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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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Equipment

Charles Howell III’s winning WITB: 2018 RSM Classic

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Driver: Titleist TS3 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue 65

Fairway woods: Titleist TS2 (15, 21 degrees)
Shafts: Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 8X, Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 9X

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB 4-iron, Titleist 718 AP2 (5-7), Titleist 718 CB (8-PW)
Shafts: Project X LZ 6.5 (hard stepped)

Wedges: Vokey SM7 (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 (proto)

SEA ISLAND, GA – NOVEMBER 17: Charles Howell lll tees off on the eighth hole tee box during the third round of The RSM Classic at the Sea Island Resort Seaside Course on November 17, 2018 in Sea Island, Georgia. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)

RELATED: See what members are saying about CH III’s equipment in the forums.

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Equipment

Danny Willett’s Winning WITB: DP World Tour Championship

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Driver: Callaway Rogue (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana W 60x

3-wood: Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana W 70X

Irons: Callaway X Forged Utility Irons (18, 21, 24 degrees), Callaway X Forged 18 Irons (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Superlite

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged PW (48 degrees), Callaway Mack Daddy 4 Wedges (54, 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold

Putter: Odyssey Prototype (Stroke Lab)

Ball: Chrome Soft X

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Danny Willett spotted with new Odyssey prototype putter, putter shaft

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You may have seen Danny Willett’s name near the top of the leaderboard at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. At 10 under, the Englishman sits one stroke behind fellow countryman Matt Wallace.

You may not have seen, however, that the 2016 Masters champ has a new Odyssey prototype putter in the bag.

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

(Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

All the company would say

“Willett first put in his new gamer last week at the Nedbank Challenge. Willett’s prototype putter also features a new prototype Odyssey shaft to help improve the consistency of the putting stroke.”

Willet has historically favored his blade-style Odyssey O-Works #1 W. More recently, at the Turkish Airlines Open, we spotted him with an Odyssey Versa Jailbird Black. However, the prototype in question is clearly a heel-shafted mallet with a different insert than the 1 W or the Jailbird. The insert looks to be the White Hot Microhinge. Obviously, the two-tone, potentially multi-material, shaft, and the technology therein, is notable as well. Also apparently two-tone, the putter head, which looks similar in shape to a Tank Cruiser and similarly has a pair of sole weights.

Do we need the TG2 to break down the few photos we have like the Zapruder film? We’ll continue digging, in the meantime, let us know what you think, GolfWRX Members!

 

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