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Tour Rundown: Full hand for Scottie | Where’d that Strom come from?

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The week prior to a major championship is typically replete with anticipation … for the coming event. Not so for the first full week of June, 2024. Golfers gathered to pay homage to history’s greatest major champion, to Wisconsin’s greatest champion, and to each other. The DP World Tour held its annual, no-gender championship in Sweden, while the LPGA traveled to coastal New Jersey for an old-school face-off. If you held a pair of Linn’s in your hand this weekend, you hit the jackpot. If none of that seems to connect, don’t worry. We have the pen, so here go the dots, in this week’s Tour Rundown.

PGA Tour @ he Memorial: Full hand for Scottie

What do they say about scar tissue? The more you lose to a certain player, the more difficult it is to beat that player. Scar tissue is building up across the PGA Tour, thanks to the wizardry of the young Texan, Scottie Scheffler. We’ll reserve judgment until after Pinehurst, but as things currently stand, all that can stop his caravan of triumph is a misunderstanding.

I recall when our son used to play fullback in soccer. He often let opposing players get past him, for the sheer joy of chasing them down. Scottie Scheffler may not have that odd move in his gameplay, but he doesn’t run away with tournaments. He usually finds a way to let golfers back in, although I suspect he does not do so with purpose. At the Memorial, Scheffler held a four-shot advantage through 54 holes, but he didn’t run off on Sunday and leave the opposition playing for second. His play on Sunday was more survival than celebrity, and he nearly went to a playoff.

Collin Morikawa fought bravely back, but didn’t have the requisite skills to break through the scar tissue. Morikawa has been in the mix a few times this season and has yet to find a way to come homeward with his best game. The same happened again on Sunday. As Scheffler played the final twelve holes in two-over par, Morikawa gained five shots on the leader, only to give a crucial one back on 17. Muirfield Village has become a 1970s-throwback course of late, adding length and super-thick rough as protection. As a result, the excitement comes from bogey avoidance down the stretch. Collin was close, but Scheffler found victory number five on the year, in the nick of time.

LPGA @ ShopRite: Where’d that Strom come from?

Forgive the pundits if they transpose the “s” and the “r” for an easy headline. A storm called Strom blew in off the Atlantic and took over the Wilson/Ross course at Seaview Resort. Linnea Strom did just about everything right on Sunday. She posted nine birdies and one eagle (coming at the par-5 ninth hole) and ignored the prospect of bogey or worse, throughout the entirety of the round. Her win came by a single shot, with a quintet of golfers passing through astonishment, to gob-smackery, to outright dumbfoundment.

Imagine being any one of the following: Ayaka Furue @ 65; Megan Kang @ 66; Atthaya Thitikul @ 65; Morgane Metraux @ 66; or home-state girls Marina Alex @ 64. That fivesome played as well as they might have hoped, yet none was able to wrest the tournament’s trophy from the unlikely hands of Linnea Strom. Inconceivably, the victory was her first on the LPGA circuit. What a way to get the job done.

DP World Tour @ Scandinavian Mixed: Linn’s request is Grant-ed

Low-hanging fruit is what they call that headline. Linn Grant went into Sunday with eyes set on a nice finish to a nice week. The Scandinavian Mixed pits all genders in one field, and has seen some terrific wins by women and men, during its brief history. Sebastian Soderberg had the tournament wrapped up on Saturday. Somehow, on day four, the bow dissolved and Soderberg melted to a score of 77. Keep in mind that he had posted 63-66-66 over the first 54 holes. Golf is baffling.

Linn Grant went out on day four and ran off four birdies for 31 on the front side. She kept her head coming home, added two more for 65 and a total of 17-under par. She edged past Calum Hill, who closed with 69 for minus-16. All of that should have been pleasantry, except for the goings-on in the final pairing. Soderberg was never on his game over the course of the final day. He had a pair of birdies, but more than his share of bogies. On the final hole, from the middle of the fairway, he missed the green in the right side bunker, then splashed to 24 feet. His putt for the outright win missed by 15 inches. His putt for the playoff missed by one inch. In the blink of an eye, a careless close had awarded the trophy to Grant.

Tour Champions @ American Family: Big ChEasy in Wisconsin

Ernie Els really had no shot on Sunday in Madison. Steve Stricker was at home, comfortable, and trending. The former Ryder Cup captain was three-under on the day through 13, two ahead of Els, closing the deal. When Els made a third consecutive birdie at 14, Stricker posted bogey. In a moment’s hesitation, the game was afoot. Each added one more birdie coming home, and finished in a tie at minus-twelve, three clear of Cameron Percy.

There would be another, moment’s hesitation, and it would spell the unimaginable end of the home-state lad. After Els tapped in for par on the first playoff hole, Stricker addressed a wee, three-feet putt to match … and missed. A stunned Els was a winner for a second consecutive week, and his affection for the American midwest grew large.

Korn Ferry Tour @ BMW Championship: Gerard goes off

Ryan Gerard had compiled a sizable lead through 54 holes in the Palmetto state of South Carolina. With, or despite, the knowledge that his inspirational father was en route to the tournament site, Gerard remained focused and closed in proper fashion. He posted 66 on day four, and finished off a six-shot triumph over Seth Reeves. The win was Gerard’s first, important professional victory, and closed a circle of father-son-golf.

There was never a time at the Thornblade Club, that Gerard seemed anywhere other than in charge and control. He began the week with 64, followed with 66, then ignited on Saturday with 63. Knowing the potential for concentration loss, Gerard kept his vision focused on each shot, and no other. After that opening 64, which featured two eagles, a bunch of birdies, and a handful of bogeys, Gerard settled down to a mere two bogeys over the final 54 holes.

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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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Equipment

Why Wyndham Clark is playing a brand-new driver and an old putter this week

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Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of an article originally filed for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report by our Andrew Tursky. Read the full piece here. 

At the top end of the bag, Clark is set to change into Titleist’s new GT2 driver during the first week it’s being made available to PGA TOUR players. On Monday, Titleist officially unveiled its new lineup of GT drivers and fairway woods, and Clark plans to become one of the early adopters of the new technology as competition begins on Thursday at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Interestingly, Clark was relatively late to make a permanent switch into the company’s previous TSR3 driver. Although the TSR drivers first launched in 2022, Clark was back-and-forth with the 2020 TSi3 driver and the 2022 TSR3 driver until the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2024.

On Wednesday, GolfWRX.com caught up with Clark to get his take on the new GT2 driver, and why he’s switching so quickly.

“It’s faster (than my previous TSR3),” Clark said. “I felt like I got 2-3 mph more ball speed, which is amazing. And it has really consistent spin, which is obviously huge for what we do out here.”

…On the bottom end of the bag, Clark will likely play his first event since 2023 without an Odyssey Jailbird putter in the bag.

In case you forgot, Clark and Rickie Fowler were the trendsetters who brought the 2014 Odyssey Versa Jailbird back to the forefront of the golf market in 2023. Clark then switched into the upgraded Odyssey Ai Jailbird during the week of his win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

This week, however, Clark is going back in time, switching into a PXG prototype mallet that he used in 2022.

Read the full piece at PGATour.com

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Equipment

Details on Justin Thomas’ gas station putter pickup

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Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from a piece our Andrew Tursky originally wrote for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report detailing how Justin Thomas acquired his new Scotty Cameron putter. Head over there for the full article.

…Thomas was texting with Paul Vizanko (Director of Scotty Cameron Putter Fitting and Player Development), and Thomas explained what he was thinking, seeing and feeling on the putting greens of late. Thomas is currently ranked 159th in Strokes Gained: Putting on the PGA TOUR, so maybe it was time for a change.

After hearing Thomas’ thought processes, Vizanko suggested that Thomas might actually like a custom putter build that he previously made for Sargent.

Gordon Sargent’s custom Cameron.

Sargent is entering his Senior year at Vanderbilt University, but he’s no ordinary college student. He’s currently the No. 1-ranked Men’s amateur golfer in the world according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings, and he’s already competed in four PGA TOUR events, including the 2023 Masters and the 2023 U.S. Open. He also won the 2022 Men’s Division I Individual Championship.

Thomas, who says he has gotten to know Sargent in recent years, reached out to Sargent via text prior to the Memorial.

Thomas needed a putter, and Sargent – according to Vizanko – might have his answer.

Since Sargent and Thomas live within driving distance to each other in Alabama, they met up at a local gas station to make the hand-off.

“I texted Gordon [about using the putter], and he said he wasn’t using it, so I could have it,” Thomas told GolfWRX.com on Wednesday at Muirfield Village Golf Club. “I’ve gotten to know Gordon some…so we met up at a gas station to make the transfer.”

Head over to PGATour.com for the rest of the article.

More photos of JT’s putter in the forums.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 Memorial Tournament

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GolfWRX is live this week from Jack’s place, Muirfield Village Golf Club, for the 2024 edition of the Memorial Tournament.

On the equipment front so far, Titleist’s new GT drivers and fairway woods have been the stars of the show. WITBs and other pull-out galleries — including a 60-degree Vokey with a K-Star grind and some interesting putters — are on display.

Check back throughout the week as we add more photos from Dublin, Ohio!

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying and join the discussion in the forums.

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