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Morning 9: Taylor wins in desert | Fighting in Phoenix | DJ victorious

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Monday morning, golf fans, as an eventful WM Phoenix Open created plenty of noise over the weekend.

1. Taylor rallies to victory

AP report…” Nick Taylor had an emotional victory last year in the Canadian Open, capped by an unforgettable tackle.”

  • “The 35-year-old Canadian golfer made more memories at the Phoenix Open with a massive rally to take down Charley Hoffman.”
  • “Taylor rallied from 3 shots down with four holes left in regulation and made an 11-foot birdie putt to beat Hoffman on the second hole of a playoff on Sunday, capping another wild week at the Phoenix Open.”
Full piece.

2. Hoshino takes Qatar Masters for first title

AP report…”Rikuya Hoshino of Japan captured his first European tour title by shooting 4-under 68 to win the Qatar Masters by a stroke on Sunday.”

  • “Hoshino, 27, rolled in a par putt from 5 feet at the 18th hole and punched the air after holding off playing partner Ugo Coussaud, who made birdie at the last to finish alone in second place.”
Full piece.

3. DJ wins LIV Las Vegas

Evin Priest for Golf Digest…”LIV Golf Las Vegas was a show, and like the dozens of others held in the casinos along The Strip, this one came to a dramatic end.”

  • “In cold and windy conditions on Saturday at Las Vegas Country Club, six players shared the lead at 10 under with three holes to play, and Dustin Johnson birdied three of the last six to shoot one-under-par 69 and finish 54 holes at 12 under to claim his third overall LIV title by one shot.”
Full piece.

4. Fighting in Phoenix

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Things continue to get out of hand in the desert.”

  • “A day after WM Phoenix Open officials had to close entrances and suspend alcohol sales to quell some of the rowdiness, there were several not-so-great incidents between players and fans Sunday at TPC Scottsdale.”
  • “Zach Johnson was recorded getting heated with a heckler. “I’m just sick of it … shut up!” Johnson shouted in frustration before storming off.”
Full piece.

5. Ben An’s take…

6. Winning WITB

Presented by 2nd Swing

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (10 degrees)

Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Blue Tour Spec 6 X

3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees)

Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Blue Tour Spec 6 X

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max (18 degrees)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV 85 TX

Hybrid: Titleist TSR2 (21 degrees)

Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 95 X

Irons: Titleist T200 (4), Titleist T100 (5-9)

Shafts: Temper Dynamic Gold S400

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM10 (46-10F, 54-14F), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks (58-T)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Grip: SuperStroke Zenergy Pistol Tour

Full WITB.
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Tour Rundown: Taylor takes title | Kobori edges Shin | Hoshino Masters Qatar

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There’s nothing quite like an unanticipated gift. Mine (and yours) came courtesy of the PGA of Australia’s Players Series. Kazuma Kobori was the winner in Norwest NSW, but the story was just behind his victory.

Things got a little wild in Scottsdale, as they always do. Colombia’s Korn Ferry event saw two scores in the 50s and neither belonged to the victor. In Qatar, a door opened on Sunday for a slew of pursuers, and the winner escaped by one shot.

Four tournaments seems like the right number for a rundown, so let’s not delay any longer. Welcome to the February 12 edition of Tour Rundown.

PGA of Australia Players Series: Kobori edges Shin by one

Jenny Shin really had no idea that the Webex Series Sydney was a men’s event. Perhaps she looked at the yardage of the Castle Hill Country Club or maybe it was some other reason. In any event, there was Shin, posting rounds of 63-67-68-67 and reaching 23 under par. Only New Zealand’s Kobori exceeded her effort, and he was fortunate to do so.

Both golfers were 5 under par on the day through 10 holes, but Shin stumbled and tripped at 11 and 12. She went double and single bogey to give back three shots. The final six holes saw Kobori play cautious golf, closing in one-under the rest of the way. Shin fought back bravely, making three birdies coming home.

2023 saw Lexi Thompson play great golf at the Shriners, and Shin’s performance at Castle Hill served notice that 2024 will be a marvelous year of golf for all tours. Kazuma Kobori will no doubt earn a battlefield promotion to the DP World Tour with his third victory of the wraparound season. All credit to him for balanced play down the stretch and over the week.

