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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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Tour News

It’s the Ardmore! Woods begins Quicken Loans National with TaylorMade putter in the bag

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If you had a bet going with your buddies that there was no way Tiger Woods would depart from his beloved 13 major-winning Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS this week, you lose.

Woods started the first round of the Quicken Loans National with the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 he has been practicing all week with at TPC Potomac.

Adam Schupak spotted Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, on the way to the first tee for Woods’ 1:20 ET start time with the camo TaylorMade putter cover in the bag (not surprisingly, the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 was beneath the cover).

Woods has struggled with the putter this season, as we’re all well aware, particularly since the Memorial. No. 89 on Tour in strokes gained: putting, the 14-time major champion knew he had to do something.

“I’m trying to find something that I can feel again, like the swing of the putter, getting my body in the right positions and seeing the lines again,” Woods said. “You know, it’s just one of those things, once I start to get the ball rolling on my lines, then I’ll be back to putting like I was. I just have not been rolling it on my lines. And then on top of that, when they don’t roll on lines, then I have a hard time seeing my lines and it’s a vicious cycle. And I’m just trying to get out of that cycle.”

Woods reportedly tried a number of TaylorMade putters in the Bahamas last week, arriving (as far as we know) at the Quicken Loans National with just the Ardmore and his Newport to choose between.

He has made his choice for the first round. We’ll see how it pans out and whether Woods remains a mallet man all week.

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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).

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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!

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

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