Connect with us

News

Tour Rundown: 4 straight for Nelly | Bhatia outlasts McCarthy

Published

on

A week of southern USA golf with a gambler’s flair, concluded on Sunday. The Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the national Drive, Chip, and Putt finals were celebrated in Augusta, Georgia. The LPGA offered its version of the OK Corral with the annual match-play event in Las Vegas. The Korn Ferry Tour gathered in Savannah, Georgia, for the Club Car Championship. Finally, the PGA Tour offered a final opportunity to qualify for this week’s Masters tournament, at the Texas Open.

In order to run something down, you have to be faster. Luckily for me, I took typing in school. Let’s run down a bunch of events this week, beginning in Augusta.

Augusta National Women’s Amateur: Woad wins

The ANWA begins play each year with 36 holes at Champions Retreat golf club, north of Augusta and adjacent to the Savannah river. A cut is made, and the finalists move to the storied Augusta National golf club two days later, for the third round. On Friday, every golfer in the field has the opportunity to play a practice round at ANGC, cut made or not. It’s a nice touch that sweetens the week for golfers like Carolina Lopez-Chacarra, who has missed the cut by one shot, each of the last two years.

Sweden’s Ingrid Lindblad is currently the most successful contestant in ANWA history. The LSU all-america golfer has thrice finished inside the top three at Augusta National. This year, she posted minus-four to claim solo third position. Ahead of her was Bailey Shoemaker, a former New Yorker who now lives in Florida, and is bound for the University of Southern California. Shoemaker posted six birdies against zero bogies on day three, for a dream score of 66. She moved from one-under par to the top of the leader board, at seven deep.

As the golfers with leads began to lose their way, Shoemaker’s position looked better by the minute. Even the overnight leader, Lottie Woad of England and Florida State University, began to stumble. Her bogey at the par-five 13th dropped her two shots behind Shoemaker. It was then that magic returned to the National. Woad secured a birdie with a 15-feet putt at the long 15th, to move within one of the leader. After a par at the 16th, Woad faced the uphill climb of the final two holes.

At 17, Woad ripped a long drive up fairway center, then finessed a wedge to 15 feet, and holed the putt for a three. At the home hole, she was long with her approach, and faced a downhill putt from … you guessed it, just about 15 feet for the victory. As the putt turned left, into the center of the hole, the magnitude of what Woad had done began to sink in. Three-under par over the closing four holes takes a special something, and all Bailey Shoemaker could do, was smile and acknowledge Woad’s work.

PGA Tour @ Texas Open: AB takes down DMC for second Tour title

It’s a good thing that Akshay Bhatia was paired with Denny McCarthy on day four, else he might not have believed what transpired. There was AB, with a four-shot advantage after 54 holes, targeting a second triumph and a Masters invitation. There was McCarthy, attempting to break through for his own, maiden Tour title. After nine holes on Sunday, the lead had swelled to six shots. At that point, the Silver Streak rolled into town.

Bhatia played a decent back nine, overcoming a bogey at ten with three other birdies. And he got annihilated by McCarthy. The 2015 Porter Cup champion made but one par on the inward half, at the 11th. He wrote “birdie” on the other eight holes, closed in 28 (eight under for the nine) and tied Bhatia at 20-under par. Rory McIlroy probably felt good about his 66, which moved him to third position, but he could only claim the “A” Flight on this day. He was nine shots back of the playoff.

As for the playoff, it was an anticlimax. Moments after making birdie at the par-five closer, McCarthy could not repeat his sucess. Despite a celebratory shoulder injury, Bhatia did make four, and the tournament and Masters invitation were his.

LPGA @ T-Mobile Match Play: No JK; NK has four straight

If it looks like stroke play, and smells like stroke play, it just might be match play. The LPGA took a page from the Western Amateur script this year. Three rounds of stroke play took place from Wednesday to Friday, as the field was trimmed to 65, and then to 8. The great eight then went head to head to decide who moved on and who went home. Four golfers tied for the eighth position, and three holes later, Moriya Jutanugarn had defeated Yuka Saso, Brooke Henderson, and Hae Ran Ryu for the right to move into match play.

