John Catlin has edged ahead at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters heading into the weekend thanks to two late birdies on day two.

Players have found it tough to break par so far in Spain, with Catlin the only one to do so in both of the first two rounds.

Indeed, as the competition enters its second half, only four players are under par.

Catlin, 29, looked to be heading into the clubhouse with a score of one over for the day, which would have seen a four-way share for the lead for a second successive day.

But the American – who is yet to earn a maiden win on the European Tour – claimed birdies on holes 16 and 17 to take a two-shot lead, despite only being three under for the tournament.

"I was hanging on in the middle of the round," he said. "I got off to a hot start again but then I started making bogeys, which you can do out here pretty easily if you miss a fairway here and a green there.

"I made a really good bogey on the ninth, that could have been a double pretty quickly. I hung in there all day and was able to hole putts there on the 16th, 17th and 18th."

Pablo Larrazabal, Connor Syme and Jamie Donaldson are the trio two shots back, while Wilco Nienaber is another stroke adrift at even par.

 

Jorge Campillo was in a four-way tie for the lead at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters after a difficult opening round.

Only five men went under par and Campillo was one of those to card a two-under-par 69, along with Connor Syme, Guido Migliozzi and John Catlin.

Pep Angles – the only other player to break 71 – is a shot further back.

Home hope Campillo, a two-time winner on the European Tour, admitted his approach to a course he knows well paid dividends.

"I am normally a patient man, especially on this golf course," he said in quotes published on the European Tour's website.

"You have to be and par is a good score on this golf course so it's easier for me to be patient on these kinds of courses."

The top-ranked players in the field found the going considerably tougher, with Bernd Wiesberger shooting a four-over 75, only one stroke better than Lee Westwood and Victor Perez.

The 2020 WGC-HSBC Champions has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to be played in Shanghai starting on October 29, the World Golf Championships event was officially cancelled on Tuesday.

In July, China ruled out hosting most international sporting events for the rest of the year due to COVID-19, which has killed more than 860,000 people worldwide

"We have worked extensively with all Tours, international officials, the China Golf Association and other local parties to find a solution to host the WGC-HSBC Champions," said Ty Votaw, PGA Tour executive vice-president, international.

"In line with Chinese government guidelines and being mindful of the logistical implications, we collectively made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event."

Votaw added: "The WGC-HSBC Champions has been a catalyst in the growth in interest and participation in our sport throughout China and Asia.

"While we are disappointed with not being able to bring the world’s best players to Shanghai this year, our thanks goes out to HSBC, the China Golf Association and the fans in China who have helped make this event so successful since it became a World Golf Championships event in 2009."

Teenager Rasmus Hojgaard claimed his second European Tour title at the UK Championship as he came through a play-off with Justin Walters at The Belfry.

Hojgaard, who won the Mauritius Open back in December, made it two wins from 15 starts and denied the 39-year-old Walters his first European Tour success.

The 19-year-old Dane carded a seven-under 65 to move to 14 under, an eagle three at the 17th key to him claiming the clubhouse lead.

Walters, who had led since his first-round 64, went round the final 18 in 70, a nervy par putt sealing his place in a play-off that Martin Kaymer missed out on with a bogey at the par-five 17th.

The South African recovered after sending his second shot into the rough on the first extra hole to save par and take the pair back to the 18th tee once more.

Yet he was unable to dig himself out of trouble after finding the bunker with his tee shot, giving Hojgaard the chance to two-putt from the edge of the green for a dramatic victory.

By claiming the second triumph of a remarkable rookie season, Hojgaard becomes the second-youngest multiple winner on the European Tour behind Matteo Manassero.

Justin Walters heads into the final round of the UK Championship with a two-shot lead, but Martin Kaymer stormed into contention at the Belfry.

Although Walters again got nowhere near his remarkable eight-under 64 from day one, his 69 on Saturday was a two-shot improvement on Friday's round and it was enough to keep him ahead of the field going into the decisive 18 holes.

It might have been even better were it not for the pair of bogeys carded on holes four and 11, but the South African remains in charge as he hopes to clinch his first win on the European Tour by going wire-to-wire.

And despite it being uncharted territory for him, Walters is feeling relaxed.

"I was really impressed with myself to be honest," he said. "I've never been in this position – on a Friday I don't think I've ever led a tournament – but I woke up unusually calm.

"I just wanted to go out there and stick with what I thought, keep playing aggressively and whatever came my way came my way. I stayed with it, gave myself the best chance of making birdies. For the most part I just wanted to be aggressive and I think that panned out for me today."

