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Tour Rundown: The Champ is here

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If you’re a fan of international travel, fall professional golf is the time of year for you. With the men in Shanghai and Mississippi, the ladies in Taiwan, and the seniors in California, no two times zones were alike (almost). The world’s elite men enjoyed the fruits of their labors in Asia, while the up-and-comers attempted to make a name in the American southeast. The women and senior men find themselves in playoff chases, hoping to cap their years with the ultimate in triumphs. Join us for a rundown of all the week’s events.

Schauffele earns finest win in WGC Shanghai

Xander Schauffele was the quietest person frustrated by this year’s Ryder Cup USA performance. Widely recognized as the runner-up to Tony Finau for the last captain’s selection, Schauffele put his nose back to the grindstone and played well in September and October. He capped off the run by defeating the same Tony Finau in a playoff at the HSBC Champions World Golf Championship. Oh Irony! Schauffele  began the final round 3 strokes behind Finau, who was gunning for a signature win of his own. The Utah native didn’t play poorly, finishing four clear of Justin Rose, the 3rd-place combatant. Trouble for Finau was, Schauffele played some marvelous golf in round four. He combined six birdies with two bogeys for 68, reached the par-five 18th in two in the playoff, and calmly two-putted for birdie to claim the trophy as his own. Finau’s work was laudable, and his time on the big-stage podium will come soon enough. Imagine, if you will, the two of them paired in international competition. Team USA could do much worse than that.

Korda klaims first LPGA tour title in Taiwan

Back in 2013, when Nelly Korda was some 14 years of age, she qualified for the US Open at Sebonack and competed alongside her sister. Zip ahead to 2018, and Jessica’s younger sister made a breakthrough of her own. With no one running away with the Swinging Skirts Taiwan Championship, Korda played solid golf in round four and ascended to the top of the podium for the first time. Two birdies and an eagle might seem like a light load, but no bogies gave her 68, on a day when the low round totaled 66. That number came from Minjee Lee, who made a furious attempt to katch Korda. The Australian champion birdied her final two holes to close within two, but Korda was uncatchable, winning by two strikes at 13-under par.

Sanderson Farms comes down to a battle of Cs

Cameron, Corey and Carlos walked into a… golf tournament. Wouldn’t make a good joke opener, would it? That’s fine; it’s the story line behind this year’s Sanderson Farms championship in Jackson, MS. Corey (Connors) had made a run at events last season on the PGA Tour, and looked to establish himself as a strong finisher. Carlos (Ortiz) hoped to finally add a big-tour win to the trio of events he won on the Web.Com tour in 2014. As for Cameron (Champ), he’s only the next great thing according to some, the young beast in the eyes of others. Long off the tee and soft around the greens, Champ edged past the other two Cs and won his first PGA Tour event by four strokes. Owner of a four-stroke lead after 54 holes, Champ made a pair of bogeys at 7 and 8 to offer hope to his pursuers. Not much later (holes 13 through 18) Champ dashed their hopes with five birdies over the closing 6 holes. The victory moved Champ into the top 6 on the 2018-19 FedEx Cup race, and gave unsustainable bylines to golf journalists everywhere.

Parel nonpareil in Sherwood

Scott Parel began the year with a little-heralded win in an unofficial event. His triumph at the Diamond Resorts Invitational in January set an unforgettable year in motion. It would take until August for the former Web.Com winner to claim his first senior title, but the 2nd came less than two months later. Parel and others watched as Miguel Angel Jimenez tumbled from the top spot on Sunday with a 73, offering the field a chance to steal a victory. Parel notched two birdies on each side of the scorecard, strayed not once into bogeyland, and came out on top by one stroke over Paul Goydos. The runner-up did nothing to hurt his chances, parlaying 5 birdies and 0 bogies into a delightful 67. Kenny Perry looked to have the best chance to overtake Parel, starting 6-under through 13 holes. The Kentuckian was unable to dig any lower, and finished solo third at 8-under, two behind Goydos.

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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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