Marco Crespi took home the inaugural NH Collection Open on Sunday at the La Reserva de Sotogrande Club de Golf in Cadiz, Spain after torrential rain marred the early rounds of the tournament.
Sky Sports summed up Crespi's win:
Rookie Marco Crespi claimed his maiden European Tour victory with a two-shot success in the NH Collection Open. http://t.co/yEtFmsPuL8— Sky Sports (@SkySports) April 6, 2014
|Jordi Garcia Pinto||Spain||-8||-6||280|
Day Four Update
Marco Crespi entered Sunday's final round with just one stroke to make up, but that proved to be a small task for the Italian. He went on to grab a two-stroke victory.
After winning the first European Tour tournament title of his career, Crespi was congratulated by the European Tour on Twitter:
Crespi did mount a comeback to take his victory, but he wasn't the hottest golfer on Sunday. Crespi had to hold off a furious charge from Jordi Garcia Pinto, who shot six-under par on the day and finished just two strokes behind.
The 35-year-old's winning final round of 69 wasn't spectacular and a ton of players shot better rounds, but Crespi had positioned himself so well having entered the day at seven under par. That allowed for him to build a lead just by playing under par.
In the end, the Italian was lifting his first ever European Tour trophy.
Day Three Update
Matthew Nixon set the lowest score of the week with a round of 65 including an impressive nine birdies for a stunning seven under on Saturday, grabbing the clubhouse lead in the process.
The English 24-year-old holds a one-stroke lead over Italy's Marco Crespi, as both put together excellent days to shoot up the leaderboard.
Nixon has only made one European Tour cut all year but was lights out on Saturday, only dropping two shots on par all day. With the weather taking a turn for the better, he was clearly in good spirits, as he told Europeantour.com:
I really enjoyed it, the sun’s been shining and I played really nicely… I don’t remember much about it apart from the fact that I kept knocking them close and knocking the putts in. If I could do that again tomorrow it would come in handy.
Today the conditions are obviously a little better, but it was just one of them days. I had a nice start and it just kept going. Exactly the same day tomorrow would be nice!
Nixon started the day tied with Crespi, who went six under and actually scored one more birdie then the current leader. But four bogeys held the Italian back slightly, as he failed to capitalise on excellent play towards the latter part of his round.
Chile's Felipe Aguilar has been one of the tournament's most consistent players and briefly held the lead today, but with many of the players yet to complete their second round due to the weather conditions of the first day, the clubhouse leaderboard was always bound to be shaken up.
Aguilar seemed to be very happy with his play out on the fairway but said he struggled with the greens, per European Tour:
I played good from tee to green but not on the greens; I three-putted four times which is expensive. I don’t seem to get the right pace on long putts.
The course is in excellent shape. As it dries out, the greens are becoming firmer and faster and even more challenging with the wind.
Local Adrian Otaegui finished the day on four under, and like Crespi, combined some excellent play with mental lapses:
It’s been a roller coaster round. I got a double (bogey) on the first after losing a ball, but came back with birdies on the second, seventh and eighth. I played nicely from tee to green.
I made two bogeys on the back nine, missing two short putts but I played great shots into the greens and gave myself plenty of birdie chances. That’s all I need to remember.
I expect lower scores tomorrow, as the course is in perfect condition and the wind is dropping.
Competition will resume on Sunday, and with the weather expected to continue improving, we can look forward to another full day and another potential lowest score.
Day Two Update
Marc Warren ended with a five under par 67 to take the clubhouse lead on the second day of the 2014 NH Collection Open. The Scotsman passed compatriot Jack Doherty, who fell way back in the rankings due to two bogeys in his first three holes, at the halfway mark and never looked back on his way to the best score of the week.
Warren grew into his game after a difficult start and said he really likes the course, per My European Tour:
My round didn't finish yesterday so I had to come back and play seven holes this morning and I played ok.
(...) At the start of the second round I struggled a bit with concentration, but once I got it going I played really good - long game was excellent, short game was good. I think I got the best out of my round today.
Today and yesterday's conditions were pretty similar, obviously without the rain. The wind is going to stay pretty strong and it's going to be tough for the guys playing this afternoon.
I have been playing well the last few weeks, getting stronger and stronger, so I was really looking forward to this event. It’s like a bonus event for us, coming at the last minute, and I am pleased to see how good the course actually is. I’m looking forward to the next two days.
I like the course very much. If it was a perfect weather it would still be a good test, but with the strong winds we have here it gets really tough at times.
The two time European Tour winner had his ups and downs throughout the day, starting on the back nine and bogeying the 12, but three birdies in the final four holes and further gains on the third, seventh and ninth more than made up for the early slip-ups.