Kaymer looks primed to test Walters' mettle on Sunday, however, with the two-time major winner aiming for his first tour victory since the 2014 US Open.

A level-par 72 on Friday left Kaymer with a lot of work to get into contention, but a six-under 66 in round three left him two behind Walters but arguably looking a little sharper.

Bogeys on the sixth and 12th showed it was not all perfect for the 11-time European Tour event winner, but four birdies in five holes from the 13th onwards saw him finish Saturday in a tie for second alongside Frenchman Benjamin Hebert, who went around in 70.

"I was hitting the ball fine the last three days, I just needed one of those days where the putter was good and hot," Kaymer said. "This was one of those days."

Laurie Canter signed the score of the day with 65, leaving him as one of four – with Jorge Campillo, Rasmus Hojgaard and Marcus Armitage – on seven under for the tournament, three adrift of Kaymer and Hebert.

Justin Walters remains top of the UK Championship leaderboard at the Belfry despite failing to match the heights of his opening round on Friday.

Walters' superb eight-under 64 on Thursday put the South African three shots clear of the chasing pack going into round two.

That proved crucial to retaining his lead on day two of the final UK swing event on the European Tour, as he went around in 71 and saw his advantage cut to one stroke by Benjamin Herbert.

Despite a trickier day, Walters is not letting those difficulties impact him mentally as he maintained a calm demeanour on what was also the first anniversary of his father's death.

"It's quite special, today a year ago I lost my dad and I've just got quite a sombre, relaxed approach at the moment," he told the European Tour's website. "Whatever comes my way, comes my way.

"When something good happens, smile and enjoy it. That's got me through some tough moments already this week in terms of the situations I've found myself in. I plan to continue that on the weekend.

"It would be nice not to have to lose someone in my family for me to produce good golf. I'm working on that hard and I'm starting to gain some ground in all areas of my game. This has been a good test and this is what we play for."

The start of round two was delayed as 59 players had to return to complete their 18 holes, though none of them got any closer to Walters.

But once round one was finished, Paul Waring enjoyed a solid display and briefly managed to take a share of the lead at seven under par with a blemish-free 67 – his ascension to the top helped by Walters bogeying the second hole.

Although a birdie followed, another bogey on the sixth had Walters one over for the day at the turn.

Fortunately for Walters, he was not ousted from the top of the leaderboard permanently and his bogey-free back nine - which also included two birdies - kept him in control.

Hebert's three-under 69 made him the closest challenger on eight under for the tournament, with Bernd Wiesberger hitting a double-bogey six on the final hole to drop below third-placed Waring.

In a tie for fourth place with Wiesberger on six under were Marcus Armitage, Matthew Jordan and Ryan Fox, the latter of whom hit a fine 67.

 

The European Tour is heading to Cyprus for the first time after three new events were added to the 2020 schedule. 

The Cyprus Open will take place from October 29 to November 1 at the Aphrodite Hills Resort in Paphos, with the same venue then staging the Cyprus Classic a week later. 

Spectators will not be present at either tournament, which have been added by the European Tour as they look to build out the season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

Before heading to Cyprus, however, the Scottish Championship will be played at Fairmont St Andrews from October 15-18, extending the second UK Swing to four events as it follows on from the Irish Open, the Scottish Open and the PGA Championship. 

"We are pleased to be able to announce these three new tournaments as part of our 2020 International Schedule, which will continue to give valuable playing opportunities to our members," Ben Cowen, who is the European Tour’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer International, said. 

“We are grateful to Aphrodite Hills Resort and ISM (International Sports Management, who are promoting both Cyprus events) for their support in staging two consecutive tournaments as part of our first trip to Cyprus, and we look forward to showcasing the country to our global television audience. 

"Similarly, our thanks also go to Fairmont St Andrews, which has previously staged the Scottish Senior Open, for stepping up to now host the Scottish Championship, which extends our second UK Swing to four events. 

"As the home of golf, Scotland obviously has many top-class golfing venues and we are delighted to be visiting another of those." 

Meanwhile, the European Tour announced both the Turkish Airlines Open and the Nedbank Golf Challenge have been cancelled, while a venue is still to be confirmed for the Italian Open in late October. 

Justin Walters enjoyed a brilliant round in a weather-affected first day at the UK Championship to finish three ahead of the chasing pack.

Walters carded a superb 64 to set the clubhouse target early in the day, though play was then suspended at The Belfry.

In the final event of the UK swing of the European Tour, Walters made the best of the good weather early on to hit a bogey free round.

The South African had missed the cut by a single shot in three of his last four events in the UK, but found his form with six birdies and eagle to lead at eight under.

However, play was halted due to flooding in the early afternoon, with the event resuming in the evening.

