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Tour Rundown: Poulter earns spot in The Masters after an unbelievably clutch putt

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This week in professional golf is brought to you by Chip, the motivational emotion encouraged by past slights that rests on an athletes shoulder. Only three winners emerged from the professional tours this week, but they were memorable for diverse reasons. The LPGA opened a season of major championships in California, the PGA tour hosted its final event in the run-up to the Masters, and the Web.Com tour was in Georgia for a professional debut that may stand the test of time. All 3 winners have us stoked to tell you more about their exploits, so step aside as we cruise into Tour Rundown mode.

And the first major of the year goes to…

When you have a 3-participant playoff that extends into day 2, usually little is remembered from the BP (before playoff) era. When you have an 8-hole playoff, won by a first-time champion on tour, you have a great story. When that winner holds off a 7-time champion and LPGA hall of fame member, you best not wreck the story. And with that lead-in, say hello to your newest LPGA tour and major champion, Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden.

How Lindberg held off Inbee and Jennifer

Pernilla Lindberg attended Oklahoma State and came out on tour in 2009, after graduating in International Business. Nearly 9 years later, the ebullient Swede found herself in position to win not just one tournament, but a major title at that. After opening with 65-67, Lindberg fought her swing the next two days, but managed to drain a birdie putt on the final green to reach the magic playoff number of 15-under par. Suffice it to say that 8 holes in, Lindberg drained a 20-feet putt to seize the day and send home the exhilarated gallery in the happiest of ways.

How Inbee and Jennifer (et al.) gave ANA their all

Both Park and Song closed with rounds of 67 to push Lindberg deeper than she wanted. Song bowed out on the 3rd playoff hole with par, while Park managed to go 8 holes in, before losing to Lindberg’s second birdie in extra time. Right on their heels were Ariya Juntanugarn and Jessica Korda, who managed 65 and 66, respectively, on Sunday. Simply put, this was a major for the ages, and all of the runners-up and also-rans added to the lore.

Poulter gets Masters invitation, after all

Never one to be shy with his feelings, Ian Poulter was speechless a week ago. Why? Turns out he received some misinformation after his semi-final loss in the WGC Match Play, about a certain invitation to a certain spring party. Nope, Ian, sorry. You actually didn’t qualify. Poulter took to Twitter (as he sometimes does, making himself look … human) to vent his frustration. He then went to work in Houston, won the Open, and absolutely stole the final invitation to the 2018 Masters tournament.

How Ian Poulter showed us the way

No matter your feelings on his Ryder Cup performances for team Europe, his ability to stay in the spotlight despite not winning anywhere since 2012, or his brash demeanor, respect is due to Ian James Poulter. The Englishman converted a 20-feet putt for birdie at the last, probably around the time that former UTexas golfer Beau Hossler began to feel that the title was his. In a very succinct playoff, Poulter stayed dry while Hossler went for a dip. The former made par while the latter posted triple, and the event was decided.

Related: Ian Poulter’s Winning WITB

How Hossler nearly played his way to Augusta

Hossler has always been a cosmic talent, qualifying for a US Open before he finished high school. Barring injury, his first tour victory should come in the next two months. In essence, he did everything necessary to win in Houston, posting consecutive birdies from holes 12 to 15, to reach 19-under par. After Poulter’s final-hole histrionics, Hossler acquitted himself admirably in the playoff, until his third shot. After a drive in the fairway bunker, his approach cleared the fronting water, but found more sand. It was the greenside bunker shot that did the young pro in, sailing beyond the putting surface and into lake despair. Still, with the runner-up finish, Hossler improved 56 spots, inside the top 30 of the FedEx Cup chase.

Sam Burns shrugs off Walker Cup slight, wins first Web event at Savannah Golf Championship

Every decade or so, the USGA Walker Cup selection committee makes one of those head-scratching decisions. In the 1990s, it left Brandt Snedeker off the team. In the 2000s (all right, 2011, but give us some wiggle room), John Peterson was denied an earned spot on the squad. In 2017, the same fate befell Sam Burns, the college player of the year. The process always remains a mystery, but in the case of Sam Burns, the slight might already be forgotten. Burns won his 1st important professional title this week in Savannah, finishing at 21-under to win by one.

How Burns grabbed the steering wheel

Sam Burns began the week with a benign round of 72. He reeled off 3 consecutive 65s to not only make the cut, but nab the victory on is 72nd hole. After that opening, 3-bogey, 3-birdie effort, the victor made 21 birdies, and eagle and 2 bogeys the rest of the way. After 9 holes on Sunday, Burns stood 1-under on the day, off the pace set by Scott Langley. Something at the turn fired up the LSU alum, as Burns came home in 30 strokes, with 6 birdies against 3 pars. He played his final 3 holes in minus-3, edging Roberto Castro by one.

How the chasers came up short

Roberto Castro was in the top 25 on the PGA Tour a few years back, but has been unable to recapture that form. His slow improvement on this year’s Web.Com tour escalated dramatically in Savannah. Castro closed with the day’s low round, a 64 that also featured a closing birdie. These days on the Web, if you don’t finish with something in the mid-60s, you go home empty handed. The win moved Castro well up the ladder, in the chase for  a return trip to the PGA tour. Scott Langley led for much of the day, but was unable to preserve his brilliant, opening-nine form to the end. His 67 brought him a tie with Justin Hueber for 34d place.

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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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