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Morning 9: Kiz best of six at Wyndham | U.S. Am: Piot takes it 2&1 after rally

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By Ben Alberstadt
For comments—or if you’re looking for a fourth—email me at [email protected].
August 16, 2021
Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. U.S. Am: Piot takes it 2&1 after rally
AP report…”??Facing his largest deficit of the week and running out of time, James Piot won four straight holes to start the back nine at Oakmont and went on to win the U.S. Amateur on Sunday over Austin Greaser.”
  • “Piot closed out his 2-and-1 victory by going bunker to bunker on the reachable par-4 17th hole and saving par with a 20-foot putt. Greaser, who was 3 up at the turn, had an 8-foot birdie putt to extend the match. It spun off the left lip.”
  • “Piot, a 22-year-old senior at Michigan State, was mobbed by friends and teammates in their Spartans gear off the green, and before long he was holding the gold trophy.”
2. Kiz best of six 
Helen Ross for PGATour.com…”And you thought it was hard to keep up with all the FedExCup projections this week. What about a six-man free-for-all to decide the winner of the Wyndham Championship?”
  • “Well, that’s just what happened at Sedgefield Country Club on Sunday. Turns out, Kevin Kisner, Adam Scott, Si Woo Kim, Roger Sloan, Kevin Na and Branden Grace needed two more shots at the 18th hole to decide the winner of the PGA TOUR’s Regular Season finale.”
  • “Kisner, who had finished in the top 10 in three of his last four appearances at the Wyndham Championship, finally prevailed when he made a 3-footer on the second extra hole.”
  • “…The victory was the fourth of Kisner’s career. It also broke a playoff drought for the affable South Carolinian. He’d lost five previously — most recently at the RSM Classic earlier this year…”
3. 228 starts later
AP report…”Ryann O’Toole won her first LPGA Tour event in 228 starts, closing with a bogey-free 8-under 64 at Dumbarnie Links for a three-shot victory in the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open on Sunday.”
  • “After tapping in for a closing par, the 34-year-old O’Toole was showered with champagne and greeted with a kiss by her fiancee, Gina Marra.”
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The idea behind the Morning 9 is a roundup of the day’s most significant storylines presented in an easy-to-digest format. The Golfer’s Journal occupies the other end of the spectrum: long-form, photo rich essays from some of the best writers in golf discussing all elements of this beautiful, maddening game.
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4. Meanwhile, at the Cazoo… 
BBC report…”Scotland’s Calum Hill secured his first European Tour title with a one-shot win at the Cazoo Classic in Kent.”
  • “The 26-year-old began the final round three strokes adrift but edged victory with a 67 to finish on 16 under par.”
  • “After Grant Forrest’s success in the Hero Open at St Andrews, Scots have now won back-to-back European Tour titles for the first time in nine years.”
5. Wild stuff for Hadley 
Golf Channel’s Mercer Baggs on the path Chesson took to edge out Justin Rose by a single point for the No. 125 spot…”Chesson Hadley needed something special in order to earn his PGA Tour card for next season. Having started the Wyndham Championship at 132nd in FedExCup points, he languished in tie for 51st through three rounds at Sedgefield.”
  • “…Starting on the back nine, he birdied three of his first four holes, before a bogey at the par-4 14th. He bounced back with a birdie at No. 15 and then recorded the first hole-in-one of his life at the par-3 16th.”
  • “…Hadley turned in 6-under 29 and added two more birdies – to no bogeys – for an 8-under 62. That put him at 12 under for the tournament and projected 126th in the FEC standings.”