Leona Maguire had been the queen of Shadow Creek, site of the event, and she preserved that royal title with a 4 & 3 win over Jutanugarn in round one of knockout play. Joining her in the semifinals were Sei Young Kim (6 & 5 over Rose Zhang), Narin An (1 up over Minami Katsu) and Nelly Korda (3 & 2 over Angel Yin.) The penultimate round saw Maguire (3 &2) and Korda (4 & 3) emerge triumphant, creating a dream conclusion pitting two of the top young talents.

Proponents of match play point to the elimination of all other competitors save the one. Medal-play aficionados reply by saying shoot a number and let the chips and putts fall where they may. On this day, Leona Maguire posted plus-two through the fifteen holes of the match, while Nelly Korda played the sequence in three below par, It doesn’t matter which style of competition you prefer. A five-shot difference tells you all that you need to know, about who played better that day.

On the occasion of her fourth consecutive victory on the LPGA circuit, Nelly Korda is the best player of this day, this week, this month. What a run.

Korn Ferry Tour @ Club Car Championship: Fisk takes risk and wins in Savannah

Philip Knowles and Kevin Roy each had thoughts on a first-time win on the KFT this week, but their hopes and dreams were postponed. Knowles dropped back from 1st to 3rd with a final-round 71. He tied John Pak and Max McGreevey at 12-deep, two shots behind the first-place tie. Roy posted 72 and finished one shot farther back, in a tie for sixth at minus-eleven. The spotlit stage for overtime was occupied by Rob Oppenheim and Steven Fisk. Fisk closed with 68, moving up two shots in the process. Oppenheim went one better, finishing off a day-four 67 with a jittery 36 on the inward half.

Oppenheim turned in 31 shots on Sunday, and looked for all the world to be on his way to a convincing victory. Nerves and jitters got in the way, and he matched bogeys and birdies on the way home for minus-14. In the playoff, Steven Fisk was able to negotiate par from the final hole at The Landings, and it was enough to earn the title. Oppenheim’s bogey-six relegated him to a coveted, but frustrating, second-place finish. And for those not in the know, it was Fisk who earned the breakthrough, initial victory on the KFT.

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

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.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

News

Tom Kim WITB 2024 (June)

Published

on

Driver: Titleist GT3 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD VF 60 X

3-wood: TaylorMade Qi10 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec Black 7 X

Hybrid: Titleist TSR3 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD Prototype

Irons: Titleist T200 (4), Titleist T100 (5-9)
Shafts: Project X 120 6.0 (4-9)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM10 (46-10F, 50-12F, 54-12D), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60-L)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron TourType Timeless GSS Prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

 

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

News

Tour Rundown: In non-major news…

Published

on

In non-major news (read about Amy Yang’s PGA Championship win here), the pros got together for some early, northern hemisphere-summer golf. They met in southeast but upstate New York, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Holland. On Saturday in Cromwell, Cameron Young saved par at the last hole to post a score of 59. He began Sunday with four consecutive birdies, and we thought he might never make another par. He cooled off, sadly, but did secure a top-ten finish.

Let’s be honest: after a major-championship week with a dearth of birdies, we should always have a birdie-fest where scores approach 30-under par. 59 should always be possible. Travelers gives us that relief. It’s the miracle drug we crave, after watching far too many putts and approach shots trickle off greens, into bunkers and scary places.

I normally don’t put together a Tour Rundown the week of a major championship, but with golf camp ending last Friday, I had some time on my hands. Time to get down with Rundown for this third week of June.

PGA Tour @ Travelers: Playoff? Scottie gets number six

Some golfers just win. 2024 should go down as one of the top-fifteen, great years on the PGA Tour. Scottie Scheffler has six wins so far, including one major title. He still has the Open Championship ahead of him, plus other events, plus the playoffs. It seems unlikely that he won’t secure another win or two. Imagine an eight-win season. Imagine that people forget about what happened in Louisville. Wowzers.

