A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week which saw wins for two Australians plus the golfing world is set for another return to Tiger Woods who turns 42 next month.
It was a contrasting weekend of Australia victories in Sydney and Hong Kong with two players at different ends of their careers claiming wins in the form of 22-year-old Cameron David and Wade Ormsby, 37.
2016 Eisenhower Cup winner Cameron Davis shook off a missed cut the week prior at the NSW Open to fire a final round seven under 64 to win the Australian Open at the Australian Golf Club. Davis started Sunday six shots adrift of leader Jason Day but the Queenslander’s capitulation coupled with an impressive back nine from Davis (highlighted by an eagle hole-out on 12) meant the New South Welshman saw off the other varying challenged as the final pairing of Day and Lucas Herbert slipped from the top of the leaderboard.
Davis had just punched out a few drives on the practice range in anticipation of a playoff when his Stonehaven Cup win was confirmed.
For the second year running an Australian outside won at the Fanling Golf Club to claim the Hong Kong Open as the now first European Tour event of the new season. Ormsby’s triumph came as Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello missed a chance to force a playoff when he bogeyed 18. The 72nd hole cursing RCB as it did when Lismore’s Sam Brazel won thre tournament last year.
The week a tri-sanctioned event takes place with the Asian Tour, European Tour and South Africa’s Sunshine Tour support the Mauritius Open at the Heritage Golf Club whilst big names across the men’s tour are in the Bahamas – more on that shortly. The LPGA will also play next in the Bahamas but that event isn’t until the end of January.
Player performance notes
Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes related to capital investment if that’s your thing. The Australian PGA, which is co-sanctioned with the European Tour, takes place at Royal Pines in Queensland.
Under 20: Cameron Smith. The Brisbane golfer is looking to win the ‘Queensland major; after a T15 finish last year here plus his T4 in Sydney. It would be his first solo win at this level.
20 to 50: Wade Ormsby. After his heroics in Hong Kong it would be easy to think the South Australian-born golfer would drop off given he only has two wins to his credit at this level but following his last tournament win in 2013 he produced four consecutive top 20 finishes.
20 to 50: Brett Rumford. The inaugural Perth super 6 winner earlier this year was T12 here last weekend in Sydney and was fifth here last year.
50 to 100: Brett Coletta. Coletta missed the cut last weekend but that’s understandable given he was back from an extended break and given he was T6 in this event last year it’s sensible to expect him to improve on last weekend.
50 to 100: Tom Lewis. The Englishman has improved each round (73-72-69-68) when T10 here last year and that result came after a T28 in 2015. He tees of early with Coletta on Thursday
50 to 100: Travis Smyth. Like Coletta, Shellharbour local Smyth is one of the rising stars and like the weekend winner Davis he’s won recently, albeit the lower class NT PGA Championship in September. Smyth closed with a 67 to finish T10 in Sydney and he speaks with the confidence of a player well beyond his 22 years of age.
Greens in regulation
Nowadays one can get great media insight via social media in regards to athletes and one of the best in golf is the blog of England’s Eddie Pepperell. His 2017 wrap was again insightful as he touched on disappointments and the let fans behind the curtain about writing to event organisers seeking tournament invitations. Pepperell also learned in 2017 “What I have (re-) discovered thought, is that our best golf is usually played under the orchestration of a quiet mind. A state that is focused, but not searching” Well done Eddie and good luck in 2018.
The Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas this week sees the return to golf of a player who was given entry to the event via an invitation from the tournament organisers, but enough about Daniel Berger. Tiger Woods the other ‘invitee’ will return to this event and the limited field of 18 means the world number 1199 (yes he’s dropped that far) will play the entire event barring a withdrawal. His second round 65 was the highlight last year and Woods finished ahead if Russell Knox and Emiliano Grillo (Justin Rose withdrew) so that was some form of progress. The best case scenario according to Brad Faxon recently could see Woods out-drive Dustin Johnson and he will put together consistent rounds now that he wakes up pain-free according to Jason Day. But realistically a player who entered only two subsequent tournaments (one missed cut followed by a withdrawal in Dubai) is likely to scatter good round with bad again and a repeat of his 73-65-70-76 is on the cards. Woods finished 14 shots from Hideki Matsuyama last year so anything closer than that is progress.
I’ve stated before the ‘death of career by press release’ annoys me so it’s great Woods is playing again but an inconsistent stumble like last year is fun, at least for one round, but it isn’t much fun to watch if that’s going to be the output at following tournaments.
Image via smh.com.au