Tied with Warren for the lead is England's David Horsey, who went four under with three holes remaining as he was one of the many players forced to abandon their second round due to the fading light. Horsey will complete his round Saturday morning.
Chile's Felipe Aguilar finished the day with three under for a leaderboard total of under four, good for third. Local Adrian Otaegui and Welshman Bradley Dredge share said third place, with the latter having to retire after only playing 70 shots of his first round.
Doherty opened with two early bogeys and never fully recovered, finishing the day with two over par for a total of one under, good for seventh place.
Competition will resume on Saturday with numerous players still to complete their second round, so expect plenty more changes on the leaderboard before the end of the third day of the event.
Day One Update
Scotland's Jack Doherty led the way with some steady stroke play, which included five birdies, per EuropeanTour.com.
Edinburgh Evening News golf correspondent Martin Dempster kept everyone in touch with the Scotsman's surge to the top of the leaderboard:
Jack Doherty cards 69 (-3) to hold clubhouse lead by two shots on tough day in NH Collection Open at La Reserva— Martin Dempster (@DempsterMartin) April 3, 2014
The 31-year-old finished the day three under par, which put him one shot clear of the chasing pack, all two under par over their 18 holes.
|Name||Country||To Par||Today||Total Shots|
|Tjaart Van Der Walt||South Africa||-2||-2||70|
Per Phil Casey of the Press Association, via the Daily Mail, local favourite Alejandro Canizares was bidding to make it back-to-back wins at a Sotogrande course he knows well, after winning the Hassan Trophy three weeks ago.
The Spaniard shouldn't be too unhappy about his performance on the opening day, but already trailing leader Doherty by two going into the second day's play, Canizares will need to use all of his course knowledge to bring himself back into contention.
He told Dave Tindall of Sky Sports:
I practice there with my father. It is a longish course, fairly generous off the tee with quite a few elevation changes and undulating greens. Some holes are long: the sixth, for instance, is a three-wood par three. Wind is a big factor, and it can really toughen up the course.
Countryman Adrian Otaegui fared a little better, finishing on one under. The 21-year-old's round began poorly with a bogey and two par holes in the first three, but three birdies at the next four as Otaegui built up some rhythm saw him approach the back nine under par.
An almost faultless route to the clubhouse, he wouldn't drop another shot until the very last hole and, at one under for the day, can be satisfied with his performance.
As with Canizares, a bit of local knowledge certainly won't go amiss as the competition heats up over the coming days, and with such a good base to build from, we could well see the youngster challenging at the business end of the tournament.
A fabulous front nine from 40-year-old Welshman Bradley Dredge set him up nicely for a share of the lead at the midway point, and only a dropped shot at the unlucky 13th hole saw him sit slightly behind clubhouse leader Doherty.
Playing this tournament on a medical exemption, per EuropeanTour.com, Dredge is a veteran of the circuit, having played 366 events over a 20-year career.
A spat of bad weather will hold no fears for the journeyman even if the wind and rain seemed to be playing havoc with everyone else's game.
Doherty himself noted, per EuropeanTour.com:
It was a tough day. We had a 20 yard wind on the front nine and almost 30 yards on the back nine, which is a lot.
The ball is going a long way downwind and it’s hardly going anywhere into the wind, but I practice on the West Coast of Scotland which is normally quite windy, so I know how to play it and I just stuck to my game plan.
Former Ryder Cup player Niclas Fasth was among a host of players including Cyril Bouniol, Bernd Ritthammer and Daniel Brooks trying to hang onto Doherty's coattails as the wind took hold. Chris Hanson was one who was particularly pleased with his own performance:
Battled well today and kept some good focus! Very windy and pretty crazy in parts out there! (Level par 72) #NHCollectionOpen— Chris Hanson (@Hansonprogolf) April 3, 2014
For anyone who had managed par or under in such testing conditions, it really is a case of a pat on the back after the first day's play.
Per BBC.co.uk, the weather looks likely to take a turn for the better over the coming days, so we might expect to see some significant movement in the leaderboard.
Canizares isn't the only golfer who has knowledge of the undulating course that he can take into the latter stages of the tournament.
England's Tom Lewis has played a practice round at La Reserva before, and despite an apparent fleeting dalliance, the big greens should suit him, per Phil Casey of the Press Association via the Daily Mail. Lewis said:
"[...] If I remember rightly it's quite hilly, you have some room to play with off the tee. The greens are slightly undulating but a lot bigger than they are in Morocco so it suits me to a tee really."
With some big-hitters back in the chasing pack also, Day 2 could get very interesting indeed.