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Morning 9: KF Tour Championship winners of all varieties | Pro golf’s hottest hot streak? | Ancient human remains found on golf course

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

 

September 3, 2019

 

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. Time to put away your white golf pants for the season.
 

1. Lewis runs away with Korn Ferry Tour Championship
From our Ron Montesano’s Tour Rundown…“Tom Lewis must have seen an opening in his schedule and figured, why not go to America’s heartland and play the KF Tour for the first time … and win the Tour Championship … and get a PGA Tour card in the process? Pretty common plan, wouldn’t you say?”
  • “Lewis was an unstoppable force at Tom Fazio’s playground for fish. He began 68-66-66, then dropped a sublime 65 on the field in round four. For those counting, that was the low round of the day, matched only by Kramer Hickock. For Hickok, it jumped him 6 spots, into 3rd place, guaranteeing him a PGA Tour card beginning this fall. 2nd spot went to Argentina’s Fabian Gomez, who parlayed a 66 of his own into a runner-up spot. As for Lewis, that filthy 65 gave him a 5-shot margin of victory over Gomez, and a chance to sit down and rewrite all of his future plans.”
2. Other tour action you may have missed while not laboring Monday…
On the Champions Tour…Wes Short, Jr. outlasted Scott McCarron to finish at -13 and capture the Shaw Charity Classic at Canyon Meadows Golf & Country Club
On the LPGA Tour… Hannag Green carded a final round 5-under 67 to pip teenager (and Monday qualifier) Yealimi Noh at the Portland Classic.
On the European Tour…Rory McIlroy was bested in a 5-man playoff by Sebastian Soderberg who broke through to win the Omega European Masters in his 50th Euro Tour start.
3. Tavatanakit running hot
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“Patty Tavatanakit wasted no time in making her presence known as a professional. The 19-year-old Thai player won her third title in eight starts on the Symetra Tour, claiming the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge on Sunday in a sudden-death playoff.”
  • “The former UCLA star shot a blistering 8-under 62 in the final round to make up a six-shot deficit. Tavatanakit then birdied the first playoff hole to edge Yujeong Son of South Korea.”
  • “Definitely very surreal, I didn’t expect to get this win,” said Tavatanakit. “I just hoped to play well and climb the leaderboard for a bigger check to move up the money list. I wanted to be the first player out here to win three times this year, so I accomplished my goal and hard work really pays off.”

Full piece.

4. Dorian disrupts golf from Florida to the Carolinas
Golfweek’s Jason Lusk…”Hurricane Dorian, the Category 5 storm that has pummeled parts of the Bahamas on Sunday and Monday, has forced the closure of golf resorts and operations all along the southeastern coast of the United States.”
  • “Among those businesses impacted are PGA Tour headquarters near Jacksonville, Fla., and several top-ranked courses that host Tour events. As evacuation plans differ from state to state, any golfer with travel plans this week or next should contact their resorts to confirm dates of planned reopening.”
  • “Forward progress of the storm stalled Monday over Freeport in the Bahamas, according to the National Weather Service, but Dorian is expected to start moving to the northeast over the next several days. That projected path of the storm brings the coastlines of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina into play this week. Hundreds of golf operations, large and small, lie within the possible path along more than 800 miles of coast.”
5. What a round (ICYMI)
Our Gianni Magliocco…”Last Friday produced one of the most astonishing rounds of golf you’re likely to see, and it came from young professional, Evan Grenus, at the pre-qualifying for Korn Ferry Tour Q School.”
  • “Grenus, who comes from Glastonbury, Connecticut, battled his way into the next stage of qualification despite making a triple bogey, a double bogey, and four bogeys by making three eagles and two birdies. But it’s how he made those scores that will astonish you.”
  • “According to Ryan French’s Monday Q Info social media account, the young pro began his round by holing out from 68 yards for birdie before holing out again from 140 yards for eagle two holes later. Four bogeys, a triple and a double followed in his next eight holes before Grenus regained the magic touch.”
  • “Needing to play his final three holes in four-under-par, Grenus holed yet another iron for eagle on 16, before knocking his approach shot on the last from 237 yards to tap in range to book his spot at the first stage of Q-school.”

Full piece.

6. Ancient human remains discovered…on a golf course
Golfweek staff report…”Kino Springs Golf Course in Nogales, Ariz., went from a recreational course to an archeological scene last week when a maintenance crew discovered human remains.”
  • “On Tuesday, a member of the maintenance crew, who said they were installing water pipes, called the the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office to report the finding of possible human remains, according to a report by Nogales International.”
  • “They were able to determine that the remains were prehistoric, so at this point the case is going to be referred to the Arizona Historical Museum,” Sgt. Santiago Gonzales of the Sheriff’s Office said after a crew took photos of the findings and sent to the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner.”

