Hedblom leads at Gleneagles
Sweden’s Peter Hedblom takes a one-shot lead into the final day of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Playing on greens he rates the worst of the year, Sweden’s Peter Hedblom takes a one-shot lead into the final day of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Hedblom, loser of a play-off in Holland last week, fired a third round 68 to overtake former Open champion Paul Lawrie, whose bogeys at the 15th and 16th holes led to a one over 73.
They are eight under par and seven under with 18 holes to play and Hedblom said: “The scoring would be much lower if the greens were better.
“You know you’re going to miss some short ones and you just need to keep cool – but it’s tough.”
His only dropped shot came on the 13th when he failed to hole from under three feet.
An hour later Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell, two off the lead at the time, four-putted there from even closer range for a triple bogey seven.
Hedblom has recently started a practice putting routine of holing eight three-foot putts in a row and then eight from four feet, but he added: “I haven’t managed it once this week.
“I was there almost two hours the other day and was pulling my hair out. I’m supposed to keep going until I do it, but I just had to stop.”
Last year Lee Westwood called for the greens to be ripped up and relaid before the 2014 Ryder Cup.
Next August the course will again be staging the final counting event for Europe’s side and captain Colin Montgomerie – also this week’s tournament chairman – admits the problem will not be solved by then.
Montgomerie, who returned a 72 to remain level par, stated: “They have a five-year (improvement) plan and this is the second year.
“There is obviously work to do and it is on-going. By definition a five-year plan takes five years. The greens won’t improve tomorrow, but there is nothing to worry about for the Ryder Cup – they will be fantastic by then.
“They weren’t so good at the K Club about five or six years before the Ryder Cup was played there and they were fine come the championship, so I think the same goes for these.”
Four players are only two behind – Lawrie’s fellow Scot Steven O’Hara, Welshman Jamie Donaldson, Ryder Cup Dane Soren Hansen and Frenchman Gregory Bourdy.
O’Hara is trying to become the first player in European Tour history to win after surviving the halfway cut with nothing to spare.
The 29-year-old matched the low round of the week with his 66 early in the day, but still came off disappointed knowing it could so easily have been “a wee bit better.”
After 15 holes O’Hara was a spectacular eight under for the day and joint leader, but he three-putted the long 16th for a bogey six and dropped another shot on the 194-yard 17th after bunkering his tee shot.
Once again O’Hara thanked his wife Jill for caring after their three-week-old son Logan during the night as he slept in the spare room.
“She’s absolutely shattered – like a zombie – but I had a good night and I just wanted to get back into contention.”
He sank a 15-foot eagle putt on the second, turned in 31 and had a hat-trick of birdies from the 12th.
There was also a big move from England’s Richard Bland, another who survived the cut by the skin of his teeth.
Bland, who has missed the cut in eight of his past 10 events and is 143rd on the money list, was first out and, playing on his own, shot a 67 to climb from 48th into a tie for seventh.
In contrast double Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal bogeyed the final four holes for a 77 that dropped him from fifth to 32nd alongside Montgomerie, who was also asked about the controversy over event sponsors Diageo’s plans to cut their Scottish workforce by 900.
“Nothing to do with me and thank goodness for that, but I feel sympathy for every Scot that’s lost their job – these are very difficult times,” said Montgomerie.
The Unite union were distributing badges at the tournament with the slogan “Save Diageo Jobs” on them.
All the third round scores & totals
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):
208 Peter Hedblom (Swe) 72 68 68
209 Paul Lawrie 67 69 73
210 Soren Hansen (Den) 69 70 71, Jamie Donaldson 69 71 70, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 70 69 71, Steven O’Hara 68 76 66
211 Richard Bland 72 72 67, Shiv Kapur (Ind) 69 70 72, Michael Jonzon (Swe) 70 69 72, Maarten Lafeber (NIrl) 71 67 73, Gregory Havret (Fra) 68 76 67
212 Daniel Vancsik (Arg) 69 69 74, Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg) 70 71 71, Francois Delamontagne (Fra) 73 69 70, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 72 70 70, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 72 69 71
213 Danny Lee (Nzl) 71 70 72, Danny Willett 69 71 73, Graeme Storm 69 74 70
214 Jonathan Caldwell 72 66 76, Joakim Haeggman (Swe) 72 70 72, David Carter 74 70 70, Martin Erlandsson (Swe) 74 70 70, Pablo Martin (Spa) 72 71 71, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 70 72 72
215 Gary Murphy 73 69 73, Damien McGrane 72 72 71, Gary Orr 73 71 71, Oliver Wilson 73 68 74, David Lynn 76 68 71, Bradley Dredge 75 67 73
216 Alan McLean 69 73 74, Colin Montgomerie 76 68 72, Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha) 70 70 76, Anthony Wall 69 75 72, Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa) 71 68 77, Eirik Tage Johansen (Nor) 72 70 74, Phillip Archer 71 69 76, Ross McGowan 74 68 74
217 Christian Cevaer (Fra) 69 75 73, Alexander Noren (Swe) 69 74 74, Michael Curtain (Aus) 72 70 75, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 70 73 74
218 Patrik Sjoland (Swe) 70 72 76, Richie Ramsay 71 73 74, Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 71 71 76, Pelle Edberg (Swe) 72 71 75, Simon Khan 70 72 76, Alexandre Rocha (Bra) 72 69 77, David Dixon 76 68 74, Richard Finch 73 70 75, Christopher Doak 72 72 74
219 Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra) 73 71 75, John E Morgan 70 71 78, Ake Nilsson (Swe) 68 73 78, Stephen Dodd 73 70 76, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 68 73 78, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 71 72 76, Simon Dyson 76 68 75
220 Gareth Maybin 69 73 78, Inder Van Weerelt (NIrl) 73 71 76, Stephen Leaney (Aus) 71 71 78
223 Gary Lockerbie 72 72 79, Scott Arnold (Aus) 71 72 80
227 Wil Besseling (NIrl) 73 70 84
Steve Stricker makes Padraig Harrington sweat as Irishman wins US Senior Open
The pair were rival captains in last year’s Ryder Cup in Wisconsin.
Golfers warned of further sanctions if they continue to play in LIV breakaway
The DP World Tour has issued fines of £100,000 and tournament bans to its members who played in the inaugural LIV Golf event earlier this month
DP World Tour hits members who played inaugural LIV series with £100,000 fines
They have also been banned from several forthcoming tournaments including the Scottish Open.
Rory McIlroy not impressed as Brooks Koepka becomes latest big name to join LIV
The world number two labelled the players who have joined the new series as “duplicitous” for the way they have handled their breakaway.
R&A confirms LIV Golf Series players will be allowed to compete at Open
The 150th Open Championship will get underway at St Andrews in three weeks’ time.
Matt Fitzpatrick turns to other major winners for advice on dealing with fame
Fitzpatrick won the US Open on Sunday.
Brooks Koepka set to join Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series
Koepka’s brother Chase played in the opening event at Centurion Club earlier this month.
Gary Player urges Matt Fitzpatrick to avoid ‘poison’ of modern-day coaching
Player tells US Open champion Fitzpatrick to learn from mistakes of recent major winners, saying: “The teaching today is the worst it has ever been.”
Matt Fitzpatrick’s caddie Billy Foster ready for ‘long party’ after US Open win
Foster won his first major after a 40-year career which includes spells working for the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke.
Matt Fitzpatrick backed to become a dominant force after winning first major
The Englishman claimed his first major title at Brookline.