PGA Tour: Taylor adds Phoenix title to resume

When last we checked in with Nick Taylor, he was tending to good friend and fellow Canadian pro Adam Hadwin, who was decked by a security guard after Taylor won the Canadian Open in June. Taylor blazed across TPC Scottsdale on Thursday, posting 11 birdies and seven pars for a round of 60. Friday saw him battle weather and go 10 strokes higher. He rebounded over the extended, two-day third round with 68. As they say, it’s not how you start but how you finish.

Sunday was a long day in the valley of the sun. Taylor was paired with Sahith Theegala and Andrew Novak in the 2:15 trio, but the news of the morning was all Charley Hoffman. Despite beginning play three groups ahead of Taylor, Hoffman was but one shot in arrears. The top of the leaderboard was jammed with potential, and Hoffman wasted no time getting out front. Four birdies over the first 11 holes brought him to the top. A bogey at 12 slowed the train, but an eagle-birdie-birdie run over the next three holes made him the man to beat.

Nick Taylor turned in a symmetrical card of five pars-two birdies-par-birdie on each nine. Knowing that he needed birdie at the last to gain overtime, Taylor bailed right and found rough. His approach ended ten feet from the hole, and his putt for the tie was true. In the playoff, both golfers made birdie at 18 the first time round. On the second tour, Hoffman went way left but carried the water. He ended up in the church pew bunkers and reached the putting surface, some 30 feet distant. Taylor once again headed right, with nearly the same approach as regulation. He once again found safety, ending 11 feet from the hole. Hoffman’s effort for three was close, and it was left to Taylor to three-peat Sunday birdies at the closer, for the win. Was there any doubt?

DP World Tour: Hoshino is Master of Qatar

Rikuya Hoshino has played professionally since 2016. The majority of his competition and victories have come on the Japan Golf Tour. Hoshino began to play more internationally in 2023 and nearly pulled off a huge upset at the 2023 Australian Open in December. He gained a spot in overtime against Min Woo Lee but was unable to defeat Australia’s international star.

This week in Qatar, Hoshino and everyone else were staring up at Denmark’s Rasmus Højgaard. The Dane had rebounded from an opening 73, with middle-round cards of 66 and 67. Unfortunately for Højgaard, another 73 awaited on Sunday. Two bogies in the opening four holes set his plans back, and he struggled to retain form. A one-under, back nine brought him back to a top-10 finish.

With Højgaard’s tumble, opportunity knocked for players like Hoshino, France’s Ugo Coussard, and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson. Jamieson charged hard after a third-hole bogey. Six birdies, added to an eagle two at the 16th, brought him to 65 on the day and -12 for the week. Jamieson improved 15 rungs on the day, finishing solo third. Coussard also posted one bogey on Sunday, but more than countered it with four birdies. His closing 69 eased him past Jamieson, and gave him a chance at victory.

Hoshino stood 2 under on the day when he reached the 16th tee. Summoning his best play, he turned in birdies at the next two holes, to reach 14-under par. With a shot in the hand, Hoshino played the par-five 18th conservatively. A 3.5-foot putt found the heart of the hole, and Hoshino had ascended to a new level of triumph.

Korn Ferry Tour: Despite scores in the 50s, mid-60s win the week

The Country Club de Bogotá has two courses: the Pacos and the Lagos. The Pacos is the easier of the two, and Cristobal del Solar made his case for greatness on Thursday. The Chilean went full off on day one with a score of 57, highlighted by nine birdies and two eagles. Unfortunately for CDS, he had to play the Lagos course the next three days. 57 was followed by 69, then 75, and Mr. 57 found himself on the outside, looking in. On Sunday, del Solar solved the Lagos course, coming home in 63 for a solo fifth-place finish.

Aldrich Potgeiter followed Thursday’s 57 with a 59 of his own. A recent, KFTour winner in the Bahamas, Potgeiter moved into first position as del Solar wobbled. That was it for the South African Potgeiter, however. Weekend rounds of 73-71 dropped him to a 20th-place tie. Since lightning in a bottle wasn’t the answer this week, what was? In the end, Kevin Velo had it.

Velo didn’t score below 64, but he didn’t score above 67. He reached 22 under par, but so did Brian Campbell. The two Americans went to an extra hole, and Velo made quick work of his opponent. Despite not seeing the fairway on the bonus hole, Velo found the green in two and two-putted for birdie. Campbell was unable to match that number, and the San Jose State alum was a Korn Ferry Tour winner.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Wedge Stamping Caviar: Gold Medal Edition

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Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers…But really, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour we spotted this week at the WM Phoenix Open.

Grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please. And be sure to check out the rest of our photos from the WM Phoenix Open when you’re done.

Michael Phelps, the most-decorated athlete in Olympic history, has 28 medals stamped on his 54-degree wedge, including his record 23 golds. Legendary achievement. Legendary wedge stamping. 

Former Alabama coach Nick Saban has an entirely appropriate stamping on his Ping Glide 4.o wedge. 

Left-hander Nicolo Galleti looks to be firing himself up with his “C’mon” stamping on his Ping Glide Forged Pro wedge. Orange paintfill on the initials is a nice touch as well!

“The other Tiger” S.H. Kim has continued the tradition of stamping his wedges — now new Vokey SM10’s — with his nickname. 

Classic stamping, traditional white paintfill for Matt Wallace. If it ain’t broke…

“The Classic,” this time on a Callaway wedge with a little extra sauce in the paintfill for Mr. de Chassert. 

With all due respect to the Vokeys pictured, it’s Nico Echavarria’s PXG wedge that grabs the attention, owing to his Colombian flag-colored paintfill and “ECH” stamping. 

When you have a last name that’s only a handful of letters, it’s an easy decision to have it stamped on your wedge, as Grayson Sigg has done here with on his Fourteen RM4. 

Akron, Ohio, native Justin Lower is nothing if not loyal to the franchise that drafted the “kid from Akron.” 

“The Classic” with a little extra sauce here as Billy Horschel has the bent loft (62 degrees) of his wedge stamped near his initials. 

Check out the rest of our photos from the WM Phoenix Open.

 

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Tour Photo Galleries

Putters Aplenty: Flatsticks in focus at the WM Phoenix Open

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This week was a great week for putters. Heck, Michael Phelps and Zac Blair’s custom Camerons established that fact by themselves. But there were plenty of other interesting flatsticks on display.

You never know exactly what you are going to get with the equipment photos from a PGA Tour event. Depending on who is where when, field size, what’s happening in the product release calendar, where the event is in the season, and of course, the weather, there are numerous variables at play.

One thing that’s a relative constant, however, is WM Phoenix Open week is a good week for gear photos. And this year was no different. We’ve already rounded up all of our photos in a table of contents here and our Tour Reporter, Andrew Tursky has provided a curation of his favorite shots with context only he can deliver.

Hence, another edition of Putters Aplenty.

Ryo Hisatsune

According to our always-in-the-know tour photographer, Hisatsune purchased this putter off the Scotty Cameron Gallery website. One of us!

Ben Taylor

The LSU alum does his work on the greens with a Scotty Cameron T-11 Proto putter with a SuperStroke 3.0 XL grip.

Garrick Higgo

Left-hander Garrick Higgo utilizes the new L.A.B. Golf DF3 putter, a TPT putter shaft, a SuperStroke Pistol GT 1.0 grip.

Billy Horschel

Billy Ho is putting in Phoenix with a PLD Anser with tungsten plugs in the heel and toe of the putter for added stability.

Michael Phelps

A custom Cameron fit for the king of gold medals! Phelps told our Andrew Tursky that the flatstick was too beautiful to putt with and he wanted to hang it on a wall. Cameron told Phelps he better use it!

Lanto Griffin

Griffin continues to roll it with his Sik Flo C putter.

Zac Blair

Leader in the clubhouse for most interesting putter this week, Zac Blair, a certifiably Cameron crazy, arrived in Phoenix with this custom Circle L Cam with a Tiffany Blue paintfill. Our Brian Knudson wrote about the putter here.

Sungjae Im

Long-time Scotty Cameron user Sungjae Im has upgraded into a new T-5.5 putter with a single siteline.

Charley Hoffman

The WM sponsee remains loyal to his T-8 Prototype Cameron with unique alignment markings on an equally unique crown.

Adriene Dumont de Chassart

The Belgian represents the Odyssey contingent this week with his new Ai-One #7 putter.

Check out more in-hand photos of putters from the WM Phoenix Open in our galleries here.

 

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