Although the TOURs annual visit to Sawgrass is not classified as a major the quality of field and strength of lay-out put it just marginally below the U.S. Open, Open Championship and Masters, and dare we say it pretty much on a par with the PGA.
Miguel Angel Jimenez threw-in a very sneaky 68 in the final round last week. Im keeping my eye on the pony-tailed Spaniard as a winner in the short-term, not a good bet for Sawgrass, though; his best finish a T-38th.
The European Tour heads back to the Far East this week for the first of two weeks in China. The Volvo China Open plays out in Beijing with tape-delayed coverage on GOLF CHANNEL, next week will be more of the same from Shanghai and the BMW Asian Open.
Im interested to watch the performance of David Howell over the next couple of weeks, Howell has struggled with injuries recently but showed huge signs of improvement by getting into a play-off at the Portuguese Open a fortnight ago. He missed the Masters this year for the first time since 2004.
Howell will have a tougher task at next weeks BMW Asian Open. The tournament has attracted Retief Goosen, Henrik Stenson, Greg Norman and Darren Clarke.
Swedens Lotta Wahlin captured the Catalonia Ladies 2008 over the weekend. The 24-year-old from Linkoping cruised to a six-shot victory in the limited field 36-hole event. Wahlin has been steadily building her career on tour and this victory has been on the cards. She qualified for the tour in 2005, recording three top-10s in her rookie season then three top-5s last year.
Next up for the Ladies European Tour is their first full-field event on European soil. The Ladies Spanish Open tees off April 17th. Among those on the entry list is Sam Head, who stars in GOLF CHANNELs Big Break Kaanapali.
Last year the flying Dutchman title was bestowed upon Joost Luiten, whos name still troubles commentators. Ive heard three or four different pronunciations so far this year, but however you say it Luiten had a good year. The 22-year-old won twice on the Challenge Tour and graduated to the main tour for this season. Hes currently 78th on the European Tour Order of Merit.
This years flying Dutchman could well be a chap named Wil Besseling. The 22-year-old romped to a seven-shot win in last weeks Colombia Masters, moving to sixth on the Challenge Tour rankings. This is Besselings first year on the Challenge Tour having come through the EPD Tour last season. Next for the Challenge Tour is a trip to France. The AGF-Allianz Open Cotes dArmour Bretagne starts on April 23.
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