Fernandez-Castano denies Mulroy at Italian Open

Zeb's Tee Totallers 2012 Fantasy Race to Dubai team

Zeb’s Tee Totallers 2012 Fantasy Race to Dubai team

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“It felt like match play out there and I’m delighted to have come out on top,” – Fernandez-Castaño, upon winning the Italian Open at Royal Park I Roveri.

Where I picked him frm this weekend, I don’t know, only that his name was screaming at me when I was choosing my Fantasy Race to Dubai Team, this week.

On the same day that I had a reminder frm the European Tour about choosing my team, I had an e-mail from Ben at PaddyPower, asking me if I fancied a free bet on the Italian Open.

Had I only the same conviction after I’d picked my team  when Ben’s offer came through I could well have made myself a few bob from Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño’s win. Always in hindsight, eh?

Had I done my research and known that the 31-year old Spaniard had won here before, I may well have been even more tempted.

With Simon Dyson winning a hat-trick of titles at the KLM this year, Lee Westwood retaining the Indonesian Masters and Luke Donald repeating his heroics at Wentworth in Spring, it’s been a year of golfers winning championships they’ve already got under their belt at some time in the past.

Fernandez-Castaño left it until late to finally get the win by two shots after going into the weekend session having headed the leaderboard, but surrenedered it to valint runner up Garth Mulroy going into the final day.

You can understand where Gonzalo was coming from when he made the match-play statement, with the lead passing between the final pairing all the way along the final eighteen holes.

It was four consecutive birdies at the half way point that really put the Spaniard in the driving seat, but even then Mulroy fought back to level the score on the 70th hole of the competition weekend.

English: Nicolas Colsaerts, Belgian golfprofes...

Nicolas Colsaerts, golf-pro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Even though Nicolas Colsaerts had held the lead early in the day, he made heavy work of the back nine and it was a two horse race on the last two holes of the weekend that decided the 2012 Italian Open.

With Gonzalo’s final score of -24 under for the tourney, you’d think that a par and a birdie on the last two may have jeopardised the Spaniard’s chances.

However, it was the South African Mulroy who found trouble on both the 71st and 72nd holes that allowed those scores to be enough for Gonzalo to pick up his sixth Euroean tour title.

Mulroy found the sandtraps on both of the last two holes, bogeying seventeen and parring eighteen, gifting Gonzalo the title by two clear shots.

It was just the tonic Gonzalo needed after being pipped to Team Europe’s Ryder cup team by the aforementioned Colsaerts.

Rather than arriving in Italy on his usual Tuesday to get acclimatised for a Tour event, Gonzalo stayed back a day to see his children start the new term at school.

Perhaps this is a new beginning for Gonzalo, too. He’s spoken to Olly about not making the team for Medinah and fully understands why he’s not been included.

He knows himself, his performances have not been polished and consistent enough throughout the season.  It was that simple.

But that was set aside in Italy as he took his first title since last November and, more importantly, scored Zeb’s Tee Totallers maximum points in the Fantasy Race to Dubai – Go, Go, Go, Gonzalo!

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Can Dyson clean up again at the KLM Open?

Nederlands: Nicoles Colsaerts op KLM_Open_2010

Nicolas Colsaerts, KLM Open 2010
(wikipedia)

 

The European Tour this week heads off to the KLM Open at Hilversumsche GC; no disrespect to any of the golfers involved, but there is a marked lack of absence of the OWGR‘s top ten European golfers, those who have qualified for the Ryder Cup automatically giving the trip to Holland a miss this weekend to feature over the other side of The Atlantic in the BMW Championship on the PGA Tour.  Well, almost all are stateside already.

Martin Kaymer obviously feels the need to prove his qualification in the tenth and final automatic spot is justified and Nicolas Colsaerts, as promised, wants to justify his wild-card selection into the Ryder Cup team with a good performance in The Netherlands this weekend.

Zebs Teetotallers Week 36 2012

Zeb’s Teetotallers Week 36 2012

As for Zeb’s Tee Totallers, the Fantasy Race To Dubai Team as chosen by yours truly, all I can say is that at least five of my choices from last week are making the trip across the North Sea, giving me a chance to field a full-strength, ten-man team unlike last week, in the hope of picking up a few points after a disastrous week last time out at the Omega.

Simon Dyson, having secured the hat-trick for this title at last year’s KLM Open has to be my favourite to pick up the trophy; if he does, it will be for an amazing fourth time for the same event and an astonishing achievement for the English golfer.  But don’t write off Colsaerts, either.  He will so want to thank Jose Marie Olazábal for his inclusion for the trip to Medinah, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he came away with the KLM, or at least a top five finish, this year.

Zeb’s Tee Totallers also includes Darren Clarke, the recently ousted Open champion.  Whilst his year of being British Open champion was a rip-roaring success on a personal level for the Northern Irish golfer, his attention now needs to focus on the fairways and greens again.  Off the golf course, everything may have been rosy but life between the tees has been difficult for Clarke this year.  Let’s hope he can turn that around this weekend and bag me a few points in the Fantasy Race To Dubai.

With the likes of Rose, McIlroy, Westwood and Donald sitting the trip to Holland out in favour of Crooked Stick, Indianapolis, this week’s Tee Totallers takes on a very unfamiliar look but, each of the inclusions on their day could be in with a shot at winning.  And that’s little to do with absence of the top golfers, that’s more down to the strength in depth offered by the European Tour, these days. If – and this is a big if – I can prise a few quid from her abominable purse, Colsaerts to finish top five and Simon Dyson to win the title again seem like awfully good bets.