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Tour Rundown: Reed, Hur, Hoag, and more

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Playoffs? Let’s talk about the playoffs. They began on the PGA Tour in New Jersey, and will commence next week on the Korn-Ferry Tour. We bade farewell to the British Isles at the Ladies Scottish Open, then saw timely, tremendous performances on the European Challenge and Mackenzie tours, and also at the US Women’s Amateur. Tour Rundown sources golf a bit differently this week, but trust us: every shot counted and every winner smiled.

Patrick Reed jumps in front of FedEx Cup playoffs at Northern Trust

I have this need to see Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau pair up at the Presidents Cup in December. Before we had a winner on Sunday, we had a combusted internet divided between bile for Reed and rancor for DeChambeau. Who knew golf could elicit such vitriol? Reed opened Sunday with a 2-stroke edge on Mexico’s Abraham Ancer. Neither golfer distinguished himself on the outward nine, combining for 5 bogies by the turn. Jon Rahm jumped up to -16, the number that would win for Reed, midway through the homeward half, but faded away quickly, with back-to-back bogies at 14 and 15. Rahm tied for 3rd with Harold Varner III. Behind them, Reed and Ancer found their games, each playing the back nine in 2-under par. Ancer needed birdie at the last to tie Reed, but could not convert from 43 feet away.

In the newfangled FedEx Cup playoff structure, Brooks Koepka preserved his regular-season margin, but just barely. Reed vaulted Jenn Suhr-style over 48 golfers, moving from 50th to 2nd. Just behind him are Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm, who moved from 10th to 5th. The playoffs move to Chicago this week, to storied Medinah Number 3.

Mi Jung Hur wins Scottish Open by 4 from 6

Mi Jung Hur (once known as MJ) spaces out her LPGA Tour wins. Every 5 years or so, to be precise. She first won in 2009, then paused until 2014 to secure another victory. Her 3rd title came this weekend, at the Renaissance Club in Gullane, at the Ladies Scottish Open. Hur was the class of the field on Sunday, her 66 tied only by Scotland’s Kylie Henry, who improved 15 shots from her Saturday 81. The Jutanugarn sisters (Moriya and Ariya) were in the mix, but could not close the gap. Moriya had the overnight lead on Saturday, but followed a 1st-hole birdie with double bogey-bogey on her subsequent two. Her 71 was not nearly enough to catch Hur. Moriya tied for 2nd spot, 4 back of the winner.

Tied for runner-up was Six. That’s right, 6. Jeongeun Lee6, winner of the 2019 US Open, was considered the player to beat at the dawn of the day. Weather and a cold putter kept her from challenging the champion. Lee6 was unable to secure her 2nd victory of the season, but she did move from 6th (ha ha) to 2nd in the Race to CME Globe points standing, albeit a good way behind Jin Young Ko.

Bo Hoag and 24 others earn PGA Tour cards for 2019-2020 in Portland

I’m a ’70s kid, so I can’t help thinking about Sorrell Booke’s Boss Hog character on Dukes of Hazzard whenever I see Bo Hoag’s name. Probably has little to do with a cantankerous southern kingmaker, a fictitious one at that, so let’s move on. Bo Hoag is 31 years old, and has been chasing the dream since leaving The Ohio State University in 2011. On Sunday, the dream came true. Hoag won the Portland Open over local favorite Scott Harrington, a Portland native. With the victory, Hoag jumped from 31st to 7th on The 25 money list, securing playing privileges on the game’s biggest stage next season.

Hoag played a stellar round, posting 6 birdies against 0 bogies for 65. A gutsy putt for 4 at the par-5 closer gave him a critical, 3-shot lead over Harrington, who stood in the fairway behind him. The Portlander also capped his round with birdie, but hopes of a tie with eagle had vanished. 3rd place went to Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura, already a Korn Ferry Tour winner this season. In 4th and 5th spots, Chris Naegel and Vince India made valiant runs to get inside the top 75 for the playoffs, but came up shy of their goal. Over the next three weeks, golfers will vye for 25 more PGA Tour cards at the playoffs. Two seasons ago, Keith Mitchell missed out on a regular-season card on the-then Web.Com Tour, earned one in the playoffs, and was a PGA Tour winner in 2019. Yep, dreams are there for the dreamers.

Buckley wins in playoff on Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada in Alberta

The Mackenzie Tour doesn’t have playoffs, but it does give super-sweet hockey sweaters to the 5 golfers that graduate to the Korn Ferry Tour. Hayden Buckley made his case for a jersey with a 1st-hole, playoff win over Sam Fidone. Entering the final day in 1st place, Buckley played his worst golf of the week. He had a 5-shot lead on the 4th tee, but that margin dissipated over time. 70 strokes gave Fidone a chance at the win, and he almost stole the cup. Birdie at 15, paired with Buckley’s 3rd bogey of the day, gave the lead to Fidone. His subsequent bogey at 16 tied them once more, and on to extra holes they went. Buckley made par in overtime at the 18th, and Fidone’s bogey made him the runner-up.