This week’s win was Scheffler’s first playoff of 2024, and the third of his career. He’s two and one in overtime, which means little to nothing in the long game. Scheffler came to 18 at River Highlands with a one-shot advantage over Tom Kim. Scheffler’s approach should have downslopped, but didn’t. He had a tricky putt for three to end it all, and left it three inches shy, in the jar. Kim’s approach might have been two inches to the right, dropped in for eagle, and ended things right there, but instead, it spun back to ten feet. He jarred it. Playoff.

The brief extra session saw both golfers find fairway, then Kim went for the win and found the sand. His fried egg left him zero chance of a close up and down, and his long putt for par went astray. Scheffler played for the center of the green, took two putts, and walked off with career win number fifteen. After the two at -22, Tom Hoge and Sungjae Im tied for third place at -20.

DP World Tour @ KPMG: Playoff?? Migliozzi can’t miss

If we’re going after translations, miglio in Italian is mile, so migliozzi would be a heap of miles. It’s odd that we would have a translation for miles, in a land where the kilometer is king, but that’s humanity for you. We do know that Guido Migliozzi has walked many miles, in pursuit of golfing greatness. He won a pair of DPWT title in 2019, then grabbed another, post-pandemic, in 2022. After a stirring week in the Netherlands, Migliozzi now has a quartet of championship trophies to his name, and a bit of impetus in the trek toward the year’s final major.

Denmark’s Rasmus Hojgaard held the lead on Saturday evening, but he and Andrea Pavan came up one shot shy of the three-man playoff. Hojgaard posted 70 on day four, but a 16th-hole bogey did him in. Pavan moved way up on Sunday with 65, but even a birdie at the last was not enough to extend his day. You see, all the cool kids were throwing fours at the par five closer: Hojgaard, Pavan, Migliozzi, and Joe Dean. The only one to make par was Marcus Kinhult. If the Swede had made four, we’d be writing about him.

Migliozzi made six birdies on the 18th hole this week. He had four during regulation play, and two more in act five. He, Dean, and Kinhult owned the hole on the first go-round, but only Migliozzi made four at 18 during the second extra hole. If the KLM organizers and The International club members are savvy, they’ll christen the closing hole as, what else, the Migliozzi Mile.

Korn Ferry Tour @ Compliance Solutions: No slack from Pak

John Pak had what is known in medical circles, as a large-posterior lead, with 18 holes left to contend. Some tour golfers love an advantage, while others are well-aware of the onset of complacency. Pak did himself few favors when he made bogey at Sunday’s second hole. The last direction he needed to head was north. Fortunately, he righted the ship and played three-under the rest of the way. He finished on 23-under par, and liked his position.

Jackson Suber and Davis Shore found the fire that lit Pak’s first three rounds. Pak had a 66, a 65, and a 64 over the first three days. Suber and Shore went one better. Each signed for 63 on day four, and shout up the leader board. Suber’s card was clean, with nine birdies on the day. He had seven on his inward half, for a closing 29. Shore inked eight birdies, a bogey, and an eagle over his final 18 holes. For their efforts, Suber earned solo second place and Shore, a T4. Pak won in 2023 on PGA Tour Canada, and now has a KFT win on his dossier.

PGA Tour Champions @ DSG: Irish eyes are smiling, again and again

It’s a safe bet that property values in Endicott, New York, will go up when Padraig Harrington takes up residence. In 2022, the great champion won the Dick’s SGO by three blows. Last year, he eaked out a one-stroke win. This year, Harrington won his third consecutive DSGO, again by one slim shady shot.

Harrington held the 36-hole lead after Saturday’s festivities, and he was nearly chased down by one of the 2022 runners-up, Mike Weir. On Sunday, Paddy was all over the board, with an eagle, a pair of bogeys, and some birdies. He was not at his consistent best, but he was good enough. A four-under 68 came his way, and brought him to 15-under par.

