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Tour Rundown: Cantlay repeats | US Am | KFT in Boise

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A second, national amateur champion was crowned this weekend. The PGA Tour of the USA reduced its active roster to 30 golfers for next week’s Tour Championship. The LPGA took the week off, while the other major tours traveled to the Czech Republic, lower New York State, and Idaho. Golf fans kept one eye on mock fantasy football drafts and another on the comings and goings of tournaments. If you missed any of the results while selecting a kicker in the third round, well, we can help you with the golf, but that’s just bad fantasy drafting. Kind of like this lag putt from Philip Knowles.

Time for Tour Rundown, friends!

PGA Tour: Cantlay Coruscates at BMW Championship

Patrick Cantlay’s magical run seemed to wane as soon as the nickname Patty Ice was bestowed on him. He had some wins, but not as many, nor the majors, that many anticipated would come his way. This week, the Californian champion returned to the winner’s circle with a defense of his BMW Championship. In 2021, Cantlay won the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs in Maryland; he returned to the middle atlantic to claim a second trophy, this time at Wilmington Country Club in Delaware.

Cantlay grabbed the lead from Adam Scott on Saturday. He posted a six-under 65 to ease one stroke ahead of Olympic champion Xander Schauffele, and three-time tour winner Scott Stallings. Back in April, Schauffele and Cantlay partnered to win the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. On this day, there would be no camaraderie.

On Sunday, the gas tanks of the leaders appeared empty. None could dip deep into the 60s, to ensure a comfortable margin of victory. Only K. H. Lee, winner of the last two Byron Nelson Classics, could go as low as Cantlay’s Saturday score. Lee’s 65 moved him up 21 spots, into a tie for fifth.

Schauffele did not shine on Sunday. An even-par front nine was followed by an even-par back side, and the X Man dropped to a tie for third with Scottie Scheffler. Stallings posted 69 on the final day, and was able to secure a solo second finish. Cantlay found one final birdie, at the penultimate 17th, and that three gave him a one-shot advantage at the last. A gutsy swing from a sidehill, sandy lie was enough to secure win #2 of 2022, and win #9 of his career.

DP World Tour: Czech Masters welcomes Kieffer to the winner’s parking lot

At one juncture in Sunday’s final round, ten of the top fourteen golfers had zero wins on the DP World Tour. The odds were in favor of someone breaking through for a career-changing weekend. Would it be Gavin Green, the third-round leader? How about Tapio Pukkanen, who led at Albatross on 2021’s final hole, only to find water with his approach and fall away? Or, would someone like Thomas Pieters break all their hearts and claim another, DP World Tour title?

The first to fall away was Pieters. The Belgian stood three-under on the day when he ripped driver so far down the 11th fairway that he found a centerline bunker. No problem; just a wedge left. Except, the wedge landed over the green, hard, and bounded out of bounds. Triple bogey. Welcome to eighth place.

Next came the unfortunate Pukkanen. With last year’s watery finish in his mind, the Finland phenom tried to guide a low stinger into the final fairway, instead of swinging freely. Water left, bogey, third place. If it was any consolation, Pukkanen would have needed birdie at the last to reach a playoff.

Green followed. The Malaysian masher found a pond that no one knew existed, on the 14th. Away went his two-shot advantage, thanks to the double bogey that he soon had to scribble on his scorecard. Birdie at any of the final four holes would have brought him into a tie with Max Kiefer, but it was not to be. We simply won’t show you Green’s 180-degree lip-out on the final hole, that would have crafted a playoff. It’s simply inhumane.

The German Kieffer earlier had played the shot of the week into the brawny 17th hole, and converted the wee birdie putt to lick the envelope on his first tour title.

Korn Ferry Tour: Boise Open goes Gordon’s way

If Philip Knowles had been able to secure a par at the 72nd hole, he would have posted four rounds in the 60s. He also would have won the Boise Open outright. This sequence of sentences would not exist had he made that par. Knowles made bogey, and dropped into a three-way tie with MJ Daffue and Will Gordon, coming ever-so-close to leading from start to finish. The trio headed back to the 18th tee, but the hole was no kinder to Knowles for a second time in half an hour.

Knowles and Daffue stumbled up the closing hole with double bogey. Gobsmacked at his good fortune, Gordon simply played the hole as the architect drew the plans. Fairway to green to hole in two putts. With that simple formula, the Vanderbilt alumnus had his first professional victory.

PGA Tour Champions:  Dick’s Sporting Goods Open welcome the Irish touch

Although he never won it (and may never have played it) Padraig Harrington is seasoned enough to recall the old B.C. Open, on the regular PGA Tour. The final playing of the old BCO took place in 2006, and the event converted the following year to a senior event. Golfers have made the pilgrimmage to Endicott, NY, for over 50 years. The small-town atmosphere of the tournament is unique in professional golf, and these sorts of events need to endure.

Enough maudlin reminiscance. Harrington found himself one shot back of Canadian Mike Weir at the 2/3 pole of this year’s DSG Open. Knowing that Weir has not won for the better part of two decades, Harrington had to fancy his chances. Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk lurked, but the greatest challenge would come from the Thailand titan, Thongchai Jaidee.

Harrington played error-free golf along the banks of the Susquehanna river on Sunday, and forced the field to chase him down. Five birdies brought him to 16-under par. Jaidee gave proper chase, including a magnificent chip-in for two at the drivable, par-four 16th. His 65 was enough to elevate him to second place, but not nearly enough to reel Harrington in. The victory was Harrington’s second of the year, after winning the Senior Open in June.

USGA: US Amateur sees 36th seed outlast 34th seed on 36th hole 

Sam Bennett was in everyone’s sites at the beginning of the week. That’s how things are for the third-ranked amateur in the world. In contrast, Ben Carr was not on anyone’s short list at the beginning of US Amateur week in New Jersey. As often happens in match play, Goliath and David worked their ways through the field, and found each other on the first tee in the championship match.

Neither Bennett nor Carr was forced to endure the 11-for-7 playoff, but neither figured in the medalist race, either. As matches closed, it became apparent that this was not a week when the course would determine the winner. Ridgewood, a classic, A.W. Tillinghast layout, gave the field a wonderful playing ground, but did not insert itself into the outcome. It left that maneuvering to the players, which is a rarity these days. Too often we hear complaints of greens-too-quick or fairways-too-narrow. Not this week, not at Ridgewood.

The final match began with a series of jabs. The opponents traded wins on two occasions through the first seven holes. Bennett won the ninth, 14th, and 18th holes in the morning round, and took a three-up lead to lunch. Carr will certainly look back at the 11-hole stretch, from 8 through 18, as the turning point in the match.

In the afternoon, Bennett quickly stretch his lead to five holes, winning the 20th and 21st holes. At that point, Carr and caddy Will Wilcox decided that they would not go quietly away. Carr won the 23rd, 24th, and 28th holes to reduce the deficit to two holes. Bennett would win the short 30th hole with par, and would probably point to that stemming of the tide as the key to his win.

Carr wasn’t done. He won the 32nd and 35th holes to head to the last hole needing one final win to square the match. Both golfers made par at the closing beast, and Bennett had the Havermeyer trophy firmly in his grasp.

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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 Comment

  1. Bob

    Aug 23, 2022 at 1:08 am

    RIP Tom Weiskopf.

    Shame on the WGHOF. Couples in, Weiskopf not. On what planet? Best courses of any player turned architect, even Nicklaus. Would have won 12 more majors if not for the Nicklaus era – 6 on merit, 6 more on increased confidence. Misunderstood, outspoken, told the truth even if unpopular.

    RIP my friend.

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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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