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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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Tour News

GolfWRX visits with Ryan Palmer

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The 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial is upon us. I got the chance to sit down with three-time PGA Tour winner and Colonial Country Club member Ryan Palmer ahead of his opening round at the PGA Tour’s stop in Fort Worth, Texas. We discussed why he loves Colonial, how it felt to win on tour again, his friendship with Jon Rahm, the Ryan Palmer Foundation, and why he chooses not to have a club equipment sponsorship.

(GolfWRX spoke with the actual, not the cardboard, Ryan Palmer)

JN: Do you have a home field advantage here at Colonial?

RP: To a point, I guess. Obviously, I have played this golf course in every type of wind. I mean, I know certain holes play shorter than they are. So, a little bit of an advantage because I don’t put much stress into the golf course itself. I just know it. And of course, James, my caddie, knows it. And that is nice. But I do put more pressure on myself because I want to play well here

JN: Why did you decide to join Colonial as a full golfing member?

RP: The history of it. To me, it’s one of the most prestigious clubs…if not the most prestigious club…in Dallas/Fort Worth. History of the golf course, history of the tournament. The more and more I played it…playing in the tournament for 16 years now…the guys that play in the ‘big game’ took me in and they’ve thrown a few parties for James and me after we won a few times. I thought the best way to give back then is to join and become a full member.

JN: How often do you play out here?

RP: If I am home for a week, I play at least twice a week. Just to play in the big game. If I am home and playing golf, I am playing here.

JN: Tell me about the Ryan Palmer Foundation

RP: I started it in ’03 in Amarillo with my dad and my good friend Billy Slaughter. We do a lot of different things but our biggest thing now is our brighter smiles initiative through dentistry. My wife Jennifer is a dentist. And our good friend Chris Swayden with Smile Workshop here in DFW does a lot of our work here and then Kyle Sparkman in Amarillo, Texas does all our dental work out there. The biggest thing was just bringing in kids to boost their self-esteem, give them a better way of life. A lot of their families don’t have the means and the funds to provide dental care. It’s an easy decision to help these kids and give these kids a sense of confidence. I have read stories about kids wearing hoodies to school because of their teeth. That’s pretty sad. I have always been about giving back and having an immediate impact. So what better way than to provide dental care.

JN: How big was that win at the Zurich in New Orleans for you?

RP: It was unbelievable. Nine years since our last win. But to have Jennifer, my wife, there and our son Mason, 12 years old, was there. He was there in ’08 when I won. But he was a year and half so he had no clue. In 2010, they weren’t there. But to have them there and have him finally see it. Mason always asks “Dad, are you going to get a trophy?” So to have him there to finally witness it…that was special.

JN: How did the partnership with Jon Rahm come about?

RP: We met in ’15 at the Phoenix Open. I knew Jordan wasn’t playing this year at Zurich. Jon and I had played some rounds together. He played in my charity event last year. So, I knew Jon a little bit and I know his caddie, Adam Hayes real well. We’ve known him since we have been on tour, James and I. And so, I talked to James about players we should want to play with and Jon was one of the top ones. So, I texted Adam and mentioned the idea to Jon and he loved it. Jon and my games are pretty similar as far as ball striking. So I shot Jon a text and he accepted.

AVONDALE, LA – APRIL 28: Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm fist bump on the fourth hole during the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 28, 2019 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

JN: Are you going to play together again next year?

RP: It would be hard not to play together again next year. I will have to run it by Jordan….no I’m kidding. Jordan was happy for me and excited. He gets it. As long as Jon wants to play, we will go try to defend.

JN: What are your thoughts on not having a full bag club sponsorship?

RP: It is just a matter of playing with what I like. When I first got on tour, you would sign a full deal and it was pretty good. Now you are signing for balls and all 14 clubs. I love the Taylor Made driver but they cut out the driver only deals. They went just full line. Fortunately, with the help of Mike Chisholm and Chisholm Sports, I have some great corporate partners. United Rentals, a great deal with Unisys, RBC. I am able to have these corporate sponsors allow me to play what I want. I made some comments like ‘two hundred grand is not worth an equipment contract on tour because of what you can make that week.’

So, I got ribbed a little bit for making that comment but honestly it is not worth it in today’s game. We play for so much money now each and every week that by the time you get a $200,000 deal, you’re paying taxes and management, at the end of the day its worth a top 20-finish. And then you have to play those clubs all year long, whether you like them or not. So now I can play whatever putter or iron or driver I want. I am only under contract with ball, shoes and gloves. Footjoy and Titleist. I test and I tinker now and then but I always go back to what I have performed with in the past. I stand over a tee shot and I think, I know I hit this driver this way at this tournament at this particular moment. Why would I change?

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Northwood Club

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GolfWRX had feet on the ground at Northwood Club in Dallas, Texas for this Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifying. We have seven galleries in our forums filled to the brim with photos from Monday’s action, and here are ten interesting selections for you to enjoy.

“Talk to me Goose.” And presumably, “I feel the need for speed.” Top Gun all the way!

Jim Nous’ bag full of Ping clubs features three visible wedges all with different bounce.

Blaine Hale rocking this great looking TaylorMade Spider headcover.

Shorts on the course –  a rarity.

Conner Koberg showing off his colors with this Iowa State headcover.

Julius Boros won the 1952 U.S. Open at Northwood Club. One of his three major triumphs. How about that bag?

Stephen Jaeger played collegiate golf at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, but he’s quite clearly proud of his homeland too.

Noah Goodwin is another player who loves the raw finish on the Callaway Apex MB irons.

Up close with the Titleist 718 T-MB utility iron

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A glance at Northwood Club itself.

Check out all of Monday’s photos on our forums.

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Tour Photo Galleries

12 interesting photos from Tuesday at the PGA Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black!

We have two general photo galleries, plenty of WITB galleries as well as some specialized galleries from Tuesday’s action at Bethpage Black for you to enjoy and you can find all the links below. Here are twelve interesting selections from those galleries for you to enjoy.

Another look at Callaway’s NYC-themed headcovers, (these in Jim Furyk’s bag)

Hideki Matsuyama’s new Scotty Cameron putter.

Rickie Fowler’s custom COBRA x Vessel Tour Staff Bag.

And the 30-year-old’s Puma Warning headcover for this week’s championship.

Luke List’s Axis 1 putter.

New Steelfiber “Black Label” shafts have been spotted at Bethpage Black.

A look inside Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm’s bag ahead of his effort to land his maiden major title.

A closer look at the “warning” sign on the TaylorMade staff bag

Jason Dufner’s Spider putter which according to one of our members, looks as if it’s “wearing a tuxedo”

Aldila’s new Rip X shaft.

Recent winner on the European Tour, Mikko Korohen, has this unique flat-stick in his bag in New York.

What’s on offer for spectators this week.

Check out all of Tuesday’s photos on our forums.

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