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Tour Mash: Hoffman edges Reed in Texas, Bryan Brother earns ’17 PGA Tour card

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PGA Tour: Hoffman edges Reed at the Valero Texas Open

Samson (aka Charley Hoffman) has decided to grow his hair out again. Given his work at the Valero Texas Open, his locks might soon rival Graeme DeLaet’s beard. Hoffman birdied his final hole of the week (always a good sign) and nipped Patrick Reed at the finish line by that single shot. Plenty of golfers made runs at the title. Overnight leader Ricky Barnes held the lead on his front nine, while Martin Piller jumped briefly into the top spot on his back nine. Both golfers tied for 4th, three back of the champion.

The stretch run came down to Hoffman and Reed, with the Texan Reed making birdie first on No. 18 to catch Hoffman. With the stage set for a dramatic finish, Hoffman did not disappoint. He drained a 9-foot birdie putt from the green’s left edge to take ownership of a fourth career PGA Tour title.

Related: See the clubs Hoffman used to win.

LPGA Tour: Nomura wins Swinging Skirts

Unfortunately for the field, Haru Nomura has little disdain for the challenging conditions that showed up Sunday in San Francisco. The 23-year-old native of Japan dodged the wind, cold, thick rough and general discomfort to finish at 9-under for the week. She won her second event of 2016 by four strokes over Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa.

“I like tight courses,” Nomura said. “You guys will find this strange, but I like windy situations. I like playing in the wind. I like tough situations, so when I spoke to the caddie, even before the championship last week in Hawaii, I told him, I’m going to come here and win this tournament because I really like this course. I enjoy this course. I’m glad that I was able to deliver on what I told my caddie. The rough is deep, and the greens are fast and difficult and firm, and so everything I was presented with this week is conditions that I enjoy playing in.”

World No. 1 Lydia Ko, near the lead after two rounds, drifted eight off Nomura’s pace on the weekend. Na Yeon Choi was one shot back of Nomura with four holes to play, but was tripped up by a double bogey on No. 15 and a bogey on No. 16 to fall into a tie for third with Gerina Piller at 4-under.

Web.com Tour: Bryan wins, earns his ’17 PGA Tour card

Wesley Bryan and Brad Fritsch each hoped to secure a second 2016 victory on the Web.com Tour at the El Bosque Mexico Championship. Fritsch struggled, but Bryan burst from the gates on Sunday with three birdies in his first five holes. He held off hard-charging Richy Werenski for a four-shot win.

Bryan finished at 19-under for the week, and the second Web.com win secured a spot on the PGA Tour for 2017. One more win on the circuit this year will result in an instant promotion to the big Tour for Bryan. Fritsch moved into the top-3 in the season-long chase for a PGA Tour card.

Related: See the clubs Bryan used to win.

European Tour: A Monday finish at Shenzhen

It seemed the 72nd hole would never come for the Shenzhen International. A spate of weather-related interruptions, including a back-nine fog delay, postponed the finale to Monday morning. The event’s conclusion, though, ensured that it would be memorable. At least six golfers made a run at the Tiger Trophy that went to the winner, but the only one to hold it was the fellow who had lead from the beginning.

Soomin Lee came back to the field after running ahead for most of the event, then seized the title on a final morning when greens were soft and nerves were frayed. The 22-year old put aside the memory of a late collapse in February at the Maybank Malaysia Open, where two double bogeys relegated him to second place. Lee birdied No. 16 and then carded an eagle No. 17 with a daring approach across a lake to establish a gap that allowed for a conservative bogey at the last.

Two strokes back of the champion were Holland’s Joost Luiten and South African Brandon Stone. Luiten was runner-up for a second consecutive week, while Stone was angling for victory number two of the young season.

Kim earns LA victory, Allen/Austin win on Champions Tour

John Young Kim took down an international field at the PGA Tour Latinoamerica’s Guatemala Open, rebounding from a three-over stretch on Nos. 13 and 14 with birdies on two of his last four holes. Giving chase were Puma Dominguez of Argentina and Corey Connors of Canada, each finishing two shots back of the victor. Kim overtook Rafael Echenique for the lead on Day 2 and never looked back. His final-round 71 gave him a score of 15-under 273 on the week, good for a maiden PGA Tour Latinoamerica victory.

On the senior circuit, the Woody Austin express rolled into the Ozarks, picked Michael Allen up as a passenger and left town with another win. On his own, Austin had picked up victories in two of his last three events. Paired with Allen at the Legends of Golf, Austin found the partner format to his liking. With the title on the line on the final hole, Allen tucked his tee shot on the par-3 inside 20 feet, then made the putt to seal the victory. The duo outlasted their playing partners, David Frost and Roger Chapman, by that single stroke. Frost and Chapman made a final-day run at the leaders, but were unable to overtake the Austin Express.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

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Equipment

Tiger Woods opts for lead tape on his Newport 2 rather than a heavier putter: Here’s why it makes sense

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After days of speculation about which putter Tiger Woods might end up with an attempt to tame the greens at Royal Portrush, we now officially know he settled on his old faithful GSS Scotty Cameron but with a twist—some added lead tape.

The whole reason the speculation was in high gear early in the week was because of Tiger was spotted with a new custom Scotty that had the Studio Select weights in the sole to increase head weight to help with slow greens, something Tiger has talked about in the past—especially when it comes to the greens at The Open Championship.

We can even look back a few years ago when Tiger finally put a Nike putter in play, the original Method (those were nice putters) and talked about both the increased head weight and the grooves on the face to help get the ball rolling on slower greens.

The decision to stick with the old faithful with added lead tape goes beyond just a comfort level, even if the two putters look the same at address, it’s about feel and MOI around the axis.

Let me explain. Sure the putter heads weight the same, but depending on where the mass is located it will change the MOI. The putter with the Select weights vs. lead tape in the middle will have a higher MOI because there is more weight on the perimeter of the head—it’s like a blade vs. cavity back iron. Sure, two 7-irons can weigh the same but the performance will vary significantly.

For a player with such deft feel like Tiger Woods, any change like that can could cause doubt. Tweaking an already great putting stroke and on the eve of the last major of the year is not really something you want to do, which is why it isn’t surprising he stuck with his legendary Newport 2.

Lead tape in the middle allows Tiger to increase the head weight with very little change to the natural rate of rotation for hit putter and hopefully manage the slower Portrush greens better.

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Equipment

Tour Van Intel @ The Open: P790 UDI seeding, possible new putter for Tiger, Bryson with PXG wedges, Spieth in T100 irons

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Whispers from the tour vans at The Open Championship, via our Johnny Wunder’s crack reporting. JW has his finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the world of reps, techs, new builds, and new product. Here are his notes on equipment switches of note from Royal Portrush.

1. Tony Finau had a Ping Blueprint 2-iron built up. The strategy here is self-explanatory: knee-high fastballs.

2. Tiger Woods was seen testing a heavier headed Scotty Cameron proto that is a replica of his famous wand that he’s used to win 14/15 majors. In addition, he also added lead tape to the back of his famous Scotty. The strategy here is to create a heavier head feel which is helpful on slower greens.

3. Do we see Bryson Dechambeau with PXG wedges in his bag?! The rumor is after messing around with a friend’s wedges during a practice round, he liked, he wanted, and he now has. Where this will go from here is anybody’s guess.

4. TaylorMade has distributed several Proto P790 UDI 2-irons this week. Tiger, Rory, Fleetwood, DJ, Rahm, all testing amongst others.

5. Jason Day is testing a new TaylorMade Spider X Chalk which would be the first switch he’s made from his Red Spider Tour in a long time. DJ is as per usual testing new putters he was seen with a Spider Copper Mini. What he will land on for the Open is anyone’s guess.

6. Jordan Spieth is now into a set of Titleist T100 irons: 5-9, Project X 6.5 shafts.

Per Titleist…

“While Spieth waited to put the T100’s in the bag until the season’s final major, he is not unfamiliar with the iron. In fact, according to lead Titleist Tour Representative, J.J. VanWezenbeeck, Jordan was clearly the most influential player in the development process.”

“It was over two years ago that Jordan and [Titleist Director of Iron Development] Marni Ines had already started discussing what Jordan was looking for in a next generation iron,” said VanWezenbeeck. “The keys for Jordan were sole, offset, and overall look. As we created early prototypes and discussed specifics with Jordan and other players, we found an opportunity to take everything we learned with the AP2 line and build an entirely new iron. There was an obvious challenge to surpass the most played tour iron in the world.”

“The final T100 prototype was revealed to Jordan and other select players during a Titleist photo shoot at Scioto CC during the week of the Memorial.”

“Jordan immediately commented that the offset and top line was everything he wanted,” said VanWezenbeeck. “As we moved to the tee, Jordan kept commenting to Marni about how the club set up and the look was just what he was looking for. Knowing we succeeded in those categories, now the question became, ‘are you getting the performance of the AP2 line and more, despite being in a sleeker chassis?’ His performance and responses at the hitting session confirmed we succeeded at what we set out to do.”

7. Webb Simpson is also into a set of Titleist 620 MB irons: 5-9, True Temper Dynamic Gold TI X100 shafts.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Tuesday & Wednesday at the U.S. Open

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links!

We have plenty of general galleries packed with a bundle of great photos in our forums, as well as specialized and WITB galleries for you to enjoy. Here are ten interesting photos from Tuesday and Wednesday to get you fired up ahead of today’s opening round!

Bernd Wiesberger testing the new Aldila Rip X proto shaft.

Checking out Paul Casey’s custom Mizuno irons.

New Mitsubishi iron shaft.

Tiger Woods’ famed and trusty Scotty.

Justin Rose rocking Nike’s Roshe G Tour shoes from their “No Denim Allowed” pack at Pebble this week.

Amateur Matt Parziale gaming the “old school” ProForce V2 shaft in his 3W.

Up-close and personal with Kodai Ichihara’s wedges.

Rickie Fowler showing off the Cobra x CRU’s Headcover from Puma’s U.S. Open Patriot Pack.

Brett Drewitt getting into the spirit of things this week with appropriate wedge stampings at Pebble Beach.

Austin Eckroat’s Ping Redwood flat-stick has been impressing our members in our forums.

Check out all of Tuesday’s photos in our forums.

Check out all of Wednesday’s photos in our forums.

 

 

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