Friday, October 17, 2014




Ernie Els celebrated his 45th birthday by cruising to the top of the leaderboard at the Hong Kong Open after a second round 65 at the Hong Kong Golf club saw the South African move to nine under and into a two stroke lead over Frenchman Raphaël Jacquelin and the Australian duo of Scott Hend and Cameron Smith.
Els, making his first appearance in the Hong Kong Open, began his second round on the 11th hole and in typically effortless style moved through the gears to birdie six of his first 11 holes to surge ahead of the field.
At that point, Els was producing a vintage performance but saw his momentum crash to a halt after a poor decision to attempt to drive the fourth green which resulted in a sloppy bogey.
“The fourth hole was a bit of a bummer – a bit of a mental error on my part because I probably didn’t need to go for it – but I feel like my game's right there,” said Els, who opened the week with a four under 66 on Thursday.
“When I'm on I'm playing nicely at moment. I feel really good about my ball-striking and I'm putting nicely so hopefully I can keep that going over the weekend.”
Els, like so many of the world class players who have played at the Hong Kong Golf Club since the tournament’s inception in 1959, has completely fallen for the iconic Fanling venue.
“I love the golf course and I love the old style golf that we play here,” he smiled. “It’s just a classic lay-out and a great golf course. The greens are great too, so if I'm on tomorrow we'll try and shoot something low. I'm really happy with the way I've started this tournament – I've got a good chance of having a good day on Sunday.”
Of the trio tied for second place, Smith had the best round of the day, matching the 65 of Els to join Jacquelin and Hend on seven under.
The Aussie could have been at least tied for the lead had a few more of his birdie chances sank below ground level, but he was pleased with the overall performance as he continues the fine form that has seen him register four top ten finishes on his last four Asian Tour starts.
“I started with four in a row, hitting it really well and putting really well,” said the 21 year old. “After four holes, you're still getting into the round, so I just tried to keep doing what I was doing.  Hitting fairways I think was the key to a good round today and I am pretty happy with where I am.
“Obviously the quality of players I think this week is a little bit different to a normal tournament because The European Tour guys are here.  So sort of stepping up a level is nice, stepping up to some of the best guys in the world and competing against them is a good change.”
Hend has competed around the world at every level of the game and he is looking forward to try and chase down one of golf’s true greats over the weekend.
“It's a good start to the week,” said Hend. “It will be cool to try to chase down Ernie over the weekend and hopefully hole a few more putts, and who knows? I haven't been playing very well of late so I am trying to change that around. I have been working hard on it and there are some promising signs.”
Jacquelin carded a three under 67 to move into contention. He said: “I've been playing well this week and I know the course pretty well. It can be tricky but you've got a lot of birdie chances if you put the ball in play off the tee.
“So that's makes a really big difference if you can be in the fairway because you've got some short irons to the greens, but if you are in the rough, you can get a big flyer and it's difficult to putt it on the green.”
With the halfway cut coming in at one under par, any of the 66 men remaining (excluding defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez, who failed to recover from a bout of food poisoning and struggled to a two over par finish) in the field can win over the weekend.
But Els will be hoping to build on his excellent first two rounds and continue to move away from the field as the four-time Major Champion looks to join so many of the game’s great names on the Hong Kong Open trophy.

Par 140 (2x70)
+66 players on 139 and better qualified for third and fourth rounds
131 E Els (RSA) 66 65;
133 R Jacquelin (Fra) 66 67;C Smith (Aus) 68 65;S Hend (Aus) 67 66;
134 J Randhawa (Ind) 64 70;A Que (Phi) 65 69;J Quesne  (Fra) 67 67;S Benson (Eng) 68 66;L Wei-Chih (Tpe) 66 68;S Chawrasia (Ind) 69 65;M Both (Aus) 67 67;M Fraser (Aus) 67 67;W Ormsby (Aus) 67 67;L Slattery (Eng) 68 66;D Huizing (Ned) 66 68;
135 E De La Riva  (Esp) 68 67;R Bland (Eng) 70 65;A Groom (Aus) 67 68;M Foster (Eng) 67 68;G Bourdy (Fra) 67 68;J Kruger (RSA) 66 69;N Elvira  (Esp) 66 69;A Forsyth (Sco) 69 66;J Doherty  (Sco) 68 67;
136 S Kapur (Ind) 68 68;J Hansen  (Den) 70 66;A Pavan (Ita) 70 66;S Cyr (USA) 67 69;K Phelan (Irl) 69 67; C Lee (Sco) 71 65;J Knutzon (USA) 68 68;A Da Silva (Bra) 69 67;M Korhonen (Fin) 69 67;R Gangjee (Ind) 68 68;
137 T Wiratchant (Tha) 69 68;M Nixon (Eng) 70 67;L Bjerregaard  (Den) 69 68;R Karlberg  (Swe) 67 70;P Waring  (Eng) 73 64;C Kim (USA) 67 70;D Im (USA) 69 68; P Whiteford (Sco) 67 70;P Junhasavasdikul (Tha) 69 68;P Meesawat  (Tha) 71 66;
138 A Hartø  (Den) 69 69; J McLeary  (Sco) 69 69;D Lipsky (USA) 68 70;J Janewattananond (Tha) 69 69;C Wi (Kor) 70 68;M Mamat (Sin) 71 67;J Colomo  (Esp) 68 70;
139 L Wen-Chong (Chn) 70 69;B Seuk-Hyun (Kor) 66 73;J Heath  (Eng) 66 73;M Crespi  (Ita) 71 68;N Fung (Mas) 69 70;W Jeung-Hun (Kor) 72 67;S Kim (Kor) 67 72;T Lewis (Eng) 71 68;T Chi-Huang (Tpe) 71 68;M Joong-Kyung (Kor) 68 71;A Wall (Eng) 68 71;M Rominger  (Sui) 72 67;S Manley (Wal) 68 71;J Morrison  (Eng) 71 68;S Kjeldsen (Den) 71 68


