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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.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  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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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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