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Lucas Glover’s winning WITB: 2023 Wyndham Championship

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Driver: Srixon Z785 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 X

3-wood: Ping G430 Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

5-wood: Ping G430 Max (18 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 10 X

Irons: Srixon ZX5 Mk II (4), Srixon ZX7 Mk II (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-PW)

Wedges: Cleveland RTX 6 ZipCore Tour Rack (52, 56, 60)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: L.A.B. Mezz.1 Max

Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV

Grips: Golf Pride V55 Cord

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. geohogan

    Aug 21, 2023 at 8:17 pm

    Ventus joins a long list of shaft design, patterned after the original, “Nunchuk”
    Designed and patented by Gerry Hogan, decades ago, Nunchuk has extremely stiff butt and tip with flexible mid section(nunchaku). This design, now copied, provides low launch, lower spin, increased runnout and consistent impact.
    Most top shafts before “Nunchuk” release the clubhead before impact, changing launch angle and face angle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XVR3pNx6VI&t=5s

  2. Pingback: WITB: Lucas Glover, 2023 Wyndham Championship - D'Lance GolfD'Lance Golf

  3. Matt

    Aug 6, 2023 at 9:34 pm

    Looked like he was using a srixon ball….

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5 Things We Learned: Saturday at the Women’s PGA

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The last 2024 round of the regular-tours, USA-based, major championships is upon us. Sure, we have both British Opens and the Evian Championship still to come, but the US Opens, the Invitationals (Chevron and Masters) and PGAs will be in the rearview mirror after Sunday evening. We should savor this final day at Sahalee for that reason and many others.

The dominant theme at this year’s, grand slam events has been consistency. No competitor will have the final-round charge as an option. No one is returning from five shots off with a 63 for the win. That’s the case at Sahalee as well, so the number of contenders has whittled to a handful.

The land of timber gave us another lesson in strategy on Saturday. Lapses in attention or execution were punhished with small cuts. One shot here, another shot there, and away went opportunity. Sunday should present more of the same, although hidden hole locations might force some into the mistake of chasing after them, and result in larger shot losses. Today’s installment of Five Things We Learned bids farewell to a few challengers and welcomes a smaller number of new faces to consideration.

1. Amy with a Y in the A Position

Amy Yang doubled her one-shot advantage with a timely birdie at the 53rd hole on Saturday. She made two bogeys on day three, and followed each with a par-three birdie on the subsequent hole. Who knows what that means, beyond an ability to recover quickly and forget transgression with immediacy. Yang has totaled 10 birdies (3-4-3) over the first three days of competition. She isn’t harvesting the stroke-savers in bushels, but she is also avoiding large numbers of bogeys and others.

This is the prize recipe, the winning formula, for major championships. The prescription for Sunday is written, and one more opportunity for Amy to collect the elixir has arrived. She has played the outward nine in par figures or better each day. If she is able to secure one more, she should head to the stretch with the lead.

2. Here comes Lilia

With the torrid six months of 2024 Korda, the achievements of Lilia Vu fell away from the public eye. It didn’t help that she was away from competition, recuperating from injury. Lilia Vu was a top-ranked amateur before training on the Epson and LPGA circuits. She is one of the world’s best now, with two major titles in her dossier. On Saturday, she was the best player on the course, and another performance like that one will be hard to restrain by her competition.

Vu began with a stumble on Thursday, posting three-over par. She began to make up ground on Friday with 70, and climbed back into contention on Saturday, with a six-birdie 68. The difference between her round and Yang’s was a pair of birdies. She’ll need more than that pair of birdies to summit Sahalee on Sunday, but another six stroke-savers on day four will provide the chance.

3. Sarah and Lexi have work to do

Sarah Schmelzel and Lexi Thompson entered round three with hopes of making a statement. The microphone turned off for both. Schmelzel doubled her two birdies with four bogeys, while Thompson made four bogeys that she could not afford, against three birdies. Both golfers will need the round of their lives on Sunday to hold off Vu and chase down Yang.

