In case golf fans found themselves looking past the first week in April, in anticipation of the year’s first men’s major championship, golfers around the globe made certain that all eyes remained focused on the goings-on this weekend. Something that had never before happened, happened. Make that two things. A third thing that hadn’t occurred since 2010, once again took place. For the weekend’s winners, April 6th and 7th were dates that they won’t soon forget. For the rest of us, the triumphs were well worth our time and attention. Have a look at all the events in this week’s Tour Rundown.
Conners becomes first Monday qualifier since Atwal to win on PGA Tour at Valero Open
I won’t lie: I picked Corey Conners to win today, in a random-someone’s Twitter poll. You’ll have to take my word for it. Conners wasn’t the 1st or the 2nd choice in the poll, but I had a hunch. A bit more than a year since giving up a 54-hole lead at Valspar, Conners made Canada proud as he surged ahead of 3rd-round leader Si Woo Kim, then held off Charlie Hoffman, Ryan Moore, and others for the win. He became the first Monday qualifier since Arjun Atwal at Greensboro, way back in 2010. The path wasn’t easy for the former US Amateur runner-up. He opened Sunday with four birdies in 5 holes, then bogeyed 6 through 9. Huh? Just as quickly, he returned to his early form, running in 6 birdies on the inward half, to close in 30 and win by 2. Kim got lost early, with a double bogey at the 3rd hole. He had far too few of the chirping numbers to mount a challenge, and closed with 72 for a 4th-place tie. Hoffman did nothing wrong on Sunday, with zero bogies on his card, but five birdies were 2 too few to catch Conners. Hoffman certainly buoyed his spirits for Augusta National next week. As for Conners, he’s headed back to Augusta for the first time as a pro, and for the first time as a PGA Tour winner.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 7, 2019
ANA Inspiration opens major championship season with 1st for Ko
Jin Young Ko had the commentators bubbling about her swing all week. They called it one for the ages, or one that will stand up for all time. One commentator threatened to quit if the young Korean professional ever made alterations to her back-and-through. With the pile of praise, it’s a fortunate thing that Ko made the putts and won her first major, at age 23. No one came at her all day, as -2 on Sunday was good enough for -10 on the week and a 3-shot win over Mi Hyang Lee. Holding off a challenge is one matter, but holding onto oneself is another. Ko had her share of stumbles on Sunday, with 3 bogeys to go with her 5 birdies. She never looked to be deep in trouble at any stage, but when bogeys at 13 and 15 sounded a call of hope to the competition. Ko returned birdies at 16 and 18 to clinch win #2 of the season, and #4 of her young career.
Jin Young Ko led the field in birdies and greens in regulation at the @ANAinspiration, a recipe for Major success.
During her final round, Ko birdied two of her final three holes to lock up her victory.
HIGHLIGHTS ?? pic.twitter.com/Zh1qcGRs4J
— LPGA (@LPGA) April 8, 2019
Bangabandhu Cup to unflappable Kaewkanjana
Sodom Kaewkanjana had a bit of a cushion after 54 holes of this week’s Asian Tour event. Midway through the back nine, as Ajeetesh Sandhu was working his way through a straight-fire round of 65, Kaewkanjana had one of those hiccups that champions overcome. He bogeyed three consecutive holes to lose his lead to Sandhu. When hope seemed lost, Sodom recovered from the holes 13-15 lapse with birdies at 16 and 17. With the latter, he made up 2 strokes on Ajeetesh, who bogeyed the par-five hole. Just like that Sodom had turned a 2-shot deficit into the single-stroke margin of victory he would claim, but not without a last bit of drama, as seen below. The win was the first ever for the rookie, so here’s to making an early splash!
A rookie debut which Sadom Kaewkanjana ???????? will remember for a very long time ????
— Asian Tour (@asiantourgolf) April 6, 2019
Augusta National Women’s Amateur honored by top amateur’s Saturday performance
Jennifer Kupcho has done quite well over the last year. She claimed the individual title at last spring’s NCAA championship, and served as a rock on the USA’s triumphant, 2018 Curtis Cup team. This week, she added to that run with a victory for all time. On Wednesday, Kupcho was honored to hit the first-ever tee shot at the ANWA. On Saturday, having survived a great challenge from Mexico’s Maria Fassi, the pride of Wake Forest University hit the last shot of the week as well. The birdie putt at 18 gave her a 4-shot margin of victory over the runner-up, a differential that seemed very unlikely only four holes prior. Ten holes prior, in fact, when Kupcho suffered a 4-hole migraine. The Colorado native regained her vision and her composure, and made eagle at 13 to forge a tie with Fassi. The Arkansas Razorback bounced back with her 5th birdie of the day, at hole 14, to retake the solo lead. As happens so often at Augusta, the closing nine on the final day reveals the champion. Kupcho ripped another approach into 15, two-putting for birdie from just off the back edge. She birdied 16 as Fassi made bogey, establishing a two-shot lead. The 18th hole provided another 2-shot differential, with Kupcho at -10, and Fassi in 2nd at -6.
