Connect with us

News

Tour Rundown: Matsuyama’s triumphant return | 4 means 1 for Ko

Published

on

A scary week lies ahead, culminating in a time of remembrance and spooky fun in the USA and some parts of the world. A round of golf is a treat to steal as the colder temperatures return to the northern portions of North America. A pair of golfers returned home this week to claim championships, after a season of play on foreign soil. Two other champions were recognized as four events featured in this week’s Tour Rundown. Grab a mug of warm cider, a donut, and pull up a chair as we recall the mighty efforts on display as October marches toward its conclusion.

ZOZO Championship on the PGA Tour: Matsuyama returns to triumph

There is much to be written when the wandering child returns home a decorated hero. Such is the case for Hideki Matsuyama, first male major champion from Japan and 2021 Augusta Spring Invitational (aka The Masters) titleist. When Odysseus returns and triumphs on home soil, it is even more cause for celebration. Such is also the case for Matsuyama-sama, who eclipsed a strong field with strong and versatile golf to claim his seventh career PGA Tour title, and first since spring in Georgia.

Countryman Hiroshi Iwata caught the golf world’s attention with his opening 63, which featured a birdie-birdie-eagle finish. Iwata would ultimately tie for 18th position, under the bright lights of expectant home fans. Lurking with a Thursday 64 was Matsuyama, who followed with 68-68 to seize the lead, then closed with a two-eagle 65 on Sunday. The tournament was in doubt until the closing stretch: Matsuyama stood at 14 under on the 17th tee, while Cameron Tringale checked in at -12. Matsuyama’s bogey on the penultimate green would have been excruciating, had Tringale not made one of his own.

Needing a miracle at the last to force a playoff, Tringale added another bogey, falling into a tie with Brendan Steele for 2nd, at ten-under par. Able to breathe, Matsuyama posted a mighty eagle to finish at 15-deep, five clear of his pursuers. Yuriwaka had returned home to defeat the would-be pirates, to the delight of all.

BMW Championship on the LPGA: Four mean one for JYK

On Thursday morning, Nelly Korda was the top-ranked golfer on the Rolex Women’s WGR. On Monday morning, she will switch places with Jin Young Ko, the Korean champion who has been on an absolute tear since early July. Ko won in Texas, Oregon, and New Jersey, before returning home to Busan for the BMW Championship. Her goal on Sunday, she said, was to play with no regrets. Eight birdies later, including two, three-birdie tears, brought her to 22-under par and a tie with overnight leader (and countrywoman) Hee Jeong Lim.

For Lim, the week had to seem like a dream. She played 72 holes with 22 birdies and 50 pars. She made zero mistakes. And still, she found herself in overtime with her decorated colleague. After a bumpy first round, Ko was brilliant, nearly beyond compare. She had 21 birdies over the closing 54 holes … make that 22 birdies over the closing 55 holes. The playoff between the two mighty Koreans concluded quickly. The new world number one ripped her approach inside three feet at the first extra hole, then banged the putt home for the 200th-ever triumph for Korean golfers on the LPGA Tour.

Mallorca Open on the European Tour: It’s a Balearic Winther Wonderland!

Knowing that two 62s were posted this week, both by Jeff Winther, one would have advanced the notion that low scores would be in abundance on day four. Knowing that the aforementioned Winther clung to a delicate, one-shot advantage after 54 holes, one might have concluded that Winther would still need something in the high to mid 60s to have a chance at the title. Looking in the rearward mirror after Winther’s final round 70, in which he amassed 16 pars, one bogey, and one birdie, one might have guessed that the Dane had remained winless on the European Tour. That, dear readers, is why they play the tournaments on turf, and not paper.

Jeff Winther did nothing that he needed to do on Sunday, yet he still won. Laurie Canter posted the low round on this Sunday, but that 64 only moved the Englishman to the top five. Sebastian Soderberg had his fellow norseman on the ropes on Sunday, but closed with plus-two over the final half-dozen holes to finish an excruciating shot out of a playoff. Pep Angles and Jorge Campillo tried to emulate their country’s Open championship win by countryman Rafa Cabrera-Bello, but they came up one shot shy as well. The three-week, Spanish Salsa came to a close with a maiden Tour win in the loving arms of Winther.

DEC on the PGA Tour Champions: Playoff Says … 42 for Bernhard

Steve Flesch was the overnight leader in Richmond, but Sundays in the chase haven’t been kind to the southpaw. He lost a playoff earlier this season to Darren Clarke, and could not overcome a four-pack of bogeys on day the last. His one-over 73 brought him home at -12, two shots out of a playoff, in third place by his lonesome. Not a bad week of work, but, oh, what might have been!

It was left to Doug Barron (68 for 202) and Bernhard Langer (69 for same) to settle matters in extra time. Both playoff participants made birdie four at the last in regulation, and it was to that dramatic hole that they did return for the overtime session. All that was needed was one playing; the ageless Langer made another 4 at the par-five closer to secure his 42nd career Champions Tour title. Langer now trails Hale Irwin’s 45 career senior titles by just three. Is that number within reach? You betcha! Irwin’s final title came at the age of 62. Langer has won just once each of the past two seasons, but he has notched two runner-up finishes in each. If he can maximize his in-contention starts, he might reach Irwin at the top.

