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Tour Rundown: Cantlay’s playoff heroism, Curtis Cup remains in US hands, Højgaard

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You’d hardly know that it was the end of August, with all the golf being played. We’ve got PGA Tour playoffs, Solheim and Ryder Cups on the horizon, and a full slate of events on the world’s major tours. As the eighth month of 2021 draws to a close, we’ve a bit of time to present another installment of Tour Rundown. It was an exciting week, filled with unexpected champions, so let’s not waste another moment.

USGA: Curtis Cup remains in USA hands

For a time, Great Britain & Ireland held a lead over the USA, and the world turned upside down a bit. Perhaps it was the home cooking at Conwy in Wales, but that 4.5-1.5 advantage after day one had the local folks smiling. It didn’t last, sadly, but it was a wonderful start to the competition. On day two, the powerful USA side did a 4.5-1.5 number of its own, and the biennial matches came down to the day-three singles. On Saturday, the American side surged and dominated the singles matches by a 6.5-1.5 margin, which led to a five-point victory. Rose Zhang of the Americans turned in the only undefeated performance on the week, losing just a half-point on day one. The two sides will reunite in 2022 at Merion Golf Club, in Pennsylvania. After the 2020 matches were postponed until this year, the R&A and the USGA agreed to return to an even-year slate of challenges.

PGA Tour: BMW Championship ends in six-hole playoff

Bryson DeChambeau came within inches of a 59 on Friday. On Sunday, he came within inches of a win in regulation but made bogey at the last. With that misstep, he and Patrick Cantlay headed into a playoff to determine the winner of the second FedEx Cup Playoff event of 2021. The pair matched pars over the first four holes, then did the same with birdie at the fifth. When Cantlay dropped a birdie at the sixth playoff hole, DeChambeau had no answer, and the battle of California Kids went to Cantlay. One thing is for certain: if he goes extra holes, bet on Cantlay. Four of his five PGA Tour titles have come in extra holes. Both DeChambeau and Cantlay will feature on the USA Ryder Cup side next month, as the Americans attempt to reclaim the treasured trophy that once made a near-constant home on this side of the Atlantic.

Korn Ferry Tour: Nationwide Children’s Hospital trophy heads north of the US border

Vincent Whaley and Stephan Jaeger entered the final round in a first-place tie but, the way this weekend went, an overnight lead meant nothing. Whaley posted plus-1 on day four and dropped three spots, while Jaeger’s even par was good for a tie for second, but nothing more. Bronson Burgoon posted minus-5 on Sunday to jump up a quintet of places, but it was only good for a tie with Jaeger. The big winner (and, truly, the only winner) on Sunday was Canada’s Adam Svensson. The former Barry University golfer was four-under on the day and, despite a one-over 36 on the inward half, escaped with a one-shot victory.

PGA Tour Champions: The Ally Challenge features a surprise titleist

Under Bernhard Langer in the reference book, see GB&I Curtis Cup side, Whaley, Vincent and Jaeger, Stephan. The German champion began the week with an age-matching 64, and ended it with a one-shot loss to a resurgent Joe Durant. Langer was in the driver’s seat after eight holes, but played the final ten in even par. Durant was five under on the day and held a two-shot lead on the final tee. The four-time PGA Tour winner played it safe at the last, closing with bogey for a one-shot advantage. Actually, safe isn’t the proper word. Durant struggled to close the deal, but rolled his yellow golf ball into the jaws of the hole from ten feet at the 54th hole to cement the victory. With the win, Durant earned a fourth Champions Tour win to match his regular-tour tally.

European Tour: European Masters ends in tasty Danish

After American Sean Crocker stumbled to an even-par 70 and a fourth-place tie, the lane was open for anyone to make a run at the 2021 title. First came Henrik Stenson, who managed five birdies on the outward half, but cooled to just two on the inward side, for 63 and -11. Next came Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, whose day was progressing marvelously at seven-under through 14 holes. He made an unthinkable bogey at the next, but followed it with a birdie at 16. Inexplicably, Wiesberger made double at the last, to fall from 14-deep to 12-under par. With that fissure, the barn door lay wide open for Rasmus Højgaard. The Great Dane kept a clean card on day four and closed 5 under over his final six holes. Højgaard matched Stenson’s 63, emerging the unlikely winner of his third European Tour event in three seasons.

LPGA: Senior LPGA Championship finds an English home

The week prior to the Solheim Cup was a quiet one for the regular tour, so leave it to the senior champions to put on a show. Despite 18 American names in the top 21 spots, the championship came down to an Englishwoman and a Welshlady. On day one, England’s Trish Johnson took a one-shot advantage over Becky Morgan of Wales. On day two, the entire field struggled, with 71 being the low tally. Johnson and Morgan matched 73s and ventured into the final round with a one-stroke degree of separation. Morgan took the lead through seven holes, but couldn’t hold on. Her topsy-turvy inward half of 37 returned the lead to Johnson, who held on for a 69 and a one-shot victory.

