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Tour Rundown: McIlroy wins Tour Championship for 3rd time | Jill McGill | Thriston Lawrence

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The PGA Tour’s wraparound 2021-2022 season closed its circle on Sunday in Atlanta. The USGA visited Dayton, Ohio, for the Senior Women’s Open. Korn Ferry played its penultimate event in nearby Columbus. Across the globe, the LPGA met in Ottawa; the DP World Tour awakened in Switzerland, and the Tour Champions marveled at Michigan. Another day in many offices, and a weekend worth revisiting.

For me, school teaching and high school golf coaching begin on Monday, so this feels like both an end and a beginning as well. It’s Tour Rundown time, with six compelling events that merit a glance. Time to shine!

USGA: Jill McGill wins third different USGA championship at NCR

The “NCR” in NCR Country Club stands for National Cash Register. The tee markers at the club’s two courses are keepsakes: old-school metal button registers that you find in antique shops and Monopoly games. The USGA has excelled in bringing its senior championships to golf courses and clubs that operate out of the public eye most days. NCR has two wondrous courses, and the South had the opportunity to host the Women’s Senior Open in 2022. For most of the week, pundits pondered great names like Davies, Alfredsson, and Sorenstam. On Sunday, a different story played out.

Jill McGill, in another life, won two separate USGA events. She won the the USGA Amateur in 1993, and the defunct National Public Links the following year. She also competed for the US side in the 1994 Curtis Cup. In 2022, McGill added a third, separate trophy to her USGA case, at NCR. On a Sunday when scores soared into the mid and high 70s, the golfer who kept her head and ground out pars would ultimately win. As the heralded leaders, all former champions of this event, lost ground, McGill persevered.

Both McGill and Laura Davies reached minus-five at different points on the day. Davies appeared to be moving effortlessly along, until an unthinkable quadruple bogey at the 12th derailed her locomotive. The English champion came home in 42, and finished in a tie for fifth with Juli Inkster and Annika Sorenstam. McGill reached the five-under figure on the 16th green, and might have realized at that moment what was within reach. She kept her game together and, despite closing with two bogeys, had enough strokes in hand to edge Leta Lindley (birdie at the last) by one.

PGA Tour: McIlroy wins Tour Championship for 3rd time

In what has been a mentally and emotionally-exhausting year, Rory McIlroy fittingly surged on day four to win his second PGA Tour event of the year, and 22nd of his career. In the tour’s only, staggered start, players begin the week with strokes in hand, based on their season-long standing in the FedEx Cup. Scottie Scheffler, the Masters champion, was the lead pony at week’s start. For most of the week, Scheffler was able to preserve his advantage. Sunday brought a dearth of birdies for the Texan, and he would ultimately tie for second, with Sungjae Im.

Sensing an opportunity, McIlroy a six-birdie round over the par-70 East Lake Golf Club. His round was marred by bogey at the first and the 14th, but no matter. Chaser Sungjae Im made double at the 14th, and despite a pair of closing birdies, could only reach -20 and tie Scheffler for the silver medal. McIlroy bounced back from bogey at 14 with birdie at 15, then parred his way home for -21 and a pair of titles: the week’s trophy and the season-long, FedEx Cup championship.

DP World Tour title to Lawrence of South Africa in playoff

Thriston Lawrence has made noise this season on the DP World Tour. In November of 2021, Lawrence won the Joburg Open for his first DPWT title. On Sunday in the Swiss Alps, Lawrence broke through the glass wall for a second victory, this time in a playoff. Opposing him in extra time was England’s Matt Wallace. How did each reach the overtime? Have a look.

Lawrence held the lead at day’s dawn, and four birdies should have been enough to secure a title in regulation. Stumbles at the fifth (double bogey) and sixteenth (bogey) undid most of his good work, and Lawrence closed with one-under 69 on the day. Over the same course of time, Wallace picked off four birdies of his own, with nary a bogey. He came from three shots back on the day, and finally caught Lawrence with a birdie at the 14th. The two would par in and reach the 72nd hole at 18-under par.

Upon their return to the 18th tee to settle matters, Wallace got into trouble and made bogey. Lawrence carved out a par, and the deed was done. With the victory came a move into the OWGR world top 100 rankings, and the title King of the Mountains for the South African champion.

