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Tour Rundown: Cantlay, Lee6, Migliozzi, and more

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With the exception of the USGA Women’s Open this week, day four in professional golf was a birdie-them-all type of afternoon, across all tours. Golfers reminded fans and followers of their ability to go low at a given moment, defying expectation. As for the ladies, well, the Country Club of Charleston appeared to win day four, as only 12 scores (out of 70) dipped below par over the final 18 holes. How did all of this come about? Take a step-by-step Tour Rundown with us, and we shall answer that question.

Cantlay takes Memorial for 2nd PGA Tour title

There was a time, so long ago, it seems, when Patrick Cantlay was just another, can’t-miss kid. He stood atop the amateur world, came within a whisker of winning a US Amateur, destined for PGA Tour glory. Injury and tragedy turned up in his next hand, and his name drifted away on the breeze, toward the file marked “whatever happened to…”

And just like that, it seemed, he returned. Cantlay rediscovered his game and his winning ways, claiming an inaugural Tour title in 2017, at the Shriner’s Classic. In 2019, he registered top-ten finishes at the Masters (t9) and the PGA (t3). The young-old man from California was knocking on the door, as they say, and then came Sunday at the Memorial. Despite Martin Kaymer’s lead, a Sunday differential of 8 strokes would get the job done. Beginning the day 4 in arrears, Cantlay started quickly, with birdies at 5 of his first 9 holes. The 2014 US Open winner from Germany showed no signs of letting anyone catch him, as he stood -3 on the day through 8 holes.

At the 9th, fortune swung its pendulum. Kaymer spent a long time in the rough, needing a six-feet putt to salvage bogey. From that point on, his driver abandoned him, finding rough and sand more than fairway. His heroic shots saved pars, not birdies, and Kaymer signed for 72, and a 3rd-place finish, 2 behind runner-up Adam Scott. Scott had plodded along most of the day, barely registering on radar, until a 3-hole stretch of birdies from 14-16 brought him to 2nd place alone at -17. The day, however, belonged to Patrick Cantlay. 8 birdies with 0 bogies rarely disappoint, and -19 was his destiny, a 2nd tour title, at the course that Jack built. And what was Cantlay’s secret? A few words from the legend himself.

Lee6 wins first American professional title at US Open

A few year’s back, Jeongeun Lee added the number 6 to her last name. Her explanation was that there were others with similar names, and she wanted fans and family to know that it was she on the leader board. On Sunday at Seth’s Place, the Country Club of Charleston golf course that reintroduced Seth Raynor to golf fandom, Lee6 pushed all those eponymic golfers aside with masterful golf. She won the US Open by 2 shots, and now we know why.

Celine Boutier and Jaye Marie Green reached -6 on Sunday, the number that ultimately won the tournament. They could not hold their place, and each dropped to a tie for 5th, three behind the champion. Others fired, then fell back, but a quick look at statistics tells the Lee6 tale. The young woman from Korea was the only golfer to shoot below par each day this week. In an event where no one went super-low (65 on Thursday the low number) and where the low score each day went up as the week progressed, consistent excellence was rewarded. On the course’s most daunting hole, the par-3 11th, Lee6 made 3 birdies in 4 rounds. Call it an avoidance of disaster, call it an energy boost, deuces on the Redan added up to a 2 shot win over three golfers, and reason to celebrate.

Migliozzi claims first European Tour title at Belgian Knockout

No one tires of tournaments like this one. Qualifying round, followed by head-to-head play over abbreviated rounds. In Belgium, it was total strokes, not holes won, that decided each match. Many was the time that a final-hole swing decided (or nearly decided) matches throughout the 6 rounds of head-to-head combat. In the end, it was the unheralded Guido (pronounced GEE-doe, not Gwui-doe) Migliozzi who rang the birdie bell more than the others, and walked away with an inaugural European Tour title.

After quietly qualifying and sneaking through his first three matches, Migliozzi arrived at day the last with 7 other golfers. He did what champions do during each of his 3 9-hole matches on Sunday: make birdies. Migliozzi birdied 3 holes during each round of 9 holes, dispatching Bernd Wiesberger (just barely) by one, then Ewen Ferguson by 3, and finally, Darius Van Driel by a comfortable 4 shots.

Unlike traditional match play, where a misplayed stroke can only cost one hole, stroke-play matches keep all players in the game. Migliozzi had a 3-shot advantage over Wiesberger, last week’s winner, at the final tee of his quarterfinal match. The Austrian made birdie as the Italian, bogeyed, but Migliozzi survived by one stroke. Cheers to the champion, to creative tournament formats, and to a resurgence of golf for the young.

