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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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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

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

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