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Tour Rundown: Kodaira wins after Kim’s collapse

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After two consecutive weeks of major championships, the world’s professional tours eased up on the pedal a wee bit. The PGA Tour headed to South Carolina, while the LPGA was in Hawaii and the European Tour went to Spain. While part of the country suffered through winter’s rebirth, the PGA Tour Champions (Georgia) and the PGA Tour made adjustments based on weather. The elder statesmen went so far as to play 36 holes on Saturday, to avoid Sunday altogether. Time to wrap up and round up all the deets on this week’s Tour Rundown.

Kodaira benefits from Kim’s kollapse

Some say it takes good fortune, along with good play, to earn a win on any tour. Satoshi Kodaira would admit freely that he benefited from both on Sunday at Harbor Town. Kodaira put himself in position for a high finish, posting 66 on day four. Si Woo Kim opened wide the door to a playoff with wretched putting down the stretch, and Kodaira took advantage of the invitation.

How Kodaira built on a solid Masters performance

Kodaira played well last week at Augusta National, posting 3-of-4 rounds at par or better, to finish inside the top-30. Buoyed by that result, he came to Hilton Head Island and played the up-down game. Rounds of 73 and 70 on Thursday and Saturday made him look like a middle-of-the-pack guy, but 63 and 66 on the other 2 days brought him to the top of the leader board. When Kim bogeyed 3 of his final 7 holes, Kodaira was in a playoff for the title. After pars split the 18th hole twice, the duo journeyed to the 17th, where Kodaira ended things with a long birdie putt. The win was his first on the PGA Tour.

See the clubs Kodaira used to win

How Kim kame apart

Golfers usually give tournaments away with one bad swing. To watch a golfer miss makeable putt after makeable putt is pure anguish, and that’s the show that viewers saw on Sunday afternoon. Kim needed to make one put out of all the ones he missed, to avoid the playoff at 12-under par. He couldn’t and fell to the runner-up position. A telling statistic is his woeful stature on the strokes-gained-putting stat list-he’s dead last. Luke List, a journeyman who finds the cameraman’s eye from time to time, finished in a tie for 3rd with Bryson DeChambeau, 1 shot out of the playoff. DeChambeau’s scorecard line sure looked like that of a champion: 68, 64, 66 in rounds 1, 2 and 4. A wayward swing on the second hole on Saturday led to a triple-bogey 8; throw in two back-nine double bogeys, and he had himself a 75.

Lotte Championship on LPGA Tour is Henderson’s sixth title

Brooke Henderson kinda made this one look easier than the others. The young Canadian is equal parts power and sunshine, but her previous wins (and close losses) have reminded us how difficult it is to win, even for the most precocious of talents. On Saturday, Henderson held off two of the world’s most decorated golfers to claim victory by 4 strokes.

How Henderson Held Firm

Brooke made an early habit of winning in a variety of locales around the globe, so a victory in the Hawaiian islands was in the offing. Rounds of 68-66 staked her to the halfway lead, and she expanded it well through most of Friday. A double and a bogey over her closing holes in round 3 brought questions of her ability to hold a now-reduced lead. She answered those questions in Saturday’s final round. When it mattered most, Henderson was on. She played her final 5 holes in 2-under par, eliminating her final challengers.

How Feng and Park made her work

After Mo Martin’s train got derailed in round 4, the challenge fell to 2 of the LPGA’s most decorated golfers. ShanShan Feng was the bronze medalist in Rio’s Olympics in 2016, and has won 9 times on tour. The gold medalist that year? Inbee Park, who is already in the LPGA hall of fame. When Henderson looked up, they were on her heels. Neither one mounted a challenge on day four, surprisingly, but Spain’s Azahara Muñoz gave Henderson fits. The Iberian nailed 5 birdies against 0 bogies, to jump to 8-under and solo second place. On this day, Henderson was too strong, and a deserving champion.

Rahm returns to Spain in triumph

Jon Rahm gave Augusta National a run last week in the Masters tournament, and it wasn’t until the 69th hole that he lost his opportunity to wear the green jacket in 2018. He returned home to Spain’s capital, intent on capturing his home open. Rahm didn’t disappoint, winning by 2 at 20-under, although countryman Nacho Elvira and Ireland’s Paul Dunne gave him quite the battle.

Rahm manages emotions for win

The young Basque entered the final round a stroke behind leaders Dunne and Elvira, and perhaps his spot in the penultimate pairing took just enough pressure off. Rahm is known for wearing his emotions from the brim of his cap, down to his socks (forget the sleeves!) and this day was not so different. Incapable thus far of repressing his feelings, Rahm figured out a way to allow them to express, yet still preserve control. A chip-in for birdie at the 10th hole was his first of three on the inward half. A miraculous break at 17: his ball, destined for water, hung up on the bank. From there, he pitched close enough to make par, then birdied the last. Precisely the combination of skill and fortune that saw Patrick Reed to victory in Augusts, came to Rahm’s bag this week in Spain.

Elvira and Dunne almost find the magic

For most of the day, Spain was uncertain which of its sons would triumph. Jorge Campillo made an early run, before finishing 5 back, in a tie for 5th. It was Elvira who looked most like a champion, however. Powerful birdie putts at 13 and 14 brought the Madrid native to a tie with Rahm at 19-under. Disaster struck for Nacho at 17, the site of Rahm’s salvation. A club short and three yards left, his sphere found the hydro that Rahm avoided. Elvira made double, and finished 3rd at 17-under. Paul Dunne came to the back nine in a tie with Rahm, and made the same number of birdies as the champion. He was unable to avoid a pair of bogeys, and finished 2 behind, in second alone at 18-under.

Flesch finds first PGA Tour Champions win in Georgia

Steve Flesch is used to waiting patiently, so a win in his first full year on the Champions Tour is rarefied air for the lefthander. Flesch held off Bernhard Langer and Scott Parel in extra holes to claim the Mitsubishi Electric championship, finishing regulation play at 11-under par.

How Flesch flourished

The Kentucky native began round 3 a shot behind Langer, but managed to birdie the last hole to squeeze his way into a tie with the Teutonic titleist. Well ahead of the final pair, Scott Parel blazed through the course in 64, to join the duo at the magic number. Flesch was nothing but perfect in overtime, making birdie twice at the 18th hole. During the first go-round, Langer’s par was eliminated. In the reprise, Parel could not match the 4 at the par-5 closer, and Flesch had his first title in 11 years.

How Parel and Langer gave chase

Let’s be honest, when Langer is 100 years old, we will expect him to be the favorite each time he tees it up. The German played bogey free on day three, but could not amass the same number of birdies he found on each of the first 2 days. His 69 included a par at the last, and failing to birdie the 18th hole either time he played it on Saturday was cause for his runner-up finish. Parel quietly plays himself into contention with frequency, but there was nothing quiet about his closing round. The Michigan product birdied 6 of his first 7 holes, finishing at 8-under on the day. Unable to steal the tournament in regulation time, he nearly did so after hours. Unable to match Flesch’s third consecutive birdie at 18, Parel joined Langer on the podium’s lower level.

Del Solar shines across the border in Argentina

Cristobal Del Solar, a native of Chile, Argentina’s friendly rival, exceeded expectations in Córdoba on Sunday. He won the Abierto del centro on PGA Tour Latinoamérica by 5 strokes. Despite a final-round 74, Del Solar had built up enough of a cushion to force the field to chase him down. None was able to do so, and Del Solar raised the winner’s trophy at days end.

How Del Solar locked up his first professional victory

Del Solar looked like the owner of this event from day one. He was in 5th place after round 1, moved into the lead after 36 holes, then opened up a 6-stroke gap after the 3rd round. On Sunday, only 5 scores were posted in the 60s, so any round below 70 meant a major move up the leader board. While Del Solar was struggling to his worst round of the week, a 4-bogey, 1-birdie effort, none of his closest competitors was able to sustain a charge. Del Solar moved inside the top 3 on the season-long Order of Merit with the victory.

What the others were unable to do

Essentially, make birdies and avoid bogeys. Del Solar had 8 bogeys on the week, and those were more than offset by 18 birdies and an eagle. Colombia’s Marcelo Rozo began to make up the deficit on Sunday by playing even-par golf, but a double bogey at the 9th did him in. MJ Maguire of the USA closed with an erratic 72, 1 over par, to tie for 2nd spot with Rozo. 1st-round leader Skyler Finnell of the USA found himself in third spot on Sunday morning, but a forgettable day led to 78 and a 20-spot drop on the chart.

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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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  1. Sherwin

    Apr 16, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    The grammar and spelling in this article is bad.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures and have five galleries from TPC Louisiana’s range Tuesday. We also have a look inside Ryan Ruffels bag, a peek at Jimmy Walker’s putter, a look in Brooks Koepka’s bag, and more!

Let’s dig in.

Well, this certainly is interesting, Xinjun Zhang. Not sure about the context, but not something you traditionally see on a PGA Tour driving range…

Hard not to love Ryan Ruffels’ 009M

Look’s like Michael Greller is enjoying some well-earned relaxation

Ryan Palmer boldly going where few Tour pros dare to: serif font

Roman numeral loft stamping? Savage grind? We like your style, Bud Cauley

Is this a new Wilson Staff PMP wedge prototype or a one-off thing for Ricky Barnes?

Finally, Whitney comes to a wedge

Ham & egg!

Jimmy Walker’s silver Spider

Our Tour Photographer risking the wrath of Bubba (we assume he had permission)

 

Tuesday’s Photos

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

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards), designed by Pete Dye with consultants Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.

The Zurich Classic is a unique event on the PGA Tour because it’s not an individual stroke-play event. Instead, the format consists of two-man teams playing best-ball on Thursday and Saturday, and alternate-shot on Friday and Sunday.

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Last year, Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt won the event after four playoff holes against Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown. The Smith/Blixt duo will be back to defend their title, and the Kisner/Brown pairing will be back avenging their loss.

Other notable pairings in the field include Daniel Berger/Gary Woodland, Wesley Bryan/Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay, John Daly/Rory Sabbatini, Jason Day/Ryan Ruffels, David Duval/Jim Furyk, Tony Finau/Daniel Summerhays, Sergio Garcia/Rafa Cabrera Bello, J.B. Holmes/Brand Snedeker, Matt Kuchar/Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel, Sean O’Hair/Jimmy Walker, Pat Perez/Jason Dufner, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer, Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley and more!

Check out our photos from the event below!

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

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10 interesting photos from Monday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures, and have WITB looks at Matt Jones and Roberto Diaz, in addition to a general gallery from the TPC Louisiana range.

Let’s dig in.

Matt Jones doesn’t need his name embroidered on his headcovers: tape and a marker will do just fine, thanks

Last week, Faaaabel the Goat. This week, someone who would eat Faaabel

Roberto Diaz: Brand agnostic

Wesley Bryan’s Taco Bell(t) lives

Homemade putting aid or soon to be seen on a Golf Channel infomercial (or both)?

UDI with a side of lead

Shaft bags: Assemble!

Roberto Diaz Fourteen RM wedge

What more do you need in life?

A bouquet of Circle T putter covers

Check out our photos from Monday below!

Monday’s Galleries

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

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