"In any conditions or any situation when you shoot 64, you smile," Walters said. "I wasn't smiling with a couple of holes to go as I started to get really wet.

"During the lockdown I was in North Carolina and didn't have to face any golf courses being closed. I could practice as normal, played a few mini-tour events. I played a fair amount of golf and played some really good golf. I almost feel like I peaked in lockdown now. 

"I came back out here, and I was confident. Felt like I was going to have a good run. Missed three cuts by one, made one cut and didn't finish very high. It's been really disappointing to say the least, but that's golf."

Benjamin Heber, Joel Sjoholm, Scott Vincent and Bernd Wiesberger – a debutant at The Belfry – finished on five under.

Brendan Lawlor, meanwhile, enjoyed an "amazing" European Tour debut.

The Irishman, who is currently ranked fourth in the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD), turned professional in September 2019.

"The nerves were fine, just the usual first tee nerves," said the 22-year-old, who has Ellis-van Creveld syndrome.

"I hit a good one down the middle on the first and sort of relaxed then. I really enjoyed myself today. It felt amazing."

Romain Langasque claimed his first European Tour victory as a stunning final-round 65 saw him win the Wales Open.

The Frenchman's blemish-free round saw him claw back a five-shot deficit after overnight co-leaders Sebastian Soderberg and Connor Syme fell off the pace.

While Langasque was making light work of the Celtic Manor course, Soderberg and Syme found life much tougher, shooting 74 and 75 respectively.

Indeed, Langasque's closest competitor ended up being Finland's Sami Valimaki on six under overall.

Both have earned a spot at next month's U.S. Open by finishing in the top 10 of the UK Swing Order of Merit, an honour which will also provide significant consolation to Scotsman Syme.

Langasque's card showed six birdies as he demonstrated a deft touch around the greens and nerves of steel on them.

Such coolness under pressure was in stark contrast to Soderberg, who went down the last within a shot of the lead but found the water and signed for a triple-bogey eight.

Sebastian Soderberg conquered tricky conditions and the Celtic Manor course to share the lead with Connor Syme after the third round of the Wales Open.

Soderberg carded a blemish-free score of 68, including birdies at the fourth, ninth and 15th holes, to move to seven under par for the tournament.

The Swede joins Syme - who has held at least a share of top spot over all three days so far - at the summit, though a chasing pack will hope to make up ground on Sunday.

The duo sit three clear of Sami Valimaki, who in turn is a shot ahead of Edoardo Molinari and Thomas Pieters.

Strong winds and heavy rain made scoring difficult for the field, though Soderberg stayed calm to raise hopes of a second career victory on the European Tour.

"It's probably one of the better bogey-free rounds I've ever played," he told the European Tour's website.

"I hit a lot of good shots, always kept the ball in play off the tee and my short game was just perfect every time I was in trouble. It wasn't stress free, but it was very good."

For Syme, who birdied the par-five 18th for a third successive day to match Soderberg's overall total, there is the possibility of ending his wait for a title. The Scotsman finished in a tie for third a week ago in the Celtic Classic, which was held at the same venue.

There is also the added bonus of earning of a trip to the U.S. Open next month, as the top 10 in the UK Swing Order of Merit will qualify for the second major of the year.

Connor Syme will try to banish thoughts of a U.S. Open trip next month after putting himself in striking distance of a first Stateside major appearance.

The 25-year-old Scot earned top spot through 36 holes of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor after backing up his opening five-under-par 66 with a satisfying one-under 70 in blustery conditions on Friday.

He landed third place last week at the Celtic Classic, played on the same Newport course, and at six under he leads by one shot heading into the weekend this time.

As well as a share of the tournament's prize fund of one million euros, players have an eye on the UK Swing Order of Merit that could catapult them into the field for the second major of the year.

The leading 10 performers from the UK Swing - the short series of events arranged as the European Tour gets back on its feet amid the COVID-19 pandemic - will be handed a place in the Winged Foot line-up, where they will brush up against golf's global elite.

Syme, who began the week ninth on that list, has played in two Open Championships, missing the cut each time, and would relish a first nibble at a major in the United States.

The world number 233 said of the U.S. Open prospect: "I'd say that was definitely one of my goals once I'd started the UK Swing. To put myself in to a position to do that is obviously great, but it's not something you can really think about, there's so much that can happen.

"I'm just trying to finish as high up the leaderboard as I can and hopefully the rest will take care of itself but there's still a lot of golf to be played."

He found the going tough on Friday, saying: "That was brutal, to be honest. It was a real grind, that was some of the hardest conditions I've played in. I'm delighted with 70 today.

