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Tour Rundown: Morikawa, Lipsky, and Warren claim titles on three world tours

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After nearly a month of covering a single tournament each week, today feels like a birthday, with three presents to open. The European Tour returned to action for the first time since Qatar, in early March. The Korn Ferry Tour was again in action, this time in a canyon in San Antonio, Texas. And the PGA Tour headed into territory not charted since the 1950s. More on that tease in a moment. As humanity navigates the careful steps required by quarantine, our professional golf tours have done their best to clear a path on how to properly do so. There is stumbling and mild retreat, but in the end, movement forward. Here’s to caution and confidence, as we return to Tour Rundown, this second week of July 2020.

Collin Morikawa claims first PGA Tour medal-play title

Justin Thomas is young. He’s only 27. The thing is, Collin Morikawa is younger. Like a quarter-generation younger. In an era of internet immediacy and social media fame, people identify by these five-year segments of a generation. On Sunday, at the Workday Charity Open, Morikawa earned his second tour title in less than a year, and he did so by staring down the 2017 PGA champion.

In a word, Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, was crazy. Arriving weather dictated threesomes off early, on both front and back nines, for final-round completion. Morikawa was paired with Thomas and Viktor Hovland, on a stage set for drama. Thomas had the lead at the outset, but Morikawa seized it back with two birdies and an eagle in the first five holes. Thomas responded, as in the middle rounds of a prize fight, with a stunning sequence of his own. Birdies at 8 through 11, followed by birdie-eagle at 14 and 15, appeared to pave a path to a 13th tour title for the Kentuckian.

With a flicker, Thomas made bogey at 16 and 18, while a 17th-hole birdie by Morikawa evened the score. Off to extra holes they went. Thomas appeared to have stolen the win with a 50-feet bomb for birdie at th 18th, but Morikawa matched him with a putt for three of his own. They returned to 18 one more, where pars sent them off to the 10th tee. A change of venue, to the 10th hole, brought resolution to the week. Morikawa’s drive found the fairway, while Thomas’ tee ball was stymied behind a wee sapling of a tree trunk. Forced to pitch out, Thomas ultimately missed a 15-feet putt for par. Morikawa took two putts from six feet, and the victory was his. After an initial win in the modified-stableford Barracuda Championship 11 months ago, the young Californian now has a stroke-play title, against one of the best of the tour, on his sleeve.

For the first time since 1957, the PGA Tour will host events on the same course, in consecutive weeks. The Workday Classic steps aside for the Memorial Invitational. Expect faster greens, deeper tees, thicker rough, and angrier hole locations as Jack’s event takes center stage.

David Lipsky steps out of covert operations for San Antonio Challenge win

If you’re one of those Golf Channel stalwarts, the ones who watch early-morning telecasts from the Asian and European tours, you know his name. If not, please allow me to introduce David Lipsky. A graduate of Northwestern University, a Big Ten titleist in college, 2-time champion on both the European and Asian tours, and now, a winner stateside. By reaching 25-under par on Sunday evening, David Lipsky claimed an inaugural Korn Ferry tour title at the (deep breath) TPC-San Antonio Challenge at the Canyons. The native of La Cañada, California, turned in a weekend scorecard of 128 for 36 holes, blazing past the field by four shots.

The majority of the onslaught took place on Saturday. Lipsky had been known, on his overseas tours of golf duty, to post the occasional low round. Following it up was always the difficult part. More on that in a jiff. On day three, Lipsky posted consecutive bogies, at the 13th and 14th holes. No worries. They were sandwiched by a birdie and an eagle. And those were sandwiched by two more birdies on either side. And that was after an outward nine of five-under 31. Lipsky’s matching nines totaled 62, and included 10 birdies and that screaming eagle.

On Sunday, the third-round leader picked up where he left off. He made few mistakes on the day, and expanded his week-long birdie total by seven. As his closest pursuers hiccoughed and stumbled, Canada’s Taylor Pendrith took up the challenge. Pendrith reached the turn on a five-birdie streak, but was unable to maintain the momentum. He reached 21-under par, one clear of Paul Haley II and Paul Barjon in third, and claimed his first runner-up finish on the Korn Ferry tour. Coming on the heels of a tie for third the previous week, Pendrith is one to watch as the Korn Ferry tour moves across property to the Oaks course, for a 2nd consecutive TPC San Antonio event.

Marc Warren edges Schneider by one in Austria

Compared with the above winners (23 and 32) Marc Warren is an old guy. He’s 39, which qualifies for tour-old status. Not as old as Miguel Ángel Jiménez, the 36-hole leader, but certainly trending upward in circles around the tree trunk. No matter, after 72 holes, it was Marc Warren by one shot, for his fourth career win on the European tour. Six years had passed since the Scotsman hoisted the Made In Denmark trophy, and this rep was more than sweet.

Warren sat two shots behind the ageless Spaniard, Jiménez, aftet two rounds. Surprising himself, the PGA Tour Champions regular was out in 133, emboldened by a Friday 65. What went right on day two, moved in the opposite direction on Saturday. Jiménez turned in a 77, dropping out of the top five. Warren seized the opportunity on a difficult day, and took the lead with a two-under 70. On Sunday, the Caledonian struggled with his swing, giving the lead away to runner-up Marcel Schneider, midway through the back nine. Emboldened by years of toil, Warren responded with birdies at 15 and 17 to snatch the lead back. A par at the last was sufficient to close in 13-under par, one clear of Germany’s Schneider. Holland’s Will Besseling turned in the day’s best score (66) to ascend 16 spots on the board, into solo third position.

The tour remains in Austria this week, at the Euram Bank Open. Unlike the US tours, the remainder of the Euro schedule is uncertain. With fortune, previously-scheduled events will make a return to competition in 2021, if not sooner.

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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

Photos from the 2020 Albertsons Boise Open

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GolfWRX is live at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Albertsons Boise Open!

Par-71, 6,880-yard Hillcrest CC is one of only two courses to host a KFT event all 31 seasons.

The Boise Open is the second event of four in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship Series, which replaces the traditional Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

We have four general galleries from the course, as well as looks at Ping, Odyssey/Toulon, and Scotty Cameron putters—and a closer examination of Callaway’s PGA Championship putter cover.

General Galleries

Special Galleries

 

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It’s official: No fans at the 2020 Masters

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The long-standing rumors have proved correct, as on Wednesday Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley confirmed that this year’s Masters would go ahead without any patrons or guests on-site.

In a statement released on Masters.com, Ridley said

“Since our initial announcement to postpone the 2020 Masters, we have remained committed to a rescheduled Tournament in November while continually examining how best to host a global sporting event amid this pandemic. As we have considered the issues facing us, the health and safety of everyone associated with the Masters always has been our first and most important priority.

Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts. Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome.

Even in the current circumstances, staging the Masters without patrons is deeply disappointing. The guests who come to Augusta each spring from around the world are a key component to making the Tournament so special. Augusta National has the responsibility, however, to understand and accept the challenges associated with this virus and take the necessary precautions to conduct all aspects of the Tournament in a safe manner. We look forward to the day when we can welcome all of our patrons back, hopefully in April 2021.

We appreciate the support and patience of all those we serve – including the Augusta community, our corporate and broadcast partners and our friends in golf – as we continue to plan for this historic event.”

Those who had tickets for the 2020 Masters will now be eligible to attend the 2021 Masters next April.

The 2020 Masters will take place from November 9-15.

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Morning 9: U.S. Am updates…including a proposal! | 1.69 shots per minute shown at PGA | Parting thoughts from Harding Park

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1. U.S. Am stroke play medalist, who’s in, who’s out…
Dave Shefter at the USGA with the update…“Wilson Furr was so focused on hitting quality golf shots that he didn’t realize just how well he was playing Tuesday in the 120th U.S. Amateur Championship. By the time he signed his scorecard at stroke-play co-host Bandon Trails, the 22-year-old from Jackson, Miss., had produced a round for the ages.”
  • “Furr, a rising senior at the University of Alabama, carded a 9-under-par 62 in breezy conditions to earn medalist honors by two strokes over James Piot.”
  • “The 62 matched the second-lowest 18-hole score in U.S. Amateur history – Jeff Wilson also shot 62 in 2011 at The Home Course in Dupont, Wash. It also eclipsed by two shots the Bandon Trails competitive course mark that had been set 24 hours earlier by Aman Gupta, and matched earlier on Tuesday by Charles “Ollie” Osborne.”
2. Matchplay? No. Fiancee? Yes.
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…“Nick Geyer is going home early at the 120th U.S. Amateur.”
  • “He won’t be leaving disappointed.”
  • “Geyer, the 32-year-old Scotty Cameron fitter from San Diego, shot 84-76 to miss the cut at Bandon Dunes, but it didn’t matter. During his practice round Sunday, Geyer got down on one knee on Bandon’s picturesque 16th hole and popped the question to his girlfriend, Lacey Pelham.”
  • “It always matters what I shot, but certainly not as much as how lucky I am to be with Lacey,” said Geyer, who got the answer he was hoping to hear: “Yes!”
Sincere congrats to Nick and Lacey! 
3. Not a bad looper!
Fortunately, it was an injured finger, not a shoulder… Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”When Karl Vilips, the world’s No. 10 amateur, decided to skip the 120th U.S. Amateur as he continues to recover from a broken left grip finger, he offered his looping services to Thorbjornsen, his friend and fellow Stanford freshman. The partnership paid off brilliantly in Monday’s opening round around Bandon Trails, where Thorbjornsen turned in a 3-under 68 to put himself in great position to make match play.”
  • “I felt pretty good about my game, but I felt like my course management was what really set me up pretty well for the whole day,” Thorbjornsen said. “I mean, having Karl on the bag is very helpful. He knows exactly what shot to hit for certain wind types.”
  • “While playing competitor Stewart Hagestad called Thorbjornsen’s performance “clinical,” Vilips’ caddie performance was, no pun intended, downright surgical. The Aussie, with an affinity for playing in the wind, guided the less comfortable Thorbjornsen, a Northeast kid, throughout the round, especially down the stretch with northernly winds really starting to howl.”
4. 1.69 shots per minute
Hat tip to the king of all eponymous golf sites, Geoff Shackelford, for pointing to Classic Sports TV’s analysis of the final round of the PGA Championship. And a full-fledged doffing of the cap for this yeoman’s work…
  • “Once again, I tracked the strokes televised by CBS during the Sunday round of the PGA Championship. I started the tracking at 4pm ET and counted 496 televised strokes from the final round. This total includes 33 shots that CBS aired on its Eye On The Course split screen feature during seven of the commercial breaks. I stopped the tracking when the final group putted out. This resulted in an average of 1.69 strokes per minute which is by far the highest I have ever recorded for any golf major since starting this tracking in 2014. The previous high was 1.41 for the 2017 Masters. For comparison, the 2019 PGA had only 1.14 shots per minute.”
  • “With no paying spectators in attendance, CBS focused on golf rather than fan reactions. With so many players in contention, CBS moved around constantly and showed between 48 and 57 strokes for seven different players. Eleven players received coverage for at least 10 shots. Overall, CBS showed 27 different golfers playing strokes during the tracking period, but 13 of those players only got three shots or fewer. The highest finisher not shown by CBS was Brendan Todd who tied for 17th.”
5. Parting thoughts from Harding Park
Rightful World No. 1 Collin Morikawa (damn the minimum divisor) hoisted the Wanamaker (the lid is a prank at this point, right?) where Prince Louie Dufner once sat, to bring the curtain down on the PGA Championship. Now, the Tour is on to the next one in the form of the former Greensboro Open, current Wyndham Championship on the other side of the country-but not before a few parting thoughts are thunk by one Daniel Rapaport of Golf Digest.
“This was a win for the little guys, inasmuch as such a thing is possible these days. Morikawa isn’t exactly short off the tee, but he’s not long, either-he came into the PGA ranked 110th in driving distance and gave up some 25 yards off the tee to guys like DeChambeau, Tony Finau and Cameron Champ. His victory was a heartening reminder that there is still a place in this game for a guy who finds fairways and greens, who overcomes a distance disadvantage with pure-as-hell ball-striking and flawless course management. He’s still 23, and his frame suggests room for growth, so perhaps Morikawa will add some distance as he progresses through his 20s. But for now, we can all smile a bit knowing a guy with ball speed in the high 160s can win a major on a course that seemingly begged for a bomber.”
“…It was another tough putting week for Tiger Woods, which unfortunately has become a bit of a theme recently. If Woods had enough rounds to qualify, he’d have entered this week 207th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained/putting. How is that possible? How does one of the greatest putters of all time have struggle for such a prolonged period?”
“Simple answer: Age. When we think of a golfer getting old, we think of him losing his speed, struggling to keep up with the whippersnappers who can fly it 310. In reality, putting is often the first thing to go.”
 
6. Coronavirus cancels another LPGA Tourney
AP report…”The LPGA Tour has confirmed that the 2020 Buick LPGA Shanghai has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.”
  • “China’s government last month announced that all international sports events in the country would be canceled until the end of the year, and organizers of the Oct. 15-18 women’s golf tournament made the cancellation official in a statement Wednesday, citing “the current health concerns and significant travel restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19.”
7. Back up the Brinks truck for JT…
Wyndham Rewards, indeed! The AP’s Doug Ferguson…“Thomas has played so well this year with a PGA Tour-best three victories that he is assured of being the No. 1 seed when the FedEx Cup postseason begins. That also means he wins the Wyndham Rewards for leading after the regular season, which comes with a $2 million bonus.”
  • “So he earned $45,000 from the PGA Championship, picked up $2 million and likely will lose $5,000 or so from missing a putt (not because of missing the putt, but because of his verbal reaction to why the ball didn’t go into the cup).”
  • “The rest of the payout from the Wyndham Rewards – it goes through 10th place – has not been decided.”
Thought experiment: How much would your employer fine you/how swiftly would you be dismissed for a full-fledged f-bombardment?
8. Irwin’s fire flares as Langer bids to overtake…
My English major math computes Langer (41) is four senior circuit victories behind Hale Irwin (45)…Good work by Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal catching up with Irwin ahead of the Senior Players (where he’ll be playing in the Pro-Am)
  • …”there is a hint of regret in the 75-year-old’s voice, a touch of disappointment. Not because he feels as if the machine-like Langer will eventually pass him, but rather that he wishes he could have competed more in the twilight of his career.
  • “Hampered by a foot injury that would require three to six months of rehab if he underwent surgery, Irwin has played in three tournaments in 2020, the same number in 2019, and hasn’t competed in more than eight since 2015.”
  • “I probably could have played a little bit longer, more effectively had I wanted to,” Irwin said last week. “But things developed off the golf course that gave me opportunities to do other things. If you’re going to play competitive golf, that’s what you do. If you don’t do that wholeheartedly and with more attention than I was giving it, then you’re not going to play as well.”
Sidebar: Firestone deserves another PGA Tour event. Plenty dump on the track itself, sure, but it’s a fabulous venue for watching golf-and a deep well of Woodsian history and heroism (8 wins in 16 starts!).
9. Important announcement regarding the GolfWRX forums!
Last year, in an effort to improve the capability of our forums, we switched to new software. We expected tremendous scalability and rapid customization that would significantly improve each Member’s experience across multiple devices and integrate flawlessly with social media platforms.
Unfortunately, after a significant capital expense, we have decided that the length of time and the additional cost to reach our goals make this enterprise untenable.
Thus, we have made the difficult decision to transition the forums to our original software platform. We’re excited that, in the nearly two years since we began the process of our most recent switch, our original platform has been upgraded significantly, and we are confident that the reversion will not only provide the stability that we desperately needed prior to our last move but will also return to the Membership the high level of customization that made our online community so great. We have also added technical resources to the GolfWRX staff that will allow us to build custom modules and modifications that we are confident will take the forums to the next level.
We remain the world’s largest online golf community, and we still hold true to our core values and mission statement as written in 2005. Bearing both of those elements in mind, being the best and offering our Members a platform that is world-class are both requirements, not options, and it is that spirit that has motivated this decision.
So, please pardon our mess over the next five days or so while we transition the forums.
A few important notes: Current content will be accessible during that time, but the forums will be READ ONLY, and you will not be able to start new threads or reply to posts or PM’s. We know this is inconvenient, and we apologize, and we greatly appreciate GolfWRXers bearing with us through the transition.
We are very excited about starting this next chapter for GolfWRX and getting back to the high-quality Member experience we all expect as soon as possible!
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