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Tour Mash: Justin Thomas and Bernhard Langer just won’t stop winning

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If you’re sick of reading about Justin Thomas and Bernhard Langer and their expanding trophy shelves, we’ve got no good news for you. Both gentlemen won again during American football season, as did Sergio Garcia. With warm weather sweeping the USA northeast, golf is still on the minds of many. Here’s our weekly mash of everything tour.

PGA Tour: Justin Thomas narrative has a new chapter

The CJ Cup is a new event on the PGA Tour; the first world-class, individual event played in Korea for male golfers. The site, Nine Bridges on Jeju Island, had been proven a quality layout on the LPGA Tour. At the end of 72 holes, many PGA golfers gave it their all, but a familiar face held the winner’s plaque.

How Thomas won:

Justin Thomas visited the 60s only once all week, and that was on opening day. He went deep on Thursday, with 2 eagles and 7 birdies for a 63 (9-under-par). As the weather got dicey (winds the next three days), the low round of the day went 65-67-68 over the next 54 holes. In other words, Thomas didn’t need to go low.

Justin Thomas’ Winning WITB

How the others didn’t:

Two Aussies gave Thomas their best shot. Cameron Smith opened with 69-68, reached 8-under with 6 holes to play, but could not summon one more birdie to reach the magic figure of 9-under. Marc Leishman survived 3 bogeys in 4 holes on Sunday’s outward nine to reach the 17th hole at 9 deep, bogeyed 17, then birdied 18 to tie Thomas. Their playoff lasted two holes, when Leishman got into trouble on the par-five 18th and made bogey, delivering victory to Thomas.

LPGA Tour: Ji Eun-hee finally claims third LPGA Tour victory

Ji Eun-hee won twice in her first three years on the LPGA Tour. Both were major victories, the 2008 Wegman’s LPGA and the 2009 U.S. Open. No one thought that it would be eight years before she would win again.

How Ji won:

She won going away, by a 6-stroke margin over Lydia Ko. Ji bookended her week with 66 and 65, the low rounds each day. Ji made 3 bogies all week long, and was bogey-free in rounds 1 and 4. Ji provided no opportunity for anyone to close in. It was her week, plain and simple.

How they didn’t:

Lydia Ko was unstoppable for the early part of her career. When one thinks of recent LPGA prodigies (Michelle Wie and Yani Tseng come to mind) Ko resembles the latter more than the former. After a four-win season in 2016, Ko is winless in 2017. Is it an aberration, growing pains, or something else? Ko played well enough to win this week, four strokes clear of the five-way tie for third. Her time is near.

European Tour: The host with the most, Garcia wins at home

Many think that Garcia’s win at Augusta was seminal, releasing him to play great golf under great pressure. His work at Valderrama did nothing but support that assertion. He had many opportunities to lose the tournament, but found the will to win it.

How the host won:

Garcia balanced birdies and bogeys all week, finding a way to stay in red figures from start to finish. On Sunday, he made a solitary bogey, and birdied the penultimate hole to counter his closest pursuer’s birdie and preserve his one-stroke margin. Despite all the distractions, Garcia preserved his focus through the final putt, accepting the accolades a host-champion deserves.

How Joost didn’t:

You can’t accuse him of not trying. Luiten made a double-eagle on Friday’s 11th hole, took a share of the lead on Sunday’s back nine, and pushed Garcia as far as possible, falling just short of a playoff. Luiten claimed the runner-up spot for a second consecutive year. Like Ko above, his time is near. His work was so good that we gave him the media feature below, despite not being the champion.

PGA Tour Champions : Sixth victory of season for Langer

Is it possible to quietly win six times in a professional golf season? Nah, just a thought. Bernhard Langer won three major titles on the senior circuit this summer, and closed out his latest triumph by one stroke in Virginia.

How he won, again:

How does a walk-off eagle sound? Langer made zero putts, by his own admission, until the final green. There, he drained an 18-feet putt for three and a narrow victory over Scott Verplank. On Friday, Langer knocked down 9 birdies for 63 and a 3-stroke edge over Vijay Singh, who signed for the same score. On Sunday, Singh struggled but Scott surged.

How Verplank didn’t:

Scott Verplank took advantage of Langer’s weak putting day. He posted 6 birdies on a clean card for 66 on Sunday, but failed to birdie the closing 18th, the easiest hole on the course, statistically. You can’t make them all, but to beat Langer, you have to. Billy Mayfair and Kenny Perry enjoyed surges of their own, with 65s, to jump into a tie for third spot with Singh.

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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.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Peter

    Oct 23, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Looks like Langer was using a Ping with Graphite Design Shaft. ALso M2 3 wood?

