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Tour Rundown: DJ’s walk-off eagle, the first Tour event with a shot clock

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It borders on comical to suggest that Dustin Johnson, or anyone, is the favorite for this week’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. That course is played in competition once every dozen years, and its presentation changes from decade to decade. The only guarantees are an interesting tournament and a grateful winner. For now, that’s enough. We have tournaments to run down, beginning with Johnson’s win in Memphis. He wasn’t the only winner during this first, full week of June, but his conclusion was the most exciting, without doubt.

DJ takes 18th tour trophy in Memphis

Voted Best Guy To Hole Out On 18 he might not be, but Dustin Johnson calmed his way past the closing eagle on Sunday to win by 6 over pugnacious Andrew Putnam. Johnson smiled his trademark half-moon, waved laconically, and eased closer to XX victories. After posting the second-low round for 3 consecutive days, Johnson’s margin of victory was trebled with his 171-yard hole-out at the 72nd green. The tall & bearded one’s overnight tie was broken when Putnam doubled the first hole to drop back. The runner-up gave another shot back, 3 holes later, before steadying the nerves somewhat with a birdie at the 7th. Putnam concluded his day with 11 consecutive pars, allowing Johnson the freedom to play (how else?) casually in. J.B. Holmes had birdies at 15 & 16, to close with 67 and ascend to a third place finish, 4 back of Putnam. With the victory, the regular PGA Tour takes a week-long break as the USGA’s national men’s open championship takes center stage

Korhonen avoids the Clock-Keeper on way to 6-stroke triumph

In the first-ever, clocked event on a major professional tour, Finland’s Mikko Korhonen played 4 rounds in the 60s to emerge with a six-stroke win over Scotland’s Connor Syme. While Korhonen and Syme were tending to business as usual, the European Tour began a crackdown on the snails of the golfing world. Allotted-time imits were established at week’s start, and four penalties were assessed for laggards. Clemens Prader was the worst of the transgressors, taking a full 4 extra seconds to hit a putt at the 6th, in round 3. Grant Forrest, Markus Brier and Oscar Stark were also gifted with extra strokes on the week, thanks to their pause. Back to the golf-Korhonen began the week with 62, bogey-free holes, posting 16 birdies along the way. He wobbled with 2 mid-round bogeys on day four, but had enough petrol in the tank to lock up his 1st Euro Tour title. Syme made an absolute bomb of a putt at the par-3 closer to separate from a quartet at 9-under, and claim solo second for himself. For his efforts, Syme earned 2 of the week’s Best Shots, as seen below.

Metro NY girls take 1st and 3rd at ShopRite on LPGA tour

Annie Park might be forgiven for thinking that a final-round 63 would give her the kind of walk in the park that Johnson and Korhonen (see above) enjoyed on Sunday. Neither lad had a Sakura 61 in his field, however, as did Park. The Long island native signed for 6 birdies and 1 eagle in round 3, which were enough to keep Sakura Yokomine at bay, and earn her first Tour title. The Japanese golfer made eagle at the third, then piled 8 more birdies into her kettle, to finish the day at 10-under, 15-under for the week, one behind Park. Also in the mix was yet-to-win Marina Alex, the tour’s Jersey Girl and Vanderbilt alumna. Alex aced the 17th hole, to counteract a 14th hole bogey, and post 64 for 14-under and solo third. It was her second top-3 finish of the season, and certainly buoys her spirits as summer arrives en force.

Wright goes overtime for Web.Com win

Kyle Jones and Christian Brand were hoping to hoist a trophy at day’s end; instead, Chase Wright and Alex Prugh did battle in extra holes for the RustOleum Championship title. Jones and Brand fell back early, victims of not enough birdies on a day when the little warblers were a necessary commodity. Wright had 4 in regulation, plus another on the 2nd playoff hole, to claim an inaugural Web.Com tour victory. Prugh had 7 birdies on the day, but 2 bogeys were enough to keep him from outright victory. After finishing at 17-under, 1 clear of Brand, the two combatants played the finishing hole twice. On the 2nd go-round, Wright was able to convert his birdie putt and ascend to the podium’s top spot.

Lehman claims the Principal Charity Classic by 2

Fifteen months ago, Tom Lehman secured his 10th Champions Tour victory. On Saturday, the Minnesota native overcame a week of weather disruption and hot pursuit to earn win No. 11, by 2 strokes over Scott Parel, Glen Day, Woody Austin and Bernhard Langer. Why Saturday? Sunday’s final round was cancelled by extreme weather, leaving Lehman as the title holder. He had established a 3-shot cushion by the time he arrived at the 18th tee, so he took his time playing the last in 5 bogey strokes. In any other circumstance, Lehman might have been irked. In this case, he suffered not a bit for the final-hole faux pas. Austin closed with 4 consecutive birdies to jump into the 2nd-place quartet, while Langer could not approximate his opening 64 on Sunday. 2 too many bogeys dropped him out of the top spot. With the cup in his grasp, Lehman moved up 10 spots, into 10th position, in the season-long Schwab Cup race. Langer reclaimed the top spot with his runner-up finish, after dropping behind last week’s winner, Paul Broadhurst, for 7 days.

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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.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Richard

    Jun 12, 2018 at 9:09 am

    It’s about time the PGA Tour did something like The Euro Tour with playing times. As an example, the time it took Daniel Berger to decide to chip the ball 40yrds the other day was absurd and he’s not the only one! It’s becoming a joke the time these guys take to play a shot.

    You could have put the name of the Euro Tour tournament in the write up Ron. A bit slack.

  2. Tony Lutz

    Jun 11, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Principal Classic was in Des Moines, IOWA – Tom Lehman is from Minnesota, so not his HOME STATE

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19th Hole

I wasn’t ready for the 2019 Rules of Golf

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We weren’t ready. We thought we were, but we weren’t.

For the last year, the USGA reminded us that in 2019 Rules of Golf were coming, but we didn’t listen. We heard the flag stick could remain in and we heard that you could take a penalty drop from knee-height.

But we didn’t listen.

I bet none of you have even practiced using your putter to flatten the entire green between your ball and the cup. You can do that now.

I’m also sure that you and I will continue to hover our club in all hazards, er, penalty areas. Yeah, we’re calling it a penalty area now.

The USGA went to the extreme depths of changing words all to simplify the game for you.

I don’t think the USGA listened either.

The rule changes were intended to speed up play and simplify golf for amateurs. Seems like a good idea. In turn, they may have bamboozled the PGA Tour while confusing the only amateurs who kind-of, sort-of knew the rules.

The pros didn’t need a new rule book, the amateurs just needed a simple one.

Us “locals” as the USGA refers to amateurs, do have one extremely fluid perk. When hitting a ball OB, or following a lost ball, you can drop with a two-stroke penalty instead of walking back to the tee. This of course, is dependent on your course, head professional, tournament conditions, and other factors including and not limited to what phase the moon is in.

If that’s somewhat confusing, read up, ask about your local rules, and buy a few extra sleeves. Reason being, in 2019, the limit on searching for a golf ball has been cut from five to three minutes.

2019-rules-of-golf

But wait, there’s good news.

Thanks to the USGA, if you accidentally move your ball as you frantically high-step through fescue, it’s no longer a penalty! What an exciting 180 seconds that will be!

If you somehow don’t find your golf ball in the hazard penalty area, the USGA tried to help us out, which they did, yet regrettably took away a more iconic portrait on the golf course.

The rigid, stoic stance and forceful drop of a ball at shoulder-height.

And we let it happen.

Now, we’ll watch a defeated man deliberately bend to his knees and gingerly drop his ball…Which, by the way, appears to be a convenient way for cheaters to “take a drop” that ideally doubles as “identifying my first ball”.

Don’t even get me started on the back issues this could flare up.

We heard in late 2018 that Bryson DeChambeau would use the flagstick when the odds were in his favor. He even laid it out simply for us.

“It depends on the COR, the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick.”

Simple.

We didn’t listen Bryson, we didn’t believe. We also have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

But hey, as Bryson would say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Yeah, he’d clearly never say that, but here’s to hoping!

We heard he would do it, but we didn’t believe it. We had to see to believe. What we saw was DeChambeau first in strokes gained putting in the very first round he was allowed to do it.

Obviously, this trend will continue for DeChambeau, and others may join in, because what is golf if not a constant chase for a marginally better opportunity at success.

Watch your back, because those others that may join in could be closer than you think. You may turn around to find a fellow member asking for the flag on their next 12-footer.

It should be a fun year of commentary and confusion at your local club and on the PGA tour. Professionals will have constant questions for rules officials, and commentators will consistently question Bryson’s methods.

There is one real question I hope is answered this April.

What will we do when Bryson banks in a downhill putt at No. 2 of Augusta?

Will we be ready? Will Augusta?

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News

Stewart Cink pens multi-year deal with Ping

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Ping Golf has announced that six-time winner on the PGA Tour, Stewart Cink, has signed a multi-year deal with the company.

The deal will see the American play a minimum of 11 Ping clubs, as he looks to end an almost decade long winless streak on the PGA Tour. Cink had previously been an equipment-free agent (having been a Nike man prior to that) although he had been using Ping clubs for the majority of the last season.

Speaking on the addition of Stewart Cink to Team Ping, company president John K. Solheim stated

“Stewart has a long track record of success and overall consistency, evidenced by his wins, top 10s in majors, and the fact that he has competed on five U.S. Ryder Cup teams and in four Presidents Cups.

“He has instant credibility, and we know him well because he has played Ping irons for many years. Our tour staff has been impressed by his professionalism and his knowledge of equipment. We’re delighted to be associated with Stewart.”

Cink will make his first start as a Ping staff player at this week’s Sony Open. According to the company, the 2009 Open Championship winner is expected to have Ping’s G400 LST driver, G400 fairways woods, i25 irons and Sigma 2 Arna putter in the bag this week at Waialae Country Club.

No details of the financial terms of the arrangement have been disclosed.

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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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19th Hole

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