Olazabal Two Back in Spain

By Sports NetworkOctober 16, 2003, 4:00 pm
MAJORCA, Spain -- Damien McGrane shot a 6-under-par 64 on Thursday to take the lead after the first round of the inaugural Turespana Mallorca Classic. McGrane finished two shots clear of local favorite Jose Maria Olazabal and Belgium's Didier De Vooght.
 
England's Stuart Little posted a 3-under 67 to share fourth place with Michael Jonzon of Sweden.
 
McGrane picked up his first birdie of the day at the par-3 second and added another at the par-5 sixth. He then birdied the eighth but dropped a shot at the ninth to make the turn at minus-2 at Pula Golf Club.
 
The Irishman recovered quickly on the inward half with a birdie at the 11th and holed his approach to the par-4 14th for an eagle.
 
McGrane, whose best finish this year on the European Tour was a tie for fourth at the Aa St. Omer Open, kept the run going with back-to-back birdies from the 15th to reach 7 under and managed a two-stroke advantage despite a bogey at the last.
 
'There's no pressure on me,' said McGrane, who is currently 142nd on the Order of Merit and needs a strong finish this year to secure his card for 2004. 'This game is hard enough without putting pressure on yourself when you are out there.'
 
Olazabal, who tied for 10th at this year's Canarias Open de Espana following a solid performance at The Masters, tallied a birdie at the third and ran off consecutive birdies starting at the par-3 ninth to move to 3 under.
 
The two-time Masters champion added a birdie at the par-4 15th en route to a bogey-free round of 68.
 
'It was a tough day because of the wind coming in different directions, which makes it difficult to choose the right club,' said Olazabal. 'I had good and bad shots but managed not to get into trouble. I haven't had such a good round for a long time and that gives me a lot of confidence.'
 
Maarten Lafeber, who earned his first career victory on the European Tour last week at the Dutch Open, collected five birdies and three bogeys for a round of 68.
 
'My score was pretty good considering I didn't hit the ball very well,' said Lafeber. 'I finished with a bogey that was disappointing but I'm happy with the way I played.'
 
Lafeber was joined by Marcel Siem, Matthew Blackey, Paul Broadhurst, Jose Manuel Carriles, Santiago Luna, Gustavo Rojas, Scott Drummond, Benn Barham, Henrik Stenson, Martin Lemesurier and Sion E. Bebb in a tie for sixth at 2 under par.
 
Lee Westwood, who has two victories to his name so far in 2003, posted a 2-over-par 72 to finish in a group that featured Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez.
 
Related Links:
  • Full-field scores from the Turespana Mallorca Classic
  • Full coverage - Turespana Mallorca Classic
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.