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
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 31, 2017
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
— European Senior Tour (@EuroSeniorTour) July 30, 2017
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
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) July 30, 2017
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
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 30, 2017
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
No time like the present.
— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) July 30, 2017
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.