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Tour Rundown: Valspar Classic gets some side Burns action and more

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Another five-tournament week makes a writer feel spoiled. So much to talk about this first weekend of May. The European Tour continued its three-week stay in the Canary Islands off Africa, while the PGA Tour Champions nearly turned into a sponge in Texas. The LPGA Tour went overseas to Singapore, while the Korn Ferry tour touched down in Alabama. Finally, the PGA Tour dipped its toe in Florida’s gulf coast, at the fabled Copperhead course at Innisbrook.

Take a breath and dive on into this week’s action as we offer another edition of Tour Rundown on GolfWRX.Com.

PGA Tour: Valspar Classic gets some side Burns action

Sam Burns was that stellar college standout who got hosed by the USGA. They do it every fifteen years or so. Dude was a lock for the Walker Cup squad, until he wasn’t fitted for a kit. Can’t explain it, but the kid didn’t let it get him down. On Sunday, Burns stared down major champion Keegan Bradley and claimed his first PGA Tour event at the Valspar. Burns had been oh-so-close in California, finishing one stroke shy of the Genesis Invitational playoff ‘twixt Finau and Homa, and this time around, he secured his hold on victory with gutty play.

Burns’ card wasn’t clean on Sunday. He had three bogeys, including one at the last. By then, the outcome was decided, and his winning margin was reduced from four to three. Bradley was one of those also hosed by the USGA, when the decision to disallow the anchored putter came down half a decade ago. He had struggled since his breakout years in 2011-12, and the loss of his belly putter put a nail in his tire. Bradley won again in 2018, but has not found the podium’s top spot since then.

The leaders were each three-under par on the day when they reached the final six holes. Bradley lost his ability to make birdie, and tripped over a double and a bogey coming home. Burns wasn’t perfect, but he did balance his bogies and birdies, and won by three strokes.

LPGA Tour: Women’s World Championship sails off with Hyo Joo

XiYu Lin has the best profile picture for golfers on twitter (is that a manhole cover?), and she almost snared an important professional title this weekend in Singapore. The birdie machine (6-7-7 over three rounds) stopped churning them out on Sunday (just two) and Janet from The Good Place settled in a third-place tie with Patty T and Inbee Park. Actually, that sounds like a fun talk show: Xi, PT, and Inbee. I’m going to put out some feelers and get back to you.

Oh, right, the golf. On day four in Singapore, Hannah Green surged just enough with a minus-three 69, after consecutive rounds of 66, to move ahead of our talk show/podcast/dinnertime theater trio to 16 deep and what looked like a second big win in her career (she did win the 2019 PGA Championship, before all this viral craziness.) What absolutely gutted the talented Aussie was her finish: bogey and bogey. After a ripping eagle two a the 14th, along with three more birdies, the Ozzie came in for the kill, but tripped and stumbled coming home. Although second-place money from a bank spends well, it’s titles that drive these golfers.

Back to #KoreaStrong, aka Hyo Joo Kim. Her Sunday scorecard looks for all the world like a Numbers Are Nifty tease: four pars, two birdies, par, two birdies, par, two birdies, three pars. Move the birdie at six to the fourth, and you’d have the most balanced, binary thing ever. No one was stopping the Hyo Joo Express on day four in Singapore. Her two pars at 17 and 18 must have felt like birdies 9 and 10 on the day, after Green’s derailment. The win was her first since 2016 on the LPGA Tour, and first since 2020 on any circuit.

European Tour: Tenerife Open to Burmester

If it begins with a “T” consider “DB.” Feeling the rhyme today. Dean Burmester began the week on Tenerife (aka paradise) with 63, and closed it with 62. Them’s some numbers! His win on Tenerife was his second on the European Tour, following a 2017 win at the Tshwane Open. Burmester began round four with a one-shot deficit to Kalle Samooja and Nicolai Von Dellinghausen (don’t even get me started!), but quickly swiped right toward birdies, and won going away by five.

#BirdiesForBurmester at one and two were followed by three more at five through seven. NVD had two birds and two bogies, and gave back five strokes to the South African. Samooja remained near the lead when he turned in three-under par, but his back-nine 37 submerged him in a third-place tie that he desired not at all. In contrast, NVD went out with a pair of bogies and birdies each, but came home in minus-three, including eagle at the last. His tenacity bumped him one stroke ahead of the third-place tie, into solo second.

A snazzy little note to close out the Burmester report: he birdied the 1st and the 18th all four days. Both par five holes, it’s true, but that’s a heck of a way to start and finish each round. Raise a toast to this week’s winner, and look ahead to 72 more holes on Tenerife at the Canaryd Islands Championship next week, at the Golf Costa Adeje layout.

Korn Ferry Tour: RWB was bound to win at the Huntsville Championship

What happens when France, Chile, and the USA go into a playoff? Red, White and Blue is your winner, no matter how it shakes out. Billy Kennerly of the state shot 63 on Sunday, and reached 15-under 265 in regulation. A bit later, Mito Pereira of South America’s Thinland posted 66 for the same number, and France’s Paul Barjon signed for a 69 for … you guessed it, 265. All three made par at the 18th in regulation, and that was where they headed for the three-wayoff to decide the winner in sudden death.

Each had four the first time through, with Kennerly lipping out for the win, so they returned to the tee a second time. Barjon and Pereira repeated, but Kennerly was unable to match and dropped away with a bogey. For giggles, the golfers moved to the par-five tenth hole and sparks flew. Pereira made a stellar birdie … and lost to Barjon’s eagle! What makes those numbers that much more curious is that all three playoff participants had played the hole in five in regulation. Pars on a long hole certainly don’t predict low numbers in a playoff.

Barjon began the day with a three-stroke lead, but gave back most of it with a double bogey at the first. He was plus-two through nine, but came back to the clubhouse in minus-three. Brandon Wu and Cameron Young were in the mix after three rounds, but neither could break 70 on day four, and both fell away from the challenge. The KFT moves to Tennessee for the next fortnight, beginning in south Nashville, then moving east to Knoxville.

PGA Tour Champions: Insperity Invitational is Weir’s first win in 14 years

Harder to type that figure or read it? Hard to believe it had been 14 years since Mike Weir sipped champagne at the Fry’s Electronic Open. The irresistible search for distance led to injury, and Weir slipped forever into the one-major-seven-other-wins category. Last May, Weir turned 50 and embraced the PGA Tour Champions as an opportunity to contend once again. This week, he and his fellow competitors waited out a Friday rainout and played 36 holes on the weekend to decide a champion at the Insperity Invitational near Houston.

Running neck and neck all week with the pride of Canada was old nemesis John Daly. Seemingly reborn with his son’s rise in the junior ranks, Daly drained a curling putt for eagle at the 13th, to assume a two-shot lead. Moments later, Weir nearly dunked his approach for albatross at the same hole, and converted his three-feet putt for a matching eagle. Daly arrived at 18 first, found the fairway off the tee, and caught a gust of wind on his approach into the green. Helpless, he watched his ball drop shy of the putting surface, into the fronting water. His double-bogey six created the final, two-shot margin of victory for Weir, who reached the green in regulation and took two putts for the win.

 

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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.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Bucky Lasek

    May 3, 2021 at 11:10 am

    Hosed by the usga over the anchor ban? Guy needs to be “hosed” again with another version of the anchor ban

    • Hunter

      May 3, 2021 at 12:49 pm

      Exactly. The original anchor ban didn’t go far enough.

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (04/29/21): Miura TC-201 iron set

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At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of 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 we all love – buy and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a very nice set of Miura TC-201 irons (4-pw) shafted with Shimada Tour steel.

 

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link:  Miura TC-201 irons

This is the most impressive current listing 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

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The Wedge Guy: Speed kills (your short game at least)

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Todays’ post is much shorter than usual because this topic is extremely simple but very important to a better short game.

IMHO, one of the most overused and abused pieces of golf advice is that which tells us to “accelerate through the ball.” Not that this is a bad thing—all teachers agree that the club should be on a constant acceleration from the start of the downswing to and through impact. But from my observation, the vast majority of golfers are taking the whole bottle of that advice, instead of just one or two pills.

