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Navistar LPGA Classic: Alabama Slammin’

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By Vince Robitaille

GolfWRX Staff Writer

When one discusses Bobby Jones and sweeps, it’s usually in reference to the Georgian’s 1930 Grand Slam. But Stacey Lewis successfully added herself to the potential subjects when such a conversation comes up last weekend. The American forerunner, with her third win of the season, made it three in a row on Alabama’s soil and three in a row on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

In a tournament that seemingly had Lexi Thompson written all over it coming out of Thursday’s round – Puma’s flag bearer shooting the lights out by way of 9-under 63 on a course that she has made her own in recent memory – Lewis simply wasn’t going to roll over and let an opportunity to slip by, not only vault above Inbee Park in the Rolex World Rankings, but complete the proverbial Alabama Slam. With Thompson, the defending champion, widening her lead to four strokes on Day 2, however, Lewis needed to make something happen quickly, to push every edge she could find… and so she did.

The fun thing with applying pressure in golf is that, while the course won’t ever falter – it might let you have one for the day, but assuming that it’ll fold in the long run is simply ludicrous – your opponents just might. One couldn’t overlook this potential consequence on Saturday in Prattville; Thompson seemingly collapsing – her 2-over tally fairing quite disastrously in comparison to the field’s upper portion – under her Solheim Cup teammate’s assault. Moreover, the Rolex Player of the Year leader wasn’t the only member of last year’s unit that ventured deep in Ireland happening to make a charge upon the leaderboard during the third loop, as Angela Stanford’s 68 had her comfortably sitting in 2nd place behind Lewis heading into the 55th hole.

Fortunately for the Texan and the Arkansan, being paired together didn’t yield the same dreadful results as their alternate shot partnership of a year ago; both golfers recording rounds in the red numbers this time, as Stanford finished in a quandary over third place. As for Lewis, her birdies around the turn created enough of a cushion to palliate any comeback attempt from her pursers and, specifically, from Lexi Thompson; the latter clawing herself back within a lone stroke of Lewis before a birdie on 16th from the former Razorback would effectively nail the defending champion’s coffin.

The victory on Capitol Hill’s Senator course carries huge implications for Steady Stacey as she gets ever closer to ending the Player of the Year drought for the Americans; the last recipient being Beth Daniel, 18 years ago. With Lewis’ top-10 finish efficiency, only a win by Inbee Park, Ai Miyazato or Jiyai Shin within the next month could shake things up atop the rankings. Until then, assume that The Stars and Stripes will be planted upon the LPGA Tour in December.

Click here for more discussion in the “LPGA/ladies golf talk” forum.

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Pro golfer Hosung Choi has the most ridiculous golf swing you’ll ever see

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Professional golfer Hosung Choi, playing in the third round of the Kolon Korea Open at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, has set the golf Internet on fire with his wildly entertaining golf swing. And while it may look ridiculous, he’s currently sitting at 8-under for the event through three rounds, only two shots back of the leader. It’s worth noting that the top two finishers in the Korea Open will earn a spot in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie next month.

Enjoy the videos of his golf swing below!

Top-100 swing instructor and GolfWRX’s resident swing expert Tom Stickney has this to say about Choi’s golf swing: “The club goes up and away with a nice rerouting motion from the top into a perfect delivery and impact position. It’s obvious that this guy can play from those two positions, however, I’m not sure about the dismount. Nor can I even guess why he does it…I’m betting he was self-taught and made that move from day one. Great lesson to all the “golf swing” centric people playing today, why change it if it brings you to the dance?!?!”

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Marty Jertson, Ping’s Director of Product Development, qualified for the PGA Championship

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The top 20 professionals from the PGA Professional Championship–contested last weekend at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses in Seaside, California–are heading to the PGA Championship later this year.

Perhaps you saw Ryan Vermeer, at 5 under, was the medalist. What you may not have seen however, is something particularly cool for golf equipment geeks: Ping’s Director of Product Development, Marty Jertson, qualified–and he did so in spectacular fashion: the 37-year-old birdied the last three holes to finish T9.

Not bad for an engineer!

Also noteworthy: Ping confirmed Jertson played the company’s yet-to-be announced i500 irons in his 3, 4, and 5-irons, which will reportedly be available mid-summer. Yes, they confirmed that the rumors are true; Ping’s new iron will be called i500.

Related: We did a podcast with Jertson at the PGA Show, we also interviewed him back in 2017.

 

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Reddit AMA alert: Anthony Taranto, Callaway’s wedge art maestro, on his favorite designs, WITB

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If you’ve been around GolfWRX for any period of time, you’ve seen Anthony Taranto’s work. The Callaway wedge specialist is tasked with designing some of the coolest wedge decorations in the game.

Taranto did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) yesterday, and The Wedge Art Wizard (as he introduced himself) didn’t disappoint.

Here are a few highlights (edited for spelling)

Remoolg asked: How did you start working at Callaway and get into this specific position?

AT: Back in 1999 Callaway had a job fair for their new golf ball plant Mr. Callaway was opening. I made it though many layoffs and reorganization. I was good at building clubs and I was placed in the pro tour department about 12 years ago. About 4 1/2 years ago I discovered this technique for sandblasting art onto wedges and now here we are.

Loudshorts asked: What’s the most odd art request you’ve put on a wedge and what’s the most common?

AT: Most odd: Probably Michelle Wie’s Harry Potter-themed wedges

I didn’t know anything about Harry Potter at the time so I had to do some research. Accio birdies!
Most common would just be old fashioned stamping of players initials.

Bunny said: Billy Idol, never pictured him as a golfer. What kind of design did he want on his clubs?

AT: He asked for his logo, which is this cool crown with a lightning bolt:

Iamrobert_paulson asked: What wedges are in your bag? Can we see pics?

AT: I’m gaming MD4’s: 45° (46 bent to 45), 50°, 55° (54 bent to 55), and 60°. Design wise: Skull & Crossbones and lots of stars.

Dr. Troutman asked: What is your favorite custom set you’ve ever done?

AT: Putting me on the spot! It might be these that I just recently made. Figured out how to evolve the sand blasting technique and start doing layers. Really happy with how these came out:

You can check out the full AMA here.

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