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Tour Rundown: Woodland wins in overtime on Super Bowl Sunday

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On the weekend of the big football game, golf offered up excitement across the globe. Playoffs decided events in Australia and Arizona, while an unanticipated comeback from an unknown quantity claimed a European Tour title in Malaysia. On the heels of the “Iggles” big victory in Minnesota, let’s have our own championship Tour Rundown for the first weekend of February.

Woodland claims third PGA Tour title in overtime

Four-point-five years had passed since Gary Woodland won in Reno. His game had improved, but the victories did not follow. On Sunday, one of the tour’s most natural athletes returned to the winner’s circle, dispatching Chez Reavie on the first extra hole.

How Woodland Won

Playoffs are passe on tour these days; four consecutive weeks of them will do that to a fan base. Woodland finished a solid forty minutes before Reavie, thanks to a 9-birdie round of 64 on Sunday. A 10th would have finished things in regulation, but Woodland’s 10-feet effort broke off harmlessly. In the playoff, Woodland drove into the church pew bunkers on the left, but drew a clean lie. He was able to reach the front fringe, and his 2-putt par from 25 feet topped Reavie’s bogey five.

See the clubs Woodland used to win on Sunday

How Reavie went down fighting

The 2001 USGA Public Links champion played in Sunday’s final threesome, but drew little inspiration from his partners. Bryson DeChambeau and Rickie Fowler struggled on the fourth day, leaving Reavie to find his own motivation. A poor iron shot into the 16th led to bogey, but the 36-year old responded with two closing birdies, the latter on the strength of a cross-green bomb of a putt. In the playoff, Reavie had the upper hand off the tee, but played a sloppy iron that spun off the green, leaving him a tricky chip. He was unable to get up and down to extend the playoff. Ollie Schniederjans and Brendan Steele tied for third at 15-under par and 3 strokes out of the playoff.

Scott Langley surges for first Web.Com Win

Panama provided a warm welcome for the left-hand brigade. Eric Axley led entering round four. Edward Loar ended in a tie for second, and Langley came out on top. No lead is safe, on any tour, at any time. Birdies and double were exchanged like currency, leaving nothing certain until the final green.

Langley’s Road Map

The 28-year old alum of The First Tee and the University of Illinois had a scorching back-nine on track, with four birdies in his first six holes. A double bogey on the 16th brought him back to the field, but he was able to hold off Rafael Campos and Loar by two strokes. Three birdies on the outward half stood Langley at 7-under on the day, so if ever a double bogey was not the end of the world, this was it.

How the chasers came up short

The buried lede was this: if you’re going to make a double bogey, make lots of birdies. Axley had two of them, and not enough birdies to remain in the hunt. Loar had birdies at 1 and 3, but a late double was his undoing. Campos had a passel of birdies of his own, but three bogeys meant that his comeback effort would come up a bit shy. The daunting, closing trio of holes at Panama Golf Club offered only one birdie (Campos at 17) to the entire top ten on Sunday.

Sharma blazes past field for second Euro Tour title

Shubhankar Sharma was a little-known quantity from India before Sunday. He had won in South Africa in December, but was not on anyone’s radar in Malaysia. In round four, he played the golf we all dream about, posting 10 birdies and nary a bogey, on his way to a 62 and a 2-stroke win over the third-round leader, Jorge Campillo. Sharma tallied 23 birdies on the week, so it’s safe to say the best was left for last.

How Sharma shook off Campillo

In case you missed it, 10 birdies! At dawn’s first light, Sharma was barely inside the top 20. He finished an hour ahead of the final trio, who had to wonder if the scoreboard had been taken over by jesters. Despite not making birdie at the easy opening hole, Sharma matched 31s on each side to separate himself from the field.

Campillo comes up just shy of a playoff

In truth, it wasn’t as close as it looked. Campillo opened with eagle 3 for the second consecutive day, but had to birdie the final 2 holes to move a stroke ahead of Ryan Fox and countryman Pablo Larrazabal, for solo second spot. Not much that one can do, when golf like Sharma’s is played. Fox had the shot of the week, for an albatross (double-eagle) on Saturday’s first hole, and followed it up on Sunday with an eagle at the opening hole.

Hawkes edges Endycott at Oates Vic Open

In a battle of young pros, third-round leader Simon Hawkes held off Harrison Endycott, emerging triumphant on the first playoff hole. Hawkes had a chance to win in regulation with eagle at the last, but his birdie was enough to cinch a spot in the playoff.

How Hawkes took down Endycott

Simply put, he closed with birdie in regulation to tie, then made birdie on the only playoff hole for the win. Hawkes had 5 birdies against 1 bogey on the final day, enough to dispatch all pursuers save one.

Endycott edged close to victory, but …

He came close, there is not doubt, but Endycott beautiful 66, built by 6 birdies and 12 pars, was just not enough. In the playoff, he and Hawkes both got into bunker trouble, but the runner-up was unable to extract himself efficiently, and settled for par and the second-place check.

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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.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tom54

    Feb 5, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Maybe Mr Montesano was busy watching Super Bowl pregame instead of Phoenix Open because Chez Reavie was paired with John Rahm and Fowler, not Fowler and DeChambeau. He was correct that both his playing partners did not play that well in his group. Certainly thought Rahm and Fowler would have done better but that’s why we tune in.

