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Tour Rundown: Day wins in Monday finish, Li lassos win

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The weather around the world was nearly as tempestuous as Rhein Gibson, as chinooks and draughts impacted play from Dubai to San Diego to the Bahamas. When the dust had settled, one champion defended her title, two others won for the first time, and a fourth overcame one of the world’s best. Oh, and a playoff was halted by darkness. Time to round up all the week’s events in another Tour Rundown.

Farmers Insurance playoff takes six holes and two day

On Monday, Alexander Noren and Jason Day concluded play as darkness fell with the tournament title undecided after a quintet of holes. Ryan Palmer joined the duo at 10-under at the end of regulation, but made par on the first extra hole to drop from the chase. Noren and Day each birdied the par-five closer three times in overtime, and made pars at the 16th and 17th. The playoff concluded on Monday during the anti-climactic first hole as Jason Day secured the win with a tap-in birdie.

Jason Day’s Winning WITB

The playoff trio

Noren began the day in first place, and held firm through the front nine. His 3 birdies and 2 bogeys gave him a look at his first PGA Tour title. Two bogeys on the inward nine dropped him to 10-under. Playing partner Ryan Palmer also struggled to find daylight on a challenging fourth day, but was able to birdie the 72nd hole to join Noren and Day atop the podium. Day turned in 4-under 32, but like the others, struggled coming home. He had 2 bogeys and 0 birdies on the home side, good enough to join his counterparts in extra holes, and eventually secure the win.

That other story

Tiger Woods returned to competition, and his performance could be judged a success. He made the cut on the number, shot four rounds between 70 and 72, and tied for 23rd, 7 shots behind the leading trio. Woods was all over the course off the tee (some things never change!) but ground his way to success as he has done so often. The showing was a positive sign in the return of the game’s greatest.

Li lassos second European Tour title in Dubai

Haotong Li held the No. 60 ranking on the OWGR list heading into the Dubai Desert Classic. That’s going to change. Not entirely unfamiliar to Euro and USA golf fans thanks to his third-place finish at last year’s Open Championship, Li lacked a signature victory over a respected foe. He checked both boxes on Sunday.

How Li came back AGAINST RORY FREAKING McILROY

If you paid attention to the Euro-centric announcers on Golf Channel’s feed, Li was doomed when he made bogey to McIlroy’s birdie at the 1oth hole on Sunday. Even after McIlroy made bogey at the next, Li’s inability to convert a makeable birdie putt kept the margin at 1. Meanwhile, Tyrrell Hatton was making noise with birdies of his own a few holes ahead, and the wags anticipated a McIlroy vs. Hatton duel, with Li an afterthought. Let’s end this, now: Li bogeyed the 12th, then made four birdies over the final six holes, winning by 1 over Roars for his first European Tour win outside China. Xièxiè and wan an.

How Rory, et al., let Li Escape

Truthfully, Rory should have put this thing away. He played even-par golf over the final 9 holes, when 2-under would have done the job. He didn’t put any pressure on Li when he had him on the ropes (Li bogeyed two of the opening three holes on the inward half, before steadying the ship). Assuming it’s part of the process, if this loss translates into a green jacket in April, it will be worth it. Watch out for Tyrrell Hatton: this lad can flat out play. The Englishman played flawless golf on Sunday, with 6 birds against 12 pars. Like McIlroy, he couldn’t get it done at the end, parring his final 4 holes to finish third alone, 2 behind Rory and 3 back of the champion.

Lincicome opens LPGA Tour season with wind-swept victory

Brittany Lincicome has won two LPGA majors, a Canadian Open and five other tour events. Odds are, she never won in more wind than Sunday at Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Lincicome entered the week as defending champion, but was overlooked for most of it, thanks to an opening 74. Then came the weekend.

How Lincicome came from nowhere to defend her title

Eight birdies and 1 bogey is always an acceptable round. Only Carlota Ciganda was better (65) and her round came on the heels of an 81. Lincicome and the rest of the field withstood the reduction of the event from 72 to 54 holes, thanks to winds that moved golf balls and blew visors around the course. Those winds cancelled a large part of play on Friday. Come Sunday, there was the defending champion, backing up her Saturday 67 with another stellar round. Lincicome’s 67 was the low round of the day, giving her two of the low third rounds of the event. That usually results in a desirable finish.

