The ‘Mad Scientist’ (that’s a loving nickname just so you know) Bryson DeChambeau won the first FedEx Cup event of the season – the Northern Trust Open – for his second triumph in 2018, Brooke Henderson scored her fourth win since June last year and Andrea Pavan triumphed in the Czech Masters for his first European Tour triumph since joining the tour six years ago.
American Bryson Dechambeau won for the third time on the PGA Tour in the final series opening event the Northern Trust Open finishing at 18 under with Tony Finau back in second at the Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey
A four shot lead to open the day jumped to six shots quickly for DeChambeau after two opening birdies but it wasn’t until later in the round when the 24-year-old was set for victory at the Paramus venue when he eventually restored the four shot buffer for the win.
DeChambeau’s victory enhances his prospects of gaining one of the four captain’s picks for the USA Ryder Cup squad. Outside of the automatic eight the Californian could possibly be grouped with Tiger Woods in some of the pairings if Woods, as expected, is also given a captain’s pick by skipper Jim Furyk.
Canadian Brooke Henderson continued her impressive early career racking up win number seven on the LPGA with victory in Saskatchewan at the CP Women’s Open at Wascana Country Club. Still only 20 Henderson now needs only one more victory to tie and two to surpass the records for wins by Canadian in the top flight. Across the LPGA and PGA Tour a few players, including Sandra Post and Mike Weir sit on seven wins. Whilst Weir could add to his total, it’s a long-shot but you never know, Henderson’s record could set the benchmark for some time for Canadian players. The four-stroke victory was an impressive result given Henderson has had to suffer through the loss of close family members this year with the win even more appropriate with her sister Brittany on the bag as the she claimed her national open.
Andrea Pavan saw off major winner Padraig Harrington to win the Czech Masters at 22 under after his final round of five under saw him pull clear of Harrington who entered the day in a share of the lead with the Italian. Pavan’s Sunday 67 was enough to see him pull two strokes clear of the three-time major winner.
Player performance notes
Following the FedEx Cup opener the four-leg finals series of the US PGA heads to TPC Boston for the Dell Technologies Championship. 100 players feature here with 70 advancing to the following week. Currently 58 players are assured progress to the third leg, the BMW Championship, and Justin Thomas won here in 2017.
Under 20: Justin Thomas. The defending champion enters this event having won four weeks ago plus two other top ten finishes at his last two starts.
Under 20: Rory McIlroy. The impending change in the FedEx Cup format means the event will only feature at TPC Boston every second year. This move will not amuse the Ulsterman who has two wins and a fifth place from his last six starts here. After a missed cut last year he is due to bounce back and has shown glimpses of form recently.
20 to 50: Billy Horschel. 11th then third in his last two starts Horschel, who won two FedEx Cup events in 2014, has credibility at this level. Despite having missed the last two cuts here he was second at the track during that impressive 2014 run and has won the team’s event Zurich Classic this year.
20 to 50: Patrick Reed. The Masters winner of earlier this year has gone 4-5-6 in his last three starts here. Reed has also performed well in other big events this year including his fourth at the US Open but he did miss the cut at the year’s final major the PGA.
Greens in regulation
Following Henderson’s victory this week the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic the Canadian heads to this event which she has won twice before but was won in 2017 by America Stacy Lewis.
From the Czech Republic to Denmark the European Tour’s Made in Denmark tournament, won last year by , will be held at Silkeborg Ry – the home course of European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. This event is the last chance for Ryder Cup team qualification and the Silkeborg Ry Golf Club is a not only new venue for the tour by Bjorn’s boyhood club.
The coming summer of golf in Australia offers many exciting events and February’s Victorian Open now has added some potential star-power plus it’s been given a prizemoney boost in the last week or so. The event now offers purse of $1.5 million for both the men’s and women’s tournaments and has had the men’s European Tour join it’s other co-sanctioning bodies.
With the World Super 6s in Perth the following week there is a strong prospect several of the big European Tour names would head to Australia for both events.
Following the announcement of the Tiger Woods versus Phil Mickelson match in Las Vegas there has been a range of criticism from various sectors of the golfing community.
Whilst the event causes a clash with the World Cup and the Nevada event the tournament in Australia will likely not cross-over greatly (time-wise) with the one-on-one match-up.
Some have derided this as an exhibition but that is no more so than some of the other recent innovations in tournament format (even if some of those grant ranking points.)
Woods’ emergence and subsequent launch into the sporting stratosphere was the primary reason many of the current players are competing for the prize purses which they are and, as I noted last week, I’m actually hopeful this might spur on more match-up golf so don’t think about this one-off event as a distraction merely a new start to an era of ‘rivalry golf’.
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