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



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 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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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open



Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills



GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).


Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

Special Galleries


Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings



We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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19th Hole