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.
The shot that won the tournament for @XSchauffele.
Talk about coming up clutch. pic.twitter.com/vRQDUjJQng
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 10, 2017
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.
The five best shots of the week ?
Yup, you can probably guess what’s No.1! pic.twitter.com/Z1c87JrTbT
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 10, 2017
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.
— Golf Australia (@GolfAust) July 9, 2017
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.
— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) July 10, 2017