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Tour Mash: DeChambeau breaks through, Park wins U.S. Women’s Open

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If April is the cruelest month (and not just for golf), then July is the kindest. Major championships on multiple major tours culminating the third week with the Open Championship at … Whoa, slow down, masher! We’ve got five important events to summarize, so buckle in and #MashOn.

PGA Tour: DeChambeau breaks through at John Deere

Bryson DeChambeau turned in the performance predicted for him since his magical amateur summer of 2015. Down two strokes to Indiana favorite son Patrick Rodgers (coincidentally, also in search of an initial PGA Tour triumph) with scant holes remaining, DeChambeau hit a blind, flat-footed metal from an awkward lie, oh, about 260 yards onto the 17th green. He two-putted from 45 feet, and Rodgers made bogey on the same hole three groups later.

With a chance at victory, DeChambeau knocked an iron toward a hole cut dangerously close to water at the home hole, finishing nearly 15 feet past. His putt had just enough steam to catch the low edge and fall in for a closing birdie, a 67 on the day and a one-stroke margin on Rodgers. The Avon, Indiana, native drove into the rough on No. 18 and was unable to match DeChambeau’s birdie. Rodgers finished one stroke back at 17-under for his best Tour finish. Wesley Bryan and Rick Lamb tied for third at 16-under, while perennial winners/contenders Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson finished in a fifth-place tie at 15-under.

Related: Bryson DeChambeau’s Winning WITB

The victory was doubly tasty for the cerebral golfer, as DeChambeau earned a spot in the Open Championship this week at Royal Birkdale.

LPGA: U.S. Women’s Open is Park’s 1st major and tour title

One way or another, the U.S. Women’s Open of 2017 would have been a coming-out party for a talented golfer from Korea. After Shanshan Feng struggled to 73 and relinquished a slender lead, a quartet of golfers seized an opportunity to challenge for the big cup. Hye-Jin Choi was the most compelling story; the 17-year old amateur was bidding to become the first non-pro since Catherine Lacoste in 1956 to hoist the hardware. Also in the mix were M.J. Hur and So Yeon Ryu, the 2011 winner.

Choi acquitted herself well, holding the lead into the back nine on Sunday. She ran into trouble on No. 10 and 16, where she returned three strokes to her pursuers. Twenty-three-year-old Seoul Sister Sung Hyun Park seized the opening and played a flawless (3-under par) back nine to overtake Choi and all the rest. Indeed, it was Park who represented best over the weekend rounds, matching 67s on Saturday and Sunday. Choi ended in the runner-up podium spot at 9-under, two shots behind the winner. Hur and Ryu found themselves another 2 shots back in a 3rd-place tie.

European Tour: Scottish Open to Cabrera-Bello in playoff

You wouldn’t call Rafael Cabrera-Bello a 10-year, overnight sensation, but you wouldn’t be far off if you did. It’s hard to imagine that the 33-year old from Spain’s Canary Islands has been at this professional game since 2005, but it’s true. Followers of the European Tour came to know him in 2009, when he won the Austrian Open. The world of golf was introduced to him in 2016, when he represented Europe well in the Ryder Cup. Now Cabrera-Bello holds an important professional title and is among the favorites to contend this week at Royal Birkdale’s 10th Open Championship.

Low was the only way to go on Sunday, and Cabrera-Bello’s 64 dropped the limbo bar the farthest. The Spaniard returned a clean card of eight birdies and 10 pars. Then he waited to see what third-round, co-leader Callum Shinkwin of England would do. Needing a mere par at the par-5 18th to win his first professional title, the Englishman struggled to scratch out a bogey on a hole that his pursuer had birdied just moments before. Off the two golfers went to the 18th, where Bellow once again dominated the par-5 finisher, making another birdie to eliminate Shinkwin.

A look back saw the contrast between the steely Cabrera and the untested Shinkwin. The latter left par and birdie putts short on the 18th and playoff holes, while the champion absolutely nutted a 276-yard 3-metal to within 20 feet for eagle during extra time.

Champions: Senior Players Championship 1st senior major for McCarron

The final round at Caves Valley, near Baltimore, turned into an unexpected battle of the long putters. Bernhard Langer, who never gives away a lead, appeared on a march toward senior major victory No. 10 (and third of 2017.) The German champion was out in 2-under 34, enough to keep fellow long wander Scott McCarron (out in 31) at bay.

The inward half played out like a masquerade, as Langer donned the mask of an untested rookie. He closed with zero birdies, a bogey and a double bogey for 3-over on his final 9, and a shocking 17-under total. McCarron, who had opened with five birdies on his outward half, needed only one more (at No. 10) and a shoal of pars to outlast Langer by one and join Park as debutantes at the majors ball.

Despite his struggles, Langer appeared in control until the penultimate hole. At the daunting par-3, a wayward tee ball into the gunge forced the three-time defending champion to take a penalty drop. The resulting double dropped him out of first place for the first time all week.

Web.com Tour: Garnett makes Utah Championship his ticket to PGA Tour

These days, a win on the Web.com Tour can equal a trip to the PGA Tour. Brice Garnett found that out on Sunday in Utah, when eight birdies overcame two bogies, totaling 65 and 21-under for the week. Although Mexico’s Abraham Ancer nearly gave Garnett more than he desired with 10 birdies of his own, the alum of college golf powerhouse Missouri Western was able to stem the Ancer tide and claim his first Web.com Tour title. The win also cemented his spot in the Web.com Tour’s Top-25, earning Garnett a 2017-2018 PGA Tour card.

On a day when par felt like 68, nine players shot 65 or better. Another eight posted 66. Former amateur stalwart Denny McCarthy had a shot at victory on Saturday evening; by Sunday afternoon, his 2-under 69 dropped him to a tie for 5th with overnight leader Jacques Blaauw. Blaauw had 70 on Sunday, and it was not nearly good enough.

If anyone had a right to feel unfulfilled, it was Rob Oppenheim. On a day when birdies over the final four holes were plentiful, Oppenheim had none. He finished one meager stroke out of a playoff, in a tie with Ancer and Austin Cook at 20-under.

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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.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Mike Hunt

    Jul 20, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Dechambeua needs to go back to where he came from(and take his stupid single length clubs with him!)! “I surrender” – the only French I know!

  2. Ronald Montesano

    Jul 18, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    conceivable.

  3. Ronald Montesano

    Jul 18, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    No lack of confidence in this one.

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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).

Related

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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