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Opinion & Analysis

Hot & Cold: Where strokes were won and lost at the Valero Texas Open

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In “Hot & Cold,” we’ll be focusing each week on what specific areas of the game players excelled and disappointed in throughout the previous tournament. On Sunday, we saw Cory Conners claim the  Valero Texas Open in incredible fashion. Here’s a look at where some of the most notable players gained and lost strokes over the four days of action.

Hot

He didn’t make it easy for himself, but Corey Conners produced a spectacular back nine to claim his maiden win on the PGA Tour on Sunday. What Conners did all week was outplay his opponents tee to green. Conners gained 14.4 strokes tee to green for the four days of action, which was almost five strokes more than Charley Hoffman, who finished runner-up to the Canadian, achieved in this area. Check out the clubs Conners did the business with here.

He may not have featured at the business end of the tournament over the weekend, but Rickie Fowler will be very pleased with his Masters tune-up. The 30-year-old gained strokes in all of the significant strokes gained categories, with his play off the tee being particularly impressive. Fowler gained 3.5 strokes over the field off the tee in San Antonio, which was his best performance in this area since winning in Phoenix.

Another man who will have big designs of slipping on the green jacket this week is Matt Kuchar, and the American’s iron game in particular looks primed for Augusta National. Kuchar gained 8.6 strokes over the field for his approach play last week, which is the second-best performance of his career in this area.

Cold

There were plenty of positives for Jordan Spieth to take from his week in San Antonio, with the Texan gaining strokes both on the green and with his approaches. However, Spieth continues to be plagued by poor play off the tee, and last week, Spieth lost almost three strokes to the field in this area. The 25-year-old heads to Augusta having lost strokes off the tee in three of his last four events.

Billy Horschel’s stay in San Antonio was brief, with the American missing the cut. Horschel came into the event having gained strokes on the greens in his last seven consecutive tournaments, but at the Valero Texas Open, Horschel lost a mammoth 7.2 strokes to the field with the flat-stick. It represents his second-worst performance on the greens at an event in his career.

Tony Finau’s poor T61 finish (by his high standards) can, for the most part, be attributed to his poor putting last week. Finau lost 2.6 strokes to the field with the flat-stick in hand in San Antonio, and the 29-year-old was fifth worst in the field from the 5-10 feet range.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Matt Callison

    Apr 8, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Don’t you mean San Antonio?

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Breakthrough mental tools to play the golf of your dreams

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Incredibly important talk! A must listen to the words of Dr. Karl Morris, ham-and-egging with the golf imperfections trio. Like listening to top athletes around a campfire. This talk will helps all ages and skills in any sport.

 

 

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On Spec

On Spec: Homa Wins! And how to avoid “paralysis by analysis”!

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This week’s episode covers a wide array of topics from the world of golf including Max Homa’s win on the PGA Tour, golf course architecture, and how to avoid “paralysis by analysis” when it comes to your golf game.

This week’s show also covers the important topic of mental health, with the catalyst for the conversation being a recent interview published by PGA Tour with Bubba Watson and his struggles.

 

 

 

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Opinion & Analysis

A golfing memoir in monthly tokens: February

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As some might say, if you don’t take the plunge, you can’t taste the brine. Others might not say such a thing. I’m taking the plunge because I want to taste the brine.

Here you’ll find the second installment of “A Golfing Memoir” as we trace a year in the life of Flip Hedgebow, itinerant teacher of golf. For January, click here.

He could never explain his given name. Why would a German family name their son “cirE”? Some mistook it for Sire and thought him presumptuous. As a lad, with fingers crossed, he hoped that other kids hadn’t the intellectual gumption to search a Gaelic dictionary, where they would find the translation of … wax.

Why do mothers name their children such odd names, and why don’t fathers object? Flip’s father had made a career of objecting to every sincere and frivolous pursuit the boy had undertaken. Why not object to cirE? Flip stared into the morning sun, preferring the more-than-momentary blindness, and surmised that the old man knew that it was a battle he couldn’t win. Carry this bowling ball around for nine months, pulling on organs, muscles, and bones, and don’t let me pick his name? uh-UH. Stored it all up and took it out on the kid.

Considering the brief nature of February, cirE “Flip” Hedgebow feared that planning was overrated, and that much was beyond his control. He had transitioned many times before, from south to north and from north to south. After a few years, he gave little thought to each move. Yet, despite experience and wisdom, he felt possessed by neither. Flip was not wrong; the turbulence roiled beneath the surface of his calm demeanor. Work a pro shop long enough, and you learn to pass emotional tsunami off as a wink and a nod.  If you can’t, you don’t last.

February was an odd month in the Sunshine state. The amateur snowbirds had departed, and the fairly-experienced ones began to arrive. Difference? Amateurs arrive for the first month of the new year, bask in the warmth, then head home for two or three more months of cold, and get sick. The fairly-experienced brood (usually 4-5 years into retirement or freedom) had figured this out, through pain and suffering. They made their reservations one month later, stunned that time was available for them. There was a reason for that, but Flip wouldn’t consider it for a pair more of fortnights. What the departure of the amateurs meant, was lower revenues, across the board.

Amateur snowbirds bathed in the deceitful glow of recent loosenings. They spent like there was no tomorrow when, for most of them, there were too many tomorrows. Their departure meant that registers wouldn’t ring (his mentor used that expression) like the chapel on Sunday. In the world of cirE, registers were tablets that used Square, and chapels didn’t do business like they did in the past.

The fairly-experienced crowd had settled into a February routine. No longer trying every new thing, they spent their Valentines month in nearly-perfect symmetry. They knew which restaurants to frequent, and which sales would appear in windows, at which appointed hours. Frivolous purchases were no longer their wont, as the writing on the wall began to show in greater clarity. Flip cared nothing of this…he cared about the diminishing returns and the lightening of his pocket clip. This generation suspected that March was the better month for rolling into northern Spring, but those who held those dates, weren’t giving up before a literal fight to the finish. So February it was.

Something else that the February armada offered, was time on the lesson tee. They weren’t giving up on youthful potential and conquest, at least not on the golf course. What they could not offer in the clubs, they could occasionally summon when money was on the line, and that would have to do. The majority of them accosted Flip over matters of distance and new drivers. The savvy ones asked when he could show them a shot or three around the green, or from the trees. If Flip ever had to run a Calcutta to save his life, he lived in the certainty that those savvy ones, those scramblers, would be the ones to back. Since all of them paid, the lesson tee was a bonanza.

No matter the month, Florida was a gold mine compared with New York. No taxes, and even the most frugal snowbird tipped and bought more than folks in rural Empire state. Flip’s nest egg needed to swell a few sizes, like the Grinch’s heart, before April Fools’ Day arrived. Something else that needed to swell, was his peripheral vision. For the second time in as many months, the potency and potential of the red-haired woman escaped his notice, as did the farewell wave she gave to Flip’s next student. Good things come to those who wait, but do they also come to those who miss?

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