LPGA: Reto wins Canadian Women’s Open by one

Imagine ticking these boxes for your first LPGA win: a national championship; hold off major champions down the stretch; post 67 on the final day. All those circles were filled by South Africa’s Paula Reto, who joined countrymate Thriston Lawrence (see above) as a winner on the week. Reto began the week with 62 at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, in the Canadian capital. She lost the lead to Narin An after 36 holes. An held the 54-hole lead, but posted 72 on Sunday, and watched a number of players surge past her, into contention.

Among them were Lydia Ko, who had 63 on Sunday for solo fourth position. Hye-Jin Choi had 69 of her own, and tied Korda for second spot. Korda, not quite recovered from her bout with illness earlier this season, closed with 67 of her own, that featured all sorts of ingredients. Try one eagle, five birdies, three bogeys, and nine pars on the day for the Floridian. Like Choi, Korda would come up one putt shy of the top spot.

Reto went out like a champion, posting 31 over her first nine holes. The back was a one-over struggle, but it was enought to secure an inaugural title for the Purdue alumna. After 157 starts on the LPGA Tour, Reto is, at last, a victor.

Korn Ferry Tour: Lingmerth headed back to PGA Tour after win in Ohio

Such is the level of importance this week, that the penultimate event in the Korn Ferry Tour playoff run comes fifth on the list. The Scarlet course at Ohio State University is an annual homecoming for many, former collegiate players. Most in the field arrive with one goal in mind: secure passage to the PGA Tour for the upcoming season. This week in Columbus, six golfers gained PGA Tour status for 2022-2023, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

David Lingmerth, one of Sweden’s top golfers, signed for 62 on Sunday, just like Paula Reto (see above) in Ottawa. His 66 on Friday gave him a 128 for 36 holes, and had competitors wondering if Lingmerth had played the Scarlet or the Gray course at OSU’s golf complex. No matter, as 71 in round three gave the field hope, and Lingmerth, a reason to lock in his focus. Closing fast were Paul Haley II (65 on Saturday) and Zecheng Dou (67 in round three.)

On Sunday, Lingmerth played perfect golf over the first 16 holes. Three birdies had kept the field at bay, but a 17th-hole bogey gave hope to the chasers. With his lead down to one, Lingmerth closed like a champion, making birdie to secure not only a win, but a return to the PGA Tour in 2022-2023. Joining him will be countryman Henrik Norlander, Dean Burmester, Joseph Bramlett, Austin Cook, and Michael Gligic.

PGA Tour Champions: Stricker wins second of season in Grand Blanc

2022 had been somewhat quiet for Steve Stricker. He didn’t find himself in charge of a national team, and his only win came back in May. True, it was a major (Regions Tradition) but other titles found their way into the hands of his competitors.

This week, in the state across the lake (Stricker is from Wisconsin) Stricker put a putting tip from Jerry Kelly to good use. After opening with 70, Stricker turned to fellow Badger Kelly for a bit of flat-stick assistance. Rounds of 64 and 67 followed, and Stricker moved to 15 under at the Ally Challenge. Out of nowhere came Rhode Island’s Brett Quigley. Since 2020, Quigley has chased a second Champions victory; he won in Morocco that year. On Sunday, he simply ran out of holes.

Quigley had two birdies and two bogeys saw each other off through fifteen holes. Sixteen brought him an eagle three, and birdies at 17 and 18 moved him agonizingly close to a playoff with Stricker. Quigley finished at minus-fourteen, good for solo second. Knowing that the chase was afoot, Stricker posted consecutive birdies from 13 through 16, and walked pars in at the final two holes, for 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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Tour Rundown: Canadian Thanksgiving arrives early at Sanderson Farms | Fox, Hull

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Out in Mesquite, Nevada, on October 1st,  Martin Borgmeier won the Pro Long Drive 2022 Open Division championship with a blast of 426 yards. Quite the achievement for the German long-drive specialist, and certainly something that flies not quite on the pro golf radar. You have to wonder when the world tours will figure out a way to leverage the sideshow and main events and create even greater content for golf fans. For now, we have four events to run down from the past two weeks, and we’ll explain all about that as we move through four of the world’s great tours. Let’s have an October Rundown, whaddayasay?

