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Tour Rundown: Potter earns second win, Aphibarnrat wins Down Under

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Golf knows the Olympic Games, but since these are the winter version, no amount of creativity could develop a golf competition in Pyeongchang. Better to schedule events in Colombia, California, Australia and Florida, where the snow didn’t fall and short sleeves were the norm. There were no playoffs, which had become commonplace in 2018. Enough anticipation, let’s run down the week’s events.

Ted Potter Jr. earns second Tour win at AT&T Pro-Am

Potter, unexpectedly, established himself as one of the top closers in the PGA Tour’s first two months of 2018. The world’s number 1 and 2, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm, were unable to put together a Sunday round to challenge the Florida native. Potter wrote a different story. He had moved into a tie with Johnson on Saturday thanks to a 9-under 62 at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, the low round of the week. Given Johnson’s track record around Pebble Beach, lesser competitors might have played a lesser game. Not Potter. The 34-year-old journeyman endured slow play from the groups ahead and a fresh wind that featured on the final four holes. Potter’s 68 was two back of the low round of the day, so the star-studded foursome of Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Chez Reavie ended in a tie for second at 14-under, three shots behind Potter.

See the clubs Potter used to win at Pebble

Aphibarnrat claims European Tour’s World Super 6 Perth

The Super 6 should be on every tour, no questions asked. Not every week, but every year. After medal qualifying on site, eight golfers receive a bye in to the second round of match play, while 16 others battle for the right to advance. Since golfers have only six holes to decide the match, things happen early and quickly. Kiradech Aphibarnrat was not one of the top eight seeds; in fact, he was the last golfer to qualify on to match play. He gained momentum with each match triumph, defeating Ben Eccles, Yusaku Miyazato, Sean Crocker and Lucas Herbert. In the final match, Aphibarnrat faced off against Australia’s Jamies Nitties for the title. Aphibarnrat secured his position with a stunning tee ball to 3 feet on the short, par-four 14th hole. One hole later, the title was his.

Jiyai Shin claims Ladies European Tour Canberra Classic

In 2014, in the prime of her career, Jiyai Shin left the LPGA Tour to return to Korea. Since then, she has played the majority of her golf on the Japan LPGA Tour. From time to time, Shin mixes it up with her rivals from a past time, and this weekend, she came out on top of the LET’s Canberra Classic. Shin was in second place, behind last week’s winner, Australian Minjee Lee, when Round 3 began. Both golfers birdied the first hole, but Shin began to chip away at the lead, or perhaps Lee proceeded to chip away at her own lead. Lee bogeyed the 4th, 5th and 8th holes, allowing Shin to take the lead. After going out in 31, Shin came home in 33 for 64 and a six-stroke win.

England’s Ben Taylor wins Web.Com Tour’s Club Colombia Championship by 6

The Club Colombia championship was one of Ben Taylor’s top finishes on the 2017 Web.Com tour. In 2018, Taylor improved by 20 spots, claiming his first professional victory in impressive fashion. Keeping with the theme of the week, where the favorites fall away and an unheralded champion emerges, Taylor was the only competitor to play four rounds in the 60s. He took the lead for good after Round 2, and held off a quartet of runners-up to move from 50th to third position in the order of merit. Kyoung-Hoon Lee lit the back nine on fire, with an eagle and four birdies for 30, but Taylor’s outward nine of 32 allowed him to coast home for the victory.

Calcavecchia bags PGA Tour Champions’ Boca Raton Championship

Mark Calcavecchia reviewed his first two rounds, in which he made 17 birdies, and concluded that low was the way to go on Sunday. After all, Bernhard Langer was on his heels, along with a host of challengers. When Calc birdied his first three holes of Round 3, he was headed in the right direction. Langer had four birdies of his own through the first 12 holes to keep pace. Calcavecchia bogeyed holes 14 and 16, the latter after dunking his tee shot on the par three. Although the two were tied at the top, it was short-lived. Langer bogeyed the two closing holes, in unlikely fashion. Long known as the steely eyed closer, Langer’s collapse was still in keeping with an odd week of professional golf. The victory was Calcavecchia’s fourth on the senior circuit, and first since 2015.

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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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  1. Sam

    Feb 12, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Ted Potter’s win is thus far the best of the season. The fact that he was able to patiently wait out all of the slow and boring play in front of him (not to mention having to suffer through watching it) without falling into a coma speaks volumes of his history and experience. Well done Ted! Well done!

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Equipment

Laura Davies’ Winning WITB: Senior LPGA Championship

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Driver: Lynx Parallax

Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution 757

3-wood: Lynx Black Cat

Hybrid: Lynx Parallax Hybrid (17 degrees)

Irons: Lynx Tour Blade (2), Lynx Parallax Forged (4-9)

Wedges: Lynx Tour (50, 56, 60 degrees)

We’re investigating the Odyssey putter and SuperStroke grip.

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Equipment

The drivers used by the top-10 longest hitters on the PGA Tour in 2017-2018

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What drivers do the PGA Tour’s longest golfers use to bomb their tee shots? Now that the 2017-2018 PGA Tour season is behind us, we can do a thorough examination.

First, here’s a tally of what the top 10 in driving distance on Tour are using by driver manufacturer. Interestingly, only two OEMs figure.

  • Ping: 4
  • TaylorMade: 6

But this is GolfWRX, so of course you want to know more. Below is a breakdown of the driving-distance leaders on the PGA Tour in 2017-2018, the specifics of their drivers, shafts and how far their average tee shots flew.

10) Keith Mitchell

Driver: TaylorMade M1 440
Loft: 10.5 degrees (10 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS T1100 7.5 (tipped 1 inch)
Length: 45.25 inches
Swing weight: D3
Grip: Golf Pride Victory Cord 58R
Average driving distance: 312.6 yards

9) Bubba Watson

Driver: Ping G400 LST
Loft: 8.5 degrees (7.6 degrees)
Shaft: Ping BiMatrix-X (tipped .50 inch)
Length: 44.5 inches
Swing weight: D4
Grip: Ping 703 Gold
Average driving distance: 312.9 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Bubba’s clubs

8) Brooks Koepka

Driver: TaylorMade M3 460
Loft: 9.5
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70TX
Average driving distance: 313.0 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Koepka’s clubs

7) Gary Woodland

Driver: TaylorMade M3 440
Loft: 9 degrees (8 degrees)
Shaft: Accra RPG 80X (tipped 2 inches)
Length: 45.25 inches
Swing weight: D5
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord Mid
Average driving distance: 313.4 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Woodland’s clubs

6) Dustin Johnson

Driver: TaylorMade M4
Loft: 9.5 degrees
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution 2.0 Tour Spec
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
Average driving distance: 314.0 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Dustin’s clubs

5) Luke List

Driver: TaylorMade M4
Loft: 8.5 degrees
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana White D+ 80TX
Average driving distance: 314.7 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about List’s clubs

4) Tony Finau

Driver: Ping G400 Max
Loft: 9 degrees (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Accra Tour Z X485 M5 (tipped 1 inch)
Length: 45.25 inches
Swing weight: D5
Grip: Custom Lamkin UTX Mid
Average driving distance: 315.3 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Finau’s clubs

3) Tom Lovelady

Driver: Ping G400 Max
Loft: 9 degrees
Shaft: TPT MKP 15.5
Length: 44.75 inches
Swing weight: D3+
Grip: Golf Pride V55 Full Cord 58R
Average driving distance: 315.9 yards

2) Trey Mullinax

Driver: Ping G400 Max
Loft: 9 degrees
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 60-X
Length: 45 inches (tipped 1 inch)
Swing weight: D4
Grip: Golf Pride V55 Full Cord
Average driving distance: 318.7 yards

1) Rory McIlroy

Driver: TaylorMade M3 460
Loft: 8.5 degrees
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 70XTS
Length: 45.625 inches
Swing weight: D8
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R
Average driving distance: 319.8 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Rory’s clubs.

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Tour News

Patrick Reed airs out Jordan Spieth and Captain Jim Furyk following the 2018 Ryder Cup loss

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In an interview with Karen Crouse of The New York Times, Patrick Reed held zero punches about his displeasure with former Ryder Cup partner Jordan Spieth, Captain Jim Furyk, and the egos of the United States team.

First, a bit of back story. Patrick Reed — dubbed “Captain America” — played foursomes and fourballs with Jordan Spieth in both the 2014 and 2016 Ryder Cups, amassing a 4-1-2 record as partners in the two events.

But when it came to the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, Patrick Reed was paired with Tiger Woods in both fourball sessions (losing both), while Spieth played with Justin Thomas in fourballs and foursomes (Spieth/JT went 3-1). Reed sat the bench for both foursomes sessions.

According to Reed, the decision to split from Spieth was not his call, or the captain’s, but rather, due to Spieth’s wishes. Reed also took shots at Furyk for sitting him in both fourball matches.

Here’s what Reed had to say…

About Jordan Spieth

“The issue’s obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me,” Reed said, according to the NYT. He added: “I don’t have any issue with Jordan. When it comes right down to it, I don’t care if I like the person I’m paired with or if the person likes me as long as it works and it sets up the team for success. He and I know how to make each other better. We know how to get the job done.”

In the post-Ryder Cup press conference with the entire team, the ex-partners were asked about the split, to which Spieth answered: “We were totally involved in every decision that was made… Jim allowed it to be a player-friendly environment.”

When asked about this moment in the interview by the NYT, Reed said, “I was looking at (Jordan Spieth) like I was about to light the room up like Phil in ’14,” in reference to Phil Mickelson calling out Captain Tom Watson in the 2014 post-Ryder Cup interview.

About Captain Furyk

“I thought he might go back with the groups that have worked in the past (after the first alternate-shot session).”

“For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don’t think it’s smart to sit me twice.”

About the U.S. Team

“Every day, I saw ‘Leave your egos at the door,’” Reed said, of inspirational messages in the team room. “They (the Europeans) do that better than us.”

Full New York Times article.

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