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Tour Mash: Dufner wins rain-delayed Memorial

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We can all taste summer in the Northern Hemisphere, but spring weather continues to hold on with rain and cool temps around the globe. Battling the elements was a popular phrasing across the tours, and the hardiest of them all emerged as champions. Splish, splash, let’s mash!

PGA Tour: Memorial to Dufner after rain delay

After Jason Dufner opened with 65-65, pundits were ready to inscribe his name in the slot reserved for the 2017 Memorial champion. When he signed for a third-round 77, those same wags offered that he was toast; he was done; he couldn’t win.

There was another 65 at Muirfield Village on Sunday, but it went to Anirban Lahiri. It moved him into a tie for second with Rickie Fowler. Dufner, meanwhile, made two late birdies and a 40-foot bomb for par at the last to finish at 13-under par, two clear of the field.

Winning WITB: See Dufner’s clubs

Golfers like Fowler, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar and Daniel Summerhays all began the day in contention, but none of them were able to summon the round required to overcome the 2013 PGA Champion. Two late-round rain delays did nothing to stop the Dufner Express from its appointed stop at the champion’s station.

European Tour: Nordea Masters to Italy’s Paratore

When you’re 20, you make all the putts. That’s the way it seemed for Renato Paratore, not yet 21, on Sunday in Sweden. By rights, one of England’s 2016 Ryder Cuppers (Chris Wood and Matthew Fitzpatrick) should have won, but they didn’t. Fitz made a bunch of birdies, but an early double left him one back. Wood was tied at the top at the last, but a wayward drive compelled him to make bogey and drop into a tie for second.

As for Paratore, he chipped and putted his way to victory. Time and again, the lanky lad found himself in position to collapse, yet he never did. His long putt for par at No. 17, followed by a massive lag putt on No. 18 to tap-in range, sealed the deal for the youngest winner on tour since countryman Matteo Manassero. Finishing in a tie for fourth were South Africa’s George Coetzee and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.

Web.com Tour: Rex Hospital Open marks Shindler’s 1st triumph

Conrad Shindler had a mighty battle on his hands. In order to earn his first Web.com Tour victory, he would have to derail Chesson Hadley, hometown Raleigh boy and once a victor at this event. The local hero matched Shindler shot for shot on Sunday, and the two headed to overtime to decide the keeper of the trophy.

Shindler ended things quickly with a routine par on the first playoff hole. Hadley was unable to par the difficult 18th, and the Texas A&M alumnus had his trophy. The triumph took Shindler from 50th to fifth in the chase for a PGA Tour card. Hadley, splitting time between the PGA and Web.com tours, moved from 57th to 18th on the same list.

Tied for third place at 14-under, one shot out of the playoff, were Andrew Putnam, Andrew Landry, and Kyoung-Hoon Lee.

LPGA: I.K. Kim makes Shoprite Classic her fifth win

Anna Nordqvist was on a quest to win her third-consecutive Shoprite Classic, and she beat every player in the field but one on the way. In-Kyung Kim matched Nordqvist shot for shot on the day, and her lead after two rounds held up for a two-stroke win.

Making the biggest runs of the day were Michelle Wie (65 for 7-under and 3rd) and Jaye Marie Green (66 for 6-under and T7). Paula Creamer, tied with Kim for the lead entering the final day, had a forgettable afternoon with 74, and she dropped to 6-under and T7.

PGA Tour Latinoamerica: Quito Open in Yonke’s hands

Curtis Yonke might have figured that his work was done after six consecutive birdies to close his outward Sunday nine. For the most part, it was. Jose Toledo opened his front nine with three bogeys, two birdies and an eagle. Other than the those three burps, his card was clean. An 18th-hole birdie brought Toledo within two of Yonke at 12-under.

Yonke’s U.S. countryman Chip Lynn was 3-under on the day through 10 holes, but he must have felt steamrolled by the eventual winner’s run of birdies. Lynn’s last shot at victory was derailed by a bogey at No. 15, and he ended in third place by himself at 10-under.

Correction: This story originally stated that Lydia Ko lost her top spot in the Rolex Rankings to Ariya Jutanugarn. Long story short, there was a bug in the projections and she didn’t (by 0.01 points). Golf Digest has the full story

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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.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Old Putter

    Jun 5, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    The LPGA rankings should reflect looks and curves

  2. leo vincent

    Jun 5, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Ariya Jutanugarn has been the best LPGA player for a year now.It is about time the rankings reflect that.Ko realized it a while back too hence the swing and equipment changes.

  3. Jon

    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Just curious as to where you are getting your Rolex Rankings information. Ko is still number, albeit by .01 of a point. http://www.rolexrankings.com/en/rankings/

    • Phil

      Jun 5, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      because PXG

    • Ronald Montesano

      Jun 5, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Jon, This one is on me. Every report I read/heard/watched all weekend long talked about her surrendering the top spot after 84 weeks. I finalized the piece and went to bed, thinking that this was the case. Thanks for keeping me honest. It is appreciated.

      RM

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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

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

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