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Tour Mash: The weekend’s winners, and how they got the job done

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We’re enhancing the format of Tour Mash this week. For each event, we’ll give you our take on how the winner won, and why the others didn’t. We’ll offer even more crucial information for those Monday office discussions and chat-room chirps. Have a sample and enjoy the flavor.

Steele defends at PGA Tour’s Safeway Open

In the first of two title defenses for the week, Brendan Steele took advantage of faltering golfers ahead to close with 69 for 15-under par, two shots clear of Tony Finau, also on 69 for the day. In 2016, Steele finished at 18-under for a 1-stroke win over Patton Kizzire. Phil Mickelson and Chesson Hadley tied for 3rd spot on the podium at 12-under, three strokes behind the champion

How he won

While Steele was closing with two birdies over his final three holes, the third-round leaders wavered. Despite two bogeys on his inward half, the three-time tour winner kept his composure and closed strong to seal the deal

How he didn’t

How many fellows lay awake on Sunday evening? Tony Finau doubled his 14th hole on Sunday, finishing two back of the top spot. Tyler Duncan had the 54-hole lead, but bogeyed his first three holes on Sunday, falling to a tie for fifth. Chesson Hadley, fresh off the Web.Com tour, bogeyed 10 and doubled 12 on day 4, finishing three shots back. And Phil? Phil was simply Phil, with five bogeys and three birdies on the day for 70.

Hatton wins second consecutive Dunhill Links on European Tour

Tyrrell Hatton defended his 2016 Dunhill Links championship by three shots over Ross Fisher, in a battle of Englishmen. Hatton concluded his week at 24-under par, with Victor Dubuisson of France closing with 63 for 17-under, alone in third place.

How he won

Each contestant plays a round over Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and the Old Course, before closing on Sunday again at St. Andrews. Hatton’s high round (68) of the opening three was at St. Andrews, where he shot 66 on Sunday. His twin 65s on Friday and Saturday, at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, distanced him enough from the field to make Sunday a mid-60s walk along the strand.

How he didn’t

Fisher’s Furious Finish might have been the headline on Sunday, if not for Hatton’s stellar play. Ross Fisher came to the 16th tee on Sunday at 11-under for the round. Birdies on any two-of-the-final-three holes would have granted him a magical 59. Alas, he concluded with pars, including a missed 30-inch putt at the last. Still, his 61 set a new course record for the Old, lowering the mark by one stroke. On the week, Hatton was simply too good: lesson learned.

Kerr’s emotion win at the Open de France on the Ladies European Tour

Cristie Kerr of the USA won the Lacoste Open de France by four shots over Xi Yu Lin of China. Kerr finished at 17-under through four rounds at the Golf de Chantaco course. Third place went to Azahara Muñoz of Spain. Muñoz ended at 8-under.

How she won

Kerr birdied five of her opening nine holes on Thursday, signing for an eight-birdie, 62 in the first round. As if that weren’t enough, she made six more birdies on Friday for 64, going without a bogey in her first 36 holes. Although she hiccoughed on Saturday, the American champion closed with an eagle for 68, then finished on Sunday with another 68.

How she didn’t

“She” could have have been any other golfer in the field, after Kerr’s opening 126 through two rounds. Anne Van Dam of the Netherlands was closest, at 132, but each of her opening rounds was marred with bogey. When she lost three more strokes on Saturday to the leader, the die was cast.

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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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Thursday’s Photos from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.

The 20-team field includes some of the game’s legendary major champions, and their sons. Notable teams include John Daly/Little John Daly, Nick Faldo/Matthew Faldo, Tom Kite/David Kite, Bernhard Langer/Jason Langer, Greg Norman/Greg Norman Jr., Jack Nicklaus/Gary Nicklaus Jr., and Lee Trevino/Daniel Trevino.  The teams will compete in a scramble format over 36 holes to decide the winners of the Willie Park Trophy.

Last year, David Duval and his step-son Nick Karavites took home the trophy, and they are back in the field this year to defend.

Check out our photos below from this year’s event!

Thursday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos

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An instructor’s perspective on the Chamblee/Dufner Twitter controversy

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If you have not had a chance to read the latest exchange on Twitter between Brandel Chamblee and Jason Dufner — and his teacher Chuck Cook — you have missed a wonderful controversy brewing. As you may know, Brandel is never one to hide his feelings on his views of the golf swing (he’s against The Golfing Machine teachings). And when people disagree with him (Jason Dufner), he’s not hesitant to tackle his opposition head on.

I’d like to take the time to weigh-in on what I feel should be focused on from an instruction standpoint, instead of what has been said on Twitter in this controversy.