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19th Hole

I wasn’t ready for the 2019 Rules of Golf

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We weren’t ready. We thought we were, but we weren’t.

For the last year, the USGA reminded us that in 2019 Rules of Golf were coming, but we didn’t listen. We heard the flag stick could remain in and we heard that you could take a penalty drop from knee-height.

But we didn’t listen.

I bet none of you have even practiced using your putter to flatten the entire green between your ball and the cup. You can do that now.

I’m also sure that you and I will continue to hover our club in all hazards, er, penalty areas. Yeah, we’re calling it a penalty area now.

The USGA went to the extreme depths of changing words all to simplify the game for you.

I don’t think the USGA listened either.

The rule changes were intended to speed up play and simplify golf for amateurs. Seems like a good idea. In turn, they may have bamboozled the PGA Tour while confusing the only amateurs who kind-of, sort-of knew the rules.

The pros didn’t need a new rule book, the amateurs just needed a simple one.

Us “locals” as the USGA refers to amateurs, do have one extremely fluid perk. When hitting a ball OB, or following a lost ball, you can drop with a two-stroke penalty instead of walking back to the tee. This of course, is dependent on your course, head professional, tournament conditions, and other factors including and not limited to what phase the moon is in.

If that’s somewhat confusing, read up, ask about your local rules, and buy a few extra sleeves. Reason being, in 2019, the limit on searching for a golf ball has been cut from five to three minutes.

2019-rules-of-golf

But wait, there’s good news.

Thanks to the USGA, if you accidentally move your ball as you frantically high-step through fescue, it’s no longer a penalty! What an exciting 180 seconds that will be!

If you somehow don’t find your golf ball in the hazard penalty area, the USGA tried to help us out, which they did, yet regrettably took away a more iconic portrait on the golf course.

The rigid, stoic stance and forceful drop of a ball at shoulder-height.

And we let it happen.

Now, we’ll watch a defeated man deliberately bend to his knees and gingerly drop his ball…Which, by the way, appears to be a convenient way for cheaters to “take a drop” that ideally doubles as “identifying my first ball”.

Don’t even get me started on the back issues this could flare up.

We heard in late 2018 that Bryson DeChambeau would use the flagstick when the odds were in his favor. He even laid it out simply for us.

“It depends on the COR, the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick.”

Simple.

We didn’t listen Bryson, we didn’t believe. We also have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

But hey, as Bryson would say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Yeah, he’d clearly never say that, but here’s to hoping!

We heard he would do it, but we didn’t believe it. We had to see to believe. What we saw was DeChambeau first in strokes gained putting in the very first round he was allowed to do it.

Obviously, this trend will continue for DeChambeau, and others may join in, because what is golf if not a constant chase for a marginally better opportunity at success.

Watch your back, because those others that may join in could be closer than you think. You may turn around to find a fellow member asking for the flag on their next 12-footer.

It should be a fun year of commentary and confusion at your local club and on the PGA tour. Professionals will have constant questions for rules officials, and commentators will consistently question Bryson’s methods.

There is one real question I hope is answered this April.

What will we do when Bryson banks in a downhill putt at No. 2 of Augusta?

Will we be ready? Will Augusta?

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News

Stewart Cink pens multi-year deal with Ping

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Ping Golf has announced that six-time winner on the PGA Tour, Stewart Cink, has signed a multi-year deal with the company.

The deal will see the American play a minimum of 11 Ping clubs, as he looks to end an almost decade long winless streak on the PGA Tour. Cink had previously been an equipment-free agent (having been a Nike man prior to that) although he had been using Ping clubs for the majority of the last season.

Speaking on the addition of Stewart Cink to Team Ping, company president John K. Solheim stated

“Stewart has a long track record of success and overall consistency, evidenced by his wins, top 10s in majors, and the fact that he has competed on five U.S. Ryder Cup teams and in four Presidents Cups.

“He has instant credibility, and we know him well because he has played Ping irons for many years. Our tour staff has been impressed by his professionalism and his knowledge of equipment. We’re delighted to be associated with Stewart.”

Cink will make his first start as a Ping staff player at this week’s Sony Open. According to the company, the 2009 Open Championship winner is expected to have Ping’s G400 LST driver, G400 fairways woods, i25 irons and Sigma 2 Arna putter in the bag this week at Waialae Country Club.

No details of the financial terms of the arrangement have been disclosed.

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Equipment

Charles Howell III’s winning WITB: 2018 RSM Classic

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Driver: Titleist TS3 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue 65

Fairway woods: Titleist TS2 (15, 21 degrees)
Shafts: Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 8X, Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 9X

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB 4-iron, Titleist 718 AP2 (5-7), Titleist 718 CB (8-PW)
Shafts: Project X LZ 6.5 (hard stepped)

Wedges: Vokey SM7 (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 (proto)

SEA ISLAND, GA – NOVEMBER 17: Charles Howell lll tees off on the eighth hole tee box during the third round of The RSM Classic at the Sea Island Resort Seaside Course on November 17, 2018 in Sea Island, Georgia. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)

RELATED: See what members are saying about CH III’s equipment in the forums.

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19th Hole

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