Although the two playoff tours (PGA and took the week off, golf was never more exciting than the second weekend of September. The Walker Cup showed off the North Course at Los Angeles country club, and new events were featured on the LPGA and Champions tours. This week’s tour mash is buttered, salted, and ready to enjoy.

LPGA Tour: Lexi Overcomes Kristinsdottir To Win Women In Tech

Normally we’d be all over the name Olafia Kristinsdottir and her fourth-place finish, the highest ever (we have to imagine) for an Icelander on any major, professional tour. Lexi Thompson shoved Olafia to filler news with her second win of 2017. She caught fire in round one with 63, then added 66-68 to finish 19-under par at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Club, four shots clear of a resurgent Lydia Ko.

The Women In Technology event enjoyed a spectacular, inaugural playing. In addition to Thompson and Ko, Minjee Lee (3rd), Brooke Henderson and Lizette Salas (both T5) were in the mix. Add the unique venue (a golf course that plays through the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, site of the Indy 500) and the WIT can expect a long and interesting history.

Amateur Golf: Walker Cup To USA In Overwhelming Fashion

It’s impossible to say that one Walker Cup side is the best ever, based on score alone. In 1993, the USA contingent overwhelmed Great Britain & Ireland 19-5, while the GB&I squad returned the favor in 2015, with a tally of 16.5 to 9.5. The memory of Team USA is long, and captain John “Spider” Miller was avenged by his 2017 lineup, 19 to 7.

As late as Saturday afternoon, GB&I had a chance. The morning foursomes (alternate shot) were halved, 2-2. Team USA asserted itself in the individual matches, winning 6 of 8 to assume the commanding lead it would not relinquish. GB&I’s hopes were further dimmed when the it took the Sunday morning foursomes by a 3-1 margin. The afternoon was no better for the team from the isles, as they could only win one and halve two of 10 singles matches.

For Team USA, Doug Ghim, Collin Morikawa, and Maverick McNealy each went 4-0 over the course of two days. The top point-earner for the GB&I squadron was Jack Singh Brar, who went 3-1, losing only to Stewart Hagestad in Sunday singles. That match, the first out of the gates in the afternoon, extinguished whatever flame still flickered for the Europeans.

European Tour: Fitzpatrick Wins European Masters In Playoff 

Matthew Fitzpatrick must have imagined on at least two occasions that his shot at victory in Switzerland had passed. Scott Hend certainly had to wonder what he needed to do to seal the deal on his first win in Europe. In the end, after three playoff holes, it came down to Hend’s inability to make a crucial putt and Fitzpatrick’s go-for-broke strategy on Sunday.

After 72 holes, Hend and Fitzpatrick were tied at 14-under, three shots clear of third-place finishers Fabrizio Zanotti and Tyrrell Hatton. The duo would play the 18th hole three times in overtime. Each made a safe par the first run through. The second lap was Hend’s squandered opportunity. After Fitzpatrick barely missed his birdie putt, Hend pulled a 4-footer for the win. The final trip down No. 18 found Hend in a fairway bunker for the second time in an hour. His approach ran through the green, and the ensuing bogey allowed Fitzpatrick to tap in for par and the title.

Champions Tour: Monty Claims Inaugural Japan Airlines Championship 

Scott McCarron, last week’s winner, had written a solitary bogey on his scorecards through 36 holes. When he double-bogeyed the opening hole on Sunday, a blast of hope ran through the field at Japan’s Narita Golf Club. Billy Mayfair took the first run at McCarron, and he would ultimately finish in a second-place tie with his countryman at 13-under. It was a Scotsman who would etch five birdies on his scorecard’s inward half to claim the title.

Colin Montgomerie was lurking at best through the first 9 holes on Sunday. When he made the turn, his putter trapped magic and he was off. Five birdies later, Monty had his first win of 2017, finishing one shot clear of the runners-up. The tour heads to British Columbia this week, where Montgomerie just happens to be the defending champion. A proper time to round into form! 

Mackenzie Tour: Ontario Championship to Hickok in Playoff

Johnny Ruiz was in prime position to claim his second win of the 2017 PGA Tour Canada campaign. He held a two-stroke lead over Robby Shelton, also a winner this year, and when Shelton could only manage 72 on the day, Ruiz looked to have a fair chance to win. He tallied five birdies on the day, but was undone by a triple-bogey seven on the 12th hole at National Pines Golf Club in Ontario.
Ahead of Ruiz, Kramer Hickock and others were making birdies, too, without the big numbers to drag them down. Hickock signed for 64 on the day, as did Todd Baek, who placed third at 18-under. Patrick Newcomb had 65 for a fourth-place tie with Shelton. It was Hickock who reached 19-under first. To Ruiz’ credit, after he bogeyed the 17th to fall out of a tie for first, he birdied No. 18 to force a playoff with Hickock. The two men battled for four holes: then Ruiz flinched with bogey, and Hickock shone with birdie. With the victory, Hickock ascended to the top of the Order of Merit.
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Ronald Montesano writes for 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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