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Tour Mash: Thomas Bests Spieth in Boston, Earns Win No. 5

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Over this extended, Labor Day weekend, the heart of golf illuminated the LPGA Tour, the second FedEx Cup Playoff event revealed no more Doubting Thomas, and a prodigal son left Ohio a Web.com Tour titleist. For a little autumn mash, pull up a chair and help yourself.

PGA Tour: Thomas Claims 1st FedEx Playoff Win in Boston

Early in his round, upon hearing a roar for Justin Thomas’ eagle at the fourth hole, Jordan Spieth said to his caddie, “This is gonna be a shootout.” It was. Marc Leishman seized the lead with a six-birdie, front-nine 30, but then decided he didn’t want to win after all. He gave it all away on the back with a five-bogey 40, and finished in third place, one back of Spieth.

Oops, spoiler alert. Spieth didn’t win, not that he didn’t try. Birdie putts at Nos. 16 and 17 didn’t fall, leaving him three back of Thomas, who posted 66 in Round 4 to preserve his third-round lead. Those in the know, know that Thomas (cough, U.S. Open, cough) has had difficulty following a brilliant Round 3 with a sufficient Round 4. At the Dell Technologies Championship, at least for one week, he dispatched that tendency. Thomas was out in 32, back in 34, and he never let Spieth have a glimpse at the lead when the going got tough.

Winning WITB: The clubs Thomas used in Boston

With the win, his fifth of his 2016-2017 PGA Tour season, Thomas moved into second place in the FedEx Cup Playoff standings. Although he didn’t win, second meant first for Spieth, who now occupies the top spot in the standings. Dustin Johnson, last week’s winner, tumbled from first to third after a banal final round in Boston.

LPGA: Lewis Wins for the 1st Time in 3 years, Donates Check to Harvey Relief

Stacy Lewis closed her final round on Sunday with 11 pars. She wasn’t the best golfer on the course, and she barely avoided In Gee Chun’s furious comeback round of 66. At the end of the Portland Classic, Lewis had nothing to show, monetarily, for her week’s effort. She did have a trophy, and the unwavering admiration of all LPGA followers.

Lewis, you see, pledged all of this week’s winnings to those struggling against the impact of Hurricane Harvey. “That’s nice,” most people thought. She’ll finish top-10, maybe a bit higher, but winning? Lewis hadn’t done it since June of 2014. Were there chances? Too many to count. On Sunday, the Team USA stalwart brought the show pony home to the winner’s podium, notching LPGA Tour win No. 12 and a place in Houston’s heart.

European Tour: Porteous Notches 2nd Tour Win at Czech Masters

Golf? No, we haven’t figured it out, either. Lee Slattery went without a bogey for 27 holes on Friday-Saturday, making 11 birdies along the way. On Sunday, the bogeys arrived and away went his lead. Joining the battle was South Africa’s Haydn Porteous. When the final putts were holed, it was Porteous holding his second European Tour trophy, edging Slattery by two shots.

Neither man appeared comfortable as the final nine holes began. Each made bogey at the par-five 10th, and Slattery added two more coming home. Porteous bogeyed the 11th, but birdies at Nos. 14 and 16, coupled with his outward 33, were enough to reach 13-under par and secure his first victory since the 2016 Joburg Open.

Web.com Tour: PGA Tour Card for Uihlein after Finals win

If you’re scratching your head, trying to recall when you last read Peter Uihlein’s name, be patient. Unless you follow the European Tour, it was 2010 when he won the U.S. Amateur. Since then, Uihlein has earned his way across the other continent. On Sunday, he made a triumphant return to the U.S. with a win in the opening event in Web.com Tour Finals.

Uihlein began final-round play behind leader Ryan Armour, an Ohio State alum with great knowledge of the Columbus, Ohio Scarlet course. Many former NCAA Division golfers know it, and it gives them an advantage when this professional event comes to town. The top dog struggled to a 70 in Round 4 after opening with three rounds in the 60s. In contrast, Uihlein put his accelerator to the floor and inked seven birdies on his card for a 6-under 65. When Armour bogeyed the 18th, the title and all the trappings belonged to the prodigal son.

Champions Tour: McCarron’s 4th win of 2017 Comes at Shaw Charity

It’s difficult to know which golfers will figure it out on the Champion’s Tour. No one would have predicted journeyman Scott McCarron would, but here he is, tied with Bernhard Langer for 2017 victories and in the second spot behind the ageless German wonder in the season-long Schwab Cup.

McCarron battled Spain’s version of Langer, the enchanting Miguel Angel Jimenez, over the Canyon Meadows course in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. McCarron’s boat was unsteady on Sunday, with three bogeys for 67 and a 16-under total. Although he didn’t match his electric start (63-64), his work was enough to edge Jimenez by one shot. The Spaniard was bogey-free for 66 in the final round, but he could not summon one final arrow to force McCarron to extra holes.

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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.

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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!

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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