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Tour Mash: Vegas repeats in Canada, Langer wins senior major No. 10

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Weather and enviable golf were the headliners this week on the major tours. Three events took place in Europe, with another in Canada and a fifth in the heartland of the U.S. China celebrated its first Web.com Tour win, while Germany stood again for its greatest champion. For more on these stirring performances, tour mash away!

PGA Tour: Vegas beats Hoffman in playoff, repeats at RBC Canadian Open

With no Maple Leafs in sight of the leaderboard, a glance at the top-10 revealed 10 unique stories all desperate to log a win at Glen Abbey. Some sought an initial PGA Tour triumph, while others hoped to validate their status at an elevated level of champion. And after 72 holes, two of the course’s horses, Jhonattan Vegas and Charley Hoffmann, found their way to 21-under par, one shot beyond the resurgent Ian Poulter.

The pair meandered to dramatic 18th hole for a playoff, site of so many sensational conclusions during the history of the Glen Abbey course. Hoffmann was over the water-guarded green in three in a precarious lie in a bunker. Vegas, the defending champion, had played a heroic second shot over the pond to the rough beyond the putting surface. His steely touch on the chip resulted in a tap-in birdie 4. With no other choice, Hoffmann pulled the flagstick, then pulled his bunker blast ever so slightly. As the ball eased past the left edge, Vegas raised his hands in victory.

PGA Tour Champions: Langer wins Senior British Open, becomes first 10-time senior major champ

Royal Porthcawl’s return to major championship golf was fraught with uncooperative weather and a challenging links. In other words, it was a complete success. When the weather took a break in Round 3, old friends Bernhard Langer and Corey Pavin took advantage. Each recorded a 65, low round of the day, to finish 54 holes as the only men under par.

Langer started four shots ahead of Pavin on Sunday, but he went out in 1-over 36. Pavin shaved a pair of strokes off the deficit by parlaying two birdies and one bogey for 34. Langer’s relentless string of pars on the inward half forced Pavin to go for broke, and the tide was reversed. It was Pavin who went over par in his pursuit of the now-10 time senior major titleholder. Langer won his third major of 2017 and his 33rd senior title of a 10-year career.

LET: Ladies Scottish Open a tale of Mi vs. Mi

It’s far too soon to call this a lost generation of U.S. golfers, but the ladies shooting low in the final round on the LPGA and Ladies European tours these days don’t typically wear the red, white and blue of the space between Mexico and Canada. A massive comeback from Mi Hyang Lee, coupled with a thorough collapse by Sei Young Kim, gave Mi a one-stroke win over fellow Korean Mi Jung Hur.

Lee’s recent play gave no evidence of such a weekend (68-66) performance at the demanding Dundonald Links. Other than a T4 at the Women’s PGA Championship, her performances of late had been middling at best. Lee had six birdies for 31 on her outward nine, then birdied the last for the margin of victory. Hur birdied her first three holes, had matching 33s on her nines, but fell one stroke shy of a playoff.

European Tour: European Open goes to a new Smith in playoff

With defending champion Alexander Levy of France making a final-day move, England’s Jordan Smith could be forgiven for struggling mid-round on Sunday. Three bogeys over the middle holes had the zero-time winner questioning if it would be his day. Like a champion, Smith birdied two of his final four holes to finish at 13-under.

Levy was unable to match Smith’s final-hole heroics, and the two carted off to extra holes. With a sure chance to repeat as champion, Levy somehow yanked a 3-foot birdie putt to give Smith new life. The Englishman two-putted for birdie the second time around on the par-five 18th to secure his inaugural European Tour title. Finishing in third place, two back of the leaders, were Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh and Johan Edfors of Sweden.

Web.com Tour: Zecheng Dou wins Digital Ally Open

The impact of weather was not restricted to the eastern shores of the Atlantic. Round 1 at the Digital Ally was abandoned thanks to similar downpours. With the course softened, the tournament became a celebration of birdies and eaglea with 36 holes played on Sunday to complete the 72-hole event.

Zecheng Dou, known on tour as Marty, was bidding to become the first Chinese-born winner on the Web.com Tour. His Sunday cards consisted of 15 birdies and 0 bogeys. Ten of those chirps came in Round 3 when he shot a personal best of 61. That number gave him the lead, and he was up to the task of preserving it in the final round.

Kyle Thompson, currently in the No. 5 spot in The 25, made a front-nine move with four birdies in Round 4. His task was made difficult with a bogey on No. 10, and three more birdies served only to secure a second-place tie with Luke Guthrie and Billy Kennerly. With his win, Dou moved to 15th spot in The 25, securing playing privileges on the big tour for 2017-18.