Fairways and greens is wished subconsciously as we pass fellow competitors on our way to different points on the course. It’s such a simple form of encouragement, but it will define the final day at the 2024 PGA Championship. If either Schmelzel or Thompson is able to reach 15 or more greens in regulation figures, she will find herself in contention. The putts will fall, and the finish line will reveal itself.

4. Could it be Lauren or Miyu?

Logic and wisdom say No, but logic and wisdom are not match for hope and opportunity. If Lauren Hartlage or Miyu Yamashita lifts the championship trophy (which should be called the Didrikson, or the Wright, or the Gunderson) on Sunday, it will put punctuation on the ultimate, outsider story. Neither one has a tour title to her name, and neither one has a top-ten finish in a major professional event. That’s the point where hope and opportunity need to knock.

Hartlage has posted consecutive 69s, after opening with 73. Yamashita has been under par each day, with 71-70-70. That’s some terrific golf for players with games suited to Sahalee. For the record, Sunday at a major is like none of the first three rounds. What Lauren and Miyu encounter on day four, paired with Amy Yang in the final game, will demand something they haven’t faced. It’s called, simply, the next step.

5. Prediction Time!

The penultimate game features Lilia Vu and Sarah Schmelzel, and welcomes Caroline Inglis to the conversation. Inglis had her hiccough on Friday, when she dug but one birdie out of the round. Saturday brought a pair of birdies and a par-five eagle, and moved her to within four shots of the leader.

On Sunday, I predict that Inglis will duplicate Pajaree Anannarukarn’s hole-in-one, and that she’ll hole her tee ball on the par-three fifth hole. With that sort of start, Inglis will reach 66 on the day, an entirely-unexpected score, and will sneak past the field to claim her first LPGA and major titles.

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5 Things We Learned: Friday at the Women’s PGA

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Not every shot comes off as planned, and not every golfer makes it to the weekend. As we see below, sometimes you do what has to be done, even if it means a complete 180. Sahalee is not your typical championship course. When it arrived on the major championship scene in 1998, it claimed a solid champion in Vijay Singh. It also claimed great outcry, for the narrow nature of its fairways. Workability of shots was lost, some claimed. Few recovery options from beneath those trees, others cried. Well, that’s golf in the Pacific Northwest, at least at Sahalee.

The 2024 Women’s PGA is the second at the venerable club, eight years after Brooke Henderson won her first major title in a playoff. As often happens with the grand events, a mix of veterans and hopetobees has arrived in the final groups. The next 36 holes of play will bring drama and great viewing. How did we get here? Have a look at our five things we learned from day two at the 2024 Women’s PGA Championship.

1. First in the house: Sarah Schmelzel

I wrote about Cheyenne Knight making a move on Sunday. I was incorrect. It was Sarah Schmelzel who jumped up on Friday. The South Carolina alumna from Arizona etched six birdies against a single bogey on day two, to jump from one under to six deep, and from 14th to 1st position.

Schmelzel will tee it up in the day’s final game, tied with Amy Yang. In March, Schmelzel posted a second-place finish at Blue Bay, her best result on tour. She tied for 15th in last year’s PGA Championship; her best major finish as a professional was also at the PGA. In 2019, she came 14th. Sahalee would be a wonderful place for a double breakthrough (first LPGA and Major titles) but there are 36 fairways along the path, and much learning ahead.

How much learning? We couldn’t find video of her on Twitter, until we went back to her time as a USG Gamecock. Odds are, we’ll see a few reels on that platform today!

2. Next to the top: Amy Yang

If there were a trivia question about most top-five finishes in LPGA majors, without a major title on the resume, well, you know where I’m headed. Three at the Chevron; five at the US Open; two at the PGA; three at the British. That’s 13 top-five finishes for Amy Yang since 2010. If we add top-ten results, she has eight more.

How has Amy Yang not won a major championship? None of us around the coffee shop has any idea. She has five LPGA titles to her credit, and she seems to be the sort of disciplined golfer that wins major titles. On Friday, Yang drilled home four birdies for 68, and joined Sarah Schmelzel at the top of the pyramid. She and Schmelzel will be joined by Hinako Shibuno in the day’s final triumvirate. Yang’s card has been clean since the 4th green on day one. Continued pursuit of that scoring system will no doubt bring her again to the top five. Perhaps she can finally be the top one in Washington state.