Try as he might, Weir could not close the final gap. He had six birdies on the day, but his bogey at 13 was his undoing. He eclipsed the third-place trio of Mark and the Kens (Hensby, Duke, and Tanigawa) but could elevate no higher. The victory was Harrington’s eighth on the senior circuit. For a man who still relishes junior tour competition, there’s no end in site for the workhorse from Dublin.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

News

Amy Yang wins the 2024 Women’s PGA with ease

Published

on

The only way that a four-stroke victory can be considered a blowout, is when it was a seven-shot advantage, with three holes to play. Sunday at Sahalee was an at-last, coming-out party for Amy Yang. The veteran LPGA champion had avoided victory in a major championship for over 15 years. At last, she played the round of her life (or at least, most of a round) when the stakes were highest. Even when her advantage was a single stroke, midway through the final 18, Amy Yang never wavered.

The eventual champion made a first-hole statement on day four, with a fortunate bounce from the far-right shoulder to within two feet of the hole. Hey, a little luck is always welcome. The stroke saved was returned two holes later, when the trees of Sahalee (SahaTREE?) reached out and grabbed her approach shot. Unable to get up and down from forty yards shy of the putting surface, Yang suffered her only bogey of the outward half. Two holes later, Amy Yang secured birdie number two, to return to red figures. This wasn’t any old birdie; whether she misclubbed or misgroooved, Yang had to pitch from ten yards in front of the green, and she holed it! Moments later, her closest competition, Lauren Hartlage, matched the birdie, also from off the green.

The birdie at five, unfortunately, was Hartlage’s last gasp. After par at six, she stumbled away with back-to-back, double bogeys. Hartlage ultimately finished tied for fifth, her top finish on the LPGA circuit. From holes eight to thirteen, Amy Yang added three birdies and a bogey, to reach three-under par on the day. There was only one other golfer on course that was remotely close to Yang’s brilliance, and that was Mao Saigo.

Saigo began the day outside the top thirty, and turned in two-under par 34. After six pars on the inward half, Saigo finished with a trio of birdies, to rise all the way to seventh place, with the day’s only, sub-70 round. Her 67 was three shots better than any other card turned in on Sunday.

Back to Amy Yang. After fifteen holes on Sunday, she looked to be on track for a fourth, sub-par round for the week. After Hartlage left contention, the only ones within a half-dozen shots of the leader would peak at four-under par for the week. Jin Young Ko and Lilia Vu each made birdie at the final green, to finish tied for second with newcomer Miyu Yamashita.

With three holes to play, the leader stood at 10-deep, the only golfer to reach double-digits under par all week. On 16, her drive was played perfectly up the right side, took the leftward slope, and caromed entirely across the fairway, through the first cut, into the deeper rough. Her approach was safely in the center of the green, and her longish approach putt settled some 30 inches from the hole. Whether it was a misread, a peek-before-you-connect, or a microscopic organism, Yang’s putt for par missed low, and she dropped to nine-under par. No concern; six shots in hand with three to play.

At 17, Yang perhaps gave a glimpse into why winning a major title is nigh impossible. There are times when you play toward the flag, and there are others where green center is the only play. With water short right, and the flag deep right, Yang’s tee ball somehow leaked rightward, landed shy of the putting surface, and trickeled into the pond. Her third from the drop zone found the frog hair, and she took two putts for double bogey. A massive lead was no longer so immense, but just one hole remained for negotiation.

If a child ever has trouble sleeping, consider having the baby watch Amy Yang’s golf swing. It is so at-ease, never accelerating nor slowing, always on tempo. With any number of demons, doubts, and distractions about, Yang slashed one more tee ball into the final fairway. With the confidence of a warrior, she eschewed an iron lay-up for the heavy metal, and promptly tugged her second shot left, into one final crown.

The ball might have ended up anywhere. It might have even stayed in the tree. What matters is, it did not. It dropped into the clear, and Yang pitched inside fifteen feet with her third. Two putts later, a journey had ended, and after 74 major championship starts, one low amateur medal, 16 missed cuts, 20 top-tens, and ten top-tens, Amy Yang finally acquired a green box on her Wiki page. Her victory total at Sahalee, in the tenth playing of the Women’s PGA Championship, stood at seven-under par 281. She was three shots clear of the third-place trio of Vu, Ko, and Yamashita.

At long last, the train had reached its intended station.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending