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Mediate Sprints Out of the Gates

Rocco Mediate shot an 8-under 64 to lead the Buick Open in Grand Blanc, Michigan on Thursday. Brett Quigley, Woody Austin, and Brian Bateman lurk just one shot behind the leader.

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Rocco Mediate, the 2000 champion, took advantage of a rain softened Warwick Hills on Thursday by shooting an 8-under 64 in Grand Blanc, MI. He carded matching 32’s on the front and back with 8 birdies and no bogies. Hitting just 8 of 14 greens, Mediate more than made up for it by hitting 88.9% of greens in regulation. Brett Quigley, Brian Bateman, and 1995 champion Woody Austin are locked up in a tie for second at -7.

Mediate said about his round, "It was just solid. I drove good. I had good irons. This has been one of the best years of my life coming out of this injury again. I’m ecstatic. I’ve had some nice weeks this year."

Brett Quigly and Woody Austin hit the links early in the morning. They both also started the tournament the right way with matching 7-under 65’s, just as they did last year. In 2006, they eventually finished in a tie for 7th place.

 

Jim Furyk fired a 6-under 66 with seven birdies and one lone bogey coming on the par 4 18th hole. This has extended Furyk’s streak of 34 consecutive rounds under par at Warwick Hills. He has also shot 47 of his last 48 rounds at the Buick Open at even or better.

"I think I come here with a lot of good memories and a lot of good rounds under my belt," he said. "I come to an event like this thinking about trying to get myself in position, what’s it going to take, what do I need to work on, how is the course playing this week, what’s it going to take to get myself in a position through the first few rounds so that come Sunday I might have a chance to win this golf tournament."

Cameron Beckman, Steve Elkington, and Scott Verplank all joined Furyk in a tie for fifth.

Most of Michigan was hit by scattered rain and thunderstorms on Wednesday which further softened Warwick Hills. The receptive greens made for some interesting situations for the players.

"It makes it difficult because you can’t control the spin," said Woody Austin. "No matter how good you are, when the flag is in the back, let’s say the flag is in the back of the green and you have 100 yards, it’s awfully hard, the way the greens are right now, it’s hard to hit it to 50 yards without spinning the ball. If you have 100 yards to a back flag, there’s almost four different clubs in your bag you can hit to it, based on what you’re trying to do."

Friday is looking to be a perfect scoring day in Flint, MI. With sunny skies and light winds, expect the players to continue the freefall through the red numbers.

 

Pos

Player R1 Tot
1 Rocco Mediate 64 -8
T2 Brett Quigley 65 -7
T2 Woody Austin 65 -7
T2 Brian Bateman 65 -7
T5 Jim Furyk 66 -6
T5 Cameron Beckman 66 -6
T5 Steve Elkington 66 -6
T5 Scott Verplank 66 -6


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tour Rundown: Six-pack of tourneys follows Masters

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Brazil and Texas were kindred souls this week, at least when it came to weather. Both regions experienced torrential delays, and three tournaments were held up. The LPGA, PGA Tour Americas, and PGA Tour Champions were compelled to reduce play or work extra holes into Sunday. As if that weren’t enough, South Carolina and the PGA Tour fell victim to nature’s wrath, with lightning postponing the conclusion of the event to Monday.

The year’s first women’s major championship was celebrated in Texas. The Chevron is gaining a bit of tradition in its second year after relocation. This year’s event culminated in the continued coronation of the game’s current best. The Korn Ferry Tour saw a top-twenty performance from a 15-year old amateur, while the second event of the week on the big tour found a winner in the Dominican Republic. Six events is more than a handful, so let’s get right to it, with this week’s (delayed) Tour Rundown.

LPGA @ Chevron Championship: Korda corrals second major title

The winter of 2022-2023 seems so distant for current Nelly Korda. A mysterious ailment sapped all of her energy, just as the world appeared to have finally emerged from the pandemic. We never quite secured the complete information that we desired, but no one can say that any of us deserved to know more than Nelly wished to share. One thing is for certain: Nelly Korda has returned to top form, and the world number one golfer is at least one level above anyone else on tour.

Korda began her 2024 campaign with a January victory in the Drive One Championship. In her next start, in March, she continued her assault on the record books, with a win at the Se Ri Pak. She won again the following week, at the Ford, then defeated Leona Maguire in the final match at the T-Mobile Match Play, for a fourth consecutive victory. Would the increased hype around a major championship have an impact on her game? Well, no.

Korda began play at the Chevron Championship with a score of 68. She trailed Lauren Coughlin by two after 18 holes, but caught her with a second-round 69. Coughlin would ultimately tie for third spot with Brooke Henderson. Henderson played with Korda on day four, but the middle third of the round was her undoing. Making a late move was Maja Stark. House Stark closed with birdies at 17 and 18 to reach 11 under par. Both Korda and Strak played the final three days in identical numbers: 69 each day.