How Feng and company failed to keep pace

Shanshan Feng played 2-under golf on Sunday… and was left in the dust by the champion. Her undoing was a lack of birdies: 3 on the day against 1 bogey. Amy Yang began the day in the second spot, played nearly an identical round to Feng (4 birdies and 1 bogey) and could only watch as Lincicome raced by. Feng and Yang tied for third at 9-uner, 3 behind the winner. Only Wei-Ling Hsu matched Lincicome and Ciganda’s birdie total on the day, but Wei-Ling needed perfection, and 2 bogies undermined her effort. Still, the second-place finish was the best in her LPGA career.

From British Columbia to the Bahamas, Web.Com Tour title for Svensson

Adam Svensson eaked out a 1-shot victory over last week’s winner, Sungjae Im. The triumph made the Web.Com Tour 2-for-2 in first-time winners in 2018. More of a grind than a fireworks display, the conclusion to Wednesday’s fourth round offered a glimpse inside the challenge of winning.

How Svensson raised the winner’s chalice

No one was more consistent that the Canadian. Three rounds of 68 plus one of 67 brought him to 17-under par. On Wednesday, Svensson stood a clean 5-under par through 16 holes. He drained a sizeable putt of some 25 feet for par on 16, a putt that would have motored at least 6 feet past had it missed. Although he slipped with bogey at the penultimate hole, the former Barry (Florida) University golfer had enough mental presence to par the 18th for the title.

How Im came close to his own double

Sungjae Im will be an interesting cat to watch in 2018. So many golfers burst from the gate with brilliance, but the continuation of it is often capricious. Im had 3 bogeys on his final-day scorecard, but 4 birdies and 1 eagle kept him in the thick of the chase. Im went birdie-birdie at 14 and 15, but could not summon one more stroke of brilliance, to reach a playoff. His 16-under finish kept him atop the money list.

And Gibson?

The aforementioned Rhein Gibson finished solo third at 15-under, losing the lead and a chance at victory on the final two holes. The latter slip-up stemmed from a possibly-incorrect ruling, wherein his caddie picked up a ball that Gibson had kinda-sorta declared unplayable. The official assessed a 2-stroke penalty at the par five, and Gibson made a valiant birdie-for-bogey. He also might have thrown a headcover at the caddie. And the caddie might have vindicated himself through researching decision 26.1/9. Goes to show that not just the NFL and NBA refs are in the hot seat.

Peterson collects first Asian Tour title in Myanmar

Paul Peterson won the Czech Masters in 2016, for his first, big-time victory. The former Oregon State golfer has made a career overseas, alternating between the European and Asian tours. On Sunday, Peterson charged from third to first in Myanmar, holding off a harder-charging Satoshi Kodaira of Japan, for a 2-shot triumph.

How Peterson collected his first Asian Tour title

A quick start boosted Peterson into the lead in Round 4. After routine pars at the first 2 holes, the journeyman went birdie-eagle-birdie to seize the lead. The remainder of the round was a bumpy ride, with 4 birdies and 3 bogeys. Despite Kodaira’s heroices, the effort was enough to claim victory.

How Kodaira nearly grabbed the prize

At the start of the day, everyone was chasing France’s Lionel Weber. The leader played the front nine in 2-over, but left the chase for good with a quadruple-bogey 8 at the 13th hole. Weber would ultimately drop a tie for 21st. As Peterson fought to maintain his composure, Satoshi Kodaira was making a mad dash to the top. Beginning the round in 18th spot, Kodaira balanced 8 birdies with 10 pars, for a sublime 63, the low round of the week. Kodaira’s comeback fell two shots shy of a playoff, but his tie for second with countryman Tomoyo Ikemura was consolation enough.