Despite 60s and 61s from others, Cappelen rallies for REX Hospital Title on Web Tour

Sebastian Cappelen, from the golf powerhouse of Denmark, bogeyed his first two holes on Sunday in Raleigh, North Carolina. Despite the inauspicious beginning, Cappelen did not go away. He played the remaining 16 holes in -9, hyper-charged by 5th hole hole-out from the rough for eagle. Chris Baker had posted 60 in round two, but his Sunday 72 relegated him to a tie for 4th. On Saturday, Zack Sucher signed for 62; that number edged him a bit closer, into a tie for 2nd with Grayson Murray. What did Murray do on Sunday? Came from nowhere, that’s what. He had 10 birdies on the day, albeit none over the closing three holes, to jump from 22nd to 2nd. It was Cappelen’s extended brilliance that led to 21-under par in the end, clear of the chasers by 3 strokes. The title brought the Dane from his own nowhere to prominence. With the winner’s check, Cappelen jumped from 73rd to 10th, in the season-long chase for a PGA Tour card.

Mr. Comeback comes back and wins Principal Charity Classic in playoff

We’ve saved the best for last. Kevin Sutherland did something you don’t even find in video games. He birdied 8 of the 9 closing holes of Sunday’s final round. Sutherland went out in 2-under 34, but came home in 28 paltry strokes. He was on the green on the 16th in regulation, but somehow failed to convert the birdie putt. Truth be told, that might have been even worse for Scott Parel, the overnight leader. Parel didn’t play poorly on Sunday, but his bogey at the par-five 16th was a game changer. Sutherland and Parel went off to extra holes after tying at 17-under par, one shot clear of perennial runner-up Jerry Kelly. Parel had a 10-feet birdie putt on the first playoff hole to change the day’s fortunes, but he incredulously left it short, right on line with victory. Undecided after one, the golfers returned to the closer for a 3rd time on the day. With, what else, a birdie, Sutherland ended the long day with his 2nd Champions Tour victory of the year. Side Note: both of Sutherland’s wins this season have come in extra holes. Both have come against Scott Parel.

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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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Morning 9: Women’s PGA | Fox: best golf coverage in the biz? | Michelle Wieturns

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

June 19, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Henderson, Thompson sizzling heading into Women’s PGA
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Brooke Henderson and Lexi Thompson couldn’t get hotter at a better time.”
  • “With three major championships over the next seven weeks, they’ll be looking to make the most of their winning form. They each have a chance this week to reach No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings for the first time.”
  • “Henderson won the Meijer Classic last week, Thompson the ShopRite Classic two weeks ago.”
  • “Ladbrokes makes Henderson the co-favorite to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with Jeongeun Lee6 at 11/1 odds, with Thompson at 12/1 odds.”
2. Wieturning again
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com…
“But perhaps the most difficult digits to digest are those detailing the impact of the injuries that have disrupted Wie’s career. Without the constant interruptions, her five career wins with one major championship would almost certainly be more. Now, she tries once again to get back into action.”
  • “I’m feeling hopeful,” Wie said Tuesday at Hazeltine National where, on Thursday, she will tee it up for just her ninth tournament round of the year. “It’s still a process. It’s been hard sitting out during the middle of the season. There’s really nothing worse. But I had to take the time to get myself back to where I want to be.”
  • “There is almost no a part of Wie that has not been damaged, beginning with an injury to her left wrist when she fell while jogging in 2007. Since then, she’s had issues with a finger, knee, hip and the other wrist. At times, it almost appears as if her body is held together by multi-colored physiotape.”

Full piece.

3. Arrival of the Wolff
Sean Martin at PGATour.com…”This week’s Travelers Championship is Matthew Wolff’s first tournament as a professional. It may be the most anticipated pro debut in a decade. The consensus collegiate player of the year combines charisma with a swing that is identifiable from a few fairways over.
  • “He wins. He’s unique. His swing is different, so it catches everybody’s eye,” said Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee. “And then there’s the incredible speed.
  • “When you see somebody with speed … it gets your attention.”
4. Fox the best?
An interesting take from Sean Zak at Golf.com…
  • “In its five years as the USGA rights-holder, Fox has added something new every year, which, for a sport whose visuals seem to never change, is refreshing and important. One year it was the mic’d up holes, even shadows on the greens to display slopes. Some of it sticks from year to year, some of it doesn’t, but Fox is trying new things and adding new context.”
  • “This year the novelty was epic, highlighted by delicious drone shots along the coast. Blimp shots are great and were more relevant this week than most, but the drones that floated up over Carmel Bay, gliding along with the players, providing the perfect scale of the property – those were new and beautiful. A good broadcast shows viewers everything they must see to better understand a course, but also makes them a bit jealous of everyone there on the grounds.”
5. JT pain free
A few quotes from Thomas…”I have zero pain. I can do everything normally.”
“I could have played Colonial – easily – but it would have been stupid and [my wrist] could have been lingering the entire year,” he said. “This injury should never be an issue again in my life, as long as I do the proper things and don’t do anything stupid. That’s why I waited as long as I did.”
6. Not a fan
The Herald’s (Scotland) Nick Rodger…
  • “As everyday life hurtles along at a furious rate of knots, the golf season too is hammering on. Three men’s majors have already been played and in just four weeks’ time the curtain will come down on the quartet of grand slam events at the Open Championship. It’s rather like uploading a Youtube video onto your laptop and quickly spooling through to the best bits.”
  • “It’s all happening a bit too quickly for my liking,” gasped Colin Montgomerie as the dust settled on last weekend’s US Open even though there’s still probably dust lingering from the previous majors of the US PGA Championship and the Masters.”
7. Jin Young Ko dreaming of Brooks?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“On a day when LPGA stars filed in and out of the press room at the KPMG Women’s PGA, Ko delivered the line of the day. When asked what it is that she likes about Koepka and how he inspires her play, Ko said: “I met him in my dream, and then we had really great time.”
  • “…He always (has) like a poker face and then like stone.”
  • Ko, 23, put her arms out wide and said, “I like big guy.”
8. What Gary was aiming for
Our Gianni Magliocco…“U.S. Open Champion Gary Woodland made an appearance at SiriusXM’s Manhattan studios on Tuesday, where he sat down to discuss a multitude of topics with Adam Schein on his Mad Dog Sports Radio program – Schein on Sports.”
  • “Woodland also discussed beating Tiger Woods’ total of 12-under-par from the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The 35-year-old first mentioned how he recognized that Woods won that tournament by 15 strokes, before adding how he was aware of beating his 72-hole total, saying…”
  • “I knew it, but I was trying to two-putt. I wasn’t trying to make that putt. Once it got halfway there and it went in I obviously let the emotion out. My caddie came over to tell me congrats and I said, ‘You know that clipped Tiger by one?’ And he said, ‘No I didn’t.’ He was focused on the wrong stuff, he was focused on winning, I was focused on beating that record.”
9. A Phireside chat
How to introduce Phil Mickelson’s first Phireside with Phil video…? Mickelson tells a story of an early morning restart at the Memorial some years back and a, um, crappy situation.
My question: This is a clear violation of the rules of tournament play. Is there a provision for situations that make the hole/toilet unusable after restart and necessitate cutting a new cup?