Korda held a firm hand on the tournament over the course of the final day. She stood minus-four for the round through ten holes, before a bit of sloppy play made things competitive again. Bogeys at 11 and 15 opened the door a wee bit for Stark. Korda was equal to the test, however, and closed stylishly with birdie at 18.

PGA Tour 1 @ RBC: Scottie, so hottie!

Nelly isn’t the only golfer on fire, although Scottie Scheffler still has a ways to go to match her. Scheffler proved this week that he has a game for all courses. After winning comfortably at lengthy Augusta National, Scheffler shifted gears and game to the wee Sea Pines course, and won again. That’s two weeks in a row for the man from New Jersey/Texas, so let’s learn how he did it.

Scheffler totaled 69 on day one, and found himself six shots behind leader J.T. Poston. Scheffler revealed that his teacher, Randy Smith, would tell him that he didn’t need to be the best 15 year-old; just the best 25 year-old. It was easy, then, to play the long game and consider all 72 holes, instead of just 18. Scheffler improved to 65 on Friday, and then went even lower on Saturday. His 63 moved him to the top of the board, and caused the golfverse to wonder if Scheffler would win for a second consecutive week.

Sunday saw all the chasers fall away. Scores between 70 and 72 from Patrick Rodgers, Collin Morikawa, and Sepp Straka meant that others would need to seize the day, if Scheffler were to do more than coast. Wyndham Clark and Justin Thomas each moved inside the top five with fourth-round 65s, but no one ever got close enough to the world number one. The win was Scheffler’s 10th on tour, and made him the betting favorite for next month’s PGA Championship at Valhalla.

PGA Tour 2 @ Corales Puntacana: Baton Boy claims 8th Tour triumph

If you’ve ever seen Billy Horschel toss a club, you know that he doesn’t do so in anger. More likely is a calculated, soaring arc, paired with a look of fractured disbelief, followed by a quick catch of the cudgel. Ergo, Baton Boy. This week on the island of Hispaniola, the native of Grant, Florida, outworked and outhustled everyone else on Sunday. Horschel gathered seven birdies and an eagle, on the way to a 63 and a 23-under par total.

The former Florida Gator zipped past the four golfers in front of him, and left the remaining field in the rear-view mirror. Horschel’s round was two shots better than anyone else, and moved him two shots ahead of third-round leader Wesley Bryan. One of the famed Bryan Brothers, Wes closed with birdie at the last to post a 68 that would have won the week on any other day.

Korn Ferry Tour @ LeCom Suncoast: It’s Widing in extra holes

Miles Russell probably won’t have to serve detention for ditching class on Thursday and Friday. The high school freshman made his KFT debut, survived the 36-hole cut, and toyed with a top-ten finish. He ultimately tied for 20th at 14-under par, six shots behind the three co-leaders. My guess is that Epstein’s Mom will write him a note, and he’ll get a pass. By finishing top-25, Russell earned a spot in next week’s event. Yikes!

Back to the top of the board. Patrick Cover, Steven Fisk, and Tim Widing all found their way to the magic number of -20. Fisk made birdie at the last, after bogeys at 16 and 17. Cover had three bogeys on the back nine, but a birdie at 14 was enough to get him to overtime. Widing was plus-one on the day through four, but played interstellar golf over the final 14. Six birdies moved him from Russell-ville to extra time.

The trio scurried to the 18th tee, where Cover drove into a fairway bunker. He was unable to reach the green with his approach, made bogey, and exited the overtime session. Widing and Fisk returned to the final deck once more, and matters were resolved. Fisk was unable to convert a long par putt, and Widing (pronounced VEE-ding) tapped in for his first KFT title.

PGA Tour Americas @ Brasil Open: Mr. Anderson finds a way

Golf is a funny game. Matthew Anderson held a lead with one round to play. He made six pars on Sunday, and sprinkled the rest of his card with birdies and bogeys. In complete contrast, Ollie Osborne played consistently on the day, posting four birdies and zero bogeys. Connor Godsey was not far off Osborne’s pace, with seven birdies and but two bogeys on the scorecard. So, of course, Matthew Anderson won by a stroke over Osborne and Godsey.

Not how, but how many, is another one of those platitudes that we all learn early on. Despite five bogeys through his first 14 holes, Anderson summoned the defiant grit to make birdie at the 71st and 72nd holes. After making deuce at the penultimat hole, Anderson’s swerving effort at the last looked as if it should miss low, but it had enough pace to stay inside the hole and fall for a closing four at the par-five finisher.

PGA Tour Champions @ Invited Celebrity: Broadhurst stands tall

What do you call a tournament that begins on Friday, takes Saturday off, and finishes on Sunday? Fortunate is one adjective to use. A weather system moved through Texas this weekend, and made a mess of things in Irving. After Thomas Bjorn signed for 64 on day one, rain and all things counter-productive moved through the Las Colinas resort, ensuring that Saturday would be nothing more than a rest day. When Sunday arrived, conditions had improved, and the game was on. Bjorn was unable to preserve his Friday magic, although he did record a 70 for -8. He finished in a third-place tie with Y.E. Yang.

