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On Tour This Week – Westwood’s Bid For #1

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The FedEx Cup and the Ryder Cup may be over in the calendar might indicate that it is October but that doesn’t mean there is not a lot of premium golf on tap this week.

European Tour: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

The top pros return to Fife for the playing of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Phil Mickelson had plenty of chances to oust Tiger Woods from the number one position in the official world golf rankings of the last few months but this week it is Lee Westwood’s turn to attempt a climb to the top. Even with his long injury break he will need just a top two finish in Scotland to become the world’s top-ranked player. 

Nine members of the victorious European side at the Ryder Cup will tee it up in the championship. Euro Captain Colin Montgomerie and two of his Vice-Captains, Darren Clarke, and Paul McGinley will turn in their walkie-talkies in exchange for their clubs and head out onto the links themselves. The use of Kingsbarns, Carnoustie, and the Old Course should prove a fine test for all competitors.

Unfortunately due to an ankle injury 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen will have to let somebody else placed a trophy on the 18th green at the Old Course on Sunday.

Even with such a strong field all eyes will be on Westwood, even those of his European counterparts, as it has been a long time since one of their continental colleagues held the #1 position.

PGA Tour: McGladrey Classic

Its week two of the PGA Tour’s Fall Series, which finds the American tour in Georgia for the McGladrey Classic. This new event should become a favorite on tour with the beloved Seaside Course at Sea Island as the host.

Top-tier players had to deal with the FedEx Cup pressures but genuine drama is playing out at Sea Island with just this event and three others left for players to assert their position on the money list and ensure they’re playing privileges for 2011.

Even though he is coming off a loss at the Ryder Cup, Sea Island resident and former Masters champion Zach Johnson is the start of the show this week. Johnson has a win under his belt this year at Colonial and his straightforward style of play is perfect for the exquisite Seaside Course where a premium is put on accuracy.

Also keep eyes on Bill Haas coming off his Viking Classic win and looking to join Jim Furyk is the only three-time winners on the PGA Tour in 2010. 

Another Sea Island resident, Matt Kuchar, will also be on hand with a Ryder Cup hangover and be looking to further cement his top spot on the PGA Tour’s money list.

LPGA Tour: Navistar LPGA Classic

The ladies of the LPGA tour are in Prattville Alabama this week for the fourth playing of the Navistar LPGA classic. There will be a new champion crowned this week as 2008 and 2009 winner Lorena Ochoa retired earlier this year. 

Just fractions of a point separate the top five players in the Rolex Rankings and current #1 player Ai Miyazato and #3 ranked Cristie Kerr are starring in this week’s field. 

This is a 72 hole event being played on the Robert Trent Jones Trail Capitol Hill, Senator Course. 

With four round coverage on Golf Channel expect their cameras to be trained much of the week on Miyazato and Kerr with 15 year-old sponsor’s exemption Alexi Thompson also a part of the cast.

Nationwide Tour: Chattanooga Classic

Aussie Steven Bowditch looks to come off his win in California and add another in Tennessee.   Top finishers from last week’s Soboba Classic, Daniel Summerhays and Keegan Bradley, as also in the field at the 26th Nationwide Tour event of the season.

Each of those three players is virtually certain to finish in the top 25 and earn a PGA Tour card for 2011 so the real interest in this event is those still fighting to get into a similar position.

A couple of Canadian boys who have tasted time on the PGA Tour before, David Hearn and Jon Mills, sit in 26th and 27th position, respectively, along with # 25 man Scott Gutchewski, are all sitting out this week, so expect some real movement on the money list. 

After Chattanooga there are just two full-field events left to play before the Tour Championship. 

Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship

Jay Haas defends this week but at a different venue. The TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm is the host site for 2010 and most of tour’s best talent is on hand for the tour’s 5th and final major of the season.

Bernhard Langer will be trying to capture his 6th win of the year on the Champions Tour while Fred Couples will be seeking #4.

