With the arrival of links golf at Ireland’s Ballylifin for the Irish Open, British Open season began in earnest. The PGA Tour visited a history book of a course, while the Web.Com tour stopped in this writer’s extended backyard. With the LPGA making a visit to the Badger state, the week offered four exciting events to catalogue. We saw one of those rare events where everyone else played for second, and we witnessed tremendous comebacks and heartfelt emotion. Time to rundown the tours in this week’s Tour Rundown.
European Tour: Knox clocks Fox to grab Irish Open title
Beware the golfer who improves each round of a 4-round event. Russell Knox seemingly came from nowhere to win in extra time, and he has his putter to thank. The Scotsman began the day in 5th spot, but while overnight leader Erik Van Rooyen of South Africa suffered a mild implosion, Knox didn’t miss on the shortest grass. He rolled in putts from all over, in every direction. His round was capped with a 50-feet bomb for birdie. With that monster, he tied New Zealand’s Ryan Fox. Incredibly, Knox performed identical surgery on the only playoff hole, draining another lengthy birdie to steal victory from the winless Fox.
Fox came to 18 in regulation, on the heels of a textbook birdie at the 17th. Good as that one was, it might have cost him the tournament. He had a 10-feet putt for eagle, which would have eliminated any chance for Knox and the field. Fox missed, then uncorked a massive drive at the last. His pitch was close, but he could not coax the birdie putt in for a regulation win. Spain’s Jorge Campillo did well to finish at 13-under, and entertained thoughts of a playoff. Van Rooyen ultimately recovered for a 4th-place tie with Spain’s Jon Rahm.
???? Top: 72nd hole
???? Bottom: Play-off
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 8, 2018
LPGA Tour: Kim Sei-young rewrites record books at Thornberry Classic
Sei-young shot rounds of 63-65-64-65 to win the Thornberry by 9 strokes. To properly frame that performance, the BEST score from the rest of the field each day, was a mere 3 strokes lower. In the Sei-young vs. The Field competition, The Field shot 64-63-63-64. The young Korean hit 67 of 72 greens in regulation. Don’t tell me it’s an easy course. That’s Betsy Rawls-quality iron play, that’s Ben Hogan-quality ball striking. Carlota Ciganda of Spain won the “B” flight with a mere 22-under total, but her closing 64 was enough to vault her 2 shots beyond Emma Talley and Anna Nordqvist.
On the week, Kim had 31 birdies, 1 eagle and (gasp!) a double-bogey. That’s not a typo. She made 5 at the par-3 17th hole on Friday. No one can explain how nor why. In a week of unparalleled perfection, hole No. 35 was the transient fault. Of her other 6 LPGA wins, 3 came in playoff, 1 came by one stroke, and 1 was a one-up win at match play. Kim rarely wins big, so this triumph resonates even more. With the triumph, she moved from 30th to 12th in the CME Globe points race. What’s next? How about a major title. With 6 top-10 finishes to date, Kim knows the feels and is ready to win a big one.
It was a wild-West week in Wisconsin. In addition to Kim, 10 golfers posted 4 rounds in the 60s. Third-place finished Nordqvist signed for 67 four times, on her way to 268. Oh yeah, and one whiff…
A whiff from Beatriz Recari yesterday on the LPGA Tour. And yes, that counts as a stroke. pic.twitter.com/D1WKbLuOnP
— ByTheFlagstick (@ByTheFlagstick) July 7, 2018
PGA Tour: Na says Goodbye with closing burst
It wasn’t the 9-stroke win seen on the LPGA Tour, but Kevin Na did his best to run away with the Military Tribute event. He opened the week with a ho-hum 69, but closed with fireworks, posting 63-65-64 on the final 3 days. Na’s effort was good for a 5-stroke victory over 3rd-round leader Kelly Kraft. The 2011 US Amateur champion began the week with 63-64, but closed with 69-70. Unable to keep pace with Na, Kraft managed to hold off Brandt Snedeker and Jason Kokrak for solo second spot.
After birdies on 6 of his first 10 hole on Sunday, Na survived what might be called a slump: he bogeyed 11 and then made par at the next 4 holes. Birdie at the 16th restored his hand lead, and left the rest to fight for 2nd. The victory was Na’s 2nd career title. His first came in 2011, the year of Kraft’s Amateur win, and also with a 261-stroke tally. Na moved from 58th to 18th on the FedEx Cup points list with his triumph.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 8, 2018
Web.Com Tour: Ledesma elimina al resto de la competencia
That cognate-laden header says it all. Nelson Ledesma eliminated the rest of the competitors with his closing 67. Only a pair of Marks (Blakefield and Hubbard) shot better in round 4, and both were well off the pace. The LECOM Health Challenge, played at the Peek’n Peak Resort, near the New York-Pennsylvania border in Clymer, NY, is one of the family-favorite stops on tour.