David Toms, the 2001 PGA Championship victor, presented Sunday’s low round, and moved to 10-under par. Toms made one mistake on the day. He lived in the rough on the 9th hole, ultimately making bogey. The rest of the day was immaculate, as seven birdies came his way, resulting in a six-under par 65. Only one golfer was able to surpass Toms, and that was Paul Broadhurst.

Broadhurst nearly matched Toms for daily honors. His mistake came early, with bogey at the second. He bounced back with eagle at the third, and added three more birdies for 66 and 11-under par. Over his first three seasons on the Tour Champions, Broadhurst won five times, including two major titles. His fifth win came in 2018, making this win his first in six years. A long time coming, for sure, but well earned.

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Morning 9: Rory: I’m not joining LIV | Masters ratings | Nelly: We just need a stage

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as we gear up to this week’s RBC Heritage.

1. Rory: I’m not going to LIV

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach…McIlroy said neither he nor his agents have ever discussed a potential deal to lure him to the LIV Golf League, which is being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

  • “I honestly don’t know how these things get started,” McIlroy told Golf Channel while on the practice range at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the site of this week’s RBC Heritage. “I’ve never been offered a number from LIV, and I’ve never contemplated going to LIV. Again, I think I’ve made it clear over the past two years that I don’t think it’s something for me.
  • “It doesn’t mean that I judge people who have went and played over there. I think one of the things that I have realized over the past two years is that people can make their own decisions for whatever they think is best for themselves, and who are we to judge them for that? But personally, for me, my future is here on the PGA Tour, and it’s never been any different.”
Full piece.

2. Masters ratings down

Yahoo’s Jay Busbee…”Ratings for the full Masters week are now out, and 2024’s version ranks as the lowest since the COVID-impacted years of 2020 and 2021. There was a brief moment when four players shared the lead at the 2024 Masters, but Scottie Scheffler took care of business quickly enough and strolled to what qualifies as an “easy” Masters victory — a four-stroke triumph that wasn’t in doubt for most of the second nine.”

  • “Perhaps as a result, Sunday’s final round averaged 9.59 million viewers on CBS, according to Sports Media Watch, a 22.8% decline from last year’s 12.06 million. Scheffler’s win two years ago averaged 10.17 million viewers. Worth noting: Sunday’s final round was down 20 percent against last year’s victory by Jon Rahm, but last year’s final round fell on Easter Sunday, which created a significantly higher out-of-home percentage of viewers — 21 percent in 2023, as opposed to 9 percent this year.”
Full piece.

3. Chevron gets purse boost

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“Chevron’s commitment to the LPGA went a step higher on Tuesday with the announcement of a purse increase to $7.9 million in 2024. The move brings the tour’s first major in line with the purses of other championships. The U.S. Women’s Open purse of $12 million paces the tour, with the KPMG Women’s PGA second at $10 million. The AIG Women’s British Open purse checks in at $9 million while Amundi Evian is $6.5 million.”

  • “Chevron, which moved the event away from Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, to Texas, last year, has increased the purse by $4.8 million since assuming title sponsorship in 2022. The company has committed to title sponsor the event through 2029.”
Full piece.

4. Shipley on “notegate”

Alex Myers for Golf Digest…”So what was up with “notegate”? During his hilarious spot with McAfee, Shipley reiterated there was no note from Woods, and that he was only looking at the moderator because he was so confused where the question was coming from:

  • “I looked over at the moderator like ‘Who the hell is this guy?'” Shipley says in the clip. “Because it just didn’t happen. I was so confused and so shocked in the moment.”
Full piece.

5. Nelly: We just need a stage

Iain Carter for the BBC…”Korda is the first American to win four consecutive tournaments on the LPGA since Lopez won five straight 46 years ago. This astonishing streak made the then rookie front page material for Sports Illustrated.

  • “Korda’s feats have yet to transcend the golfing village, and perhaps that suits her as she “tries to stay in my bubble”. But the American Solheim Cup player does recognise that more could be done to tell the increasingly compelling story of women’s golf.”
  • “I feel like we just need a stage,” she told reporters here at Carlton Woods just north of Houston. “We need to be put on TV.
  • “I feel like when it’s tape delay, or anything like that, that hurts our game. Women’s sports just needs a stage. If we have a stage we can show up and perform and show people what we’re all about.”
Full piece.

6. Photos from the 2024 RBC Heritage

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s event!
Full piece.
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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 RBC Heritage

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GolfWRX is on site this week at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island for the RBC Heritage. Plenty of golfers who competed in the Masters last week will be making the quick turnaround in the Lowcountry of South Carolina as the Heritage is again one of the Tour’s Signature Events.

We have general albums for you to check out, as well as plenty of WITBs — including Justin Thomas and Justin Rose.

We’ll continue to update as more photos flow in from SC.

Check out links to all our photos, below.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

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

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