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

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.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

News

Greg Norman praises ‘rebel’ players ready to compete in controversial Saudi International

Published

on

There has been much speculation as to whether the new Greg Norman-led Asian Tour will be able to snipe some of the world’s best golfers during the 2022 season.

As reported by Golf Digest Australia, it appears Norman is confident in doing just that.

Yesterday, organizers of the Saudi International, which is set to take place at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club from February 3-6, confirmed 25 of the golfers who will be making the trip to Saudi Arabia.

The list of stars is quite long and headlined by Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Dustin Johnson. Additionally, many of golf’s European stars will be joining the field, including Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Xander Schauffele, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Casey.

In response to their commitment, Norman praised the “rebel” players for standing up to what he called “anti-competitive threats” in a memo sent to the golfers:

“I want to share my undivided support and endorsement for the stance taken in announcing your participation in the Saudi International,” he wrote.

“You are standing up for your rights, as professional athletes, and for what is right and best for the global development of the sport of golf.

“Without this change, you will never realise your individual and collective value, or elevate the game to the levels it deserves. Simply put, the anticompetitive threats and actions these professional bodies have taken are designed to prevent fair competition, limit the game’s growth, and harm your ability to realise your true value. 

“I wanted to reach out directly to share the respect I have for you and the strength of your actions, and also to voice the level of support you have from so many sectors of the industry, who are greatly encouraged by your leadership and the new horizons in golf’s future.”

The Saudi International will be played directly opposite to a brand new DP World Tour event, the Ras al Khaimah Championship, scheduled to take place in the UAE the same week.

Your Reaction?
  • 4
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW2
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

News

Golf pioneer Lee Elder passes away at age 87

Published

on

One of the pioneers against segregation in golf, Lee Elder, who will be mostly remembered for his appearance as the first black golfer to take part in The Masters, was reported to have died on Sunday, aged 87.

Having moved to Los Angeles at a young age, Elder took jobs at local golf courses before being encouraged and tutored by Joe Louis and Ted Rhodes before making his mark in the United Golf Association Tour for African-American players, at one stage winning 18 of 22 tournaments.

He reached the PGA Tour in 1968, losing a play-off to Jack Nicklaus at Firestone but always faced an uphill battle against the prejudice that existed.

Per Golf Channel’s report, during a tournament in Memphis one of his opponents, Terry Dill, saw a spectator pick his ball up and discard it, only for him to receive death threats at his hotel.

Further to that and similar episodes, at the 1968 Monsanto Open, Pensacola, Elder was amongst many black players forced to change in the car park as members would not allow non-white players in their clubhouse.

Six years later, Elder was to win in Pensacola, paving his way to that first initiation to The Masters, and whilst he received “up to 100 death threats” he confirmed some 40 years later that, “Every green I walked up on, the applause was just tremendous, I mean every one of the people shouted, ‘Go, Lee! Good luck, Lee!’”

In 1979, Elder became the first black player to qualify for the Ryder Cup and became a crusader and spokesman for injustice against racism at golf clubs, as well as speaking out against social discrimination and forming the Lee Elder Scholarship Fund, aiding low-income families seeking a place at college.

Elder eventually became a member of the PGA Champions Tour winning six of his first 22 starts and a total of nine tournaments.
As Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters, Elder was on hand to witness the cheers. “You would have thought I was winning the golf tournament,” Golf Channel report Elder to have said. “To be there, to see what Tiger did, that meant the world to me.”

Indeed, Tiger himself stated that “I wasn’t the pioneer. Charlie Sifford, Lee Elder and Teddy Rhodes paved the way,” said Woods. “I was thinking about them and what they’ve done for me as I was coming up the 18th fairway. I said a little prayer and a thanks to those guys. They are the ones who did it for me.”

Last April Elder was appointed an honorary starter (alongside Nicklaus and Gary Player) for the 85th Masters declaring that it was ”one of the most emotional experiences that I have ever witnessed or been involved in…..it is certainly something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Masters chairman Fred Ridley gave Elder the ceremonial first-tee honours while adding that Elder will “make history once more, not with a drive, but with his presence, strength and character.”

Lee Elder is survived by his wife, Sharon, and will surely go down in history as one of the most influential players to break down racial barriers within the sport.

Your Reaction?
  • 92
  • LEGIT9
  • WOW11
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

19th Hole

‘OMG’ – Pro golfers go wild over Tiger Woods’ swing video

Published

on

If you are a fan of golf, there’s a good chance you have seen the most recent video of Tiger Woods hitting a golf ball on the range posted to his twitter account yesterday.

As ecstatic as golf fans are about seeing Tiger Woods effortlessly swing a club again, players on Tour seem to be just as fired up about Tiger’s video.

Here we’ve rounded up some of the best tweets from Woods’ fellow PGA Tour players:

The PGA Tour is in a great place, with many young superstars on the rise and interest in the game at all time high. Even still, yesterday was a reminder that nothing moves the needle in the sport of golf like Tiger Woods. If more evidence is needed, the video Woods tweeted currently has 6.8 million views in under 24 hours.

More from the 19th Hole

Your Reaction?
  • 14
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW1
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending