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Tour Mash: Pat Perez wins his third, Hatton goes back-to-back

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If tournament golf provides a brief respite from the floods and fires that have ravaged much of our world, it has served its purpose. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by these disasters. With that in mind, we offer you this week’s Tour Mash.

PGA Tour: CIMB Classic is Perez’s third career victory

Pat Perez won for the second consecutive fall, this time in Malaysia. The resurgent Perez kept his card in the 60s all four days, reaching 24-under par in the end. His margin of victory was four strokes over countryman Keegan Bradley, and lifted him to second position in the very early stages of the 2018 FedEx Cup chase.

How he won:

The long look is the successful shoulder surgery and bye-Callaway-hello-PXG equipment shift that took place in 2016 and 2017. The short look is the 23 birdies (against 2 bogies) of the first 54 holes. Perez improved more than anyone else over those three days, then opened Sunday with three birdies in his first four holes. Against that type of performance, what can you do? Yep, just clap your hands.

See the clubs Pat Perez used to win the 2017 CIMB Classic

How they didn’t:

Xander Schauffele and Sung Kang might have put pressure on Perez with a low-60s round on day four, but neither one had the juice to pull it off. They finished tied for 3rd at 17-under. Cameron Smith had the best first and fouth rounds in the CIMB Classic (both 64s) but did the opposite of Perez, struggling in rounds 2 and 3. Smith tied for fifth with Hideki Matsuyama, who followed a 63 with a closing 71.

European Tour: Italian Open

No doubt that the home crowd was pulling for back-to-back wins by Francesco Molinari, the 2016 champion. Well, they have their back-to-back winner, but it’s not Molinari. Instead, Tyrrell Hatton, last week’s victor in Scotland, claimed another European Tour title, this time on the 72nd hole.

How he won:

If last week’s win was one of elegance, this week was one of guts. Hatton had virtually nothing going through eleven holes, then came the fireworks. Four consecutive birdies from holes 12-15, then the coupe de grace, the 20-feet putt for another birdie, to reach the magic, 21-under par total. Left as co-runners up were Ross Fisher and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, at 20-under.

How they missed out:

Overnight leader Matt Wallace did nothing wrong through 13 holes, then a wretched bogey at the par-5 14th did him in. He had birdie at the 17th and a fine putt to save par at 18, to collect solo fourth place. Fisher faltered at the last green for the second consecutive week. In Scotland, he had a tiny putt for 60 at the Old Course, but missed. This week, well in advance of the final group, Fisher just missed a putt for 62. Aphibarnrat was the man in charge through 15 holes, until a sloppy double bogey dropped him out of the lead. He rallied with birdie at the next, but could not make three at the last, finding himself even with Fisher.

LPGA Tour: Hana Bank Championship is all about Ko

The golf world met Ko Jin-young in 2015, when she miserably lost a three-shot advantage over the British Open’s final 9 holes, falling into a runner-up position behind Inbee Park. Ko made a bit of amends this week, holding off Sung Hyun Park by two strokes, for her first career LPGA Tour title.

How she won:

Sometimes it’s better to finish strong than start with a flurry. Sunday offered a slow start for Ko, with bogeys on holes 2 and 3. After that, it was pedal to the metal, with six birdies and a 4th-round 68. Ko reached 19-under, out of reach for Park. As important as the birdies was the absence of bogeys over the same stretch.

How they came close:

In contrast to Ko, Park started her round in hyperdrive, with birdies on three of the first five greens. She added another on the 11th and seemed game for a stretch battle with her Korean mate. Bogeys on 14 and 16 did her in, offering the final margin of victory. In Gee Chun made a scant three bogies on the week, half of what the two golfers ahead of her penciled in. Unfortunately for Chun, she was unable to ride the birdie train as long as Park and Ko, and came third at 16-under.

PGA Tour Champions: SAS Championship

“W” is the last letter in “low,” but low is the key to the W, when W means Win. No matter the tour, Sunday is the new moving day most weeks, and the SAS saw everyone move past third-round leaders Phillip Price and Jerry Kelly. So many birdies, so little time! Here goes nothing.

