A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week which saw two playoffs in the States and Europe respectively plus it’s time for another major with the turn of the women with their British Open in Fife, Scotland. Jhonattan Vegas claimed a second Canadian Open in two years with victory at the 73rd hole on the same weekend Jordan Smith needed 74 holes to claim his maiden European Tour crown. Whilst Mi Hyang Lee edged home by a stroke in the Ladies Scottish Open.
Venezuelan Vegas has now won three times on the PGA Tour with his other triumph in 2011 in the Bob Hope Classic. Playoff contestant Charley Hoffman led going into Sunday and missed multiple chances late in the round to win in regulation. The result was an interesting one given the political turmoil going on in Vegas’ home nation of Venezuela. The PGA Tour has the Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nevada this week but the big event for the men is the WGC Invitational in Akron, Ohio at the Firestone Country Club.
England’s Jordan Smith claimed the European Open near Hamburg when he took advantage of some errors from defending champion Alexander Levy of France and prevailed after going into the final round leading by two. Levy should have won on the first extra hole but missed a close birdie putt and 24-year-old Smith won for the first time on one of the top flight tours.
South Korean Lee didn’t win the Scottish Open in a playoff but overcame a six-shot deficit to win for the second time on the LPGA Tour. Starting the day in the group ahead of leader Karrie Webb and late double bogey from the Australian helped Lee, 24, edge home at Dundonald Links.
Player performance notes:
Players I’m interested in to see how they go with notes that interest me related to capital investment if that’s your thing. Kingsbarns is the venue for the Women’s British Open with Ariya Jutanugarn the defending champion.
Under 20: Minjee Lee. Eighth last week Lee hasn’t finished worse than 36th in her last seven starts since she was DQ’ed out of an event and has five top 11 finishes in that span.
Under 20: Inbee Park. The 2015 winner when the tournament was held at Trump Turnberry, Park does have a third to her credit at a major earlier in the year – the Ana Inspiration.
Under 20: So Yeon-Ryu. Twice a winner this year Ryu was third in the US Women’s Open and her T23 in Scotland last weekend is a nice tune-up for this.
20 to 50: Brooke Henderson. The Canadian didn’t play the lead-up event but has stronger majors form in 2017 with a second in the Women’s PGA and did win in mid-June.
20 to 50: Lydia Ko. The Kiwi was T3 in this tournament in 2015 before winning the Evian that season and likes these conditions. However the Kiwi did miss the cut last time out in Scotland.
100 to 200: Nelly Korda. Two weeks ago the American had the 54-hole lead in the USA but fell away to finish in a tie for eighth. The LPGA rookie was T20 in the Women’s PGA so doesn’t seem that overawed by player in majors against more experienced players.
Greens in regulation:
In Ohio for the WGC event, and less then two weeks out from the next major, Rory McIlroy has changed caddies after dumping JP Fitzgerald, who has been on the world number four’s bag since July 2008. With the US PGA at Quail Hollow coming up it seems fraught to make such a change with the final major for the year up for grabs – especially given McIlroy return to form with a T4 at the Open. The Northern Irishman says it has been done to preserve their strong personal relationship.
It’s starting to become a trend, or maybe I’m overplaying it, but the amount of players winning tournaments at the elite level of golf aged 23/24 in the last month or so seems to be far more than usual. We have had players like Jordan Smith and Xander Schauffele win for the first time on the European and PGA Tour respectively plus seen players like Lee from this week and Daniel Berger recently win for the second time. Either way there could be something in the born 1993/94 cohort that is setting them apart from their peers. Jordan Spieth, who turned 24 last month, is going for three wins on the bounce if he triumphs in the WGC event this week.
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