Michael Allen, coming of a 2nd place finish with the younger crowd at the Viking Classic, will try and add a 2nd Champions Tour major to his resume. 

You can view a digital version of the Championship’s program here.

 

This report to GolfWRX.com provided by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)

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Tour Mash: Rahm wins in Dubai, Cook sizzles to victory

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Two more points races reached their end this weekend. The LPGA season culminated in Florida with the Race to the CME Globe, while the European Tour concluded its Race to Dubai in, where else? Dubai! The PGA Tour played its final event until the new year, in Georgia, while the Ladies European Tour played its Sanya Open in China. Before American Thanksgiving revelry and remembrance set in, it’s time for one more tour mash.

LPGA Tour: A day of twos ends in a win for Ariya

Ariya Jutanugarn birdied her final two holes to win the CME Tour Championship. She was given the opportunity to win in regulation when Lexi Thompson pushed a 2-foot putt for par at the last. Although Thompson did not win the year’s final event, she captured 2 titles of her own: Vare Trophy for low scoring average and Race To CME Globe, the season’s points race.

How Ariya Jutanugarn tasted victory

The power game has arrived on the LPGA Tour, in case you missed it. Golfers such as Lexi, Ariya and Sung Hyun Park obliterate the orb, leaving little yardage to the green. When her game is firing, Ariya Jutanugarn is unstoppable. After bogey at the first hole on Sunday, the young golfer from Thailand etched six birdies into the final 17 holes, for a second-consecutive 67. Her birdie at the last came from 23 feet, an amazing putt to hole with victory on the line. Down it went, and up went the smile of a champion.

How the rest came up just shy of a win

With eerie similarity, Lexi Thompson’s card was the flip side of Ariya’s. Thompson made six birdies over her first 17 holes, but the hiccough at the last, her only bogey on the day, dropped her to 14-under par and opened the door for Jutanugarn. Thompson was on absolute fire on Sunday, hitting all 14 fairways and using the putter 28 times. Ariya, Kim Kaufman, Michelle Wie and Suzann Pettersen stood tied atop at 10-under, heading into round 4. Pettersen’s 72, Kaufman’s 71 and Wie’s 70 were simply not enough to keep pace with those coming from behind on Sunday. Ariya, however, was up to the challenge.

European Tour: Rahm wins in Dubai and Fleetwood breathes again

For a time, it seemed as though Justin Rose would win his third consecutive event in Europe and would squeeze past Fleetwood for the season points title. The former Englishman was in the midst of the greatest scoring run of his career, while the later Englishman seemed to have little petrol left in the tank. Then the back nine on Sunday happened, and everything changed.

How Jon Rahm won the DP World Tour

Shane Lowry made 10 birdies on Sunday, but he had one bogey. Rahm had half as many birdies and zero bogeys, and that last number made the difference. The young Basque played a stellar 132 over the closing 36 holes, eclipsed only by Lowry’s 131. Rahm fearlessly navigated his way around the Jumeirah Estates course, eeking out a one-shot win over Lowry and also hard-charging Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

How the others went home trophy-less

We all want to know about Rose. four birdies on the outward 9-holes staked him to a lead, and the greatest season comeback on a major tour was nearly written. With only three bogeys in his first 63 holes, Rose proceeded to bogey 12, 14 and 16, with only a birdie at the last to bring him to 17-under. He ended up two behind Rahm, and in second place in the Race to Dubai points race. It was a glorious campaign for Rose, and cements him as world player to watch in 2018. The Englishman tied for fourth with Sergio Garcia, Dean Burmeister and Dylan Fritelli, both of South Africa, on 17-under par.

PGA Tour: Cook collects First Tour win in Georgia

Fall is a time for young aspirants to make a mark on the PGA Tour. Austin Cook followed the script, birdieing 3-of-his-final-4 holes to stretch a single-shot lead into a four-stroke triumph. J.J. Spaun, a Web.Com tour graduate in 2017, was in the mix for the second consecutive week. He played well down the stretch, and earned a runner-up finish.

