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Tour Rundown: Major victories and a Champ returns to the winner’s circle

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As the Olympic games opened in Tokyo, two major championships were decided around the golf world, and three other events kept our eyes glued to screens everywhere. We watched a swashbuckling Spaniard dunk an approach for albatross on Saturday, and the world’s finest women worked overtime in France to determine a winner. Even with the loss of Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm to positive COVID tests, Olympic golf is coming during this golden period for 2021 golf viewing. Let’s run down what we know, and let’s take you along for the ride this week.

LPGA: Evian Championship to Lee, and it’s her first!

Jeongeun Lee6 would have taken any of her first three scores on Sunday. She wouldn’t have been picky. She didn’t need the 61 that Leona Maguire posted on day four. She didn’t need the 66 that Amy Yang signed for, and she didn’t need the 68 that Inbee Park registered. In fact, all she needed was one stroke better than the 71 she had on the final day of the Evian Championship. Unfortunately for Lee6, her five bogeys from holes three through nine were too much to overcome, even with birdie at the closing three holes. She finished in a tie with Minjee Lee at 18-under par, and the two went off to sudden death to determine who would claim the year’s final major title.

Minjee had turned in minus-three, and imagined that her top competition was Yealimi Noh as Lee6 faltered. Minjee came home in minus-four, with birdie at four of her final five holes. Imagine her surprise when Noh failed to make birdie at the closing hole, and finished one back of Lee’s 18-under total. Imagine her further surprise when Lee6 completed her comeback with birdie, necessitating a playoff. Away they went, returning to the 18th hole. Off a bit of a sidehill lie, with the ball below her feet, Minjee laced her second to within a dozen feet. Her eagle attempt caught an edge, and she tapped in for birdie. Lee6 was not so fortunate, and her bogey meant that Minjee Lee had finally earned a major women’s title.

Champions Tour: Senior Open trophy makes its way to Wales

After doing nearly everything right on Saturday, Stephen Dodd of Wales did quite a few things wrong on Sunday. The Welshman can be forgiven, as these weren’t household chores with no eyes upon him. Dodd was the third-round leader of the Senior Open championship, played at perhaps the finest course on this year’s roster of sites, Sunningdale. Dodd was paired with Wisconsin’s Jerry Kelly, but Kelly didn’t have his best stuff on Sunday, ending in sixth position.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez electrified Sunningdale with his opening-hole albatross on Saturday. On Sunday, the Spaniard only made birdie at the par-five first. However, he went on to post his best round of the week, with a 65 that brought him to 12-under par. Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke was after a Senior Open title to match his 2011 Open title, but bogey at the 10th and 16th knocked him out of first, into solo third. And then came Dodd.

The pride of Wales had a bogey on each nine holes on Sunday. He had two birdies on each half as well, and none was more important than the twelve feet he traversed over the final green. With victory in sight, Dodd’s understated demeanor never wavered, and he calmly stroked the putt for four into the cup, for his fourth senior title and his first-ever major. Well done, Dodd.

PGA Tour: 3M Open means third time a Champ

When you sign for a clean card, good things happen. Cameron Champ wanted that clean, Sunday card, even after he pull-hooked a drive into North Dakota on the 18th hole. Even after he chunk-fuzzed a recovery pitch into the rough. Even after he had to lay his third up on the par five closer. Champ stuck his fourth inside three feet and tapped in for par, a third consecutive 67, and a two-triumph over a triumvirate of worthy challengers.

Jhonattan Vegas led early in the week, then put on a Sunday charge with an outward 32. His birdie barrage stalled, he made a few bogies, and ended at minus-13. The South African tandem of Charl Schwartzel and “Hard Luck” Louis Oosthuizen joined Vegas in the runner-up position. Schwartzel had 67 and three 68s on the week but, like Vegas, spotted the day-four card with too many blemishes to chase Champ down. As for Louis, Mr. Seconds nearly holed his third at the last for eagle and minus-fourteen. It lipped out and he settled for yet another, runner-up finish in his star-crossed 2021. No one is playing better than Louis, but everyone seems to clip him in the end. Perhaps his day is coming soon.

