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Zac Blair announces plans for The Buck Club

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If you follow nearly anyone in the golfing community on social media, you have probably at least heard of The Buck Club. For those not in the know, The Buck Club represents PGA Tour player Zac Blair’s mission to craft what he sees as the gold standard for what a golf course should be. He unveiled his plan over the weekend during a kickoff event called “The Ringer” at Sweetens Cove Golf Course in South Pittsburg, Tenn.

Blair has identified and is in the process of securing a 347-acre site in Morgan, Utah, (about an hour north of Salt Lake City) for the course. He has also selected King Collins Golf (crafters of the aforementioned Sweetens Cove) to co-design the golf course with him and oversee its construction. The team of Blair and King Collins Golf have recently completed a design layout that adds up to a 7,400-yard par 71 from the championship tees. In the words of Blair and Collins

“The architecture will be rooted in the fundamental lessons of The Old Course at St Andrews and the great courses of the classic era of architecture in the United States. Strategic decision making, variety, alternate playing routes, and a bold, quirky flair will be the hallmarks of the playing experience. The legacy of Zac’s favorite course, National Golf Links of America, the brainchild of C.B. MacDonald, weighs heavily on the concept of The Buck Club. Using the teachings of history’s greatest architects and C.B. MacDonald as inspiration, every hole at The Buck Club will provoke thought and force players to make decisions on each shot. Alternate routes of attack will be available for golfers of all skill levels, thereby providing ‘pleasurable excitement’ and ‘the greatest pleasure to the greatest number’ in the words of Alister Mackenzie.”

Preliminary Scorecard for The Buck Club

Apart from the golf itself, the club’s atmosphere is equally important to Blair and Collins. The intent is to provide a laid back vibe with an emphasis on camaraderie among people who share a love of the game and the shared experiences it provides. To encourage that, the course will include features such as one complex that encompasses the 18th green, practice green, and first tee as well as multiple bonus holes (Numbers 6.5, 9B, 18B, and 19 are included in the current routing).

Routing of The Buck Club by Zac Blair and King Collins Golf

If the experience at The Buck Club is anything like what transpired at The Ringer, golf enthusiasts should be in for a real treat. Some highlights include a 50-man free-for-all down the first fairway during the three-man derby, multiple alternate holes such as No. 4 tee to No. 6 green and No. 8 tee to No. 9 green, and a stripe show of a closest to the pin challenge. 100 percent of the attendees were encouraging to each other and engaged in every nuance of the experience. It was a refreshing change from the innocuous rounds of golf found at many courses across America today.

Artist’s rendition of the 8th hole named “Mega Redan.” Credit: Josh Bills (@jrbgolfs on Instagram)

The timeline for The Buck Club’s completion depends heavily on securing funding for the project, but it’s conceivable they could start moving dirt in 2019 if the fundraising process continues gaining momentum.

Stay in the know as the process unfolds by following The Buck Club on Twitter and Instagram.

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Peter Schmitt is an avid golfer trying to get better every day, the definition of which changes relatively frequently. He believes that first and foremost, golf should be an enjoyable experience. Always. Peter is a former Marine and a full-time mechanical engineer (outside of the golf industry). He lives in Lexington, KY with his wife and two young kids. "What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive." -Arnold Palmer

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. John Krug

    Oct 28, 2018 at 12:21 am

    How long is the golf season in Utah?

    • kevin

      Nov 2, 2018 at 11:19 am

      you can play year round in parts of UT. do you even know where utah is on a map? its south of canada, which has some fantastic courses.

  2. Johnny Penso

    Oct 27, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Can you say 7 hour rounds of golf? ???? ???? ???? ????

  3. George

    Oct 27, 2018 at 2:15 am

    I’m tired of private courses being built. If you really want to make a spectacular golf course it can only be good if it is open to the public. Golf in Scotland is way better than the US because of this. You can play anywhere

  4. Chris Epson

    Oct 26, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Zac is from Utah, and we are fortunate to have so many city and county owned courses, kept in terrific shape, and affordable at $50 (with a cart) or less. 9 hole rounds are not just allowed, but encouraged. We have some fun part 3 courses, as well as a few high end country clubs in Salt Lake and Park City. Point is…Zac gets it. His family has been involved in public golf there for many years, so I give him the benefit of the doubt in this venture. And Morgan, Utah in a beautiful venue. Don’t tell anyone, but affordable great quality golf is Utah’s best kept secret

  5. Zebediah (OG of the OT)

    Oct 26, 2018 at 10:56 am

    It’s never getting built. Zac has been busy designing swag and doesn’t have land or money, and is clueless on the development process.

    Nice guy with some interesting (but hardly novel) points of view, but he isn’t putting in the hard yards.

    • JR

      Oct 26, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      What is the point of being so negative here? Why even comment?

      • Jamie

        Oct 26, 2018 at 1:45 pm

        So brutal honesty is outlawed now, Snowflake?

      • Zebediah (OG of the OT)

        Oct 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm

        Only positivity allowed?

        So you don’t dispute what I wrote, you just don’t like it?

        Zachary was on twitter yesterday asking for someone to help him navigate land development in Utah. He doesn’t have the land. He doesn’t have the cash. He sells hats and tees, and he expects to break ground in May?

        Why should I be positive that this will happen?

        • JasonHolmes

          Oct 26, 2018 at 11:31 pm

          Well if people keep buying $25 bags of TBC tees – he’ll have the money raised in no time.

    • Blake

      Oct 26, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      “Zac has been busy designing swag and doesn’t have land or money”

      He sold the swag to get the money and the land. But your wrong bc apparently he has the land now.

      • Zebediah (OG of the OT)

        Oct 26, 2018 at 5:50 pm

        “He is in the process of securing the land” – translation, he doesn’t own the land and hasn’t “secured” it, which is something less than owning it.

        You think he soft enough hats and belts to by the land? His GoFundMe was seeking $5,000,000.00. He “secured” $155.00. I’m guessing he didn’t make up the shortfall at the Ringer. He is approaching this project like a teenager. “Check out my dope pop up store” followed by “anyone know anyone who has developed land in Utah”.

        Explain to me how you know he has the land when this article explicitly states he doesn’t.

        I hope he pulls it off, but he has done absolutely nothing to make me think he will.

  6. Peter Schmitt

    Oct 26, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Lots of people commenting on price, membership structure, etc. Folks, all I know to say there is that nobody knows yet. It’s not that it’s a closely guarded secret. No one knows. As such, I’m going to resist diving into circular discussions over hypotheticals because it’s not going to help any of us. Hope that’s received in the spirit it’s intended.

    • JasonHolmes

      Oct 26, 2018 at 11:34 pm

      As a business owner, what you are describing actually frustrates me more than anything. He seems to just be sort of winging it. Make some cool hats and hole layout maps first – figure out the business part later. How did he not start with a solid business plan and then approach investors with a copy of that plan in his hand? Instead he’s doing what you are describing – he’s winging it.

  7. scott

    Oct 26, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Never heard of this until now. I love the architecture styles discussed. However, if this is going to be a private course, the success or failure will never truly be known until it goes out of business. What I get from reading this article is that if this is a private course 1) Zak clearly doesn’t get it and 2) without a ton of funding, the course won’t resemble the current layout.

  8. SV

    Oct 26, 2018 at 9:17 am

    I agree it will probably be a high-end, private club with limited access. What I would like to know is why in an article like this it is always the the longest tees yardages that are shown? Why not show what normal people will play, even if they will have no chance to actually do it? Your answer Mr. Schmitt?

    • Peter Schmitt

      Oct 26, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Let’s not forget that Zac is almost doing this backwards from the standard convention. There’s a lot of details that just plain aren’t sorted out yet. All of that will come in time but you have to start somewhere. How often does the general public get to watch a project unfold like this? Let’s all enjoy the ride.

      • JasonHolmes

        Oct 26, 2018 at 9:55 am

        “How often does the general public get to watch a project unfold like this? Let’s all enjoy the ride.”

        Is the general public really going to care if it turns out they are watching a PGA Tour pro build a high end private hangout for him and his crew? I doubt it. All the talk and press he’s getting about how “different” this project is going to be – thats all going to fall completely flat if it turns out this is just another high dollar private joint none of us will ever get a chance to play. Golf has enough of those kind of places already.

  9. CrashTestDummy

    Oct 25, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    It looks like a great design and concept. Hopefully, it makes money and is successful, but it is at a time where many golf courses are closing which makes any new golf course risky.

  10. Caroline

    Oct 25, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    Such a great article about something 90% of golfers in California know nothing about…all we have is public courses closing all the time because water is to expensive and courses cannot not make a nickle…so sell the land and build warehouses for Amazon and others or like by me build more houses…..cost 30 million or more to build a public course, cost 3 or 4 million to buy one that will make nothing after paying for maintenance..let course run down force city to allow zoning change and close course build houses….same thing is happening in Las Vegas they close a course let the area turn to weeds, home owners that bought near a golf course fight to keep land a golf course but end up giving in to owners of land to build rather then look out over the desert weed patch…

    • Jeannie Bragg

      Oct 25, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      Trust me the same thing happens in the Grand Strand area of SC

    • Peter Schmitt

      Oct 26, 2018 at 9:13 am

      Fair comment and I think I would address it and CrashTestDummy’s above you by saying that a big reason a lot of courses are struggling is that, in my humble opinion, they’re all really kind of the same. Throwing together another rubber stamped golf course design and dressing it up with pretty water features is what gets you another course that struggles. They all just kind of taste like chicken after a while.

      Sweetens Cove is the antithesis of that and I would imagine The Buck Club will be something like SC on steroids. I have pretty high hopes personally. Admittedly, it may or may not be for everybody (it’s not even built yet so who knows), but I would imagine those looking to go deeper down the golf rabbit hole will be head over heels…

  11. T. Harris

    Oct 25, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    So glad to see King Collins on this project. Rob Collins is an incredibly inspired and talented designer…the final result will no doubt be spectacular!

  12. JasonHolmes

    Oct 25, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    ZB still wont answer the question as to whether or not the public will even be allowed to play at his course. Is he raising money on the backs of people buying $100 shirts – all so he can build some exclusive hideaway?

    Or is this going to be a course people can actually play?

    Because it seems disingenuous as hell if he’s going to keep pumping out hats and shirts to his followers on Twitter – only to turn around and make a completely private club.

    Any time anyone asks him, he says something like he’s trying to “figure it out”. What does that even mean? If he can’t even answer that simple question, to me that says it all. Why cant someone in the press actually push him on this? Otherwise you are doing exactly what he wants – providing more free marketing.

    • Doug

      Oct 25, 2018 at 8:48 pm

      On a recent podcast he said there would be rate levels for local, national, and international memberships. He also thought that it would be pretty open for guests to get to with a member with the thought that people will like it so much they might just become a member.

      Typically national memberships are much more affordable than local clubs because they know you can’t use them much. But then you have to pay for travel.

      I, and I suspect you, would much prefer a mixed option that would include a higher priced daily rate – eg Bandon Dunes – but how many people would buy even a “cheap” national membership at $3k if you could play 18 for $275?

      • Rick

        Oct 26, 2018 at 12:56 am

        Nice, very sad there are plenty of high level courses for people that can pay $275 or more…as golf is becoming more and more a game of kings (rich) as they want it to be. What is sad is there are so few courses under $40 dollars that the average Joe and jill can play..Biggest joke in the Country is the First Tee…thousands of kids learning to play with free clubs, range balls and even rounds of golf…then they turn 16-18 and are ask to pay a $40 green fee or $10 for a bucket of range balls and 99.9% of them are through with golf….

        • Peter Schmitt

          Oct 26, 2018 at 10:48 am

          I agree good golf that’s affordable is hard to find, but I will submit that there are options if you’re willing to look hard enough and have an open mind in the process. There’s a Pete Dye muni here in KY that costs me $12 to walk 18 on the weekends as a veteran. Sweetens Cove has an all day walking rate on the weekend for $60 to play as much golf as you can stomach in one day. I’m not saying TBC will be in that ballpark (or that it won’t for that matter). Just that good, affordable golf isn’t dead yet…though I’ll admit it isn’t going to be served up on a silver platter.

    • Peter Schmitt

      Oct 26, 2018 at 9:35 am

      I think the reason he hasn’t explicitly stated a response to that is because he honestly hasn’t decided yet. Simple as that. Could go in a bunch of different directions and last I heard he was still batting ideas back and forth. FWIW, I trust him. We don’t go way back or anything. I just met him last weekend and have talked to him for probably less than an hour total, but I came away thinking (1) he “gets it” and (2) I genuinely think this could be special. YMMV of course. Just one man’s opinion…

    • Blake

      Oct 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      He literally said there would be a way for the public to play this

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Tour Rundown: Scottish Open means 2 for Min Woo, John Deere Classic in the glove

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The places in the world where professional golf was played this week were ones impacted by rain. Both the Scottish Open, and USGA Senior Open suffered rain delays, and golfers at the John Deere Classic broke out the wellies on Sunday as well. No event suffered greater impact than the LPGA’s Marathon  Classic, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

Our thoughts are with those in British Columbia and other parts of the world, where wildfires continue to threaten wilderness and human lives. With awareness of golf’s good fortune, help us to run down this week’s results in Tour Rundown.

European Tour: Scottish Open means two for Min Woo

Min Woo Lee and his sister, Minjee Lee, would make a killer team in pretty much any competition. In February of 2020, Min Woo won his first European Tour event, the co-sanctioned Vic Open in his home country of Australia. That title brought him closer to his sister’s tally of five LPGA titles, but his latest effort might be the family’s biggest trophy yet. Min Woo survived a three-man playoff at the Renaissance Club and hoisted the Scottish Open trophy as winner of that ancient event.

Min Woo began the final day in fifth place, chasing co-leaders Thomas Detry of Belgium and Matt Fitzpatrick of England. There were many other names in the mix: Rahm, Poulter, and Thomas, to name just three. They took attention away from the other pursuers, and that allowed someone to make six consecutive birdies and post an outward 30. That someone was Min Woo Lee. Beginning at the third hole, he chipped stroke after stroke away from the lead, until a par at the ninth halted his streak. He and the field endured a weather delay, and Min Woo added one more birdie, at the par-5 16th. That stroke saver allowed him to eliminate clubhouse leader Ian Poulter, who had posted 17-under 267. Joining that Englishman a shot out of the lead were the USA’s Ryan Palmer and last week’s Irish Open champion, Lucas Herbert.

After Min Woo, both Fitzpatrick and Detry made birdie at the same 16th hole, making the playoff a three-golfer affair. Off they trudged to the 18th hole, where Min Woo made quick work of overtime. He nursed his approach shot inside of fifteen feet. When his opponents failed to make birdie, Lee stepped up and stroked the putt home. The win gave Min Woo a spot in next week’s Open Championship. Also qualifying were Detry and Jack Senior, who led this week after round one, and ultimately tied for 10th.

Champions Tour: USGA Senior Open finds a home with Furyk

There was a time, when Jim Furyk stood minus 5, when Mike Weir, Retief Goosen, and the rest of the pack had a chance. There was a time, after Furyk’s par-bogey-double start to round four, when fans and broadcasters alike wondered if the octopus falling from a tree could close the deal. He was the 2003 U.S. Open champion, at a similar, midwestern track. He was also the guy who didn’t always close the deal, so the pundits and patrons had to scratch their heads.

No one charged. Weir tried, but every time he made a birdie or an eagle, he followed it with a bogey. He had three of those on the day, and those three cost him a tie. As for Goosen, let’s just say that Pinehurst 2005 still wakes him at night in cold sweats. He also had three bogeys on the day, needed zero, and tied with Weir for second.

Furyk simply remembered how he had played on Friday and Saturday, how he had amassed 11 birdies against one bogey, to jump waaaay ahead of everyone else. No, it didn’t help that his playing partner (Stephen Ames) was tripping his way to 75 and T-8. Furyk played two-under par golf from the four tee on, and those numbers typically win USGA events. After winning his first two Champions Tour starts, Furyk has been off the podium ever since. Good to see him back.

PGA Tour: John Deere Classic in the glove

Lucas Glover won his first tournament in 2005 at the Magic Kingdom. That event no longer exists on the PGA Tour, but the magic didn’t stop there for the South Carolina native. He climbed the peak of professional golf in 2009, winning the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. In 2011, Glover won a third tour title north of the border in Charlotte in a playoff at the Wells Fargo Championship. And that’s where the story ended, for a time.

Glover had dealt with slumps and injuries before, but the ensuing decade would cast more of each in his path. This week, the tide turned in his favor. Glover opened with 68-63, positioning himself favorably for the weekend. Saturday struggles included three bogeys on an inward half of 1 over, and he began Sunday in 12th position, four shots behind third-round leader Sebastián Muñoz of Colombia. Glover went out in minus 3 on day four, then stumbled at the 11th with bogey. With the snap of a finger, he not only righted the ship, but seized control of the tournament.

Glover ran the table with consecutive birdies at 12 through 15. He added one more at the 17th, and made a sand save at 18 to finish at 19-under par. His goal that morning? 20 deep, so he had to endure an hour of final-green finishes before he could acknowledge that he was now in possession of his fourth tour title. After him came plenty of 67s and 68s, but they weren’t close enough to matter. Muñoz closed with even-par 71 to tie for the fourth spot. Finishing as co-runners up were Ryan Moore and Kevin Na, at 17 under par.

LPGA: Marathon Classic ends in victory for Hataoka

The story of 2021 in Sylvania, Ohio, should be the other-worldly play of Nasa Hataoka. The young champion from Japan, three times a winner already on the LPGA circuit, opened with a 61 to seize control of the tournament. On Thursday, Nataoka posted five birdie on each nine, including four consecutive to close her round. She followed with 69 and 64 and held a six-shot advantage as day four dawned. It would certainly be difficult for anyone to track her down but, as pursuer Esther Henseleit stated, We all know golf. The one challenger that no one anticipated would help quite so much, was Mother Nature herself.

Writing from western Ohio, this scribe experienced precisely what the LPGA competitors felt in Toledo, just north of where I’ve encamped this weekend. Rainclouds came through overnight, filling an already-saturated course to its limit. Play began at seven a.m., but ground to a halt as more drops descended. According to Donna Mummert, senior manager of rules and competition, the one-two punch of greens and fairways was too much for the grounds crew to overcome. With more rain forecast for the coming hours, no respite was in site. The Tour made the anguishing decision to cancel Sunday’s round, making Hataoka a four-time LPGA champion. Finishing in a tie for second were Elizabeth Szokol and Mina Harigae. The aforementioned Henseleit ended in solo fourth position.

Korn Ferry Tour: TPC Colorado Championship to TTR in Overtime

The TPCCC might be on to something when it comes to overtime play. Forget the galleries, forget the closer, just find your nearest par-3 hole and let them bang heads until someone comes out a winner. Your honor, as exhibit A, we present the first playing of the par-three 16th hole at TPC Colorado. With three fellers in the mix, both Tag Ridings and David Skinns made a deuce. Kevin Yu wasn’t so fortunate, and away he went. Back to the tee they marched, and Ridings made par to Skinns bogey, and thus you had yourself a champion in Taggart Twain Ridings the Only.

With all the talk of Lucas Glover’s 10-year hiatus from the winner’s circle, let’s recognize that it has been nigh on 19 years since Tag Ridings ascended the podium. That would have been in 2002, at the Permian Basin Open on the then-Buy.Com Tour (since Nationwide, since Web.Com, now Korn Ferry). In order to get here, third-round leaders Tyson Alexander and Taylor Moore had to falter, and they did. Tag had to run four consecutive birdies on the front nine (he did) and hold on for dear life on the second half (he also did.) Most importantly, Yu had to make bogey at the last, to let Ridings and Skinns in (he did just that) and then…playoff.

 

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Photos from the TPC Colorado Championship (Korn Ferry Tour)

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GolfWRX is live this week from the Korn Ferry Tour’s TPC Colorado Championship from Heron Lakes in (not surprisingly) Colorado.

We have 11 galleries for you to peruse as well as in-hand looks at the new Titleist T200 irons.

Check out all our photos below.

Titleist T200 2& 3 irons – 2021 TPC Colorado Championship @ Heron Lakes

See what GolfWRXers are saying and join the discussion in the forums. 

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Tour Rundown: Rocket Mortgage Classic goes to Mr. Davis

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It’s an odd summer’s week when no tour disputes a major championship. After a run of Opens and PGAs, with the odd Players and Tradition thrown in, the world’s professionals breathe the sighs of meditation, before heading to Europe for more Opens and Evians. July and August will heighten the golf world’s senses once again, as an Olympic contest may finally play out. It’s a lot to handle, so let us be grateful for the Rocket Mortgages, the Volunteers of America, and the small towns like Endicott, NY. It is these events that often reveal someone with the guts and grit to go it alone, for the entirety of the competition, and sear a victory into the eternal record. With that image, we move to this week’s Tour Rundown of four compelling events, from Holland to Ireland to Texas, and from the Motor City to the birthplace of B.C.

1. Rocket Mortgage Classic goes to Mr. Davis

Joaquín Niemann and Hank Lebioda knew what they had to do as they stepped to the 13th tee. Bubba Watson had set a bar at 16-deep with his eight-under 64 on Sunday. Four groups later, Alex Noren lowered it to 17-under with a 64 of his own. How low would the bar go? Strap in and find out.

A week after that super-long, eight-hole playoff in Hartford, Detroit did its best to replicate the affair. The aforementioned Lebioda and Niemann reached -17 and -18. Trouble was, Niemann had to do so to avoid an outright loss. A few groups before, Australia’s Cam Davis had made eagle at 17 and birdie at 18, to jump from 15 deep to the top spot. He was joined by Troy Merritt, who mad birdie at 16 and 17 to reach the low number. And thus did a Chilean, an Aussie, and an Iowan head to extra holes on America’s holiday.

Niemann became a quick afterthought, bowing out with bogey at the first extra try. Merritt and Davis matched pars at 15 and 16, as well as birdies at 17, before returning to the 15th for the third time that day. On this visit, Davis had twelve feet for deuce, but missed right. Merritt stepped up with a par putt half that distance … and also missed. And like that, Cameron Davis was a winner on the PGA Tour.

2. Dubai Irish Open is Herbert’s second European Tour title

Plug the name Dubai into the tournament’s moniker and Lucas Herbert is most certain to show up in the end. Herbert’s breakthrough win on the Euro Tour, in January of 2020, happened at the eponymous Desert Classic. 18 months later, the Australian lad led from hole 1 to hole 72 at Mount Juliet in Kilkenny, claiming the Irish Open for his bookend win. Five bogeys and one double were the six blemishes on his cards this week. They were more than offset 26 birdies, including one each day at the par-five tenth hole.

Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg closed with a trio of 67s to vault from 4th to 2nd on day four. He finished second when the USA’s Johannes Veerman stumbled down the stretch. Veerman was hard at work on a three-under round and had closed to within one of the leader when they reached the 16th tee. The relative inexperience of the American showed when he closed with bogey on two of his final three holes. Herbert made birdie at 17, creating his final margin of victory, of three shots over Karlberg. Veerman came solo third at minus-15, one ahead of a quintet of chasers.

3. Volunteers of America on LPGA Tour goes to Ko

In an odd manner, it seems appropriate that Jin Young Ko was able to close the deal at the VOA in Texas. The Korean champion had opened the week with 63, and leading from start to finish is as difficult a task as there is in golf. Matilda Castren had other ideas, and seized the top spot on Friday night by one shot, after dual 66s. Ko found herself one back of the newly-minted LPGA winner from Finland. On day three, they swapped spots again, with Ko’s 66 taking the lead back from Castren’s 68. On Sunday, the pair found themselves together in a run to the podium.

Jin Young jumped ahead early, far ahead, with birdie at three of the first four holes. In quick fashion, the lead was four after four … then back to three after five, when Ko stumbled with bogey … then two after six, when Castren made birdie … then one after eight, when Castren notched another tweet. Dramatic stuff, huh?

On the back nine, things cooled down. Ko went birdie-bogey to start, then made par all the way home. Castren made five successive pars, then dropped a shot at 15. She gained one at 17, setting the stage for the exciting 18th … where both made par. Ko’s win was her eighth on tour, and first since the tour championship last December.

4. Big Green Egg Open in Holland trophy heads down under

Australia’s Stephanie Kyriacou and Sanna Nuutinen of Finland decided to make the BGE a party of two for the weekend. The pair matched 65s on Saturday, leaving little doubt that one of them would hoist the winner’s big green egg trophy on Sunday. Kyriacou struck first, turning in 33 against Nuutinen’s 35, for a two-shot advantage as they moved to the home stretch. On the inward half, Nuutinen answered with birdies at 13-15 to gain a one-shot advantage. On 16, the young Aussie said Not so fast with a splendid birdie of her own. At the penultimate hole, Kyriacou backed up her deuce at the par-three 16th with a 4 at the par-five. Nuutinen stumbled with bogey, and the islander carried a two-shot advantage to the final tee. Each made par at the last, and Kyriacou claimed her second LET win in two years.

5. Dicks Sporting Goods Open to Beckman in surprise ending

When you’re paired with Ernie Els, who has a few major titles and a boatload of other wins, not to mention Champions Tour success, you need to keep your eyes on the ground and make birdie. Cameron Beckman met just that situation on Sunday in Endicott, and followed the script to the altar. Although few would have given him odds of any length to topple Els and everyone else, especially after going winless the past decade, Beckman defied all odds.

The Minnesota native, a three-time winner on the regular tour, reached three-under par on the day after birdies at one, three, and five. He gave two back with bogie at eight and nine, but lost no ground to Els, who also went out in minus one. On the inward half, Beckman caught fire and lightning in a bottle. He birdied hole 10 through 14 to absolutely stun the tall South African. Els played the same stretch in plus-two, and with a finger snap, Beckman had gone from three in arrears to four in hand. He needed all of them. Els breathed deeply and played the final four holes at En-Joie in one-under par. Beckman swam home in plus-two, including bogey at the last after a dunked drive. Didn’t matter; the Texas Lutheran alum had his first Champions Tour win, and much to make him smile.

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