Buckley sits in the 5th spot on the tour’s Order of Merit, with 3 tournaments remaining on the schedule. The leading 3 golfers (Paul Barjoh, Jake Knapp and Lorens Chan) sit comfortably atop the OOM, and can anticipate promotions to the penultimate stage for next season. Taylor Pendrith and Buckley have a bit more work to do during the final 3 events, to secure their elevation to the KFT. Stay tuned this week in Manitoba.

Australia has its 1st US Women’s amateur champion in Gabriela Ruffels

Oh, that we might all be as fortunate as driven as Gabriela Ruffels. 3 years ago, she gave up a love of tennis for a passion for golf. Her dedication, guts and natural ability translated to an electric finish for the 2019 US Women’s Am. Ruffels and Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland did battle through 36 holes of the final match at Old Waverly golf club in Mississippi. The first 18 holes was a story of spurts. Ruffels won the 8th through 11th holes to take a 3-hole advantage. Valenzuela came right back, winning 4 holes from 12-16 to retake the lead. A birdie for Ruffels at the 18th sent them all square to lunch.

The day’s 2nd 18 holes saw less fireworks, albeit the same number of lead changes. Valenzuela held an advantage for 3 holes, until Ruffels tied her at the 25th. Back and forth again, until Ruffels made birdies at the 33rd and 35th holes to jump ahead. With everything on the line, both competitors stuffed their approach shots close at the 36th hole. Ruffels putted first, drained her birdie, and lifted the winner’s tower. For Valenzuela, 2019 was her 2nd runner-up finish in the tournament.

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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 Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open

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GolfWRX bypassed the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship (we have already seen those 30 guys’ blags plenty!) for the road less traveled this week: The Korn Ferry Tour. Specifically, we have a full buffet of photos from the range at the Albertsons Boise Open, including a full plate of WITB looks.

Here are 10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open.

This spread of Scotty Cameron Circle T putter covers will have enthusiasts drooling

Is this tee marker edible?

Name a better-dressed pro than Morgan Hoffmann…

Brandon Crick’s Pingman-stamped Glide wedge

The TaylorMade Boise Open headcover features a Boise St. blue turf background

D.J. Trahan’s Grateful Dead dancing bear headcovers are money

J-Gore! Cheers to the 2002 champ!

Sweet orange paintfill on Kevin Doughtery’s PXG 0311T 4-iron

Idaho (potato) fries aplenty on Scotty Cameron’s superb Boise Open headcover

I was unaware Will Zalatoris nickname was Beavis. But a look at this wedge and a look at this photo have me pretty convinced it is

All our galleries from the Boise Open

General galleries

WITB, special galleries

 

 

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Morning 9: Rory offers simple slow play fix, isn’t sure about TC format | Brooks favors the Euro plan | Sunjae Im!

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

August 22, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Rory’s simple slow play fix
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard reporting...”The Northern Irishman has always been one of the most outspoken players when it comes to pace of play on the PGA Tour but enough is enough.”
  • “I saw [the European Tour] released a four-point plan, but I only read the headline. I didn’t go deeper into it. I’ve had enough of the slow play stuff,” McIlroy said. “I had two hours of it last week at the [player advisory council] meeting, and that came to nothing.”
  • “Although he didn’t know the details of the new European pace of play policy, McIlroy did offer a solution for slow play when he pointed out that pace of play won’t be an issue at this week’s 30-man Tour Championship.”
  • “Seriously, it’s like traffic, right? You get 156 in the field, and it’s hard to get those guys around quickly. Even last week, 70, there was no mention of pace of play,” McIlroy said. “I’m in a privileged position that I can say that because I’m going to get into a field of 30 or 70. Obviously, guys that are not quite in my position would disagree with that. [But] if you want to speed up play, cut the field sizes.”

Full piece.

2. Rory unsure regarding new Tour Championship format 
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”While saying Wednesday that he understands many of the reasons for the new format, he also said “come back to me Monday and I’ll tell you whether it’s worked or not.”
  • …”If we’re at the PGA Tour trying to do the season of championships, where it starts at the Players in March and goes through the four majors and culminates with the FedEx Cup in the end, if the FedEx Cup really wants to have this legacy in the game, like some of these other championships do, is people starting the tournament on different numbers the best way to do it?” McIlroy said Wednesday at East Lake Golf Club.”
  • “That’s my only thing. I get it from a fan experience point of view. I get it from giving guys that have played better throughout the year an advantage. But at the same time, it will make it sweeter for a guy that starts at even or 1-under par and goes all the way through the field and wins. Or if Justin Thomas shoots the tied low score of the week and doesn’t end up winning. … I don’t know.”

Full piece.

3. JT wants the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup
Good to hear he didn’t endorse finishing third if it’ll secure the cup…JT isn’t keen for a repeat of 2017
  • AP report…”Justin Thomas lived it two years ago when he capped off his best year by capturing the FedEx Cup with a runner-up finish in the Tour Championship. Thomas was thrilled to win the cup and its $10 million prize, but felt like a loser in the immediate aftermath because he was second in the Tour Championship to Xander Schauffele.”
  • “As the No. 1 seed, he starts Thursday at 10-under par with a two-shot lead under the staggered start. It’s possible that Thomas could finish the most under par and win the FedEx Cup, even though he doesn’t have the lowest 72-hole score.”
  • “And yes, he will be paying attention…“You guys probably won’t believe me, but, yeah, it will irk me,” Thomas said of such a scenario. “I want to beat everybody every week I play.”

Full piece.

4. Can anyone really win the FedEx Cup? 
Shane Ryan investigates…
  • “…a player starting at even par has to overcome a 10-shot deficit against the top player, but he also has to overcome a variety of smaller deficits against 25 other players. That compounds the problem, but one way we can try to answer the question is by examining other big comebacks in PGA Tour history. A look at final-round comebacks shows us that one player, Paul Lawrie, managed to take back 10 strokes in a single round, though it did require Jean Van de Velde’s infamous collapse at the 1999 Open Championship”
  • “…But Stewart Cink also roared back from nine shots down, and eight players have managed the feat on Sunday from eight shots back. In some respects, the task facing the “start-at-even” crew in the Tour Championship this weekend is much easier. First, they have 72 holes, not 18, to overcome a 10-stroke deficit. Second, the competition is 29 players, not the 70-or-so who typically make the cut at a “normal” event. They have a longer time to beat a smaller number of players, and by that reckoning, chipping off 2.5 shots per round seems far from impossible.”

 

5. In case you missed it: U.S. Prez Cup team top 8 set
Brooks Koepka
Justin Thomas
Dustin Johnson
Patrick Cantlay
Xander Schauffele
Webb Simpson
Matt Kuchar
Bryson DeChambeau
6. Olesen pleads not guilty
BBC report…”Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen has appeared in court charged with sexual assault and being drunk on an aircraft.”
  • “The 29-year-old Ryder Cup winner has also been charged with assault by beating…He indicated he would plead not guilty when he appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.”

Full piece.

7. Brooks favors the European plan? 
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch…“Koepka has been an outspoken critic of slow play, calling for stiff penalties against lallygagging PGA Tour players. He was asked about a policy announced this week by the European Tour that cracks down on idlers by imposing stroke penalties, not the meaningless fines used this side of the Atlantic.”
  • “Perfect. We should adopt it,” Koepka replied. Then came the surgical insertion of the needle.
  • “I think you’ll see some urgency to play. It doesn’t matter how quick you walk. It doesn’t matter how quick you do anything.”
  • “The “quick walk” argument – that hoofing it to one’s ball faster excuses taking more time than permitted to execute the next shot – is the flaccid defense of Bryson DeChambeau, a notorious laggard and someone with whom Koepka has sparred on the issue.”

Full piece.

8. Cole Hammer time…for you to win the McCormack medal
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington…“On Wednesday, the USGA and R&A announced that Hammer remained the No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and thus had secured the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player at the end of the summer.”
  • “With the honor comes exemptions into the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot and the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, so long as Hammer remains an amateur when playing in the majors.”

Full piece.

9. Alone in anonymity?
Sungjae Im has hardly gotten the recognition he deserves this season…
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…“One of the tour’s premier talents walked East Lake in anonymity Wednesday afternoon. Hard to do, given there are just 30 players at this shindig. When he passed a group of fans, necks strained to see the name on the bag, followed by a common chorus of whispers. Who’s that? … that’s not Hideki, right … wow, pretty nice shot. The man would nod as he made his way through, paying no heed to their ignorance. He doesn’t even blame them.”
  • “Hey, I’m surprised I’m here too,” Sungjae Im says with a laugh.
  • “In the Year of Young Guns, from Cameron Champ’s auspicious start to the torrid summers of Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland, only one-Im-is standing at the Tour Championship.”
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Thorbjorn Olesen pleads not guilty to sexual assault; will face trial next month

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On Wednesday, Thorbjorn Olesen indicated that he would plead not guilty to the charges of sexual assault, being drunk on an aircraft, and assault by beating, and he will now face trial in September.

Sky Sports broke the news that the Dane appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday where he confirmed his name, address, date of birth and nationality as well as his not guilty plea, and he has since been released on unconditional bail.

Olesen will now face trial at Isleworth Crown Court on 18th September which is the day before the European Tour’s Flagship event – the BMW Championship at Wentworth.

The 29-year-old was arrested on 29th July at Heathrow Airport and released upon investigation after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman and urinating in the aisle of a first-class cabin.

Olesen is currently suspended from the European Tour while the case is ongoing.

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