140 D McGrane (Irl) 69 71;M Perera (Sri) 68 72;K Pratt (Aus) 73 67;P Lawrie (Irl) 70 70;U Park (Aus) 68 72;S Lewton (Eng) 71 69;J Higginbottom (Aus) 70 70;M Stieger (Aus) 69 71;C Shih-Chang (Tpe) 71 69;V Riu  (Fra) 69 71;
141 S Jamieson  (Sco) 71 70;P Peterson (USA) 71 70;J Granberg  (Fin) 72 69;R Santos  (Por) 67 74;J Elson  (Eng) 70 71;A Dodt (Aus) 71 70;A Kang (USA) 72 69;B Henson (USA) 70 71;S Barr (Aus) 74 67;D Drysdale (Sco) 70 71;B Paolini (USA) 73 68;Z Scotland  (Eng) 69 72;
142 L Sung (Kor) 70 72;S Webster (Eng) 69 73;M Jiménez (Esp) 72 70;S Walker (Eng) 69 73;K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 72 70;B Rumford (Aus) 72 70;C Nirat (Tha) 68 74;C Kumar (Ind) 71 71;M  Lundberg (Swe) 72 70;J Lara (Esp) 72 70;B Ruangkit (Tha) 73 69;J Parry (Eng) 71 71;D Chia (Mas) 67 75;A Lascuna (Phi) 70 72;L Yanwei (Chn) 70 72;
143 S Yates (Sco) 73 70;M Griffin (Aus) 75 68;J Walters (RSA) 72 71;K Gi-Whan (Kor) 75 68;A Lahiri (Ind) 75 68;R Lee (Can) 73 70;
144 Z Lianwei (Chn) 70 74;A Otaegui  (Esp) 68 76;S Hansen (Den) 74 70;P Archer (Eng) 71 73;A Vongvanij (Tha) 70 74;C Phadungsil  (Tha) 72 72;R Gonzalez (Arg) 73 71;L Wen-Teh (Tpe) 75 69;G Charoenkul (Tha) 71 73;R Kakko  (Fin) 76 68;J Singh (Ind) 73 71;B Easton (RSA) 71 73;H Rai (Ind) 74 70;A Gee  (Eng) 73 71;
145 C Pigem (Esp) 74 71;N Colsaerts  (Bel) 66 79;R Derksen (Ned) 76 69;R Khan  (Ind) 73 72;
146 T Tang (Hkg) 70 76;E Salvador (Phi) 76 70;F Andersson Hed (Swe) 73 73;D Papadatos (Aus) 71 75; J Stewart (Hkg) 73 73;S Brazel (Aus) 73 73;L Chih-Bing (Sin) 69 77;J Dantorp (Swe) 74 72;Y Yang (Kor) 76 70;M Regan Wong (am) (Hkg) 74 72;
147 S Singh (Ind) 75 72;P Pittayarat (Tha) 70 77;S Mizuno (am) (Hkg) 72 75;
148 R Beem (USA) 73 75;
149 S Wakefield (Eng) 73 76;L In-Woo (Kor) 71 78;R Staunton (am) (Hkg) 70 79;
150 S Hak (Hkg) 78 72;L Wen-Tang (Tpe) 75 75;D Williams (am) (Hkg) 79 71;
151 C Plaphol (Tha) 74 77;W Woon Man (Hkg) 74 77;
152 N Tantipokhakul (Tha) 76 76;
153 N Lemke (Swe) 79 74;W Choy (Hkg) 74 79;
154 A Saddier (Fra) 76 78;L Martin (Hkg) 77 77;
 ** K Sung-Hoon (Kor) 79 WD;C Del Moral (Esp) 76 RT,




Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © Colin Farquharson

If you can't find what you are looking for.... please check the Archive List or search this site with Google