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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.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. UnclePhil

    Aug 1, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Why in the lleh is Lang’a allowed to cheat at this game? The putter has been ruled illegal. Where they goofed is no putting a “legal length” on the putter. It should have been such and such a length
    is illegal. 40″ should have been the maximum so as to totally prevent someone like Lang’a to circumvent the rules by anchoring his yppiy ssa forearm to his chest! Him, McCarron, and whoever else is skating over the rule should be banned.

  2. Donn Rutkoff

    Jul 31, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    why was hoffman not required to replicate his depth of lie in the sand when he was allowed to move his ball take a drop to non-man-made footing?

  3. Iamgolf

    Jul 31, 2017 at 11:15 am

    If Langer is anchoring, I wouldn’t know how to tell? This morning on the Golf Ch., the highlights of Langer making the winning putt shows his left forearm resting on his chest. Maybe his fist isn’t touching but his forearm is…

  4. Jack Nash

    Jul 31, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Hoffman has to learn, when putting, GET THE DAM BALL TO THE FREAKEN HOLE!! He wins by 2 or 3 if he did.

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Monday’s Photos from the 2018 Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,110 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes defending-champion Rickie Fowler, 2017 FedEx Champion Justin Thomas, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who’s making his first PGA Tour start of 2018. Also in the field is Tiger Woods, who committed to play in the event just last week. Woods is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the 2018 Genesis Open.

Last year, Fowler won by four shots over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland, despite playing his final round in 1-over par.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Monday’s Photos

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

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Tour Rundown: Bubba is back (from near retirement)

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The California cruise on the PGA Tour came to an end at Riviera, as it always does. Tiger Woods played poorly over the George Thomas classic, as he always does. Oh, and Bubba Watson showed why he is not in the ranks of ballers Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland. Big wins were earned from Australia to Florida, by 22 year olds and 41 year youngs. Our tour rundown runs gathers results from five unique tours, and breaks each triumph down for you. Have a glance at this week’s Tour Rundown.

Watson returns to form with third Genesis Open win

There are too many ledes to unearth for this one: Horses for courses or Mercurial Watson, or how about My wife’s the hoops star, I’m the golfer? Whatever was in that Tracy McGrady rejection on Friday night was the medicine Bubba Watson needed to return to the winner’s circle. Along the way, Watson schooled the 20-somethings (and even the other Lefty) on how to close the deal in Hogan’s Alley.

How Watson came back from near-retirement

While the siren song of the candy store, car dealership and baseball team might have been strong, Bubba Watson wanted to be a champion golfer again. After nine, up-and-down holes (3 birdies and 2 bogeys) on Sunday, Watson was looking up at Patrick Cantlay, Kevin Na and even Phil Mickelson. Not to worry, as the Florida portsider had played the inward half under par all week. Watson closed with 3 birdies and 0 bogeys over his final 9 holes, sealing a 2-stroke win over Na and Tony Finau.

See the clubs Bubba used to win the 2018 Genesis Open

How a quartet missed out

Let’s summarize: Na played the back side in 1-under par and needed Watson’s 3-under for a playoff; Tony Finau was 2-under on the closing half, but needed double that for extra holes; Phil Mickelson bogeyed 15 and 16 when he knew that birdies were needed; Patrick Cantlay played 1 over in his final 9, when 2-under would have meant playoff. All the also-rans and almost-weres didn’t do what Watson did: close the deal.

Jin Young Ko secures Australian Open on LPGA Tour

It’s a stretch to call Jin Young Ko an LPGA player, as her first 9 wins came on the LPGA of Korea tour. In October and now in February, Ko bested world-class fields to win co-sanctioned events, and is now a two-time LPGA champion. At this rate, it might be difficult for her to remain tethered to the Korean tour.

How Ko won the week

A 7-under 65 on Thursday was the fuel Ko needed to take a lead that she would not relinquish. Although Katherine Kirk matched that number on Sunday, no one was able to wrest the advantage from the 22-year old Ko. Two rounds of 69 and one of 71 brought her to 14-under on the week. On day four, Ko started quickly with two opening birdies. A pair of bogeys on the outward half kept her within sight of the field, but birdies at 9, 13 and 17 were the recipe for re-establishing her three-shot margin of victory.

