Indonesia Open Coverage: Rounds 1 and 2

Thunderstorms have put an early end to the second round at the Indonesia Open, but that’s not what put an end to Colin Montgomerie’s chances of making the field in his 14th straight Masters.

colin_montgomerie_augusta.jpgThunderstorms have put an early end to the second round at the Indonesia Open, but that’s not what put an end to Colin Montgomerie’s chances of making the field in his 14th straight Masters. Montgomerie sits at -3 (the projected cut line) and is in jeopardy of missing the cut and not making the field for the 2005 Masters. Colin needed a win in this event to move into the top 50 in the world to secure a spot in this year’s first major.

Jakarta Indonesia Open Preview

Colin Montgomerie and Paul McGinley head a field at the innaugural Jakarta Indonesia Open.

colin_montgomerie.jpgThe European Tour heads to Indonesia for the Enjoy Jakarta Standard Chartered Indonesia Open. It is the innaugural even being held at the Cengkareng Golf Club in Jakarta, Indonesia. Colin Montgomerie leads a field that is somewhat hampered by the coinciding Players Championship. The field does include Monty’s Ryder Cup teammate Paul McGinley and other of the Asian Tour’s top players.

Last week Montgomerie lost his chance to play in the Players Championship, finishing outside the top 50 in the world rankings. Monty needed a win last week in China at the TCL Classic to make the top 50. He finished in sixth place and moved up two spots in the world ranking (to number 54). The sixth place finish gave Monty his fourth top-10 of the year.

Toshiba Classic Preview

Tom Purtzer looks to defend his title against an impressive field at the Champions Tour Toshiba Classic.

champ_tour_logo.gifThe Champions Tour heads to the Newport Beach Country Club in Newport Beach, California for the Toshiba Classic. The field boasts some of the Tour’s hottest and most consistent players. Last year’s winner, Tom Purtzer, heads a field that includes Fuzzy Zoeller, Ben Crenshaw, Gary McCord, Curtis Strange and a slew of others.

Els Grabs Qatar Masters from Behind

Ernie Els storms back from five down in the final round to capture his second straight European Tour title at the Qatar Masters.

Ernie ElsErnie Els, down by five strokes going into the final round of the Qatar Masters, cranked out a brilliant 7-under 65 to storm to a one-shot victory. Els, who opened the tournament with a 73 and was in danger of missing the cut, finished at -12 (276) to capture his second tournament since winning the Dubai Desert Classic a week ago.

“I wanted to give myself a low score and as it turned out, I shot low which you don’t normally do. I got lucky and got a win,” said Els. “Things began to turn in my favour in the middle of the front nine when I made three birdies on the bounce. The wind was really playing it up at that time.”

Third-round leader Henrick Stenson started with two birdies in the opening three holes, but bogeyed two and then double-bogeyed the 14th. He later rallied with three birdies to finish second at -11, but needed an eagle at the last to match Els’ two-putt birdie to force a playoff. Richard Green and Pierre Fulke of Australia and Sweden tied for third at nine under.

Pressure: Woosnam and Faldo Disagree on Majors vs. Ryder Cup

Ian Woosnam disagrees with Nick Faldo that the majors are more pressure-packed than the Ryder Cup. I’ll side with the guy with the better record.

Ian WoosnamAccording to an article by PA Sports, the next two Ryder Cup captains see Ryder Cup pressure a bit differently. Nick Faldo, 2008 captain, believes that the pressure to win a major is far more intense, while the 2006 captain, Wee Welshman Woosie (say that five times fast), believes Ryder Cup pressure is more intense.

Faldo recently commented that he’s concerned about the fact that no European has won a major since 1999 when Paul Lawrie won the British Open at Carnoustie. Said Faldo, “I don’t care how much we keep on talking about the amount of pressure players are under in a Ryder Cup. The fact is that if it isn’t a major, then it’s not the real thing. Winning majors is about holding your nerve under the most intense pressure.” Faldo should know, having won six to Woosnam’s one.

Qatar Masters Preview

Ernie Els looks to continue his winning ways at the Qatar Masters.

ernie_els_bunker.jpgErnie Els looks to win back-to-back tournaments this week as he enters the Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club. After winning the Dubai Desert Classic, Els is interested in adding the Mother of Pearl Trophy to his collection while overseas.

The tournament, which was originally a European Tour event, will be a joint-sanctioned event with the European Tour and the Asian Tour. Els’ entry (his first appearance) in the tournament will boost the event’s standings, as he is the highest ranked player to have played in the country since the tournament began in 1998.

Els Eagles the Last to Win in Dubai

Ernie Els eagled the 18th to win by one while Jimenez three-jacked from 70 feet to lose.

Ernie Els Dubai TrophyErnie Els has won the Dubai Desert Classic, holing an 18-foot eagle putt on the 547-yard final hole and watching second- and third-round leader Miguel Angel Jimenez three-putt the same green to lose by one.

Els came to the 18th in third place, behind Jimenez and Stephen Dodd. The Spaniard Jimenez reached the par-5 finishing hole in two and was the clear favorite, but three-jacked from 70 feet after failing to read enough break. His six-footer for a playoff missed the cup. Meanwhile, Els – who had crushed his drive and was left with only 178 yards to a pin tucked just over water – hit a towering 6-iron and read his putt perfectly.

Jimenez Surges ahead of Els in Dubai

The Mechanic fired a second round speed-limit 65 to take the lead over Els in the Dubai Desert Classic.

JimenezThe Mechanic, Miguel Angel Jimenez, tinkered his way to a 65 in Friday’s Dubai Desert Classic to take a two-stroke lead over first-round leader Ernie Els. Colin Montgomerie, looking to get into the top 50 in the world for an invitation to the Masters, is tied for fourth, five strokes back.

Els has played bogey-free golf all week, but added only four birdies to his first-round 66 (-6) and currently rests at -10, staring up at Jimenez, who rolled in eight birdie putts on Friday before bogeying the final hole. Said Jimenez, “I am like the good wines, you know. With the age, getting better.”

Dubai Desert Classic Preview

Ernie Els and Mark O’Meara headline the Dubai Desert Classic which has drawn another strong field to compete for one of the richest purses in golf.

Mark O'MearaDoral isn’t the only must-watch tournament this week. The European Tour makes its yearly stop in the United Arab Emirates for the Dubai Desert Classic. This is the 16th year the tournament will be played at Emirates Golf Club, a course known as the “Desert Miracle” for its lush fairways and greens amidst the arid desert conditions.

Defending champion Mark O’Meara is the tournament’s oldest winner at 47 and will defend his title this year. However, the favorite again is sure to be World #3 Ernie Els. Before the season, many were predicting this would be Els’ breakout year. However, The Big Easy is the only player in the top four of the World Rankings without a win in 2005. Dubai will be a good place to rectify that. Els has won the event twice (1994, 2002) and holds the course record of 61.