PGA Tour: Canadian Thanksgiving arrives early at Sanderson Farms

It seems like forever since we’ve seen overtime in professional golf. We watched the Packers and the Patriots do battle in an extra session on Sunday evening, but golf has gone a few weeks since a good, old-fashioned, playoff. Thanks to Sepp Straka and Mackenzie Hughes, we were gifted some bonus golf in Jackson, Mississippi.

Both Straka and Hughes finished round four at 17-under par. Straka began the day two shots behind Mark Hubbard, with Hughes starting one back of the lead. Hubbard struggled on day four, ultimately finishing in a tie for fifth after 74. Straka notched six birdies on his scorecard, against one bogey, to move up two spots in the standings. Hughes posted four birdies of his own, against a solitary hiccough, and away the pair went to the 18th tee. After pars the first pass through, the duo returned to the final tee deck for a second crack at a resolution.

With light dwindling, both players found the fairway. From 164 yards, Hughes sent an iron skyward, landing it about fifteen feet right of the hole. Straka’s approach, from a bit closer, drew a bit past the stick and released to the side fringe, about 25 feet distant. Straka’s putt had great weight, but drifted left at the end. Hughes lined up his putt and delivered a dagger to the center of the hole. Canadian Thanksgiving had, indeed, arrived ahead of schedule.

DP World Tour: Dunhill Links is Fox’s second win of 2022

There’s is something Hoganesque about the career trajectory of New Zealand’s Ryan Fox. The 35-year old didn’t claim a major-tour title until his 32nd year, and that came in the Super Six (a great event if there ever was one) in Perth, in 2019. Fast forward to 2022, post pandemic, and Fox claims a second DPWT title, this time in United Arab Emirates, in February. Now it’s October, where the trees are bare of all they wear. Fox finds himself in the Kingdom of Golf, in the auld towne itself, St. Andrews. On Saturday at Kingsbarns, Fox posted a stellar 65, but still found himself chasing the leader, Richard Mansell. On Sunday at the Old Course, Fox had his stumbles, but found seven birdies around the loop to post a 64. When Mansell closed with 76, Fox had an unexpected, one-shot triumph over England’s Callum Shinkwin and Sweden’s Alex Noren.

LPGA: The Ascendant is second stateside win for Charley

England’s Charley Hull claimed her first LPGA win in 2016, at the Tour Championship. No one anticipated that six years would pass before trophy number two found its way to her hands. On Sunday, Hull stared down Lydia Ko, Xiyu Lin, and a host of other birdie machines, and eaked out a one-shot win at The Colony, in Texas.

Hull had taken over the lead on Friday, on the strength of a 64. Her two-shot advantage over Lin went away on Saturday, when she posted her highest round of the week, a 71. Knowing that low was the order of the day on Sunday, Hull began her march early. Four birdies in the first seven holes gave her the lead, but a bogey at the eighth brought a halt to thoughts of an early coronation. Hull regrouped on the inward half, ran off three birdies from 12 through 14, followed by another at 17. It was a good thing that she did.

Intent on chasing her down, Hiyu Lin closed in furious fashion. A birdie at 13 was followed by a birdie-eagle stretch at 16-17, and the lead was but one. Needing birdie at the last, Lin could only manage par, and the title went home with Hull.

PGA Tour Champions: PURE Insurance Championship to Flesch

Tour Champions was off this week, before resuming its schedule in Jacksonville, Florida. Last week, the PURE Championship along the Monterey Peninsula in California hosted junior amateurs from across the country. The First Tee saw these representatives paired with the senior professionals, and both sides of the age meter put on quite a show. Paul Stankowski and Ken Duke, both journeymen with a few titles on their resumes, shared the lead after 36 holes. With everyone at Pebble Beach for the final round, the playing field was level.

Making runs at the title were Ernie Els (64 for -10), Steven Alker (69 for same) and Stankowski (70 to tie the first two.) Facing a seven-feet birdie putt at the last for 68 and minus-eleven was portsider Steve Flesch. We wouldn’t be writing about him if he didn’t make it, and the lefty drained the curving putt to lock up another Tour Champions title.

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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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