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Tour Rundown: Buhai in the sky, 27 for the 20-year-old

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Major championship season came to a close with a final winner in 76 holes at Muirfield. The last regular season concluded on the PGA Tour, with a front-nine 27 and a 20-year-old winner. Another playoff featured on the Tour Champions, and two more events brought stirring resolutions on Korn Ferry and DP World Tour. Snap your fingers and it’s August. Three weeks from now, we’ll have a FedEx Cup champion. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and learn a bit about our five champions in this week’s Tour Rundown.

LPGA/Ladies European Tour: Buhai in the sky after playoff win

Ashleigh Buhai has been at the LPGA grind since 2014. Her storied amateur career translated into 15 wins on the South African and European circuits, but when she moved stateside nearly a decade ago, the wins stopped coming. On Saturday evening, on the heels of a Saturday 64 at Muirfield, Buhai found herself in possession of a five-shot advantage, and in the British Open, no less! No finer place to break through for a win, or break a heart.

For most of Sunday, it looked like the later would be Buhai’s plight. She stood one-over par through 14 holes, while In Gee Chun posted three birdies on the front nine, to narrow the gap to one. Chun gave two back at 10 and 12, but then the script fell out when Buhai mad a triple-bogey seven at the 15th to fall into a tie. The pair would par in to the clubhouse, and return to the 18th tee to decide matters.

Pars, then bogeys, then pars again, and Buhai-Chun returned to the demanding par four once more. Faced with a long, greenside bunker recovery, Buhai dug deep into her South African roots, where great bunker play is like skating in Canada. She splashed out to about 14 inches, made the putt for par, and collected her first major title and LPGA victory. Ahh, those East Lothian nights!

PGA Tour: 27 for the 20-year old leads to Kim win

As Nick Faldo took a bow in his final telecast for the PGA Tour, Joohyung Kim made his own waist bend, and collected a first tour title, fresh out of his teens. You’ll no doubt read that Kim began the 2022 Wyndham with a quadruple bogey. We’ll not get into that, because no one needs to disect that sort of cadaver. What Kim did over the subsequent, 71 holes is what deserves attention. 25 birdies, three bogies, and one mighty eagle were enough to push the young Korean to a 61 on Sunday, and a one-shot victory.

For a time, it seemed that Kim’s countryman, Sungjae Im, or American John Huh, might figure in the outcome. Kim put that notion to rest with an impossible 27 on Sunday’s front nine. That’s right: Kim averaged three shots per hole over the first half of the final round. He made four at the first, which might have felt like a birdie after Thursday’s eight on the same hole. He balanced that with a two at the fourth, and made threes the rest of the way.

A solitary bogey, just his third of the week, stalled his progress at the tenth. Pars and birdies the rest of the way ensured a five-shot cushion over Im and Huh. What was I doing at 20? Who knows. What were any of us doing at 20?

DP World Tour: Shinkwin secures second title on big stage

Despite what the caption says for the video below, Callum Shinkwin was not at the peak of his powers on Sunday. He did post a fourth, consecutive round under par; the only man in the field to do so, in fact. That round of 70 was just one shot below par, and was comprised of seven pars, six birdies, and five bogeys. Round four was something of a ratatouille for the Englishman, but he was able to steer the ship through choppy waters, and ultimately come out with a four-shot win over Scotland’s Connor Syme.

Syme had a week of his own, save for a second-day 73. The highlander (well, Fife) needed perfection on Sunday at Celtic Manor, but was unable to find it. The former Ryder Cup venue, site of a European side triumph, played tough as nails all week, but it did offer a bit of respite at moments. The Cazoo win was Shinkwin’s second on the DP World Tour. The tour moves from Wales to Northern Ireland this week, and Shinkwin certainly hopes that Galgorm Castle will be as hospitable as was Celtic Manor.

Korn Ferry Tour: Only low numbers need apply as Kozan kollects korn

Andrew Kozan played his college golf at Auburn University. This week in Utah, he made the Tiger faithful proud with bookend 63s for a first KFT laurel. The only motto this week was Go Low or Don’t Go. 13 golfers posted 18-under or better and, with the victory coming at -21, there were a lot of players in the mix for a long time.

Third-round leader Mark Anderson started off well, with birdies on three of the first seven holes. The wheels came off as he rounded the turn, where three bogies dropped him from the lead. Anderson would recover with two more birdies coming home. On a day when eight and nine-birdie cards were the norm, his work would not carry him home.

Justin Suh, Patrick Fishburn, and Ashton Van Horne tied for second, a shot behind Kozan. Each posted a marvelous, Sunday score (63, 64, 64, respectively) but each also had a bogey on his sheet. Kozan did as well, at the par-four eighth, but when all the ink had dried and the shots were tallied, he was one shot clear of the trio, and on the podium for his first, important professional win.

PGA Tour Champions: Kelly keeps Huston at bay in Calgary

Guys like Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer brought multiple major titles and sizable PGA Tour win totals to the senior circuit. Guys like Jerry Kelly found a spotlight they hadn’t known on the young-uns circuit. While Kelly won thrice on the early tour, the wins came early and middle, but not after 2009. Kelly arrive on Tour Champions in 2016, seven years after his third and final, regular-group win. He won twice in 2017, and nothing would hold him back.

This week in Calgary, Jerry Kelly won his third event of the 2022 campaign, and second in a playoff. In June, Kelly dispatched Kirk Triplett in a playof in Iowa. Triplett held the overnight lead on Saturday, and rematch was in the offing. Triplett faded on Sunday, and the drama was left to Kelly and one-time Tour Champions winner John Huston to settle matters.

The first playoff hole was the par-five 18th, and Kelly found a way to sneak an approach in to about seven feet. The putt wobbled at first, then straightened out into the hole, and the man from Wisconsin (aka Canada South) had his eleventh win on the seasonsed citizens tour, and third in three months.

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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. Chuck

    Aug 8, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    I wish more than anything that GolfWRX would do its thing with ladies’ tour WITB.

    You guys do an amazing job, covering equipment developments on the mens’ tours. I would love to see the same for the ladies. When I have played Muirfield, I played it at much the same setup we saw with the Womens’ Open. 6600+ yards. I play much more like the ladies than the male tour players. I’ve seen the mens championship tees at Muirfield and they are incomprehensible to me. I take my equipment cues from lady professionals more than male professionals.
    I’d be grateful for GolfWRX’s giving us WITB info from the ladies’ majors.

  2. PJ

    Aug 8, 2022 at 9:34 am

    I watched the LPGA last round versus the PGA tournament filled with a leader board of people I have never heard of. The LPGA TV commentators are horrible but the playoff was awesome.

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Team USA retains 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow

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The host team from all across America recovered from a lackluster Saturday. It put on a singles show on Sunday, winning 6.5 of 12 points from Team World. The final tally at the 2022 Presidents Cup was 17.5 to 12.5 for the Red, White, and Blue. There were two sides to this presidential coin, however. Days one and two saw Team World dig an inescapable hole, dropping eight of ten points. Days three and four saw the two teams play essentially even. Despite a few premature obituaries from some of our celebrated golf pundits, the Presidents Cup is alive and well. 2024 sees the tournament reach Canada for the first time, at the Royal Montreal Golf Club. Chances are that it will feel like a home game for the USA, unless the locals spike the poutine. That event is two years off, however, so let’s have one last look at the Sunday Singles, courtesy of my Saturday evening predictions.

Correct ~ Match One: Justin Thomas vs. Si Woo Kim

Si Woo says See-You to JT and Team World gets to 8-11

Did I know that Justin Thomas would demonstrate ignorance by conceding himself a putt? Nay. I just had a feeling that this battle of Players Champions would fall to the South Korean juggernaut. Thomas was two-up at the turn, but lost 10 and 11 to fall back to even. To their credit, both players went for broke, and the final seven holes saw five outright wins. Kim banged home a birdie at the last to eke out a 1-up victory.

Incorrect ~ Match Two: Spieth vs. Davis

Cam Davis dispatches Spieth and it’s now a two-point affair

This was the must-have match for Team World, and Cam Davis came out like he understood the plan. Wins at the first two holes had Jordan Spieth on the ropes, but the Texan responded like Spieth. His putter ignited with volcanic heat, and he proceeded to make nearly everything he looked at on the frog hair. Spieth squared the match at the fifth, fell behind at the eighth, and squared again at the ninth. On the inward side, he turned out the lights. A birdie-birdie-birdie-par run from 11 to 14 gave him a 4-up lead, and he sealed the deal with a par at the 15th.

Correct ~ Match Three: Burns vs. Matsuyama

Burns and Hideki trade 14 birdies and end up tied. 9.5 to 11.5

Well, it was only eight birdies, and Hideki even won a hole with a bogey. In the end, he almost pulled a Jordan Spieth out of his hat, with a chip-in at the last. The ball stayed out and the match stayed even. Do you know how hard it is to predict a tied match? Pretty hard!

Incorrect ~ Match Four: Cantlay vs. Scott

Another massive upset, as one-major beats none-major and Team World is just one back.

Adam Scott’s point was also a necessary one, but pars weren’t going to get it done against Captain Cantlay. The American went out in one-under par, and somehow built a two-up advantage over Scott’s even par. How does match play work again? Oh, right, like that. On the back nine, Scott did his level-best to strike, but he is no longer the Adam Scott of old, the major champion. Cantlay’s golf was equally uninspired, and the match ended at 3 & 2, after both players made par at the 16th.

Correct ~ Match Five: Scheffler vs. Muñoz

Colombia’s pride does some accordion-inspired Vallenato all the way to a personal Encanto, and the
game is tied!

Scottie Scheffler had a whale of a 2022. His first win and first major win, and the world number-one ranking all reached his doorstep. To allow him a week of exhaustion is just fine, but let’s not minimize the effort put forth by SebMu. The Colombian watched his opponent win three of the first six holes and jump out to a two-up lead. Muñoz won eight, nine, and ten, to flip the script. From there on out, he was rock-solid and claimed a much-needed point for the visiting side.

Correct ~ Match Six: Finau vs. Pendrith

Tony Two-Step takes down Maple Leaf One to stem the international tide. It’s 12.5-11.5 for the hosts.

It was a rotten week for the Maple Leaf. Pendrith couldn’t do much as a partner to anyone, and he had no answer for Finau’s finesse over the closing stretch of holes. Finau followed up a successful individual season with a strong team performance. He’ll look back on 2022 and smile.

Incorrect ~ Match Seven: Schauffele vs. Conners

Corey Conners vindicates Taylor Pendrith, and Team Canada scores one for the globe. Tied again.

These guys played some rotten golf over the first nine holes, at +2 and even par. They followed that up with more rotten golf on the inward half, posting matching even-par totals. It was an uninspired match that fell to the USA side. A point that could have kept Team World in the equation, somehow got away. Hopefully Conners will learn and grow, and be a grizzly bear in Montreal, in two-years time.

Incorrect ~ Match Eight: Young vs. Im

Cameron Young wins because he and I are both Demon Deacons, and that is all that needs to be said.
13.5-12.5

Easily my least-logical and most-emotional prophecy was … almost correct. Young rolled out of bed on the fourth tee and found himself three down, after three consecutive bogeys. From there, the legend of Sleepy Hollow gritted his teeth and ground his way back to even, by the eighth hole. A dogfight ensued, with Im winning two holes, and Young but one, down the home stretch. Still, #GoDeacs.

Incorrect ~ Match Nine: KH Lee vs. BillyHo

OK, back to cloudy logic. Billy Horschel is a grinder, and he finds a way to split his match with KH
Lee. 14 to 13 with two matches left.

Sorry, no video on this one. Go figure. Horschel was plus-two on the day when he conceeded the 17th hole to KH Lee, and his match went to the Korean by a tally of 3 & 1. Lee was one-under on the day, so by this juncture, we can conclude one of the following: Quail Hollow was an absolute bear on day four, or the teams were absolutely exhausted.

Incorrect ~ Match Ten: Homa vs. Tom Kim

There is a reason that this match is so late. Homa and Kim find three eagles and ten birdies around
the course, and TK delivers a TKO and squares the matches.

Max Homa has remade his persona. From Captain Twitter, the Californian just might become the next Captain America. Homa had a taste of international team play at the 2013 Walker Cup at National Golf Links of America. Now, the lad looks like he is here to stay. A team without Homa is like a day without … victories. Tom Kim tossed everything he had at the Burbank bombardier, and it just wasn’t enough. It was another one of those last-hole losses that doomed the visiting squad.

Incorrect ~ Match Eleven: Morikawa vs. Pereira

Morikawa has a PGA Champinship, while Pereira came oh-so-close at Southern Hill. The tables turn
and the pride of Chile outlasts the two-time major winner. For the first time, Team World takes the
lead.

Another upset special that didn’t pan out. We finally saw some electric golf on Sunday. Morikawa had three birdies, one eagle, and five pars on the outward half, and poor Pereira could just stand there and shake his head. Mito was one-under himself, but was three-down in the match. He went four-down at the 10th to another Morikawa birdie, and the end was in sight. The match finished 3 & 2 for the American, as he notched his sixth birdie on the day at hole 16.

Incorrect ~ Match Twelve: Kisner vs. Bezuidenhout

Kisner, the match-play specialist, faces the grittiest, South African golfer ever. The Christiaan with two As makes one ace in the final match, ties Kisner, and wins the Presidents Cup for Team Globe.

Another one with no video, so we’ll try to paint you a picture. You know, a thousand words are worth a picture, or something like that. I think that we’ve read the last of Kevin Kisner is a match play god and he should be on international teams. He might be that at the Dell, but he ain’t that with a team USA kit on. Bezuidenhout played even-par golf through 17 holes, essentially daring Kisner to out-duel him. Didn’t happen, and CBez snared a point for Team World.

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Five Things We Learned: Day Three of the 2022 Presidents Cup

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A funny thing happened on the way to the rout: orange pylons went up and the route to the rout was closed for repairs. Team World said, in its collective language, NOT TODAY. With eight points up for grabs, and the potential for Team USA to win the match with one day left, Team World won six of eight matches and closed the gap to four points. Can I get an Amen, or a holla, or at least a dab? In Friday’s installment of #FiveThingsWeLearned, it was suggested by an astute and prescient writer that this may not be a done deal. Well, heading into Sunday, it ain’t. Let’s get to the five things we learned on Saturday, in Charlotte, at Quail Hollow, of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

1. Scott and Matsuyama finally put on their green capes, errr, jackets

Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama had been all but invisible through 48 hours of the Presidents Cup. In their morning match with the formidable pairing of Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young, Scott and Matsuyama jumped out to a 2-hole deficit through eight holes, and looked to be on their way to another loss. The de-facto team leaders decided that enough was enough, and turned things around. The International pair won five consecutive holes from 9 to 13, and seized a three-up lead that they would not relinquish. Gobsmacked, Morikawa and Young had no answer, and a point went to the visiting side.

2. If not for Thomas and Spieth, these matches are tied

Say what you will or won’t about the American duo, they get the job done. Four matches, four outright wins. On Saturday, with Team World rallying, Spieth and Thomas knocked off Sungjae Im and Corey Conners by 4 & 3 in the morning, then returned after lunch to dispatch Hideki Matsuyama and Taylor Pendrith by the same tally. In case folks aren’t paying attention, foursomes and four-ball are in no way, shape, or form, similar. They require different skill sets and partner interactions, but you’d never know it with these two guys. Unless both get knocked off on Sunday, however, Team World won’t have a chance to steal a cup.

3. Patty Ice and Professor X disappear on day three

Inexplicably, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele sat down in Saturday’s morning foursomes, despite a 6 & 5 foursomes skunking of Scott and Matsuyama on day one. Head-scratcher, am I right? The pair returned in the afternoon to face the Kim brothers (not really, just playing) Si Woo and Tom, but could not recapture their earlier spark. And yet … the American pair had a two-up lead at the 11th hole, when Tom Kim buried a massive putt for eagle to thrust a dagger home. Si Woo won two more holes coming home, and then Tom etched a birdie into the 18th green to steal a one-up win from the USA stalwarts. Wow, just and simply wow.

4. A new Cam has begun

Forget the mullet and the 1970s, B-Movie stache guy. Cam Davis is a guy on the move. After receiving a morning smack-down with Si Woo Kim, at the hands of Tony Finau (sorry, Michael Kim) and Max Homa, Davis regrouped with Aussie mate Adam Scott. Locked in a tight match with the SEC duo of Billy Horschel and Sam Burns, Davis closed eagle-birdie-birdie, and turned a one-down situation into a one-up victory. Instead of being down 6-12, Davis’ squad now has but 4.5 points to make up on Sunday.

5. How the Sunday Singles will shake out

Match One: Justin Thomas vs. Si Woo Kim

Si Woo says See-You to JT and Team World gets to 8-11

Match Two: Spieth vs. Davis

Cam Davis dispatches Spieth and it’s now a two-point affair

Match Three: Burns vs. Matsuyama

Burns and Hideki trade 14 birdies and end up tied. 9.5 to 11.5

Match Four: Cantlay vs. Scott

Another massive upset, as one-major beats none-major and Team World is just one back.

Match Five: Scheffler vs. Muñoz

Colombia’s pride does some accordion-inspired Vallenato all the way to a personal Encanto, and the
game is tied!

Match Six: Finau vs. Pendrith

Tony Two-Step takes down Maple Leaf One to stem the international tide. It’s 12.5-11.5 for the hosts.

Match Seven: Schauffele vs. Conners

Corey Conners vindicates Taylor Pendrith, and Team Canada scores one for the globe. Tied again.

Match Eight: Young vs. Im

Cameron Young wins because he and I are both Demon Deacons, and that is all that needs to be said.
13.5-12.5

Match Nine: KH Lee vs. BillyHo

OK, back to cloudy logic. Billy Horschel is a grinder, and he finds a way to split his match with KH
Lee. 14 to 13 with two matches left.

Match Ten: Homa vs. Tom Kim

There is a reason that this match is so late. Homa and Kim find three eagles and ten birdies around
the course, and TK delivers a TKO and squares the matches.

Match Eleven: Morikawa vs. Pereira

Morikawa has a PGA Champinship, while Pereira came oh-so-close at Southern Hill. The tables turn
and the pride of Chile outlasts the two-time major winner. For the first time, Team World takes the
lead.

Match Twelve: Kisner vs. Bezuidenhout

Kisner, the match-play specialist, faces the grittiest, South African golfer ever. The Christiaan with two As makes one ace in the final match, ties Kisner, and wins the Presidents Cup for Team Globe.

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Five Things We Learned: Day Two of the 2022 Presidents Cup

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The reports of Team World’s death are exaggerated. Will the international squad storm back from its day-two deficit to win on Sunday? Probably not. However, the team found its legs on Friday, and pushed every match to the 16th hole. With mainstays and anchors gone from the honorable International squad, younglings like Mito Pereira, Taylor Pendrith, and Tom Kim will take their lumps this week, but will emerge as stronger players for 2024. Don’t be surprised if a few of those halved matches fall the way of the World on Saturday, and if the visiting squad pulls out a few wins on day three. Let’s digest the five things we learned on day two of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

Match 1: Buzzsaw Number One wins for second consecutive day

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth don’t lose. To boot, they are from the same generation, and they share that camaraderie and kinship. The partners won holes 4 and 5 to gain an early, 2-up advantage over elder statesmen Adam Scott and his countryman, Cam Davis. The Aussies fought all day long, but the Americans twice reached a 3-up advantage, and closed their opponents out on the 17th hole, 2 and 1. Captain Davis Love III shows no signs of separating the duo, so Team World will have to contend with Jussy and Jordy again on Saturday

Match 2: Im and Muñoz saw Scheffler and Burns

What’s the deal with Scottie? When you’re number one in the world, people expect you to win every time. All that competitors see is a bull’s eye on your back. For the second consecutive day, the Scheffler-Burns pair underperformed, and allowed the World to grab a precious half-point. Scheffler won the fifth hole with a birdie, but that was the end of his heroics. It was up to Burns to win another three holes, to manage a tie with the pride of Korea and Colombia. If Scheffler-Burns is together again on Saturday, then Captain Love deserves a bit of second-guessing. All in all, a tie is better than a loss, for both sides.

Match 3: Second match halved by two impressive sides

In match three, Cameron Young won three holes for the USA. Christiaan Bezuidenhout won two (and Mito Pereira, one) for the World team. First grade match tells you that neither side had the upper hand. Kevin Kisner never got on track for the tri-color, and left the heavy lifting to his young partner. Young was up to the task, and nearly stole a win with a long birdie putt at the final green. If I’m the World captain, I keep Mito and Cristo together on Saturday. Just saying.

Match 4: Xander and Patty keep taking them down

Hideki and Tom had to feel like a couple of high-school sophomores, paired against the two-time defending conference champs, who just happen to be seniors with fast cars. When Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are your number two team, that’s trouble for the opposition. No one has found a way to defeat Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, and the more matches they win, the more formidable they become. The Americans from Cali came out blazing. Five wins on the opening nine got them to a five-up-with-seven-to-play cushion. To Tom Kim’s credit, he didn’t give up. He won three of the next four holes on his own, but without any help from Hideki, the match ended in a 3 & 2 win for Team USA.

Match 5: Homa-Run on final green wins final match for hosts

For the second consecutive day, the World team had an opportunity to secure a half or full point on the final green. For the second time, they were unable to do so. Max Homa traded Tony Finau for Billy Horschel, but remained in the anchor spot for the American side. The Canadian pair of Pendrith and Conner never led, but never trailed by more than two holes. The Maple Leafs had their opportunities, but could not gain the upper hand on the Red, White, and Blue. When Homa buried the twelve-feet putt at the last, the host squad secured an 8-2 advantage, headed into round three.

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