    • MT

      Oct 24, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Langer’s success hinges on the brand and style of clubs he uses… believe it…

      • Bob Jacobs

        Oct 24, 2017 at 5:17 pm

        His success is all about that illegal putter

  2. Ben Jones

    Oct 23, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    What kind of driver does Langer use instead of the Fast 12LS he was using?

  3. HeineyLite

    Oct 23, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Langer in my opinion does anchor, not with his fist, but with his upper arm and forearm against his body…IMO…

    • Bob Jacobs

      Oct 24, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      Definitely anchors…we have a guy at our club that does the exact same thing as Langer and up close there is ZERO doubt that he is indeed anchoring the putter.

  4. 2putttom

    Oct 23, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    The Tiger Woods of the Champions Tour

  5. Andrew

    Oct 23, 2017 at 11:18 am

    How about a WITB with pics for Langer? It’s been far too long for such an accomplished player in win mode. Wedge grinds and face pics of the Apex irons too please.

    • Bob Jacobs

      Oct 23, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      What’s in the bag for Langer?? A putter that’s against the rules:) Actually not a joke

      • Ronald Montesano

        Oct 23, 2017 at 7:11 pm

        The putter is not illegal. The anchoring is illegal. Langer does not anchor. Nothing is illegal.

        • MT

          Oct 24, 2017 at 10:02 am

          It may not be ‘illegal’ but it certainly reeks of cheating by bending the rules with a loophole.

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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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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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Tour Rundown: Europe storms back, Kizzire takes trophy in a marathon playoff

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The second week of 2018 returned a number of tours to action around the globe.  The Hawaiian-stretch concluded on the PGA Tour, while Europe began its campaign in South Africa. The PGA Tour Champions and PGA Tour Australasia were also in action. And just for fun, the Web.Com Tour’s Great Exuma Classic in the Bahamas began on Saturday and concludes on Tuesday. At the halfway point, Dan McCarthy holds a 1-stroke lead over three guys named Matt, Mark and Rhein. Dash with us to the first Tour Rundown of this new year.

Eurasia Cup goes to Europe in a final-day comeback

Following the trace of the Ryder and Presidents cups, the Eurasia Cup pitted 12 golfers from the Asian continent against a dozen counterparts from Europe. The Asian hosts acquitted themselves well in team play, surging to a 3.5-2.5 lead after Day 1, and retaining the same margin after Day 2, 6.5-5.5. Unfortunately for the likes of Haotong Li, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Byeong Hun An, Day 3 belonged to Europe. The 8.5-3.5 tally over the final 18 holes gave the visitors a 14-11 win.

How Europe won

Alex Noren has played superb golf the last 24 months, winning five times in Europe. He led off on Saturday for Europe, made 5 birdies, and dispatched Nicholas Fung, 4 & 2. And the boys in blue were off in a hurry. Although Poom Saksanin would level the day’s tally with a second-match win over Paul Casey, Europe proceeded to win the following 7 matches and claim the challenge cup. The greatest win belonged to Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who etched 6 birdies onto his scorecard in a 15th-hole win over Gavin Green.

How Asia lost its lead

Although world top-10 golfers Rahm, Rose and Garcia were not in the lineup for Europe, the squad boasted five golfers currently ranked in the world top 20. The highest-ranked golfer from Asia, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, was absent; his presence certainly would have boosted Asia’s hopes on Sunday. Partner play in team matches is unpredictable, but the talent of a team rises on singles day. And so it was at Glenmarie in Malaysia. The Asian team, while dogged, could not ascend to the level of its opponent.

Kizzire outlasts Hahn at the Sony Open in Hawaii

I’ll confess that I still suffer from Woodsitis, where a front-runner was likely to win the tournament, but I’m in treatment. PGA Tour events are supposed to be competitive, and even go topsy-turvy from time-to-time. Such was the case on Sunday at the Waialae Country Club. Over the closing holes, the leader made double bogey and missed the playoff, the guy who shot 62 snuck into the playoff, and the fellow who played the final seven holes in 1-over won the tournament!

How Patton Kizzire committed trophy robbery on Maui

Maxie Patton Kizzire has yet to win on mainland USA, but he has two tournament titles in his two seasons on the big tour. Kizzire never looked like a winner on Sunday, with pars on his first nine holes. An eagle-birdie run at the advent of the inward nine caught our attention, but his finish was anything but spectacular. When Tom Hoge closed poorly, Kizzire found himself in a playoff with James Hahn. The Auburn alumnus never looked like a winner until he won. He missed shots here, there and everywhere, but somehow stayed afloat. On the sixth extra hole, Kizzire made par to Hahn’s bogey, and the trophy was Alabama-bound.

How Hahn and Hoge came up short

Hahn probably felt like the most fortunate guy in the islands. He birdied half of his holes during the final round, and added two more in overtime. Hahn certainly felt comfortable during extra time; both of his tour wins have come in playoffs. Putts on the first two playoff holes singed the edge but did not fall. The third time wasn’t the charm, but second-place money and points are a warm comfort. Hoge confessed that two bad swings did him in, at 8 and 16, but putts on 17 and 18 gave him a look at the title. Ultimately, his rags-to-riches story received a significant boost from his third-place finish.

Related: Patton Kizzire’s Winning WITB

European Tour opens season at South African Open

Chris Paisley had no business winning this tournament. Branden Grace, a native, had yet to win his country’s Open championship, and he was on a roll. Starting the round 1 behind Paisley, Grace began with birdie and eagle to take the lead. And yet, there was Paisley on the 18th green, owner of a 3-shot victory margin and his inaugural European Tour title. What gives?

How Paisley dumped the monkey

He made 6 birdies and 12 pars on Sunday. Simple, really. Paisley didn’t twitch when Grace blazed early. He kept playing the game that had given him the lead through 54 holes. Paisley spread his birdies out, three on each nine, never consecutively. He forced Grace’s hand, demanded that he play better quicker. On Sunday, Paisley looked more the part of the veteran winning for a 5th or 10th time, and not a 32-year old on the cusp of his first, prime-time title.

How Grace lost his chance at the win

As quickly as the South African golfer grasped the lead on Sunday, he gave it away. Facing a similar bunker recovery to one he had on Saturday where he had to play the ball away from the hole into the fringe, Grace flinched. He pulled it off on Saturday, but left the ball in the sand on Sunday. The resulting double bogey was the only non-par he had from third to the 11th holes. A bogey on 12 was followed by eagle and birdie on the next two holes. For a golfer who prides himself on consistent play, Round 4 was an oddity for Branden Grace.

Champions Tour opens unofficially at the Diamond Resorts Invitational

What better way to start the season than with an unofficial, modified stableford event? Add non-golf athletes and LPGA stalwarts to the field, and the fun really kicks in. Scott Parel held a 1-point advantage on Saturday evening, but felt the weight of expectations throughout the final day. Meanwhile Scott Dunlap made a move with 34 points on Sunday, including a birdie on the last hole. When the dust had settled, two Scotts were tied at the top.

How Parel persevered

Scott Parel last won on the Web.Com Tour in the early part of the decade. He came to the 16th hole 3 points behind Dunlap, but made bogey. His 17th-hole birdie brought him into a tie for the lead, guaranteeing that a closing par would get him the final point he needed for the win. Well, that’s not easy to do, especially after your playing partner shanks his tee ball on the par-3 closer. Parel fanned on his tee shot, left his pitch well short, and made another bogey to finish tied with Dunlap. On the playoff hole, Parel acquitted himself better, two-putting from fairway short of the green for par and the victory.

How Dunlap dunked

It’s unfair to ignore what Scott Dunlap put together on Sunday, and focus solely on the wretched way he played the sole, sudden-victory hole. Dunlap shot the equivalent of a 64 in Round 3, with birdies on his final three holes. Much like Kenny Perry in the 1996 PGA Championship, Dunlap may not have expected to go to extra holes, and may not have prepared for the playoff as expected. What is known is this: he dunked his tee shot, left his par pitch 30 feet short, and left his bogey putt 3 feet short. Ugh.

PGA Tour Australia visits New Zealand for the REBEL Sport Masters

Auckland and its Wainui Country Club hosted the opening event of 2018 on the PGA Tour of Australasia. A full field of hungry young golfers did battle, but in the end, it was a few wizened veterans who held court at the REBEL Sport Masters.

How Millar scaled the mountain

Matthew Millar had as clean a card as one could desire over his closing triumvirate of 67s. One bogey and one double were all that marred his stellar play over the final 54 holes. The result was a 5-stroke triumph and his second career Australasian tournament title. Even Millar’s opening 72, 1-over par, was a thing of consistency. His 15 pars and 1 birdie simply needed a few more of the later; he obliged over the next three days.

How Smail and Fowler locked in their top-3 finishes

David Smail was brilliant over the first six holes on Sunday. Birdies on five of them brought him into the title picture, but he could not maintain the pace. To his credit, not a single bogey soiled his card on the final day. Unfortunately, after birdie at the 6th, it would be nine consecutive pars before closing with birdies at 16 and 18. Nevertheless, his mighty 64 shot him past a host of competitors into solo second. The ageless Peter Fowler led on Day 1 with 66, but would not crack 70 the rest of the way. His veteran guile allowed him to overcome bogeys on 2 and 3 on Day 4, and steady the rudder. With 5 birds against 2 bogeys over the remainder of the course, Fowler came in under par on Day 4, 1 behind Smail and 5 back of Millar.

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