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Tour Mash: Rahm wins the Irish Open by six

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Although not exactly a light week on the tours, the major-championship Spotlight switched off for a few days. Great golf was played from Ireland to Wisconsin, with comebacks taken and ground held. Let’s have a look at this week’s tour purée across four major global tours.

Xander puts Open experience to good use at Greenbrier

Xander Schauffele made his presence known in last month’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Although victory eluded him, the 23-year old from La Jolla, California, put the experience to us at the Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia. Needing birdie at the last to separate from Robert Streb, Schauffele placed his tee shot on the par-three closer within a yard of the hole and made birdie for a one-shot victory. Like Tommy Fleetwood on the European Tour last week, Schauffele used Erin Hills as a springboard to triumph.

The story that wasn’t belonged to Sebastian Muñoz. Attempting to emulate countryman Camilo Villegas and give Colombia another tour winner, Muñoz began the week with a run at 59. His 10-birdie effort gave him the lead with 61, and he would not relinquish that advantage until Sunday afternoon. Over his first three rounds, Muñoz made a total of five bogeys. He matched that number on Sunday, secured there birdies on the day, and signed for a two-over 72. He and Jamie Lovemark would tie for third at 12-under par, one behind Streb and two back of the winner.

The third story of the week was the return of this tournament from oblivion. In June and July of 2016, West Virginia was hit was flooding of historic proportion. Many fairways were underwater, then covered with a layer of silt when the waters receded. The 2016 playing was cancelled, as attention turned to the region’s people who most needed aid. The return to the tour in 2017 was a tribute to those efforts, and the resolve and fortitude of the people of the Mountaineer state.

European Tour sees Rahm in top form at Irish Open

Jon Rahm simply needed a bit of European soil to shake the weight of the greatness that was thrust upon him. After exploding out of the 2017 PGA Tour gate with a win and runner-up finish, Rahm cooled off through the year’s first two majors, asking many to improperly wonder if something was up. It’s called acclimation, and the young Basque golfer showed that this week at Portstewart golf club. Rahm finished at 24-under, six strokes free of Richie Ramsat and Matthew Southgate.

On the week, Rahm holed 23 birdies and 4 eagles, including two of the latter on Sunday. For just one week, a bit of the great Basque fleet had returned to the open seas.

LPGA Tour welcomes Kirk back to winner’ podium

Like Sebastian Muñoz above, Australia’s Katherine Kirk had built a sizeable lead through 3 rounds at the Thornberry Creek Classic in Wisconsin. Like Muñoz, Kirk was challenged by her own nerves and her competitors. Writing a different script, the Aussie held firm to secure her third tour triumph, and first since 2010, by one shot over South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai.

Buhai turned in a flawless sheet on Sunday, including five birdies in her 67. Kirk was more erratic, with four bogeys on the day. She was able to counter those miscues with six birdies for 70, just enough to avoid a playoff. Also closing fast were Sei Young Kim (63) for third place, and Pornanong Phatlum (62) in fourth spot. kirk’s clutch birdie-3 at the last finished her week’s work and ended a seven-year dry spell.

Hadley holds on for LECOM win on Web.Com Tour

Chesson Hadley had to wonder what would be necessary to shake Beau Hossler. The Carolinian had improved each round (69-67-64) but each time he looked in the mirror, there was Hossler. The former University of Texas golfer had six birdies for a back-nine 30 on Sunday, giving Hadley every opportunity to fold. The lanky, finger-snapping golfer wasn’t interested.

Despite Hossler’s fireworks, Hadley had some heroics of his own. After a bogey at the innocuous, par-four second hole, Hadley unearthed six birdies and an eagle from the western New York soil. He sealed the win with a birdie at the uphill 17th, then played safely home down the treacherous 18th hole corridor for his Third Web.Com tour title. Both Hossler and Hadley find themselves firmly inside The 25, chasing a 2017-18 PGA Tour card.

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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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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. UnclePhil

    Jul 11, 2017 at 5:50 am

    And he’s definitely a rule bender too!

    • Jon

      Jul 11, 2017 at 8:55 am

      That’s no joke. It was a helluva lot more egregious than how Lexi marked and replaced her ball. At least Lexi didn’t move her ball CLOSER to the hole. And why didn’t his playing partner have the balls to call him out?

  2. TCJ

    Jul 10, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Does know won prouf reed these articles?

    • Ronald Montesano

      Jul 10, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Typing with an IPad vs. my usual laptop definitely proved a challenge. Will be back to usual, born-again grammarian status next week!

  3. ibo

    Jul 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Rahm is definitely Major winner material. The kid can putt.

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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.

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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!

Tuesday’s Galleries

Special Galleries

 

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

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