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Pettersen wins second-straight at Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship

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Suzann Pettersen spent most of her season finishing outside the top-15 in tournaments. But a late renaissance has Norway’s pride looking like it’s is 2007, her breakout six-win season, all over again.

While ending the winless drought that had plagued her for 15 months could have seemed enough for most, back-to-back victories on the Asian Swing were seemingly more appropriate for Pettersen. After all, with her perfectionist demons at bay – even for a short while – and with her putting on an upswing, few can match the de facto Solheim Cup European team leader.

Pettersen’s two-step actually started by a late weekend tangle with a 2011 teammate over in Incheon, South Korea. She opened with a tournament-record 63 at the LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship and following it up with a moving day 68 (the event was scheduled for 54 holes), the Norwegian found herself ahead of her eventual toughest competition, Scotland’s Catriona Matthew. Her five-shot cushion over the entire field shrunk as she stumbled out of the gates, and Pettersen appeared poised for a disappointing finish mainly accountable to missed opportunities from the fairway and her [almost trademarked] shaky putting. Thankfully for the Norwegian, however, the cure to her woes ironically lies in placing herself in pressure-packed and precarious situations – case in point, her 1-up comeback triumph over Michelle Wie at the 2011 Solheim Cup highlighted by her clutch putts on Nos. 16, 17 and 18.

Little could plausibly be expected from the 43-year-old Matthew – the opposite could be said of Yani Tseng who was knocking at the door for the first time in months. Tseng finished third; a feat that she would go on to repeat the following week at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship in what represents very bad news for the other members of the LPGA Tour.

As Matthew has showed several times over the past seasons, it’s hard to dismiss her, especially in sub-par playing conditions. A seven-shot rally enabled Matthew to take advantage of Pettersen’s wobbly round and grab a hold of first place, forcing the tournament to extra holes. Ultimately, the Norwegian’s self-described aggressive approach to the third and final playoff hole, paired with her propensity to make putts that she normally does not when it matters the most, gave her the victory.

On the other hand, the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship unraveled according to a different storyline. Where the HanaBank Championship had Pettersen playing trailblazers from the get-go and everyone else playing catch-up, the Audi-sponsored outing had the Norwegian stuck in the peloton at 3-under. Her move for daylight came late Friday as, with six holes left and sitting on another 3-under posting, the previous week’s champion switched gears – as she would put it in a post-round interview – and recorded four birdies; thus proverbially trading blows with Round 1 leader Inbee Park to join the latter atop the leaderboard.

Moving day would see the current LPGA Player of the Year leader claim a two-shot advantage over Pettersen, but struggles Sunday – a 2-over 74 – would, eventually, have the best of Park. As Pettersen enjoyed a second title in as many weeks, Catriona Matthew, through rounds of 66 and 68 sandwiched between a pair of 70’s, managed another top-4. Things are looking up for the Scot as she’s set to defend her ownership over the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

Click here for more discussion in the “LPGA/Ladies Golf Talk” forum. 

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Tour News

WATCH: Tiger Woods on Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf

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Tiger Woods just appeared in a Bridgestone Golf Facebook Live video. While the audio isn’t the greatest (sounds like there’s some mowers rolling by), we’ve got to pass it along.

Check out the video below.

Woods initially discusses his wedges, before moving on to sharing some insights about how he hits his patented stinger–covering the ball, starting it farther right, and keeping his follow through short.

On his ball, the Bridgestone Tour B XS, which he presents as a softer ball well-suited to his swing, Woods says

“I need spin. I don’t spin the ball a lot. My swing has never produced a lot of spin. I’ve always been able to take spin off the golf ball–I grew up in an era where we played balata. What separated a lot of guys was the ability to take spin off the golf ball…to keep it below the tree line. There was a lot more movement in the golf ball.”

“My swing has naturally evolved. I’ve had different swings throughout the years, but each swing didn’t spin the ball a lot. So, when I get up to my long irons with a harder ball that most people would launch…I don’t. It falls out of the sky because it has so little spin.”

Woods mentioned that he hasn’t played Shinnecock since the course’s pre-U.S. Open makeover, but that he expects the course will be particularly difficult: an old-school U.S. Open with minimal graduated rough where it will be difficult to shoot under par.

Responding to comments, Woods sings Hazeltine’s praises and mentions he’d love to be able to wear shorts during PGA Tour events

“We play some of the hottest places on the planets and it would be nice to wear shorts…even with my little chicken legs,” Woods says.

Woods tells amateurs looking for more spin around the greens that they need a soft golf ball, mentioning that solid contact, maintaining loft, and allowing to club to do its job are key. Woods mentions that he has “a couple extra shots around the greens” thanks to the softness of his golf ball.”

We’ll next see the 14-time major champion in action at next week’s Memorial Tournament (which he discusses to wrap up the video).

 

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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Fort Worth Invitational

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GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

Absolutely savage new putter cover for Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm. Just killer.

Prettier than a new penny.

Spotted: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI

Everything here is excellent. Just excellent.

More like Garsen Murray. Am I right?

If you were Aaron Wise standing over the winning putt at last week’s Byron Nelson, this is what it’d have looked like (of course, you’d have had a ball and the putter would be soled on the green, but you get the point…)

Abraham Ancer’s new Artisan wedges are simply incredible… All of this: Artisan star stellar stuff.

Rickie Fowler has gone grape.

You can’t fool me. You’re not Adam Hadwin, you’re a golf bag.

Is Patrick Cantlay considering a switch to a Cameron Napa?

Check out all our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

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

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club (par 70; 7,209 yards). The event has now been hosted here for 73 straight years.

Headlining the field this week are Jordan Spieth, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Jon Rahm (No. 4), Justin Rose (No. 5) and Rickie Fowler (No. 6). Joining them are notables Webb Simpson, who’s coming off his win at The 2018 Players, as well as Wesley Bryan, Jason Dufner, Bryson DeChambeau, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Pat Perez, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, and last week’s champion, Aaron Wise.

Related

Last year, Kevin Kisner captured the second PGA Tour victory of his career after shooting a final-round, 4-under 66.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

Special Galleries

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

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