"Although both my bogeys were three-putts it was one of those days where you're just trying to find the green, and missing it on the correct side was key to be honest. So I really trusted my pace putting, I holed a couple of nice ones but that was the key to a solid score in that wind."

Sweden's Sebastian Soderberg, who began the week 60th on the Order of Merit, posted a one-under 70 to reach four under par, a score shared by Sihwan Kim, Liam Johnston, Nacho Elvira, Jordan Smith and Li Haotong.

Elvira is the only player remaining in the field who is yet to register a bogey.

Connor Syme birdied the last to hold a share of the lead with Jordan Smith after the first round of the Wales Open.

Syme is bidding to qualify for the U.S. Open this week, with four spots up for grabs in the last of five events with points to be won in the UK Swing mini Order of Merit.

The Scotsman made a great start at The Celtic Manor Resort, where gusty conditions provided a real test, with a five-under 66.

Syme already occupied one of the remaining spots that would ensure he tees off in the major at Winged Foot Golf Club from September 17-20 and a seventh birdie of the day at the 18th lifted him level with Smith as he attempts to make it mission accomplished.

There were bogeys at the eighth and 17th for the 25-year-old, but on both occasions he responded to those setbacks by hitting straight back with birdies.

Every player started the tournament on Thursday in with a chance of playing in the second major of the year and Smith put himself firmly in the mix, dropping just one shot at the fourth.

The Englishman made three birdies on the front nine and as many after the turn to sit top of a congested leaderboard on his own before he was joined by Syme. 

Callum Shinkwin, Sebastian Soderberg, Kurt Kitayama and Robert MacIntyre are nicely poised just two shots behind the co-leaders.

Thomas Pieters is among six players just a further stroke back, while Thomas Bjorn shot a four-over 75 just four days after completing a 210 kilometre charity walk from Wentworth to Wales.

The European Tour has announced new dates for two of its flagship events, the Scottish Open and the BMW PGA Championship.

Both tournaments, part of the lucrative Rolex Series, have been brought forward by a week at the start of October, with the Scottish Open taking place from October 1-4 at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick.

The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in Surrey moves into the vacated spot from October 8-11.

Those events follow the Irish Open, which is to be hosted at Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Northern Ireland, from September 24-27 and will mark the second UK swing of the season, with the first culminating at The Belfry next week.

The Tour said it made the decision in line with ensuring the strategy of staging consecutive tournaments in geographical clusters wherever possible is maintained amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sam Horsfield landed his second European Tour title of the month as he triumphed at the Celtic Classic on Sunday.

The 23-year-old claimed a maiden success on the tour in the Hero Open at the start of August, and although he followed that up with a disappointing outing in the English Championship, he bounced back impressively in Newport.

It was Horsfield's seven-under 64 on day two that propelled him into contention, and although Connor Syme led heading into the final round, the eventual winner carded an unblemished 67 to post an overall score of 18 under par for the week.

Play was interrupted due to thunderstorms with Horsfield still having the entire back nine to traverse, but at three under for the day at that point, he had the lead and was in charge.

After the two-hour suspension, Horsfield only managed to add one more birdie, but crucially he did not drop another shot, with a massive par save on the 17th easing any nerves ahead of the final hole.

He safely negotiated the par-five 18th to finish two clear of Belgian runner-up Thomas Detry, with Syme alongside Andrew Johnston and Thomas Pieters in a share of third.

 

Connor Syme carded a blemish-free 63 to climb to the summit of the Celtic Classic leaderboard on Saturday.

The Scot jumped nine places to sit top of the pile on 15 under heading into the final round, with overnight leader Sam Horsfield a stroke behind.

Syme racked up eight birdies as he put himself in position to claim a maiden European Tour title.

It will be the first time he has led going into the last 18 holes and the 25-year-old is feeling in good touch.

"I'm finding a bit of form. I made the cut at the Hero Open and then gradually a little bit better last week," he told the European Tour website.

"I found something a little bit in my swing and I'm just rolling with that really.

"It's a new experience for me – I've obviously had a second place before – but it's the first time with a chance to win. I'm just going to take it as it comes. 

"It's obviously going to be great. It's a great opportunity and that's all you can hope for at the start of any week."

Thomas Pieters' scorecard was far more erratic as the Belgian signed for a 70 that included two eagles and three birdies.

However, the world number 77's round was spoiled by three bogeys and a triple-bogey seven at the 15th, leaving him four shots off the pace.

Sweden's Sebastian Soderberg sits third on 13 under, with Pieters' compatriot Thomas Detry joining Andrew Johnston and Adrian Meronk on 12 under.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.