The victory is Champ’s third on the PGA Tour, following wins at Sanderson Farms in 2018 and Safeway in 2019. Folks were quick to baptize him as the next, great hope, but Champ is progressing at a moderate, healthy pace. Having just turned 26, he can look ahead to 15-20 years of championship-calibre play.

Korn Ferry: Wu commerce claims Price Cutter and Tour promotion

Dylan Wu was in fine position as the P-Triple-C headed down the home stretch on Sunday afternoon. A lightning delay had postponed what seemed inevitable for a time, but the former Northwestern Wildcat sat on a front-nine 31 and a healthy lead over his nearest pursuers. Mother Nature’s pyrotechnics awakened Wu’s playing partner, Alex Kang and others, and the inward half became a battle to the finish line.

The biggest move came from Taylor Moore. After turning in minus-three on the day, Moore posted six consecutive birdies to open the back nine. He added a seventh at the closing hole for 29 and 62, to reach 25-under par. Moore’s onslaught, impressive as it was, might have always been too late for top spot. Wu was in command of his game, making par after par, with the occasional birdie (11 and 16) sprinkled on top.

After making three bogies in his opening 68, Wu made zero over the next 54 holes. That’s some impressive golf, and it was enough to earn him an inaugural Korn Ferry Tour victory and a move to 12th on The 25 money list. Beginning after the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour this August, Wu will make his debut on the big circuit as a card-carrying member. Playing partner Kang ultimately finished in a tie for fourth position, one behind third-place Taylor Dickson, who closed with 64.

European Tour: Wales Open title heads to the Iberian peninsula

Nacho Elvira had lost two previous playoffs on the European Tour. Winless on the big tour since turning professional, he was not all that thrilled about facing a third one at the Cazoo Open in Wales. His opponent was Justin Harding, who had won in March at the Magical Kenya Open. Harding was riding a wave, while Elvira had handed back a sizable lead over the final 18 holes. Things didn’t bode well for the Spaniard, but that’s why they play the playoff.

Elvira began the final round with a six-shot advantage over Harding and Mikko Kornonen of Finland. While the leader went 3-3-3 over the front nine (3 of each bogies, pars, and birdies), both Harding and Korhonen turned in the kind of halves that state that winning is on their minds. By the time they reached the 15th tee, all three were tied at the top. Adding to the drama, each made birdie at the par four hole. Harding made par at the closing triumvirate, and finished at 16-under par. Korhonen stumbled at the 17th with bogey, and could not gather a birdie at the last to tie the lead. He finished alone in third spot.

Elvira added another birdie at 16, to reclaim the lead, then gave it back with a wretched bogey at the par five closing hole. Thus did the Spaniard and the South African return to the 18th tee for sudden victory. It was over quickly, but not in the manner that some might expect. The fellow on the rise, faltered with bogey. The man treading water, emerged and survived. With par on the playoff hole, Nacho Elvira claimed his first European Tour title at the age of 34.

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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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Equipment

Photos from the 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge

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GolfWRX is live this week at Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Custom Camerons and some “super” new grips from SuperStroke are filling our galleries early in the week as well as WITBs — including the always interesting “Cashmere Keith” Mitchell.

Check out links to our photos below, which we’ll continue to update throughout the week.

And while you’re making your way through our photos, be sure to check out last year’s incredible gallery of prototype and personal Ben Hogan golf clubs.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying in the forums.

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Morning 9: Scheffler arraignment delayed | Missing Bryson? | Garcia, Reed miss out on U.S. Open

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans, as we look ahead to the Charles Schwab Challenge.

1. Scheffler arraignment delayed

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Scottie Scheffler’s arraignment date over multiple charges stemming from an incident at Valhalla with a Louisville Metro police officer has been delayed.”

  • “On Monday court documents show the arraignment date, originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, had been pushed back to June 3. Scheffler’s attorney Steve Romines has told multiple news outlets that Scheffler will enter a not guilty plea.”
  • “Scheffler was arrested on Friday morning outside Valhalla Golf Club ahead of the second round of the PGA Championship and charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, criminal mischief and reckless driving. Scheffler is alleged to have driven past a police officer against the officer’s instructions while trying to enter the club. Scheffler called the incident a misunderstanding, although a police report states that arresting officer Bryan Gillis was dragged by Scheffler’s car, which led to injury and damage of Gillis’ pants. Scheffler’s lawyer disputed the nature of the incident.”
Full piece.

2. Missing Bryson?

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Bryson DeChambeau – whose initials “B.A.D.” are displayed proudly on his yardage book – is the variable, a wildcard who decided to ply his trade on LIV Golf and, in doing so, robbed the Tour and its fans of the kind of polarizing star that makes sports so compelling.”

  • “To call DeChambeau an antihero would be unfair and inaccurate, but he is very much an antagonist whose stated goal is to reshape how the game is played in his unique imagine. Single-length clubs, a fixation on speed and strength and a mind that always seems to be three shots ahead.”
  • “In a world filled with Fords and Chevrolets, DeChambeau is a Tesla, and the contrast between the leading men was there for the world to see Sunday at the PGA Championship. Schauffele was focused and fixated, keeping his emotions and his energies in check, while DeChambeau was larger than life.”
  • “DeChambeau set the stage for his emotional Sunday late on Day 3 when he chipped in for eagle at No. 18. “Exhilarating,” he gushed when asked how he felt after his finish. “I haven’t felt like that in a long time.”
Full piece.

3. Why Schauffele’s dad watched from afar

Tod Leonard for Golf Digest…”The 22 acres of land is outside of Poipu Beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The Schauffele family owns it now, and on it sits a large cargo shipping container that doubles as a “house,” an excavator with a mulcher and several chainsaws. There is no running water or air conditioning, and the only power is generated by solar panels. Bathroom? “You take a spade and you walk into the jungle—that’s your toilet,” Stefan Schauffele says.

  • “Rather fitting for a man whose centuries-old German-French name literally means “man with a small shovel.”
  • “This rustic camp is where professional golfer Xander Schauffele’s parents, Stefan and Ping Yi, have spent weeks at a time away from their tract home in San Diego so they can eventually create an escape from the world for future generations of their family. Stefan is currently on a three-month stint there. Still, there are sacrifices, like not being able to have a television around when your son is contending in the final round of major championship.”
  • “That was the case on Sunday for the elder Schauffele, who rose with the cries of Kauai’s ever-present roosters to work his land. It rained overnight and he wanted to check on the plants he had just put in. Some 4,300 miles away and six hours ahead in time, Xander Schauffele began his round in the 106th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club tied for the lead and with his best chance to win what had been an elusive first major.”
Full piece.

4. Inside the Colonial renovation

Paul Hodowanic for PGATour.com…”There would be many more like it. Still 10 months from their deadline, a quiet intensity loomed over every decision and action. Crews began ripping up Colonial less than 24 hours after Emiliano Grillo beat Adam Schenk in a playoff to claim the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge, and they did so with an ambitious directive: fully renovate one of the most historic courses in America in time for the PGA TOUR’s annual visit the following May.?”

  • “A project of such scale normally takes at least 18 months to complete; Colonial had little less than a year, though. As the venue for the Charles Schwab Challenge since 1946, Colonial hosts the longest-running TOUR event held annually at the same site. The club had no intention of interrupting that streak. The renovation had to fit its schedule.?”
  • “Gil Hanse, the renowned architect in charge of restoring the 1936 Perry Maxwell design, had worked under similar time constraints only a handful of times before. Each of those had more favorable growing seasons. Colonial’s renovation banked on the course surviving the winter.??”
  • “Hanse, McIntosh and their teams had spent the last year with those stakes as their backdrop. The $20 million renovation, designed to reinvigorate the classic design and maintain Colonial’s reputation as one of the top clubs in the country, was accompanied by an unforgiving timeline. The world would know if the course wasn’t ready, and there would be no time for adjustments. The pros playing Colonial this week are the first to play the course. Members won’t play it for another month.?”
Full piece.

5. Bryson feels the love at Valhalla

Will Knights for Fried Egg Golf…”??While he ultimately came up one shot short, the 2024 PGA Championship will go down as a rousing success for Bryson DeChambeau. He said he didn’t play his best and yet he shot four rounds of 68 or better, finishing strong with a Sunday 64. More surprising than the on-course success, though, was the clear, obvious, and at times overwhelming crowd support DeChambeau found in Louisville. Down the stretch, Joel Beall posted “the crowd is pulling for Bryson and it’s not even close.” That was very clear on the broadcast, as Bryson’s birdies were greeted with roars and he met the moment again and again with increasingly large fist pumps, playing to and feeding off of the crowd.”

  • “Whether it’s just the passage of time, a lack of exposure due to his LIV move, a maturation within Bryson, or some combination, DeChambeau has come a long way from the days when he was harassed with chants of “Brooksy!” Belief-straining statements about people thanking him for what he does online notwithstanding, I truly think his YouTube channel is helping his reputation. It lets him connect with people in a way he’s comfortable with, and he seems somewhat more comfortable out there, to the point he stopped to shame an adult who swiped a ball he tossed to a kid. He may not be for everyone. He may always say some outlandish things at press conferences. But he’s certainly more popular than he was in years past.”
Full piece.

6. Reed and Garcia miss out in U.S. Open qualies

AP report…”Patrick Reed withdrew from U.S. Open qualifying on Monday to end his streak of playing every major since the 2014 Masters. Sergio Garcia made two big mistakes late that cost him advancing to his 25th straight U.S. Open.”

  • “Garcia, who made it through 36-hole qualifying last year, was poised to get one of the 11 spots at Dallas Athletic Club until taking a double bogey on the par-5 16th of the Gold course. He finished with two pars for a 71 and was forced into a seven-man playoff for six spots.”
  • “Everyone else made par or birdie. Garcia made a bogey on the first hole of the Gold course and had to settle for first alternate, keeping his hopes alive to be at Pinehurst No. 2 on June 13-16.”
Full piece.

7. Only one LIV golfer successfully qualifies

Mike Hall for Golf Monthly…”Three US Open final qualifying events were held on Monday, and LIV golfers were in the field in each.

  • “However, while a total of 13 teed it up for a place at Pinehurst No.2, only Eugenio Chacarra achieved it, and it will be a particularly special occasion for the Spaniard as it will be his maiden Major appearance.”
Full Piece.
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Morning 9: Nelly does it again | Bryson: Definitely disappointing | Xander wins PGA

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Monday morning, golf fans, as Xander Schauffele celebrates becoming a major champion after a dramatic Sunday at Valhalla.

1. Xander wins first major

Mark Schlabach for ESPN…”They can’t call Xander Schauffele the best golfer in the world without a major championship victory any longer.”

  • “The 30-year-old from San Diego captured his first major victory Sunday by outlasting LIV Golf League captain Bryson DeChambeau and Norway’s Viktor Hovland in the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.”
  • “After starting the day tied for the lead with two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, Schauffele silenced his critics who claimed he couldn’t close out a big one by posting a 6-under 65 in the final round to finish with a 72-hole total of 21 under and defeat DeChambeau by 1 shot and Hovland by 3.”
Full piece.

2. Bryson comes up agonizingly short

Elliot Heath for Golf Monthly…The LIV Golfer shot a stunning final round of 64 (-7) at the PGA Championship, which included a birdie at his final hole, to come up one stroke shy of Xander Schauffele’s new record 21-under-par total.

  • “Definitely disappointing, but one that gives me a lot of momentum for the rest of the Majors. I said today it was closing time, but it will be closing time hopefully, hopefully over the next couple Majors,” DeChambeau said.
  • “Having began the day two strokes off the lead, his seven-under score got him to 20-under to force the pressure on Schauffele to shoot a low number. The American duly did that, with DeChambeau revealing that he thought his eventual score would have got the victory before the round.”
  • “Yeah, I certain seriously thought 18 [under-par] was going to do it,” he said.”
  • “Then when I saw what Xander was doing, it’s like, man, he’s playing some unbelievable golf. Viktor was right there. I mean, he was beating me for quite awhile, and I was hitting it all over the place. But, yeah, I mean, it was an impressive, impressive round of golf by all three of us. I don’t know what else to say. It was just difficult.”
Full piece.

3. Scottie “Ready to get home”

Ryan Lavner at Golf Channel…”The pre-tournament favorite was part of a confusing and chaotic situation Friday at Valhalla when he was arrested following a traffic incident with a police officer while trying to enter the course.”

  • “Scheffler was booked on four charges – the most serious, second-degree assault of an officer – and released after about an hour in jail. He made it to the course in time for his second round, shot 66 and was firmly in contention heading into the weekend.”
  • “But that’s when, Scheffler said, the magnitude of what had transpired finally caught up to him.”
  • “…Afterward, Scheffler said that he was more tired than usual following a tournament – a noteworthy admission seeing how he’d just won four of his past five starts. He said he was uncertain about his plans for the next few days – his arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday – but he was still planning to play next week at Colonial.”
  • “I’m just wondering what time bedtime is,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out how quickly I can get home from here, and that’s pretty much it. I’m just fairly tired and ready to get home.”
Full piece.

4. Nelly wins again

AP report…”With her record-tying winning streak over, Nelly Korda got back to doing what she does best — winning.”

  • “Nelly Korda won a back-nine showdown with Hannah Green of Australia with a par on the 18th hole to capture the Mizuho Americas Open by a stroke Sunday for her sixth win in seven starts on the LPGA Tour this year.”
  • “Oh, my gosh, six,” Korda said. “I can’t even really gather myself right now with that, the head-to-head that Hannah and I had pretty much all day. Wasn’t my best stuff out there today, but fought really hard on the back nine.”

 

Full piece.

5. Another policy board resignation

Mark Schlabach for ESPN…”Mark Flaherty resigned from the PGA Tour’s policy board on Sunday, becoming the second independent director to step down in less than a week.”

  • “On Monday, independent director Jimmy Dunne, who helped negotiate the PGA Tour’s framework agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment fund last year, resigned, effectively immediately.”
  • “In Dunne’s resignation letter to PGA Tour members, he wrote that “no meaningful progress has been made towards a transaction with PIF” and that “my vote and my role is utterly superfluous” now that player directors outnumber independent directors on the policy board.”
  • “PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan sent a memo to PGA Tour members Sunday night, informing them of Flaherty’s resignation. Flaherty is a former vice chairman of Wellington Management, an investment management company.”
Full piece.

6. Harry Higgs wins on Korn Ferry Tour

PGA Tour report…”Higgs holed out for eagle from 83 yards at the 72nd hole of the Korn Ferry Tour’s AdventHealth Championship, ultimately landing a spot in a playoff with Tanner Gore at 19 under at Blue Hills Country Club outside Kansas City. Higgs won with a 7-foot birdie on the first playoff hole, again the par-5 18th, an outcome that delighted the spirited observers in Higgs’ home region (he was born in Philadelphia but grew up in nearby Overland Park, Kansas).

Full piece.

7. Winning WITB: Xander Schauffele

Driver: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees @10.1)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana PD 70 TX (45.5 inches)

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (15 degrees @14.4)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana PD 80 TX

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (21 degrees @19.7)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 90 TX

Irons: Callaway Apex TCB ’24 (4-10)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-10)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (52-10S), Titleist Vokey Design SM10 (56-10S @57), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60-K @61)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Design Las Vegas Prototype 7CH

Grip: SuperStroke Zenergy Tour 2.0

Grips: Golf Pride MCC Align

Ball: Callaway Chrome Tour

The winning WITB is presented by 2nd Swing Golf. 2nd Swing has more than 100,000 new and pre-swung golf clubs available in six store locations and online. Check them out here.

Full WITB.
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