Full piece.

7. Darren Clarke on slow play
Reuters report…”Clarke is widely recognised as one of golf’s easy going characters but when the discussion turns to slow play the Northern Irishman gets cross.
  • “Just give them (penalty) shots,” Clarke told Reuters. “The guys that are slow give them shots and then all of a sudden they will figure out a routine where they can hit it within the time limit.
  • “It will stop in one week if they start giving out penalty shots.
  • “It is the bad side of our sport and we need to address it.
  • “The guys that are slow we all know who they are give them shots and they will soon speed up.

Full piece.

8. Ghim, Duncan & more Tour card drama
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Doug Ghim, was 29th in Finals points to start the week, but found himself inside that number late Monday. After a bogey at the par-4 17th dropped him to No. 23 on the projections, Ghim faced a 10-footer for par at the par-4 18th – make and Ghim would be joining Scheffler on Tour, miss and he would be returning to the KFT next year.”
  • “He made, delivering a big upper-cut fist pump as the ball dropped into the hole.”
  • Duncan…”Tyler Duncan entered Monday’s final round of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship needing a special round to ensure a return trip to the PGA Tour…He delivered.”
  • “The 30-year-old Purdue product, who arrived this week No. 41 in Finals points and was outside the top 25 heading into the final day at Victoria National, shot 6-under 66 with four back-nine birdies to finish T-4 and move to 12th in points.”

Full piece.

9. Good ideas

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine on what befell Justin Harding at the KF Tour Championship (way to labor on Labor Day, Brentley!)…

  • “Harding was on the cusp of earning his first PGA Tour card – until, of course, he wasn’t. Lanto Griffin, already among the 25 players to lock up a card during the regular season, double-bogeyed the par-4 17th hole and Grayson Murray, also already with a card clinched, bogeyed the par-4 18th to move D.J. Trahan and Richy Werenski past Harding in the projections.”
  • “Harding still had hope, though, as Griffin hit his approach to 5 feet at the last. But Griffin’s birdie putt lipped out, and Harding ended up No. 26 on the Finals points list just behind Trahan and Werenski, who ended up tied for 24th at 186 points.”
  • But it gets worse: Harding fell one-tenth of a point shy of his card.”

Full piece.

 

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,125 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen and more.

Last year, Keith Mitchell canned a 15-footer on the 72nd hole, outlasting Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from PGA National.

General galleries

Special galleries

Vijay Singh using custom Mizuno MP-20 irons with lofts modified enough they had to stamp new numbers. Link to his full WITB

Camilo Villegas with old-school Air Jordans

Close up of Tommy Fleetwood’s putting grip

Luke Donald with a new putting training aid

LA Golf has a couple of new shafts

Brooks Kopeka with his pink and white Nike Air Zoom Infinity Tour shoes

Odyssey Stroke Lab Ten with new sightlines.  Link to galleries and discussion

Kevin Streelman is a huge Chicago Cubs fan, so he went to a spring training game and had the players sign his staff bag (to be fair, he probably took just the panel and not the whole bag)

Jim Furyk has gone back to his standard length putter and cross-handed after trying the arm-lock style for a while.

Kyle Stanley’s coach is taking a worm’s-eye view of Kyle’s alignment and stroke.

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Morning 9: Koepka talks golf | Tiger’s Champions Dinner menu | Tour caddies and hot seats

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1. Koepka talks golf
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…The former World No. 1 – who now sits third behind Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm – opened up in great detail in a profile in GQ about what he would change about the game of golf, a sport that he truly loves despite some outside perception.
  • “One thing I’d change is maybe the stuffiness,” said Koepka, who’s never viewed himself as just a golfer. “Golf has always had this persona of the triple-pleated khaki pants, the button-up shirt, very country club atmosphere, where it doesn’t always have to be that way. That’s part of the problem.”
  • ...”Everybody always says, ‘You need to grow the game.’ Well, why do you need to be so buttoned-up? ‘You have to take your hat off when you get in here.’ ‘You’re not allowed in here unless you’re a member – or unless the member’s here.’…
  • …”I just think people confuse all this for me not loving the game. I love the game. I absolutely love the game,” said Koepka. “I don’t love the stuffy atmosphere that comes along with it. That, to me, isn’t enjoyable.”

Full piece.

2. Fajitas and sushi
“Being born and raised in SoCal, having fajitas and sushi was a part of my entire childhood, and I’m going back to what I had in 2006,” Woods said. “So, we’ll have steak and chicken fajitas, and we’ll have sushi and sashimi out on the deck, and I hope the guys will enjoy it.”
  • “Woods also said he’s considering serving milkshakes for desert like he did during the 1998 dinner.”
  • “That was one of the most great memories to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ’98,” he said.”

Full piece.

3. Why a tour caddie is always on the hot seat 
The Undercover Tour Caddie writeth again…“I’ve been lucky to partner with 18 players on the PGA and developmental tours, four of which were longtime appointments. I’ve also been fired 17 times-and among my friends, that’s on the low end of the spectrum…”
  • “The majority of the time, the breakups are amicable and done in person. I consider myself friends with almost all the players I’ve worked for, and though there were some strong emotions from both sides when it came time to disband, I get it. This is a business, and they’re making a business decision. Plus, you don’t want to burn any bridges. I’ve had two guys toss me aside after a month’s work, only for them to circle back within the year, one of which ended up sticking for five seasons.”
  • “There have been callous splits. In the early 2000s, I was trying to get my guy to hit an 8-iron on an approach at the 71st hole. He was adamant that 9 was the play. I strongly, but respectfully, said he needed to club up. He went with the 9; his ball came up short of the green, and he couldn’t get up and down. That bogey dropped us out of the top 10. He fired me after signing his card, claiming he needed someone “who has faith in me.” Hey, I had faith-faith that his 9 was the wrong club.”

Full piece.

4. The best part of Tiger’s Masters win…
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”Last April at Augusta National Golf Club, behind the 18th green, after tapping in for a one-stroke victory and fifth Masters triumph, there were hugs all around, none sweeter than those from his daughter and son.”
  • “I think what made it so special is that they saw me fail the year before at the British Open. I had gotten the lead there and made bogey, double, and ended up losing to Francesco,” Woods said. “To have them experience what it feels like to be part of a major championship and watch their dad fail and not get it done, and now to be a part of it when I did get it done, I think it’s two memories that they will never forget. And the embraces and the hugs and the excitement, because they know how I felt and what it felt like when I lost at Carnoustie … to have the complete flip with them in less than a year, it was very fresh in their minds.”
  • “It’s a long and rambling thought, and totally justified in the context of all the emotion woven into the two experiences. Some things are just difficult to express cogently, and the struggle with doing so only underscores their impact.”
5. Dream of Coul is dead
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”Coul Links was supposed to be Scotland’s next great links golf course. Envisioned to be built by Coore-Crenshaw on a protected wildlife site in Embo on dunes near Dornoch, those hopes took a serious blow on Feb. 21, when the Scottish government denied planning permission for a project spearheaded by golf course developer Mike Keiser.”
  • “I’m moving on. I have so many other projects,” Keiser tells The Forecaddie. “God bless Dornoch.”
  • “In its decision notice, Scottish Ministers determined that the proposed development would adversely affect the local environment, stating in their findings that the “likely detriment to natural heritage is not outweighed by the socio-economic benefits of the proposal.”
6. Koepka: Great round of golf with Trump
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…“In a profile in GQ, Koepka…talked about a recent round with President Trump…Koepka, his father, younger brother Chase and President Trump “had a blast” at Trump’s course in West Palm Beach.”
  • “It was nice to have my family there, my dad, my brother. Anytime it’s with a president, it’s pretty cool,” said Koepka. “I don’t care what your political beliefs are, it’s the President of the United States. It’s an honor that he even wanted to play with me.”
  • “I respect the office, I don’t care who it is,” added Koepka. “Still probably the most powerful man in the entire world. It’s a respect thing.”

Full piece.

7. Tiger on lengthening Augusta National 
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport…”Augusta National has been at the forefront of trying to keep it competitive, keep it fair, keep it fun, and they’ve been at the forefront of lengthening the golf course,” Woods said. “Granted, they have the property and they can do virtually whatever they want. They have complete autonomy. It’s kind of nice.
  • “But also they’ve been at the forefront of trying to keep it exciting as the game has evolved. We have gotten longer, equipment changed, but they’ve been trying to keep it so the winning score is right around the 12- to 18-under-par mark, and they have.”
8. Inside the Bear Trap
Golf Channel Digital team…“Here’s a look at some of the notable Bear Trap stats according to the PGA Tour (all figures since 2007, when the tournament moved to PGA National):”
  • “Among non-majors, the Bear Trap ranks as the third-toughest three-hole stretch on Tour at 0.644 over par on average. It’s behind only Nos. 16-18 at Quail Hollow (+0.873) and Nos. 8-10 at Pebble Beach (+0.673).”
  • “The Honda Classic field is a combined 3,629 over par across the Bear Trap and 4,934 over par across the other 15 holes at PGA National.”
  • “543 different players have played at least one competitive round at the Honda since 2007, with 76 percent (415) of them hitting at least one ball in the water on the Bear Trap.”

Full piece.

9. San Diego muni renovations (including Torrey)
Jason Lusk of Golfweek…“San Diego’s city council has allotted $15 million for upgrades and renovations to the city’s three municipally operated golf facilities including Torrey Pines’ South Course, site of the 2021 U.S. Open, according to a report Tuesday by the San Diego Union-Tribune.”
  • “…The $15 million approved Monday by the city council also will include contract work at San Diego’s other municipally operated golf facilities at Balboa Park and Mission Bay, the Union-Tribune reported. The courses will remain open during the jobs that include installing new irrigation systems and drainage, replacing and repairing cart paths, renovating bunkers and tree work.”

 

*featured image via Augusta National/the Masters

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Tour Rundown

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@asiapacgolfgrp

Only two of the world’s featured tours were in action this week, but the golf that they provided was memorable and historic. Not the type of historic that you find in school books, but certainly the type that golf aficionados point to, down the road. On the one hand, a prodigious yet poliarizing talent demonstrated complete control down the stretch, during his march to a 2nd World Golf Championship victory. On the other, a precocious competitor joined into a talented triumvirate with a marvelous birdie at the last, to secure an inaugural PGA Tour championship.Tuesday Tour Rundown is back, for this week only!

WGC-Mexico flies away in the hands of Patrick Reed 

Golf Twitter, depending on your perspective, is either entertaining or inflamatory. As happens in the world today, people take sides. In the case of Patrick Reed, that’s not difficult. One either forgives (or denies) Reed’s free interpretation (on multiple occasions) of the rules and their enforcement, or one preserves a disregard for a leading player who simply doesn’t act like one. What isn’t up for debate, is Reed’s seizure of this week’s World Golf Championship in Mexico. What looked for so long like a Bryson-DeChambaeau win, ultimately stowed away in Patrick Reed’s check-on pouch.

The tournament came down to the aforementioned duo. Both Jon Rahm and Erik Van Rooyen swam along the margin, but neither made enough of a Sunday move to figure in the outcome. Both, in fact, tied for 3rd place, 2 back of DeChambeau and 3 behind the champion. Bryson and his on-display muscles barged out of the 10th-hole gate like a man (and muscles) on a mission. Birdies at 4 of the first 5 holes on the inward half, staked him to a 2-shot advantage. Over the closing four, however, the magic went away, and a bogey at the penultimate hole brought him back to 17-under par.

Reed looked like a man playing for second. His long game was nothing exceptional, but his putter kept him afloat, time and again. And then, whatever DeChambeau had in his water bottle, came over to Reed. Birdies at 15, 16 and 17 suddenly brought the 2-shot advantage to the 2018 Masters champion. Even the cough of an expectorant fan, mid-backswing on the 18th, was not enough to convulse the champion. A closing bogey made the margin closer than it was, and Reed jumped from 33rd to 5th in the FedEx Cup standings.

PGA Tour Puerto Rico is Viktor Hovland’s debut decision

It wasn’t as mauling as Tyson Fury’s technical decision over Deontay Wilder, but Viktor Hovland and Josh Teater came down the stretch in Puerto Rico, like a pair of pugilists. The young Norwegian, Hovland, was pitted against the career grinder, Teater. First it was the veteran, with 3 birdies on the opening nine, to reach minus-19. Hovland chipped away, with a birdie at 5, and a 2nd at 10. And then, Teater hit Hovland with a right-cross (or Hovland hit himself with a sucker punch; you make the call.) Triple bogey! A startling six at the 11th, dropped Hovland into a tie with Teater (bogeys of his own on 10 and 11) who now had new life … and new pressure.

To his credit, Teater didn’t back down. He made birdies at 15 and 17, to recoup the lost shots at the turn. Unfortunately for him, tour victory the first would have to wait. Hovland, the Oklahoma State alumnus, made a sensational eagle at the 15th, to counter Teater’s birdie, and reclaim the advantage. The pair reached the 18th tee, a par five, all square, and it was there that Hovland dealt the final thrust. He took every bit of break out of a 25-feet birdie putt, and banged it into the hole. With the win, Hovland joined Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa as anticipated winners who actually won. Now comes the hard part: winning again and reaching a new echelon of champion.

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