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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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  1. MHarr

    Aug 30, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    Bryson parred the last hole (72nd hole), not bogied. Patrick birdied to tie Bryson for the playoff.

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News

Morning 9: Homa feasts, McNealy falters | “6 years of hell” | K.O. for Ko

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By Ben Alberstadt
For comments—or if you’re looking for a fourth—email me at [email protected].
We’ve been featuring more GolfWRX BST content on our GolfWRX Classifieds Instagram. If you don’t follow already, please do!
1. Max’s 3rd
AP report…”Max Homa holed out from the rough from 95 yards for eagle on the par-4 12th to start a back-nine comeback and added three birdies for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke victory Sunday in the season-opening Fortinet Championship.”
  • “Three strokes behind Maverick McNealy with seven holes left, Homa followed the eagle with a birdie on the par-4 13th. The 30-year-old former University of California player tapped in for another birdie on the par-5 16th and ran in an 18-footer on the par-4 17th. He parred the par-5 18th to finish at 19-under 269.”
2. Dutch Open win caps “six years of hell” for Kristoffer Broberg
AP report…”Broberg rolled in a birdie putt on the 17th to give himself a three-shot cushion going to the 18th and held his nerve for a regulation par five on the final hole to close out his second European Tour victory and the first by a Swede at the Dutch Open since Peter Hanson in 2012.”
  • “It was a return to form for a player whose playing schedule has been restricted in recent years by hip and knee injuries.”
  • “Six years of hell,” he said before choking up with emotion after his victory.
3. LPGA: Ko-ntinuing her ascendency 
John Strege for Golf Digest…”Her last name is spelled K-O, which suffices as well to describe Jin Young Ko’s victory in the Cambia Portland Classic on Sunday, a third-round knockout that was a reminder of how she once spent two years at No. 1 in the Rolex Ranking.”
  • “Ko, 26, began the third and final round of the rain-shortened tournament leading by one, then methodically expanded it into a four-stroke victory, the ninth of her short LPGA career, solidifying her hold on No. 2 in the Rolex Ranking behind Nelly Korda.”
  • “A South Korean Olympian who finished ninth in the Japan Games, Ko took a break from tournament golf post Olympics, precluding her playing in the Women’s British Open. In her return to the LPGA in Portland, she completed 54 holes in 11-under par 205 that included a bogey-free 69 in the final round. Australian Sue Oh and South Korean Jeongeun Lee tied for second.”
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4. Johnny Miller on choking
Excellent stuff from Golfweek’s Adam Schupak getting the sitdown with Johnny Miller…
  • “The great champions can lift their game to get the job done or make the great shot, and I was willing to go there. Too many announcers want to be friends with their fellow players, even though they’re announcers. I don’t know, they just don’t talk about it.”
  • “The people are starving for the truth. They’re starving to know what’s really happening. But you can’t just say a guy is choking. You have to say the guy has played fades all week long, now all of a sudden he’s hitting hooks, you know he might be choking. Or he hasn’t missed a putt inside six feet, now he’s missed three in a row. In other words, you can’t just pick it out of thin air and say the guy is choking. I would never just say it without showing you why it’s choking. It would be unfair to say a guy is choking. A guy who’s never hit a hook and he starts duck hooking it on the last five holes, he might be choking. If you’re hitting shots you’ve never seen before or it’s not you, you’re not handling the pressure. You’re folding.”
5. Clarke pips Choi at Sanford
AP report…”Darren Clarke won the Sanford International on Sunday for his third PGA Tour Champions victory of the season, beating K.J. Choi with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff.”
