Taiwan was the location for the final leg of a famous family trifecta as Nelly Korda won on the LPGA. American Xander Schauffele proved his elite credentials with a win in China as Cameron Champ triumphed on the PGA Tour in Mississippi
Nelly Korda, 20, won her first LPGA event courtesy of a two-stroke victory at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Championship in Taiwan at the Ta Shee Golf and Country Club. Korda’s final round 68 was enough to prevail over Australian Minjee Lee who closed with a final round of six under 66.
Korda now joins her sister Jessica, 25, as a winner on the top tour and goes with brother Sebastian’s victory in January in the Australian Open tennis boy’s singles. The trio are the children of former Australian Open winner Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtova.
The final WGC event of 2018 saw American Xander Schauffele edge home after the first extra hole at the Sheshan Golf Club to beat Tony Finau. Both players finished at after Finau led by three strokes heading into the final round with Schauffele’s 67 notable in the windy conditions when only three players broke 70 on Sunday Finau remains stuck on one PGA Tour win from 120 starts but is still ranked number 15 in the world.
Champ, known for his prodigious long-hitting, ranked second in strokes gained putting for the week and led by four heading into the final round. This was his final winning margin finishing at 21 under ahead of Canadian Corey Connors. Whilst the event was shorn of elite players given the time of year and accompanying WGC event, it was still confirmation of Champ’s promise given he also won on the second-tier Web.com Tour in Utah back in July.
Player Performance Notes
In Antalya we see the Turkish Airlines Open – the latest European Tour Rolex Series event (six of eight) take place Regnum Carya venue. The ET culminates in the UAE in three weeks’ time.
Under 20: Justin Rose. The Englishman is the defending champion and in his last five starts has finished on worse than eighth which includes two second-placings.
Under 20: Thorbjorn Olesen. 2016 champion Olesen is still buzzing from the Ryder Cup glow and he was seventh in China.
Under 20: Haotong Li. Second place here in 2016 Li has finished eleventh or better in his last three starts and is now back into the world’s top 50.
20 to 50: American Julian Suri was eighth here last year and he has played well in the last month which included a fifth-place in the British Masters. He can rebound after a disappointing finish in China.
Greens in regulation
From Taiwan to Japan for the LPGA with the Toto Japan Classic takes place in Shiga with China’s Shanshan Feng the defending champion. Whilst in the USA the Shriner’s Hospital for Children Open is due to be decided in Las Vegas. It was won last year by Patrick Cantlay in a playoff.
The Australasian PGA Tour this week heads to Yeerongpilly for the Isuzu Queensland Open at the Brisbane Golf Club. This follows last week’s triumph at the Mount Lawley Golf Club in WA of Zach Murray to win the $100,000 WA Open. Amateur Murray prevailed by two strokes over fellow Victorian David Micheluzzi finishing at 16 under after he opened with a 64 to take the early lead.
From Western Australia to Brisbane is quite a trek but it’s a lot further for the next few weeks for some of the other top male golers. A handful may cover these countries; China, Turkey, South Africa, UAE and Australia. That is the schedule facing some of the game’s elite in the coming month with the final three European Tour events for the season book-ended by last week’s WGC tournament in Shanghai and the World Cup of Golf at The Metropolitan in the Victorian capital, Melbourne.
Whilst these professional athletes don’t travel in cattle class the time to travel can’t be drastically reduced and at the end of a long season one wonders how they’ll be able to keep up their form, especially the European Tour regulars. It’s somewhat surprising the players loop back up to the Middle East when they could almost travel in one direction to finish the season but money talks. Those with experience at each venue might be the ones to look out for as there won’t be much time for practice for those seeing certain courses for the first time.
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