— Augusta National Women's Amateur (@anwagolf) April 6, 2019
Jordan Mixed Open slips from Maclaren to Huizing
In a year when unique formats and new events are taking hold, the Jordan Mixed Open offered three tours competing against each other, playing from three sets of tees, but only one champion. England’s Meghan Maclaren held the lead into round three, after opening with a pair of 65s. On her heels was a Challenge Tour golfer named Daan Huizing, from The Netherlands, and Staysure (senior) golfer from Argentina, Jose Coceres. Maclaren couldn’t hold her lead, closing with 72 and finishing at -14. Coceres represented the senior set well, finishing in a tie for 4th at -11. The spoils of victory went to Huizing, who closed with 5 birdies for 68 on Saturday, for -16 and the 2-shot margin of victory. Maclaren was in top shape with 9 to play, but opened bogey-double on the home nine. Unable to make anything but pars coming in, her challenge came up just shy.
— Staysure Tour (@StaysureTour) April 6, 2019
Thank goodness for the Women’s PGA! Instead of post-Men’s US Open doldrums, we had a return to wondrous Hazeltine (sorry, Dave Hill) for yet another major event, the Women’s PGA championship. This one came down to the finish tape; more on it later. Two shortish hitters in a long-ball world captured other events, while a home-town hero grabbed a third. And, as I finish typing this, they’re finishing up in Wichita, thanks to a rain delay. It’s on to another episode of Tour Rundown. Grab your snacks and a comfy chair, and enjoy the show
Women’s PGA to not-so-green Green at Hazeltine (yes, they rhyme!)
Am I the only one who noticed that each of Hannah Green’s final 3 drives just missed a divot hole, despite finding the nuclear center of each fairway? Golf, she is not fair. Fortunately for the young Aussie, the ball spun her way this day. Green led this PGA Championship from beginning to end. She endured the questions of everyone from fans to media, to possibly herself. As playing partners Ariya Jutanugarn and Lizette Salas failed to mount a viable challenge, Green’s attention turned to others on the move. Sung Hyun Park made a late run at holding onto the title she won last year, at Kemper Lakes. Park played a marvelous tune of 68, marred by a solitary off-key note, a bogey at the 12th. The defender ultimately finished one agonizing stroke behind the winner. Mel Reid also played marvelously. With 66 on the day, thanks to 8 birdies and 2 bogeys, she moved all the way to a tie for 3rd spot. It was Green who stood the tallest, who made the putts, especially that nervy 5-feet job on the final green. She was not perfect on day four, with birdies matching bogeys at the count of three. When things looked like they might go south, after consecutive bogeys at 11 and 12, Green corrected her path. Her first LPGA tour win, her first major title, a fine way to say Hello to the world.
HIGHLIGHTS ?? pic.twitter.com/OxRjXiHLxX
— LPGA (@LPGA) June 24, 2019
Travelers Championship is Reavie’s 2nd tour triumph in a decade
Chez Reavie put on a Saturday show, blowing past the leader and everyone else, with a back-nine 28. He then had a front-row seat as hometown hero Keegan Bradley tried to put the same move on him. Although Reavie wasn’t making mistakes, Bradley was making every putt in site. With six birdies on the day, the gap had narrowed to one shot as the two stood on the 17th tee. An unpredictable dance partner, with rough and sand left, and massive water right, it’s not for the faint of heart. Bradley blinked, with a drive into the sand. If there’s one thing Reavie does, it’s hit fairways with maniacal accuracy and consistency. He did not disappoint, and followed up the tee ball with a dagger to the frontish hole location. His birdie, combined with Bradley’s double bogey, turned the tide in nearly an instant, making the walk up 18 a tranquil affair. Reavie tapped in for -17 and a 4-shot win over Bradley and 36-hole leader Zack Sucher. 11 years after winning the Canadian Open, Reavie hoisted victor’s silver for a 2nd, satisfying time.
No. 17, the hardest hole of the week @TravelersChamp.
It’s also the hole that sealed the victory for Chez Reavie. pic.twitter.com/N0NhVtTt1M
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 24, 2019
BMW International Open~Forza Italia! Pavan secures 2nd Euro Title
If there was a tournament ever, whose purpose was to encourage caution over calamity, this was it. Long-hitting golfers like Matthew Fitzpatrick, Matt Wallace, and Mathias Schwab chose daring lines, fired, and fell back toward calamity. In stark contrast, Italy’s Andrea Pavan eschewed the risky play, time and again. Electing to lay short of hazards, Pavan holed a putt of abbreviated length on the 2nd playoff hole. This birdie allowed him to edge past Fitzpatrick, with whom he tied in regulation play at -15, and collect his 2nd European Tour title.