  • “Clarke, the 53-year-old major champion from Northern Ireland, closed with a 5-under 65 at Minnehaha Country Club, birdieing the par-4 18th to match Choi and Steve Flesch at 12-under 198.”
6. Whan talks distance
The new USGA CEO talked to Andy Johnson of the Fried Egg…Geoff Shackelford with the notes and quotes…
“New USGA CEO Mike Whan continued his busy interview schedule, this time, appearing on the Fried Egg podcast with Andy Johnson to talk distance.”
  • “This is not going to please those who feel restoring lost skill or design dynamics is needed:”
  • “I think we’re going to establish some guidelines. I think those guidelines are probably going to slow some of the pace of progress over the next 10 or 20 years.
  • “But are [equipment manufacturers] going to figure ways around that to continue to push the envelope? I’m actually counting on it because I think that’s what makes the game exciting. I also think that I have a responsibility to make sure that, when you look at [this issue] over the next 50 years, the decisions we made to control some of that pace didn’t obsolete every course in the country.”
7. Secret weapon? 
Cameron Morfit on the prowess of Viktor Hovland…”At 23, Hovland is a two-time PGA TOUR winner who just finished fifth in the FedExCup. One of the best drivers in the game, he has climbed to 13th in the Official World Golf Ranking. Of all the Ryder Cup rookies at Whistling Straits – nine total – Hovland may look the least like one.”
  • …He is also a consummate team player with a sparkling match-play record. How sparkling? Allan Bratton, his old coach at Oklahoma State, has run some numbers.
  • “Hovland went a combined 6-0 for the Cowboys in the 2017, ’18 and ’19 NCAA Championships.”
  • “Impressed? Just wait. Also in 2018, he went 4-1 at the Big 12 Match Play Championship, 6-0 in winning the U.S. Amateur, and 2-0 at the East Lake Cup. That’s a combined 18-1 over six events. He needed just 104 holes to win the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, the third-fewest for a winner under the current format that debuted in 1979, and his 7-and-6 quarterfinal victory matched the largest win ever in that round.”
  • “He likes playing for something bigger than himself,” said Bratton, who first ran across Hovland at the European Boys Team Championship, where he liked Norway’s team chemistry. “He’s confident, and that confidence wears on other people. He’s just a winner.”
8. Flat finish for Phil
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…”The Hall of Fame lefthander, who in May won the PGA Championship at Kiawah to become the oldest player to win a major, was just four shots off the lead going into Sunday but fell back with a final-round 75 to finish a dozen shots back at 7 under par.”
  • “Mickelson has 14 career TOUR wins in California, tied with Tiger Woods for most since 1983, and will remain at that number for now. Although he made 123 feet, 8 inches of putts with his new grip extension and arm-lock grip on Saturday, the magic wasn’t there Sunday. He took 32 putts and ranked last in Strokes Gained: Putting for the day among those who made the cut.”
  • “Although this week’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits will mark the first U.S. Ryder Cup side he hasn’t made as a player since 1993, Mickelson will still be there as one of U.S. Captain Steve Stricker’s Vice Captains. Mickelson planned to fly home to San Diego, spend a night in his own bed, then depart with wife Amy for Wisconsin as the U.S. tries to win back the Cup.”
9. Max Homa Winning WITB
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Black 130 MSI 60 TX
3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI 80 TX
5-wood: Titleist TSi2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 9 TX
Irons: Titleist 620MB (4-9)
Shafts: KBS $ Taper 130 X
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (46-10F, 50-12F, 56-14F, 60-04L)
Shafts: KBS $ Taper 130 X (46-56), KBS Hi Rev 2.0 125 S (60)
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
Putter: Scotty Cameron T5.5 Prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
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Morning 9: Azinger: If Brooks doesn’t like the Ryder Cup… | U.S. RC team targeting unity & birdies