How he won:

Colin Montgomerie has finished runner-up in the season-long Schwab Cup for three consecutive seasons, to the same Bernhard Langer. Monty is a bit behind his previous years’ pace, but never say never to the chipper Scotsman. Montgomerie shined brightest on Sunday at the Prestonwood Country Club outside Raleigh, earning his second victory of 2017. His final round of 64 was low on the day, and enabled him to surge past all challengers.

How they lost:

The Saturday night leader board was tightly packed, with three co-leaders at 136, four more at 137, and four at 138. Vijay Singh’s third-hole double bogey was too much to overcome, despite six birdies and an eagle. Defending champion Doug Garwood has five birdies, an eagle and one bogey on the day, good enough to tie Singh for the runner-up spot. As for Monty’s 36-hole co-leaders, Kelly and Price totaled seven bogeys between them and dropped to sixth and T11, respectively.

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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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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge at the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West (7,113 yards, par 72) in La Quinta, California.

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The field this week is headlined by Jon Rahm, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings after his second-place finish at the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago. Joining him in the field are notables John Daly, Brian Harman, last week’s Sony Open champion Patton Kizzire, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.

Defending-champion Hudson Swafford notched his first career victory at the 2017 CareerBuilders Challenge, where he won by one stroke over Adam Hadwin. He’ll be back in the field this year to defend his title.

Check out our photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge below!

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Final-round coverage of Sony Open not surprisingly affected by strike

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Shortly before the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii began, news that members of the telecast team would be striking filtered through the golf mediasphere. Viewers were unsure what type of a patchwork production they were in for as a short-handed team tried to make up for an absence of video and audio workers.

Whit Watson, Frank Nobilo and Mark Rolfing, the main announcers for the telecast through Saturday, were absent. Instead, the team of George Savaricas, Billy Kratzert and Jim Gallagher Jr. called the action from Golf Channel studios in Orlando. Plenty of camera angles weren’t available, and there were no camera crews inside the ropes, which led to some awkward coverage moments. On-course reporting was also absent.

Interestingly, Jerry Foltz, normally a reporter, was pressed into action of a different sort.

So, what’s at issue here? Why the walkout? Per a K5 News report John Culleeny, a representative for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, indicated last-minute talks broke down.

“We’ve been in negotiations with Golf Channel for second contract for nine months, and they’ve proved fruitless. We rejected one vote a while back and when they put their last proposal out, 83 percent of our members rejected it. After a couple of last minute talks, nothing happened so we just pulled the crew today. We pulled the crew in the Bahamas and we pulled the crew in Orlando.”

More specifically for the IATSE workers at Golf Channel? Below industry standard pay.

“The biggest issue is the fact that Golf Channel wages are below industry standard, below what other people are making…We have people who are stay at home, work regionally in San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, whatever. They make more money than people who go on the road for the Gold Channel. And they have to leave their families, stay in a hotel room for weeks at a time, and they’re getting paid less than people who stay home. We want parity.”

Attention now turns to when the strike will be resolved. Reportedly, a lawyer for the IATSE is trying to jumpstart talks, and a meeting between the two sides is scheduled for Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Golf Channel is scheduled to cover this week’s PGA Tour event, the CareerBuilder Challenge, as well as the PGA Tour Champions’ season-opener, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

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Monday’s Photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge at the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West (7,113 yards, par 72) in La Quinta, California.

The field this week is headlined by Jon Rahm, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings after his second-place finish at the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago. Joining him in the field are notables John Daly, Brian Harman, last week’s Sony Open champion Patton Kizzire, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.

Defending-champion Hudson Swafford notched his first career victory at the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge, where he won by one stroke over Adam Hadwin. He’ll be back in the field this year to defend his title.

Check out our photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge below!

Monday’s Galleries

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

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