Ledesma began Sunday in 3rd place, behind the final pairing of Sebastián Muñoz and Kyle Jones. Ledesma caught fire at the end of the opening nine, with birdies at 7 through 9. That run gave him a lead he never relinquished. His blemish-free round gave him a two-shot triumph over the final pair, who tied for 2nd at -20.
Muñoz struggled from the outset on Sunday. He bogeyed 2 of the first 4 holes, including the par-5 4th hole. Birdies at 6 and 12 steadied the ship, and 2 more birdies at 17 and 18 brought him some consolation. Jones also had a bumpy start, with 2 birdies and 2 bogeys over his first 10 holes. On a day when both needed perfection, neither one could find it. Like Muñoz, Jones finished well, He birdied 3 of his final 7 holes to match the Colombian in the runner-up spot.
Both Ledesma and Muñoz sit inside the Top 25 in the chase for a PGA Tour card, while Jones rests in the 31st spot, ever so close to the promotion.
Lead back up to three.
— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) July 8, 2018
GolfWRX Morning 9: The relatable Mr. Howell | How the Tiger-Phil ice thawed | Anthony Kim sighting
By Ben Alberstadt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
November 20, 2018
Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Fowler-Thomas-produced Alabama-Auburn docuseries cometh
If you recall, Driven, last year’s Golf Channel docuseries offered a behind-the-scenes look at the Oklahoma State golf program.
2. The relatable Mr. Howell
Nice stuff from Cameron Morfit…”It had been so long since he last won, a span of 333 starts since the 2007 Genesis Open at Riviera, Charles Howell III felt the same self-doubt anyone would.”
3. How the ice thawed
Brian Wacker points to this moment in time as central to the present springtime of the Woods-Mickelson relationship.
4. In favor of The Match
ESPN’s Bob Harig explores the merits of tuning in for the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson duel and offers these (reality) checks in the “yay” column.
5. Farewell, grass guru
Cal Roth is retiring. And while this may not mean much to you, you’ll want to read Jim McCabe’s profile of the PGA Tour’s departing Senior VP of Agronomy.
6. The wisdom of “make more birdies”
PGA of Canada pro, Erin Thorne, examines the received wisdom that one ought to strive, primarily, to make more birdies to shoot lower scores.
While important not to draw far-reaching conclusions, the piece is an insightful one.
7. A lesson for American pros?
Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann suggests Sky Sports’ coverage, namely in-tournament player interviews, could be a model to follow for PGA Tour telecasts.
8. PGA Tour heading to Japan
AP Report…”The PGA Tour will hold its first official tournament in Japan. And the main sponsor of next year’s event, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, is describing it as a kind of “moonshot” for golf in his country.
9. AK sighting
Geoff Shackelford...”The reclusive Anthony Kim has surfaced in a video Tweeted by No Laying Up.”
“Sitting with at least five of (presumably) his dogs, sounding eerily like Luke Walton and declaring his intention to place his first-ever bet on Phil Mickelson in The Match, Kim was golf’s break-out star in 2008.”
Ian Poulter plays final round in 2 hours and 22 minutes, fires his best round of the week
The debate regarding pace of play in the game of golf is rarely far from the surface, and on Sunday at the DP World Tour Championship, Ian Poulter showcased the benefits of speeding around the golf course.
It took Poulter just two hours and 22 minutes to complete his final round at Jumeirah Golf Estates (Earth Course), and what’s more, is that while flying around the golf course, the Englishman recorded his best score of the week, firing a round of 69.
After the round, Poulter, who is well known for his dislike of slow play in the game stated
“I’m a quick player. I don’t like slow play, so today was quite refreshing. It didn’t matter where I finished… I just wanted to get back for breakfast.”
Poulter isn’t the first player to play a final round in rapid time, with Wesley Bryan and Kevin Na both beating the Englishman’s time over the past couple of years. At the 2016 Tour Championship, Na darted around the course in just under two hours, while at the 2017 BMW Championship, Wesley Bryan took less than 90 minutes to complete his final round,
Interestingly, in all three of these cases of speedy play, the players shot their best round of the week while playing at their quickest.
So GolfWRXers, does playing fast bring out the best in a golfer, or is this another case of a player performing well when the pressure is off?
Let us know what you think!
Is “make more birdies” really the best advice to shoot lower scores?
I often hear golfers say, “I need to make more birdies to shoot lower scores.” This statement has been uttered by the team I currently coach, and through three tournaments this fall, it got me wondering how accurate that statement was for our level of play.
Our players’ scoring averages range from 74 to 87, having played in a minimum of two tournament rounds and up to seven tournament rounds. Most often, I have heard the statement above from our players who are in the middle to higher end of the scoring averages. So, I took a look into our scoring breakdown using the data we collect with GameGolf.
Here are the rankings of birdies per round for the seven players who have traveled this fall
The difference from the top to the seventh spot is 1.09 birdies per round. The player with the top spot has a scoring average of 74, and the player in seventh spot has a scoring average of 84.67.
Here are the rankings of double bogey/worse for the seven players who have traveled this fall
The difference from the top to the seventh spot is 3.58 doubles/worse per round. Again the player at the top has the 74 scoring average and the player at the bottom has the 87 scoring average.
Diving a little deeper, the players on the team with the top three scoring averages (74, 77.29 and 78) occupy the top three spots in both of these rankings. And taking a look at all the players’ differentials, their rank stays the same compared to their scoring average rank.
The fact that many golfers overlook when making the statement “I need to make more birdies to score better” is that each hole accounts for about 5.5 percent of your round. So, if we take our player who averages one birdie (minus 1) and 2.5 doubles/worse per round (plus 5, conservatively), 5.5 percent of her round is birdies and 13.75 percent of her round is doubles/worse.
If she were to simply focus on making more birdies per round to “balance out” the current 2.5 doubles/worse per round, she would need to increase to five birdies per round. That would be a jump up to 27.5 percent of her round. Compare that to shift a focus to minimizing the doubles/worse category. If this same player could even shave her doubles/worse to 1.5 per round (plus 3, conservatively), it accounts for 8.25 percent of her round.
If we take a look at the top five scoring averages from the LPGA, Women’s DI and Women’s DII we see the scoring averages range from 68 to 72. While the birdies per round range from 2.4 to 4.8. An interesting thing to note from these numbers is that both the low scoring average and best birdies per round do not come from the LPGA players. While difficulty of the course setup may play into this factor, it can highlight that those women who are playing to make a living are making sure that they are keeping their cards clean of the big numbers because they do not have enough holes to make up for those errors with birdies.
While birdies are always more fun to celebrate, in stroke play you are better off to learn how to turn doubles into bogeys and bogeys into pars for better scores.
Cameron Champ’s Winning WITB: 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship
Forum Thread of the Day: “New Callaway Driver – Epic Flash”
Golf 101: How to properly grip the golf club
The drivers used by the top-10 most accurate players on the PGA Tour
Details on Jordan Spieth’s switch to the new Titleist TS2 driver
SPOTTED: TaylorMade P-760 Forged irons (via Jason Day’s Instagram Live)
Photos of Nike “VPR Strike” drivers that apparently would have come out in 2017 (updated with info and more photos)
The putters used by the top 10 in strokes gained: putting
Spotted: “Titleist CNCPT-01” irons, via Instagram
Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB: The 2018 CJ Cup at Nine Bridges
Exploring Ireland: Where to golf, drink and stay on the Emerald Isle. Pt. 1. Woodbrook Golf Club, Wicklow
Having been born and raised in Ireland, I can safely say that this little island offers a fantastic amount of...
Video (allegedly) of Anthony Kim discussing Woods-Mickelson match posted on social media
Sightings of Anthony Kim are about as rare as those of Bigfoot these days, which makes the short video posted yesterday...
Peter Kessler lashed out at anyone and everyone on Twitter
With 140K followers on Twitter and a website as well, No Laying Up have become one of the most popular...
Which Air Jordan model should Nike release as a golf shoe next?
According to GolfMagic, Nike’s Air Jordan III golf shoe took off from the foul line and soared right out of...
Equipment3 weeks ago
Details on Jordan Spieth’s switch to the new Titleist TS2 driver
News2 weeks ago
Spotted: “Titleist CNCPT-01” irons, via Instagram
Equipment2 weeks ago
Bryson DeChambeau’s Winning WITB: 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Equipment2 weeks ago
Did Justin Rose confirm his switch to Honma?
Equipment2 days ago
Charles Howell III’s winning WITB: 2018 RSM Classic
Equipment1 week ago
Matt Kuchar’s winning WITB: 2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic
Instruction5 days ago
Why flaring your left foot out at address could be a big mistake
Equipment6 days ago
Wilson Staff Cortex wins “Driver vs. Driver 2” (in-hand photos)