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Tour Rundown: Swafford slips and recovers | Wolfe | + Catch up on the winners you missed last week

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During the excitement of last week’s US Open, we were unable to give proper coverage to the LPGA and PGA Tour Champions. We plan to rectify that this week, with a look back at the last, full week of golf in September 2020, along with a look waaay back at what else went on during US Open week. It’s strange to imagine fall as majors season, but with the Masters coming up in November, golf suddenly carries some weight with American football. The world’s top players will play some sort of schedule, in the run-up to an 11th-Month Augusta, and we should have quite the look at our favorite players as the leaves turn majestic. Time to Tour Rundown. Wake me up, when September ends.

Swafford captures Corales Puntacana title after slipping

The University of Georgia’s Hudson Swafford came out on tour in 2011. He won on the Korn Ferry tour the following season, then claimed an inaugural PGA Tour title in 2017. Three years on, he has a second, big-tour win to add to his wiki, thanks to a solid, bike-balancing in the Dominican Republic.

Swafford sat second to Adam Long on Saturday evening, but inherited the top spot as Long struggle on the outward nine, eventually settling in fifth place. Swafford was out in 31, thanks to a mighty eagle on the par-five fifth hole. Then, awareness rose from the mists, and he made double bogey at 13, followed by bogey at 15. At that juncture of the fairways, Nate Lashley, Tyler McCormick, and Mackenzie Hughes had worked into contention.

Bogey at 17 did Lashley in, while Hughes suffered a similar fate at the final hole. McCumber surged late, capping a bogey-free 32 back nine with a birdie at the last. This effort garnered him solo second spot. As for Swafford, he struck a magnificent iron on the windy, par-three 17th hole to fifteen feet, then dropped the slow-roller for deuce and a lead that would hold to the end. The tour returns stateside this week, at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi.

Wolfe claims second KF Tour victory of 2020

Back in January, before the world knew that it would turn inside-out, Jared Wolfe took a large step in his ten-year touring career. Buoyed by PGA Tour Latinoamerica victories in three consecutive seasons, the former Racer from Murray State earned a Korn Ferry tour victory in the Bahamas. Eight months later, Wolfe can add a bookend trophy to his home shelf, following a one-shot win over Canada’s Taylor Pendrith.

The pair entered the final round 1-2, and held position throughout most of day four. Pendrith made birdie at the 15th, but Wolfe topped him with an eagle at 14. Pendrith then notched a bogey at 16, but Wolfe outdid him again with bogies at 15 and 16. In other words, they were feeling the nerves. Pars at the final two holes for both meant a one-stroke cushion for Wolfe, and increased buoyancy in the world of professional golf.

It should be mentioned that Taylor Pendrith, in any other year, would be the story of the season. After finishing outside the top 25 in his first five KF Tour events, followed by a pair of missed cuts, the Ontario native has collected four 2nds and a 3rd over his last nine starts. With a win anywhere, Pendrith would top The 25 money list. Currently, he sits in 2nd spot, behind Will Zalatoris. The Korn Ferry tour heads to Savannah, Georgia, for this week’s penultimate 2020 tournament.

Catlin corrals second 2020 win in Northern Ireland

2020 is defining itself, in mild golf terms, as a year of the late bloomer. In addition to Jared Wolfe, we now have John Catlin. Over the years, the former University of New Mexico golfer has plied his trade on the Asian and European tours. As September arrived, so did Catlin, with a career-changing win in southern Spain. After the Irish Open this week at Galgorm Spa, the Sacramento native now has a pair of Euro tour titles, and a fair amount of standing and cache in the world of golf.

England’s Aaron Rai held a four-stroke lead on the first tee, Sunday morning. He worked his way around the course in 70, the second time he had done so all week. Thrice on the day, he traded birdie for bogey. Rai began his round with a lost shot, but retrieved it immediately at the second. His second birdie of the day, at the 10th, was immediately offset by stray play at the 11th. Finally, and most injurious, he made birdie at 17 to keep hope alive. Needing a 2nd consecutive one to tie Catlin, Rai made bogey at the par-five closer to finish at 8-under par, in solo second position.

What drove Rai to desperation? A seven-birdie onslaught by the American. Catlin burst forth with four birdies over his first 10 holes. A bogey at the 13th slowed his roll, but he surged again toward the end. Catlin gained strokes on Old Man Par at three of his final four holes, only failing to go red at the par-four 17th hole. His 64 was 2nd low of the week and day, eclipsed only by Fabrizio Zanotti’s Sunday 63. The European Tour returns this week to the Renaissance Club in Scotland, for that nation’s Open championship.

Hall earns first LPGA title on US soil (last week)

Georgia Hall, she of the masterful 2018 Open championship title, earned a 2nd career win and first in the states last week. Hall and her compatriots journeyed to the kingdom of Oregon, and waged war at the Columbia Edgewater Club. Hall lurked in the shadows after an opening 70, but burst forth into the light with a second-round 66. Joining her in contention was a healthy mix of names and not-yet-names. Among the former were Moriya Jutanugarn and Inbee Park. Checking boxes in the later were Robyn Ree, Yealimi N0h, and Ashleigh Buhai. It was this last name that would prove most intriguing.

While Hall crafted another fine round, a 68 marked by six birdies and two bogeys, Buhai was on the prowl. The South African posted eight birdies on day three, including four of her final five holes. Only an unfortunate bogey at the 13th kept her from a clean card (and an outright win!) As the dust settled and the ink dried, Hall and Buhai headed toward a reckoning in extra holes, thanks to their tie at twelve deep.

Pars at the 18th brought them to the 1st, where both missed the green with approach shots. Neither recovery was stone dead, but Hall was able to coax her five-feet putt into the abyss for par. Buhai was not so fortunate, as her wee par putt stayed on the surface. The LPGA Tour travels to the opposite coast this week, for a go-round in Galloway, New Jersey, at the ShopRite Classic.

Furyk holds off Kelly in PURE playoff (last week)

Any weekend in Monterey is special, and the PURE Insurance championship made certain to hold itself to that standard. Finishing 3rd was Ernie Els; 4th was Mike Weir; and 5th was Retief Goosen. Major champions in their hey day, any member of that trio would have been a worth winner at Pebble Beach. Instead, it was left to Jim Furyk and Jerry Kelly to decide matters in overtime. Let’s reverse gears, though, and find out how we arrived at extra holes.

Furyk opened with 64, good for a one-shot advantage over Els, Cameron Beckman and Stephen Leaney. Kelly was seven shots back, at 71. On day two, Weir shone with 65, while Furyk regressed with 73, and jumped up with 68. Els was your overnight leader, but the Big Easy was too easy on the field, and did not capitalize on his standing. It’s safe to say that Els lacks the killer instinct of a Bernhard Langer; too many times in his career, he has let tournaments large and small, escape from his clutches.

Day three saw Kelly complete his monster comeback. His 65 was tied for low with Rod Pampling, and while Rod rocketed from 63rd to 31st, Kelly’s rise was even more valuable. He jumped from 9th to 1st, with a bogey at the scenic 8th the only speed bump between him and outright victory. As for Furyk, that 73 left a rotten taste in his mouth, so he returned a slightly-bizarre 67 of his own. The bald eagle was out in 31 strokes, thanks to three birds and a bald eagle in the first six holes. Furyk then Faldo-ed his way home, with 12 consecutive pars. Somehow, his bland play was good enough to reach the playoff.

The old guys lasted just one hole. Both Furyk and Kelly had wedge approach shots left to the fabled 18th green at Pebble Beach. Kelly got his ball left of the hole, and it spun away, to a dozen feet. From there, he two-putted for par. Furyk was able to keep his approach right of the flag, and the spin brought it back to about 30 inches. He knocked down the birdie putt, and moved to two events, two wins, on the tour for seniors. He might want to retire undefeated, but we doubt it. The PGA Tour Champions returns to action next week, in Cary, North Carolina.

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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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GolfWRX Classifieds (10/22/20): Adams MB2, Olson putter, Titleist TS3 head

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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 Bradh972 – Adams raw MB irons

A set of Adams MB2 in this condition doesn’t come up that often – these are highly sought after and considered the peak of Adams golf irons.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams MB 

Member ThatCAGolfer – Olson Legacy putter

Made in America, one at a time, Olson putters are some of the nicest around. Now here is your chance to snag one for an attractive price in brand new condition.

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

Member Taylormadehunter1 – Titleist TS3 driver head

With the announcement of the new TSi Series from Titleist, you can expect to see more TS driver on the market and for a great price. This TS3 head comes with extra weights and is hot melted, and ready to go.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TS3 driver head

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

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What players really think about fan-less events | dam Scott positive for COVID-19 | PGA Merch Show to be virtual

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]
October 22, 2020 
 
Good Thursday morning, golf fans. May you own the home stretch of your weeks the way Henrik Stenson’s did the “Dreams” Challenge.
1. What players really think about fan-less events
The Undercover Caddie (yes, I know some readers think UC is fake news, but I believe the source is a legitimate one)…
  • “What’s it like on tour without fans? You came to the right place. I’ve seen what the players have said, and though I’m not calling them liars, they aren’t being honest, either. In their defense, what are players supposed to say? We’re glad fans are at home. They’re pests. This makes our jobs so less demanding. Come on. No one is that boneheaded.”
  • “Listen, everyone misses fans. Most players are alphas; they enjoy entertaining you, and there’s no drug that feels as good as doing what you love and getting loved for it. On the caddie front, no one ever accused us of being introverted souls. But the fact is, life at the golf course is easier without spectators.”
2. Adam Scott positive for COVID-19
BBC report…”Former world number one Adam Scott has pulled out of this week’s Zozo Championship in California after testing positive for coronavirus.”
  • “The PGA Tour confirmed on Wednesday that the 40-year-old Australian will not play at the Sherwood Country Club.”
  • “Scott said his “focus now is on recovery” for the rest of the season.”
  • “In a statement, the PGA Tour said Scott “will have the PGA Tour’s full support throughout his self-isolation period under CDC guidelines”.
3. Mickelson nervous for fans in Houston
ESPN’s Bob Harig..”Mickelson said Wednesday he might skip the tournament, which announced last week it would be the first PGA Tour event in the United States to allow spectators, capped at 2,000 per day.”
  • “I think that they will do a very good, safe job in having 2,000 people at the Houston Open,” Mickelson said at Sherwood Country Club, where he is playing in this week’s Zozo Championship. “However, for me personally, I don’t like the risk that having that happen the week before the Masters. I just feel like the week before the Masters, like that’s a big tournament we have and I just don’t want to have any risk heading in there.”
  • “So it has made me question whether or not I’ll play there. But then I have to give the Tour a lot of credit and confidence in the way that they’ve handled the entire year and I’m sure they’re going to do a great job at keeping the players safe in that environment.”
  • “But because I haven’t seen it before, because it’s the first one out on the Tour with some people, I’m unsure and I don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. I don’t go out to dinner, I don’t go out and socialize, because I want to make sure that I have an opportunity to compete in the Masters.”
4. PGA Merchandise Show will be virtual
Golfweek’s David Dusek…“In an announcement that should come as a surprise to almost no one, PGA Golf Exhibitions and the PGA of America announced on Wednesday that the 2021 PGA Merchandise Show will be an all-virtual event.”
  • “The three-day event held annually at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, typically attracts more than 40,000 PGA of America professionals, manufacturers, media members and golf industry insiders. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing throughout the United States and the rest of the world, the safety of everyone involved took precedence.”
5. No fans for USWO
From the Golf Channel Digital team…“The U.S. Women’s Open will be conducted without fans because of ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, the USGA announced Wednesday.”
  • “The Women’s Open, originally slated for early June, was rescheduled for Dec. 10-13 at Champions Golf Club in Houston.”
  • “Following extensive consultation with health officials, we have decided that hosting the U.S. Women’s Open without spectators will provide the best opportunity to conduct the championship safely for all involved,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director of championships. “While we are disappointed that we won’t be able to welcome fans and their unmatched energy at Champions Golf Club, we know this is the right decision for the community and players.”
6. Tiger talks distance debate in Zozo press conference
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard “…Whether the game’s rules makers should consider dialing back some of those gains, however, is a completely different question.  “[The rules makers] should have been worried a long time ago, but the genie’s out of the bag now,” Woods said. “It’s about what do we do going forward and how soon can they do it? You’re not going to stop the guys who are there right now. Guys are figuring out how to carry the ball 320-plus yards, and it’s not just a few of them.”
7. Record golf equipment sales 
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…“Golf Datatech, an industry research firm, announced Wednesday that United States retail golf equipment sales surpassed the $1 billion mark for the third quarter. If that number sounds significant, it is, the first time sales in July, August and September have ever exceeded $1 billion in Q3, and serves as the second-highest quarter ($1.013 billion in Q2, 2008) of all-time.”
  • “For comparison, Q3 sales are up 42 percent over the same period last year, spurred by purchases of golf bags, wedges and irons.”
  • “The story keeps getting better as golf continues to surge coming out of the shutdown, and Q3 equipment sales suggests that 2020 will likely end up positive for the entire year,” said John Krzynowek of Golf Datatech. “While the US economy will not enjoy a ‘V Shaped Recovery’ in 2020, if golf continues on this trajectory we will be there soon.”
8. Tiger’s toughest test?
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“But the biggest challenge for Tiger may have nothing to do with the conditions or his uprooted schedule. Since the Tour’s restart in June, Woods, along with a few other players, have talked of how difficult it is to focus during rounds without fans at events and nowhere will that be more evident than at the Masters, a tournament defined by Sunday roars.”
  • “There’s no other place like it. It echos there, it travels,” he said. “When you know the pairings, you know where certain players would be at that particular time and you can figure out who’s doing what, and the roars for certain people are louder than others, and then you hear eagle roars and hole-outs on 16, or whatever it may be. It’s unlike any other place in the world.”
9. A thin slice of golf’s recent success pie
The Denver Post’s Kyle Frederickson…“Colorado’s golf renaissance is real.  Public golf courses operated by the City of Denver report a roughly 20-percent rise in rounds played this year and that’s despite being closed for several weeks due to the coronavirus. Ed Mate, executive director of the Colorado Golf Association, said: “I’ve heard from some private clubs, anecdotally, that they’ve increased their rounds by 100 percent in a given month.”  The CGA compiles an annual survey of public course operators, and prior to this year, the state averaged about 1.5 million-1.7 million rounds played. That number is about to rise, by a lot.”

 

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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from the Zozo Championship

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This week is the Zozo Championship at Sherwood Golf Club, and with most of the worlds top golfers including Tiger Woods playing and prepping for the November Masters, there is a lot going on around the range when it comes to gear and testing.

As a reminder, you can check out all of our photos in the GolfWRX forums.

New Fourteen irons and wedges

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The irons are a throwback to a classic “channel back” style iron with mass positioned towards the top and bottom of the face to increase vertical stability of the blade while also maintaining feel.

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Justin Rose with Artisan lob wedge

The little shop from Texas continues to make big waves with more wedges spotted on tour every week including in former world number 1 Justin Rose.

Xander Schauffele’s new Apex irons and testing putters on Quintic

Xander’s prototype Callaway Apex irons look a lot like the newly released 2021 X-Forged irons but with obvious Apex branding. We also can’t forget about putting, and it’s cool to see a Quintic high-speed camera system on the practice green getting players dialed in to launch conditions just like how they would for a driver.

Ricky using older generation Cobra Amp Cell Pro Irons

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If there is one thing pros love, it’s a set of older irons—they’re the golf equivalent of putting on a pair of comfy broken-in jeans. For Ricky and his custom Amp Cell Pro’s with tungsten toe inserts, there must be some magic there because he has previously used multiple newer sets of irons but continues to gravitate towards these.

Shigeki Maruyama testing new Bettinardi putter

Shigeki isn’t someone to shy away from testing putters, and this week he was spotted testing one of the new Bettinardi putters that debuted last week in Las Vegas at Shadow Creek.

Pros are “just like us” – Justin Thomas and Mac Hughes edition

Yes, tour pros are just like us except for the fact that they are exceptional golfers, but even JT likes help in his long game and has a Titleist T300 3-iron in the bag, and when it comes to breakfast Mackenzie Hughes happens to like ketchup with his breakfast sandwich—although personally, I’m anti-ketchup when it comes to breakfast sandwiches.

Mickelson testing older X-Hot 3Deep

We’ve heard rumblings, of Champions Tour terminator Phil Mickelson testing 47.5″ drivers in the name of speed and distance, but as a way to also have a “fairway finder” it appears that he is contemplating putting his old X-Hot 3Deep in play. (Being able to identify a multi-generations old fairway wood from a distance based on its paint scheme is part of the reason we are WRX)

Gary Woodland testing Ping G425 driver

With the launch of the Ping G425 woods on tour a few weeks ago, it’s no surprise to see more players testing them in prep for the Masters, and for the fact that, they are the next evolution of the well-loved Ping G410—Gary Woodland is no exception.

 

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