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Tour Rundown: Jess Korda gets back in the winner’s circle in record-setting fashion



#AllTheFeels no doubt qualifies as this week’s Tour Rundown hashtag. First, you’ve got Jess Korda returning from the PUP list to win the LPGA Thailand in record-setting fashion. Next comes Eddie Pepperell, whose cheeks and chin smile grander than his mouth, no matter the moment. He snagged his first European Tour title in Qatar. You want more? How about Ben Campbell, sidelined for over a year with a chest illness, rebounding from a playoff loss in the same event last year to win the New Zealand PGA?

PGA Tour Honda Classic

All right, there was one winner from the Usual Suspects category. Hopes were high for a Luke List Breakout or an English Tommy Fleetwood Conquering of the Colonies triumph. In the gloaming, it was that young, familiar face of Justin Thomas, hoisting his eighth tour trophy.

How he won

Thomas seems to be that old soul who modifies his tactics according to the venue. We’ve seen him go low when conditions afford the opportunity, and we’ve seen him manage a calm day with aplomb. On Sunday, Thomas and company dealt with the wind, whose only demand was to avoid mistakes. Other than a 9th-hole bogey, Thomas did just that. He positioned himself with a Saturday 65, then followed it up with a firm 68 on Sunday. In the playoff, Thomas’ busted a drive up the fairway’s right side, then reached the putting surface with his second shot. Two putts later, his birdie clinched the trophy.

Click here to see the clubs JT used to win the 2018 Honda Classic.

How the others did mighty battle

Luke List was the fellow most might have pulled for, had they not been in the Thomas camp. Come to think of it, perhaps that was Fleetwood. Both are engaging fellows with enviable stories of diligent work. List had a chance to enter the pagoda of victory after spending time in golf’s minor leagues, but a wayward drive on the playoff hole made birdie a bit more elusive. His par was ultimately shy of Thomas’ birdie effort. Fleetwood had victory in sights when consecutive bogeys at 14 and 15 dropped him out of the lead. He rebounded with birdie at 16, but would have needed two more to join the playoff. In the end, it was Sweden’s Alex Noren in third at 7-under, followed by Fleetwood at 6-under for the fourth spot.

Pepperell dumps the bagel with first Euro Tour triumph at Qatar Masters

There are few as gregarious and witty in professional golf as Eddie Pepperell. Between his blog and his twitter account, his opinions are well-known and well-versed. Pepperell’s previous top finish was a playoff loss at the Irish Open. His T16 at the U.S. Open last year gave a hint that his game was rounding into proper form. His work this week was stellar, from start to finish, and his trophy, well-earned.

How he won

Pepperell fended off challenges from Oliver Fisher on the final two days. He birdied the 18th on Saturday to tie Fisher atop the standings, then held steady on the outward nine, as Fisher struggled. Sunday was the only day that the winner failed to birdie the closing hole, but a short putt for par was worth 100 times its weight in gold.

How he lost

Fisher got off track with consecutive bogeys at the 4th through 6th holes. With the outcome all but settled, Fisher unsettled matters with five birdies on the inward half, to reach 17-under par. Like Pepperell, Fisher failed to birdie the finisher, after three consecutive days of birdies. That and the lone hiccough on the inward side, a bogey at the 13th, prevented Fisher from mounting a massive comeback and earning his second tour triumph.

Korda back on top with win at LPGA Tour Thailand Classic

Jessica Korda had two eagles in Thursday’s first round in Chonburi. A good thing it was, as she also had two bogeys and a double. With the balance sheet even, she added six birdies and joined three golfers atop the leader board. On Friday, Korda closed her round with yet another eagle, but it came on the heels of eight birdies, giving her 62 on the day and a lead she would never relinquish.

How she won

What? That intro didn’t tell you enough? OK, Korda followed up her 66-62 start with a 68-67 conclusion. She pencilled 25 birdies and three eagles on her four scorecards, and won by four over the tandem of Moriya Jutanugarn and Lexi Thompson. Korda alternated pars and bogeys over her final nine holes, a unique achievement that established her margin of victory.

How Moriya and Lexi ended up second

Moriya started the day four strokes back of the leader, and would have needed 63, 1 lower than the day’s best, to climb into a tie with Korda. Achievable, perhaps, but a slow start (six consecutive pars) doomed Jutanugarn’s chances. As for Thompson, she made the most of what there was. Playing Happy, like the inscription on her putter face, Lexi etched eight birdies onto the relief of her round, jumping from fifth to second at day’s end. Her 64 was tied with Jin Young Ko and Pornanong Phatlum for round four low score.

Campbell defends home country with New Zealand PGA Championship title

Ben Campbell must have searched in vain for countrymen alongside on the 1st page of the leaderboard. No matter, he said, I’ll simply make a few birdies and survive my late bogey, and hold the lot of them off. At least, that’s the internal conversation we imagined!

How Campbell came back

The Kiwi was tied with Aussie Deyen Lawson on 16-under at day’s start. While Lawson experienced the unfortunate birdie-bogey kind of day, Campbell was able to post three birds against one boge, and held off Ashley Hall for the victory. Lucky charm for Campbell? His mother caddied for him this week! Want more good fortune? Campbell played the Manawatu golf club over and over while honing his game. Sometimes, the stars align.

How he lost

Hall played the round of the day, a 65, to gain four strokes on the leaders. His work moved him into a tie for second with Lawson, two behind the first place mark. It would be ludicrous to suggest that an 8th-hole bogey, his only one on the final day, kept Hall from victory. Hall put himself in position to win, but Campbell refused to release his hold on the top spot.

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Ronald Montesano writes for 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. Greg Elder

    Feb 27, 2018 at 11:59 am

    She was threatened that her sister was getting more attention than her. They fixed her pig nose and droopy face and now she is better looking than Nelly. Its obvious.

    • Shawn Gillen

      Feb 27, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      Totally agree with you Greg. I smell serious you know what on this story.

  2. Mower

    Feb 26, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Awesome play by Jess! Hope this year’s good for her.

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Charles Howell III’s winning WITB: 2018 RSM Classic



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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Danny Willett’s Winning WITB: DP World Tour Championship



Driver: Callaway Rogue (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana W 60x

3-wood: Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana W 70X

Irons: Callaway X Forged Utility Irons (18, 21, 24 degrees), Callaway X Forged 18 Irons (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Superlite

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged PW (48 degrees), Callaway Mack Daddy 4 Wedges (54, 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold

Putter: Odyssey Prototype (Stroke Lab)

Ball: Chrome Soft X

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Lee Westwood’s winning WITB: 2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge



Driver: Ping G400 LST (10 degrees) (D6)
Shaft: Veylix Rome 60 X Tip 1”, 45.25″

3-wood: Ping G400 (14.5 degrees) (D3)
Shaft: Aldila Phenom 70X, 43″

Hybrid: Ping G (19 degrees) (D2+)
Shaft: Aldila ATX Tour Green 85X, 40.5”

Irons: Ping i210 4-PW, UW (50 degrees) UW (54 degrees) (Std length, Blue color code, D0+)
Shafts: Ping JZ Stiff

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (60 degrees)
Shaft: JZ Stiff

Putter: Ping Sigma 2 Fetch 35”
Grip: PING Pistol Sigma 2 PP60

Grips: Lamkin Crossline Full Cord (+1 wrap) on woods, PING Id8 Half Cord on irons

Ball: Titleist ProV1x

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19th Hole