Dunhill Cup: Spain in daylight robbery

SPEAKING OF today's clash between Spain and South Africa in the Rugby World Cup, Jose Maria Olazabal promised: "It will be quite easy for us, so we are going to kick some ass." With the enthusiasm of Sergio Garcia, and Miguel Angel Jimenez as an unlikely, but highly effective, anchorman, Spain have a better chance when the golfers of the two nations meet in a far more even contest in this morning's semi-finals of the Alfred Dunhill Cup.

SPEAKING OF today's clash between Spain and South Africa in the Rugby World Cup, Jose Maria Olazabal promised: "It will be quite easy for us, so we are going to kick some ass." With the enthusiasm of Sergio Garcia, and Miguel Angel Jimenez as an unlikely, but highly effective, anchorman, Spain have a better chance when the golfers of the two nations meet in a far more even contest in this morning's semi-finals of the Alfred Dunhill Cup.

South Africa, who could become the first country to win the event three times in succession, comfortably swept aside the English 3-0 to book a place against the team they beat in last year's final. Retief Goosen's 66 was four too few for Lee Westwood while Ernie Els dropped two late shots in his 67 against David Howell. More concerned about their team's progress with the oval ball, Frost added: "We don't want England to lose twice in the same day."

As the world rankings have been used to decide the seedings, Spain are ranked No 2 to South Africa's No 3, but they only survived after a dramatic turnaround in their final group match against Ireland.

It might have been stretching a point for Paul McGinley, the Irish captain, to describe Spain's comeback as greater than the Americans in the Ryder Cup, but only just. Spurred on by a fax signed by the Irish rugby squad, the country's emerald-sweatered golfers made a stunning start. Conditions were perfect for scoring before the breeze got up and Darren Clarke was seven under after 11, McGinley four under at the turn and Padraig Harrington four under after five to be up by four strokes in all three matches. Only McGinley hung on to beat Olazabal 68-70, a two-shot swing at the last to the Spaniard making the result appear closer than it was.

Clarke's problems, after Garcia had birdied the 13th to go four under himself, started when he found Hell bunker with his second at the 14th. He had to chip out backwards and took a bogey six. But when he birdied the next, and his opponent missed from inside, even Garcia's optimism wavered at three behind with three to play.

Yet Clarke, who earlier in the summer lost the European Open after a 60 in the second round and a hole-in-one in the third, dropped another shot via a bunker at the 16th and then double-bogeyed the 17th. His right foot slipped on the drive, which ended up way to the left, by the second fairway.

This is not a route usually plotted by caddies on a hole where the green is famously and fearsomely protected by road behind and bunker in front. So the surprise was genuine for both Clarke and his bagman, Billy Foster, when the Irishman's second found a pot bunker 70 yards short of the green. Again he could only chip out, and he took three more to get down while Garcia had played the most delightful approach, a low-runner with a six- iron, and just missed the putt to take the lead.

But Garcia made no mistake with his birdie chance at the last, Clarke only parring the hole after leaving his second short of the Valley of Sin, and now the attention was on Jimenez, who had been three behind before he birdied the 14th. The Spaniard then also birdied the 16th and holed from 12 feet for another at the last to force extra time against Harrington.

Playing against his Ryder Cup foursomes partner, Harrington had done nothing wrong but saw Jimenez, who beat Colin Montgomerie at the 19th to secure Spanish qualification on the same day a year ago, again hole from a similar distance at the first for his fourth birdie in six holes. Jimenez had said he would be there when needed. "I promised and I always make my promises," he said. Olazabal added: "He is a warrior."

"I'm stunned that we were beaten," said McGinley, whose team were a combined 11 under par. "Padraig is bitterly disappointed and Darren is 10-times worse. He feels he has let everyone down. We were all under par very early on but somehow they wriggled free. I'll be surprised if they don't go on to win. It seemed destined for Jimenez to hole that putt at the first."

Destiny seems to be a full-time companion for Garcia, the 19-year-old Spanish captain on his debut in the event. Garcia, still in his first professional season and making his debut at the Home of Golf, took to the Old Course immediately but even so his three successive 67s, leaving El Nino one behind Carlos Franco's 16 under, is remarkable scoring. Tiger Woods was 14 under for four rounds here last year and two such brilliant shotmakers should enjoy themselves at next year's Open at St Andrews.

Franco's second 65 of the week, beating the 57-year-old Isao Aoki by 12 strokes, could not prevent defeat for Paraguay by Japan but Australia's 2-1 win over Scotland took the team from Down Under through to meet Sweden in the other semi-final. Only Mark O'Meara was a winner for the Americans as the No 1 seeds lost 2-1 to Sweden, for whom Gabriel Hjertstedt and Jarmo Sandelin were convincing victors over Payne Stewart and Tom Lehman.

It is now four years running that a home nation has not made it to the semi-finals while Japan were denied a place in the last four for the first time in nine years because they lost to Australia on Thursday, a result that hinged on Craig Parry's pitch-in for eagle on the 18th.

Sport
sportLive lap-by-lap coverage of the season finale
Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
News
Former civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin