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Morning 9: 2 tours, 2 victory droughts ended | Rubenstein on Connery | Shinkwinning | 2 aces this year for 10-year-old

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1. Gay a winner again at 48
Kevin Prise for PGATour.com…“Since the PGA TOUR’s Return to Golf in June, the 48-year-old was without a top-25 finish in 11 starts. He had made 169 starts since his last TOUR title, The American Express in 2013.”
  • “…The University of Florida alum carded a final-round 64 at the Bermuda Championship, capped off with a birdie at the 72nd hole, ultimately good for a playoff with Wyndham Clark at 15 under. Gay won with a birdie on the first extra hole – again the par-4 18th at Port Royal GC.”
  • “With his fifth TOUR title, Gay becomes the oldest TOUR winner since Davis Love III at the 2015 Wyndham Championship. He gains entry into next year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, PLAYERS Championship and Masters Tournament, in addition to earning 500 FedExCup points.”
2. Shinkwinning! 
Reuters report…”England’s Callum Shinkwin won his maiden European Tour title when he beat Finland’s Kalle Samooja in a playoff to win the Cyprus Open after both golfers finished 20-under overall in a dramatic finale on Sunday.”
  • “Shinkwin, 27, was two shots behind Samooja with two holes to play and sank a birdie on the 17th before holing a 54-foot putt for an eagle on the par-five 18th, his second eagle at the hole after one in the third round.”
  • “Samooja managed to birdie the 18th to force the playoff but missed a birdie putt while Shinkwin sank his own birdie to win his first title in his 112th event.”
3. Phil headed to Houston
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…“Phil Mickelson has decided to play in the PGA Tour’s Vivint Houston Open, not the PGA Tour Champions event, in his final tuneup before the Masters.”
  • “Last week Mickelson said he was exploring whether to tee it up in Houston at Memorial Park – a course he’d never seen – or at the senior event at Phoenix Country Club. Also complicating his decision was the Tour allowing 2,000 fans per day in Houston, marking the first time a Tour event in the U.S. has permitted spectators since the Players Championship. Mickelson later told GolfChannel.com that the fans wouldn’t be a deciding factor.”
4. Special Temporary status for Zalatoris 
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…“We should be seeing a lot more of Will Zalatoris on the PGA Tour.”
  • “Entering the Bermuda Championship, the 24-year-old Wake Forest product needed just three points to achieve special temporary membership. He cliched the designation by making the cut on Friday and then made things official Sunday with a closing 68, T-16 finish and 59 FedExCup points.”
  • “Yeah, it’s exciting,” Zalatoris said. “I thought I had a pretty good chance of it in Vegas. Obviously a couple points short. I’m glad I got it done in one week. If I kind of let that wander a little bit, it wouldn’t have been fun.”
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5. Clarke wins TimberTech
“Craig Dolch syndicated in Golfweek…“It has been nine years since Darren Clarke had a victory toast, but he showed Sunday he still knows how to win and celebrate.”
  • “Clarke birdied the 18th hole to win the TimberTech Championship by a shot over defending champion Bernhard Langer and Jim Furyk. It was Clarke’s first victory since the 2011 British Open, and Clarke celebrated with a champagne toast outside the Broken Sound clubhouse.”
  • “I haven’t had one of these in a while,” Clarke said. “I was drunk for a week the last time I won. I imagine I’ll wake up with a headache tomorrow.”
6. Icon of the screen…and links
In his excellent piece on the passing of Sean Connery, Score Golf’s venerable Lorne Rubenstein wrote this: “…in that summer of 2000, Nell and I lived in Dornoch, Scotland, a village I had first visited in 1977. It remains my favourite course and village, way up in the Highlands. Connery loved Dornoch and wrote in his 2008 book Being a Scot that, “During the filming of Goldfinger, I learned the essential challenge of links golf in Royal Dornoch.”
  • “He also loved the entire country in which he was born. Connery was born in Edinburgh and was a strong supporter of Scottish independence. I contacted him and he agreed to write the foreword to A Season in Dornoch, my account of that summer of 2000 when we lived in a roomy, chilly flat above a bookshop a five-minute walk from the links.”
  • “As a Scot, I’m drawn to links golf and its enduring challenges,” Connery wrote. “It’s quite naked golf. There aren’t many trees, or features to aid your alignment. Much is left to the imagination, and to picturing the shot. Then there’s the wind, always a factor on a links. You’re required to play run-up shots, and to work the ball this way and that.”
7. Two aces this year…and he’s 10!
Joe McLean for Flagstick Golf…“In a normal year, the McMahon family would have been balancing Spring Hockey with Competitive Soccer throughout the summer for their son Mason. This year, it was golf and fishing for 10-year-old Mason who joined the Ottawa Hunt club in July and got out to play as much as possible.”
  • “…During his rounds of golf this summer, Mason scored two holes-in-one. Yes, two.”
  • “The first was on September 8th on the 7th hole at Stonebridge Golf Club. He scored the perfect shot from the white tees with a 4 hybrid from 137 yards. The second was on October 15th off the green tees on the 4th hole on the West course at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club. A 7 iron did the trick from 110 yards.”
8. Hickory finds its way back to Pinehurst
Shaun Tolson of Morning Read on Pinehurst’s new hickory club rental program…“It’s a fun experience for individuals who have never done it and also for people who might play hickories once or twice a year,” Barksdale said of renting a set and playing the No. 1 course, the No. 3 course, or The Cradle, Pinehurst’s nine-hole short course. (Although the hickory clubs can be rented for play on any of Pinehurst’s course – even the resort’s revered No. 2 layout – it’s on the resort’s aforementioned shorter courses that Barksdale and his team encourage their use.)”
“They go out there with no expectations whatsoever and simply enjoy the game. It really does give you an appreciation for the early years of golf and how talented those individuals really were.”  Renting a set of hickory clubs for a round at Pinehurst, which costs $50, can impact more than just a singular round of golf. The simple act of carrying those clubs to the driving range can pave the way for noteworthy introductions and interactions.”
9. Gay’s winning WITB
Driver: TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X
3-wood: TaylorMade SIM (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 X
Hybrid: Callaway Apex (20 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Hybrid 90 TX
Irons: Srixon Z U45 (4), Srixon Z 745 (5-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.0
Wedges: Vokey SM8 Raw (50-12F, [email protected], [email protected])
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Spinner
Putter: Scotty Cameron TN2
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Grips: Iomic

 

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The DailyWRX (11/23/2020): Do not enter if…

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Don’t do it….

 

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My God…..

 

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“Bad Little 9″……..

 

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It’s an honest question…

True Legend spotted in the wild…

DM @johnny_wunder

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Morning 9: Streb gets 2nd win…at same course as first | World #1 picks up where she left off | Lynch: “Giving thanks in a lousy year”

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]; and find me on Twitter and Instagram.
November 23, 2020
Good Monday morning, golf fans. A bit of housekeeping for this Thanksgiving week: Morning 9 will be expressing gratitude and ingesting holiday fare from Wednesday through Friday.

1. Second for Streb (finally)

PGATour.com’s Sean Martin…”Robert Streb thought the wins would keep on coming after his first victory at The RSM Classic. He had to wait six years for the next one, though.”
  • “Streb won The RSM Classic again Sunday, becoming the first two-time winner of this decade-old event at Sea Island Resort. He knocked a wedge within inches of the hole to beat Kevin Kisner on the second hole of their sudden-death playoff.”

 

  • “With the win, Streb became the first player since Dave Eichelberger in the 1970s to earn his first two titles at the same event but at least six seasons apart. Eichelberger won the 1971 and 1977 Greater Milwaukee Opens.”

2. Sei Young Kim wins Pelican Women’s Championship

AP report…”Sei Young Kim won the Pelican Women’s Championship on Sunday for her second straight victory, closing with an even-par 70 for a 3-stroke victory over Ally McDonald.”
  • “The KPMG Women’s PGA winner on Oct. 11 in her last start, the second-ranked Kim won for the 12th time on the LPGA Tour to break a tie for third on the South Korean victory list with Jiyai Shin, behind only Inbee Park (20) and Se Ri Pak (25).”

3. Hansen seals maiden victory in Johannesburg

EuropeanTour.com report…”He graduated from the European Challenge Tour in 2012 and 2015 but had a breakout year in 2018, claiming two Challenge Tour victories en route to becoming the first Dane to top the Rankings since Thomas Bjørn 23 years earlier.
  • “The 30-year-old had his best year to date on the Race to Dubai in 2019 as he finished in the top 50 on the Rankings presented by Rolex and, after securing an impressive top ten in the Rolex Series at the BMW PGA Championship last month, he is now a winner, making it a Danish hat-trick in 2020 after Rasmus Højgaard’s brace of victories.”

4. Lynch: Giving thanks in a lousy year—to Bryson, Brooks and the ‘stick to golf’ brigade

Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch “…the grim realities of the pandemic and the attendant economic hangover suggest that at least part of ’21 won’t be much better, so perhaps its more important than ever amid our shared gloominess to spare a moment to recognize the things we are thankful for.”
  • “For Bryson DeChambeau, who single-handedly filled the long, dark days of summer with antics sufficient to fuel social media for an age. Blessed be his talent, his success, his work ethic and his stupendous absence of self-awareness. The PGA Tour and its fans are richer for all of the above.”
  • “For Brooks Koepka, whose most noteworthy shot during this truncated major season came at the PGA Championship, when he grazed his ex-pal Dustin Johnson in a Saturday night drive-by press conference. He also freely admitted that he wouldn’t share a protein shake with DeChambeau and that he’s not out to make friends on Tour, solidifying his reputation as a straight-shooter unafraid to flavor golf’s vanilla-centric menu.”

5. Doomed by distance

John Huggan for Golf Digest…”Three days after hitting the drive that echoed around the world of golf—a 439-yard bomb off the tee at the 597-yard par-5 fourth hole on the Randpark course during the opening round of the European Tour event—Wilco Nienaber arrived on the penultimate tee tied for the lead with Joachim B. Hansen. Unfortunately for Nienaber, a 20-year-old South African, that was as good as things would get. His tee shot on the 223-yard par-3 17th finished inches from the water that runs behind and left of the putting surface. A bogey, his first of the day, was the almost inevitable result from the awkward spot, the dropped shot putting Hansen one shot clear.
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6. Maria Fassi added to U.S. Women’s Open field.

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“It wasn’t that long ago, Fassi said, that she was 14th on the alternate list. But, as players begin to drop out, like Shanshan Feng for example, Fassi zipped up the list. The U.S. Women’s Open will take place Dec. 10-13 at Champions Golf Club in Houston.  “I was pretty sad honestly,” said Fassi of potentially missing out on the year’s final major. “For me, the U.S. Open is the one that I look forward to the most.”

7. A return to his trusty tools: Kisner back to Callaway Apex ‘14 irons

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”For those who were really paying attention, they might have also recognized his familiar irons.”
  • “Kisner put into play this week the irons he won the ’14 event with. It was an attempt to find some consistency and control his ball flight in what were demanding conditions.”
  • “I was struggling with my distance control the last few weeks, couldn’t figure out if it was the change in the weather or if it was me or if it was the irons,” Kisner said. “I knew they were familiar and had some good history with them here, so they seemed to work.”

8. Niemann donates RSM paycheck to ailing cousin

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”Joaquin Niemann missed the Masters last week after testing positive for COVID-19. It sounds like a horrible twist of fate until you consider that the 22-year-old Chilean is dealing with graver medical concerns.”
  • “Niemann’s one-month-old cousin, Rafita Calderon, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a rare genetic disease that affects about one in every 10,000 babies born every year. Calderon is battling for his life, desperately needing a one-time injection of Zolgensma, a drug which according to Niemann costs $2.1 million.”

9. Streb’s winning WITB

Driver: Titleist TSi2 (10 degrees)
Shaft: Project X EvenFlow RipTide 60 6.5
3-wood: Titleist TS3 (15 degrees, B2 Surefit)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ 80 TX
Hybrid: Titleist TS3 (21 degrees, B2 Surefit)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Hy 95X
Irons: Titleist TMB (4), Titleist 620CB (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (46-10F, 52-08F, 56-08M, 60-04L)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Prototype
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
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Tour Rundown: Streb outduels Kisner | Sei what you will

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It’s nearly Thanksgiving and we STILL have three competitive events to run down here at GolfWRX. The first real snows of the season have fallen gently in western New York, which gives even more value to watching events in South Africa, Georgia, and  Florida.

The golf world was introduced to a talented player this week, by way of a 439-yard drive; reintroduced to a stunning talent from Korea; and re-reintroduced to a tournament that has become a warehouse for first-time winners.

The time has come to run down some late November tournament golf, where excitement ruled the day.

Robert Streb outduels Kevin Kisner in playoff at RSM

In 2014, Robert Streb made the then-McGladrey Classic his first PGA Tour victory. 2015 saw Kevin Kisner earn a debut title at the same event, rechristened the RSM Classic. Both players came to the 2020 edition on a cool streak, in search of the magic that results in a tour title. Since 2014, Streb had yet to find the winner’s circle, while Kisner had earned two additional titles, both in Texas. In an ironic twist of fate, both golfers reached 19-under par, one stroke clear of Cameron Tringale. With no one ahead of them, a playoff was in order, and off they went to the 18th tee of Sea Island Resort’s Seaside course. A demanding par four of 460-plus yards,  water runs the entirety of the left side, forcing shots right, toward the marsh.

In truth, Streb’s arrival at the playoff was a minor miracle. His two-under 70 the final day was scorched by Kisner’s 63, Tringale’s 62, and a host of other, low-60s numbers. His three-shot lead held up, barely, awarding him a spot in extra holes. Harris English made birdie at six of his first eight holes, also reaching 62, but needing 59 to join the playoff. Kisner notched seven birdies on the day, but was unable to collect an eighth over the closing stretch.

In the playoff, each golfer recorded par at the first playoff hole, albeit in completely different manners. Kisner missed a 15-foot putt for the win, while Streb clutched-in a seven-foot effort of his own. Return they did to the tee for another go. This time through, Streb nearly holed his approach shot. After kissing the edge of the cup, the ball settled 18 inches from pay dirt. With the birdie, Streb became the only two-time, both-in-a-playoff winner at the Sea Island event.

Sei what you will, she’s a winner!

Sei Young Kim found herself in a Streb-like situation on Sunday morning. She had an ample three-round lead, and wished only to secure a victory as the LPGA season waned. Ally McDonald had other ideas. buoyed (or gurled?) by her inaugural LPGA title in 2020 and her third-round ace, McDonald went on the attack. After a bogey at the third, she reeled off three birdies in four holes. As quickly as her charge mounted, it just as promptly dissipated. McDonald made no more birdies until the 18th hole, securing solo second.

There were low numbers on the course on Sunday. Jessica Korda signed for 64, while Angela Stanford and Jennifer Song were able to attest to 65. All three were too far back to charge and settled for top-10 placements. In addition to McDonald, Stephanie Meadow, Austin Ernst, and Lydia Ko all had ample opportunity to make a run with a Korda-esque round. Each was derailed by a slow start, at even par or worse through the round’s first third. Solid play earned that trio a top-five result.

As for Sei Young Kim, it was a case of balance. Make a bogey? Make a birdie. She had three of each on the day and, after McDonald’s stalled charge, enjoyed a stroll along the fairways of the inaugural Pelican Women’s Championship. The title was her second of 2020, and the 12th of her career. The 2020 PGA Champion will break with her tour mates before heading to Texas for the VOA and the U.S. Women’s Open, in early December.

Wilco nearly complies, but Joachim emerges in the end

It’s has been a tale of two cities, for Wilco Nienaber and Joachim B. Hansen. Nienaber stunned the world for a moment with his 440-yard explosion on Thursday, then showed that he has much more game than just the long ball off the tee. Hansen spent the 2010s doing apprentice duty, first in the Nordic Golf League, then on the European Challenge Tour. As recently as 2018, he was a two-time winner on the second-tier circuit but, after this week’s performance, the 30-year old native of Denmark might have some confidence on the big circuit.

For all the world, the 2020 Joburg Open looked to be a home-country affair. In addition to Nienaber, fellow South African golfers Shaun Norris, Jacques Blaauw, and Brandon Stone made appearances at or near the top of the board. Nienaber had the greatest staying power. The 20-year old opened with 63, and followed it with a pair of 67s. At his heels was the danish bulldog. Hansen played four rounds in the 60s, punctuated by a Saturday 64. The week required a pair of low-60s scores from any other challenger, and none was up to the task.

On day four, Hansen and Nienaber were flawless if unspectacular. Nienaber made birdie at holes 4 through 6, to reach 19-deep. Hansen countered with a quartet of birdies of his own. Well spaced, they allowed him to keep pace with the wunderkind. At the 17th tee, either adrenalin or club selection did Nienaber in. His tee ball was long, leaving him an awkward stance for his recovery. The ensuing bogey dropped him a shot back of Hansen. Pressing for a matching birdie at the home hole, Nienaber once again made bogey, allowing Hansen a two-stroke margin of victory.

The peripatetic tour remains in South Africa for one more week, before moving on to Mauritius and Australia to close the books on 2020.

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