 

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TaylorMade signs Matthew Wolff to a multi-year deal; Wolff WITB

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TaylorMade Golf has officially announced the signing of Matthew Wolff on a multi-year agreement that will see the 20-year-old play the company’s metal woods, irons, wedges, putter and ultimately, TaylorMade’s flagship golf ball, the TP5x.

Wolff had previously unveiled that he would be making his professional debut at this week’s Travelers Championship, and just as top prospect Collin Morikawa did earlier at this month’s Canadian Open, Wolff will do so as a TaylorMade staffer.

The NCAA All-American and 2019 NCAA Division I individual champion made his debut on the PGA Tour at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year where he finished T50 after opening his week with a round of five-under par.

Matthew Wolff WITB

Driver: TaylorMade M6 (8 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design TP 7TX

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5 TX

Utility Iron: TaylorMade P760 (2)
Shaft: Nippon Modus 130x

Irons: TaylorMade P750 Tour Proto (3-PW)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 130x

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind Raw (52, 56, 62 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper

 

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5 questions with Justin Kinney of Virtual Golf Caddy

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We chatted with Justin Kinney, founder and CEO of startup Virtual Golf Caddy about his product, which serves both courses and players, by offering drone arial photography of golf courses (with graphics overlayed).

While drone photography and videography of golf courses is an established phenomenon, using the photos and video for better course management and preparation is a relatively new approach.

We wanted to learn more about what VGC is doing, and Kinney was kind enough to answer a handful of questions and include an example of the company’s work.

1. Tell us a bit about your background

I am 38 years old, born and raised in Connecticut. Lifelong golfer. Just finishing up my career as a middle school math teacher to focus on VGC full-time. I also have five years of business experience managing people’s retirement accounts. I played as many sports as I could growing up, and love the thrill of competition.

2. What’s the opportunity you saw?

I agreed to caddie for one of my students two summers ago. When researching the courses he was going to play, there was NO info on the courses. I thought there was a huge opportunity to provide course management strategies for players and give players a view of the entire courses with drones. No one was really doing anything like that, so I spent the past two years working on and building my business plan. Two months ago I secured funding to work on this full-time.

3. What is Virtual Golf Caddy, exactly?

VGC is a golf preparation and mental conditioning program designed to help give golfers a game plan to attack courses with. We provide drone views of each hole as well as course management strategies on how to best play each hole. Shot suggestions are given based on how far and confident players hit their clubs. We include mental conditioning tips and exercises to help players “zone in” more often and consistently. We are considering getting into golf fitness and nutrition as well to help build the whole golfer. Players purchase access to each course’s videos and info for either $15 or $25 per course, depending on how much info they want. They get unlimited access to the videos and can watch them wherever (home, airport, hotel, course).

4. What stage is the business in, and can you show us an example of VCG in action? 

We are still in the start-up phase. We are making agreements with and filming at courses. The website is being redesigned and will be up in June. It appears like things may take off quickly so stay tuned!

For an example, check out the video below.

6. What else should GolfWRX members know?

We are looking for courses to partner with. We will give courses free publicity on our site, a promotional video from the footage to use on their site, and share 15 percent of their courses profits with them. A win-win for everyone involved! If readers know of any courses, please email us.

One other thing to add: the mental prep/conditioning program is being built by renowned sports psychologist Bill Cole, MS, MA. It is legit and comes from over 40 years of research and experience! We’re also pursuing options in fitness and nutrition.

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