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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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Tour Photo Galleries

WRX Retrospective: Interesting photos from the 2019 Masters

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As of now, we know the 2020 Masters is going to have to wait until November. The tournament will be as exciting as it will be interesting since it will be the first modern glimpse into Augusta National beyond April.

It has also given us the great opportunity to look back with hindsight 20/20 (that was very much an unintended pun) at our pictures from 2019 to showcase some of the most noteworthy and interesting, including some potential foreshadowing of the week that was to come.

2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson isn’t one to change putters too often, but he must have been searching for something last year when testing out this TaylorMade Spider.

This was Viktor Hovland’s last Masters as an amateur. He won low amateur honors and went on to capture the same distinction at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

TaylorMade always does a wonderful job with major-themed accessories and bags. 2019 was no exception.

Little did we know at the time this was taken, this man would be leading heading into Sunday’s final round. How the tables turned so quickly.

Callaway’s collab with Seamus Golf lead to these flower-themed headcovers.

We can’t forget that Tuesday practice day was rained out and the course was closed at 10 a.m. to both players and spectators. It wasn’t the warm spring kickoff many had hoped for!

Although it was short-lived, it was a rainy Tuesday for all, including caddies.

The weather broke on Wednesday and the view up the 10th hole never gets old.

Did you realize two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson’s Flightscope has a custom pink paint job?

Inexpensive snacks and beverages are always a highlight of any Master’s visit.

The 2019 Masters featured pre-bulked Bryson, who also happened to have a custom FlightScope X3. He looks like a veritable stick!

They say a picture says 1,000 words, but in the case of Tiger Woods, we had no idea how many words would be written come Sunday.

A peek into the bag of Gary Woodland, who would go on to become the U.S. Open Champion only a few months later.

Special shoutout to Gary Woodland’s caddy Brennan Little, who hails from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, and is obviously a big Toronto Blue Jays fan. He was also on the bag for Mike Wier’s win in 2003.

Although the relationship was short-lived, Sergio used some very cool custom Toulon putters while on staff with Callaway Golf.

The eighth green is one of the most interesting and mounded on the course, there’s not a bunker to be found but danger lurks everywhere.

Undulations at No. 1 are a sight to be seen at ground level.

The iconic, understated clubhouse of ANGC.

The tucked-away first tee spike cleaner is something every course should have.

And of course, the iconic 12th, where so much would be decided come Sunday.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the 2020 Players Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The field this week featured the best golfers in the world, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and more.

Rory McIlroy enters the tournament as the defending champion, looking hoist the crystal again.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from TPC Sawgrass.

General Galleries

Special Galleries

Bettinardi’s St. Patrick’s Day covers  

Brand-new Srixon 745 in Keegan’s bag

Roger Sloan’s custom Cameron

Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal irons spotted in Nick Watney’s bag 

Joel Dahmen with a battle-worn hybrid

Fresh eggs for Patrick Reed…

Justin Rose continues to tweak his equipment

Carlos Ortiz looks to be picking up some supplies to mark the end of his driveway…

Jordan Spieth with a Vokey WedgeWorks Proto 60T in the bag

Kiradech Aphibarnrat with lead tape and stamping on cavity-back irons. Solid! 

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Tour News

GolfWRX Spotted: Justin Rose with mixed bag at Arnold Palmer Invitational

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It’s not very often we get breaking equipment news this time of year on the PGA Tour schedule, but this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of the highest-profile players on tour, Justin Rose, was spotted testing multiple brands of clubs throughout his entire bag.

It started last week at the Honda Classic when Rose put a TaylorMade SIM driver with Mitsubishi Kuro Kage in play. As of today’s first round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose has a mixed set including TaylorMade, Cobra, and Titleist clubs, along with an Axis1 putter.

Here are the details of Rose’s equipment:

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees @ 8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 TX

5-wood: Cobra SpeedZone Tour (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 X

Irons: TaylorMade P730 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52, 56 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design Prototype K Grind (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5 (52, 56), Proto Hi-Rev 135X (60)

Putter: Axis1 Rose
Grip: Flat Cat Svelte

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 ‘19 (No. 1)

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