The world’s major golf tours returned to serious action after Masters week, reminding us how much wonderful talent exists and how much more is on the rise. Tournaments in Morocco, South Carolina’s low country, and oh, that place called Hawaii, have us dashing for some mashing. Let’s Tour Mash it up after a one-week hiatus.
PGA Tour: A fitting win for Wesley Bryan
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 16, 2017
The same week that Tommy’s Honour (the cinematic story of Young Tom Morris) was released for limited run in the U.S., another unlikely script was written for Wesley Bryan. The former trick-shot maven turned Web.com Tour king, turned PGA Tour player is now a PGA Tour winner. No more fitting place than his home state of South Carolina.
A bunch of fellows with better Tour pedigrees than Bryan began the final day atop the RBC Heritage leaderboard on Hilton Head Island. Jason Dufner hadn’t been in this position in a few years, and it showed. The Duff dropped off page one with a 5-over 76 on Sunday. Moving up quickly was perennial Harbor Town challenger Luke Donald, whose own Sea Pines story is too unlikely for the big screen. Donald has finished in the top-3 at the RBC Heritage on seven of the last nine times he’s played the event, including five runner-up results. He has no plaid jacket (emblematic of the winner), but a lot of money to show!
It was Bryan, the Columbia, SC, native and USC (South Carolina) alum who became the first native in the 49-year history of the event to receive the coveted blazer. After a four-birdie tear on the front nine brought him into the mix, Bryan came home with a 2-under back nine to assume the lead. The win moved him inside the top-15 on the FedEx Cup points list and earned him the first invitation to the 2018 Masters.
Related: Bryan’s Winning WITB
LPGA Tour: Kerr wins 19th tour title at Lotte Championship
— LPGA (@LPGA) April 16, 2017
After 15 years on the LPGA Tour, Cristie Kerr hasn’t forgotten how to finish off the opposition. The two-time major champion closed strong in Hawaii with a final-round 66, claiming victory by three strokes over a trio of pursuers. Third-round leader Su-Yeon Jang had played flawless golf for 54 holes, but came untracked on Saturday’s front nine with a bogey and a double. Poised to take advantage were young stalwarts Lydia Ko and In Gee Chun. Both closed with solid rounds (64 and 67, respectively) to tie Jang at 17-under.
It was Kerr, the LPGA poster child of the mid 2000s, who surged from the pack to claim victory. Pairing six birdies with 12 pars on a delightful plate, the Arizona resident overtook the faltering leader and the hopeful pursuers, ultimately triumphing by three shots with a 20-under total. A resurgent Lydia Ko closed with eight birdies over her final 12 holes, but Kerr had no desire to let the chasers gain any ground.
European Tour: Molinari tops Dunne at Trophee Hassan II
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) April 17, 2017
In 2015, Paul Dunne found out as an amateur how difficult it is to win a professional event. Keep in mind that his third-round lead was in the British Open championship… at the Old Course at St. Andrews. Not the easiest of wins to finish off. On Sunday, Dunne learned as a professional that it’s pretty tough to win anywhere. The young Irish professional played pretty well on Sunday, closing with a 1-under 72 to finish at 9-under par. Then came Molinari.
Edoardo Molinari, former U.S. Amateur champion and Ryder Cupper, eagled two of the par fives on the inward half of the Red Course at Royal Dar Es Salam in Morocco. Molinari added two birdies coming home to join Dunne atop the standings. The two golfers returned to the 18th hole, where Molinari had eagled (and Dunne had birdied) during regulation. Both golfers chopped it up this time around, but Dunne’s failure to convert a par putt meant that Molinari had his third European Tour title in hand. Paul Waring of England came third, one stroke out of the playoff at 8-under.
PGA Tour Champions: Mitsubishi Electric Classic
3-shot lead. Play it conservative now, right?
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) April 16, 2017
It took Canada’s Stephen Ames nearly 50 PGA Tour Champions starts to win his first title, but the wait is over. Ames closed out a week as best golfer with a 6-under 66 for a 4-stroke win over Bernhard Langer. In 3rd place after round one’s 67, Ames moved to the top spot on day two win a 68, but he saved his best for last at the TPC Sugarloaf course.
Four birdies on the outward half offered no hope to Langer and the other huntsmen. A critical, chip-in for birdie on No. 7 preserved Ames’ momentum; he closed conservatively with a 2-under inward half, which was more than enough to maintain his winning margin. The trio of Fred Funk, David Frost and Brandt Jobe tied for 3rd at 10-under.
LET: LALLA Meryem Cup a 1st for Spilkova
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) April 16, 2017
Suzann Pettersen was voted most intimidating golfer on the Ladies European Tour in a recent poll. That’s a decided advantage for any golfer, but it wasn’t enough to ensure victory at the second event of the week at the Royal Dar Es Salam club in Morocco. The Blue Course anticipated another win from the great Norwegian competitor, but instead it was host to the coming-out party of Klara Spilkova, the first Czech golfer to win on the LET.
Spilkova debuted on tour at the age of 16, but was still in search of her maiden victory seven years later. She picked Sunday to fire a tournament-best round of 66 (matched by Georgia Hall) to reach 8-under. Pettersen birdied the 17th hole to close within one, but left her tying putt on No. 18 three inches short in the jaws of the cup. Her Sunday 71 came up just shy of Spilkova’s clean card.