How Cook caught fire

Austin Cook played a veteran front-nine, with one bogey and one birdie. None of the chasers caught him, so the Arkansas alum continued to manage his game in the fairways-greens style. On the inward half, Cook took charge, with birdies at 15, 17 and 18, to move well in front of the runner-up. With the precision of a surgeon, Cook took apart the Sea Island course in impressive fashion. After his second-round 62, many expected him to have one weak round on the weekend, but 66-67 showed the his mettle.

How the others flamed out

Spaun really didn’t flame out, not like last week, when he caught the double-bogey train. A proven winner on other tours, Spaun should win in 2018. His game was solid, mixing in more birdies than bogeys, and his second-place finish was well-earned. Brian Gay might have been more comfortable than any other golfer this week, but he was just as erratic. Case in point: back nine. From holes 13 to 18, Gay made one birdie, two eagles, two pars and one double. Still, his numbers were low enough to secure solo third, one stroke behind Spaun and two in front of the fourth-place finishers.

Ladies European Tour: Boutier sizzles on back nine for win

Celine Boutier imagined a top-10 or top-5 when the third day dawned at Yalong Bay, in China. After bogeys on holes 4 and 5, she needed to gather herself in order to preserve her standing. From this day forward, “gather herself” in the dictionary will forever show a picture of Celine Boutier. Her six-birdie finish vaulted her past all challengers, to her first European Tour victory.

How Boutier bloomed

The recent Duke University graduate posted three rounds in the 60s, the only competitor to achieve that distinction at the Sanya Open. The Frenchwoman didn’t make a bogey until the 15th hole of her second round, but she was stuck in neutral from that hole through the 9th hole on Sunday, making only pars and bogeys. Something clicked at the turn, and Boutier regained the confidence that had produced 10 birdies during the tournament’s first half.

How the others gave chase

Solar Lee was in good standing on Sunday’s outward nine. She bounced back from an opening bogey with three birdies through the 9th, and held the top spot on the leader board at 7-under. Lee reached 9-under through 13, but made bogey at 14 to drop to 8-under. Then came the blossoming of Boutier, and Lee had to be satisfied with the runner-up spot. One spot behind Lee was Valdis Thora Jonsdottir, Iceland’s reigning professional golfer, at 7-under.

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Wednesday’s Photos from The 2017 RSM Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from The 2017 RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club — the Seaside course plays as a par 70 measuring 7,005 yards — in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

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Headlined by last week’s OHL Classic champion Patton Kizzire, and 2015 RSM Champion Kevin Kisner, this week’s field is filled with notable names including Ricky Barnes, Zac Blair, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Harris English, Tommy Gainey, Bill Haas, Beau Hossler, Zach Johnson, Smylie Kaufman, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell, Ollie Schniederjans, Brandt Snedeker, Hudson Swafford, Bubba Watson and others.

In last year’s RSM Classic, Mackenzie Hughes won in a five-man playoff to secure his first PGA Tour victory. He’s back in the field this year to defend his title.

Check out out photos from Sea Island G.C. below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

 

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2017 RSM Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from The 2017 RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club — the Seaside course plays as a par 70 measuring 7,005 yards — in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Related

Headlined by last week’s OHL Classic champion Patton Kizzire, and 2015 RSM Champion Kevin Kisner, this week’s field is filled with notable names including Ricky Barnes, Zac Blair, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Harris English, Tommy Gainey, Bill Haas, Beau Hossler, Zach Johnson, Smylie Kaufman, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell, Ollie Schniederjans, Brandt Snedeker, Hudson Swafford, Bubba Watson and others.

In last year’s RSM Classic, Mackenzie Hughes won in a five-man playoff to secure his first PGA Tour victory. He’s back in the field this year to defend his title.

Check out out photos from Sea Island G.C. below!

Tuesday’s Galleries

Special Galleries

 

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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