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By Ben Alberstadt
For comments—or if you’re looking for a fourth—email me at [email protected].
Good Thursday morning, golf fans… I am looking to form a long-term M9 partnership with a coffee company — seems like a natural synergy! — if you’re the right highly caffeinated person, please drop me a line. 
1. Azinger: “If Brooks doesn’t love the Ryder Cup…”
Who could have forecast the winds of blowback yesterday? That’s right. Everyone.
  • Golf Channel Digital team…”Former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, in an NBC Sports/Golf Channel conference call to discuss next week’s competition, said he read Koepka’s full quotes and didn’t think Koepka was fully invested in the matches.”
  • “Brooks, when I just read that article, I’m not sure he loves the Ryder Cup that much. If he doesn’t love it, he should relinquish his spot and get people there who do love the Ryder Cup,” the 2008 winning captain said.”
  • “Not everybody embraces it, but if you don’t love it and you’re not sold out, then I think Brooks should – especially being hurt, should consider whether or not he really wants to be there.”
2. Rahm out of pro-am with stomach bug
The World No. 1 sat out Wednesday.
Golf Channel’s Max Schreiber…”World No. 1 Jon Rahm withdrew from the Fortinet Championship’s Wednesday pro-am because of a stomach illness.”
  • “Rahm was supposed to tee off at 8:40 a.m. PST and moved his press conference to 2 p.m. But he then canceled his pre-tournament presser altogether and the Tour announced he would not appear at Silverado Resort and Spa’s North Course at all on Wednesday.”
3. Unity & birdies
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”If the team scouting trip to Whistling Straits this week is any indication, there are at least two themes that will define the Ryder Cup – U.S. captain Steve Stricker’s message of team unity and a golf course that will be set up for plenty of low scoring.”
  • “The majority of the U.S. team spent Sunday and Monday at Whistling Straits playing two practice rounds and attending a relaxed team dinner hosted by Stricker.”
  • “We understand how much it means to [Stricker], how much it means having it in his home state. I think you are going to see a very cohesive team that’s playing for each other and understands the bigger picture,” Harris English told GolfChannel.com. “We are all a team.”
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4. Storylines of 2021: The Bryson saga
ESPN’s Bob Harig rounds up the major plot points of the 2020-2021 season. Not surprisingly, one Bryson DeChambeau features prominently.
  • “No player made more headlines than Bryson DeChambeau. From his six-shot U.S. Open victory in September 2020 to his spat with Brooks Koepka — and that was just the beginning of the Bryson drama — DeChambeau was an overwhelming story in the season just completed.”
  • “He won his first major at Winged Foot, had a stirring victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, wowed fans with long drives, contended at the 2021 U.S. Open, lost in a stirring playoff at the BMW Championship and continues to approach the game from a different place.”
  • “But after his March win at Bay Hill, the headlines were mostly for other things. The spat with Koepka that began at the PGA Championship was the biggest one and is still ongoing. That led to on-course heckling and some verbal, social-media sparring between he and Koepka.”
5. Assistant captain Stenson
BBC report…”Sweden’s Henrik Stenson has been named as the fifth and final European vice-captain for next week’s Ryder Cup.”
  • “The 45-year-old joins compatriot Robert Karlsson, Germany’s Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald of England and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland in the role.”
  • “The 2016 Open champion has played in five Ryder Cups, winning three times.”
  • “He knows what it takes to win – and that experience and knowledge will be crucial for us,” said European captain Padraig Harrington.”
6. Keeping the dream job
Adam Schupak puts some meat on the “PGA Tour rookies” bone with his item for Golfweek.
  • “There are 27 rookies in this season’s class on the PGA Tour, the most since 2011 when 35 earned cards, and 26 of them are in the field this week (all but Matthias Schwab). Max McGreevy and Jared Wolfe are making their Tour debut.”
  • “Some, like Aaron Rai, a 26-year-old Englishman who once holed a record 207 straight 10-foot putts at age 15, needed just three starts in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals to graduate while others such as Scott Gutschewski, 44, is returning to the big leagues full time for the first time since 2011, and had made just two PGA Tour starts in the past 10 years. How did he celebrate his success? He went to Denny’s.”
  • “It ain’t Applebees, but still pretty fancy,” he tweeted.
7. Furyk to seniors
Listen to Jim! Golfweek’s Tim Schmitt with remarks from the 17-time PGA Tour winner that point to the appeal of the senior circuit for shorter hitters — and the relevance for golfers getting on in years.
  • “It’s one of the reasons why I really enjoy the Champions tour. Not the only reason, but I joke that I got to know my 4- and 5-iron really well playing the PGA Tour and kind of missed hitting the 8, 9 and wedge into par 4s,” Furyk said on Wednesday. “I get an opportunity now to attack a little bit more at times and get some shorter irons in my hand and make a few more birdies. It’s a lot of fun.”
  • “But while Furyk was mandated by PGA Tour rules to play the world’s best courses at their very longest, he said it’s a mistake that common players make when enjoying the game in middle age.”
  • “As amateurs get older, it’s very common that if they grew up playing the blue tees, they want to play the blue tees. It’s hard to move up to the whites,” Furyk said. “When they finally do, they go, ‘Wow, this is fun, why didn’t I do this earlier? I should have been doing this five years ago.”
8. Inbee the best putter in golf?
Our Andy Lack…”The PGA Tour has embarked on a data driven revolution over the past decade, and with the unveiling of KPMG Performance Insights, the LPGA is following suit.”
  • “Beginning at the 2021 LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in June, the KPMG team has gathered data from over 240,000 individual LPGA Tour Shots.”
  • “While there were a number of a fascinating conclusions that Justin Ray this week highlighted for LPGA.com, Inbee Park’s putting stood out the most.”
  • “Any LPGA Tour fan is familiar with the fact that the seven-time major champion is one of the best putters in the world, but the advanced analytics shed even more light on just how brilliant she has been.”
  • “Since the start of KPMG Performance Insight tracking, LPGA Tour pros have a conversion rate of 28% on putts from 10 to 15 feet. For context, PGA Tour golfers hover around 30%, with the leaders in that statistic making 10-15 foot putts 40 to 41% of the time.”
9. Photos from the Fortinet
GolfWRX is live from Napa for the 2021 Fortinet Championship. Along with the return of in-hand WITBs (8 players!) we have a number of general galleries for your perusal.
In addition, we got a look at putters from Ping, Bettinardi, and Scotty Cameron — covers, too!
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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2021 Fortinet Championship

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GolfWRX is live from Napa for the 2021 Fortinet Championship. Along with the return of in-hand WITBs (8 players!) we have a number of general galleries for your perusal.

In addition, we got a look at putters from Ping, Bettinardi, and Scotty Cameron — covers, too!

You’re not here for the words, though. Let’s get to the photos!

General galleries

Special galleries

WITBs

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