Ewen Ferguson clinches victory in ISPS Handa World Invitational

By Sports Desk August 14, 2022

Scotsman Ewen Ferguson held onto the lead across the last day of the ISPS Handa World Invitational to clinch victory and his second tour win of the season, despite posting a disappointing score in the final round.

Ferguson's score of 69 was the joint-highest among those to have finished in the top four, but he remained ahead courtesy of a stunning day-one score, where he finished nine under par.

Borja Virto and Connor Syme, finishing joint-second, could only cut their deficit by a single stroke as they finished three behind Ferguson, while Italian Renato Paratore surged up the standings to finish joint-fourth with a final round score of six under par.

Paratore's 64 was tied as the best score in the final round with Jordan Smith, with the 12th-ranked Brit rising 14 places on the final day to finish joint-seventh.

In the women's tournament, Maja Stark won her first LPGA event with a final round score of 63 - shattering the course record to finish five strokes ahead of second-placed Allisen Corpuz.

The Swede entered the final day tied for fourth place but a stunning performance to finish 10 under par in the fourth round propelled her to the top of the standings.

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  • Suzann Pettersen ‘out of words’ after Europe square Solheim Cup ahead of singles Suzann Pettersen ‘out of words’ after Europe square Solheim Cup ahead of singles

    Captain Suzann Pettersen was almost lost for words after Europe maintained a brilliant fightback to head into the final day of the 18th Solheim Cup needing six points to retain the trophy.

    After losing the opening foursomes 4-0 on Friday, Pettersen’s side rallied to win eight of the 12 points available to level the scores at 8-8 and keep alive their hopes of an unprecedented third straight win in the biennial contest.

    “I’m out of words, but we have to remember we’re not there (yet),” Pettersen told Sky Sports.

    “There’s still 12 points up for grabs tomorrow but we made quite a comeback, now we’re tied and now we just put it into fifth gear and we keep going.”

    Both sides won two of the Saturday morning foursomes before the home side took the fourballs session 3-1 for the second day running, home favourite Carlota Ciganda delighting the large crowds with her third win from three matches.

    Ciganda partnered Swedish rookie Linn Grant to a 2&1 victory over Danielle Kang and two-time major winner Lilia Vu, the European pair covering the front nine in eight under par with Grant being an incredible six under on her own ball.

    Leona Maguire and Charley Hull had earlier combined to beat Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing 4&3, while Madelene Sagstrom and Emily Pedersen defeated Rose Zhang and Andrea Lee 2&1.

    The only win for the United States came courtesy of Cheyenne Knight and Angel Yin, who defeated Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall – who had sat out the first three sessions – on the 18th.

    Maguire, who will be one of three European players to contest all five sessions, said: “One more day to give it our best shot and I think that’s the great thing about this team, there’s so much fight. We’ve never given up.

    “I said to Suzann I needed someone with energy for this afternoon and Charley has lots of it. We had a lot of fun, lots of chats, lots of good times with the caddies, and so it was just a really enjoyable walk out there.”

    Hull, who has played just twice as she nurses a neck injury, added: “I sprained my neck earlier in the week, sort of a facet sprain, and still hurts a little bit, but it’s gotten a lot better.

    “But playing with Leona today was great fun. She’s always in the game and she played unbelievable.”

    Grant and fellow Swede Maja Stark had earlier secured a vital win in the foursomes to keep their side just two points adrift of the United States after the third session.

    Ciganda had led from the front as she partnered Pedersen to victory over Vu and Jennifer Kupcho, but defeats for Maguire and Anna Nordqvist and Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier gave the visitors a 7-4 lead until Grant and Stark closed out their match with Kang and Lee in brilliant fashion.

    Stark holed from 25 feet for birdie on the 17th to move one up and, with their opponents in close on the par-five 18th, Grant holed from 10 feet for birdie to seal the win.

    Grant told Sky Sports: “It’s amazing. The last two holes gives us so much momentum. We’re on such a high right now, it feels great.”

    The close friends had lost the opening foursomes on Friday and were split up for the afternoon fourballs, but repaid the faith of Europe captain Pettersen on Saturday.

    “It’s so much fun, especially getting that confidence from Suzann putting us together,” Stark said. “Two rookies has got to be a little hard for her to put out in the first group yesterday.

    “I think there were a lot of nerves involved on the first few holes yesterday and getting to play with her (Grant) again is just amazing and I knew that we could do it. It was just about letting loose and just doing it.”

    Nordqvist and Maguire had been two up after eight holes against Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang, but bogeyed the ninth, 10th and 11th to fall behind.

    A birdie on the 15th got the European pair back on level terms, only for them to bogey the 17th as Nordqvist appeared to choose the wrong club and fired her tee shot into a bunker at the back of the green.

    Hall and Boutier, who had surrendered their unbeaten record on day one, never recovered from losing the first two holes to Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz and were unsurprisingly left out of the afternoon fourballs.

  • Rory McIlroy much prefers Europe’s Ryder Cup build-up to ‘well rested’ USA team Rory McIlroy much prefers Europe’s Ryder Cup build-up to ‘well rested’ USA team

    Rory McIlroy believes Europe’s preparations for the Ryder Cup could give them an edge over a “well rested” American side.

    All 12 members of Luke Donald’s team made the cut in the BMW PGA Championship last week and seven finished in the top 10, with Tyrrell Hatton second, Jon Rahm fourth, Viktor Hovland fifth and Tommy Fleetwood sixth.

    McIlroy, who only made the weekend thanks to a birdie on the 18th in round two, carded closing scores of 67 and 65 to climb into a tie for seventh, with 54-hole leader Ludvig Aberg and Sepp Straka part of a tie for 10th.

    In stark contrast, only three Americans will have played competitively since the end of August when they tee it up in Rome a month later, with Justin Thomas and Max Homa playing the Fortinet Championship and LIV Golf’s Brooks Koepka in action in Chicago.

    “The Americans will certainly be well rested,” McIlroy said.

    “I don’t think there’s any substitute for being sharp and playing tournaments. The only thing is it’s match play and not stroke play so it’s a little bit different, but I don’t think us playing a little bit more over these last few weeks is going to hurt us at all.

    “If anything I would say it’s certainly better for me. I wouldn’t have liked to go into the Ryder Cup with my last start being the Tour Championship but that’s personal preference. I like to play my way into the big events.”

    McIlroy felt Donald would have viewed the Wentworth leaderboard as “awesome” and was full of praise for the former world number one’s captaincy since succeeding Henrik Stenson after he was sacked for joining LIV Golf.

    “I think he’s been fantastic,” the four-time major winner added. “He took the job in very weird circumstances I guess but he’s taken it in his stride and he’s been fantastic with me.

    “I’m sure he’s had a lot more interaction with some of the rookies and the new guys that are on the team. I feel at this point I can take care of myself a little bit.

    “If you speak to everyone we’ve all been really pleased with the job him and all of his team have done so far; the vice-captains are a big part of it and Ryder Cup Europe with all the backroom staff and everyone involved. It’s been great so far.”

    McIlroy is the most experienced player on the European team and will be making his seventh Ryder Cup appearance in Rome, but Donald has made it clear where the Northern Irishman’s priorities will lie.

    “Yeah, he doesn’t expect me to stand up there and make big speeches or say a lot of things,” said McIlroy, who was reduced to tears by winning just one point from four matches in the record defeat at Whistling Straits.

    “But if I can lead by example and be the first one to the team room if there is a meeting, first one on the bus on the way to the course; anything like that where I’m still doing all the things that you should do and not getting complacent, that’s the way I would like to lead.

    “And, as Luke said, lead with my clubs and making birdies and getting blue on the board.”

  • United States lead 7-5 against Europe in Solheim Cup United States lead 7-5 against Europe in Solheim Cup

    Swedish rookies Linn Grant and Maja Stark secured a vital win as Europe remained two points behind the United States at 7-5 after the third session of the Solheim Cup.

    Home favourite Carlota Ciganda had led from the front as she partnered Emily Pedersen to victory over Lilia Vu and Jennifer Kupcho in the opening foursomes at Finca Cortesin.

    However, defeats for Anna Nordqvist and Leona Maguire, and Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier gave the visitors a 7-4 lead until Grant and Stark closed out their match with Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee in brilliant fashion.

    Stark holed from 25 feet for birdie on the 17th to move one up and, with their opponents in close on the par-five 18th, Grant holed from 10 feet for birdie to seal the win.

    Grant told Sky Sports: “It’s amazing. The last two holes gives us so much momentum. We’re on such a high right now, it feels great.”

    The close friends had lost the opening foursomes on Friday and were split up for the afternoon fourballs, but repaid the faith of Europe captain Suzann Pettersen on Saturday.

    “It’s so much fun, especially getting that confidence from Suzann putting us together,” Stark said. “Two rookies has got to be a little hard for her to put out in the first group yesterday.

    “I think there were a lot of nerves involved on the first few holes yesterday and getting to play with her (Grant) again is just amazing and I knew that we could do it. It was just about letting loose and just doing it.”

    Nordqvist and Maguire had been two up after eight holes against Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang, but bogeyed the ninth, 10th and 11th to fall behind.

    A birdie on the 15th got the European pair back on level terms, only for them to bogey the 17th as Nordqvist appeared to choose the wrong club and fired her tee shot into a bunker at the back of the green.

    Hall and Boutier, who had surrendered their unbeaten record on day one, never recovered from losing the first two holes to Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz and were unsurprisingly left out of the afternoon fourballs, with Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall making her first appearance alongside Nordqvist.

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