Woods hits out of the sand on the 17th hole

On Thursday, the 43-year-old Scot confirmed he is a much better golfer now than he ever was with two eagles in the space of three holes on his way to his 69. Lawrie used to tie himself in knots worrying about what he perceived as a lack of respect following his Open victory in 1999.

It wasn’t just that everyone concentrated on Jean van de Velde’s collapse at Carnoustie, but that he had come to America and nobody could be bothered to check how to pronounce his name, and continually got it wrong.

Now he allowed himself a good natured grimace at the moderator’s mistake and gave one indication of why it has come right for him on the course with a beautiful response on the subject filled with perspective.

Defending Champ: Louis Oosthuizen is towards the top of the leader board after day one

Defending Champ: Louis Oosthuizen is towards the top of the leader board after day one

‘I tried for a long time to change how people thought of my Open victory and, to be fair, I failed miserably,’ he said. ‘I used to drive my coach Adam Hunter nuts, he always wondered why I got so upset. He was right. If you keep winning tournaments then people learn to respect you and that’s what I’ve concentrated on in recent times.’

Hunter died from leukaemia aged just 48 last winter and what he meant — and still means — to Lawrie was obvious. ‘I think about him every day and everything he did for me,’ he said, movingly. ‘He would have enjoyed it today.’

Solid start: Paul Lawrie shot three under par

Solid start: Paul Lawrie shot three under par

Hunter’s wife and their two daughters still follow the Aberdonian’s every score and they must have been thrilled with this one. It all came right for Lawrie from the par-five 13th, where he struck a marvellous rescue club blow to three feet for his first eagle, before chipping in at the 15th for his second.

MASTERS 2012: Lee Westwood leads in Augusta after Round One

Peerless Lee takes charge: Milestone for leader Westwood as Donald suffers scorecard scare

|

UPDATED:

00:24 GMT, 6 April 2012

Talk about a day of wildly contrasting emotions for England’s two leading golfers at the 76th Masters.

For Lee Westwood, a mood of serene contentment following an opening round of 67 that left him leading a major for the first time after the opening round.

For Luke Donald, a mixture of disappointment and relief as he survived a scorecard muddle that at one point sent talk of disqualification whispering through the pines at Augusta and threatened to turn a 75 into something a lot worse before it was resolved in his favour.

Westwood has been a serial top-10 finisher in the majors in recent years but here was another small landmark on a day that emphasised there’s no one to touch him from tee to green.

Solid start: Lee Westwood finished on five under par

Solid start: Lee Westwood finished on five under par

MASTERS 2012: LEADERBOARD

-5 Lee Westwood
-4 Louis Oosthuizen
Peter Hanson
-3 Paul Lawrie
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Francesco Molinari
Jason Dufner
Ben Crane
Bubba Watson

Click here for the full leaderboard

It He was out in the worst of the conditions, as the wind grew during the afternoon in advance of another probable thunderstorm that blessedly did not interrupt play.

But while Phil Mickelson lost a ball with one wild drive and Rory McIlroy found Rae’s Creek with an errant approach, Westwood hit 16 greens in regulation and finally holed his share of putts.

During the course of a long career featuring 37 victories but, of course, no major, Westwood has always been a good frontrunner and this was the start he needed.

Westwood, 39 later this month, was the only one of the five overwhelming favourites to prosper, although watch out for McIlroy, who finished three, three for a 71 to beat Tiger Woods by one, Mickelson by three and Donald by four.

Making his move: Westwood is on his own at the top of the leaderboard

Making his move: Westwood is on his own at the top of the leaderboard

Westwood leads by a stroke from former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and consistent Swede Peter Hanson. Then, following three under par rounds, come a cluster of players just like those two, low-key performers who have been winning majors these past two years, solid golfers who come in under the radar.

Players like Paul Lawrie and the talented continentals Francesco Molinari and the remarkable 48-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.

There was real misadventure on this day, too. As if there had not been enough illustrations over the years of the fine margins separating bliss from torture, poor Henrik Stenson created his own fresh scar.

Mashed Swede: Henrik Stenson suffers at the 15th

Mashed Swede: Henrik Stenson suffers at the 15th

One hole from home, he held the lead on his own at the time. Heck, what was the worst that could happen Four hundred and sixty-five steeply uphill yards from the sanctuary of the clubhouse and, as it turned out, every one loaded with such danger he might just as well have been scaling a mountain. It became one of those Augusta moments that is hard to watch.

It all began with a drive so far off line it was as much as he could do to get his recovery as far as the pine needles leading back to the fairway. Next came a hopeless thrash and a bad-tempered response. On and on the torture went.

The poor man was not on the green in five and needed three more for an eight that equalled the highest score in Masters history on this hole. If it is any consolation to Stenson, one of the others who scored an eight was Arnold Palmer.

In the trees: Rory McIlroy punches out of trouble at the first

In the trees: Rory McIlroy punches out of trouble at the first

Bridge to success: Rory McIlroy is on one under par

Bridge to success: Rory McIlroy is on one under par

Once he had calmed down, there were a couple of examples of dry humour. ‘I thought about trashing my clubs but then I thought I might very well need them again tomorrow,’ he said. ‘I had fun over the front nine with a couple of eagles but I never hit a fairway after the 11th and you’re not going to score well here if you are forever playing from the jungle. I haven’t played well for a while and it showed at the finish.’

It certainly did. Out in 31, he came home in 40. And you thought football was a game of two halves.
As for Lawrie, eight years have passed since he was last at the Masters and in one sense, nothing had changed. ‘Ladies and gentleman, Paul Lawrie,’ said the interview moderator, pronouncing it like the painter Lowry.

In another sense, everything had changed. In five previous visits embracing 14 largely nondescript rounds Lawrie had never broken 70 and never had an eagle.

In the sand: Tiger Woods hits out of the sand on the 17th hole

In the sand: Tiger Woods hits out of the sand on the 17th hole

On Thursday, the 43-year-old Scot confirmed he is a much better golfer now than he ever was with two eagles in the space of three holes on his way to his 69. Lawrie used to tie himself in knots worrying about what he perceived as a lack of respect following his Open victory in 1999.

It wasn’t just that everyone concentrated on Jean van de Velde’s collapse at Carnoustie, but that he had come to America and nobody could be bothered to check how to pronounce his name, and continually got it wrong.

Now he allowed himself a good natured grimace at the moderator’s mistake and gave one indication of why it has come right for him on the course with a beautiful response on the subject filled with perspective.

Defending Champ: Louis Oosthuizen is towards the top of the leader board after day one

Defending Champ: Louis Oosthuizen is towards the top of the leader board after day one

‘I tried for a long time to change how people thought of my Open victory and, to be fair, I failed miserably,’ he said. ‘I used to drive my coach Adam Hunter nuts, he always wondered why I got so upset. He was right. If you keep winning tournaments then people learn to respect you and that’s what I’ve concentrated on in recent times.’

Hunter died from leukaemia aged just 48 last winter and what he meant — and still means — to Lawrie was obvious. ‘I think about him every day and everything he did for me,’ he said, movingly. ‘He would have enjoyed it today.’

Solid start: Paul Lawrie shot three under par

Solid start: Paul Lawrie shot three under par

Hunter’s wife and their two daughters still follow the Aberdonian’s every score and they must have been thrilled with this one. It all came right for Lawrie from the par-five 13th, where he struck a marvellous rescue club blow to three feet for his first eagle, before chipping in at the 15th for his second.