The day began brightly for England. Jordan Smith held the 3rd-round lead, but he would lose momentum early. Then came Fitzpatrick, who found 15-under with a 72nd-hole birdie. Next to try for glory was Wallace, who hit the worst drive ever under the siren’s pressure, going farther left than Marx, ending in watery demise. Pavan had finished 40 minutes prior to the final grouping, and he went about his business, warming up, then executing to near-perfection in the playoff. Indeed, the long hitters take fans to places they will never know, but the crafty archers show all of us the proper manner and method.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) June 23, 2019
Wichita Open continues into 5th day
We weren’t kidding in the opening paragraph. First came the rains, then came the 5-way tie for top spot. Erik Compton, the overnight leader, birdied the 18th to join Kevin Dougherty, Henrik Norlander, Bryan Bigley and Sebastian Cappelen at 15-under par. The quintet arrived there on different trains, but there they were, joined together for an evening playoff. Cappelen went lowest, with 65 on Sunday. Compton signed for a 3rd-consecutive 67, while the other 3 golfers tacked 66s on the leaderboard. With time for a single playoff hole, organizers were certainly hoping for a walk-off ace, to settle the matter. They didn’t get that result, but birdies from Norlander and Bigley sent 60% of the fivesome home. As the ink dries on this web report, Norlander and Bigley prepare to play the 4th hole for all the cookies. Fortunately for all, the waters have receded.
Due to the weather, tee times have been delayed for the final round. Players will tee off beginning at noon off of the first and 10th tee.
— The Wichita Open (@WichitaOpen) June 23, 2019
American Family title goes to Madison’s finest
Madison folks would have been happy with a winner from Edgerton, but they absolutely adore a winner from Madison. In the most glorious example of how home-state and home-town golf people make an event happen, the
Wisconsin Love Fest American Family went overtime on Sunday. 2 of the 3 participants were Badger state representatives. Steve Stricker had a wee putt to win in regulation, but missed. He bowed out with bogey on the first extra hole. Retief Goosen (not from Wisconsin) had a wee putt to win on the event’s final hole, too, but missed. He went two holes longer than Stricker, but ultimately succumbed to the intimidation of the goateed warrior, Jerry Kelly. With a barbaric yawp the likes of which we won’t hear soon, if ever, Kelly drained a birdie putt on the driveable 15th hole, and collected his 4th Champions Tour title. Kelly’s yawp was guttural, unexpected, jolting. It was such an event that television played it over and over, from different angles. The win propelled Kelly to 2nd spot on the season-long points list, but more importantly, it earned him a hug from mom when the dust had settled.
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) June 23, 2019
Tearful Michelle Wie suggests career may be coming to an end after opening round of 84 at Women’s PGA Championship
Various ailments to Michelle Wie’s right hand and wrist has forced the 29-year-old out of action for most of 2019, and after posting a round of 12-over-par in the opening round of this week’s Women’s KPMG PGA Championship, Wie suggested that her days on Tour may be coming to an end.
Wie, who has arthritis in both wrists and underwent surgery on her right wrist back in November, made six bogeys, two double-bogeys and a quadruple-bogey on her way to an opening 84. After her round, an emotional Wie broke down in tears after stating
“I’m not entirely sure how much more I have left in me. So even on the bad days, I’m just like trying to take time to enjoy it. But it’s tough, I just love being out here.”
The 29-year-old began her tournament on the back nine, and according to GolfWeek’s Beth Ann Nichols, began applying an ice pack to her wrist as early as the 11th hole.
Michelle Wie just got some ice out of the chest on the 11th for an ice pack. Currently on her wrist.
— Beth Ann Nichols (@GolfweekNichols) June 20, 2019
Wie is set to tee off for her second round on Friday 2.44 PM CT.
Morning 9: LPGA players to add to Hazeltine’s history | Web.com Tour no more | Mickelson’s U.S. Open dream dead?
By Ben Alberstadt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
June 20, 2019
Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1 Adding to Hazeltine’s history
Doug Ferguson at the AP….”This is where Rich Beem, a former car stereo salesman, held off a charge by Tiger Woods in the 2002 PGA Championship. It’s where Y.E. Yang became the only player to come from behind and beat Woods in the final round of a major at the 2009 PGA Championship.”
2. Caddie arrested on charges of human trafficking, exploitation of a child
Bizarre, awful stuff, here. As reported by Joel Beall at Golf Digest…
3. Korn Ferry Tour
Via the Golf Channel Digital team…”As of Wednesday, the Web.com Tour will now be known as the Korn Ferry Tour, after inking a 10-year deal through 2028.”
“Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, also becomes a PGA Tour’s official marketing partner and will assume sponsorship of the developmental circuit’s Tour Championship, the third and final event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.”
4. Mickelson: I’m out of U.S. Open chances
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…
5. Hovland on being a Ping man
Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com went deep with Viktor Hovland on his new Ping weaponry (photo above is Tursky’s)
A few of his specs and remarks
Driver: Ping G410 LST (draw setting, 9 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS 6.5-flex 62 grams
3-wood: Ping G410 LST (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5TX 80 grams
6. The role of restoration in Gary Woodland’s 17th-hole chip
An interesting note from Geoff Shackelford…
7. What it’s like without tour status
Nick Menta focuses through the lens of Chip McDaniel…
8. Getting good at golf without a golf course
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins offers the example of Sung Hyun Park, who only visited an actual golf course about once per year early in her golfing development…
9. Why does the USGA now care about player complaints?
Good point from Alan Shipnuck in his weekly mailbag.
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