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Tour Mash: DJ blows a six-stroke lead on Sunday, Rose capitalizes

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Remember when September through November was the Silly Season? Skins Game and other made-for-television events were all that golf fans had to watch. Weren’t terrible, weren’t great. All is different in the realm of 2K17, where WGC in China, Schwab Cub on the Champions, CME on the LPGA and the Race To Dubai on the European Tour give us quality, meaningful golf nearly up to Thanksgiving. Time to mash some Halloween candy, pro-golf style.

Justin Rose wins World Golf HSBC Champions

No lie, the engraver was practicing “Dustin Johnson” on Saturday evening. The tall man they call DJ had a 6-stroke lead over Brooks Koepka, looking solid and unbeatable. The wind had something to say about things, and turned Johnson’s massive advantage into a gentle zephyr, floating away. In the end, Justin Rose took advantage and walked away with his second WGC title.

How the Rose bloomed

Want to know the secret to overcoming a large lead?

I THINK WHENEVER YOU’RE PLAYING BEHIND SOMEONE WITH A LEAD, TRY AND WIN THE OTHER GOLF TOURNAMENT. THAT’S ALWAYS MY MENTALITY. AND THEN JUST SEE WHAT HAPPENS. THE LEADER, YOU NEVER EXPECT HIM TO HAVE A BAD DAY, BUT JUST IN CASE, PLAY FOR SECOND.

Do what Rose did; beat all the other competitors and, if the golfer with the big lead falters, you have a chance. Rose wasn’t flawless on Sunday; he struggled like everyone else on the outward half, balancing three pars, birdies and bogeys. Still, he made two strokes up on the leader. On the inward half, the 2013 U.S. Open and 2016 Olympic champ was fire, with five birdies. In the end, Rose had a two-shot edge on Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Henrik Stenson.

How the field wilted

Shoot in the 60s and win, might nearly have been the mantra for the leaders on Sunday. Stenson would need 68 to tie, and he posted 70, with a critical, late bogey at 17. Koepka needed 69 to tie, and looked as though he would get it, until a crushing double-bogey on the 16th. And Johnson? All he needed was a putt or two. The Myrtle Beach Man could not buy a break in round four. He wasn’t lousy (13 pars, 5 bogeys) he just wasn’t Johnson. By the way, Rose was the only guy in the top 15 after round 3 to shoot in the 60s on Sunday.

Cristie Kerr Continues Komeback at Sime Darby

See what we did up there? CK-CK? Yup, Halloween cheese. Back to Kerr. Her third win of the year was a battle, but she made just enough shots to notch the belt in Malaysia. After wins in Hawaii and France, Kerr’s Key might be to leave the continental U.S. in search of glory. Alliteration fun is not done. Kerr kept her komposure each time her swing betrayed her. Two holes after a double at the seventh, she made birdie. On the inward half, she bogeyed the 15th and 17th holes … and birdied 16 and 18, the latter for a walk-off win.

How Kerr closed the deal

There were low numbers (64 from Brooke Henderson, 65 from Nelly Korda) on the board on Sunday, but Kerr couldn’t find one. Fortunately, playing partner Shanshan Feng couldn’t take advantage of Kerr’s malaise. Want to know how good pro golfers are? They plan to mic-drop 35-foot putts on the final hole.

I KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE LIKE A FIVE-WAY PLAYOFF. I WAS JUST LIKE, GOT TO DO IT. GOT TO DO IT. I WAS JUST, THE ONLY THING I COULD CONTROL WAS TRUSTING MY LINE AND HITTING THE PUTT WITH THE SPEED TO MAKE IT, AND I DID IT. NEVER LEFT THE HOLE. IT NEVER EVEN TRIED TO LIP OUT.

How the others lost

Jacqui Concolino and Danielle Kang did what was necessary. Both golfers shot low rounds (67 and 66, respectively) to enter the chase. Both came up one shot short, as did Feng, thanks to Kerr’s 72nd hole bottle rocket. Kang had nothing but pars through 11 holes, then close with an eagle and three birdies to come oh-so-close. Concolino played the first 12 holes in 4-under par, but a costly bogey at 15 was her undoing. As for Feng, two bogeys on the opening nine and two birdies on the inward side. Meh.

Sanderson Farms Championship is Armour’s First Tour Win

In pre-internet 1993, Ryan Armour lost the USGA Junior final match to Tiger Woods. Armour went on to Ohio State as a student-athlete, then bounced around every tour imaginable for 20 years. He won on the Web.Com tour in 2016, and now has his first PGA Tour victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

How Armour stayed in the moment

Can you want to win too much, for those around you and for yourself? Yes, you can. Ryan Armour may have wanted it more than words can say, but he kept matters simple: hit it in the middle of the fairway, hit it in the middle of the green, put the putter on it and see what happens. All week long, he was one or two better than his closest pursuers, which adds up to a five-shot cushion at 19-under par, five strokes clear of the resurgent Chesson Hadley. Jonathon Randolph had his low round of the week (67) on Sunday to jump up to solo third spot.

How the others tried, but didn’t quite make it

It’s hard to blame the pursuers when the leader gives them no room. In this event, the field was truly playing for second position. Hadley needed 63 in a week when no one went lower than 65. Everyone else needed a monumental Armour collapse, and it did not happen. Scott Strohmeyer won a playoff for the final tournament spot in Monday’s open qualifier, then caught lightning in a bottle with rounds of 72-67-68-71. His T4 finish means the man with no status whatsoever will play next week in Las Vegas.

PowerShares QQQ Championship to Langer in extra holes

So sturdy was the play of both, as others around them faltered, that the gods of golf decreed that Bernhard Langer’s putt for the win, on the 54th green, would 360-degree lip out, and that he and Miguel Angel Jimenez would play overtime for the spoils of victory.

How Langer ground this one out

After 9 holes on day 3, Langer was behind David Toms and Scott McCarron, and didn’t have his usual, daunting game. On the inward half, he was perfect. The now seven-time champion in 2017 birdied four-of-the-first-five inward holes to assume the lead. Four closing pars nearly cost him the title, as Jimenez made his run. Even with the power lip-out on 18, Langer still had life and when given a second opportunity in the extra period, the German took advantage.

How Jimenez and company let this one slip away

Langer was beatable this week, but no one put him away. McCarron had a chance to do so, and came home in 1-over. Toms also had opportunity, but made only one par on a sloppy/brilliant back nine (5 birdies, 2 bogeys, 1 double.) It was Jimenez, after eagle three on the 16th brought him into a tie at the top, who had multiple, late opportunities. First, he missed a 10-feet putt for birdie on 17 to take the lead. Next, he missed a 15-feet putt for birdie at the last, which would have forced Langer to make for a half. Finally, the Spaniard missed a long but makeable birdie putt on the first extra hole. Note to future challengers: Langer doesn’t give anyone that many chances.

Indonesia Open to @ProCoconut

Twitter handle is @ProCoconut, ’nuff said. Panuphol Pittayarat held off a spate of longer last names to claim his first Asian Tour win, by five strokes. Think we’re kidding? Read on.

How @ProCoconut got the job done

Pittayarat had the low daily round (65) on two of the four tournament days. The other two 18s were 68 and 67. That totals 23-under and is tough to beat. The 24-year old Thai hit 62 greens in regulation and kept his putts under 30 in 3-of-4 rounds. Count 28 birdies on the week, and you have the recipe for winning stew.

How the others fell short

Certainly not in letters, they didn’t. Kaewsiribandit was five behind the winner in 2nd spot, while Janewattanond tied Tantipokhakul for third, at 15-under. For fun, Wannasrichan was one back, in the fifth spot. Now you know why Thais love nicknames. Great golf was played, but none could approach the efficiency of the winner.

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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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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. DaveFromAccounting

    Oct 31, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    It could if the successful rounds were first and the least successful round was the one with the most pressure. It certainly looked like he had a hard time trusting his equipment when the pressure grew. Although, this isn’t totally out of character for DJ with, or without, new equipment.

  2. Wonder Why

    Oct 30, 2017 at 2:54 pm

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GolfWRX is live this week from The 2017 RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club — the Seaside course plays as a par 70 measuring 7,005 yards — in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Headlined by last week’s OHL Classic champion Patton Kizzire, and 2015 RSM Champion Kevin Kisner, this week’s field is filled with notable names including Ricky Barnes, Zac Blair, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Harris English, Tommy Gainey, Bill Haas, Beau Hossler, Zach Johnson, Smylie Kaufman, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell, Ollie Schniederjans, Brandt Snedeker, Hudson Swafford, Bubba Watson and others.

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