6. Meet your playoff participants
Via ESPN staff…”Golf’s regular season came to a close on Sunday, with a lot of last-day jockeying to get into the field when the FedEx Cup playoffs start next week at the Northern Trust. Only the top 125 advance to the first event. After that, the top 70 make the BMW Championship. And lastly, the top 30 get a spot into the lucrative season-ending Tour Championship.”
“Here are the 125 players who earned a spot in the playoffs”
1. Collin Morikawa
2. Jordan Spieth
3. Patrick Cantlay
4. Harris English
5. Jon Rahm
6. Abraham Ancer
7. Bryson DeChambeau
8. Louis Oosthuizen
9. Justin Thomas
10. Sam Burns
7. Let it die
Eamon Lynch says it’s time for a ceasefire Brooks-Bryson bro war…”This adolescent spat has far outlived its entertainment value, though probably not just yet for Europe’s Ryder Cup team. Three things should happen to defuse a situation that is growing increasingly ugly.”
  • “First: Koepka needs to stop jabbing and understand that hecklers use his antipathy to justify the unsporting harassment of a fellow professional. Second: DeChambeau has to quit the whiny overreactions in difficult situations and learn to ignore feeble taunts from the peanut gallery. Third: the PGA Tour must group them together Thursday and Friday, thereby lowering the temperature for the inevitable day when they play their way into a weekend pairing with considerably more at stake.”
  • “Two years after it began, three parties are contributing to this spectacle, none of whom are eager to acknowledge their responsibility. All three have a role in ending it.”
Seriously — check out the spread above. Subscribe to the Golfer’s Journal (or give it as a gift to the golf aficionados in your life!).
8. New PGA Tour members
PGATour.com staff assemble the first of 25 card earners…”The first 25 of 50 available PGA TOUR membership cards for the 2021-22 season were secured on Sunday upon the conclusion of the Korn Ferry Tour’s final Regular Season event, the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna, contested at The Club at Indian Creek.”
  • “Stephan Jaeger…City plays from: Chattanooga, Tennessee. Won two events (2020 Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron, 2021 Emerald Coast Classic at Sandestin) and posted three runner-up finishes. Making his third trip to the PGA TOUR.”
  • “Mito Pereira…City plays from: Pirque, Chile. Became the 12th player in Korn Ferry Tour history and the first since Wesley Bryan (2016) to achieve the Three-Victory Promotion, as he won the 2020 Country Club de Bogota Championship, 2021 REX Hospital Open, and 2021 BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation – with the last two making him the 11th player in Tour history to win back-to-back tournaments.”
  • “Chad Ramey…City plays from: Fulton, Mississippi. Earned his first Korn Ferry Tour victory at the 2021 Live and Work in Maine Open, and amassed 21 top-25s en route to his first PGA TOUR card.”
9. Kevin Kisner’s winning WITB
Driver: Callaway GBB (8.5 degrees @9.5)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X
3-wood: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 X
Hybrid: Callaway Apex Pro (18 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Black 130 MSI 80 TX
Irons: Callaway Apex UT (21, 24 degrees), Callaway Apex Pro 2014 (5-9)
Shafts: Nippon Pro Modus3 120 TX
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8 (46-10F) Callaway Jaws Forged (54-12 @52), Vokey Design SM8 WedgeWorks (60-T)
Shafts: Nippon Pro Modus3 125
Putter: Odyssey Exo Seven
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Tour 2.0
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
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News

Ryder Cup Rundown: Day One Morning Foursomes

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The world still feels topsy-turvy, with Team USA winning the morning foursomes by 3 matches to 1. Foursomes has been Europe’s specialty over the years, and has often led to a fast start in recent matches. If it weren’t for the dashing Spaniards, Europe would have found itself in a 0-4 hole. Not quite as big a hole as this one, but still a hole. Let’s have a look at the four morning matches.

Match One: Rahm/García vs. Thomas/Spieth

Thomas and Spieth have been lobbying to play together since before Spieth’s resurgence. Well, Spieth took care of the resurgence, but Rahm and García had other ideas for this match. The Basque and the Valencian won seven holes on the day, including 15 and 17, to dispatch the USA power couple. It seemed that each time the Americans won a hole, the Euros won a pair. That type of trade-off is never a good one, and in the end, it was 3 & 1 in favor of the Iberian Peninsula.

Match Two: Casey/Hovland vs. Johnson/Morikawa

Nearly the inverse of match one, the USA side stopped the European momentum in its tracks with a 3 & 2 victory. The long-hitting South Carolinian and the straight-driving Californian made an impressive partnership, winning six holes on the day. Casey and Ryder rookie Hovland had two birdies in the first four holes, which earned them the lead. The pair next won a hole at the 13th, which served only to delay the inevitable. Team USA cashed one final birdie on the 16th, and put the first red-side point on the board.

Match Three: Westwood/Fitzpatrick vs. Koepka/Berger

Berger is such an underrated player, and his collegiate history with Koepka made this pairing a near shoo-in for victory over the English duo. Padraig Harrington took a chance on placing two serious veterans on his team this year, in Westwood and Poulter, and neither one delivered a point Friday morning. The Euros had a decent front side, with a trio of birdie keeping them square after the American’s hot start. No birdies on the inward half usually means a loss, and that was the fate of the English patients, as birdies at 10 and 11 for the Florida State duo were enough to front them a 2-hole lead, which ended at a 2 & 1 advantage.

Match Four: McIlroy/Poulter vs. Cantlay/Schauffele

If any match was supposed to be a gimme for the Euros, it should have been this one … in July. Then, Schauffele won a gold medal. Then, Cantlay dominated the FedEx Cup. This California pair looked to be unstoppable, and they were. They opened birdie-par-birdie-par-birdie … and assumed a five-up lead after a quintet of holes. Mac and Poulty played the front side in three-over par, and were fortunate to be just five-down after nine. They rallied a bit on the inward half, but the American sawed them off with birdies at 12 and 13, preserving a three-up advantage. Two more birdies for the RWB at 14 and 15 ended the day early for both sides. Five-under for 15 holes, including birdies at the last four. Now that’s a statement.

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News

Harry Potter actor suffers medical emergency during Ryder Cup celebrity match

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During Thursday’s celebrity match at Whistling Straits, British actor Tom Felton suffered a medical issue and fell to the ground.

Best known for his role as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series, Felton was a part of the European team for the Ryder Cup’s Thursday celebrity showcase.

Other European team members included Alessandro Del Piero, Toni Kukoc, Teemu Selanne, Stephanie Szostak, and Sasha Vujacic. The American team featured Mike Eurzione, A.J. Hawks, Dan Jansen, Kelly Slater, Mandy Rose, and Rob Riggle.

Felton was tended to while on the ground until a cart arrived, which assisted him off the course. No official word has been given on his current condition.

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Equipment

Driver switch for Schauffele ahead of the Ryder Cup

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Editor’s note: We filed this piece for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report. 

New gear at the Ryder Cup is usually limited to custom footwear, but this week, Xander Schauffele will be taking on Whistling Straits with a new driver. The Olympic gold medalist is moving from an Epic Speed Triple Diamond to an Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS.

According to Callaway, the switch is the final piece in the optimization puzzle that began when Schauffele made the switch into the Chrome Soft X LS ball (the LS stands for low spin) in early June, before a run that saw him finish in the top-10 in the U.S. Open and win the Olympic men’s golf competition.

Xander Schauffele’s new driver setup. (Image c/o Callaway)

Schauffele is committed to using the ball for its across-the-bag performance, but the lower spin rate was compromising his ability to hit the tight draw he prefers off the tee.

In a quick-fix solution ahead of the TOUR Championship, Callaway TOUR rep Kellen Watson, installed a Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 7 X shaft to help Schauffele squeeze out some more spin with his driver. Schauffele continued his East Lake success that week, shooting the third-lowest 72-hole score of the week to finish fifth in the FedExCup.

However, for Schauffele and Callaway, a solution that allowed him to keep his Graphite Design Tour AD BB 7 X shaft in play was the ultimate goal.

Read the full piece here. 

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