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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 Rundown: Sunday charge times three

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65…64…63. Those are the scores that your winners posted on Sunday this week. That other Basque golfer, Adrian Otaegui, got things rolling at the Scottish Championship, at those other St. Andrews courses, besting Matt Wallace by 4 with his 63. Next came Phil Mickelson in Virginia, where his 65 overtook that other lefty, Mike Weir, by three. Finally, and perhaps most satisfying, Jason Kokrak claimed his first PGA Tour title with a resounding 64, to best Xander Schauffele by a pair.

CJ Cup to Kokrak

With no offense meant to the winner, we ALL tuned in to see Shadow Creek. The mythical Las Vegas club, designed by Tom Fazio in the 1990s, carries a top-shelf sticker price and is not accessible by all. SC lived up to its billing…is Pine Valley next? Now, on to Kokrak. The North Bay, Ontario native had established himself on tour as a reliable money winner, but had not ever lofted a trophy on Sunday. A resident now of balmy Cleveland, Kokrak rode a four-birdie stretch (holes 5-8) to the lead, then withstood a charge by the X-Man, Xander Schauffele. In a tie with Kokrak, Schauffele drove left on the 612-yard par 5, and could but chunk his next a mere 85 yards, still in the rough.

Avoiding the fairway at all costs, Schauffele bombed his third shot into the right-side thick stuff, then failed to get up and down for par. Buoyed by his newfound, one-stroke advantage, Kokrak played error-free golf the rest of the way, then birdied the last for the margin of two strokes and his first tour title.

Otaegui is week’s low Basque with Scottish Championship win

Most weeks, unless he takes a rest, Jon Rahm Rodriguez is a shoo-in for low euskalduna. Rahm tied for 17th at the CJ Cup, opening the door to Otaegui for the coveted designation. The native of San Sebastian (Donostia) did not disappoint. Five birdies on the outward nine gave Otaegui the advantage over 54 hole leader Matt Wallace, who struggled with two birdies and two bogies on the front. Bogey at the tenth slowed the Spaniard, albeit momentarily. He recaptured his mojo with another five birdies from 11 through 18, finishing on -23, four clear of the runner-up, Wallace. The title was Otaegui’s third on the European Tour, and first since 2018.

Phil is two-for-two on the Tour Champions

Some say you need to know when to fold’em. Others say, you need to know when to say farewell. Phil Mickelson seems to know that now is a good time to bid adieu to the regular tour, although who can really phigure out Phil? On Sunday, Mickelson went lefty-vs.-lefty with that other, portside Masters champion, Mike Weir. It was the California vs. the Canadian, and sadly, it was one-sided. Mickelson made five birdies in his first eight holes, then survived a bellyflop bogey at the reachable, par-five ninth. Unfazed, the five-time major winner posted four additional birdies over the stretch run, reaching -17 on the week.

Weir had started quickly on in rounds one and two, both of which were played on Saturday (after a Friday rain-out.) Sunday was a different story. A passel of pars, and just one birdie, brought him to the ninth even on the day, pharther behind Phil. Weir’s fortunes on the inward half were slightly improved, and he closed at one-under on the day, one clear of Paul Goydos for solo second.

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GolfWRX Classifieds (10/19/20): Olson Putter, TaylorMade M4 Fairway, Sweetens Cover

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member osubuckeyes690 – Olson Mfg putter

Clean as clean can be. Milled, weld neck beautiful Olson putter—quality doesn’t come cheap, but this is still a pretty nice deal.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Olson Putter 

Member HeathBar – Tour Issue M4 3-wood

In a world of adjustability, sometimes it’s nice to know you’ve got things locked. This is a great condition 3-wood just begging for a new home and the opportunity to hit some more par 5’s in two.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: M4 3-wood

Member Aprovenz – Sweetens Cove driver cover

The only thing cooler than Sweeten’s Cove is Sweeten’s Cove merch, and this cover will keep you looking fresh and your big stick protected.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Sweeten’s Cove cover

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Morning 9: Kokrak breaks through in Vegas | High-end mini golf on the horizon? | No new tee box for 13 at Augusta?

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1. Door finally opens for Kokrak
10 years of knocking… AP report…“Jason Kokrak was playing for the 233rd time in his 10th season on the PGA Tour without ever having won, so he didn’t need any reminders Sunday in the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek that anything would come easily.”
  • “He watched Xander Schauffele stuff a wedge to 5 feet for birdie and roll in a 45-foot birdie putt from the thick collar of the 13th green on the next hole to tie for the lead.”
  • “Kokrak never flinched. Holding his nerve to the end and delivering all the key shots, Kokrak matched the low score of the week with an 8-under 64 to overcome a three-shot deficit at the start and win by two shots to finally be able to call himself a PGA Tour winner”
2. El Pirata!
Great win for a man with an equally great nickname. EuropeanTour.com report…“Adrian Otaegui produced a brilliant closing round of 63 to storm to his first 72-hole stroke play victory on the European Tour at the Scottish Championship presented by AXA.”
  • “The Spaniard has shown himself to be an expert at head to head battles, winning both the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play and the Belgian Knockout, and he showed all those skills again as it came down to a three man contest at Fairmont St Andrews.”
  • “Otaegui entered the day four shots off the lead of Matt Wallace but eight birdies in 11 holes from the fifth helped him finish at 23 under, four clear of the Englishman.”
 
3. Move over, Bernhard!
Hank Kurz, Jr. for the Associated Press…“Phil Mickelson likes to play aggressively and found the PGA Tour Champions’ stop at The Country Club of Virginia the perfect place to begin his preparations for the Masters.”
  • “Bombing drives like he will have to do against the younger set on the PGA Tour, Mickelson shot a 7-under 65 and became the third player – and second this year – to win his first two starts on the tour for players 50 and older. He slammed the door on Mike Weir with a back-nine surge Sunday in the Dominion Energy Charity Classic.”
  • “It’s fun for me to come out here and play well and this is a good start for me as I try to build a little bit of momentum heading to Augusta in about a month,” Mickelson said.
4. Age brings wisdom…
Humor with a  touch of smugness AKA Phil being Phil. Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine with these remarks from Mickelson prior to the Dominion Energy…
“Even if I beat all 78 guys, it would still be a letdown,” Mickelson said Thursday at Country Club of Virginia. “I made so much more last time I played, that I just didn’t see the benefit. Sorry.”
  • “While the comment was made tongue in cheek, Mickelson believes his road to Augusta best goes through Richmond, Virginia, where he will make his second career PGA Tour Champions start beginning Friday at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic. Mickelson will look to build off his maiden senior win two months ago at Ozarks National while some of the top names on the PGA Tour go at it at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas.”
  • “The 50-year-old Mickelson has missed seven cuts in 15 worldwide starts this year, including most recently at the U.S. Open. He does have a trio of top-3 finishes, including a T-2 in Memphis and T-3 in Saudi Arabia, but outside of that he boasts just one other top-25 showing.”
5. High-end Putt Putt?
Montreal Gazette’s John Meagher…“Times are tough for local merchants coping with the economic fallout of COVID-19, but West Island businessman Lee Naylor says the pandemic also presents new opportunities.”
  • “Naylor is behind a new mini-putt course being constructed at Golf Dorval, an 18-hole public golf course in the West Island.”
  • “..We’re going to have a waterfall and a koi (fish) pond and some other really nice attractions,” he said. “It’s going to be a kind of high-end course.”  After Golf Dorval approved the plan, Naylor chose 18 different holes by going online and researching the best holes at other mini-putt courses.  The playing surface will be made of artificial grass that cost $30,000. “We’re using Pro Putt type of synthetic grass which is very good,” said Naylor, who also plans to add sand traps and water holes.  The course will be lit for night-time use, and players will be able to use  “glow-in-the dark” LED golf balls.”
6. “Look no further than the players on the LPGA Tour”
Ashleigh McLaughlin for LPGA.com…
…”many parents are finding a pipeline of reliable role models in female professional athletes. And it’s not just talent that makes those athletes an ideal choice. The added bonus that comes with their influence is that female athletes inspire girls to take up and stick with playing a sport, an activity that research shows can improve girls’ mental well-being, physical health and academic achievement. Of the sports identified by the Women’s Sports Foundation as the most effective in promoting healthy development, golf sits near the top of the list, giving girls a lifelong game from which they can gain great benefit.”
“Whether girls choose golf or not, they’ll have no issues finding a professional golfer whose story they can connect with. The LPGA is full of bright personalities, beat-the-odds successes, and women whose roads are diverse. One example is LPGA player and major winner Mo Martin. Standing at just 5’1″, Martin’s stature isn’t what you’d expect of a professional athlete, and her path to climbing the ranks wasn’t traditional for a pro golfer either. Growing up, Mo’s family of five lived in a 900-square-foot house next to a Jack in the Box fast-food restaurant. She has fond memories of splitting a spicy grilled chicken sandwich five ways, an exercise in making the best of things she learned growing up. Her father saw golf as a potential outlet for his kids, and what they lacked in financial means he made up for in ingenuity…”
7. No new tee box for 13 at Augusta
Dylan Dethier for Golf.com…“Will, when and should the 13th hole at Augusta National ever be lengthened? Those have been key Masters talking points for years, although recently we’ve gotten some clarity.”
  • …We might have an answer now. Likely not this year.
  • “David Dobbins, the man behind the Eureka Earth Twitter account who snaps aerial photos from a plane, shared a picture of the 13th tee area on Friday, which he said was taken on Monday. “It appears it’s time to press pause on the ANGC No. 13 tee discussion – at least for now,” he wrote.”
8. Neck injury forces a weekend withdrawal for Jason Day
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…“Jason Day began Sunday’s final round of the CJ Cup just five shots off the lead and playing in the penultimate group.”
  • “He ended it having completed just one hole.”
  • “Day withdrew during the second hole Sunday at Shadow Creek, citing a neck injury. No further details were given. The 32-year-old Australian, who shot 66 on Saturday, tripled-bogeyed the opening hole before calling it quits after hitting his approach shot on the next hole.”
9. Jason Kokrak’s winning WITB
Driver: TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees @8.5)
Shaft: Accra TZ5 85 M5 Proto 
3-wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees @14.5)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 80
Irons: PXG 0311T Gen2 (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (52-12F, 56-14F, 60-08M)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Bettinardi Studio Stock 38
Grips: Golf Pride MCC 
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
 
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