How she kept the field at bay

The challenging Kooyoonga golf club was not very free with low rounds this week. Ko’s compatriot Hyejin Choi, posted a flawless 67 on Sunday to move up one spot, into solo second at 11-under. In third and fourth were a pair of Australians, Hannah Green at 10-under and the aforementioned Katherine Kirk, at 9-under. Marina Alex was the low USA golfer at 7-under, tied for fifth spot with Minjee Lee.

Oman Open on European Tour

Joost Luiten began the fourth day at Oman in a three-way tie for first spot, but asserted himself early on Sunday with birdies on holes 2 through 4. It was enough to separate from the field, and he was able to hold off Chris Wood to earn his 8th European Tour title, by two strokes.

How Luiten claimed victory

After the fiery beginning, Luiten cooled off in the later stages of the opening nine holes. Bogeys at 7 and 8 brought him back to the field, but he wasn’t done for the afternoon. Luiten birdied 12 and 13, then added the clincher on a tricky birdie putt on the 16th hole. That final birdie gave him a 2-shot separation on Chris Wood, and he held on for pars at the final two holes for a 68 on the day and 16-under for the tournament.

How Wood and others came up shy

Matthew Southgate and Julien Guerrier began Sunday in a tie with Luiten, but the day turned sour early for Southgate. The Englishman had four bogeys in a five-hole stretch. Two more miscues on the inward half dropped him into a three-way tie for ninth at 9-under par. Guerrier held the wheel a bit steadier: two bogeys at the turn were offset by three birdies coming in, and the young Frenchman was able to coax a solo third-place finish out of the week. It was Chris Wood who gave the greatest chase to Luiten. Wood had four birdies on the day, and was in a tie at the top at 15-under, when he yanked a drive at 17 and found a hazard. Although he was able to play his ball, the ensuing bogey was the mistake he could not afford. A par at the last placed him at 14-under, one shot clear of Guerrier and two behind the champion.

Durant welcomes second PGA Tour Champions title at Chubb Classic

Technically, it’s his third, but the first was a two-man win with Billy Andrade. Durant probably caught wind that Billy Mayfair and Tim Petrovic were going super-low (8-under on Sunday) and that David Toms was at their heels (7-under on the day.) Each of those three earned a top-four finish, but Durant took matters into his own hands over the closing seven holes. He left Naples as the 2018 Chubb champion.

When Joe Durant woke up

Durant was 1-over through 7 holes on Sunday, headed in the wrong direction. Birdies on 8 and 9 reminded him that he still had a chance, but the eagle on 13 kicked his game into a higher gear. Birdies at 14, 17 and 18 were enough to offset a bogey at 15, and Durant cruised home with a four-stroke victory over Mayfair, Toms, Petrovic, Lee Janzen and Steve Stricker.

How that quintet fell away

After eight birdies through 14 holes on day 3, Mayfair had zero over his closing four. Toms did the opposite-He played the outward half in 2-under, but came home in 5-under to reach the podium. Petrovic had 4 birdies on each half, but also simply ran out of holes. Janzen threw an early scare into the eventual champion, but two bogeys and not enough chirps were his undoing. Stricker’s finish was the most painful. Within site of Durant and needing birdie at the last for 18-under, Stricker was forced to go for the flag, and instead got wet. His double-bogey finish dropped him from solo second to the five-way tie.

Daniel Fox surprises at Australian PGA championship

Daniel Fox had one previous victory on the Australasian circuit, but he made the most of opportunity’s knock on Sunday. The 41-year old played error-free golf over his final 14 holes, counting 6 birdies for a one-stroke victory over Matthew Millar and Steven Jeffress.

How Fox found the winner’s platform

Fox might say he was the last man standing, and none would argue. The runners-up had chances at birdie at the final hole, but neither one could convert. Fox counted three rounds of 65 and one of 67 on his card.  On the week, he had three bogeys and one double, against 21 birdies and one eagle. In an event where the margin ‘twixt victory and not-victory was razor-thin, Daniel Fox shaved the final whisker.

How Millar and Jeffress came up short

The easy answer would be: they didn’t birdie the 72nd hole. Jeffress had the low round (63) of the week, but his 67-67-66 lost ground on the other three days! As for Millar, one might point to his last two, outward nines. On both weekend days, he made nine consecutive pars to open his round. Against a par of 33, it wasn’t bad, but he gained no ground on the leader. Millar’s stat line for the week read: one eagle, 21 birdies, six bogeys. Yup, nearly identical to Fox, but nearly is the operative word.

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Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut

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Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB

Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.

(c/o PGATour.com)

We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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