Brandel’s side

First of all, I consider Brandel to be a friend of mine and he has been nothing but gracious to me during my professional career; though we have differing viewpoints on certain things. I have often called or emailed him, asking his opinion on one thing or another, and he has never failed to answer me. In fact, I love hearing what he has to say, even if it’s the opposite of what I feel personally and professionally — he hardly speaks without research to back it up. When you have the kind of stage he has, you must be armed with facts.

As we all know, Brandel is not a fan of the new breed of instruction. He prefers the old school methods, and clearly from his initial Tweet that sparked the entire controversy, he prefers an upright backswing. He is not a fan of most technologies used on the lesson tee, and he is very vocal regarding the Golfing Machine book and the Trackman launch monitor. While I hold both these things dear to me personally, I do understand how he could not be as convinced as I am of their successes within the game.

People must understand his opinion is a matter of perspective, and though he has this perspective as a player, and as a player-turned-teacher, he does not have the thousands and thousands of hours on the lesson tee. This does not make him right or wrong, it just gives him a different viewpoint.

Dufner’s side

As a teacher myself, I admire Dufner’s rise to fame and to the top ranks as a player, and I applaud him for doing so in spite of the odds and the drama that has gone on within his personal life over the last few years. I am proud to see him step up on a public forum and defend Chuck Cook (his long time teacher) on this Twitter thread. It is refreshing to see! Though I don’t know Jason, I’d like to shake his hand for doing so. My biggest gripe with Tour Professionals, in general, is their failure to stand by their instructors when things are not going well.

The last time I saw a player defending his teacher this adamantly was in a text string I had with Kevin Kisner (who is a great guy and friend) and John Tillery (his teacher and also a friend), who was not picked as one of the Top-100 Teachers on the latest list by Golf Magazine. As I told Kevin and John, it is a matter of time before he is recognized by Golf Magazine. The lists are subjective and many things go into the selection process; they make good choices and other times they make mistakes. John is a heck of a teacher and will always be Top 100 in my book! So kudos to Jason and Kevin for standing up for their guys…they both deserve it 100 percent.

Chuck Cook’s side

How Chuck was dragged into the middle of this whole controversy is beyond me, because he is one of the nicest and most soft-spoken guys. I also consider him the top-1 percent of teachers within our business. Chuck was in Vail for many years while I was also teaching there, and we have been on many outings together. He has been nothing but professional to all of us and anyone he comes into contact with personally. When someone questions him or his ability to teach at the highest levels, I can only say look at the two U.S. Open Champs he has taught, as well as what he’s done with countless other people within the game of golf. He is a smart and stand-up guy and deserves nothing but respect from all of us.

Chuck, I wish I could be HALF the teacher and person you are and have always been! That is a fact.

The Golfing Machine

Now, we could write an entire article series on the book I call my bible within the golfing world. However, 99 percent of the people in the world call it a “method,” or too complex, although every top teacher uses its methodologies within their instruction. It is ONLY an encyclopedia of motion — that’s it. It tells you what will and will not work together during the swing. What the book lacks has been the proper messenger to get the word across and that blame is only on timing. That’s not a knock on the past teachers who have used it or the players on Tour who have employed it.

Homer’s great book was born in 1969, and sadly the world would not be ready to hear these type of ideas in this type of format until now. And, like anything, it has been grossly misunderstood. The book and teachings have been chastised and will continue to be until a few more generations realize the greatness of what is contained within its pages. Only time will help our cause.

The Conclusion

Its all good… it’s not a big deal people! Please understand we ALL come from different places within the game and have our own opinions based on our perspective. Remember that these are all subject to change and can at any time. Every one of the people in that string of Tweets have their own agenda to promote and have the basis to call themselves great in what they do for a living. As long as we all have a drink and a laugh together at the end of the day, I see no harm in a gentleman’s disagreement between friends as long as nothing was done out of malice.

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Friday’s Photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 QBE Shootout at Tiburon G.C. in Naples, Florida. Formerly known as the Franklin Templeton Shootout, or the Shark Shootout, the unofficial event plays host to 24 of some of the world’s best golfers, competing in a two-person team competition. The format calls for 54 holes; first-round scramble, second-round modified alternate shot, and third-round fourball (or better ball).

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Here is a list of the teams:

  • Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland
  • Keegan Bradley-Brendan Steele
  • Kevin Chappell-Kevin Kisner
  • Jason Dufner-Billy Horschel
  • Harris English-Matt Kuchar
  • Tony Finau-Lexi Thompson
  • Brian Harman-Pat Perez
  • Russell Henley-Kyle Stanley
  • Charley-Hoffman-Zach Johnson
  • Shane Lowry-Graeme McDowell
  • Brandt Snedeker-Bubba Watson
  • Sean O’Hair-Steve Stricker

Last year, Harris English and Matt Kuchar took down the crown, finishing at 28-under par for the event. Of course, they’ll be playing together again this year as the defending champs.

Check out our photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout below!

Friday’s Galleries

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

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