Think of it like this. You pull up to a stoplight next to a little old lady in her 1988 Cadillac. You–being a young guy in your hot car–punch it when the light turns green and leave her in your dust. But she, who gradually pushes the accelerator and takes a full block to get back up to the 30 mph speed limit, also accelerated the entire way. That’s how I see the proper acceleration of the clubhead when you are chipping and pitching.

The short game is precision work, and when you do anything else in your life which requires precision . . . . you tend to work S- -L- -O – -W. The short game should be no different. If you throttle back your entire swing speed . . . slower backswing, slower transition, slower downswing . . . you will find that you can be much more precise in your contact and distance control.

Just a short practice session, even in your backyard, will show you what I mean. Take a few balls and see how slowly you can hit some short chips and pitches. Try to create a tempo that to you is going to feel like a turtle or snail. Slow-motion even. Practice swinging the club slower and slower and watch what happens. Then take that to the practice area at your course.

If you work on slowing down your entire tempo around the greens, you will be much more precise in your technique and results. The bonus comes from the fact that this new slower tempo will likely find its way into the rest of your game and all your shots will begin to get better.

I promise you.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from Tuesday at the Valspar Championship: Part 2

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This week, the PGA Tour is at Innisbrook Resort on the Copperhead course in Palm Harbor, Florida, for the Valspar Championship, where 2019 champion Paul Casey is looking to defend his title. The field of 156 is getting ready to battle starting Thursday for the $6.9 million purse with $1.24 million going to the winner.

GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to spy a glimpse into the bags of some of the world’s top golfers and we had so many images that were bringing you a part two!

Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.

Kevin Kisner is back to old faithful

Although the putter is new (Odyssey 2-Ball Ten), the length is something familiar for Kevin Kisner this week at the Valspar Championship. After a couple of week of testing the armlock style, it looks like he is going back to a more convention length.

DJ is sticking with the Brandon 1

After putting it into play for the final round of the RBC Heritage, it looks like Dustin Johnson is sticking with a new TaylorMade Brandon 1 prototype putter and LA golf graphite putter shaft. If this putter seems familiar, it’s because we saw Tommy Fleetwood put something very similar into play a couple of weeks ago too.

Chris Kirk is taking a 5-year leap with a new Cobra driver

Equipment free agent Chris Kirk is not one to switch often—his most recent driver was the under-the-radar classic Callaway 2016 Big Bertha.

But on the putting green this week we spotted Kirk testing a Cobra RadSpeed model, which could mean he’s ready to take a big five-year leap in driver tech.

Did someone say Cobra?

We also spotted James Hahn testing a RadSpeed in a Tuesday practice round. Bonus points to Hahn for the awesome socks!

Tom Lewis has a real superhero setup

Custom covers paired with a Callaway combo set featuring limited edition “Japanese forged” Apex blades. Tom Lewis has an aspirational set of sticks.

Phil is at the Valspar and ready to paint the town red – with birdies

Phil was a late addition to the field at the Valspar this year, but he’s looking in tip-top shape as he preps for the year’s second major, the PGA Championship. Speaking of tip-top shape…

Bodyguard or caddy?

Before Phil made his way to the putting green, the first man on the scene was his caddy who also looks to moonlight as a bouncer in his spare time.

Ryan Armour has one awesome Scotty Cameron

How cool is this Circle T?

Thumbs up for Team Rose

Justin has been using an Axis1 putter for a number of years now, but we did catch him messing around with some different grip options on his preferred Rose signature model.

Grace is still on “Auto” pilot

It has been well documented that a number of golfers have tested the Autoflex shaft, but many have gone back to previous models after only a few weeks. Branden Grace made the switch close to a month ago and it seems that its still going strong in the bag.

Dufner is a grinder

We caught Jason Dufner working on his short-range putting using his prototype 3D printed Cobra putter. Although we don’t have all the details this new design packs some seriously high MOI based on its geometry. (below photo is from a previous event)

JJ’s has some top choices in the bag

JJ Spaun is one of the quiet equipment free agents on the PGA Tour, but he has quite the setup that includes the very popular Srixon ZX7 irons and a Ping G425 driver with Fujikura Ventus. On a personal note, I had the chance to caddie in a PGA Tour Pro-Am a number of years ago where our pro was JJ, and he could not have been a nicer guy. Go, JJ!

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