3. Lexi hangs tough

Lexi Thompson has a pair of major titles on her resume. As she heads toward an announced retirement, she no doubt looks back with both smiles and frowns. Great champions always look back and see “I dids” and “What ifs.” If you’re not pulling for Amy Yang to break through, or Sarah S to double break through, you should be pulling for Lexi T to head off with one more major title.

Lexi stood seven-under par as she turned to Sahalee’s first nine holes, her second of the day. Four holes later, she had lost three shots, to double and single bogeys at two and four. Birdie at six, and bogey at eight, and Thompson was in for even-par 72, but not out of the running. She’ll peg her ball on Saturday in the penultimate trio, alongside Jin Young Ko and Hae Ran Ryu. Thompson’s quest is simple: make some birdies and avoid the bogeys.

4. Jin Young and Hinako rise to podium

Both JIn Young Ko and Hinako Shibuno are major champions. Each also has a set of nearly-dids on their resumes. Last month, Shibuno came second at the US Open. Ko hasn’t found the magic since a ninth-place tie at Chevron in 2023, but is too good a major-championship golfer to stay away for long.

Shibuno will tee off in Saturday’s final game, while Ko will be one group ahead. Shibuno has posted four birdies against two bogeys, each of the first two day. If she keeps up with that pattern, she’ll reach minus-eight by Sunday evening. Depending on course conditions and weather, that might be enough. As for Ko, Thursday’s four-birdie, four-bogey card was replaced by one that contained five birdies and one solitary miscue. More of the later, will give her the opportunity to add major title number three to her Wiki.

5. The ones we shall miss

Inexplicably, Nelly Korda once again suffered through an undesirable round in a major title. She began round two with four consecutive bogeys, and added a fifth at the sixth hole. She did not make her first birdie until the closing green; it served to bring her one shot shy of the cut line. She will be back, and soon, and all in golf hope that she is able to sort out the current malady. Golf needs Nelly.

Miss Korda wasn’t the only surprise struggler at Sahalee. Pornanong Phatlum, Nasa Hataoka, US Open challenger Wichanee Meechai, and Carlota Ciganda were there in the end, staring across the gate at the weekend. Sahalee is an acquired taste, bowling-alley narrow in spots, and symbolic of the extraordinary trees that inhabit the region. If your driving game isn’t on, recovery from the hardwood is nigh impossible.

 

 

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5 Things We Learned: Thursday at the Women’s PGA

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The 2024 Women’s PGA Championship features a return to Sahalee, near Seattle, where Brooke Henderson won her first major title. Henderson defeated Lydia Ko in a playoff, and the tournament featured play over the club’s North and South nines. This year’s tournament will showcase the same 18 holes, with expectations high for another dramatic finish.

Sahalee runs against the grain of golf’s current championship trend. The northwest USA course is known for its well-treed fairways and its narrow fairway corridors. You’ll not find the land-and-release style of architecture and conditioning that featured so prominently last week’s US Open at Pinehurst. Instead, players will have the opportunity to strategize carry-and-hold distances, more closely associated with the American style of play.

Regardless of your preference, welcome to another major championship week. The Women’s PGA championship celebrates its 10th playing this year, and it won’t be too heavy a lift to learn a quintet of news items each day from the field’s play. Settle in with a nice cup of coffee and enjoy the five things we learned on day one at the 2024 Women’s PGA Championship.

1. Lexi will not go quietly into that good night

Lexi Thompson has been, on many occasions, the featured competitor in the resolution of major titles. At far too many of those events, victory has fallen away, to the opposition. In Lexi, we see ourselves. She experiences in front of the camera, what often happens to us each weekend. She rises, time and again, to confront the impossibility of closing a tournament, of claiming glory. No matter how easy it may seem, it isn’t remotely easy to do.

When Lexi announced that the 2024 season would be her last, we both understood and regretted. She has taken time away from competition over the last five years, to recenter her life and balance her emotions. She has been vocal and public about the challenge and the struggle of growing up in competitive golf, and playing so hard, for so long. The announcement, and fate, have made us desperate for one final and great victory for the Floridian, so that she might ride off into this sunset with a triumphant smile.

On Thursday at Sahalee, Lexi rose to the first-round lead, thanks to six birdies. A pair of bogeys brought her back to minus-four, but she stands one shot clear of Nelly Korda and Patty Tavatanakit. Lexi isn’t one to fear the bogey lady, so her performance this week will depend on her ability to seek the birdies, and not hold back. Aren’t all of our fingers crossed?

2. The Chasers

Nelly needs no introduction; she is the top-ranked player in the world, with six wins (one of them a major) thus far in 2024. Tavatanakit burst onto the LPGA circuit with a 2021 major championship win at the ANA. Her second tour title came this year, at Honda Thailand. Last month, Nelly missed the cut at the US Open, while Patty did not figure in the outcome. One is at the top of her game, while the other seeks a return to the elite tier of women’s professional golf. Sahalee plays right into both golfers’ hands, so expect both to around through Sunday.

Like Lexi, Nelly had six birdies on the day. Her engine was momentarily derailed by a double bogey at the fourth hole, but she returned to the tracks and finished off a minus-three 69 on day one. Patty offered a streamlined round of three birdies and zero bogies, to match Korda’s performance. That’s what makes Sahalee so compelling: there will be rounds of high drama, with many birdies and a few others, alongside others with clean cards but fewer shots saved. We have no idea how this one will play out, and we’re engulfed by intrigue and mystery.

3. Eleven is a lucky number

Eleven golfers are tied at two-under par, a pair of shots off the lead. Among that assemblage are European golfers Celine Boutier (the Nelly Korda of wins in 2023) Leona Maguire, Charley Hull, and 2023 US Open champion Allisen Corpuz. That quintet of golfers sits at either one or zero major championships over their career arcs. As aficionados of the game know, majors elevate you to a higher strata, and each opportunity offered is a chance to ascend.

Among the Sahalee’s Eleven, Madalene Sagstrom offered the most interesting tour of the high 18. She posted five birdies, offset by three bogeys. Hinako Shibuno arrive next, with four birdies on the day, including a run of three in five holes, over the second nine.

4. Who struggled?

That’s the part of tournament coverage that no one relishes … finding out who didn’t have her best game, and what the second day might have on offer. Minjee Lee appeared to have one hand on the US Open trophy last month, only to lose her way over the final nine. She opened with 74, and has work to do to make the cut and contend.

Lydia Ko is one win away from the earned LPGA hall of fame, a hall like no other. Votes don’t get you in; wins do. 75 in round one doesn’t help her cause, but she has history with Sahalee, going back to that runner-up finish in 2016. A comeback from Ko would be an amazing story for the Return to Sahalee.

Lilia Vu has been on the PUP list for a few months, and was champing at a return to competition. Like Ko, she posted 75 and will need to reverse course to be around for the final 36 holes. Most confusing of all is the 76 turned in by Rose Zhang. Despite bursting onto the tour with a first-event win in 2023, and following that with a victory at the 2024 Founders Cup, the former, world top amateur has struggled to find her game in major championships. Perhaps that’s part of the learning curve. The curve continues this week for Zhang.

5. What’s in store for round two?

Despite hosting major championships adjacent to the LPGA, PGA, and Champions tours, Sahalee is an unknown commodity. Out of the public eye for vast stretches of time, it doesn’t boast signature holes and familiarity, as happens with other tracks. What is known is this: the putting surfaces will reward a true roll of the rock, so the emphasis will continue to be on the driver. Bomb and gouge doesn’t play well in Washington, due to the influence of the abundant tree population. Your accurate driver will have the best opportunity to stand tall through 36 holes. We’re going to pull out a surprise, second-round leader, by the name of Cheyenne Knight. We see the Texan reversing course in round two, with way more birdies than bogeys, with her reward being a place at the main table.

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