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Tour Rundown: Paul Casey wins for the first time on the PGA Tour since 2009

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The biggest story of this second weekend in March was Tiger Woods. The artist formerly known as Eldrick was in the arena from start to finish, and had a shot at a first victory in 4.5 years. If viewing numbers weren’t up for this weekend, I’ll eat my hat! As it is, golf is back with vigor, and it’s time for another Tour Rundown.

Casey claims Valspar Classic on PGA Tour for second career win

Another one of those “scratch your head” facts is this: Paul Casey had not won on the PGA Tour since 2009, and not anywhere else, since 2014. Consider those oversights remedied, after Casey’s come-from-behind victory in Florida.

How Paul Casey snapped a long, winless streak

Casey avoided the big mistakes on Sunday. He had nothing worse than bogey, and only one of those. He had three consecutive birdies early on the back nine, then made pars through the end to finish at 10-under par. His margin of victory was one stroke, but that will be enough to certainly elevate Casey above his current No. 17 slot in the Official World Golf Ranking.

See the clubs Paul Casey used to win the Valspar

How Tiger and the others made their run

Let’s start with the others. Patrick Reed played terrific golf on Sunday, but could not close out either nine. He bogeyed the final hole on each side, and that second one was the dagger that dropped him from a tie for the lead, into a tie for second with Woods. It never seemed that Tiger Woods was in the race, but he was never far away. The fellow who averaged nearly 5 birdies a round for the first 3 days, had only 2 on Sunday. Still, second place was higher than everyone but Tiger expected from him this week. Third-round leader Corey Conners started in the wrong direction, with bogey on 2 of his first 3 holes. The inward half wasn’t much better, as Conners again went birdie-less, adding 2 bogeys and 1 double, to drop to a tie for 16th.

Second European Tour win for Wallace at Indian Open

Matt Wallace did an apprenticeship on the mini-tours for five years, before moving on the Challenge Tour in 2017. Since last year, his rise has been fairly meteoric. He won the Portugal Open to earn a full European Tour card, and now has an even bigger trophy, as champion of the Hero Indian Open.

How Wallace won the day

It wasn’t easy. As overnight co-leader Shubhankar Sharma lost his second, final-round lead in as many weeks, Wallace quietly made 5 birdies in 10 holes to preserve his place on top. Trouble was, countryman Andrew “Beef” Johnston was scripting a classic of his own. When Wallace bogeyed the 16th for 68, and Beef birdied the 17th for 66, the two were tied. Off they went to a playoff hole, where Wallace reached the watery 18th green in two, then two-putted for birdie to dispatch Johnston.

How Beef and his delicatessen came up short

For two days, it looked like Emiliano Grillo would run away with the title. Scores of 68-65 staked him to the midway lead. The Argentine lost his mind over the weekend, playing 6-over golf to finish six back, in 6th place. Then came Sharma, who shocked the world with his play last week at WGC-Mexico. Three double bogeys in anyone’s final round, usually means no trophy. Such was the case with Sharma, who had 75 for T7. As for Beef, he was forced to lay up in the playoff, and his wedge to the green was nothing to write home about. His putt for birdie was magnificent, but somehow stayed out of the hole, on the high side.

Toshiba Classic on PGA Tour Champions is Singh’s First individual title

When a golfer wins nearly 50 times on the regular PGA and European tours, you don’t expect him to wait 5 years before claiming his first Champions Tour title. Vijay Singh probably feels it was worth the wait. He two-putted for birdie from just off the last green to finish at 11-under, ending one shot clear of a trio of runners-up.

How Singh sang

The tall Fijian had 7 birdies over the first two rounds; on Sunday, he had seven more. He followed a penultimate bogey with a closing birdie, to force his pursuers to eagle the last. When Singh was winning on a regular basis, he made bushels of birdies. If that tendency returns in his 55th year, the rest of the Champions Tour had best measure up.

How Tolles, McCarron and Pernice just missed out

Tommy Tolles had the low Sunday round, to jump up six spots. He was on track for 64 until he bogeyed 17 and failed to birdie 18. Scott McCarron hit the par-3 17th with his tee shot, but found the wrong quadrant of the green. Three putts later, he had dropped from 10-under to 9-under, just like Tolles. Tom Pernice hit a magnificent tee ball on 17, but could not convert the birdie putt. After his sparkling 64 on Friday, Pernice was unable to recapture that magic over the next 36 holes.

Unknown Trainer takes El Bosque Mexico Championship on Web.Com Tour

Martin Trainer was a wee 148 spots shy of earning his PGA Tour card last season. In other words, he has next to no standing on the Web.Com tour. He had no luck in the Sunday qualifier, but he did receive a sponsor’s exemption, Now, he has a tournament victory in 2018, thanks to an ability to handle the occasional big number with multiple birdies. Trainer outlasted John Chin and others to win his first Web.Com tour title

Where did Trainer come from?

Trainer and the equally-anonymous Conner Godsey were tied for the 54-hole lead at El Bosque. While Trainer managed to, Godsey’s mere 2 birdies could not overcome 5 bogeys and 1 double. Trainer showed an uncanny ability to bounce back from his mistakes. He had 3 double bogeys on the week, along with a healthy handful of bogeys. He made enough birdies and eagles to win by two over Chin.

How Chin and others made Sunday interesting

As Godsey was tumbling down the leaderboard, John Chin was making birdies. He had 5 though 15 holes, when disaster struck. The ensuing double-bogey dropped him well behind Trainer, so far that a final-hole eagle was only good enough to vault him past Chase Wright (nope, you haven’t heard of him, either) into solo second. Wright began the day, eagle-double bogey. Are you getting the theme here? There were a lot of big numbers in Guanajuato, Mexico, and the reason these guys aren’t at the top of this section is explained by their inability to avoid those uglies.

Buhai claims South African Women’s Open on Ladies European Tour

The Westlake golf club wasn’t particularly generous with the low rounds this week. When you shoot the best score of the day, two out of three tournament days, you’ve a decent shot at winning the event. That was the case for this year’s champion, Ashleigh Buhai of the host nation.

How Buhai held them off

Buhai and Germany’s Karolin Lampert matched wits and games all week long. They had the event to themselves after two rounds, so the question was which of the two would separate. Buhai’s tough patch came on Saturday, when she bogeyed 3 consecutive holes on the front nine. Sunday was a different story. The former Ashleigh Simon played a flawless round of 67, with 5 birdies and nothing resembling a stumble, to claim her 3rd national open title, and first in a decade.

How Lampert solidified second spot

It’s not that the runner-up played poorly on day 3; she had the same number of birdies as the champion, but she had three missteps that cost her bogey. Two additional 67s were recorded on Sunday, so the potential was there for Lampert to chase down Buhai. A first LET title for Lampert shouldn’t be far off, given this week’s performance.

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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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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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Equipment

Danny Willett’s Winning WITB: DP World Tour Championship

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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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Equipment

Lee Westwood’s winning WITB: 2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge

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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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